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Armand Daniel Begay

October 3, 1990 – November 27, 2022

Obituary Armand Daniel Begay portrait

Photos courtesy of Matthew Karam

Armand Daniel Begay

Angels in heaven, blow your horns!

It is with great sadness that the family of Armand Daniel Begay announces his sudden passing on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022 at the age of 32.

Armand was born on October 3, 1990 to David and Veronica Begay. He was raised in Laguna Beach, Calif. and was an alumnus of Laguna Beach High School. He played football, volleyball and track, and was nominated as the pep commissioner by his senior class, leading the school in pep rallies with his boundless celebratory energy.

He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Finance at Long Beach State University. With his education and experience, he helped individuals with financial services such as reverse mortgage, credit repair and mortgage lending.

He was a huge sports fan. His favorite teams included the Philadelphia Eagles, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Lakers. He knew the names of players, stats and anything related to sports. He even coached a boys basketball team at the local Boys & Girls Club.

Armand was a LOUD person. Whether at work, home, recreation, or with passersby, he was always able to engage in stimulating conversation, leaving a lasting impression on each person, with his big laugh and beaming smile. Cleverly and humorously guiding the conversation, he would inspire happiness, laughter, hope, help and words of encouragement to all he encountered. He was the best friend, the coolest brother and the most loving son. He always did things Armand’s way and succeeded in all of his seemingly impossible ventures. He dedicated his life to family and friends, making sure we were all supported in whatever we did, and that we never felt anything other than love.

Armand sacrificed more than we will ever know, always putting others first, taking the time to listen and offer support to his family and friends. His name means “Soldier,” and he truly was a protector and provided strength and support to all of his loved ones.

Obituary Armand Daniel Begay outdoors

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Armand enjoying the great outdoors

The warmth, happiness and humor that Armand brought into our lives cannot be overstated. He was funny, outgoing, creative and adventurous. Always getting into nature, going on hikes, jumping into any body of water he could find – lakes, rivers, the ocean. He loved dancing like no one was watching, either at home with a few friends or at the many concerts and festivals he attended. His comedic humor and high energy were contagious. He was the life of the party, and celebrated every day, never letting anything get him down or hinder his spirit.

He will be lovingly remembered by his older brother, Jonathan, his younger sister, Angelique, his extended family in Arizona and Mexico, and the endless list of friends he made across the country.

The world is a little less bright without Armand here with us, but we know heaven has gained an angel, and he will be with us always in our memories and the endless stories we will continue to share forever.

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Letters to the Editor

Gelson’s exemplifies the true meaning of Thanksgiving!

I was recently approached by John, the manager of Vista Aliso Senior Housing here in Laguna Beach, to help serve Thanksgiving dinner to the seniors who would otherwise be alone that day. Gelson’s provided their already prepared turkey and ham. The residents of the community each brought a side dish to accompany the meal. The tables and decorations were beautifully set up by Margaret. The residents and friends all commented on how they were so thankful for such a lovely time!

Sharon Ashauer 

Laguna Beach

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Guest Letter

Guisou Mahmoud, M.D., FACEP

Providence Mission Hospital

Tips for avoiding injuries and staying healthy this holiday season

Guest Letter Guisou Mahmoud

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Courtesy of Providence Mission Hospital

Guisou Mahmoud, M.D., FACEP

The holidays are already in full swing – and many of us are starting to decorate and plan holiday celebrations. We want our community to experience the joys of the season safely with less fear and more holiday cheer! 

Take extra caution this holiday season when decorating and cooking to avoid injury. And, if you’re feeling sick, make sure to wash your hands and stay away from large holiday gatherings. Here are some tips to stay safe and healthy this holiday season: 

Use a Sturdy Ladder: Make sure that your ladder is sturdy before stepping on it to put up holiday lights or decorations. Check that all of the screws, bolts and hinges are tight and look for any loose or damaged rungs, steps, side rails and supports. The base of the ladder should also be secure. Remove any grease, paint or dirt that can cause you to slip and fall. Lastly, avoid using furniture as a ladder – this can increase the chance of an injury. 

Stay Safe in the Kitchen: Keep flammable items such as potholders, dish towels and oven mitts away from the top of the stove. Be sure to handle knives with caution so that you don’t get cut. Lastly, keep pets out of the kitchen so that you don’t accidentally trip and fall. 

Practice Healthy Habits: Help your family stay healthy this season by regularly washing your hands – kids, too! This is especially important when older family members with weaker immune systems come over for meals and other events. Consider using a HEPA filter in your home to help remove dust, pet dander mold, and other airborne particles that can affect allergies or asthma. It might also help to filter out and remove respiratory droplets that contain live viruses. Open a window for five minutes every day to allow for fresh air.

Get the flu shot and the COVID-19 booster to protect you and your loved ones. The flu vaccine has been shown to reduce your chances of getting sick with the flu. Check with your primary care doctor to make sure you are up to date with recommended vaccines.

Remember: If you fall and hit your head, break a bone, are sick and can’t seem to catch your breath, it’s important to seek immediate medical attention.

Stay safe and healthy this holiday season!

Guisou Mahmoud, MD, FACEP is medical director for the Sue and Bill Gross Emergency Department at Providence Mission Hospital Laguna Beach.

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Letters to the Editor

Donate to Secret Santa to fill your heart and to offer others a Merry Christmas

Hello Laguna Beach friends, community and out-of-state donors,

Secret Santa is still going strong after 20+ years. The donation link is live, secure and completely transparent. It’s the same, secure online platform used by the Thurston & LBHS PTAs. You can click on the link daily to see how much has been donated.

If you prefer to donate gift cards, you can contact me and I will pick them up at your house and enter them into the live spreadsheet. Gift cards for grocery stores, gas and Laguna Beach restaurants would be amazing! Thank you.

This year, we will be doing a Secret Santa for 16 Laguna Beach individuals, plus one cat.

These are the 16 Laguna individuals we are helping this year: 

–Laguna Beach goat herder Agotilio Moreno. He’s in Riverside now.

–Michael our Laguna Beach greeter

–Single dad and son 

–Single mom with son at Thurston

–Single mom with daughter at LBHS

–Senior female (no family)

–Senior male 

–Single mom with 2 boys at El Morro & Thurston

–Single college female at LCAD

–Single female with a cat who needs help with our vet Laguna Beach Veterinary Medical Center (who gives Secret Santa the rescue discount).

–(New) A Laguna Beach teen who was made fun of because of her clothes.

We have two money counters/in-kind donation counters this year, as we have a lot of people and one cat on our list.

As always, for full transparency, community “watchdog” Sheri Morgan will count the money with me and all donations given. Amy Graboske will be the 2nd money counter. 

Pictures, receipts and total amount given to each family will be provided to all donors for full transparency.

The live spreadsheet is up and is updated daily for all the donations and in-kind donations for full transparency. I will email it to all donors.

A big thank you to everyone who has already donated and to this year’s business sponsors: Dr. Jeffery Briney D.D.S., gorjana, The T-Shirt Company at Laguna Beach, Laguna Beach Veterinary Medical Center, Laguna Surf & Sport, Sunless Love Spray Tanning, Clipa and The Stand Natural Foods.

Link to donate:

Celine Macmillan

Laguna Beach

Remembering back to some fun times in the ‘60s

In the late 1960s, teen street dances were held right where our new promenade is planned. They were sponsored by a youth committee made up of members from different churches. The group was an idea from Bob Cornelison, the priest at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church.

A stage in front of Klass Electric shop had a live band with power from the shop. The Laguna Beach Lumber Co. provided 4’ x 8’ plywood “walls” that were tied together in a zig-zag way at each end of the block which allowed the committee to have entry ways and be self-financed from admission dollars.

The dances were so popular the city council requested that the committee limit their promotion. One foggy night, Mayor Glenn Vedder got lots of phone calls because the fog seemed to trap the music and bother residents nearby and, on the hills, but the mayor had worked with the young people and the dances went on – closing at midnight. 

I believe the Laguna Beach Police Department parked a car at one end of the block, and there never was a problem, in spite of the crowd.

At that time there was also an award-winning teen page in one of the local newspapers which was completely produced with teen writers and photographers.

Two wonderful memories of teens from the 1960s.

Roger Carter

Laguna Beach

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Kian Thomas Saunders

January 26, 1994 – November 23, 2022

Obituary father and son SNL 11.29

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Courtesy of the Saunders family

Kian with his dad, Kirk

It is with great sadness that Kirk and Mary Kate Saunders must share the news of the loss of their son, Kian Thomas Saunders. Kian suffered his entire life from a genetic disorder, an inverse duplication of chromosome 15, and finally succumbed to complications from his disability last Wednesday morning. 

His parents, brother Rory Saunders, his extended family and many friends will miss his smiling face and loving demeanor but are at peace with the knowledge that his suffering is over and he is in Heaven with his beloved Virgin Mary.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that Kian be remembered with a donation to Hope in Motion International (

A funeral Mass will be held at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church on December 3 at 2 p.m.

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Letters to the Editor

Thanks LagunaTunes

Kudos to LagunaTunes for another terrific performance on Sunday. Your renditions of ‘80s hits, like “Wake Me Up” and “Beat It,” set the mood, while your versions of ABBA hits, like “Mamma Mia” and “Dancing Queen,” struck all the right notes. Thanks for kicking off the holidays in such a fun and spirited way.

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach 

Why no mention of Toni Iseman by Tom Johnson?

I’m wondering why Friday’s edition of Stu News Laguna didn’t have one word about Councilwoman Toni Iseman’s recognition by the city for her 24 years of service on the Laguna Beach city council and serving six four-year terms. I know the publisher Tom Johnson does not live in Laguna Beach, but he’s been publisher of Stu News Laguna for a while now and one would think being a news guy he might have heard of Toni; her choice not to run for a 7th term, how revered she is in community and that the city was recognizing her for contributions to the town. 

On Tuesday night, November 15, there was standing room only in the City Hall chambers as residents came up to the podium to honor Toni for her service.   I’m sorry Tom missed this opportunity to feature Toni and to recognize her and her many accomplishments.

Johanna Felder 

Laguna Beach

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In Memoriam

Phil Lawes, 73

In Memoriam Phil Lawes

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Courtesy of the Lawes Family

Philip Nelson Lawes III, proud Marine, Vietnam War veteran, Laguna Beach resident for nearly 50 years, and a pioneer in the design and installation of solar power in Southern California, died October 23, 2022. He was 73.

Phil passed away at Providence Mission Hospital Mission Viejo from acute respiratory failure. His son, Christopher N. Bosley, a Laguna Beach High School graduate, was at his side.

Phil made the rank of Sergeant in the Marines and moved to Laguna Beach in 1973 after being stationed at the former El Toro Marine Base at the end of his military service. He took his first local job at the 76 Station across from Main Beach at the corner of Broadway and Pacific Coast Highway, then launched a career as a residential/commercial painting contractor and worked on many homes in Three Arch Bay and throughout the community and South Orange County.

In 1978, he founded Insoltech Solar, one of the first residential and commercial solar design and installation businesses in Southern California. His solar expertise literally took him all over Orange County and to far-flung parts of the world, including custom projects in the Coachella Valley and Palm Springs, Central California and Oregon as well as Florida, Baja California, Costa Rica, the Bahamas and Fiji. He was still very active in his career and working on a variety of solar projects until the day he died.

Along with motorcycles and fast, vintage cars like his Shelby Mustang and Porsche 911, Phil enjoyed the nightlife in Laguna Beach, and loved playing pool at such places as Ben Brown’s (now The Ranch), the old Mother’s bar on Pacific Coast Highway and the Marine Room Tavern. He was known to enjoy a martini and many laughs with friends and bartenders at various local establishments, including The Saloon, the old White House, Reunion, the Marine Room and The Wharf. 

Phil also regularly played tennis at local courts including Laguna Beach High School, Blue Lagoon and the Laguna Niguel Racquet Club. He was noted by his opponents for his powerful backhand.

Phil was born on Feb. 1, 1949, in Montclair, N.J., one of six children of Philip N. Lawes Jr. and Ann Williams Lawes. He graduated from Montclair High School in 1967, where he played soccer and tennis, and was a pitcher on the school baseball team. His pitching earned him the nickname “Candle” for his flame-throwing abilities. He attended the University of Vermont and came west after joining the Marines in 1969.

Along with his son Chris and daughter-in-law Kristine K. Bosley, both Newport Beach residents and Laguna Beach High School graduates, Phil is survived by two brothers: Gordon Lawes of Portland, Ore. and Geoffrey Lawes of Vermont, Miami, Fla. and the Bahamas; two sisters: Holly Lawes Cosgrove of Cedar Grove, N.J. and Debby Lawes Pearce of Charlotte, N.C.; three grandchildren: Gavin James Bosley, Bellamy Ellene Bosley and Emerson Lawes Bosley, all of Newport Beach and former partner Connie Bosley, of Newport Beach.

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Letters to the Editor

When the ballot box tells us enough is enough

I think it’s amazing how we along with our towns folk made it clear that we don’t need Peter Blake in city government. Historically we are an open society but we do expect respect as we respect others. He didn’t make it, but a young gentleman and two others did. It just shows that we as a town can use the ballot box as one way of saying enough is enough.         

Roger Carter

Laguna Beach 

Pickleball, smickleball…what about us tennis players?

I have nothing against pickleball, but I am told there is now an attempt to convert two more courts into pickleball courts at TOW. It has only been a few months since the last courts were converted. Pickleball is currently popular as were handball, squash and racquetball back in the day and perhaps it will remain so but why destroy tennis courts which cost $120,000 per court when you can build pickleball courts far cheaper elsewhere. For instance, the area which has the basketball court at TOW is rarely, if ever, used.

Evidently, the Lang Park court is being converted to pickleball and there is talk that the middle school is under consideration for courts also, and it’s clear the intention is to convert all the courts at TOW, which would leave us with the high school and the canyon, which is also under threat. During the summer and fall, one or two of the TOW courts are tied up for lessons, which leaves one court open for open play.

Additionally, how many of the pickleball players are actually from Laguna? I’ve met many who are coming in from Aliso and as far away as Riverside. Not sure how we get true numbers on this, but worth asking. Having my tax dollars used to build a destination pickleball center for Orange County doesn’t help with traffic and parking, which is already difficult and getting worse at TOW.

Taking a resource from one group to benefit another doesn’t seem fair. If numbers are the only criteria, then build pickleball courts on the lawn bowling area at Heisler or the baseball field at TOW, both of which get used intermittently by a relatively small number of people. You can imagine how the lawn bowlers and baseball fans would like that plan.

The notion that one of dual-use courts would be for both tennis and pickleball hasn’t played out. The middle court is now used exclusively for pickleball as would certainly be the case in the event that this idea proceeds and the middle and last court in the row of courts are converted.

Thank you for your consideration of this matter.

Glenn Rogers

Laguna Beach

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Letters to the Editor

No regrets!

I want to offer my respect and congratulations to the Tuesday night winners of the Laguna Beach City Council race. To Mark Orgill, Mayor Sue Kempf and Alex Rounaghi, I know you will each do good things for our community.

When I was woken up Wednesday morning at 5:45 a.m. by my two boys, I was reminded of my high school soccer coach and his pre-game pep talks. Prior to each game, he would huddle with the team for his rah-rah speech. He would start with strategy, move on to tactics, add some grit and close with his signature of “NO REGRETS.” Meaning, you only regret the element of the game that you choose not to do. At the time, it was about setting your mind right to play the game. 

Yet this lesson was more than just about playing a soccer game. It was a moral message, about a mindset that when in life you make a choice to do something, you do it to your fullest, and about understanding the distinct difference between those two choices. Because when you do something to your fullest, whether you’re successful or not, you will leave the field with “NO REGRETS.”

To my family, friends and the Laguna Beach community, I thank you. I want you to know I am proud of my efforts and experiences throughout this campaign season. I am appreciative of those who supported my campaign, from the start to the finish, or anywhere in between. I am grateful to have met so many wonderful residents and to have shared in positive discourse about our town’s future. 

I have been encouraged that I conducted my campaign independently without attachments to political parties or PACs. I had a message for focusing on families and for bettering our community. I am satisfied, through my campaign, to have brought family-focused concepts back into our small-town political arena.

So, with that I can say, I have “NO REGRETS” for putting my all into this campaign! 


Louis Weil 

Laguna Beach

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Letters to the Editor

Be careful what you wish for when it comes to the “D” word and Measure Q…

I know we are not supposed to use the “D” word in Laguna but since there really is no developable land left here, it’s actually all about re-development. I am a proponent of reasonable and responsible re-development. It’s the fresh stream of water that brings oxygen and nutrients to a stagnant lake or community and keeps it healthy.

 I know he’s not going to like this, but let’s take my friend, Joe Hanauer, as an example. Joe is what I call a responsible re-developer and property owner. His re-development of the Pottery Place in 2006 is, (and I think most would agree) a model of charm and character but has a current, updated look, feel and necessities to attract solid tenants. 

If measure Q were in place, this, and because of the ill-constructed “Cumulative Effect” language, smaller (much smaller) projects would require a community vote, in addition to the already overwhelming approval process we have in place. 

No reasonable, responsible re-developer, property owner or small shop owner would, could or will attempt the additional process’ risk, time and costs.

My second problem with Q…our whole democracy is based on representative government. It’s why we have elections. We elect leaders to represent us and our views. The idea of having a community vote on everything is chaos and fortunately our founding fathers understood this principle long ago. We already have systems in place, in fact a very restrictive system and it works, so as my father used to say, “if it works don’t fix it.”

Third and not my last but probably best so I don’t lose you. The Voting Threshold, this was either written naively or deliberately, both are just as bad. Q calls for a “Majority of the Electorate” to approve most any project. The fact is there are about 18k voters in Laguna (this is the “Electorate”), but only 60% or 10,800 of us ever vote. This means a shopkeeper would need to survive the current approval gauntlet, then pay for a campaign that must achieve 80-90% of the votes! Who is crazy enough to make that bet? Certainly not the kind of responsible and reasonable shop owners and property owners we want and need to keep our charming little town healthy and alive. 

Again, be careful what you wish for. Do we really want to stop ALL reasonable and responsible re-development in Laguna? Please Vote NO on Q.

Steve Samuelian

Laguna Beach

Alex Rounaghi explains rejection of outside PAC support

Last week, Ann Christoph revealed that I rejected the endorsement of Village Laguna. She is correct, but it was not for the reasons she stated. I want to explain why I did so – and why I am committed to being an independent candidate and councilmember.

The best part of this campaign has been the time I’ve spent talking and listening to the concerns of residents of our town. I’ve learned so much from our conversations. I’m continually amazed at the talent, kindness and passion that exists for the town that we all call home.

Do we agree on every issue? Of course not. But I believe there is more that unites us than divides us. There is no reason that our community can’t come together and find creative solutions to the complex challenges that we face. But our toxic political culture gets in the way. In this election, there has been an unprecedented amount of spending by independent expenditures. This outside spending fuels misinformation, meanness and unnecessary divisiveness in our beautiful town. 

People are tired of tribalism. That’s why I declined the endorsement by Village Laguna when it was offered to me by Anne Caenn and Ann Christoph after the first candidate forum. I would do the same with Liberate Laguna/Laguna 2022 and similar groups. I will always listen to all stakeholders and find ways to collaborate to find common ground, but I intentionally have chosen not to be labeled. While that decision has cost me tens of thousands of dollars in messaging (mailers, yard signs, newspaper ads, etc.) on behalf of my candidacy, I have no regrets. The endorsement was not worth sacrificing my independence and ability to shape my own message over the course of this campaign.

If elected, I will be an independent councilmember who collaborates with my colleagues and community members across a broad spectrum of opinions. I intend to make decisions based on the merits, rather than any political alliances. When a resident shares an opinion with me, it’s important that they understand I am not on one side or the other. I will have an open mind, listen, work hard and do my best to act in the best interests of Laguna Beach, the city we all love. 

I am so fortunate to have been born and raised in our amazing town and I will continue giving back to this community however I can.

I would be honored to earn your vote.

Alex Rounaghi

Candidate for City Council

Laguna Beach

Way, way too much money spent on the election for a city of our size

Just two months ago Mayor Sue Kempf and Mayor Pro Tem Whalen announced that city ordinance #1675 had been passed. This covers height, parking, mass and bulk or large buildings. This ordinance was to address a few of the issues that are covered in Measure Q in hopes it would show that the city was making defensive progress toward the threat that overdevelopment of Laguna Beach could bring. 

Ordinance 1675’s height and parking provisions only reiterated the height and parking ordinances that were already on the books. The mass and bulk provisions required variegation of color, façades and roof forms every 125’. It still allowed buildings of unlimited size, so its protection added very little to what was already on the books.

Still, the development-led interests were upset enough about the modest protections offered by 1675 that they poured huge sums of money into a “recall” for ordinance 1675 which is known as a “referendum.” 

Last week, the county notified the city that the referendum process was successful. Now the city has two choices. They can either bow to the developer interests and withdraw all of the protections that 1675 offered, or they can put 1675 to a public vote. Either way, 1675 is off the books for now. Developers get to ask for whatever they want. 

Why is this important? Not only did the developers spend tens of thousands of dollars on a referendum for 1675, but they are also spending more than a quarter million dollars on trying to defeat Measure Q and spending an astounding $1.175 million to defeat Measure R and S which regulates hotels in Laguna Beach, including their size.

These interests have also amassed more than $200,000 to oppose those city council candidates in favor of development limits as well as supporting the two incumbents who endorse more development in town. This is being spent on a town of fewer than 19,000 voters. Truly unprecedented.   

Add it all up; an outrageous sum of money. This massive sum is being spent to 1) Nullify the limited protection that city council passed as Ordinance 1675, 2) Tell residents not to enable ballot-imitative-level protections for our town and 3) Elect a developer-friendly city council. Way too much outside influence for a town our size. Because of this threat from developer interests, I am voting Yes on Q, R, and S, as well as for Flores, Pudwill and Orgill.    

David Raber

Laguna Beach

Ready or not – it’s time!

It’s just a few days until the election. Yet surprisingly, people still are wondering if they understand Measure Q.   

The confusion shouldn’t be surprising. First, Q is extremely complicated. Second, California’s ballot measure concept has morphed into competing advertising campaigns dominated my sound bites having nothing whatsoever to do with the essence of the proposals. 

Unfortunately, the consequences of most ballot measures are so serious that what we really need is a measure that outlaws misleading rhetoric, limits the number of pages of a measure and holds those campaigning accountable for what they say. The seriousness of Measure Q is no exception.

If you’re like many, you may think Measure Q deals with keeping Laguna beautiful or only avoids over-sized developments. You wouldn’t be at fault. Measure Q’s sound bites have repeatedly been showing the artist live work project in the Canyon as a size it would prohibit. Not true. That project is below the size that would kick in a public vote.

But that’s not all. Measure Q has what it calls a Beautiful Laguna Overlay Zone. Q has nothing to do with design, architecture, color, a vision or anything to do with “beauty.” The Beautiful Laguna Overlay Zone is simply a name given to the geography Measure Q is proposing to dominate. Every single commercial area in town, as well as residences within two to three blocks of our commercial areas. They’ll all be subject to Q’s restrictions and a potential public vote.

The crazy part about Q is that it will do the opposite of addressing our town’s beauty. By causing all of Laguna’s business neighborhoods to be subject to new restrictions, the needed upgrading of our aging and deteriorating buildings will be stymied. 

Laguna’s nearly 100 years old and we’re showing our age. Changes to our treasures like The Ranch, the Old Pottery Place, or the smallest buildings like the 1,400/sf new coffee shop on Broadway are hard enough to get approved without adding the risk, time and cost of a public vote on top of our city’s stringent approval processes. 

You see, typically buildings only get “beautified” when ownership changes or new tenants move in. But smaller one-of-kind dining, fitness and retail concepts can’t take on the risks proposed by Q. Instead, we’ll get the opposite of what Measure Q promises. Only deep pocket developers will pick up vacant stores and take on the risk and expense of this complex process. 

Q is devoid of the heart and soul you would expect in a Beautiful Laguna Overlay Zone. Its 18 pages of highly technical material. There’s nothing about a vision for Laguna. But to be clear, the writers and supporter of Q love our town as much as we do. So, how can two such passionate views differ so greatly about how to address Laguna’s future? 

Consider the differing approaches to addressing traffic. Q posits that Laguna’s traffic problems are caused by businesses and it therefore proposes to put a damper on new shops and dining. And for those that are able to survive Q’s challenges, these businesses are mandated to address 100% of any impact they create. 

NO ON Q understands that our beautiful beaches and wonderful Laguna experience are what attract visitors not businesses. And NO ON Q believes that beyond shops providing parking, the city has an obligation to address parking and traffic capacities. There is not a word in Measure Q about potential city actions to add parking capacity or to work with Caltrans to improve the capacity of our roads. 

This is just one example of the disconnect between our differing points of view. Time’s run out. It’s time to vote. If you don’t understand Q, go to

The entire ballot initiative is there. Please read it. If you do, we hope you’ll agree – Vote NO ON Q.

Joe Hanauer

Laguna Beach

Don’t Be Fooled by the Don’t Be Fooled Stuff that is being spread around regarding Measure Q

Don’t Be Fooled by the Don’t Be Fooled Stuff that is being spread around regarding Measure Q. Here are 10 of the top myths being spread about Measure Q and the corresponding myth busters:

Myth: Measure Q will stop all development.

Myth Buster: Projects that follow the Measure Q guidelines should have few problems being approved.

Myth: It’s too complicated.

Myth Buster: The Measure Q Overlay Zone is actually simple compared to other Laguna Beach zoning laws.

Myth: It’s too long.

Myth Buster: Rather than merely refer to a code section by number, Measure Q restates the existing code section. So, about half of Measure Q is the current Laguna Beach Zoning code. 

Myth: A majority of the electorate is required. 

Myth Buster: The Laguna City Attorney’s Impartial Analysis says, “A majority vote (50% plus one) in favor of the measure is required for passage.”

Myth: Q will hurt small business.

Myth Buster: Just the opposite! Measure Q protects existing small businesses in the downtown from being squeezed out by higher rents that landlords can now easily charge to more intense users like restaurants because the amount of parking the building owners need to provide has been dramatically reduced by the city.

Myth: Cumulative effect item will freeze building.

Myth Buster: Cumulative effect prevents nothing but may change timing of construction to avoid traffic gridlock.

Myth: Measure Q would prevent South Laguna fire station.

Myth Buster: A parcel map could be used. Or a lot line adjustment which is an administrative act that Measure Q does not interfere with. 

Myth: Laguna already has a height ordinance. 

Myth Buster: The existing height ordinance is weak and can be changed by a vote of three councilmembers. Further it is already being challenged by a referendum.

Myth: Measure Q might have problems like Costa Mesa’s.

Myth Buster: Costa Mesa’s problems are housing; Measure Q is not about housing.

Myth: An election could cost more than $130,000. 

Myth Buster: The city’s own February 15, 2022 staff report estimates $8,500. 

In addition to these myths, notice that every single No on Q example involves replacing a general retail use with a restaurant – which is an intensification of use – which causes more traffic, more demand for parking. And the new user never wants to mitigate the negative impacts they create. We have 141 restaurants now. How much more traffic do we want?

Example: Zinc wants to permanently keep seats on the parking lot that were temporarily allowed because of COVID. 

Myth Buster: Zinc can keep the added seats if by using profits from the additional seating to purchase in-lieu spaces to replace the lost parking. That avoids a vote.

Example: Yard Bar.

Myth Buster: There is no issue with the Yard Bar. No vote would be needed.

Example: Wigz Sandwich.

Myth Buster: Wigz received historic renovation parking credits. Q would not change that. No vote would be needed.

Example: Pottery Place. 

Myth Buster: If processed as two distinct projects with the alley running between – which is what it is – Q would not have impacted Pottery Place.

Two more important notes:

Note: Regarding other projects where unmitigated intensification could trigger parking issues, the city can waive some parking requirements and building owners can fill voids with in-lieu spaces. 

Note: And realize that providing parking is the responsibility of the commercial building owner and not the responsibility of the merchant leasing space from the owner.

Question: Why do the opponents make this stuff up?

Answer: If they stuck to the Myth Busters, they know you’d vote YES on Q.

Question: Why have developers put more than $170,000 up to defeat Measure Q?

Answer: Developers don’t want you to regulate them.

Question: Why are politicians against Measure Q? 

Answer: Politicians don’t like voters telling them what to do.

Question: Do Measure Q Opponents oppose all ballot measures?

Answer: Without ballot measures like Prop. 13 your taxes would be much higher.

Question: Will Measure Q impact the 90% of Laguna businesses that are general retail or office?

Answer: No. Any general retail or office use can replace any existing general retail or office use. No vote would be needed to replace a shoe store with a bookstore or to replace a clothing store with a dry cleaner.

Question: What about Laguna’s 141 bars and restaurants?

Answer: New restaurants can move in and replace an existing restaurant of similar service level. No vote would be needed.

Question: By opposing Measure Q, is the Chamber of Commerce hurting its current members?

Answer: Yes. By opposing Measure Q, the Chamber is encouraging new businesses to replace long-time current businesses.

Follow the money. No on Q has raised more than $170,000 from developers and their friends. Why do you think they are trying so hard to avoid over-development?

John Thomas

Laguna Beach

Print shops producing the flyers filling our mailboxes are the real winners of this election

I know with certainty who is going to be the winner in this election. The winner, for all offices, is the printing industry and those who prepare the various cards that arrive in our mailboxes touting (or deriding) the candidates or proposition the group writes about. The stack in our mailbox, with all duplications removed, measures two inches. At a cost of $7,000 per mailer (which is probably low) that pile represents a huge investment. 

I hope that the candidates prove themselves worthy of our trust and votes.

Mike Kinsman

Laguna Beach

Mr. Pudwill is simply wrong when he says that planning commissioners are in the pockets of developers

Mr. Pudwill, facts seem to get in your way when writing letters to the editor. Personally, I would like you to show proof that the city council has appointed pro developer members to the planning commission. Where and from whom did you get proof of that statement? 

You are running for city council and yet all you seem to be able to do is spread a bevy of misinformation and made-up facts to suit your personal agenda. If you can show me and the good folks who serve, and serve well, on the Planning Commission that we are in the pockets of developers as you claim, then I will take back everything I say here and will vote for you. I will put my record and that of my fellow commissioners up against your lack of public service any day. Show me proof of your claims, (which do not exist), or try living in the real world where good people work hard at keeping community moving forward. 

Your lack of respect and facts does a disservice to our hamlet and is something we do not need on city council.

Jorg Dubin

Chair, City of Laguna Beach Planning Commission

Former Police Chief vouches for Rounaghi

As a Republican and 49-year law enforcement leader (former police chief for three cities), I support candidates – regardless of party – who prioritize public safety and get things done. For that reason, I’m urging Laguna voters to elect City Council candidate Alex Rounaghi.

At the county level, I have worked closely with Alex on initiatives related to illegal sober living homes, the fentanyl crisis and law enforcement funding. Alex’s experience/ability, integrity, and his commitment to public safety, would serve him well as a city councilmember. 

Alex is endorsed by the Laguna Beach Firefighters, Laguna Beach Police, the Orange County Deputy Sheriffs and he has my wholehearted endorsement as well.

Dave Snowden

Newport Beach

Vote, vote, vote

I mentioned voting three times in the headline, not to encourage anyone to vote more than once, but to remind people how important it is to exercise one’s franchise on election day. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard the refrain, “What’s the use? My vote doesn’t count.” Well, actually it does. 

Sometimes in municipal elections, you can count the vote difference between winning and losing on one hand (OK, maybe two). Just imagine your vote determining who sits on the city council or whether Measure Q passes or it doesn’t. Voting is not a quaint throwback to the 18th century; rather, it is acting out in real time one of this nation’s deepest ideals. 

So, my friends, like I have said so many times before, “Vote.” I truly believe it will pay dividends far into the future.

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach

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