***FOR THE RECORD: Thebirthplace of Laguna Beach Mayor Jane Egly was incorrect in a Dec. 7 story, “Egly ‘thrilled to be mayor.’" Egly was born in Arkansas and raised from early childhood in Silver Spring, Md. ***
Outgoing Mayor Toni Iseman handed over the gavel Tuesday night to Jane Egly.
The council unanimously voted for Egly as mayor and Cheryl Kinsman as Mayor Pro Tem, both of whom are up for reelection in 2008.
“I am thrilled to be mayor," Egly said. “All of you who have done it have said it is a highlight."
Egly also took a bow to outgoing Mayor Iseman.
“You did nothing but make us proud," Egly said. “I just hope the next mayor has the grace and charm you have shown."
Egly’s first official duty was to call for the election of the mayor pro tem, the position she held until Tuesday.
Egly was elected to the council in 2004, her second bid for city office, which she had vowed not to do, after coming in third in a field of nine candidates in the 2000 election, behind Kinsman and Wayne Baglin.
“I did not plan to run again," she said during the campaign. “But I was asked to reconsider, and I agreed because I believe Laguna is at a crossroad."
She was the top vote-getter.
Her campaign focused on the restoration of civility in public discourse at the council meetings and the preservation of the “essence" of Laguna. She opposed the relocation of the corporation yard to ACT V, which changed after council members Iseman and Elizabeth Schneider came up with a compromise that was approved by the California Coastal Commission.
Among Egly’s stated goals were easing traffic congestion, creating more parking, protecting the environment and keeping South Coast Medical Center in town.
Her commitment to saving the hospital forged a tie with Kinsman, who vowed during the campaign to use every resource at her disposal to fight the hospital’s proposed move out of town.
Their joint effort forged an effective alliance that was not foreseen in the election campaign when they were widely regarded as rivals whose political philosophies clashed. Egly generally is considered the more liberal of the two.
Egly’s community activities include the Laguna Greenbelt Inc., the nonpolitical Laguna North community association, and Planned Parenthood of Orange County and San Bernardino. She is a member of the Laguna Beach Democratic Club.
A southerner by birth, Egly was born in 1942 in Silver Spring, Md. She graduated from the University of North Carolina and earned a law degree in 1972 from Wayne State College of Law. Egly moved to Laguna Beach in 1984 when she married retired Judge Paul Egly.
The judge and Egly’s son, Paul McGrath and his fiancÃ©, Angel Boyd, and former Lagunan and dear friend Dave Schaar were in the audience to see Egly installed as mayor.
Councilman Kelly Boyd arranged for Tricia Freeman, a vocalist admired by Egly, to sing “The Star Spangled Banner," as a surprise for incoming mayor. Freeman is a regular performer at Boyd’s Marine Room Tavern.
Kinsman served on the Parking, Traffic and Circulation Committee, and the Planning Commission before her election to the council in 1996.
“I ran for council because I was tired of the commission being overturned," she said.
She is a certified public accountant, in business in town with her husband, Michael, whom she married in 1970. They have two children, Josh and Nicholas.
The Kinsmans moved to Laguna in 1978. They lived in Arch Beach Heights before buying a home in lower Three Arch Bay, practically next door to their offices.
Kinsman served as president of the North Laguna Community Assn., which does participate in local politics. She is a Republican.
Her family said she inherited her interest in public service from her late father, Albert, “Ab" Brown, who was mayor of Riverside.
Kinsman ran in 2000 on the council’s record during her first term. One of her outstanding accomplishments in her second term was the appointment of Elizabeth Schneider and Iseman to a sub-committee to resolve the corporation yard/Village Entrance debacle, which succeeded in breaking a long standing deadlock on the project.
Before handing over the gavel to Egly Tuesday, Iseman spoke briefly about the accomplishments of the city during her year as mayor.
She touched on the efforts of an understaffed police department, the outstanding achievements of the Fire Department here and out of town, and the Bluebird Canyon ribbon cutting on Dec. 15 to celebrate the completion of the hillside restoration.
Iseman said council meetings were shorter, which might be attributed to fewer design review items on the agenda since the design review process was revamped.
“We signed [Feb. 6] the Mayor’s Climate Protection Agreement, joining cities across the nation," Iseman said.
But she reserved her highest praise for the leadership shown by the community.