Party for council candidates

Local Republicans and the Laguna Beach Taxpayers Assn. hosted a party Wednesday at the Marine Room Tavern for candidates of their persuasion.

Shari L. Freidenrich and City Council incumbent candidates Kelly Boyd and Elizabeth Pearson, as well as challenger Emanuel Patrascu attended. Laguna Beach Republicans President Amy Kramer introduced the candidates.

Freidenrich has been endorsed by Laguna Beach Treasurer Laura Parisi and a host of elected or former officials at local, state and federal levels.

"I need you guys to vote," said Freidenrich, the first candidate to speak. "We need to make changes or I am afraid we are in trouble."

Frendenrich said she is the only candidate who is a certified public accountant and the only one who has handled significant amounts of public money. She has been the Huntington Beach treasurer for 14 years — and boasted that she had never lost a dime of taxpayers' money.

She was invited to the event by Republican Frank Ricchiazzi.

Ricchiazzi also provided the vittles — pizza, of course, and a cake — and "thereby hangs a tale."

"I ordered a cake at Vons — Pavilions — and said I wanted it [frosted] to say 2010 A Republican Year," Frank said. "I even wrote it out — in English."

As he was leaving the store, he said it occurred to him that Pavilions is a union shop and the employees might get upset when they saw the word Republican. He wondered what they might do. He found out when he picked up the cake.

To his consternation, the word Republican was misspelled.

"I went to the manager and told him I wasn't paying for the cake, but I am taking it," Ricchiazzi said.

Matt Lawson's advice "Shop non-union," amused the supporters at the gathering.

Pearson spoke next to the well-wishers.

She recollected some of the stalwart Republicans who welcomed her to the community and mentored her when she first became active in the community 25 years ago: Art Casebeer and Jack Hefti.

"I miss them and I appreciate those who have continued their leadership," Pearson said.

She believes her own legacy is the construction of the Laguna Beach Senior Center and the restoration of Bluebird Canyon after the 2005 landslide, both of which she doggedly pursued.

Pearson never waivered in her support for a center for Laguna's seniors, who adore her, nor her commitment to assist within legal limits the families whose homes were damaged or destroyed.

She also reached out to Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Feinstein, who visited the devastated site at Pearson's invitation, is credited with reversing the Federal Emergency Management Agency's ruling that the landslide did not quality for funding.

Pearson said she had been endorsed for re-election by the event hosts, Laguna's firefighter and police associations, Supervisors Pat Bates and John Moorlach, the Orange County Taxpayers Assn. and most of the people at the bar, many of them personal friends as well as Republican supporters.

"I thank you for your support and your friendship," Pearson said.

Boyd, who followed Pearson to the microphone, was right at home. He owns the Marine Room, which he said makes him the most physically accessible of all candidates.

"I am here six days a week and everybody knows where to find me," Boyd said. "I see five or six people come in every day and say 'Do you have a minute?' and I do.

"This [Laguna] has been my home for 66 years and I appreciate being able to serve it for the past four years."

Boyd was also on the council in the 1970s, but did not run again until 2006 because his wife, Michelle, opposed it. She decided in 2006 that the city needed him and he declared his candidacy, defeating Verna Rollinger in her first run for a council seat. Incumbent Steve Dicterow pulled out of the race following Boyd's announcement of his candidacy.

Ironically, Boyd was on the council that hired retiring City Manager Ken Frank and the council that will hire his successor.

Boyd invited everyone to an Election Night party from 7 to 11 p.m. Tuesday, at the Marine Room.

Patrascu said he ran for office because it is hard to get anything done in Laguna Beach and he wants to get Laguna back for Republicans.

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