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Historic Preservation Ordinance hearing moved again

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The Historic Preservation Ordinance hearing has been moved again, this time to 1 p.m., Saturday, Sept 29, to avoid conflict with Yom Kippur.

City Manager John Pietig was directed at Tuesday’s council meeting to find a date with no conflicts between Sept 18 and Oct 30. 

“The conflict was brought to our attention a couple of days earlier,” said Community Development Director Greg Pfost on Thursday. “When we scheduled the date we were not thinking of Yom Kippur.” 

However, on Tuesday, Village Laguna President Johanna Felder raised the issue during the Public Comment Period of the council meeting. 

She said the attorney hired by the Laguna Beach Preservation Coalition could not attend because of Yom Kippur.

Mayor Kelly Boyd said he had checked with Councilman Steve Dicterow, a practicing Jew, if the hearing would be problem.

Dicterow said he had checked with his rabbi and was told that civic duty took priority over the holiday.

“I think there would definitely be mixed responses from the rabbis in the area,” said Councilwoman Toni Iseman on Thursday.

Felder noted that the meeting date had been changed from the original date of Sept 11th to the 18th at the request of Boyd, because he was scheduled for a medical procedure and would not be available on the earlier date. 

Pietig said the council would have a good couple of hours on the 18th to conduct the hearing before Yom Kippur began that evening and recommended sticking to the schedule. 

He said staff had done everything it could to accommodate the community and the people on the Preservation Ordinance Task Force, who could not move forward until the council gave them direction. Putting off the hearing delayed any task force action. 

“This is not in the spirit of Laguna Beach,” said Iseman. “I feel it discriminates against an element of the community.”

Pietig took exception to Iseman’s comment.

“I resent the implication,” he said. “That was not our intent.”

Iseman said that is how it is perceived and a new date should be selected, which Council voted 5-0 on. She suggested moving it to Oct 30.

Pietig was able to come up with a date a month earlier. 

The hearing will be broadcast live and streamed online on Saturday, Sept 29 at 1 p.m. at www.lagunabeachcity.net.


City breaks ground on the Village Entrance Project 

The City of Laguna Beach marked a milestone in its history on Tuesday, September 11 with a groundbreaking ceremony for the Village Entrance Project.  Located in the area adjacent to the intersection of Laguna Canyon Road and Forest Avenue, the Village Entrance Project focuses on enhanced pedestrian safety, improved traffic flow and new public open space.

“The Village Entrance Project will create an outstanding gateway entrance to our City while also improving safety and circulation at one of the busiest intersections and parking areas in town,” said City Manager John Pietig. 

City breaks ground work

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

(L-R) Councilmember Steve Dicterow, Councilmember Toni Iseman, Councilmember Bob Whalen, Mayor Pro Tem Rob Zur Schmiede (not pictured Mayor Kelly Boyd)

Village Entrance Project elements include wider pedestrian pathways, improved lighting, extensive landscaped planting areas, new bridges and parking lots with enhanced paving and lighting. The project will happen in four stages and break during the summer of 2019 with an expected completion by summer of 2020. 

“The path to this groundbreaking today has been a journey, but worth the wait,” said Laguna Beach Mayor Kelly Boyd. “As a City we finally have the opportunity to come together and build a beautiful, welcoming entrance to Laguna Beach that we can all be proud of. It took a while, but we did it right.”

Public parking in the lots at the project site will be available until January of 2019, when some lots will close for construction. Detailed parking information and scheduled changes can be found here. City parking permit policies will not change during construction, and the weekly Farmer’s Market will remain located in the Lumberyard Lot until spring of 2020, when it will move to the new Lot 11. 

City breaks ground map

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

The project will happen in four stages and break during the summer of 2019 with an expected completion by summer of 2020

“We wouldn’t be standing here today without the years of tireless dedication to this project by our City Council and staff,” Pietig said. “I want to thank them for all of their hard work and commitment in seeing this through for our town.”

Village Entrance Project highlights include: Wide multi-use trails made from decorative concrete and decomposed granite to create a pedestrian-friendly environment, including 52 bicycle racks. 

Also, extensive landscaping throughout the site, including the planting of 120 new trees, 9,100 new shrubs and 2,200 flats of ground cover. 

In addition, there will be upgraded decorative fencing along the drainage channel to replace the chain link fence, and also a new vehicle bridge aligned with the traffic signal at the Festival of Arts that will improve parking circulation and better separate vehicles from pedestrians and cyclists. 

City breaks ground channel

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Improvements will include upgraded decorative fencing along the drainage channel to replace the chain link fence seen here

Lastly, paved bridges, roads and new-lighted parking lots will improve safety, circulation and connectivity for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists. 

The City Council awarded the construction contract to C.S. Legacy Construction in the amount of $8,432,668. The revised project budget is $11.1 million and includes final design and all anticipated construction related costs. 

To sign up for a monthly newsletter on project activities, visit www.lagunabeachcity.net/villageentrance or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


City Manager’s Updates

Historic Preservation Ordinance Meeting Rescheduled – The Sept 18 Special City Council meeting on the City’s Historic Preservation Ordinance has been rescheduled to Saturday, Sept 29 at 1 p.m. in City Council Chambers. The purpose of this Special City Council meeting is to clarify legal requirements surrounding the City’s Historic Preservation Ordinance and provide direction to the Historic Preservation Task Force. The meeting was rescheduled to accommodate as many people as possible and encourage community participation on this important topic for Laguna Beach. 

The meeting will be broadcast live on cable channel 852 and streamed online at www.lagunabeachcity.net

City Managers Updates sign

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

The City Council will meet on Sept 29 to clarify legal requirements surrounding the City’s Historic Preservation Ordinance

City Tree Trimming – The City’s tree maintenance contractor will start the 2018/19 public tree trimming cycle on Sept 17. All palm trees, Indian laurel figs, and coral trees will be trimmed throughout the city in this trim cycle along with trees located in downtown and south of Park Avenue. All trimming is done to improve tree health, reduce potential hazards/damage, and per ANSI A300 Standard Practices. 

Questions regarding trimming should be directed to Dale Schuck at (949) 497-0735 or Robert Sedita at (949) 497-0740.

Street Resurfacing – Road construction on Laguna Canyon Frontage Rd is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept 18. During working hours of 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., parking will be restricted on Laguna Canyon Frontage Rd. The street and sidewalk will remain open for use and minor traffic delays can be anticipated. Affected businesses have been notified. 

For more information, visit the project website at www.lagunabeachcity.net/slurryseal or call (844) LAGUNA4 or (844) 524-8624.

Police Department Welcomes Two New Officers – On Friday, Sept 14 James Denevan and Kylan Peterson graduate from the Gold West Police Academy, Class #158. The City welcomes them to their team. 

September is National Preparedness Month – September marks National Preparedness Month and the City of Laguna Beach encourages its residents to get prepared. The City is breaking down the month of September into weekly tasks that will help you be more prepared. This week – make a written plan with your family so you can contact one another in an emergency. Include evacuation routes, meeting point locations, contact information should your phone not work, and other items. 

Visit www.lagunabeachcity.net/getprepared for an easy-to-use template. 

Leashed Dogs Allowed on the Beaches Until June 15 – As of Sept 11, dogs are allowed on city and county beaches all day until June 15 of next year, provided they are on a leash no longer than six feet in length. The exception is Thousand Steps Beach where per county policy dogs are not allowed throughout the year.

City Managers Updates dog

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

As of Sept 11, dogs are allowed on city and county beaches all day until June 15, 2019, with the exception of Thousand Steps Beach

Watch for Deer Crossing the Road – Watch for deer crossing roads and highways in and near the City. Cars in separate incidents hit three deer last week at different locations in Laguna Beach.    

Have You Renewed Your Shopper Permit? The old pink 2016-2018 shopper parking permits expired on July 31. If you have not already done so, make sure to get the new blue 2018-2020 shopper-parking permit. Shopper parking permits are only available for residents of Laguna Beach (proof of residency required). They cost $80 each for the first two permits and $150 each for the third and fourth (with a maximum of four permits per household). The new blue shopper parking permits are valid for two years from August 1, 2018 to July 31, 2020.

For more information including to purchase a permit online, visit www.lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/parking/parking_permits/shopper_permits.htm.

Sunset Serenades – Sunset Serenades continues this Friday at 5:30 p.m. with musical guest Jack Benny. The concert is held at the Heisler Park Amphitheater on the corner of Cliff Drive and Jasmine Street. The lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach fund this program.

Council Chamber Banner and Holiday Palette Competitions – The Arts Commission is accepting artist submissions for new banners in the City Hall Council Chambers and the annual Holiday Palette Competition. Submissions are open to Laguna Beach residents 18 years of age or older. Prospective designs must be delivered to the Cultural Arts Department, 2nd Floor City Hall, 505 Forest Ave. Deadline for submission is 5 p.m. on Oct 1. Funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach. 

For guidelines and application, visit www.lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/art/opportunities.


Political notebook banner

Council candidates outline positions at LBOR® and Chamber Forum

By MARRIE STONE and BARBARA DIAMOND

The Laguna Board of REALTORS® and the Chamber of Commerce hosted the first candidates’ forum of the 2018 election on Thursday before an involved audience in the City Council Chambers.

Candidates Peter Blake, Sue Marie Connolly, Ann Christoph, Toni Iseman, Sue Kempf, Cheryl Kinsman, Lorene Laguna, Judie Mancuso, Allison Mathews, Paul Merritt, and Rob Zur Schmiede were given two minutes for opening statements before Realtor Frank Hufnagel posed the first of five questions of consequence to the community. Elizabeth Bates announced last week that she is no longer a candidate although her name remains on the ballot, because she missed the cut-off date to have it removed. 

What would candidates do about parking in Laguna Beach?

Incumbent Zur Schmiede, nonprofit CEO Mancuso, and political volunteer Mathews recommended adding parking to ACT V. 

Businessman Merritt opposed meters at 1000 Steps Beach, concerned they would drive tourist parking into the neighborhoods, a problem incumbent Toni Iseman said could be dealt with by limiting parking in the off-highway streets to three hours and ticketing offenders.

Art Gallery owner Blake said he would dump the Village Entrance Park in favor of parking. Connolly agreed with Blake.

Landscape architect and former mayor Christoph said voters should decide about parking at the Village Entrance, which has been discussed for about 20 years, and she disagreed with Merritt about the loss of parking spaces, something the Coastal Commission would not fancy. 

Kempf recommended more peripheral parking and increasing parking rates downtown until people won’t pay the price.

Businesswoman Lorene Laguna and former mayor Cheryl Kinsman favored improved technology, such as credit card meters. 

How and why will candidates vote on the one-cent sales tax increase to fund undergrounding?

This is a major issue to be decided by a vote of the people in November. The audience included Village Laguna Elder Arnold Hano, who supports the increase and monitoring new technology, and increase opponent Jennifer Zeiter, founder of Stop Taxing Our Property (S.T.O.P). Seven of the 11 candidates agreed with Zeiter. Kempf, Connolly and both incumbents support the increase, although Iseman indicated she fears the increase will not pass.   

Council candidates meeting

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Submitted photo

Candidates speak on issues

Do candidates support the proposed updated historic preservation ordinance and believe that inclusion on the Historical Register should be voluntary for property owners?

Planning Commission hearings on the proposed ordinance have been rancorous on more than one occasion. However, as Christoph pointed out, inclusion on the Historic Register has always been voluntary. The question should have been about voluntary inclusion on the inventory, she said. 

However, all of the candidates except Christoph and Iseman favored voluntary inclusion on the Register.

Blake was applauded when he said that a structure older than 50 years does not make it historical.

A special one-issue council meeting on the proposed revised ordinance will be held on Sept 18.

What do candidates think about Laguna’s reputation as the most difficult municipality in which to build and what can be done to improve the Design Review process?

 Blake said the process is rigged to block construction. Property rights have been eroded, and he would like them restored, he said.

People ought to be able to remodel their homes, according to Connolly.

Christoph supports the Design Review process as protection for applicants and neighbors. She does believe that preparing for a hearing is onerous, difficult and time consuming. Merritt agreed it takes too long to get a project built. And it’s too expensive, added Mathews. 

Kempf said the expenses before getting to a hearing are one of the biggest complaints. 

Lorene Laguna was hearing the same thing. One of her neighbors spent $80,000 before a spade touched the ground or a nail was hammered.

The process needs to be simplified, said Kinsman.

Mancuso said the process is dysfunctional. She supports term limits for members of city boards and commissions. 

Blame the city, not the board, said Iseman. She believes there is too much development going on in the city.

How would candidates handle the homeless of Laguna Beach? 

Lorene Laguna recommended enacting a panhandling ordinance. 

Kinsman and Blake said put more boots on the ground. However, Blake is not optimistic about stopping the problem, which he said is ruining downtown.

Zur Schmiede and Mancuso want surrounding cities to step up to the plate. Zur Schmiede said Laguna will benefit from legislation that requires surrounding cities to provide shelter beds. There is money available at the state, county and federal level for homeless projects, according to Mancuso. Kempf recommended creating a housing trust to build permanent supportive housing on county land. 

Merritt however, opposes seeking grants. He said they are trapdoors leading to condos and apartments for meth and heroin addicts.

Mathews, who volunteered to work with the homeless before moving to Laguna three years ago, agreed addiction is a problem, but the veterans with PTSD must be helped. “We owe them,” she said.

Iseman suggested finding shelters in other cities. Connolly said the city should send the homeless to Costa Mesa.

Christoph prefers working with the county to find housing. 

The forum concluded with closing statements 

Blake: “Village Laguna stands in the way of this town becoming special. Look at the candidates in their pockets. Vote for a change.”

Iseman: “I shop online at Christmas. Why? It’s easier. Make shopping in town easier and residents will shop here. Wrapped and ready to mail in town would make it easier to get over the Amazon habit.”

Mathews: She wants transparency, vibrancy and livability in town. She doesn’t like the fact that the city’s firefighters and police officers cannot afford to live in Laguna.

Merritt: He agrees with Mathews. “It is impossible for people who work in town to live here,” he said. He supports undergrounding, but wants to find another way to fund it.

Mancuso: “Unfinished business never gets finished,” she said. “That’s my goal.”

Zur Schmiede: “The council is a nonpartisan body and should stay that way…it is easy to take shots at a council that works hard, without knowing what that council is up against.”

Kinsman: “I am here for one reason. Money. I don’t want to leave my sons in debt.”

Lorene Laguna: She supports town hall forums, so residents can talk and interface with elected officials. She also opined that the community must guard against spending on consultants without review.

City Council Candidate Forums: One down, six to go

Remaining forums include:

Police and Firefighters Employee Associations: 6 p.m., Friday, Sept 14 at Top of the World Elementary School

Village Laguna: 7 p.m., Monday, Sept 17 in City Council Chambers

Laguna Beach Arts Alliance: 9 a.m., Saturday, Sept 29 at Laguna Playhouse

Stu News Laguna and KX 93.5: 5 p.m. reception – 6 p.m. forum, Tuesday, Oct 2 at The Woman’s Club

Laguna Beach Seniors and League of Women Voters: 6 p.m., Monday, Oct 8 at the Third Street Centers

Bill Fried’s radio show on KX 93.5: 6 to 8 p.m., Thursday, Oct 11


City Manager’s Updates

City Managers Updates building

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

The City Manager has released this week’s updates

Orange County Health Care Agency Outreach and Engagement Team – Once again, the Police Department has partnered with Orange County Health Care Agency, and beginning next week, two days a week, two Outreach and Engagement Officers will work in collaboration with our Police Community Outreach Officers to follow up with the homeless population in Laguna Beach. This team will be in addition to the clinician that already works with the Outreach Officers two days a week, giving support now four days a week.

Upcoming Remembrance Ceremony – This year’s City Remembrance Ceremony marks the fifth anniversary of Police Officer Jon Coutchie’s End of Watch. City employees, family, friends and members of the community are encouraged to attend the event to remember the sacrifice of the Police Department’s two fallen officers. The ceremony will take place outside of the Laguna Beach Police Department in front of the Eternal Legacy memorial beginning at 5:30 p.m. on September 21. Refreshments will immediately follow the event. 

Learn More About the Village Entrance Project - You’ve heard a lot about it, but what exactly is the Village Entrance Project, and where is it going to be located? The project will be located near downtown in the area adjacent to the intersection of Laguna Canyon Road and Forest Avenue and focuses on enhanced pedestrian safety, improved traffic flow and new public open space. 

Watch the City’s Village Entrance Project overview video and learn more about the project at www.lagunabeachcity.net/villageentrance. In addition, the City of Laguna Beach would like to invite the community to a groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday, Sept 11 at 4 p.m. for the Village Entrance project. The ceremony will be held near Lot 10 at 725 Laguna Canyon Road. Refreshments will be served. 

Contact Lou Kneip at (949) 464-6688 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with questions.

September is National Preparedness Month – September marks National Preparedness Month and the City of Laguna Beach encourages its residents to get prepared. The City is breaking down the month of September into weekly tasks that will help you be more prepared. This week – stay informed by registering your cell phone numbers, text numbers, and email addresses with AlertOC at www.alertoc.com. AlertOC is Orange County’s Emergency Notification System which sends geo-targeted emergency notifications to impacted areas. Additionally, register for Nixle, the City’s community notification system used to alert residents for localized situations and relevant community advisories. 

Text 92651 to 888-777 to enroll in Nixle. Sign up for AlertOC and Nixle, they’re free and the best way to stay informed in an emergency!

City Managers Updates Fire

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Residents are encouraged to be prepared for an emergency with The City’s important tips

Dorn Court Storm Drain Improvements - On September 10, construction work to improve the storm drain system on Dorn Court will begin. Minor traffic delays and parking impacts can be expected during working hours of 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of November 2018. 

Contact Tri Nguyen at (949) 497-0741 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with questions.

9-11 Day of Remembrance – On Tuesday, Sept 11 beginning at 8 a.m. at Monument Point in Heisler Park, the City will host a ceremony to honor the 2,980 individuals whose lives were lost at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The ceremony will conclude at 9:10 a.m.

Calls for Artists – The Arts Commission is currently accepting submissions for Juried Fine Art and Children’s Holiday Palette Exhibitions as well as their Council Chamber Banner and Holiday Palette Competitions. 

Guidelines and entry forms are available via the “Calls for Artists” page at http://lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/art. The lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach fund these programs. 

  Arts Marketing Workshop – On Friday, Oct 5 the Arts Commission in partnership with National Arts Marketing Project will be holding a free arts marketing workshop for artists. The workshop, “The Art of Relevance,” will be led by Art Marketing Project founder Cindy Sherman and funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach. 

For information and registration visit https://lagunabeachart.eventbrite.com.

Artist Work Live Assessment – If you are an artist or work in a creative industry, the City needs your input. Please take the brief survey being conducted in partnership with Artspace at www.artspace.org/CreativeSpaceLaguna. The lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach fund this assessment.

City Receives Emergency Services Gold Award – Did you know? The California Emergency Services Association awarded the City of Laguna Beach the California Emergency Services Association Gold Award for outstanding service in Emergency Management. Emergency Operations Coordinator Jordan Villwock’ s work in the area of creating both shelter and evacuation plans is what prompted the City of Aliso Viejo to nominate the City for the award. Villwock will receive the award at the CESA Annual Emergency Management Training and Conference this month.

Free Car Seat Safety Event – The Laguna Beach Police Department, in partnership with “National Child Safety Passenger Week,” will be offering free car seat inspections by certified technicians in front of the police station, on Saturday, Sept 8 and again on Saturday, Sept 22 from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. The appointments are in 30-minute increments, so schedule your appointment soon. 

To reserve an appointment, contact Debi Jensen at (949) 497-0396 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Southern California Edison Pole Replacements on Glenneyre Street – On Tuesday, Sept 11 between 9:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., and on Wednesday, Sept 12 between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Southern California Edison (SCE) will be replacing utility poles at 660 and 634 Glenneyre Street. On Tuesday, the work will require that Los Olivos be closed between Glenneyre Street and Goff Street. On Wednesday, the work will require that El Camino del Mar be closed between Glenneyre Street and Goff Street. On both days, the northbound and southbound lanes in Glenneyre Street will be reduced to one lane in each direction approximately from St. Ann’s Drive to Legion Street. 

For questions or concerns, contact SCE at (949) 458-4562.

Southern California Edison Pole Replacements on Laguna Canyon Road – On Thursday, Sept 13 through Friday, Sept 14 between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m., SCE will be replacing two utility poles located at Laguna Canyon Road, between El Toro Road and the SR-73 toll road. The work will require that the northbound lane closest to the shoulder of Laguna Canyon Road be closed from approximately 1,900 feet south of the SR-73 toll road to the toll road.

For questions or concerns, contact Mike Thomas, Field Construction Supervisor with Pro Energy Services, Inc. at (949) 302-4978.


City Manager’s Updates

Village Entrance Groundbreaking Ceremony – The City of Laguna Beach invites the community to a ground-breaking ceremony on Tuesday, Sept 11 at 4 p.m. for the Village Entrance project. The ceremony will be held near Lot 10 at 725 Laguna Canyon Road. Refreshments will be served. Project information is available at http://lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/pw/village_entrance_project.

For questions, contact Lou Kneip at (949) 464-6688 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Pedestrian Safety Improvements at Brooks Street Crosswalk – On September 10, a Caltrans contractor will begin installing flashing beacons and in-road lights to improve pedestrian safety crosswalk visibility on S Coast Highway at the intersection of Brooks Street. Minor traffic delays can be expected during lane closure hours between 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. The work is scheduled to be completed by the end of November 2018. 

For more information, contact the Caltrans representative, Oussama Issa, at (949) 936-3593.

Labor Day Holiday Trash Collection Schedule – In observation of the Labor Day holiday on Monday, Sept 3, trash and recycle collection will be delayed by one day for the entire week. All residents should place their carts out for collection on the day after their regular trash collection day.

Labor Day Transit Schedule – The Laguna Beach Transit will be running special hours this Labor Day. Neighborhood Transit Service (Top of the World, Bluebird Canyon, Arch Beach Heights) will run from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. There will be no service to North Laguna and South Laguna neighborhoods. Transit will also be running service to the Coastal and Canyon routes from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.  For more information, go to www.lagunabeachcity.net/trolley or call (949) 497-0766.

Southern California Edison Pole Replacement – On Friday, Aug 31, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Southern California Edison (SCE) will be conducting utility pole work at 952 Bluebird Canyon Drive and replacing a utility pole at 968 Bluebird Canyon Drive. The parking lane of the southbound lane of Bluebird Canyon Drive will be closed in the vicinity of the work. 

For questions or concerns, contact Jeff Volpe, Construction Coordinator with SCE at (949) 632-0995.

Southern California Edison Pole Replacement – On Tuesday, Sept 4, between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m., Southern California Edison (SCE) will be replacing a utility pole at 408 Monterey Drive located at the Monterey Drive/Jasmine Street intersection. The pedestrian walkway and bike lane on Monterey Drive will be closed from Jasmine Street northward to the alley located behind 408 Monterey Drive. 

For questions or concerns, contact Alfred Fuentes, Construction Coordinator with Pro Energy Services, Inc. at (909) 518-5676.

Southern California Edison Equipment Upgrade – On Wednesday, Sept 5, through Thursday, Sept 6, between 11 p.m. and 5:30 a.m., Southern California Edison (SCE) will be replacing equipment in an SCE vault at 299 Ocean Avenue. To complete this work, the southbound lane of Ocean Avenue will be closed from the Beach Street intersection to approximately 175 feet south. This replacement work will require a power outage in the downtown area which will affect many of the properties between Broadway Street and Forest Avenue, and between S Coast Highway and Forest Avenue.  Since not all the properties in this area will be affected by the outage, SCE will be sending out notifications to only those properties who will be affected.  For questions or concerns, contact Steve Hoffman, SCE Planner at (949) 458-4452.

Ask Laguna – Did you know? Ask Laguna is a service the City offers as a way for residents and visitors to report concerns and make service requests to the City. It’s fast, free, and the easiest way to communicate directly with City Hall. You can access Ask Laguna via the easy-to-remember link of www.lagunabeachcity.net/asklaguna. To report an emergency or immediate safety concern, please call 9-1-1.

Electric Lawn Mower Rebate – Did you know? The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) offers a year-round Electric Lawn Mower Rebate Program for residents of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Residents can purchase a new, cordless electric lawnmower, scrap their old gas mower and receive a rebate check based on the purchase price of their new mower.  Help improve air quality by participating in the electric Lawnmower Rebate Program. The on-line application is available at www.aqmd.gov/lawnmower. For more information, call (888) 425-6247 (Tuesday - Friday).

Emergency Alert System Test – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) on September 20. The WEA portion of the test starts at 11:18 a.m. PST and the EAS portion follows at 11:20 a.m. PST. The WEA test message will be sent to cell phones and uses special tones and vibrations. The EAS test is scheduled to last approximately one minute and is made available to EAS participants including radio and television broadcasters. Both systems are developed to keep you informed in the event of an emergency. No action is required from residents as part of the tests.

Sunset Serenades – Sunset Serenades starts Friday, Sept 7 at 5:30 p.m. with jazz vocalist Valerie Geason. Enjoy an evening of free live music at the Heisler Park Amphitheater on the corner of Cliff Drive and Jasmine Street. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

Juried Fine Art Exhibition Juror – The City of Laguna Beach Arts Commission has approved Heather Bowling, Director of the City of Brea Art Gallery, as the guest juror for the 2018 Juried Fine Art Exhibition at City Hall. The deadline for artwork submission is September 8. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach. Apply online at https://lagunabeachcity.slideroom.com

Cultural Arts Calendar – The 2018 Fall edition of the Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Calendar is now available. The calendar features arts related events and opportunities for September, October and November 2018. A digital version is available online at www.lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/art/default. This is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.


City adopts resolution in hopes of gaining significant State monies to help with shelter funding

At Tuesday’s meeting, the City Council voted to adopt the Resolution as follows: “A resolution…declaring a shelter crises (sic) pursuant to SB 850 (Chapter 48 Statutes of 2018 and Government Code §8698.2) required by the State of California in order to be eligible to receive funding from the Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP).”

Prior to the vote, Mike Morris spoke of his frustration at the negativity he has seen on the Nextdoor website about homeless challenges and the efforts of the City to find solutions. 

Morris noted that the rhetoric on the site was all about “…getting tough on the homeless, and yes, we need to get tough on the problem, but we need [mostly] to be tough on neighboring cities and the County, who aren’t doing their fair share – they’re the ultimate NIMBYs when it comes to funding, locations, and housing.”

Not everyone was thrilled about the prospective adoption of this resolution, despite the significant funding its approval could bring to the City’s coffers from State funds.

Paul Merritt expressed the concern that as a result of this Resolution, the Canyon would potentially become the “next dumping ground” for the homeless population and that these people would then be there permanently. “It opens up a trapdoor of [potential] problems,” he added. “Where will the City put the permanent housing?” 

Location of future permanent housing is at issue

City Manager John Pietig responded that that he had been assured by Judge David O Carter that Laguna had met its commitment and that the onus for providing permanent housing would land on the shoulders of neighboring cities and the County.

“Friendship Shelter has [placed] 100 people in permanent housing – outside Laguna Beach,” Pietig noted. “That’s the approach we are supporting. Adopting this resolution means that we’ll get more money for what we are already doing – it’s not fair for our community to have to pay.”

Mayor Pro Tem Rob Zur Schmiede made the point that if all OC cities agreed to build 45-bed shelters – similar to Laguna’s Alternative Sleeping Location (ASL), “It would ease the burden on Laguna Beach. That’s what this Resolution is about, getting the other cities to step up,” he said.

All who voiced their opinions agreed that it was a complex problem. 

Councilmember Dicterow made the point that residents need to appreciate that the City Council makes decisions “in the context of a legal environment” and to ignore this fact could risk lawsuits “in the tens of millions of dollars.”

“It’s a complex issue,” Zur Schmiede concluded. “But I’m optimistic about what will come out of Judge Carter’s courtroom.”


City recognizes graffiti warrior Keith Kesler with the title of Honorary Graffiti Removal Ambassador

By DIANNE RUSSELL

On Tuesday, the City Council honored Keith Kesler for his tireless work fighting graffiti throughout the town. In his short, but productive career in this field, Kesler has taken down over 1,500 tags on local public property. This teacher in the Communications Department at California State University at Fullerton, husband, and father of five, became a graffiti-fighter just over a year ago.

“I had to do something about it,” he says. “I started seeing the stuff everywhere, so I got some Goof Off spray, then took pictures and sent them to the City.” 

And, evidently, his work never ceases. The day of the Council meeting, Kesler erased more of the infamous Feral’s work.

City recognizes presentation

Click on photo for larger image

Photo by Dianne Russell

(L-R) Dale Shuck, Keith Kesler, Wayne Chintala

During the City Council Meeting, Maintenance Supervisor of Public Works, Wayne Chintala, and Deputy Director of Public Works, Dale Shuck, commemorated the occasion with gifts. Shuck presented Kesler with a City Worker hat and a T-Shirt naming him (in a newly created position) the Honorary Graffiti Removal Ambassador. Chintala gave Kesler a bucket containing more supplies to complete his tasks.

City recognizes with shirt

Click on photo for larger image

Photo by Shirlyn Kesler

Ready to continue his war against graffiti, Kesler dons his official gear

Until June, he waged an unknown battle against tagging, however, with this recognition by the City, he officially has been honored twice. On June 21 at The Laguna Beach Beautification Council (LBBC) Awards, Kesler was presented with the “Harry Lawrence Award” for his selfless work on graffiti removal throughout Laguna Beach.

“I’ve hated graffiti for years,” says Kesler, a 30-year Laguna resident, who lives in Bluebird Canyon. One day while on a route he frequents, either walking his dog or exercising (north to Heisler Park or south to Aliso Creek), he decided to take action.

And Laguna is certainly glad he did.


City Manager’s Updates

Street Resurfacing – Construction will begin next week to repair and resurface roadways in the Laguna Canyon area and the area bounded by Thalia Street, Temple Terrace, Cress Street and the Coast. Preliminary construction notices have been mailed to affected residents. Preparatory and repair work will continue through September, with slurry seal resurfacing to follow in October. The project is expected to be completed in November. For more information, please visit the project website at www.lagunabeachcity.net/slurryseal or call (844) LAGUNA4 or (844) 524-8624.

Fire Department Staffing Update – After 27 days working up north at the Mendocino Fire Complex, fire engines LB 1 and OES 313 are returning to Laguna Beach on Thursday, Aug 23. The initial crews worked a 14-day assignment from July 27 until August 8 when they were replaced by a fresh new crew. Laguna Engine 302 returned to Laguna Beach on Wednesday, Aug 22, after a 17-day assignment to the Mendocino Complex. 

Backpack Giveaway – On Friday, Aug 24, approximately 20 children from the Boys and Girls Club will make their way to the Laguna Beach Police Department for a special field trip where they will receive backpacks filled with school supplies to kick off the school year. The Laguna Beach Police Department has partnered with the Purist Group to make this backpack event possible. Members of the Laguna Beach Police Department will be waiting at the police station for the kids to arrive at 1:30 p.m. They are in for a real treat! There will be a snow cone station, vehicle display, and tours. Backpacks are filled with crayons, pencils, notebooks, and other supplies.

Literary Laureate Playwriting Class – Every Friday from October 5 through November 9, from 1 to 3 p.m., Laguna Beach Literary Laureate Lojo Simon will be teaching a free course in short-form playwriting at the Laguna Beach Community and Susi Q Center, 380 Third Street. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach. Class size is limited. Register online at https://secure.rec1.com/CA/city-of-laguna-beach/catalog/index.

Arts Marketing Workshop – On Friday, Oct 5, the Arts Commission in partnership with National Arts Marketing Project will be holding a free arts marketing workshop. The workshop “The Art of Relevance” will be led by Art Marketing Project founder Cindy Sherman. It is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach. For information and registration, visit https://lagunabeachart.eventbrite.com.

Alta Laguna Pickleball Courts – Alta Laguna Park now has a pilot pickleball program with two pickleball courts available for play every Sunday through Friday from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Open group pickleball play is encouraged for this social sport. The court will continue to be used for tennis during the other open hours. Please call Alexis Braun, Senior Recreation Supervisor with any questions at (949) 497-0762.


City Manager’s Updates

Pearl Street Beach Access Closure – Unusually low sand levels have prompted the closure of the beach access stairway at Pearl Street. Beachgoers are being re-directed to Woods Cove, where sand levels are normal. The stairway will be re-opened as soon as a sufficient amount of sand returns to Pearl Street beach.

Free Public Lecture Series on Proposed Aliso Creek Estuary Project – The City of Laguna Beach announces a free public lecture at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug 30, regarding proposals for an estuary restoration project at Aliso Creek and its implications for the future. The lecture will be held in the Community Room at the Laguna Beach Community Center at 380 Third Street.

The proposed restoration project will be presented by Laguna Ocean Foundation Project Lead Coordinator Ed Almanza, who will be introduced by Laguna Beach Mayor Pro Tem Rob Zur Schmiede. The Foundation received a grant from the California Coastal Conservancy to develop a Conceptual Restoration Plan to return the Aliso Creek estuary to a healthy ecosystem. The presentation will include slides and videos to describe the local and regionally significant benefits of the restoration project. This lecture is the third of four in a series of educational events presented by the City’s Environmental Sustainability Committee.

For more information, contact Environmental Specialist Mike Phillips at (949) 497-0390.

Art Inspired Writing Winners and Author Event – Congratulations to Ellen Kempler and Theresa Keegan on having their work selected as the winners of the City’s Literary Laureate’s Art Inspired Writing Competition! Their work will be on public display at City Hall near the first-floor elevator through September. In addition, the public is invited to attend a special Author Event on Thursday, Aug 30, from 6 to 8 p.m., at the Laguna Beach Community and Susi Q Center, 380 Third Street, where over thirty contributing authors will present their pieces. An anthology of competition entries has been published and will be available for purchase. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

LPAPA at City Hall – The Laguna Plein Air Painters Association is currently exhibiting work at City Hall, 505 Forest Ave, through October 4. Stop by and experience more than 50 stunning works by local artists. This exhibition is free and open to the public during normal City Hall business hours.

Calls for Artists – The Arts Commission is currently accepting submissions for their Juried Fine Art and Children’s Holiday Palette Exhibitions as well as their Council Chamber Banner and Holiday Palette Competitions. Guidelines and entry forms are available via the “Calls for Artists” page at http://lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/art. These arts opportunities are funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

For more information contact Arts Programs Coordinator Mike McGregor at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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