Toni Iseman got the gavel. Councilwoman Cheryl Kinsman got the
The City Council on Tuesday chose Toni Iseman to be mayor of the
city for 2003 and Kinsman to be mayor pro tem.
Iseman took the center seat on the dais after she and first-term
Councilwoman Elizabeth Pearson were sworn in by City Clerk Verna
Iseman said her priorities this next year will be quality-of-life
“Our quality of life has been threatened before, and we have risen
to the occasion. We saved the museum and we saved the festival,” she
“Something else we need to save is the local economy. We are
seeing a reduction in revenue for local businesses. It’s urgent. My
motto is, ‘Don’t Leave Home to Shop.’ If we lose the individual
businesses, we lose the individuality of the Downtown. This is big.”
Iseman’s first official act as mayor was to present outgoing Mayor
Wayne Baglin with a ceremonial gavel, his third.
“I admire his leadership, the way he conducts crisp meetings and
his amazing focus,” Iseman said.
Baglin took the seat immediately to Iseman’s left, initiating the
annual game of musical chairs.
Kinsman moved from her end seat to the one just to Iseman’s right.
As mayor pro tem, Kinsman will operate the timer for public input and
serve as mayor in Iseman’s absence.
Councilwoman Pearson was seated next to Kinsman. Dicterow will get
the seat next to the city manager.
Dicterow missed the meeting because of work. He will be sworn in
by Rollinger before the Dec. 17 meeting.
Councilwoman Pearson was offered the customary opportunity to make
a speech after being seated.
“Let’s get to work,” she said.
Iseman is beginning her fifth year on the council.
When she ran for the first time for council it was against her
better judgment. 2002 was different.
“My four years on the council produced significant changes, but
there’s much more to do,” Iseman said.
She is proud of the success of the free summer shuttles, which
increased ridership by 90%, proving, she said, the viability of
peripheral parking at Act V, despite an increase in parking fees. She
strongly supports neighborhood compatibility.
Iseman fought for a Village Entrance plan that integrates the
corporation yard into the public amenities, negating the Village
Entrance Task Force recommendation to move the yard to ACT V, which
“I have zealously protected ACT V for it most vital use -- keeping
cars out of our Downtown,” Iseman said.
This coming year, she looks forward to cutting the ribbon for the
Treasure Island Park.
“It will be a major party when it becomes our park,” she said.
She was the top vote-getter in the Nov. 5 election.
City Clerk Rollinger recited the certified results Tuesday of the
election that returned Iseman and Dicterow to office and put Pearson
on the council: 9,295 votes cast; 5,157 of them for Iseman, 3,023 for
Pearson, 5, 018 for Dicterow and 4,796 for Melissa O’Neal.
The numbers were certified by County Registrar of Voters Rosalyn
Lever and included in a resolution approved by the council.
-- Barbara Diamond
Freeman’s fond farewell
True to form, retiring Councilman Paul Freeman turned the mundane
business of roll call into a comedy act at his last City Council
“Here, but not for long,” he quipped when City Clerk Verna
Rollinger called his name.
“There’s no way we can truly accent the items Paul worked for,”
said Councilman Wayne Baglin, holding an impressive commendation that
honored Freeman’s eight years of service.
The creation of the Business Improvement District, the Vision
process, Music in the Park, summer trams, increased hiring and
training of Public Safety personnel and leadership during the 1997-98
floods were among the many achievements for which Freeman was cited.
However, what he’ll probably be best known for is his sense of
“As council meetings got long and boring, Paul’s sense of humor
was always there to help out the audience,” Baglin said.
Freeman thanked city staff, his fellow council members and made a
point to honor the commitment of the people who regularly attend the
“Their commitment to this community is amazing,” he said. “And
maybe they should be committed.”
He was candid about his disappointments, mainly the increasing
lack of civility in council chambers among the council and the
Apologizing for the times when he lost his temper, he said he
hoped that the trend to pit rumor against reality and friends against
former friends would reach its end.
Before he walked off the dais for the last time, Freeman ended his
parting shot with an anecdote. It seems that when acquaintances asked
which city he served as a city council member, he was more than happy
“I took great pride in answering, Laguna Beach,” he said.
-- Mary A. Castillo
Smithcliffs path decision delayed
The City Council put on hold a Smithcliffs Homeowners Assn.
proposal to restore the pathway and view park the residents had
removed, and to maintain them for a $24,000 annual fee.
A delay until February will allow time for Smithcliffs residents
and users of the pathway to come up with a plan for the restoration,
which will depend on memory.
The problem is that memories vary. Some folks recall a winding
path, some a straight shot to the view park.
Ann Weisbrod, who frequently walked the pathway before it was
destroyed, said she remembered exactly how the walkway and park
looked. She has been on the warpath since the she discovered the
destruction of the pathway.
Weisbrod said the $2,000-a-month maintenance fee requested by the
association was exorbitant, an opinion shared by many in the audience
and some on the dais.
“Personally, I am not willing to pay $24,000 a year to anyone to
maintain this,” Councilwoman Cheryl Kinsman said.
The wisdom of allowing the association to do the maintenance also
“I don’t know if we can trust the fox to guard the hen house,”
said Dale Ghere, who used to walk the pathway to the view park.
City Manager Ken Frank said that Smithcliffs had a vested interest
in keeping up the maintenance.
New estimates will be included when the Smithcliffs proposal comes
back to the council in February.
-- Barbara Diamond
Seven more added to Christmas palettes
Laguna Beach continued its 36-year-old tradition when the City
Council officially accepted seven new holiday palettes into its
“What you do will live on forever,” Mayor Toni Iseman said to the
six artists whose palettes are currently adorning light poles
throughout the city. “You add to our sense of community.”
The winning artists were Keith Randolph Swecker with two palettes
(a mermaid admiring a star fish and a sea lion bearing a gift),
Martha Chamitz Holmes (a fire goat named Esperanza), Eve Plumb (a
Christmas sandman at the beach), Devora Gottschalk (A crab looking
between the lips of a shell), John Newlander (a play on the Sistine
Chapel image of God touching a dove of peace) and Janet Fryer (A
little black dog with the words, “Got Bag?”).
The palettes are now part of a 200-piece collection that was
started by artist Earl Seacourt.
-- Mary A. Castillo
Rotary completes pledge to youth club
The Laguna Beach Boys and Girls Club announced that the Rotary
Club of Laguna Beach successfully completed a capital campaign pledge
The funds have been earmarked to renovate the club’s game room.
“The Rotary has been a supporter of the club for the last 50
years,” said Kim Maxwell, executive director for the club.
“The proceeds raised from the Grand Prix really put us over the
top in reaching our goal,” Rotarian treasurer Kim Keturakis said.
The club plans to raise a grand total of $3.3 million to remodel
and expand the facility. According to Maxwell, the club is very close
to reaching that goal, though a timeline for actual renovation and
expansion has not yet been determined.
-- Mary A. Castillo
Blessing of the Animals offered
The 10th annual Blessing of the Animals will be held at
Neighborhood Congregational Church from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec.
“Each pet is blessed by pastors Teri Lennon and Kel Henderson,”
said Brett Jarvis coordinator for the event. “A Polaroid photo is
taken of the pet and pastor, and there are little giveaways for the
animals and treats.”
It’s a popular tradition: 60 to 100 pets are blessed, everything
from cats and dogs to hedgehogs and horses.
Neighborhood Congregational Church is at 340 St. Ann’s Drive.