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LAGUNA NIGUEL : 9 Candidates in Race for 2 Council Seats

A mix of familiar faces and political newcomers are vying for two seats on the City Council.

One familiar person is Councilwoman Patricia C. Bates, who is running for reelection. Bates, 54, has been on the council since the city’s incorporation in 1989. The other incumbent, Councilman James F. Krembas, is not running again, saying he needs a break from politics.

That leaves room for at least one of eight challengers--former councilman Paul Christiansen, Greg Cox, Harvey Holden, Planning Commissioner Linda Lindholm, Mary Ann Malamut, Sandy Miller, former council candidate Eddie Rose, and Richard Taylor.

The challengers fall into two groups: those who criticize city government and those who say the city is being run well. Rose, a 56-year-old engineer, is the most vocal council critic, arguing in two past council bids that the council members lack “integrity” and that “cronyism and corruption” should be eliminated. Rose led an unsuccessful 1990 recall effort against four council members, including Bates.

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Christiansen, 43, who sat on the city’s first council, has also aggressively questioned city positions. The taxpayer advocate said that as a council member he would battle the commercial airport initiative for El Toro Marine Corps Air Station.

Candidate Holden, 71, said he believes Laguna Niguel’s council members lack enough experience to make the best decisions. Holden, who moved to Laguna Niguel less than two years ago and advocates more senior citizen activities, was on the Walnut City Council for eight years, including two years as mayor.

After retiring as mayor, Holden was fined $2,000 by the state Fair Political Practices Commission for not declaring as a gift $10,000 worth of grading a developer did on his property. He said the city attorney told him paying the fine was not necessary, but that he decided to volunteer the money to put the subject to rest.

Taylor, a 52-year-old retired conceptual designer, is active in Laguna Niguel youth programs and also led a bitter 1990 petition drive for a ridgeline protection ordinance.

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Lindholm, Malamut and Miller have not made specific criticisms of the current council. All three said they would focus on safety and creating more youth activities if elected.

Lindholm, 42, is a familiar face from the Planning Commission, where she voted to approve a proposed Montessori School in the Beacon Hill area that had raised community objections about traffic and safety.

Malamut is a 35-year-old homemaker who is a delegate in the Marine Hills Homeowners Assn. Miller, 53, a mortgage loan consultant, said she favors more recreation activities for teen-agers and more city support for local businesses.

The other candidate, 46-year-old Cox, is a small business owner who said he would focus on building more athletic fields and fighting against converting the El Toro Marine base to a commercial airport.

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