City buses to get whale plate decals

Mayor Toni Iseman came up with a whale of an idea Tuesday to help educate the public about the marine environment.

The City Council unanimously approved Iseman's suggestion to place decals of the new whale tail license plate, the second one to be created by a local artist, on the back of city trolleys and buses. The decals will cost less than $2,000 and be installed by city staff.

"I am proud to say that another Laguna Beach artist has been selected to do the whale tale license plate: our own Bill Atkins," Iseman said.

Atkins presented the council with a rendering of the plate Tuesday. His design replaces the one created by marine muralist Robert Wyland, which was discontinued after a dispute about the plate's proceeds.

"All of the money raised in the sale goes to educational programs," Atkins said. "I even bought one. It's a good cause, and I am pleased to have worked on it."

Proceeds support the annual Coastal Cleanup Day, the year-round Adopt-A-Beach program, grants and the Coastal Conservancy beach access and habitat restoration projects.

Iseman said she was inspired to propose decals idea by a letter to the editor she read that suggested city trolleys should be named for artists.

"You could take the 'Wendt Trolley' — kind of cute," Iseman said. "Then I came up with the idea to put the license plate decals on the trolleys."

Iseman is urging locals to buy the plates. She has a bet with the mayor of Dana Point about which city will have the most.

They can be purchased through or at the Department of Motor Vehicles, Iseman said.

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The 12-by-20 inch decals will be paid for out of the city's Water Quality Educational Fund.

A design for the decal will be prepared by staff for presentation to the council at the Sept. 6 meeting.

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