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City Council Meeting Wrap-Up

The following is from the March 19 City Council meeting. All council members were present.



Mayor Kelly Boyd presented a proclamation declaring April as Donate Life California Month in Laguna Beach to Marisa Garcia, ambassador of the Department of Motor Vehicles program.


Organ, tissue, bone marrow and blood donations are life-giving acts recognized worldwide as expressions of compassion to those in need, according to the proclamation.

More than 116,000 individuals nationwide and more than 20,000 in California are on the national organ transplant waiting list, with one of them dying every 90 minutes due to the shortage of donated organs.

California residents may sign up with the Donate Life Registry when applying for or renewing their driver’s licenses or Identification Cards at the department.

Garcia thanked the council for supporting the program.




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.

•After thanking the City Clerk’s office for always being of assistance to him, Bruce Hopping went on to state that more art is needed along Coast Highway and suggested that the city initiate a design contest for Young Artist Community Services organization to submit murals or sculptures to businesses lining the highway.

Hopping indicated the city would be improved by the installation of a sculpture in Heisler Park similar to the U.S. Normandy Beach World War II Memorial and another one honoring the Brooks Street Surfing Contest.

•Gene Gratz said that he was concerned that some administrative decisions by Community Development Director John Montgomery are not appealable and the process should be revised.

•Eleanor Henry said she objected to a motorcycle officer lurking at Main Beach and questioned the legality of the practice.

She also said she read an article in the Coastline Pilot that the Parking, Traffic and Circulation Committee had approved five parking spaces between the 1200 and 1400 block of Bluebird Canyon Drive, but claimed that no one knows where they are. She also said the “No parking” signs are still in place.




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 reported that the Laguna Beach Investment Status meeting, held on March 12 was attended by Councilman Bob Whalen, City Manager John Pietig, Finance and Information Technology Services Director Gavin Curran and resident Karl Koski, a former city manager of another community.

Koski commented that the investment policy adopted by the City Council established the necessary criteria for investing city funds that stressed safety, liquidity and yield, according to Parisi. She said her office had met the required obligations during a period of low interest rates.

A copy of the complete presentation was to be placed in the City Council office.

•Councilman Steve Dicterow reported that he attended several events since the last City Council meeting, including two skateboard park meetings, the Heisler Park bench dedication and the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce Leadership meeting with the mayor.

Dicterow said he also attended the Laguna Beach Visitors & Conference Bureau’s food and wine festival, a Laguna Playhouse opening night and the Laguna Community Pool Citizen’s group meeting and met with Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, the Mission Viejo mayor and a number of locals.


He and Mayor Pro Tem Elizabeth Pearson spoke at the Laguna Beach Tax Payers Assn. meeting.

•Whalen complimented the Laguna Beach Investment Status meeting. He said he feels the city had well and safely invested approximately $80 million.

He reported that he and the mayor had met with the Irvine Bowl Policy Committee and approved some infrastructure improvements that would hopefully be completed before summer.

Whalen also met with residents regarding the establishment of a task force with South Orange County Wastewater Authority (SOCWA) on the future of the coastal treatment plant

•Councilwoman Toni Iseman said the recent League of Cities Convention in Washington, D.C., was the best she had ever attended, including a hearing hosted by the National Organization to Insure A Sound Control Environment (NOISE) at which a member of the Federal Aviation Administration offered interesting information regarding airports and noise. She learned that Atlanta was able to work with Air Traffic Control to lessen noise by re-routing planes.

She also learned that the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) were offering grants for police officers, which would cover salary and benefits for three years if the grantee city would guarantee the money to cover the fourth year.

Iseman said she looked into several grant opportunities and spoke with the California Environmental Protection Agency regarding initiatives and available monies.

During the convention Iseman met with staff of U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa), Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Iseman said the city’s lobbyist is known and informed.

•Mayor Pro Tem Elizabeth Pearson said her primary objective in going to the League of Cities Convention was to lobby FEMA for reimbursement of the money spent by the city due to the 2010 flood. She said the meeting went well, and she was very hopeful for a fruitful outcome. She met with Rohrabacher regarding various issues in Laguna Beach.

•Boyd waxed enthusiastically about the new Heisler Park bench at the end of Jasmine Street and urged residents to go and see it.

He announced that View Preservation Committee would be meeting at 4:30 p.m. April 16 and April 30 at the Susi Q Community Center, 380 Third St.

Boyd thanked friends and community members for the emails, letters and phone calls he received supporting his fight with cancer.



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 resolutions setting the date of April 23 to hear public objections to the annual weed abatement and the street-sweeping and intersection visibility abatement programs.

•Purchase of a new Kenmore Elite biological evidence refrigerator, the $2,566 cost to be reimbursed by Proposition 69 grant funds.

•Permission for Pietig to provide city tiles to county supervisors, State Senate and Assembly, and members of the California Congressional delegation to be displayed in their offices.

•Proclamation declaring April 7 to 13 as Childhood Cancer Awareness Week.

Pulled for discussion:

•Purchase of two personal water crafts to be outfitted as emergency response equipment. Funding was donated by Laguna Beach residents Steve Chadima and Mark Porterfield; approved 5-0.



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

Heritage Committee size, appointments approved, three votes required

Despite a committee recommendation and a public appeal at the hearing from committee member Rick Gold to reduce the committee from nine to seven members, the City Council voted to stick with the larger membership.

Six residents submitted applications for the five open seats.

The council selected Mollie Bing, Bonnie Hano, Debbie Lewis, Linda Morgenlander and Ken Fischbeck.

Fischbeck, a developer, said after the meeting, that he could not recall a single instance where the committee had approved a project that he had submitted for their consideration.

The new members will serve two years through March 31, 2015.



Any action taken must be reported publicly.

•Labor negotiations with Laguna Beach Police Employees, Municipal Employees and Marine Safety and the Orange County Professional Fire Fighters associations and unrepresented management employees.

•Anticipated litigation regarding 741 Summit Drive.

•Real property negotiations regarding 497 Ocean and Driftwood Properties.

Compiled by Barbara Diamond from information provided by the city clerk’s office