Water District cited for sewer violations

The South Coast Water District was served with an administrative

civil liability complaint alleging the district did not meet general

waste discharge requirements and did not comply with a section of the

California Water Code.


The complaint was made by the San Diego Regional Water Quality

Control Board on Dec. 16.

“We are proposing an assessment of violation penalties after a

public hearing,” said Mark Alpert, senior engineering geologist and


head of the enforcement unit. “South Coast Water District gets their

chance to refute those complaints.”

The report alleges that the water district did not develop,

implement and maintain a sanitary sewer overflow prevention plan; did

not comply with the California Water Code section that governs the

request for information regarding sewer spills; it provided

incomplete sanitary sewer overflow reporting; and did not report a

sewer spill that occurred on Dec. 23, 2001 within the required


24-hour period.

The regional board conducted a routine compliance inspection of

the water district’s sewage collection system in June 2001 and staff

were not able to provide them with a prevention plan, according to

Alpert. After a third inspection on July 16 this year, the water

district provided a plan backdated to February 2002.

“We’re not saying they didn’t have one,” Alpert said. “Repeatedly,

they failed to provide it.”


If the water district either decides to waive its right to a

public hearing or is found to be guilty of the above violations, it

may be liable for a total $136,100 in fines.

The water district plans to review the complaint in closed session

with its board of directors, public information officer Linda

Homscheid said.

“We’re still in the stage of reading it and understanding it,” she

said. “We’re moving ahead very quickly.”

The South Coast Water District serves South Laguna under contract

to the city.

-- Mary A. Castillo

Council supports tram improvements

Council members were told that last summer’s free festival transit

service nearly doubled in ridership from the year before.

The council was presented Tuesday with the results of an

evaluation of the trams and unanimously approved the recommendations

of that report.

The city implemented three summer trolley routes that transported

passengers from ACT V to the Downtown transit center and from the

transit center to North Laguna and South Laguna. The service cost the

city $125,000, according to Bill Liebel, deputy director of public


Based on extensive data collection by Dan Boyle and Associates,

the free tram service successfully increased ridership by 98%, from

129,508 riders in 2001 to 256,774 in 2002. The most heavily used

route in the system was the Canyon Route, which took passengers from

the ACT V parking lot to the transit center Downtown.

The total cost to the city to implement the report’s

recommendations would be $44,500, Public Works Director Steve May

said. However, the cost is pending final approval of the 2003-04

budget and the receipt of grant funds from the Orange County Transit


Consultant Dan Boyle’s recommendations included improving services

on the canyon route, extending service on the south route to South

Laguna Village, providing stewards on the canyon route on the

weekends and extending the free summer fares to the city’s mainline

fixed route bus system.

-- Mary A. Castillo

Another try for flood control dollars

City officials will try to sweet talk the county out of money for

a flood control project on Broadway that won’t make the business

community and environmentalists sour.

The City Council voted 4-1 Tuesday to appoint a subcommittee to

see if the bridges had been burned irrevocably when the city decided

to scuttle a joint project by the county, the city and the Army Corps

of Engineers. Funding for the $10-million project was to come from

the county and the corps.

Two million dollars of the $10 million had been spent on the

project when the city canceled the project last summer.

Mayor Toni Iseman, who voted Tuesday against the motion to

resurrect the deal, was appointed to the subcommittee with Mayor Pro

Tem Cheryl Kinsman.

“We should get down on our hands and knees to get that money

back,” said Kinsman, who had opposed dropping the project. “You would

be surprised at what I would do for $8 million.”

The 4-1 vote on June 18 to cancel the project was the second time

the city had backed out of a deal with the county for a flood control

project on Broadway. Both times, the business community had spoken

against the projects, which merchants feared would disrupt business.

Iseman opposed the most recent proposal because of the design,

which she felt would mar Main Beach.

Kinsman was the lone supporter of the project, which had once had

the staunch backing of then-Mayor Wayne Baglin.

-- Barbara Diamond

Pageant calls for volunteers

It’s that time of year again -- the Pageant of the Masters is

having its casting call for next summer’s show, “Seasons.” The

Pageant is looking for men, women and children of all sizes and ages

to volunteer their time for the world renowned presentation of

tableaux vivants, also known as living pictures.

Volunteers are needed in the Pageant, for the wardrobe, makeup and

headdress departments, cast area coordinators, refreshment servers

and more. The show will be staged nightly from July 9 through Aug.


“Being a volunteer for the Pageant of the Masters is a magical

experience,” marketing director Sharbie Higuchi said. “Not only is it

an opportunity to be a part of a world-famous production -- but a

chance to give to the arts in the community.”

“It takes over 600 volunteers to produce the show,” Higuchi said.

“Without them, the Pageant of the Masters simply wouldn’t happen.

Some have volunteered for more than 25 years. Director Diane

Challis Davy was once a volunteer. Many families choose to make it a

traditional summer activity.

A casting call will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 4; 2

to 5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 5; and 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 9, backstage

at the Irvine Bowl at 650 Laguna Canyon Road. Refreshments will be


-- Suzie Harrison

Community band seeking musicians

The Laguna Community Concert Band can be seen all over town, be it

at the Memorial Day celebration, the Patriots Day parade or the

Sawdust Festival.

Now it’s looking to recruit a few high-quality musicians. Theresa

Marino is the board member in charge of membership and recruitment.

To audition or find out how to become part of Laguna’s local band,

call Theresa at 497-7308 or e-mail

-- Suzie Harrison

Christmas for veterans and kids

Laguna Beach American Legion Post 222 held its annual Christmas

dinner social on Dec. 12.

Nineteen Laguna kids attended the dinner, along with some of their

parents, Legionnaires and guests. In the past, dinner has been

provided by Legionaries, but this year Snyder Langston Development

and Construction Company provided the main course and almost all the

gifts for the children.

Brenda Stark, from Snyder Langston, organized a craft program to

entertain the children while they waited for a visit from Santa