Talking Across the Partisan Divide: Susi Q believes it is possible in small group conversations 

Recent surveys have found that many Americans would rather their children marry someone of a different race or religion than a different political party. It reveals the depth of division and distrust that now permeates our political culture. 

How did we get so polarized? 

On Tuesday, Feb 27, the Laguna Beach Seniors and League of Women Voters in Orange County are pleased to present “Talking Across the Partisan Divide,” from 6 - 8 p.m. at the Susi Q Center, located at 380 Third St. 

Small group conversations are intended to bring together people of different views to discuss ways to promote civility and respect. 

The guest speaker will be Peter Ditto, who has a Phd in Psychology and Social Behavior at UCI. His research focuses on how motivation and emotion shape our social, political, moral, medical, and legal judgements. Hear about the factors that contribute to our political polarization. 

At 6:25 p.m. there will be introductions, 6:30 p.m. there will be the speaker presentation, at 7 p.m. the breakout conversations will begin, and at 7:45 p.m., reflections and closings will conclude the evening. 

For more information or to make a required reservation, call 949-464-6645, or log onto

Gas Company wants more time to present meter plan to commission

City staff is recommending the Planning Commission hold off hearing a presentation on Wednesday from Southern California Gas on “advanced meter technology” until the March 21 meeting.

The delay was requested by the company, which is responding to commission directions in November to revise proposed placements at 1414 Dunning Drive, the El Toro Road right-of-way and the Regatta Road right-of-way, according to the staff report.

Commissioners directed the gas company to revise the Dunning Way application to minimize the impacts on a neighboring property. The company was advised to explore opportunities to locate its facility on Laguna Beach County Water District property to the south of the proposed installation on El Toro Road and to come up with less intrusive alternatives to the location proposed for Regatta Road. 

Plan is to upgrade residential and commercial gas meters

The gas company plan is to upgrade residential and commercial gas meters with “advanced meter technology” as part of a region-wide transition to wireless utility use tracking. 

Advanced meters would be attached to existing analog gas meters and wirelessly communicate with data collection units. 

Installation would include two whip antennas, one collector unit, one solar panel and associated ancillary equipment mounted onto concrete poles.

The Planning Commission unanimously voted in November to approve the gas company’s application for conditional use permits and the design of the proposals, but subject to findings and conditions. 

--Barbara Diamond 

Kate Buckley announces Poet Laureate’s Showcase readings on March 8 at LCAD Gallery on Ocean

Kate Buckley, Laguna Beach’s inaugural poet laureate, has launched a Poet Laureate’s Showcase series of readings, aimed at bringing nationally known poets to Laguna. Literary luminaries featured to-date include Noah Blaustein, Victoria Chang, Grant Hier, Garrett Hongo, Sarah Maclay, Christopher Merrill, Kathryn Nuernberger, and Tom Zoellner.

The next Poet Laureate’s Showcase reading will be held on Thurs, March 8 from 7 - 9 p.m. at the Laguna College of Art + Design Gallery located at 374 Ocean Avenue. The literary showcase will feature the novelist Victoria Patterson and award-winning poets Francesca Bell and Kate Buckley. The evening will conclude with a conversation with the writers and refreshments.

This series is free and open to the public and graciously hosted by the Laguna College of Art + Design. The Poet Laureate program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

Featured poets have been widely published

Francesca Bell has poems published in BODY, burntdistrict, ELLE, Flycatcher, New Ohio Review, North American Review, Poetry Northwest, Prairie Schooner, Rattle, Spillway, Tar River Poetry, and Zone 3. She has been nominated ten times for the Pushcart Prize and won the 2014 Neil Postman Award for Metaphor from Rattle. Francesca’s translations, from Arabic and German, appear in Berkeley Poetry Review, Blue Lyra Review, Circumference | Poetry in Translation, Four by Two, Laghoo, and The Massachusetts Review. 

She co-translated Shatha Abu Hnaish’s book of poems, A Love That Hovers Like a Bedeviling Mosquito (Dar Fadaat, 2017), and Red Hen Press will publish her first collection, Bright Stain, in 2019. She is the events coordinator for the Marin Poetry Center and the former poetry editor of River Styx. 

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Poet Francesca Bell won the 2014 Neil Postman Award 

Kate Buckley has poems published or forthcoming in Bellingham Review, The Cafe Review, Chaparrel, North American Review, Poetry Foundation, Rattle, Shenandoah, Silk Road Review, Slipstream, and many others. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University and is the author of A Wild Region (Moon Tide Press), named a Midwest Book Review Selection, and Follow Me Down (Tebot Bach). 

A four-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Kate’s awards include a Gabehart Prize and the North American Review’s James Hearst Poetry Prize. Her short story, “The Gods of Flight,” was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize. 

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Kate is currently serving as the local Poet Laureate

Victoria Patterson is the author of the novels The Peerless Four and This Vacant Paradise, a 2011 New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. Her story collection, Drift, was a finalist for the California Book Award, the 2009 Story Prize, and was selected as one of the best books of 2009 by The San Francisco Chronicle. She lives with her family in Southern California and teaches at Antioch University’s Master of Fine Arts program. 

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Victoria Patterson is 2011 New York Times Book Review Editors Choice

For more information on this upcoming event, contact Kate Buckley at 760-808-1086, or log onto

Develop a plan for wildfire threats: hear from the experts at Disaster Preparedness event on Feb 20

On Tues, Feb 20, from 6-8 p.m., the City of Laguna Beach and Laguna Friends of Architecture will host a Disaster Preparedness Presentation at the Susi Q Center. The event will teach residents how to put together a plan to deal with the many environmental threats the community faces. 

Jordan Villwock, City of LB Emergency Operations Coordinator, will be the keynote speaker.

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Single house left standing after the 1993 fire 

Attendees will learn how to better prepare for their families, pets and homes against wildfires, landslides/floods, earthquakes, and tsunamis.

Ever wonder how one house survived the 1993 fire? An architect will be present to talk about the surviving house. Elliot Quint and Tom Stewart from Friends of Architecture will also be available to answer questions. 

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Be prepared for a wildfire

The 1993 fire burned through 14,000 acres of Laguna Canyon wilderness and ravaged multiple neighborhoods. It destroyed 440 homes and threatened many others.

A Laguna Beach Fire Department presentation “How to protect your home from Wildfires” will cover practical tips for low-cost home retrofits and renovations.

The Susi Q Center is located at 380 3rd St., 949-464-6645.

For further information, contact Jordan Villwock, City of LB Operations Coordinator, at 949-497-0389.

Brian Maryott, candidate for the 49th District, will speak at LB Republicans upcoming monthly meeting 

The Laguna Beach Republicans (LBGOP) will hold their monthly meeting on Thurs, Feb 22, at Mozambique, located 1740 S Coast Hwy. Social hour is at 5 p.m., and the meeting will begin at 6 p.m. and end promptly at 7:15 p.m.

Emil Monda, President of the LBGOP invites all Republicans, Independents and Libertarians to attend the meeting. 

“We have a special guest speaker Brian Maryott, Republican, running for Congress in the 49th Congressional District, the seat currently held by the retiring Daryl Issa.

Brian will be speaking from 6 - 6:45 p.m. 

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Brian Maryott is running in the 49th Congressional District 

While the LBGOP does not endorse candidates in the Primary, it is important to understand where the candidates stand as “we must hold the House of Representatives in the 2018 Election,” Monda says. 

“I urge all Laguna Beach Republicans to attend this meeting to  learn about one of the four Republicans who are running for this seat,” Monda says..

For more information or for those interested, RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. as space is limited.

 AAUW’s annual Literary Luncheon showcases authors of note and raise funds for women and girls 

For a stimulating and fun-filled afternoon, AAUW suggests that you don’t miss their 31st annual Literary Luncheon on Sat, March 10 , at the Surf and Sand Hotel. 

The event is sponsored by the American Association of University Women Laguna Beach Branch (AAUW-LB). 

The perennial success of the Literary Luncheon over thirty-one years reflects consistently high caliber presentations by carefully chosen, best-selling, often prize winning, authors. 

These woman not only write beautifully, they know how to talk with wit and charm, detailing the challenges of writing fiction and managing the setbacks and triumphs on the road to becoming a successful author. 

Literary Luncheon audiences never fail to be both impressed and strongly impacted by their stories. Always a sellout, this year’s luncheon features presentations by Annabelle Gurwitch, Elizabeth Letts and Kim Hooper.

Annabelle Gurwitch is the author of the New York Times bestseller and Thurber Prize Finalist for Humor Writing 2015. Among her works are, I See You Made an Effort: Compliments, Indignities and Survival Stories From the Edge of 50; You say Tomato, I Say Shut up (co-written with husband Jeff Kahn); and Fired! which was also a Showtime Comedy Special. Annabelle is also an actress, essayist, and stand-up comedian. Her newest book is Wherever You Go, There They Are.

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Annabelle Gurwitch is New York bestselling author and Thurber Prize Finalist 

Elizabeth Letts is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Eighty-Dollar Champion, winner of the 2012 Daniel Lenehan Award for Media Excellence from the United States Equestrian Foundation. 

She is also the author of two novels, Quality of Care and Family Planning, and an award-winning children’s book, The Butter Man. Her most recent book, The Perfect Horse, (2016) tells the true story of the daring U.S. mission to rescue the priceless, Lipizzaner Stallions kidnapped by the Nazis.

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Elizabeth Letts is a #1 New York Times bestselling author

Kim Hooper’s recently released debut novel, People Who Knew Me , follows one woman’s difficult choice to fake her disappearance and reinvent herself in the aftermath of 9/11. The story follows the complex, compelling ways her past catches up with her present. Her second novel, Cherry Blossoms, is slated for publication in the fall of 2018. Kim makes her home in Laguna Beach with her husband, baby daughter, and a collection of pets.

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Kim Hooper recently released her debut novel, People Who Knew Me 

AAUW’s mission is to advance equity for women and girls through advocacy, education and research. Money raised at the luncheon supports scholarships to Laguna Beach High School graduating seniors, middle school girls attending a summer science camp and returning women students at Saddleback College, Orange Coast College, Laguna College of Art + Design and UCI.

As Jean Brotherton, active AAUW-LB member and co-founder of the event 31 years ago, explains, “The Literary Luncheon furthers our promise we made to deserving women and girls and also constitutes a promise to society at large – a promise of equity, leadership, scholarship, and excellence in the years to come.”  

The Surf & Sand Resort is located at 1555 South Coast Highway. Doors open at 11 a.m. for a no-host bar, a silent auction, opportunity drawings, book sales and an opportunity to meet the authors. 

The luncheon and program run from 11:45 a.m.- 2:30 p.m. 

Paid reservations postmarked by March 2 are $95 ($100 afterwards if space available).  Checks should be made out to AAUW-Laguna Beach Foundation and mailed to AAUW-LBF, P.O. Box 189, Laguna Beach, 92652.  $59 is tax deductible. 

For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , call 949-494-5789, or go to

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