Send money and get out the vote.
That was the message candidates Toni Iseman and Elizabeth Pearson
gave supporters at separate fund-raisers that kicked off the 2002
City Council race.
“I have signed a pledge not to spend more than $30,000; other
candidates have not signed the pledge, so I am going to need every
penny of the $30,000,” incumbent candidate Toni Iseman told
supporters at a fund-raiser sponsored by the Democratic Club.
It was the first fund-raiser of the election, held recently at
Madison Square and Garden Cafe. A minimum $25 donation was requested.
“Take an envelope and try to get another donation,” Elizabeth
Pearson told her supporters at a $100-per-person fund-raiser, held
Sunday at the Rock House at Aliso Beach.
Both candidates said it was vital to get voters to the polls, not
an easy task, political types fear, in an election with no national
offices being contended locally, no municipal crisis and hardly more
candidates for the council than open seats.
“Four people are running for three seats,” Pearson said. “Two are
incumbents. Another woman and I are running for the third seat.”
The incumbents are Iseman and Steven Dicterow. The other woman is
Melissa O’Neal, who attended Iseman’s fund-raiser, welcomed and
praised by the incumbent, as was Board of Education candidate Betsy
“You are a problem for us,” Democratic Club President David Schaar
told O’Neal. “We have never endorsed a Republican.”
Iseman’s endorsement by the Democratic Club is a foregone
conclusion, according to Schaar.
“She is the only Democrat running for council.” Schaar said.
The Laguna Beach Taxpayers Assn. will endorse Pearson, according
to association member Frank Ricchiazzi. The association endorsed her
candidacy in the 2000 election, won by Wayne Baglin and Cheryl
“Elizabeth is intelligent and sensible, not just automatically
against anything new,” said fund-raiser host Dennis Morin.
Outgoing Councilman Paul Freeman, who supports both Iseman and
Pearson spoke on Iseman’s behalf at the Democratic Club fund-raiser,
with some kibitzing from his four-year-old daughter, Zoe.
“Zoe and I wanted to come to give our endorsement and support to
Toni,” Freeman said. “We are here because Toni is a friend and a good
“Toni does her homework and knows how to reach out to others. She
deserves to be re-elected.”
Pearson said that she is gratified that supporters from her first
campaign are backing her again.
“I plan to run my campaign based on experience,” Pearson said.
She served 6 1/2 years on the city’s Planning Commission, 16 years
on the North Laguna Community Assn. Board of Director and has raised
funds for the proposed Senior Center on Third Street and the Boys and
Girls Club of Laguna Beach.
Both candidates consider a reduction in traffic, an increase in
parking and public safety as priorities.
Pearson said she would bring in policy makers from South County to
resolve regional issues.
She lists Supervisor Tom Wilson, Lake Forest Mayor Richard Dixon
and Rancho Santa Margarita Mayor Jim Thor as supporters. Federal
Judge candidate John Adams introduced her at the fund-raiser. He said
she had been instrumental in the success of his write-in candidacy in
Pearson’s campaign brochure also sets as goals the replacement of
“decayed sewers and a design review process that respects those
Iseman is a supporter of neighborhood compatibility, a believer in
stronger enforcement of city codes and opposes making new laws
without providing the enforcement to back it up. She serves as
co-chair of the Wastewater Advisory Committee and as the city’s
representative on the South Orange County Wastewater Authority.
She was the initiator of the free tram service this summer that
increased ridership by 90% and filled the ACT V lot with vehicles
that never got into town, a boost to the idea of peripheral parking.
If re-elected, Iseman is in line to serve next year as mayor.
Iseman is a counselor at Orange Coast College. Pearson owns her
own advertising agency.