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Letters to the Editor

Alex is someone Laguna Beach needs

It would be a missed opportunity for Laguna Beach if Alex Rounaghi is not elected this November. 

It is infrequent that a political candidate, regardless of age, is so well-equipped for public office as Alex. As a policy advisor for Supervisor Katrina Foley, he has advanced initiatives like an innovative Fly Friendly program to reduce noise and pollution from John Wayne Airport, cracked down on illegal sober living home operators and conducted oversight over the county’s $8+ billion-dollar budget. He has also served on two Laguna Beach City Council committees – Parking & Traffic and Housing & Human Services – so he knows how our town operates in a way many people who run for office do not. 

Alex has received an incredible amount of endorsements (the only candidate endorsed by both our Police and Firefighters) because he is capable of effective political leadership. He has the patience and perseverance to accomplish the trying work of negotiation and governance. He has both a strong viewpoint and the capacity to hear other opinions. And his integrity is exceptional. 

I would like to add my name to his list of supporters. 

Kristin Winter

Laguna Beach

Orgill would bring qualities that our City Council needs

I’m writing to ask voters to join me in supporting Mark Orgill for Laguna Beach City Council. If you don’t know Mark personally, you probably do know Seven Degrees, one of his many contributions to our community.

Mark and I served together on the Board of Directors of the Laguna Beach Community Clinic for a number of years. I know from that time, particularly the years he served as Board President, the incredible depth of his knowledge about city planning. Along with strong leadership skills, and a belief in listening, civility and treating people with kindness, Mark brings a deliberative quality and collaborative attitude to everything he does. What a perfect addition he would be to our City Council. 

Mark Orgill and his wife, Dora, have been Laguna Beach locals since 1984. His work ethic took hold at age 14, painting houses in his hometown of Upland. Eventually his interests led him to boutique real estate development, construction and operations, and developing businesses that reflect his passion for creative spaces, innovative design and novel programs.

In addition to Seven Degrees, the special events, exhibitions and artist work-live space in Laguna Canyon, his local projects include Another Kind Vietnamese café; LCAD student housing; and Sunset Cove Villas, an eight-unit oceanfront vacation venue.

Mark is running for City Council because he believes the city has current challenges that can be better managed and overcome with a plan, and with more civility. I have no doubt electing him, Mark Orgill would positively influence the direction of the Laguna Beach political conversation. As he notes on his website: “In my business ventures, in philanthropy, and in my non-profit volunteer work, I’ve found that the crucial starting point is listening, and then take to heart what you hear. Everything else becomes relatively easy after that.”

Marion Jacobs, Ph.D.

Laguna Beach

Negative ads don’t have a place in Laguna Beach politics

I don’t recall ever writing a letter to the editor about city politics before, but I just received in the mail the latest attack ad against Ruben Flores in support of Peter Blake and I am moved to absolute fury! These ads are paid for by Laguna 2022, a PAC recently formed by cronies of Peter Blake: Sam Goldstein, Michael Ray and Cindy Shopoff. 

Please, voters of Laguna Beach, do not condone such behavior. We can agree to disagree on the issues facing our community, but to stoop to such attack ads and nastiness is reprehensible. Follow the money and ask yourself what these financial backers believe they’ll gain by supporting Peter Blake and denigrating another candidate? Why have we allowed big money and outside interests to take over our election? 

I don’t care who you vote for, but please, don’t vote for Peter Blake and reward such contemptible actions. We are better than that. WE ARE BETTER THAN THAT, AREN'T WE?

Peggie Thomas

Laguna Beach

Confused as to how community association endorses issue without full community support

How is it that the Laguna Residents First lists on their Yes on Measure Q Endorsements, the Temple Hills Community Association (THC)? Wouldn’t the THC need full approval from its members in order to do that? They are giving their support to Measure Q, without knowing how all of the THC feels about the Measure? It is evident by the signs which you see just driving up Temple Hills Drive, reflecting both views. 

John Benecke

Laguna Beach

Does Judie Mancuso support strengthening our CA laws against Prop 47 and AB 109?

California’s crime is out of control. The rampant shootings, gang violence, assaults, flash mobs and looting are a direct result of the soft on crime laws that our legislature has put in place. Meanwhile, Judie Mancuso remains silent on Prop 47, AB 109 and a litany of other laws that have increased crime in our state to the likes we haven’t seen for decades. Now she wants to be our Assemblywoman! 

Judie’s silence on the issue tells us everything we need to know about where she stands. 

Jennifer Zeiter 

Laguna Beach

Our Village neighborhood is No on Q

We all know that Laguna has an excellent and talented staff that understands complex zoning, planning and coastal commission issues. The city has steadily rejected projects and passed ordinances to prevent the massive projects that disturb us all. 

We the Voters should not make complicated development and use decisions. Ballot measures will curb the revitalization of Laguna’s unused properties so important to keep Laguna vibrant! 

We must keep small businesses. Small business is hard enough! The cumbersome process for a small or startup business will be worse or impossible with the restrictions of Measure Q looming over an applicant.

Rather than a complicated vote, the way to “weigh in” is to participate. Let committee and councilmembers know our opinions and then participate at all levels of the community whenever we can.

Think about unintended consequences. The inherent conflicts, complications and unknowns make us opposed to Measure Q.

Join us and NO on Q.

Michelle Harper

Barb Bowler

Laura Lee 

Nora Cunningham

Jim Cunningham

Sandee Spencer

Carol Morgan

Linda Humes 

Local women’s group stands with those being persecuted in Iran

AAUW Laguna Beach stands in solidarity with the courageous women and girls and their allies in Iran, who are being subjected to a violent crackdown by authorities for demanding an end to the systemic persecution of women. Sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini in the hands of the “morality police,” protests have erupted across the country, in what has been labeled a “feminist revolution.” The protestors’ rallying cry, “Women, Life, Freedom!,” resonates with our mission of advancing gender equity, and it is incumbent upon us to amplify their voices.

Alison King, 

Representative for American Association of University Women

Laguna Beach

It will take more than wine to get residents to vote for Measure Q

A few days ago, I had the opportunity to read the invitation that was being sent around to folks to learn more about Proposition Q (we all know that these little PACs being formed are tentacles of Village Laguna) in North Laguna. 

What really astounded me was the fact that wine was going to be offered. So typical of Village Laguna and its little teams – ply people with alcohol, make them laugh, are one their oldest ploys to try to get their issues approved on Election Day. All it creates is money being used to hire consultants – no decisions are ever made. 

Their Proposition Q is a flimsy attempt to put Laguna Beach back into the early 19th/20th century mode. Those folks who live and own business in Laguna would be hampered by at least two years in the span of their project – costing so much more than necessary. There are many benchmarks for any project to get done in our town that this would limit the expanse of a project in any way. 

We will not become a town of high rises – we all want our views of the ocean (well the trees that Village Laguna wants to plant might block those views) and have many ways of protecting this view. 

The Coastal Commission is in alignment with minimizing the effects of building as well as the various committees that are in place in our bylaws. 

Their Proposition Q is a flimsy attempt to halt any modernization or bring in new business. So many businesses have closed and our buildings have been sitting around.

We need to do this. Spend money effectively and enjoy the beauty of our location and all that makes Laguna unique. 

Proposition Q stops all of this and will only create more divisiveness amongst us. Wine won’t solve these issues. We need to look at everything with a clear vision and having a party doesn’t mean that. 

Ganka Brown

Laguna Beach

Flyer attacking Ruben Flores is shameful

When we moved from Boston to Laguna Beach 22 years ago, we chose Laguna not only because we appreciated its beauty and coastline. We also loved the way it embraced diversity. No matter your financial status, your age, your political or sexual persuasion, you were given a warm welcome and treated with respect.

We have watched with dismay in recent years as one of our city councilors, Peter Blake, has trampled those values to the ground. His abusive behavior towards anyone who challenges him – whether they be another city councilor, representative of a community organization or just a concerned resident – has been shameful. His vile slurs and attacks have not diminished – and in fact have increased – despite censures and pleas for more civil behavior. 

Today, we received in the mail a flyer paid for by Political Action Committee Laguna 2022, which supports Peter Blake. While he may not have paid for this flyer, Peter Blake’s vilifying behavior towards others has created the climate in which this type of campaign material is used. 

This reprehensible flyer smeared City Council candidate Ruben Flores in an absolutely disgraceful way. It was not a thoughtful piece pointing out policy disagreements. Instead, it used photos and innuendos designed to malign Flores’ personal reputation. These tactics frighteningly remind us of those utilized by the Nazis to demonize Jews and homosexuals.

For us, this was the “tipping point” that has caused us to speak out. Not to PAC Laguna 2022 or to Peter Blake. He has stated clearly that he is proud, not ashamed of being a bully. He would derisively laugh off the suggestion that he resign immediately because he is not fit to represent the residents of Laguna Beach.

Instead, it is up to us, those who love Laguna and have respect for our fellow residents, whether they share all our beliefs or not, to say, “enough is enough” and vote Peter Blake out of office. Choose whichever other City Council candidates you prefer. But we must not allow Peter Blake’s alarming public humiliation and intimidation of others to continue to dangerously poison the environment in which we are so fortunate to live.

John (Chimo) and Diane Arnold

Laguna Beach


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