Our Laguna: City wishes for 2013

The New Year is a time when folks put their best foot forward. No reason the city can't do the same. Here's what some people would like to see the city do in 2013.

"Put in sidewalks on Coast Highway from one end of town to the other," urged former Mayor Cheryl Kinsman, a South Laguna resident.

She has been lobbying for this since she was on the Planning Commission before being elected to the City Council in 2000.

Chamber of Commerce President Michael Kinsman had two recommendations: "I would like the city to institute more trams throughout the year. It would be good for business, good for residents and help solve our traffic problems. Secondly, the city needs to ease up on our display ordinance."

Michael Kinsman said the current ordinance hampers local retailers and other small businesses that need appropriate outdoor displays to be more effective.

"Reduce water usage," tops the wish list of Laguna Beach County Water District General Manager Renae Hinchey.

Water district Commissioner Marv Johnson wishes the city would find a huge fresh-water aquifer under the town that would solve our water problems for all time.

"Do the Village Entrance and implement a viable public transit system with smaller buses halfway between a van and the ones now in use," architect Morris Skenderian said. "This is a mantra that has been going on a long time."


"Complete the Village Entrance," said former Mayor Kathleen Blackburn, who was on the council when moving the city's maintenance yard was first suggested.

Mayor Pro Tem Elizabeth Pearson said she'd be happy if the council would just approve a concept for the Village Entrance.

"I'd like the city to actually focus on moving forward on the Village Entrance so it doesn't get kicked to the curb," said Terry Smith, former Arts Commissioner and Laguna College of Art & Design trustee.

Mystic Hills resident Sandy Hovanesian wants the city to deal realistically with landscaping the Village Entrance.

"It doesn't need anything else," she said.

Landscape architect Bob Borthwick would like to see Laguna Canyon and the creek more beautiful and more appreciated by everyone for its value to the city.

"Make the downtown more of a village," said Margaret Warder, a school district employee and the Laguna Beach Woman's Club property manager. "Keep the lights on trees, but in the canopies, like you see in European towns."

Laguna Playhouse Executive Director Karen Wood thinks the city should increase signage and expand the profile of the Downtown Art District.

South Laguna Civic Assn. President Bill Rihn said he couldn't think of a recommendation because the group is so focused on the community garden and how to raise money to buy the property that locals have tilled for three years as a labor of love.

"Stay healthy and pretty — no sewer spills," advised former Mayor Jane Egly.

Matt Lawson, who lives in Diamond Crestview, wants the city to focus more on disaster preparedness and public safety.

"I would like to see the council continue to communicate well with each other, respect the city budget and keep their hands off the reserve," said "Uncle" Frank Ricchiazzi.

The city's General Fund has a mandated 10% reserve, into which the council can only dip with four or more votes.

Councilwoman Toni Iseman said the city should start working on improving all major arterials.

Former county Chief of Harbors, Parks and Beaches Eric Jessen, a South Laguna resident, recommended that the city update the Open Space and Conservation Element of the General Plan.

"Solve the parking," said former Laguna Beach Seniors Inc. President Pauline Walpin. "Neighborhoods take a terrible hit in the summers by the lack thereof."

Parked cars impede traffic, said Laguna Community Band founder Carol Reynolds.

"Get rid of them," she said.

Nancy Perlman said getting rid of some of the parking meters would be a move in the right direction and the city should also consider putting in a skateboard park at Lang Park.

"We already have a skateboard park — it's called Oak Street," said Ann Wood, who recommended leaving Glenneyre Street alone.

Penny King urged the city to do a better job with skateboarders on public streets.

"Forget bike lanes anywhere except on Coast Highway," said Martha Lydick, president of the Laguna Beach Friends of the Library and Laguna Beach Republicans.

"Cull the deadwood from the city's historical structures inventory so we have this wonderful selection of buildings of which we can be proud," said city Heritage Committee member Jon Madison, owner of Madison Square and Garden Café. "It will make the whole process work better and people will know up front what they can and cannot do with historical properties."

Francine Scinto would like the city to look into planting medians on the highway.

"I'm sort of satisfied with the way things are," said Richard Challis, father of Pageant of the Masters Director Diane Challis Davy.

Past Laguna Beach Woman's Club President Marsha Bode wants the city to concentrate on its natural resources and lend more support to the Hortense Miller Garden.

"I'd like to see the city attack problems by bringing in experts to help us solve seemingly intractable problems," Planning Commissioner Norm Grossman said.

"Continue to make real progress on sustainability," said former City Councilwoman Verna Rollinger.

"Pass a good, solid view ordinance for the citizens of Laguna Beach," said Mayor Kelly Boyd.

As for this reporter: I want the city to continue to be the most fun to cover of any other city in Southern California.

Every time I sit down to write a story I give thanks for the residents, business and professional people, the artists and artisans, the nonprofits and the city officials and staff, the quirks and compassion, the history and even the topography that make my job so interesting and fulfilling.

OUR LAGUNA is a regular feature of the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot. Contributions are welcomed. Call (714) 966-4618 or email coastlinepilot@latimes.com with Attn. Barbara Diamond in the subject line.

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