Incumbents Bob Whalen and Steve Dicterow held off challengers Verna Rollinger and Judie Mancuso in the race for two seats on the Laguna Beach City Council, according to final, unofficial returns.
Whalen, a public finance attorney, led all four candidates followed by Dicterow, an estate planning attorney; Rollinger, a 29-year city clerk; and Mancuso, founder and president of the nonprofit Social Compassion in Legislation.
Whalen and Dicterow will join Kelly Boyd, Toni Iseman and Robert Zur Schmiede on the five-member council.
When told of early results that had the pair leading, Whalen, at election night party at [seven-degrees] in Laguna, said, “If that holds true, I’m very pleased. It’s early in the night, but hopefully it holds true. And I’m very interested in Measure KK and LL.”
Candidates persevered through eight forums, including sessions centered on Laguna Canyon and the arts. During the kickoff forum organized by Village Laguna in August, candidates weighed in on a variety of issues, including the city hiring outside consultants and whether affordable housing in Laguna is a pipe dream or a feasible reality going forward.
The newly elected council will face some difficult decisions in the coming months regarding development standards downtown, treatment of historic houses and the perennial dilemma of too many cars and not enough parking.
Dicterow faced public scrutiny in October when a handful of speakers at a City Council meeting accused him of withholding sources of his income on forms public officials must file with the state and questioned him about a personal bankruptcy filing in 2014.
Dicterow could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday night.
In the race for city treasurer, incumbent Laura Parisi beat challenger Anne McGraw, a bookkeeper.
In final returns, Measure KK, a citizens initiative that would repeal the city’s current ban on medical marijuana dispensaries, was defeated, with 7,182 no votes to 2,889 yes votes.
Measure LL, which raises the tax hotels charge guests by 2% to help pay for services such as public safety and utility undergrounding, won with 7,749 yes votes to 2,059 no votes with all precincts reporting.