Council candidates announce some endorsements

One in a series of occasional stories noting City Council candidates' endorsements leading up to November's general election.

City Council candidates Michele Hall and Robert Zur Schmiede have received endorsements from current council members, according to each candidate's campaign teams.

Councilman Steve Dicterow supports Hall, 47, while Mayor Pro Tem Bob Whalen and Councilwoman Toni Iseman back Zur Schmiede, 59.

Dicterow referred to Hall, a yoga teacher, mother and former president of the Laguna Beach Republicans, as a "true and honest" person and noted two traits important to a leader, character and courage, according to a campaign release.

"Hall possesses both and she will defend the city and be an activist on the council," Dicterow said at Hall's first campaign meet-and-greet at Bluebird Canyon resident Steven Shipp's home May 8.

A cross-section of politically diverse supporters attended, including Newport Beach Councilman and state Assembly candidate Keith Curry.

Hall, former executive director of United Laguna, spoke about her driving principles: putting kids first, water conservation, public safety and private property rights. United Laguna was a nonprofit that supported development in the Diamond-Crestview neighborhood and Treasure Island, now the site of the Montage Laguna Beach resort.

"I will be a relentless advocate of deliberative consultation with the public before the City Council commits its resources or exercises its powers in the name of the people," Hall said in the release. She was adamant that as a council member she would be "transparent, listen to the community and will work tirelessly for the enhancement of the Laguna way of life.

"The one thing we have in common as citizens is that we all love Laguna," Hall said.

U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher and state Sen. Mimi Walters (R-Irvine) endorse Hall, according to a partial list provided by Hall's campaign. The list includes current Laguna Beach Republicans President Howard Hills and his wife, Lura, past Laguna Beach Republicans President Amy Kramer, Matt and Tammy Keces, James McDermott, Sam and Pamela Goldstein, Christopher Kling, Steven Shipp, Dave and Angela Shipp, Bob Armstrong, Gary and Lisa Arthur, Lisa Berman, Marlene Baker, Melissa Denoff, Lisa Schmidt, Cameron and Tricia Fraser, Cliff and Kathi Anderson, Doug Cortez, Kirk and Landy Morgan, Martyn Hughes, Steve Kaplan, David Forsyth, Barron and Kim Ressler, Chris Lenihan, Tori Stalker, Kira Burgess, Mark Preston, and Angel Alger.

Whalen announced his support of Zur Schmiede, current Planning Commission chairman, during a May 1 fundraising event at the La Casa del Camino's Rooftop Lounge, owned by Chris Keller and Amy Amaradio.

"I am very excited to endorse Rob for City Council and look forward to working with him in the years ahead to find creative solutions for our city," said Whalen, who served four years on the Planning Commission with Zur Schmiede.

"There are several significant matters that will be coming before the council over the next few years, including the Downtown Specific Plan ... and improvements to Laguna Canyon Road.  Rob's professional background and his experience on the Planning Commission will enable him to hit the ground running from Day One as a [councilman]. His calm demeanor and rational approach to issues will help ensure that the best choices are made for Laguna's future."

Zur Schmiede is centering his campaign on protecting Laguna's quality of life, practicing fiscal responsibility, promoting non-partisan government, and pursuing local economic development.

He works as a consultant for Kelly Associates Management Group, which primarily deals with public agencies in planning, finance and economic development. Zur Schmiede has been a planning commissioner for the past 13 years and also served on the city's Design Review Board.

"I'm proud to call Bob a friend and colleague and am very grateful for his endorsement," Zur Schmiede said. "He continues to be an exemplary leader of this community, and I hope to be given the chance by the people of Laguna Beach to serve by his side."

A partial list of Zur Schmiede's endorsers, provided by his campaign team, includes former Laguna Beach mayors Kathleen Blackburn, Wayne Baglin and Wayne Peterson, current Laguna Beach Unified School District board trustees Betsy Jenkins and William Landsiedel, current Planning Commissioner Anne Johnson, Keller, Festival of Arts board President Fred Sattler, former Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce President Kristine Thalman, Emergency/Disaster Preparedness Committee member Matt Lawson, Cathy and Gregg Abel, Ilse Lenschow, Mary and Joe Ferguson, Susan and John Hamil, Anders Lasater, Charlotte and Alex Masarik, Roger McErlane, Larry Nokes, Barbara Metzger, Victor Opincar, Susan Whitin, Peggy and James Wolff, Mark Christy, Cary Glenn, Cheryl Sykes, Martha and Tom Davis, Susan and Tad Heitmann, Morris Skenderian, Gene Gratz, Ernest Hackmon, Theresa Tercero, Eric Jessen, Angela Irish and Joanne McMahon.

Jon Madison, another council hopeful and current chairman of the city's Heritage Committee, said he will announce his endorsers at his campaign kickoff event June 1.

Hall, Zur Schmiede and Madison will vie for one of three contested council seats this fall.

Councilman Kelly Boyd said he will run again as long as his health is good, while Mayor Elizabeth Pearson will not run for another council term. Iseman has not yet decided whether she will run for another term.



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