Four seek to reclaim seats

Councilwoman Toni Iseman announced Monday that she will be running for reelection, and all three Board of Education incumbents — Ketta Brown, Betsy Jenkins and Theresa O'Hare — have filed papers seeking reelection to their seats.

Iseman is seeking her fourth consecutive term on the council.

"With the economic challenges and the changes in personnel at City Hall, a real working knowledge of the city is invaluable," Iseman said.

She sees the selection of a new city manger and working with the selection as central to the city's well being in the next few years.

However, raising public awareness of the threats to the environment has always at the top of Iseman's agenda. She was an early opponent of development in Laguna Canyon and took overt and covert action to promote her views.

Iseman was the "Phantom" of the canyon, planting anti-development, Burma Shave-type signs along the roadway, when the Irvine Company's huge "Laguna Laurel" housing and commercial development seemed inevitable. She served on the board of the Laguna Greenbelt Inc., created to acquire and preserve open space that culminated in the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park.

"Crystal Cove is an environmental victory and so is the Nix Nature Center in the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park," Iseman said.

She cites as an accomplishment chairing the city's Waste Water Committee, which tapped the skills of the citizenry to resolve water quality issues and stop sewer spills.

Iseman championed greener construction at the Third Street Centers and the Dark Skies program to reduce the use of electricity; attacked hillside grading and construction of houses that do not fit into neighborhoods; and fervently supports residents' rights to the quiet enjoyment of the their homes.

Iseman has voiced opposition to low flying commercial flights out of John Wayne Airport, as well as buzzing private planes and sought stricter policing of illegally motorcycles as noise polluters.

She used all of her considerable persuasive powers to convince fellow council members to make the summer shuttles free to peripheral parkers in order to reduce air-polluting traffic of the down town.

But she has learned to temper her passion for the environment with hard-headed analysis of the "possible," even when it costs her.

One of her biggest disappointments was not being reappointed to the California Coastal Commission, due, she believes, to the opposition of former supporters in the Surfrider Foundation and Sierra Club.

"But when I took my oath for the commission, it was not to the Surfriders or to the Sierra Club, but to the state of California. I am independent, and I owe no political debts. My problem is that I didn't do a good enough job communicating the reasons for my positions.

"People need to understand that unless we have a couple of hundred million dollars in Orange County to buy land and we have to accept that projects will be developed."

Since serving on the council, Iseman has broadened her interests. She and Councilman Kelly Boyd were named 2009 Coastline Pilot Newsmakers of the Year for their collaboration in dealing with homeless issues that plagued the city throughout the year.

Their bonhomie was severely tested after Boyd publicly accused Iseman of testifying falsely in support of a ban on fishing along the Laguna Beach coast when she said that 80 percent of the townspeople favored the closure. Boyd, who had been instrumental in gathering 1,971 signatures on petitions in opposition to the ban, blew his stack.

Iseman addressed the accusations at a council meeting, saying she meant to say 80 percent of the people who contacted her and she hoped that the acrimony could be laid to rest so she and Boyd could continue to work together.

To that end, she was an active participant in the Laguna Beach Woman's Club's tribute to Boyd's term as mayor.

Iseman was instrumental in the use of city-owned holiday palettes for the design of note cards sold at local stores.

She also collaborated again with Pearson on the Business Assistance Task Force, created to help the business community during the economic downturn and to smooth the path of newcomers through the city processes.

Iseman does not always come out a winner, but she doesn't quit, whether on specific issue on the council agenda or a city policy.

Despite federal limits placed on the city's control over the installations of communications antennae, Iseman continues to oppose them.

She is a self-described political junky.

Candidates petitions

Iseman announced her candidacy on the first day that nominating papers could be pulled, but Boyd was the only candidate to pick up papers on Monday.

"I already have 16 signatures," Boyd said Tuesday. "I will probably turn in the papers on the Friday after the [July 20] council meeting."

Candidates are required to collect 20 signatures of registered voters in Laguna Beach to qualify as a candidate. The signatures are verified by the county registrar of voters.

With the three incumbents in the race, the deadline for filing nomination papers is Aug. 5. Had an incumbent opted out, any candidate other than the declining incumbent would have had until Aug. 11 to file.

School Board candidates begin process

Incumbent Laguna Beach School Board members Ketta Brown, Theresa O'Hare and Betsy Jenkins kicked off their reelection campaign on July 12, when former School Board President El Hathaway drove them to the Santa Ana Registrar of Voters' office to take out papers for the Nov. 2 election. That was the first day candidates could declare their intent to run for office. The Declaration of Candidacy forms for all school offices must be filed with the Registrar's office by 5 p.m. Aug. 6, unless an incumbent fails to file by that date, in which case the nomination period is extended to Aug. 11.

 

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