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City Council Meeting Wrap-Up

The following is from the Nov. 13 City Council meeting. All councilmembers were present.



Mayor Jane Egly and Councilwoman Elizabeth Pearson presented a proclamation to Councilman Kelly Boyd recognizing the Marine Room Tavern as the locals’ place to gather to enjoy live music, dancing, fundraisers, election victories, birthday and other celebrations and memorials.


Peterson commended Boyd and his wife, Michelle, for their 25 years of ownership of the tavern, known to regulars as the Mar Bar.



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.


•Sandi Cain thanked the City Council for creating the Disaster Preparedness Committee.

“I know it made a difference in my end of town when we had a fire in September,” Cain said.

She said the committee now has a master list of 50 names of people who are prepared to help in times of need.

Pearson said Cain was a wonderful leader of the committee.

•Portofino resident Sue Freeman reported that her neighborhood is the only place in Laguna that gets no cellphone service. She said she cannot drive and if her landline is down, she has no way of contacting anyone for help.

•Neighbor Joy Dittberner said that Verizon was permitted to build a telecommunications facility in Moulton Meadows in 2010, but the project has not materialized.

“We want to know what the next steps would be,” Dittberner said.

Egly said usually folks complain about the installations, not about the lack of them.


•Robert Ross congratulated the two newly-elected City Council members, and he thanked the residents who had voted for him.

Ross discussed the Laguna Terrace Trailer Park’s pending lawsuit, said the California Coastal Commission has no jurisdiction, and urged the city attorney to ensure the case is dropped.

He was advised by City Attorney Philip Kohn that the city is not a party to the lawsuit and has no involvement or participation whatsoever.

•Wayne Baglin, chair of the Laguna Beach Alliance for the Arts, thanked Mayor Pro Tem Rollinger and Mayor Egly for all they had done for the arts community in Laguna Beach during their service on the City Council. He listed the events on the November, December and January calendars and thanked the community for supporting the arts in Laguna Beach:

Pageant of the Masters tickets for “The Big Picture” go on sale Dec. 1.

Laguna Tunes Community Chorus Concert will take place Dec. 9 at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church.

Sawdust Winter Fantasy, which opened Nov.17 with a tree-lighting ceremony, will be open for three more weekends.

Laguna College of Art & Design’s “Jerome Witkin” exhibit, which opened Nov. 12 and runs through Dec. 13.


Laguna Outreach Community Arts active art education program with the Boys and Girls Club and ongoing art education classes at the Senior Center.

Laguna Beach Live! Winter Jazz Series, Jan.16 at Aliso Creek Inn and Music Festival, Feb. 4 to 10.

•Bruce Hopping asked the council to support a sculpture honoring the Brooks Street surfing culture, recognize Stu Saffer for his accomplishments, approve a different Heisler Park War Memorial honoring Laguna Beach war veterans, and honor Jim Dilley with a sculpture.

•Don Barda, Mimi Healy, Phyllis Ritner, Daud Ahmed and Darcy Thornton discussed their issues concerning view impairment by trees. Ahmed offered to form a citizen’s research committee to spearhead ideas to help alleviate view impairment.

Boyd said the issue will be on the agenda for the first council meeting in January and an ad hoc committee will be formed to consider the issues and to help neighbors work together.

•Michelle Clark, Waste Management’s community relations manager, encouraged everyone to participate in America Recycles Day on Nov. 15 and to log into to take the pledge.



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

•When asked how long he has been the city attorney, Kohn commented that he usually says, “At least until the next meeting.” Actually, as of this month, it has been 30 years.

•City Manager John Pietig proposed changing the scheduled City Council, Planning Commission and Design Review Board joint meeting from Dec. 8 to March 16. The council agreed to the change.

•Boyd, who had wished his wife a Happy Anniversary from the dais at a previous meeting, wished her a Happy Birthday.

•City Treasurer Laura Parisi reported attending her first meeting as a member of the Orange County Treasury Oversight Committee.

•City Clerk Martha Anderson announced that the council will hold interviews and appoint one resident to the Board of Adjustment/Design Review Board and one resident to the Planning Commission at the Dec. 4 meeting. Applications for the appointment to the DRB are due in the City Clerk’s office on Tuesday. Applications for appointment to the Planning Commission are due Wednesday. The extra day was allotted because of the reduced noticing period.

•Pearson has submitted the city’s name to the Orange County Business Council to receive an award for utilizing the arts as an economic engine. Pearson said she, Assistant City Manager Christa Johnson and Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kristine Thalman will be attending the awards ceremony on Thursday.

She also announced the opening of the holiday musical, “Plaid Tidings,” on Nov. 27 at the Laguna Playhouse.

•Councilwoman Toni Iseman said that the Coastal Coalition is set to meet with the California Coastal Commission on Dec. 12 in San Francisco to deal with timely responses to city issues.

Iseman congratulated the Laguna Beach Visitors Bureau for finishing second in the nation for its project that offered a free mobile photo application that provides instant local updated information on shuttle times and more.

•Mayor Pro Tem Verna Rollinger congratulated the newly elected city officials, who will be installed at the Dec. 4 meeting. She also introduced new Deputy City Clerk Ashley Brissinger.

Rollinger thanked the Housing and Human Services Committee for the successful Hunger Bowl event that was held on Nov. 3rd at Aliso Creek Inn.



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:

Jessica M. Brown’s application for late claim relief for herself and her children, but only for the causes of action that accrued on or subsequent to Oct. 5, 2011, but rejected all remaining portions of the application.

Brown claimed that her children were told that she was a prostitute, a drug dealer and user. Brown said her children were traumatized by the police actions. She is asking for $100 million.

The council also rejected an application to file a late claim requested by Tracy and Robert Klug and two minors in a related claim for alleged real property damage.

•Reappointment of Iseman as the city’s representative to the Orange County Vector Control District for a two-year term.

•Approval of an ordinance that limits the building height in Laguna Beach to a maximum of 36 feet and a resolution requesting certification by the California Coastal Commission.

•Approval of the Arts Commission recommendations for the 2013 Sunset Serenade Concert Series on Friday evenings in May and September, Music in the Park concert schedule from July 14 to Aug. 25 at Bluebird Park, and the First Friday Film Series, Jan. 4, Feb. 1 and March 1 in the Forum Theater.

•Removal of the acacia tree at Fire Station Two on Agate Street.

•A contract with Jorg Dubin to create and install four more benches to “Canyon Views” to satisfy the Art In Public Places requirement for the Broadway Beautification Project.

•A switch from Blue Shield Dental HMO and Assurant Dental to Delta Dental for HMO and PPO for city employees, effective Jan. 1.

•A $21,600 contract with Ninyo & Moore to monitor and address debris in the burn dump area in Laguna Canyon until permanent remediation is completed.

Pulled for discussion:

•Adoption of an ordinance approving confiscation of skateboards when citing for failure to wear a helmet. The vote was 4-1, with Councilman Boyd opposed.



Recreation Committee update, no vote required

Curtiss Alderson, chair of the city’s Recreation Committee, reported that city parks had been refurbished, with work to begin Monday on Moulton Meadows. Tennis courts at Laguna Beach High School have come up for improvement.

Installation of the Main Beach play equipment is due to start this month.

The committee has been operating with five members, rather than seven, and still doing a great job, according to Alderson.

He thanked Egly for her support as council liaison to the committee.

Hospitality Night activities, Winter Fantasy parking, approved 5-0

Santa Claus will arrive at City Hall on Dec. 7 to open Hospitality Night activities.

The City Council voted unanimously to return to the traditional lighting of the pepper tree to kick off the holiday season, which was relocated last year to Forest Avenue to accommodate expected traffic from the Laguna Beach High School’s semi-final football game.

City staff liked the relocation because it minimized traffic impacts and recommended the tree lighting ceremony stay on Forest Avenue, but the council did not favor the recommendation.

The council approved closure of portions of Forest Avenue, Beach and Third streets and the pepper tree parking lot, and restricted parking on Forest Avenue. It also approved amplified sound for the night of the festivities, considered to be one of the highlights of the year by locals.

Free parking was approved on Laguna Canyon Frontage Road on Nov. 23 to 24, and reserved parking, as necessary, on Laguna Canyon Road during the Sawdust Festival Winter Fantasy.

Council considers Real Property Report time-requirement change, 5-0

The council gave preliminary approval to the proposed extension from three months to six months for a property owner to obtain a real property report from the city.

Reports include delinquent city utility charges and the regularly authorized use, occupancy and zoning classification for the property.

The change was discussed by the Laguna Board of Realtors representatives and city staff as a means of improving customer service.

Board members indicated that escrows often take longer than three months and extensions had to be requested, a cumbersome process.

A second reading is required for passage. Second readings are included in the Consent Calendar, but may be pulled for discussion by a member of the public or the council.



Appeal denied 3-2

The council denied an appeal of a Design Review Board approval of a 308-square-foot addition to the living area and a 51-square-foot deck on a residence at 31780 Fifth Ave.

Pearson and Rollinger opposed the denial.



Any action taken must be reported publicly.

•*Conference with legal counsel regarding anticipated litigation — three items related to the Sept. 16 fire and claims filed by Jessica Brown and Tracy Klug.

•Conference with legal counsel regarding existing litigation: Pahnos/Stephens v. the city, County Superior Court Case No. 30-2012-00554630 and U.S. District Court Case No. SACV12-1911; and Club Laguna LLC v. the city, 30-2012-00549548.

•Conferences regarding real property negotiations with Festival of Arts representatives and an unknown representative of the Community Garden in South Laguna.




The next regularly scheduled meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Dec. 4, 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.