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OUR LAGUNA:Councilman shares concerns to tax group

FOR THE RECORD

Frank Ricchiazzi is not a founder of the Lincoln Club, as stated in the “Our Laguna” column in the April 13 issue of the Coastline Pilot. He is a co-founder of the Log Cabin Republican Club and the Laguna Beach Republican Club.

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Councilman Kelly Boyd had lots to say "” all off-the-cuff "” at the annual Laguna Beach Taxpayers Assn. Luncheon, held April 19 at the Aliso Creek Inn.

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The association was among the strongest and earliest supporters of Boyd’s candidacy for City Council in the 2006 election, endorsing him and incumbent Elizabeth Schneider.

“You supported me when a lot of people thought I didn’t have a chance in hell of getting back on the council,” said Boyd, who had previously served on the council almost three decades ago.

About 30 association members and guests attended the luncheon meeting, which also included the election "” in some cases, re-election "” of a slate of officials by voice vote.

Elected to serve: Martha Lydick, president, (also president of the Friends of the Laguna Beach library); Bobbi Cox, vice president and arts philanthropist; Howard Pink, treasurer; Ed Petersen, secretary; directors Sandy Hovanesian, Ann McDonald, Kent Russell, Karl Koski, Robert Mosier, Frank Ricchiazzi, a founder of the Lincoln Club; and Karyn Philippsen, president of the board of the Laguna Beach Visitors Bureau; and Advisory Board members Robert Dietrich, Beverly Mosier, Angie Petersen, Alex Wentzel, Dennis Myers, Steve Esslinger and Patricia Turnier.

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Honored guests included Councilwoman Cheryl Kinsman and Fifth District Supervisor Pat Bates.

“I am so glad I was invited,” Bates said. “I like to get to each of my cities and be with people to hear about issues and where we might be constructive.”

Lydick made special note of Bates’ attendance.

“We are so pleased to have the supervisor with us today,” Lydick said. “We are all your staunch supporters, so whatever you need ...”

Lydick also announced that the association had joined with the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce, Village Laguna and Blue Water to help fund an Earth Day movie, as requested by Chris Prelitz.

Then it was Boyd’s turn.

“I just found out when I got here that I was going to be asked to compare the city with what it was like 29 years ago,” said Boyd, who spoke from notes he had jotted down while lunch was served.

One of the changes he has seen and dislikes is the number of homeless and how they are treated.

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A Homeless Task Force initiated by Boyd leaning toward rehabilitation, rather than jail, which is not proving to be effective according to him.

“Everybody knows the name Cowboy,” Boyd said. “He has been arrested 400 times. There is no help for him. One day we will find him dead.

“But alcoholism is not the only problem. The homeless are getting younger and more aggressive and that is not how we want our community represented. Hopefully, the task force will help resolve most to the problem.”

Another problem Boyd addressed as distressing is the turnover and rents being charged in the downtown business district.

“We have to ask if it’s because of what the landlords are paying for the building,” Boyd said. “The building next to me [Boyd owns the Marine Room, but leases the building from a “great landlord”] where Big Dog used to be "” I heard its $39,000 a month. It sold for $5.5 million. The Jolly Roger sold for $11.1 million and I understand the rent is $86,000 a month and if you add triple net [sometimes a lease condition] it’s over $100,000 a month.

“Unbelievable. I don’t know how people are going to do that.”

(Property owner Sam Goldstein "” who bought the Heisler Building popularly called the Jolly Roger "” said in an interview that Boyd had the purchase price right, but his numbers on the rent were wrong.)

Dr. Lynn Stanford didn’t understand why Boyd was even concerned about rents. Stanford opined that the marketplace would resolve the issue.

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“My point is that the landlord eventually will have to eat it,” Stanford said.

Former Mayor Wayne Peterson said he was concerned about the number of shops that are geared more toward tourists than locals.

Ocean Avenue, where the Marine Room is located, is designated for resident-serving businesses. Other streets are specified for tourist-serving businesses.

Boyd also took issue with a proposal for a bond to fund the proposed Village Entrance project unless approved by the voters.

“It [the project] could go as much as $50 million,” Boyd said. “I have made it clear that I want the people to vote on a bond.”

Association board member Mosier asked if the costs of the components of the Village Entrance project could be broken down so that at least the parking structure at could be built.

“The problem is money,” Kinsman interjected.

Philippsen said the numbers might add up for another city, but Laguna must deal with the California Coastal Commission.

Bev Mosier said the city had offers to build the structure without cost to the taxpayers if the builder was allowed to put in shops or movies, a prospect she liked.

Loma Terrace resident Michael Hoag asked if the city had considered charging its employees for parking to help pay for the structure.

“It’s a perk,” Boyd said. “We’d probably lose them.”

He would like to see parking structures built at the north and south ends of town, with visitors and employees trammed in.

Moreover, Boyd would rather see some of the major projects in town completed before the city takes on new ones.

“We shouldn’t jump in until we finish them,” Boyd said.

“Them” includes the Community/Senior Center on Third Street, Bluebird Canyon and the upcoming Athens Group-Montage proposal for Aliso Creek Golf Course and Inn and the adjacent “Aliso Lot,” formerly known as Driftwood Estates.

“I think the Aliso Creek plan is wonderful,” Lydick said. “Do you see it stretching out or going quickly?”

Boyd said the plan, which includes building a replica of Boyd’s grandfather’s home, which once stood on the property homesteaded by the Thurston family, is great. He does have concerns about traffic getting in and out of the property. Possible solutions include a stop sign by the county-owned parking lot across Coast Highway from Aliso Beach or a vehicle bridge.

“We have been hitting you hard,” Bob Mosier said. “But we surely appreciated you being on the council.”

Other than board members, guests at the luncheon included Dick Anderson, Alice Dawson, Peggy Ford, Jim Foster, Chuck Schoen, Judy Gray, Don and Judy Josephson and Harry Lawrence, a member of the association since 1947.


  • OUR LAGUNA is a regular 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.

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