City officials avoided being named in a Lincoln Club lawsuit by
rescinding on Tuesday an ordinance that put a $250 cap on donations
to independent expenditure committees.
The club last week followed up its successful challenge of the
Irvine city ordinance with lawsuits against the cities of Anaheim,
Fountain Valley, Orange and Huntington Beach.
“Laguna Beach was spared from being included in exchange for a
promise to revisit the ordinance and suspension of enforcement,” city
attorney Philip Kohn said.
Independent expenditure committees are those that support or
oppose candidates or the recall of candidates independently of the
candidate or the candidate’s election committee. The independent
committees have no spending limit.
Kohn described the Lincoln Club as a nonprofit organization with
two political action committees and financial resources derived from
annual membership fees of $2,000. He said he had invited
representatives of the club to the council meeting. None attended.
Provisions in ordinances are usually not enforced until 30 days
after the second reading and final council vote. That delayed
enforcement probably until Nov. 15, certainly after the Nov. 5
Kohn said before the council vote that if the present limits were
enforced in the interim or if the ordinance was not rescinded, Laguna
Beach would be added to the club’s suit. A limiting ordinance might
be reinstated if current law changes. If deletion of the ordinance
can be proved to lead to election corruption, that might be a basis
for reinstatement, he said.
“I don’t like any independent expenditure committees,” Mayor Wayne
Baglin said. “They are all bullies and they are on all sides of the
political spectrum. They are all crooked organizations that suppress
the public will.”
Candidates disclose contributions
Three City Council candidates met the Sept. 26 deadline to file
campaign disclosure statements.
Elizabeth Pearson disclosed total contributions of $16,370 and
expenditures of $11,053.33 through Sept. 21. Incumbent Toni Iseman
raised $14,115 and spent $6,395.20. Rookie candidate Melissa O’Neal
raised $2,874 and spent $3,155.30. leaving her with a debt of
Incumbent Councilman Steven Dicterow, who was verbally reminded of
the requirement on Sept. 26, had not filed a statement as of Oct. 2.
O’Neal listed 11 cash contributors, one non-cash contribution and
Iseman listed $3,625 in contributions of less than $100, 58 cash
contributors of $100 or more and a $1,000 loan, which was paid off or
forgiven between Aug. 1 and Sept. 21.
Pearson listed $870 in contributions less than $100 and 79 cash
contributions of $100 or more.
Disclosure statements, which include the names of contributors of
$100 or more, are filed with the city clerk and can be reviewed at
Two forums down, at least four publicly announced to go.
About 30 people attended the Sept.26 City Council Candidates Forum
sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, the North Laguna Community
Association and the Laguna Beach Taxpayers Association. Questions
were prepared by the sponsors.
About the same number of people, perhaps a few more, attended the
forum sponsored Monday by Village Laguna, moderated by a
representative of the League of Women Voters. Written questions came
from the audience, but were filtered through a committee before they
reached the dais.
Both forums were cordial.
Today: The Laguna Beach Taxpayers Assn., the Chamber of Commerce
and the Laguna Beach Woman’s Club will hold a luncheon forum for
School Board candidates at noon in the clubhouse, 286 St. Ann’s
Open to the public, but reservations to the luncheon are closed.
Monday: The Top of the World Neighborhood and Temple Hills
Community assns. will sponsor a forum for City Council and School
Board candidates from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. in the City Council Chamber.
Public welcomed. Questions and opinions will be taken from the
Thursday: The Board of Realtors has invited the Board of Education
candidates to speak at the marketing meeting held at Wells Fargo
Bank. The meetings are not open to the public.
City Council candidates spoke at the Sept. 18 marketing meeting.
Oct. 14: Laguna Beach Seniors Inc. will present a City Council
Candidates Forum at the general meeting, set for 12:30 p.m. at the
Veterans Memorial Building, 384 Legion St.
Candidates will mingle and questions will be taken from the
audience. Light refreshments will be served and information on the
proposed Senior Center will be available.
The public is welcome. Reservations are not required. For more
information, call 499-3013.
Jim Palmer and John O’Neill will host a fund-raiser at their
Tuscan-style villa from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday for City Council candidate
The public is invited. $60 per person, $100 for two. Reservations
required. For more information or to make reservations, call