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Friday’s lightning storm: flashes of white in the night

Flashes of Christian

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Photo by Christian Newton

“What color is lightning?” (Ray Bradbury…Something Wicked This Way Comes)

Lightning traveling through open air emits white light, but can appear in different colors depending on local atmospheric conditions. Distant lightning can appear red or orange the same way the setting sun does, due to moisture, haze or dust in the lower levels of the atmosphere.

Flashes of Marielena

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Photo by Marielena Verdugo

Lightning doesn’t strike the ocean as much as land, but when it does, it spreads out over the water, which acts as a conductor. It can hit boats that are nearby, and electrocute fish that are near the surface.

Ocean Institute granted 1 million dollars by the Sahm Family Foundation to establish shark education center

A leader in hands-on education in Orange County for more than forty years, Ocean Institute will introduce shark education to its inventory of popular school and public programs in order to enrich the lives of more children as a result of a 1 million dollar grant from the Sahm Family Foundation. 

This grant will make it possible for Ocean Institute to renovate an existing waterfront building to feature a Horn shark touch tank, a shark nursery, and interactive

exhibits and artifacts related to sharks. The new Sahm Marine Education Center will provide hands-on, engaging educational experiences for students, teachers, parents and the general public that connect to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) principles.

Ocean Institute granted campus

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Submitted photo

The new Sahm Marine Education Center will feature a Horn shark touch tank and shark nursery

“We could not be more excited to welcome sharks to our vast collection of marine life used to teach thousands of children each year, and we are honored to earn this leadership gift from the Sahm Family Foundation,” said Michael Torcaso, Ocean Institute’s board chairman. 

“This is a significant investment into our waterfront campus both in terms of improving the utilization of our facilities and expanding our educational capacity,” said Dan Pingaro, chief executive officer of Ocean Institute. “Most importantly, we will enrich the educational experience for thousands of children each year because of this grant.”

The Sahm Family Foundation has made strategic grants into Ocean Institute in the past, and family members have participated firsthand in its programs. Planning is underway to open this new education facility in early 2020 if not sooner. “Our board of directors were motivated to make this grant to Ocean Institute because we know what is being taught on their campus every day, year after year. There is no question that Ocean Institute enriches the lives of thousands of children, and that was the single most important factor in awarding this grant,” stated Chris Sahm, president of the Sahm Family Foundation.

Horn sharks are native to California coastal waters and solidary predators feeding on hard-shelled mollusks, echinoderms, crustaceans and small fish. Horn sharks are harmless to humans. “We are excited to connect students with hands-on interactions with these fascinating creatures. Horn sharks are able to survive and breed in captivity, which provides us with an ideal opportunity to showcase their lifecycles, behaviors, and important role in our local ecosystem.

“Increased shark sightings in Southern California waters have stimulated curiosity and fear of these local predators. Providing public access to an innocuous member of the shark family is a safe and engaging way to educate students about all sharks,” stated Dr. Wendy Marshall, vice president of education for Ocean Institute.

To learn more or become a member, visit

Laguna Presbyterian Church is sponsoring Red Cross Blood Drive on Oct 21

On Sunday, Oct 21 from 7 a.m. - 1 p.m., Laguna Presbyterian Church is sponsoring a blood drive for American Red Cross. The blood drive is open to the public and appointments are recommended. 

“The need for blood is dire as a result of the storms hitting the eastern half of the country, closing donation locations and dislocating regular donors,” said LPC Blood Drive Coordinator, Sandy Grim. “I’ve been asked to collect an additional 20 units this time, for a total request of 52 donors. Please help us by telling everyone in our area about our Blood Drive. It will start early at 7 a.m. on Sunday, so people can donate before church, or the kids’ soccer, and will end after brunch at 1 p.m.”

Laguna Presbyterian Church sign

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Submitted photo

One blood donation has the potential to save up to three lives

Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood from a donation. Blood donations save lives and are essential for surgeries, cancer treatment, and chronic illnesses.

The blood donation process starts with registration and a few health history questions. The donation itself only takes about 10 minutes, followed by a 15-minute snack and recovery period.

For more information and to schedule an appointment, visit and use Sponsor Code: lagunap or call (949) 494-7555. 

Photo ID or a Red Cross Donor Card is required to donate. 

Laguna Presbyterian Church is located at 415 Forest Ave.

“A Boy Named Courage: A Surgeon’s Memoir of Apartheid” authors at Laguna Beach Books Oct 28

On Sunday, Oct 28 at 4 p.m., Laguna Beach Books is pleased to welcome Dr. Himmet Dajee and Patrice Apodaca to discuss their new book, “A Boy Named Courage: A Surgeon’s Memoir of Apartheid.”

As a brown boy growing up in apartheid South Africa, Dajee’s life could easily have turned out quite differently. As the fourth, and largely discounted son of tradition-minded Indian immigrants, he faced a future of oppression under the white ruling class.

His path seemed predetermined to follow his father in the shoe trade and accept an arranged marriage. But his name, Himmet, means “courage” in his parents’ native tongue. Supported by a devoted older brother and fueled by his own driving ambition and hatred of apartheid, Dajee was determined to escape the course charted for his life. Despite almost insurmountable odds, Dajee carved a future of his own design, with a world-class education, a career as a cardiac surgeon, and a life a world away from South Africa. But Dajee had to confront his past if he was ever fully to be at peace with it.

A Boy Named Courage

Submitted photo

Don’t miss the authors of “A Boy Named Courage: A Surgeon’s Memoir of Apartheid” at Laguna Beach Books on Oct 28

“A Boy Named Courage: A Surgeon’s Memoir of Apartheid” is the story of one man’s quest to overcome racism and oppression to find his place in the world and escape the shadow of his troubled homeland. Thoughtful, emotionally honest, and at times heartrending, this account of the personal toll wrought by one of the most shameful periods in modern history provides a unique glimpse into an often-overlooked community affected by apartheid. It is also a testament to the triumph of the human spirit.

Apodaca, a veteran journalist, is a former Los Angeles Times staff writer. She is currently a featured columnist for the Daily Pilot, a Los Angeles Times Community News publication.

Laguna Beach Books is located at 1200 S Coast Hwy. For information, call (949) 494-4779 or visit

Barbara Diamond, local gem and legendary journalist, named Grand Marshal of 2019 Patriots Day Parade

Ed Hanke, Sandi Werthe and the Laguna Beach Patriots Day Parade Committee announced on Friday that Stu News’ Barbara Diamond has been chosen as the 2019 Patriots Day Parade Grand Marshal on Saturday, March 2.

“We will be honoring Barbara and all of our other 2019 honorees on Saturday, February 2 at Seven7Seven for our annual “Honoree Brunch,” said Werthe. “We hope to have many of her friends and the community there!”

This is yet another honor bestowed on Barbara, doyenne of Stu News. On July 24 of this year, Mayor Kelly Boyd recognized Barbara with a proclamation stating, “The Laguna Beach City Council would like to recognize Barbara F. Diamond (BFD) for being a prominent, highly-respected and beloved Laguna Beach legend, resident and journalist.” 

And everyone who knows her would emphasize the “beloved” part.

Barbara is such a powerful presence in Laguna, that in the proclamation, it also states that she “shall continue to have a ‘designated’ seat next to the Deputy City Clerk at all City Council meetings.” 

Barbara Diamond closeup

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Barbara Diamond ready with notebook and pen 

Barbara grew up in the San Francisco area, studied journalism at Galileo High School in San Francisco, where she was the editor of the high school newspaper for three years, covered Wimbledon and was the Editor of “Inside Women’s Tennis,” the official publication for the Women’s Tennis Association, married the Executive Director of the Women’s Tennis Association, started her family and raised three wonderful sons in the Marin County area. 

She moved to Laguna Beach and began working for the Orange County Register (the News Post) full-time from 1985 to 2000, and became an icon and trusted journalist at City Hall and the Police Department, reporting City information to the community, and joined Stu Saffer with the Coastline News, where she continued reporting for another decade when the paper was sold to the Los Angeles Times (the Coastline Pilot). 

After taking some time off to be with her family, Barbara rejoined forces with Stu Saffer and Shaena Stabler in the summer of 2016, to write about “whatever she wanted to” and has been writing two stories every issue, two times per week, plus one column per week, ever since for Stu News Laguna. 

To help future journalists realize their dreams, Barbara has generously sponsored a personal journalism scholarship to Laguna Beach High School students for decades, and continues to be a staple at all City Council and Planning Commission meetings, as well as community events. 

The community can’t wait to see her fulfill her duty as Grand Marshal of the Patriots Day Parade on March 2.  

“We are still working on choosing the other honorees,” Werthe said.

The Shape of Lightning

The Shape Brashier

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Photo by Scott Brashier

An electrifying sculpture in the sky on Friday

Ruben Flores shares new ideas for holiday decorating this Thursday

LOCA Arts Education invites the public to learn holiday decorating this Thursday, Oct 18, from 4 - 6 p.m. at Laguna Nursery. Award-winning horticulturalist Ruben Flores will show how to create original designs using organic and found materials.

Ruben Flores shares smile

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Courtesy of LOCA

Flores will discuss holiday colors as well as using fruits and vegetables in holiday decorating

“We can start by looking in our gardens,” said Flores. “There are fantastic branches, palm leaves, and seed pods outside right now.” 

Holiday colors, wiring and attachments will be discussed, as well as the use of fruits and vegetables. “Let’s get squashy,” laughed Flores, “this will be lots of fun!”

Wine and snacks will be provided. Cost is $20 at door or free for LOCA members. Register at or call (949) 363-4700. 

Laguna Nursery is at 397 North Coast Hwy. Metered parking is available on the street.

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Election 2018: Oct 8 forum focused on seniors issues


The Laguna Beach Seniors Candidates Forum held October 8 at the Susi Q focused on issues important to the city’s older population. The format presented by the League of Women Voters differed from other forums. With some exceptions, questions were answered by one candidate. However, some questions were rephrased or duplicated and answered by different candidates, including Peter Blake, Ann Christoph, Jorg Dubin, Toni Iseman, Sue Kempf, Cheryl Kinsman, Lorene Laguna, Judie Mancuso, Alison Mathews and Paul Merritt.

Question: What role do you believe the city should play in disaster preparedness as it relates to homebound seniors?

Toni Iseman: “We have an amazing [Certified Emergency Response Team] ready to go.” 

Jorg: “Obviously the city plays a major role in that, as the fire department plays a part in it.” 

Question: Laguna Beach seniors comprise 51 percent of the resident population over the age of 55. Currently there is minimal affordable senior housing as well as market rate senior housing or assisted living facilities. If elected, what steps would you take to mitigate this lack of housing?

Christoph: “Nothing pencils [out] in Laguna Beach. So the city has to take more aggressive action in affordable housing. We have an Affordable Housing Task Force which meets once a month.” 

She said the city has to find a way to make sure that the Accessory Dwelling Units, dictated by the state, are really for the most needy of the people who could use them.

Kempf: “The first thing is accessory dwelling [ADUs]. There was a state law passed two years ago. It is a great opportunity for seniors to get a live-in caregiver or to rent their home and have a caregiver live there. The next thing is public/private partnership. “What we need is someone to donate land or the city to donate land and get a public/private partnership with developers. It’s a win-win if we can get land donated, someone to build on it, and someone in there to operate it or help operate it. 

“Thirdly, I would like to see housing in the downtown. I am not talking about building big buildings: people say oh that Sue, she wants to big buildings downtown. No. I am talking about second stories that are currently office space that can be converted to housing. 

“For example, there is a building next to Slice pizza that is a three-story building: on the bottom is the kitchen remodeling store, but the second and third floors are office spaces and they are about 500 square feet. Those can be converted into housing for seniors. That way, seniors can walk around, go to the grocery store, and there are restaurants. It is a good pedestrian environment for seniors.”

Question: Laguna Beach Seniors is a separate nonprofit organization separate and apart from the city. [Laguna Beach] is unlike other cities where senior services are a department or tradition of the city. With this in mind, are there specific critical needs to support seniors that you believe the city should fund?

Blake: “We have technologies now through phones and through [Global Positioning System] that we could put together a database and a resource center where we can know where our seniors are and if a disaster takes place we can find them and make sure they get where they need to be.”

Question: Over a period of three years, the Senior Housing Task Force came up with 11 recommendations [for] the City Council to improve the availability of housing for seniors, as well as solutions to age in place. Due to a variety of reasons, only two of these recommendations have been implemented since 2016. With this example, what role do you see for future specific purpose task forces and how should they weigh in on approving recommendations?

Mathews: “I came up with the idea of taking commercial space and renovating them into senior housing. I thought this would be a great idea to a have students, young families, seniors all living downtown in these spaces and in the Canyon. I envision in my head a community where all people have their own little house. These houses go from $5,000 to $50,000 and you get the city to pay for it and yes, we will, oh yes, we will.

 “I found an elevator that you can put in your house. It’s about $10,000, but I never in my life have seen a village gunk up and muck up the works more than Laguna Beach on detail.”

Question: One of the biggest challenges for seniors is transportation. In May of 2017, the City Council approved an Uber drive demand system for seniors but it was put aside for various reasons. What are your ideas to improve the current system or rectify the proposed Uber on demand transportation program?

 Mancuso: “One of the ideas that I had was to build a parking structure at the ACT V lot and to put zero emission vehicles there that would trolley back and forth people from ACT V into town so we could keep cars out of town. Well this would also work with seniors.

“These vehicles could be dispatched to our seniors as well so we could use them in our neighborhoods. Right now we have the big blue trolleys and they’re too big and lumbering. So if we downsize this and get a bunch of little ones that can shuttle people around it could really solve a lot of our issues.”

Kinsman: “I take Uber all the time, so I don’t understand what the problem is. Uber on demand is good. Our trams are also good.”

She commended Iseman for spearheading free trams rides.

Question: There are a number of issues that are foremost on Laguna Beach voters’ minds. Out of all the issues facing the future City Council, which one is your highest priority?

Laguna: “I am here because of you [seniors] because I knew I was going to become one of you. I was one of the first CERT graduates. They have stickers when there are pets at home. There are no stickers for you. There is nothing to tell the emergency responders that you are in the house and that you are disabled. We need to stop that.”  

Blake: “I would say the property rights and our ability to build.” 

Question: What are your views or your ideas as it relates to making sure the 55-plus population in Laguna Beach has a say in community planning and design?

Merritt: “We can get Wi-Fi and internet to all of our citizens to everyone, over and under 55. I don’t know that we need to put an age distinction on every issue.” 

Christoph: “Most of the people [candidates] here are over 55, and you can see how involved we all are. Every meeting I go to there are a lot of people that have a lot to say about it, of various ages. But generally there is a complaint that there aren’t enough young people involved. So I would encourage anyone who isn’t going to City Council meetings like an addict to get involved and enjoy it.”

Question: According to a senior housing study done in 2014, 97 percent [of seniors] preferred to age in place and stay in their homes for as long as possible. Often, minor modifications are necessary immediately, although they require going through an extended process that may take several weeks or months to complete. How would you streamline the process of home modifications for seniors?

Iseman: “I propose there be no fees for any of the things we do in terms of aging in place.” 

Dubin: He said he would work with the building department to make certain that anyone 55 or older could modify their home, if the modification did not impact neighbors in a significant way, with an over the counter approval rather than going through the elaborate and lengthy design review process. 

Question: Laguna Beach Seniors launched a new program called Lifelong Laguna aimed at seniors and helping them with a variety of services including home modification, in home assistance, and other things. What role do you see the city playing in supporting this effort?

Kempf: “Now one of the things I think would be really helpful to seniors is if the city could expedite the process. I will give you an example. Let’s say you break your hip, or your mother or father breaks a hip. They go to rehab and can’t get back into their house. It would be great if you could go down to the [City Hall] counter and say look, my loved one has had an accident. He or she has stairs and we need to get them into the house. 

“One of the things we could do is use housing in lieu funds for that. Housing in lieu funds are basically money that developers [pay into], instead of building affordable units or low income units. What we could do with that is we could go into the counter and say I need this ramp or I need this. I need this grab bar. If it is under $5,000 then perhaps we can give that person a grant.

“If the project costs more than $5,000, the city can set restrictions to ensure that if the property is sold, the city will get its money back.” 

Mancuso: “I guess first of all what we have to look at is all the committees and commissions under the City Council. When I took the Laguna Leadership classes what we got was a hand-out of all these committees. There were so many it would just make your head spin. I would look to refresh the committees and maybe do away with some or add some that aren’t there that are more of what we need right now.”

If funding is needed, the city could create a public/private partnership, she said. 

Question: There are virtually no assisted living facilities in the City of Laguna Beach and critically few rehab or skilled nursing facilities. How would you address this critical need if elected? 

Merritt: “Well I think the critical need could be very easily solved with our Mission Hospital in South Laguna. I understand they still have tons of unoccupied space for people that might need other services than drug rehab or urgent care. So I would propose that the hospital in South Laguna could also have some assisted living facilities. 

“Laguna Beach has quite a number – a remarkable number, of facilities for senior housing. We have Third Street, we have South Laguna,  and so possibly a part of those could be transformed into semi-assisted living. But we need to encourage private enterprise to come to Laguna.”

Kinsman: “When I was on the City Council before I spent three years of my life along with council member Jane Egly and then-Assistant City Manager John Pietig, and we saved our hospital which was maybe – and that is a very important thing to know, our hospital was going out of town. That hospital, now Mission Hospital Laguna Beach, owns the property behind the hospital. It is controversial but they are willing to build assisted living there but they are not going to do it unless everybody is behind it. The City Council hears all these people coming to the microphone saying we don’t want it, we don’t want it – it is supposed to be a park, it is supposed to be whatever. But if we want assisted living in this town, the hospital is willing to work with us and do it.”

Question: If upstairs units in downtown are dedicated to seniors, how do you propose to get around the problem of stairs?

Kempf: “An elevator.”

Question: What is your number one concern? What do you want Laguna Beach to be 25 years from now?

Merritt:  “First of all, I may not be here 25 years from now. But I’d like to look out on the horizon. I see a happy community where instead of worrying about parking we have automatic cars going around and picking people up and the cars can find their own parking space somewhere. I would like to see a way to get more young people into the town because if we become only a gray community, we are going to have more problems.”

Question: Do you think the City Council should be allowed to usurp Measure P sales tax 1 percent intent and take away present voters’ right to vote on a 25-year bond?

Iseman: “The council voted 5-0 to put this on the ballot and the determination will be made by the residents. And in order for this to pass, it has to pass at two thirds, which is an extraordinarily high level. We did pass one in 1989, Measure H, to start buying the Canyon. It is up to the residents of Laguna as to whether or not you want to do this. It’s your personal choice. 

“So it is your call, it is your vote, I am not usurping anything. It is the residents of Laguna who decide.”

Laguna: “Residents will not be allowed to vote on the bond measure, what type of bond, the amount of the bond will be solely and exclusively up to a vote of three, which I call the voice of God in this town. We really need to make it a voice of the people. You, all of you, out there should be able to vote for whether or not a bond is assessed, the amount of the bond.”

Iseman: “I misunderstood the question. If we don’t vote for [Measure P], the bond is not a consideration. If we do vote for it, we will find experts that make recommendations, and I am sure we will have members of the public there to explain what they think is right.”

Question: What is your reaction to the news that our city planning and council members never informed residents or public agencies of the loss of 120 parking spaces, not their disclosure of just 10 spaces reported by the city for the last four years of meetings and presentations of Village Entrance design plans?

This question triggered a short debate among the candidates

Kempf: Kempf is a member of the Planning Commission, which reviewed the plans for the Village Entrance.

“I don’t believe we have 120 [lost] parking spaces. I don’t remember the exact number but I think it is in the 20s or 25.”

Audience: “That is simply not true.”

Kinsman: “First of all, it is not true that we are spending $11.2 million dollars to pay for a parking lot. We are also paying in addition to that $5 million for what they call the Christmas tree lot. So the total to pave the parking lot and reduce parking spaces is really closer to $16 1/2 million dollars. It’s wrong, it’s wrong, it’s wrong.” 

Christoph: “We are not losing 120 spaces. The Christmas tree lot has 62 or 63 spaces in it that was purchased by the city for the purpose of making up the parking spaces that we needed because we are not going to build a parking garage. So they are considering those spaces to be existing and the 62 spaces are really supposed to be supplemental and part of the Village Entrance plan. That’s why the Council bought it so they’re not supposed to be double counted.”

Kinsman: “Well the problem is we should be building a parking garage.”

Audience: “That is false. We have had a pay station there for four years, that was existing parking. How dare you!”

Kinsman: “Well we should be building a parking structure up against the hillside. We can build a parking structure that doesn’t even look like one and there are many of these all around the world. They look beautiful and they are parking. That should be a parking structure, not a park, which is what it is planned to be there with no restrooms.”

Mancuso: “Can we move on? We are hijacking their meeting here guys can you move on with your questions?”

Laguna: “We are trying to get the truth out.”

Question: Have you visited any of the low income housing facilities that currently exist in Laguna, if so which ones?

Blake: “No I haven’t.”

Question: Do you agree with the city promoting and advertising the message of fire and fear for evacuation routes in order to sway voters to approve undergrounding power lines with Measure P sales tax?

Christoph: “We need to look at all the options available to us and as a community decide what are the best things we can do to make us most safe at the most reasonable cost. I think Measure P is doomed for now, but it has raised the issue; it has made us think about this which is a wonderful service because we do need to think about what is the best thing we can do.”

Question: With all the issues requiring funding, what is your opinion on spending $11 million on the Village Entrance?

Mancuso: “For $11 million, My Goodness. We should have the Taj Mahal at the end of this. So it is ridiculous, it could’ve been done as some kind of beautification thing, with people here in Laguna Beach – a public/private program for probably $2 million dollars.” 

Question: Are you happy with the role design review plays in the city?

Mathews: “No. Double no. Triple no. I went to a couple of meetings because I believe before you say no to anything you go find out about it, right? So I went to a couple meetings, the arguments over the detail were insane. How does anything even get done. 

“I am not saying anyone is a bad person. But there is no transparency and there is no communication between anybody. That has got to stop now.”

Iseman: “Clarification: 70 percent of the things that go to design review get approved at the first meeting. Design review protects you, protects your view, protects your privacy.” 

Question: How would you utilize current city staff when applicable versus paying overtime consultants?

Blake: “We should be able to delegate authority to the city and say okay we are paying you this enormous salary and this pension, we are asking you to do your job, get the job done. If we feel like they are not getting the job done, we need to replace them with people who do get the job done.” 

Published answers, including paraphases, are limited to those that responded directly to the questions asked.

Stu News and KX 93.5 Candidates’ Forum Part III


Candidates Jorg Dubin, Judie Mancuso, Peter Blake, Toni Iseman, Sue Kempf, Allison Mathews, Cheryl Kinsman, Paul Merritt, Lorene Laguna, and Ann Christoph were given anywhere from 15 seconds to three minutes to answer questions at the Stu News/KX 93.5 Candidates’ Forum. The forum was broadcast on the local station and posted on the Stu News Facebook page. For those who missed it, here is Part Three. 

Question: When our amazing kids grow up, they are often leaving to go to other communities like San Francisco, New York, LA, even Costa Mesa for a variety of reasons (cost of living, lack of creative energy, lack of nightlife, etc.). How do we retain our talented youth to get them to contribute to the future of our town? (45 seconds)

Iseman: “We have to generate a clean economy that would employ the young people, probably technology, and bring them here.”

Kempf: “What we need to do is to get more information from these people. We need to get them to come to Council meetings.”

Mathews: “I think we should have affordable housing. That’s it. Turn commercial space into cool urban lofts, attract people from San Diego to LA, even San Francisco, who are smart, who need a computer and a room to create an empire.”

Kinsman: “Buy some other property in Laguna Beach, rent it, and hold onto it for your kids. Granny flats are one possibility. Maybe we can liberalize the rule for that.”

Merritt: “Let there be some ‘Let it be’ breathing room, so people can enjoy the old Laguna and not the pre-fab Laguna.”

Laguna: “The only thing that’s going to retain the youth is jobs and affordable housing. We don’t really have either, so let’s be realistic. Our census says 60 percent of the people here are over 60. There’s nothing wrong with children leaving.”

Christoph: “I think it’s not really in the scope of the City to manage people’s families.” She opined that finding housing for young folks might be an incentive to stay. 

Dubin: “We’ve turned away from our non-conformist origins to become Mission Viejo by the Sea, and we’ve got to stop this”.

Mancuso: “Let people open up businesses and do all kinds of wonderful things here. The unemployment rate is rock bottom, and I know young people that have moved here, and they’re making more money than where they came from.”

Blake: “This is a great place for young people. It’s just that this [current] Council and Village Laguna have made it impossible for them to start small businesses in this town.”

RAPID FIRE ROUND TWO (15 seconds) 

How many police officers do you think we are short right now, if any?

Kempf: Five

Mathews, Kinsman, Merritt, Laguna, Dubin, Mancuso, Blake: All said more officers are needed, but did not specify a number. 

Christoph: She said her neighborhood doesn’t need very many policemen, although some of the beats are very large.

Iseman: She suggested the City might increase beach patrol officer numbers, which cost less than sworn officers, she said.

Question: Do you support the [Laguna Beach County] Water District returning to its independent status, breaking away from the City? 

Mathews: “No.”

Kinsman: “They should be separated,” said Kinsman, a member of the district commission.

Merritt, Laguna, Mancuso, Blake and Iseman: All agreed with Kinsman.

Christoph: “I have no problem with the Laguna Beach Water District being a part of the City.” (Christoph lives in South Laguna, which is served by South Orange County Water District.)

Kempf: Declined to answer without further study.

Question: Would you support fining commercial landowners whose properties remain vacant past a certain point of time?

Kinsman, Merritt, Dubin, Mancuso, Blake: No.

Christoph: “We need to understand why they’re vacant and try to change that condition rather than just fining them.”

The City has an extra $10 million. What is the first thing we should spend it on?

Merritt: Put it in the rainy day fund and get some more cops on the streets and think of ways we can protect the ocean and the future against international ocean pollution.

Laguna: I would put that money into our emergency fund.

Christoph: “Perhaps the most pressing would be to stop polluting the beach off of Aliso…I think we have to clean our house first.”

Dubin: “I think it should go back to our cultural heritage, the soul of the community.”

Mancuso, Kempf, Blake, Matthews and Kinsman: All would put the money into fire prevention. Blake, Mathews and Kinsman would also spend it on hiring more police officers. Kinsman added lifeguards and sewers to her response. 

Iseman: “In the short run, I would employ some people at City Hall to get caught up on projects, so that people can’t say things take too long.”

Published answers, including paraphases, are limited to those that responded directly to the questions asked.

CAlifornia Dreaming presented by Laguna Gallery of Contemporary Art at Ritz-Carlton

For the third consecutive year, Laguna Gallery of Contemporary Art (LGOCA) paintings are being displayed in a beautiful exhibit at the Ritz-Carlton in Laguna Niguel. The CAlifornia Dreaming show reflects the rich colors of our beautiful California, from the bold blues of our ocean and sky to the rich warm colors from our surrounding abundant nature. The exhibit is open to the public and runs through December 31. 

The California-inspired exhibit features 21 original pieces of artwork that reflect the desire from around the globe to visit the Golden State. Rich colors of the sea, sky, and natural surroundings are present throughout, from bold ocean blues to warm orange sunsets and bright pink skies.

CAlifornia Dreaming presented by Ritz Carltonjpg

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Submitted photo

Enjoy myriad sun splashed pieces of work celebrating the Golden State via LGOCA at the CAlifornia Dreaming exhibit at the Ritz-Carlton

The CAlifornia Dreaming exhibit was curated by Bridgette Shaw and features all California-based artists with use of different mediums like acrylic, house paint, oil, mixed media, fiber glass, and more. Art on display includes artists Adolfo Girala, John Szabo, Kym De Los Reyes, Diana Carey, Robin Hiers, Jessica Osborne, Greg Stogner, Dodi Sy, Nic McGuire, Andrzej Karwacki, Chris Justice, Ricky Hunt, Michael Torquato DiNicola, and Tania Alcala. 

CAlifornia Dreaming butterflies

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Curated by Bridget Shaw of LGOCA CAlifornia Dreaming at the Ritz-Carton features California artists in a spectrum of mediums

Ritz-Carlton is located at One Ritz-Carlton Drive in Dana Point. 

Guests can purchase the art by contacting Bridgette Shaw with LGOCA at (949) 677-8373. LGOCA is located at 611 S Coast Hwy. To learn more, visit

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