The following is from the May 7 City Council meeting. All council members were present.
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.
•Kendra Ulrich of Washington, D.C., thanked the council on behalf of Friends of the Earth for showing leadership and passing a resolution expressing concern about the San Onofre nuclear reactors. She said multiple cities throughout California had followed the lead of Laguna Beach.
Ulrich updated the council on the status of the San Onofre Nuclear reactors. She reported that Southern California Edison proposed an experimental restart to reopen Unit 2 at partial power in June for a five-month test period.
She said it would be cheaper for ratepayers to buy energy on the open market rather than restarting what she described as incredibly damaged reactors. She said there were too many open questions for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to allow the restart of San Onofre.
•Theresa Cordova urged the council to pass a resolution similar to one recently passed by Los Angeles that she said called on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to wait to make a decision until it “fully reviewed public safety through a prudent, transparent and precautionary process, has allowed independent experts and the public ample opportunity to comment, and has confirmed that Southern California Edison has completed any resulting mandated repairs, replacements or other actions necessary to guarantee both short- and long-term safe operation of San Onofre.”
Cordova said a number of other cities and school districts, mostly in Orange and San Diego counties, have passed similar resolutions.
Energy can be purchased and time is needed to make a prudent and well informed decision, she said.
•Arch Beach Heights resident Jonathan Chapman voiced concern about the effect of a proposed skateboard park on his neighborhood and his family’s quality of life.
Chapman said the neighborhood is concerned about the added traffic, parking problems, noise and harm to wildlife.
Chapman urged the council to listen to the people who would be most affected by the addition of a skateboard park.
•Mike Beanan credited the teamwork of community organizations, city leaders and businesses for the “splashing success” of the fourth annual Kelpfest.
He said kelp forests are vital to the health of the ocean, removing carbon and absorbing carbon dioxide emissions. Besides removing contaminants, the forests protect beaches from erosion and provide shelter and food for fish and crustaceans.
Beanan announced that beautiful underwater kelp forest photos can be viewed on website https://www.lagunabluebelt.com.
He also displayed a poster featuring a mermaid, reminding the public that the city’s first logo was a mermaid, reflecting Laguna’s tradition of protecting the ocean. He said this was the reason the mermaid was chosen for the Kelpfest brochure.
COUNCIL AND STAFF CHAT
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 advised the council that she had received a request from the president of the California Municipal Treasurers Assn. asking her to co-sign a memo opposing Assembly Bill 279, which would amend investments that local governments and counties could make.
City Manager John Pietig informed Parisi that city policy prohibited any elected official from supporting or opposing legislation that was not included in the legislative platform approved by the council in January and must be brought before the council for a decision.
She said the request required a response by the next day and the city policy prevented the city from participating in the debate.
Parisi also announced that pre-foreclosure letters would be sent by Rutan & Tucker to four homeowners in assessment district 06-1 to comply with bond covenants.
•City Clerk Lisette Chel-Walker announced that applications are being accepted for four seats on the Arts Commission and two seats on the Planning Commission. Interviews and appointments will be held at Tuesday’s meeting. The deadline to submit applications was Tuesday.
•Councilman Steven Dicterow complimented community groups on activities since the last meeting. He described the Healthy Girl Festival, sponsored by Soroptimists International of Laguna Beach, as wonderful; the artwork by Laguna College of Art + Design masters’ degree students as extraordinary; and the Laguna Playhouse production of “Steel Magnolias” as fantastic.
Dicterow praised cultural arts manager Sian Poeschl for spearheading the Friday night Music in the Park events at Heisler Park.
Dicterow also reported that before he brought an item on a proposed skateboard park at Moulton Meadows Park he would ensure that neighbors were apprised and get their input.
•Mayor Pro Tem Elizabeth Pearson said she attended a fundraiser Saturday night for the Laguna Plein Air Painters Assn., which is trying to raise $200,000 to fund the 15th Annual Laguna Plein Air Painting Invitational.
Pearson said the Laguna Art Museum had decided not to participate with LPAPA on the annual event, but Aliso Creek Inn had offered to provide a new home for the invitational. Pearson said several people had stepped up to help support the plein air artists and a check was presented to LPAPA for $25,000.
•Councilwoman Toni Iseman said she attended an extraordinary event at the Studio restaurant garden at the Montage, at which the Studio chef expressed the importance of the garden’s homegrown produce.
Other community activities attended by Iseman included a Historical Society meeting she said was amazing and the Healthy Girl Festival, where she was auctioned off to join two girls and their mother for lunch.
Out-of-town activities included attending the League of California Cities lobby day, where she met with Tom Daily, Sharon Quirk-Silva and Lou Correa, last month.
Iseman concluded with a request to staff to make available to the public a map of all cell sites on public and private property in Laguna Beach.
•Councilman Robert Whalen asked for a staff report on defensible space within Laguna Beach and what could be done to better protect the city from fire. His request was prompted by a comment from a firefighter that defensible space in Ventura made a huge difference in terms of avoiding loss of structure and life.
•Public Works Director Steve May announced that the city and design engineer Psomas Engineering had received an award of excellence from the American Council of Engineering Companies for the Circle Way Storm Drain project, which was completed a year ago.
•Mayor Kelly Boyd announced that the city had beaten Hermosa Beach to win the Mayor’s Challenge for the most water-wise city of it size in the country for the second straight 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.
Approved without comment:
•Rejection of claims filed by Eli Grossman and by Jefferey Lurner.
Grossman is seeking damages of $525 for medical bills and alleged false arrest. Lurner is seeking $15,000 for alleged assault and battery by a police officer.
Rejections were advised by the claim specialist at Carl Warren & Co.
•June 18 was set for interviews and appointments of five members to serve on the Emergency Disaster Preparedness Committee for two-year terms. June 11 is the deadline to submit applications to the city clerk’s office.
•Geofirm was authorized to update a geotechnical report for the Village Entrance Project, at a cost of $20,000; KDM Meridian was awarded a $14,500 contract for boundary record research and preliminary title reports.
•A $21,393.72 contract was awarded to Adamson Police Products for the purchase of 31 ballistic protective vests for the Laguna Beach Fire Department.
The council approved the transfer of $1,400 from anticipated Fire Department operational savings to offset the amount over the original budget of $20,000.
•Appropriation of $11,533.06 from the sewer fund was approved to cover the costs of repairs on Agate Street, and the retention of Excel Paving to complete the repairs on an emergency basis was confirmed.
•A $29,300 contract with Dan Boyle & Associates was approved to conduct a Summer Festival/Ridership Survey and Evaluation this summer.
•Appropriation of $37,000 from the Capital Improvement Fund was approved for the repair and lining of the Wykoff Way storm drain; the retention of Sancon Engineering to complete the repairs on an emergency basis was confirmed.
Pulled for discussion
•The request to reserve 12 metered parking spaces on Sept. 28, adjacent to the Lawn Bowling Green, for exclusive use by and at no cost to the U.S. Open Committee was approved 5-0.
The free spaces were contingent on the committee renting a trolley to shuttle players and spectators from the event to off-site parking areas.
Trolley charters are provided by the city for a fee of $315 for a minimum of three hours. Each additional hour is $106.
The $50 fee to bag the metered spaces was waived.
Whalen pulled the item.
•Parking agreements with Mission Hospital Laguna Beach and Boat Canyon management were bifurcated to allow Pearson to recuse herself from the vote on the hospital but be able to participate in the 5-0 vote on the Pavilions agreement.
The hospital was a client of Pearson’s last year.
Fifty free peripheral parking spaces will be made available at Pavilions, where drivers may pick up city trolleys or buses at the entrance to the parking lot on North Coast Highway. The 150 spaces at the hospital will cost the city $68,000.
City attendants will staff the Pavilions lot, which will not be available until July 5.
REGULAR ORDER OF BUSINESS
Items require separate discussion and citizen input, if desired, before the council makes a determination.
The council voted to extend the contract with the current employee benefits broker through Dec. 31 while seeking bids from competitors, with service to begin Jan. 1.
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, as well as unrepresented management employees.
Conference with legal counsel related to anticipated litigation on two claims — damages at 998 and 1017 Skyline Drive.
No action was reported.
A budget workshop will be held at 3 p.m. Tuesday in council chambers at City Hall, 505 Forest Ave. The proposed budget may be reviewed online at https://www.lagunabeachcity.net.
The council is scheduled to adjourn for a closed session at 5 p.m. and reconvene for the public meeting at 6 p.m. in the chambers.
Meeting agendas are available by 4 p.m. on the Thursday before 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.