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Laguna council chooses Whalen for mayor and Dicterow for mayor pro tem

Laguna council chooses Whalen for mayor and Dicterow for mayor pro tem
New Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Whalen, center, and new Mayor Pro Tem Steve Dicterow confer as City Council colleagues Sue Kempf, Toni Iseman and Peter Blake, from left, take their seats at Tuesday's council meeting. (Photo by Faith E. Pinho)

The Laguna Beach City Council unanimously chose member Bob Whalen as mayor and Steve Dicterow as mayor pro tem at a packed council meeting Tuesday night.

The council also swore in the three winners of the Nov. 6 election — six-term incumbent Toni Iseman and newcomers Peter Blake and Sue Kempf.

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According to election results, Blake won the highest number of votes with 4,881. Iseman received 4,792 and Kempf, a former planning commissioner, had 4,483.

A few of the 10 candidates for council, including Blake, took to social media during the campaign to defend themselves against negative comments from residents and to promote their messages.

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“One of the first things we need to do is heal this community,” Iseman said. “I’ve never seen it so fragmented and I’ve never known so much anger.”

Kempf said she’s glad the election is over.

“I think we’re going to be a great team,” she said of her fellow council members.

Blake did not give a statement.

Recently elected Laguna Beach City Council members Toni Iseman, Sue Kempf and Peter Blake, from left, take the oath of office Tuesday for four-year terms.
Recently elected Laguna Beach City Council members Toni Iseman, Sue Kempf and Peter Blake, from left, take the oath of office Tuesday for four-year terms. (Photo by Faith E. Pinho)

The council and members of the public also honored departing Mayor Kelly Boyd — who did not run for reelection — for his 16 years of service on the council. A quartet gathered around the podium to sing Frank Sinatra’s “Just in Time” as a parody: “Kelly has served his time.”

Boyd thanked his family and the community for their support. He held back tears when his son surprised him by flying in for the meeting from Northern California.

“I’ve been very fortunate to put in 16 years to the city I love, the city I was born in, the city that’s been good to me,” Boyd said.

“Whether you realize it or not, Kelly, you’re a Laguna Beach icon,” said departing one-term council member Rob Zur Schmiede, who in September dropped his bid for reelection to care for his younger brother, who was seriously injured in a car accident in June.

“It has been an absolute pleasure and honor to serve on the City Council,” said Zur Schmiede, who was mayor pro tem the past year. “Although I am a little sad about the choice [not to run again], I don’t regret it because I think it was right.”

Dicterow praised Zur Schmiede’s decision, saying: “He made a great personal sacrifice in order to do what was right for his family. And for that I will always admire [him].”

Whalen presented Boyd and Zur Schmiede with city tiles and resolutions honoring their work.

The council credited Boyd with implementing the Alternative Sleeping Location homeless shelter in Laguna Canyon, pushing through the Village Entrance project and overseeing plans for the Laguna Beach Community & Susi Q Center.

The newly configured council first set to work to assign each member to vacant spots on several city panels.

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