City Council Meeting Wrap-Up

The following is from the June 19 Laguna Beach City Council meeting.


The public is allowed to speak on any subject not on the agenda. Speakers generally are limited to three minutes, but the time can be adjusted by the council.

•Eli Grossman lambasted the City Council, the city attorney, the Police Department and members of the city staff.

•Kathryn Doe reminded residents that she plans to run for City Council. Doe suggested that the council appoint a housing Czar to assist with affordable housing as well as a king and queen to provide oversight on the City Council.

•Bruce Hopping proposed a program with anonymous access that would allow students to report threats of violence. Hopping said that in 2011 the Navy SEALS conferred their highest honor on him for establishing the most venerated water polo award program in the United States 23 years ago.

•Robert Ross discussed the various lawsuits, one in which the city is not involved, and wondered what they cost.

•Former Mayor Ann Christoph invited the public to a Village Laguna event at 7 p.m., June 25 at the Unitarian Church to hear a representative of the California Native Plant Society speak about fuel modification and a panel discussion on progress for an innovative technique of removing weeds and non-native grasses, and replacing them with low-fuel natives. The project was funded by a Greater Laguna Coast Firesafe Council grant from the Forest Service.

Christoph felt it should be of interest in the Disaster Preparedness Task Force.

•Margaret Butt said that divers had reported a number of balloons in the kelp beds. She asked the council to abolish balloons on the beach to protect the ecological system of the ocean.

Mayor Jane Egly agreed that helium balloons could cause great harm when they drifted away and she discouraged their purchase.



Council members and staff report on events they have attended, people with whom they have met and other items of public interest.

•City Treasurer Laura Parisi said the state budget relies heavily on revenue measures that will be on the November ballot. If the measures do not pass, residents will see trigger cuts next year.

•City Manager John Pietig reported that Gelson's had complained about the summer shuttle turn-around in the shopping center, but the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel is thrilled to take its place.

Pavilions has reversed its veto of a shuttle pick up in its parking lot and will permit the parking there, which amplifies the service to North Laguna.

•Councilwoman Toni Iseman alerted residents to a scam by a company pretending to be a police organization that raises money for youths. She said the organization is listed on the web by the Better Business Bureau as a charity fraud.

•Iseman attended a standing-room-only Nuclear Regulatory Commission meeting in San Juan Capistrano. She said Edison and the NRC were generous with their time and information, but she was stunned to learn that 10% of the pipes in Unit 2 and 12% of the pipes in Unit 3 were showing wear. She encouraged the public to read available reports, both in the newspapers and on the web.

On a happier note, Iseman said she is delighted by the public art in the sidewalk just above the Breaching Whale in Heisler Park. Artists Scott and Naomi Schoenherr are creating three pieces titled, "Continuous Rotation."

•Councilwoman Elizabeth Pearson sent her good wishes to ailing Councilman Kelly Boyd and complimented the Laguna Art Museum for the Clarence Hinkle retrospective that features more than 100 paintings from the early 1900s to the 1950s. The exhibit runs through Oct. 7.

Pearson and Mayor Pro Tem Verna Rollinger met with Asst. City Manager Christa Johnson and received an update on the Vision 2030 plan. Many recommendations have been put into place or are in process, Pearson said, and commended staff and council for the accomplishments.

Johnson will be putting together a report to be presented to the public at a later date.

•Rollinger said attention should be focused on the age of the San Onofre plant and how energy needs will be handled when the plant no longer functions.

She reported that she enjoyed a luncheon with the Taxpayers Assn. as well as one with the American Society of Civil Engineers, at which Flood Mitigation Task Force member Bill Lawson gave a presentation. One of his visuals showed an inch of rain fell in 13 minutes during the 2010 flood.

Rollinger also attended the Laguna College of Art & Design's 50th anniversary celebration.

She announced plans to put an item on the council agenda to re-insert language on height limits deleted from the municipal code with the approval of the Mansionization Ordinance, in which the limit is stated for each zone.

Rollinger called attention to a benefit for Animal Crackers, a resident-serving business that does animal rescue work and provides pet food to low income seniors. The store's lease in the Albertsons shopping center is up in November and will not be renewed. Rollinger asked anyone who might be able to help find a new location in town to come forward with ideas.

•Egly wished AIDS Services Foundation founder Al Roberts a happy birthday, sent her best to Boyd and complimented the Laguna Beach Sister Cities Assn. on a successful Fete de la Musique, in which she had participated.

She encouraged residents to keep conserving energy and water use, noting that 10 prize winning decorated water-saving rain barrels are displayed at the Laguna Beach County Water District. The barrels will be put up for auction later this year.



Consent calendar items are approved unanimously in one motion unless a member of the City Council, staff, or public "pulls" the item, which then requires opening it for public comment and a separate vote.

Among the items approved unanimously:

•Adoption of Nov. 6 for the Municipal Election of two members of the City Council and a city clerk and the regulations for candidate statements; the submission to the voters of a ballot measure on the acquisition and preservation of open space; and a request to consolidate with the statewide General Election.

•Approval of an ordinance that extends the approval period of development entitlements to expire between Jan. 1, 2012, and Jan. 1, 2014.

The second reading was one of the first two to appear on the consent calendar, a procedure recently approved by the council to streamline the process. Second readings may be pulled for more discussion by a member of the council or the public.

•Approval of a Seven Year Capital Improvement Program for transportation projects, required for Measure M Fair Share funding, and authorization for staff to file applications for funding and competitive grants.

•Staff authorization to apply for State-Local Partnership Program for the 2013 Trolley Acquisition project, and agreement to fund the city's share of the costs with Measure M2 Fair Share funds.


Pulled for discussion:

•Minutes of the June 5 meeting, pulled by Iseman to clarify her intentions about police confiscating skateboards from children who are not wearing a helmet.

Parents would have to come with the child to the police department to pick up the skateboard and could be instructed on city rules, she said. The kids would be bummed by the confiscation of the boards for a few days and going to the station would get the parents' attention, but the most important result would be the reinforcement of city officials concerns about the welfare of the city's youth, according to Iseman.

Pearson offered to work with Iseman on enforcement issues.

•A $2,500 donation from Doctors Ambulance to support future Community Emergency Response Team training, pulled by Pearson to thank the donor; approved 4-0.

•Second reading of amendments to the city code related to the second residential unit regulations and a request to the California Coastal Commission to certify the amendment continued to July 17 meeting to see if Iseman can find a way around the state regulation which prohibit design review of the second units.

Pearson opposed the continuation because the city attorney and Community Development Director John Montgomery informed the council that the state law was explicit about design review. Continuation approved 3-1, Pearson opposed.

•Acceptance of a $100,000 state COPS grant 10, pulled by Pearson to congratulate the Police Department on the successful grant application; approved 4-0.



Items require separate discussion and citizen input, if desired, before the council makes a determination.


Committee appointments

John Keith was appointed to the Emergency Disaster Preparedness Committee and the South Laguna Water and Sewer Committee, after the city manager verified that the council had the discretion to appoint residents to more than one committee for the same time period.

Keith will serve with Rob Patterson, David Sandford and Tim Templeton on the preparedness committee for terms ending June 30, 2014.

Terms for newly appointed South Laguna committee members Eric Jessen, Calvin Nelson and Keith will also end June 2014.

Planning Commission to consider Downtown Specific Plan area expansion, 4-0

The council directed the Planning Commission to consider expanding the Downtown Specific Plan boundaries to include ACT V and the Laguna College of Art & Design and designate them in the Civic Art District zone.



Items require separate discussion and citizen input, if desired, before the council makes a determination.

Appeal denied 4-0

The council upheld the Design Review Board denial of proposed additions and landscape modifications at 1380 Pacific Way.

A request for a continuation of the hearing, based on the short-handed council, was also denied, 3-1; Pearson opposed.



•Conference with real property negotiators on the price and terms of a lease for 20652 Laguna Canyon Road. The property is represented by Friendship Shelter. The city is represented by Egly and Iseman.

•Conference with real estate property negotiators on the price and terms of the Festival of Arts Grounds.

The festival is represented by the president of the board. The city is represented by Boy, Rollinger and Pietig.

•Conference with legal counsel regarding pending litigation — Rowden v. Laguna Beach.

•Conference with legal counsel on anticipated litigation related to the operation of the Alternative Sleeping Location, 2031 Sun Valley Drive and Jensen v. the city.

Any action taken by the council in closed session must be reported publicly. None was announced.



The council meets next at 5 p.m. July 17 in closed session. The public meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, 505 Forest Ave.

Meeting agendas are available by 4 p.m. on the Thursday prior to the meeting in the City Clerk's Office in City Hall, 505 Forest Ave. Agendas are also published on the city's website,

— Compiled by Barbara Diamond from information provided by the City Clerk's Office

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