Commissioner plans run for council

Robert Zur Schmiede, Laguna Beach Planning Commission chairman, said Thursday that he plans to run for a seat on the City Council in November's general election.

Zur Schmiede, 59, filed a candidate intention statement with the city last week, according to City Clerk Lisette Chel-Walker.

The first day that candidates can pull official papers to declare their intent to run for office is July 14, Chel-Walker said.

Zur Schmiede, who has lived in Laguna since 1996, has been a member of the Planning Commission for the past 13 years. He also served 14 months on the Design Review Board.

"Over the past several years, people asked if I might be interested in running, but at the time my work demands were such that I didn't feel like I could devote the time to [the council]," Zur Schmiede said. "Now I'm not working as much as I used to.

"I felt I have a good background educationally and professionally with design review and the Planning Commission, which led me to run."

Zur Schmiede is transitioning to a new role with Kelly Associates Management Group, a consulting company that primarily works with public agencies in areas such as planning, finance and economic development, the company's website said.

He has served as Long Beach's deputy director of development, overseeing housing services and planning and redevelopment bureaus, project planner for the Anaheim Redevelopment Agency and director of Fullerton's Redevelopment and Economic Development Department.

Three council members' terms are up this year: Mayor Elizabeth Pearson, Toni Iseman and Kelly Boyd.

Boyd said his health will be a factor in whether he decides to run.

He was diagnosed in February with multiple myeloma, a type of cancer of the white blood cells in bone marrow. He has undergone chemotherapy treatments and last month had a stem cell transplant.

"If my health is good ... I'll be running," Boyd said by phone Thursday.

Iseman has not confirmed whether she will run, though she said Zur Schmiede would provide strong competition.

"I'm a long way out from making a decision," Iseman said. "Rob Zur Schmiede would make a great councilman. His background is incredible with [design review] and the Planning Commission. He's knowledgeable in dealing with [city] ordinances, is a great listener and respectful of the public."

Pearson could not be reached for comment Thursday, though she said in a December interview that she had not decided whether to run for reelection.

Zur Schmiede said in a phone intervew Thursday that two key issues for him will be the Downtown Specific Plan and "fixing the traffic problem in [Laguna Canyon]."

Zur Schmiede said he intends to visit as many homes as he can on foot in the coming months to introduce himself and listen to residents' ideas.

"We're lucky to have the diversity of citizenry and educational levels here," Zur Schmiede said. "I want to include whomever is interested in the decisions we're making."

Candidates have from July 14 through Aug. 8 to turn in official paperwork, including at least 20 valid signatures, which the Orange County Registrar of Voters must verify, Chel-Walker said.

The general election will be held Nov. 4.

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