An ebullient crowd of supporters of the reelection of Mayor Pro Tem Toni Iseman gathered Thursday on Ocean Avenue to make donations and to cheer on the incumbent.
Iseman is endorsed by her fellow incumbents Mayor Elizabeth Pearson and Kelly Boyd, who attended the kick-off bash, as did Councilwoman Jane Egly, with her husband, retired Judge Paul Egly.
"I have been on the council for 12 years and this is the best one I have served on," Iseman said. "No deals are made. What you see when you watch us is what you get."
That is not to say there isn't some horsetrading — it's called compromise — or that they always agree. Certainly, Boyd is opposed to the proposed ban on fishing from Laguna's shore, which Iseman and Pearson both supported. However, despite some head-knocking over that issue, Iseman and Boyd stood shoulder-to-shoulder working toward a solution to the problems of Laguna's homeless population. Iseman and Pearson ushered in an era of civility when they reached a compromise on the location of the city's maintenance yard.
"What other town has such a collegial group that has found a formula that is effective despite some disagreements they might have?" said clinical psychologist and former university teacher Marion Jacobs.
Thursday's fundraiser was hosted by Ocean Avenue art gallery owner Peter Blake. Donations, a minmum of $65 for a badge, were taken by Pamela Murphy, Eileen Algaze and Stephanie Lloyd at Anastasia's across the street, where wine was served. Richard Picheney and Lisa Conn also helped.
Iseman expressed her appreciation for the donations.
"They will be well spent," she said.
Her campaign expenses include salmon pink garden signs that Iseman joked were door prizes. The signs began sprouting the next day in front yards around town, including Cindy Obrand's.
"Toni really cares about the city — a vibrant downtown, but quiet neighborhoods where you can see the moonlight and stars," Obrand said.
Iseman crisscrossed the street, greeting donors. She spoke briefly to the crowd, making sure the equipment that amplified her voice was inside the gallery and not on the street—and of course without notes.
"Our town is so frugal, in these economic times, we are OK," Iseman said.
She lauded Ken Frank for his management of city finances and the council for putting aside money for a rainy day, which the city will be able to weather due to prudent spending and saving.
The crowd was estimated at more than 150, with a broad spectrum of political beliefs represented: from conservatives Gene Felder and Matt Lawson to former Mayor Ann Christoph and Laguna Beach Democratic Club President Audrey Prosser, who extolled Iseman's fight for free trolleys in the summer and on weekends.
"The trolleys add to the village atmosphere and keep cars out of downtown," Prosser said.
Lawson, treasurer for Pearson's campaign, said all three incumbents have done a job worthy of reelection.
UC Irvine Professor Joie Jones agreed.
"They work well together and they deserve to be re-elected," Jones said.
Christoph said she worked on Iseman's first campaign and continues to support her because of similar views on environmental issues.
"What an amazing collection of wonderful people!" Iseman said. "Tonight feels like a party."
Also among the well wishers in the crowd: the Zur Schmeide's, Planning Commissioner Rob and Design Review Board member Robin; Dennis Power, President of the Laguna College of Art & Design; Dr. Gary and Betsy Jenkins, who was declared re-elected to the school board because no election had to be held since only the incumbents ran, saving the district thousands of dollars.
Also: Realtor Gayle Waite, Planning Commissioner Anne Johnson, landscape architect Bob Borthwick and architect Morris Skenderian, the Rev. Colin Henderson, Laguna Beach High School French teacher Odile Dewar, South Laguna Civic Assn. President Bill Rihn, attorney Ron Harris, Water District Commissioner Debbie Neev, and Susi Q and Cop on the Corner volunteer, Vic Opincar.
Opincar said he supports Iseman because she listens to her constituents and takes their problems to heart.
"And she does something about it," Opincar said.
The Arts Alliance will host a candidates' forum at 9:30 a.m., Saturday at Laguna Playhouse. It is open to the public. The public is welcome.
Top of the World Neighborhood Assn., South Laguna Civic Assn. and Temple Hills Community Assn. is scheduled to present the fourth — and for now the last — city council candidates' forum at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 20 in the City Council Chamber. The meeting is open to the public. Questions will be accepted from the audience — no speeches, just questions, TOWNA member Gene Felder said.
Dennis Morin will host Mayor Elizabeth Pearson's final fundraiser on Oct. 3 at his home, known as the Rock House. The dress code is flip-flops. Parking is available at the Aliso Creek Beach lot, but bring quarters: this is not a city lot, advises Pearson. For more information, visit elizabethpearson2@Cox.net.
Council challenger Emanuel Patrascu will hold a fundraiser featuring his boss, state Sen. Tom Harman, from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 5 at Capri Laguna, 1441 S. Coast Hwy. RSVP by calling (949) 436-6158 or e-mailing Emanuel@joinemanuel.com.