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OUR LAGUNA:City gives itself props for projects

Each fiscal year, the city gives itself a pat on the back for the key accomplishments in the preceding 12 months.

Almost everyone could pick out a couple of favorites from the 61 items listed by City Manager Ken Frank and Ann Quilter’s choice was no surprise.

“Breaking ground for the Community/Senior Center,” she said, adding “and the council’s unwavering support.”

Assistant City Manager John Pietig lumped infrastructure improvements together as his top choice.

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“That needs some explanation,” Pietig said. “Examples include Bluebird restoration, the largest street repaving project in the city’s history and, of course, improvements to the city’s storm drains and sewers.”

Of the accomplishments listed by Frank, 23 were completed infrastructure projects, more than one-third of the total list.

Pietig also chose the start of construction of the community/senior center.

“My third choice would be the start of the relocation of the maintenance yard to ACT V,” Pietig said.

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The maintenance yard project was one in which he was actively involved, including conducting a tour of the old site to explain the rationale and design to the public, many of whom vehemently opposed the relocation.

“Re-landscaping the library is my top choice,” said Martha Lydick, president of the Friends of the Laguna Beach Library.

The Friends proposed the project, helped organize community support and raised money for it.

The project dearest to Planning Commissioner Anne Johnson’s heart was the restoration of Bluebird Canyon.

“That was huge accomplishment,” she said. “And Bob Burnham (Recovery Coordinator) should be sainted for what he has done.

Fellow commissioner Norm Grossman agreed Bluebird had to be highly ranked. He also picked the amendments to the design review process and increased staffing.

“The success of the modifications is shown by the fact that the [Design Review] board now meets only three times a month,” Grossman said.

“But it is not just new projects that should be listed. The Beach Buddy Award reflects the on-going efforts to improve infrastructure that affects water pollution. And maintaining the village character downtown should be listed annually.”

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One of my personal favorites didn’t even make the list.

When the sawhorse with the warning of a new stop sign on Glenneyre Street was removed, I found myself routinely rolling through the intersection.

Then, one day the sign just popped out at me. The pole had been faced with bright red plastic. Gotta tell ya, I haven’t run the stop sign since.

Oh, and I must say I really don’t like to see council members using laptops during meetings. They can be perceived as a barrier and a sign of lack of attention to the proceedings — even if untrue.

Frank’s list is printed below, excluding the ones already specifically cited. Thumbs up, thumbs down or additions — let us know.

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

 Adopted the Parking and Traffic Plan for the Central Business District

 Finalized the parking management surveys at Treasure Island

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 Prepared the draft Environmental Impact Report for the Village Entrance Project

 Updated the handbook for implementation of the California Environmental Quality Act

 Amended the height and parking provisions for the Civic Arts District

PUBLIC FACILITIES

 Finished the utility undergrounding and street light replacement in the Central Business District

 Improved the retaining wall on Cerritos

 Installed state of the art equipment at the Bluebird Sewer Pump Station to reduce odors

 Repaired damaged sidewalks at 80 locations ocean-ward of Glenneyre from McKnight to Moss

 Obtained an additional $200,000 in grants for the South Laguna Streetscape project

 Installed new control systems and primary pumps for both sewer pump stations serving the North Coast Interceptor

 In conjunction with Caltrans, installed a traffic signal in front of the Festival of Arts

 Constructed a turnout for the safe parking of buses at the depot

 Installed missing sidewalks in the 200 block of Diamond Street

 Replaced the playground equipment at Moulton Meadows Park

 Designed a storm drain extension on Park Avenue uphill from Wendt Terrace

 Designed and obtained permits for a sidewalk in the 300 block of Nyes Place

 Transferred sidewalk steam cleaning to a private vendor

 Replaced the surge tanks at both SOCWA sewer pump stations

 Constructed nuisance water diversions with devices to remove silt and litter at Main Beach, Cress Street, and two areas of Heisler Park

 Completed emergency repairs on a portion of the North Coast Interceptor

 Designed the first phase of the rehabilitation of the North Coast Interceptor

 Converted parking lot pay stations to a higher rate

 Tentatively obtained $1.8 million in state grants for reconstruction of Heisler Park

PUBLIC SAFETY

 Installed an entirely new 911 dispatch system and associated records management program

 Installed a new digital video system and new mobile computers in all patrol cars

 Transferred parking citation processing to a private vendor

 Switched to Doctors Ambulance Company for more effective billing for paramedic service

 Negotiated a five-year contract with the Firefighters Assn.

 Negotiated a two-year extension of the city’s contract with the Police Employees Assn.

 Initiated a pilot program using employees to expedite traffic at key downtown intersections

 Initiated a program for reimbursement of costs associated with arrests for DUI

 Conducted three decoy operations to preclude the sale of alcohol to minors

 Installed mobile data computers in each Fire Department vehicle

 Remodeled the kitchen at Fire Station 3

MISCELLANEOUS

 Completed the design phase and secured approvals for the restoration of Heisler Park

 In conjunction with two neighbors, purchased property on Baja for permanent open space

 Established a system to allow the public to access city records from a home or office computer

 Numbered the shuttle stops during the summer

 Extended the use of credit cards to Recreation program registrations

 Using Coastal Conservancy funds, purchased three more open space parcels in Laguna Canyon (Stonefield, Chao and Jaysu)

 Installed public art in the front of the Act V lot

 Prepared a comprehensive plan for enhancing service to the city’s customers

 Surveyed residents to ascertain their level of satisfaction with city services

 Created a task force to deal with individuals who are homeless

 Negotiated a new, six-year contract for refuse collection

 Prepared a study of transit operations and options for connecting to Metrolink

 Negotiated a lease for use of Caltrans property on Laguna Canyon Road for a day laborer center

BLUEBIRD LANDSLIDE

 Generally lauded, the project included in 2006-07 support for displaced families, some of whom were housed trailers temporarily installed on Laguna Canyon Road and the removal about 60,000 cubic yards of dirt.


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