Laguna folks pride themselves on giving back to the community. So it's no surprise they came up with some dandy ideas for gifts — cost not to be considered — for the city in the New Year.
Mayor Jane Egly: "Fewer cars and more walkers and bikers."
Egly is an advocate of the Complete Streets movement that espouses the notion that streets are for everyone, regardless of age or means of locomotion.
Residents in cities across the country, including Laguna Beach, are asking their elected officials to endorse and implement policies that make streets safe for all users, from bicyclists to public transportation riders, drivers and pedestrians.
Bob Josephson said making Forest Avenue pedestrian-only from the highway to Glenneyre Street would be a start.
Councilwoman Toni Iseman would make more room for pedestrians and cyclists, not to mention parking spaces, with the gift of shuttles from peripheral parking areas for all 52 weekends a year.
Ridership on the summer trolleys that shuttle from the ACT V Parking Lot to downtown has taken a quantum leap since Iseman convinced the council to make the rides free.
On City Councilman Kelly Boyd's list: "A tree safety and view ordinance that the community would accept."
The city used to have a tree ordinance, but it was all bark and died a lingering death from disuse and dissatisfaction.
Mayor Pro Tem Verna Rollinger's gift: "Continuing cooperation with the California Coastal Commission."
South Laguna resident Richard Picheny: "Verna Rollinger."
Incumbents Rollinger and Egly are running for reelection in 2012.
Waste Management spokeswoman Michelle Clark: "I'd like to be able to pronounce Laguna as one of the greenest cities in the state."
Laguna Beach Community Clinic Director Dr. Tom Bent: "A family doctor and good health for every person who lives or works in this community."
Clinic board member and Planning Commissioner Anne Johnson: "A substantial and sustainable endowment for the clinic."
Village Laguna founder Arnold Hano wants excellent acoustics in walls and ceilings in restaurants so people can talk and be heard — as if folks don't listen when he speaks.
Writer Bette Anderson: "Continued amity on the City Council."
"Lagunatics" lyricist and Laguna Beach Seniors President Chris Quilter: "An assisted-living facility — we don't have one."
The former South Coast Medical Center had tentative plans for such a facility, but it was opposed by neighbors.
Volunteer Sande St. John: "The Village Entrance."
Chamber of Commerce Board member Bob Dietrich: "Add bike lanes and bring back fishing."
A state five-year ban on fishing along most of Laguna's coastline goes into effect Jan. 1. It was supported by a council majority, with Boyd opposed.
Former Laguna Beach Seniors Inc. President Louise Buckley: "An endowment that keep the Susi Q Senior Center running in perpetuity."
Former Mayor and 2012 City Council candidate Steve Dicterow: "Offering and the acceptance of my service and a return to the small-town feel of knowing your neighbors and caring for them."
Rebecca Barber: "The Village Entrance extended to make a Canyon District."
Frank Ricchiazzi: "No debt."
Sally Rapuano: "A new van for Sally's Fund."
Sally's Fund, which was started by Walt Von Gremp and named for his mother, provides transportation for older folks to make essential trips.
Sculptor and Laguna College of Art & Design instructor Marv Johnson: "Affordable places to for artists to live and work.
"It has to be rental units because most artists can't afford to buy."
Darrcy Loveland: "$1 million to give to nonprofit organizations."
Michael Kinsman: "A new parking structure at the Village Entrance."
No Square Theatre and "Lagunatics" founder Bree Burgess Rosen: "A performing arts venue and a qualified music teacher for our elementary schools."
Planning Commissioner Norm Grossman: "Solid finances so we can afford to continue to give people the outstanding services they deserve."
Laguna Greenbelt Inc. President Elisabeth Brown: "A big chunk of land — with no particular one in mind, other than Aliso Canyon so we could make the creek meander. Straightening has cut out two miles of water. That is 10%."
Barbara Picheny would settle for just cleaning up the creek and beginning a collaboration with upstream communities.
Landscape architect Bob Borthwick went to the other end of town for his gift: "Recognition of Laguna Creek as the lifeblood of our town."
Walker Reed, a Laguna Beach resident since 1962 and a Laguna Beach High School graduate: "Scientific evidence five years from now that Marine Life Protection Act is working and Laguna Beach (marine life) is flourishing and the city has become the destination for ecotourism."
League of Women Voters member Jean Raun: "Undergrounding utilities on Laguna Canyon Road so we don't have another devastating fire — the cost would be cheaper, but the city has always been penny-wise, pound-foolish."
Terry Smith: "A completed Village Entrance project and a media blitz to get visitors to town."
Laguna Beach Visitors Bureau President Karyn Philippsen: Free trolley service extended to 52 weekends a year.
Mary Fegraus, founding Laguna Canyon Foundation executive director and founding Laguna Community Foundation trustee: "If the Open Space Element of the General Plan needs updating, let's do it."
Laguna Beach Historical Society Vice President Gene Felder: "A historical museum."
Right now the society is headquartered at the Smith Cottage next to and courtesy of Wells Fargo.
Realtor and arts patron Bobbi Cox: "A real community theater. That is what the Moulton Theater (Laguna Playhouse) used to be."
Cox said the death of Connie Morthland, who volunteered at the Playhouse for years, brought back memories of what theater used to be like in Laguna.
Matt Lawson: "An infinite source of revenue so everyone else's gifts could be fulfilled."
Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot City Editor Cindy Frazier: "The $9-million fix for Laguna Creek so it wouldn't flood the downtown again."
My gift: Frazier in good health and back full-time on the job.
OUR LAGUNA is a regular feature of the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot. Contributions are welcomed. Call (949) 302-1469 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with Attn. Barbara Diamond in the subject line.