OUR LAGUNA:Wishes and hopes for the new year

OK, everybody wants peace, good will and plenty in the New Year. So let’s take a look closer to home.

“This year, I would like the city to address the issue of homelessness,” Deputy City Clerk Mindy LaTendresse said. “And that the person who hit Max Caputo would voluntarily step up. The popular 17-year-old teenager was killed in a hit-and-run accident on South Coast Highway near Upland, where memorial offerings still stand, including a Christmas tree.”

No surprise that attorney Gene Gratz and Matt Lawson want to see all the Design Review Task Force recommendations implemented. Gratz was the vice-chair and Lawson the chair of the task force.

“All seven of us put a lot of work into this, and we had widespread support from the public and among the council members,” Lawson said.


Council sets policies, staff implements them.

“A joint progress report will be submitted for the second council meeting in January or the first meeting in February,” Lawson said.

The city’s newest council member, Kelly Boyd, said council meetings would be a lot shorter if the design board was more stable, more friendly and less contentious.

“Then, less appeals would come to the council,” Boyd said.


Appeals often take an hour to hear, and they are usually last on the agenda. Council does have a policy to take a straw vote on starting a hearing after 11 p.m.

As always, traffic is an issue for residents.

Gigi Blount would like to see motorists show a little more consideration.

“I wish we had more control over speeding vehicles,” Blount said. “The cars come clickety-clack, and you can hardly get out of your garage.”

Better traffic management is also on Judy Regan’s mind.

“We need to get some kind of control at Forest Avenue and Beach Street,” Regan said.

Sam Goldstein would like to see traffic move more smoothly on Laguna Canyon Road during the afternoon commute hours, which start at about 3:30 p.m.

Laguna Canyon Foundation Administrative Director Guine Breeding is concerned that pedestrians don’t always acknowledge that cars have to keep moving.


“Traffic would move better if the pedestrians would just let one or two cars go by before they step off the curb,” Breeding said.

North Laguna resident Bette Anderson thinks it would be great to see progress on the Village Entrance project without changing Laguna’s character.

“I want to see Laguna stay the way it is, the way I love it,” Anderson said.

Husband Ken Anderson would like to see the senior center opened, even if the couple doesn’t go there.

Laguna Canyon Conservancy President Carolyn Wood wants more cohesive planning on city projects.

“Right now, we have a whole bunch of things that should have been planned at the same time, even if they aren’t going to be built at the same time,” she said.

Jean Raun, a longtime member of the Laguna Beach branch of the League of Women Voters, would like to see the public better informed before they vote.

“I would like to see people have enough interest to participate, even if it’s just voting,” league member Linda Brown said.


City Treasurer Laura Parisi said the city’s customer service could be improved by expanding her hours from five to eight hours a work day.

“The city’s finances have grown to the extent that it is not only warranted, it is prudent,” Parisi said.

Former Mayor Neil Fitzpatrick would like to see less happening in the city, which would benefit the environment.

“I am a big fan of open space, and sometimes less is more,” Fitzpatrick said.

Insurance broker John Connors would like the mandatory clearing of 150 feet between structures and brush.

“It’s done in Coto and other areas,” Connors said. “It would be better for everybody. A lot of insurance companies won’t even write policies in Laguna.”

Architect Lance Polster thinks there is room to create more environmental sensitivity in the building industry.

Polster and Design Review Board member Leslie LeBon, also an architect, attended an American Institute of Architects meeting in June that included seminars on environmentally sensitive construction. One idea was the creation of an 8- to 10-point checklist for “green” buildings.

“In some cities, like Sebastopol, you can’t get a building permit without checking off the list,” Polster said. “Local architects are excited about the idea.”

Dance fan Janet Eggers thinks local performing arts groups should work together to lobby for more time and better accessibility to the Artists Theatre on the Laguna Beach High School campus, where a brilliant dance concert was held last year.

“Community money remodeled the theater, but community groups are not able to get a firm date,” Eggers said.

Groups often need a year’s lead time to be able to book performers, Eggers said.

Artist and Arts Commission member Joan Corman is looking forward to the completion of the relocated city’s maintenance yard at the ACT V parcel in Laguna Canyon.

“We are going to have some beautiful sculpture there to let people know they are entering the arts district,” Corman said. “And I am hoping that we will have some artist-designed benches at the Festival of Arts bus stop to encourage the public to use the peripheral parking at ACT V.”

Linda Jahraus will be working with former Councilman Wayne Peterson to get North Laguna utilities out of sight.O

“I also would like to see that big tax bill for the Laguna Beach Lawn Bowling Club green go away,” Jahraus said.)O

The city gave the club a long-term retroactive lease, which would reduce the bill, but the county hasn’t yet agreed. No date is set for the club’s appeal.

“Oh yes, and I would like to see more done about picking up the cigarette butts in Heisler Park,” Jahraus said.

As for me: Happy New Year to one and all.





  • OUR LAGUNA is a regularO feature of the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot. Contributions are welcomed. Write to Barbara Diamond, P.O. Box 248, Laguna Beach, 92652; hand-deliver to Suite 22 in the Lumberyard, 384 Forest Ave.; call (949) 494-4321 or fax (949) 494-8979.