Thalia Street Beach Access ribbon cutting takes place Tuesday, April 17 at 4 p.m.

The City of Laguna Beach invites the community to a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday, April 17, at 4 p.m. for the opening of the newly renovated beach access at the end of Thalia Street. 

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Over the Christmas holidays, Mary Hurlbut captured this golden-hued image of the renovation in process

The project consisted of replacing the stairway, overlook, landscaping, lighting, benches and bike racks. For answers to questions about the event or the project, please contact Lou Kneip at (949) 464- 6688.


Village Laguna offers citizens a chance to learn more about utility undergrounding options

Village Laguna offers citizens a chance to learn more about the options the city is exploring for the undergrounding of utilities on Laguna Canyon Road – and also the exact location of key evacuation routes.

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Busy Laguna Canyon Road is a key evacuation route

The nonprofit invites residents to its next general meeting, where Liz Avila, Senior Administrative Analyst for Public Works, will provide with answers to commonly asked questions.

The meeting will take place at the Unitarian Universalist Hall, 429 Cypress Drive, on April 23 at 7 p.m. Refreshments will be served.

Visit for more information.


Where’s Maggi?

Where can you find this water pump?   

Maggi thinks maybe a few others have noticed it.

Be a winner, and beat Maggi at her game! Submit your answer to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The photo quiz will be solved in the next issue, and we’ll let you know the winners.

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STOP claims City erred in sending flier to locals; City Attorney disagrees

By BARBARA DIAMOND

Stop Taxing Our Property (STOP) accused City officials on Tuesday of illegal use of taxpayers’ money to promote voter approval of bond or sales tax increase to fund undergrounding utilities on major evacuation routes out of Laguna. 

The group claimed during the Public Comment period that a recent flier mailed to residents violates the California Government Code 54964(a), which prohibits the use of taxpayers’ money to mount a campaign that attempts to influence voters. 

STOP opposes a sales tax increase or a bond to fund the proposed undergrounding project. 

“I maintain the city has crossed the line into political advocacy with its ‘Safe Stronger Laguna’ campaign and that therefore the spending of taxpayers’ dollars to promote this campaign is prohibited as per 54964(a),” said Michael Morris, founder and writer of the online LagunaCHAT.

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Pole of contention

City Attorney Philip Kohn agreed that public resources cannot be spent in the advocacy of a ballot measure, but disagreed that the city had overstepped its bounds.

He said he had reviewed all of the City’s activities connected to the drafting of a possible initiative, including the preparation and distribution of informational materials. 

“I believe they comport with the applicable legal requirements,” Kohn said. 

Residents critical of the flier and the proposed methods of funding the undergrounding project included Michelle Monda during Tuesday’s tit-for-tat public testimony. 

“The City is spending taxpayers’ money to advocate undergrounding,” said Monda. “They are using scare tactics to get a sales tax increase.”

Disaster/Emergency Preparedness Committee Chair Matt Lawson suggested that anyone who doesn’t agree that downed power poles cause fires should go talk to the fire chief. 

STOP founder Jennfer Zeiter accused the city of “cherry picking” data to support its efforts to sway voters and Tom Gibbs accused STOP of providing inaccurate information about the cause of fires in Laguna.

Purchase of Rule 20-A credits gets praise from unusual source

Zeiter did give the council kudos for the purchase of Rule 20-A credits from Sierra Madre. 

“You guys are going to fall out of your chairs; I am going to compliment you,” said Zeiter. “I would like to see more of this.”

The credits are used to underground electrical lines and poles along key roads. 

Laguna’s Rule 20-A allotment is $80,000 a year.

“That’s about the cost of one pole,” said Public Works Director Shohreh Dupuis. 

Unneeded credits can be purchased at discounted prices. Laguna’s purchase of Sierra Madre’s $1,142,180 cache of credits cost the city $628,199. 

Credits had previously been purchased form Aliso Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, Indian Wells and Covina.

“Undergrounding at Big Bend was funded by these credits,” said City Manager John Pietig. “We are looking for more.”

The debate on how to fund undergrounding along major evacuation routes is shaping up to be one of the hottest debates in the upcoming City Council election, with no indication that opponents or supporters are likely to slack off in the meantime.


Last-minute openings available for Kids Yoga Teacher Training

Nothing is more rewarding than introducing children to the world of yoga, according to Staci Bena of Bala Shala Yoga for Kids of Laguna Beach.

And this weekend – starting today – Karma Kids Yoga teacher training, hosted by Bala Shala Yoga, is available. Last-minute applications are acceptable.

The training provides advice on more than 500 yoga poses, partner poses, group poses, yoga games and activities, creative breathing exercises, relaxation and visualization techniques.

Submitted photo

Kids love yoga

This training is beneficial for parents, grandparents, caregivers, teachers and anyone with a love of children. Attendees will “find their inner child all over again as they learn, practice, teach discuss, laugh and play in this extraordinary and comprehensive workshop,” say organizers.

The workshop takes place from today, April 13 - April 15 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 950 Glenneyre Street.

To register call (949) 293-5145, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or register online at www.balashala.com.


How to meet tax deadlines to avoid extensions, penalties and interest

By Loreen Gilbert

The mid-April tax-filing deadline is fast approaching. Unfortunately, many taxpayers are not ready to file their final returns. Typically, individual taxes and returns are due April 15. However, when the 15th falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the holiday of Emancipation Day is celebrated on Monday and tax returns are due on Tuesday.  

So in 2018, your 2017 taxes are due on Tuesday, April 17.

What are the implications as well as the potential benefits for extending our tax returns until the ultimate deadline of September 15 for corporations and October 15 for individuals?

If you own a business with a December 31, your taxes were due on March 15. If you did not file your return, you should have filed an extension. And if your corporate returns are not in good order, it will be tougher to then get your personal returns done by the standard April 15 deadline.  

For individuals, many people need more time to make sure their returns are accurate and therefore need to file an extension.

However, filing an extension on either your business or individual return does not exempt you from penalties and interest on taxes due. The federal penalties amount to .5 percent per month on outstanding taxes. In addition, the interest amounts to the federal short-term interest rate plus three percent compounded daily. The federal short-term interest rate is determined and posted every three months.

State taxes also impose their own penalties and interest, which vary by state, so check your state tax board for details.

If you owe taxes, even if you are not ready to file your tax return, make sure to pay the estimated taxes due in order to avoid penalties and interest.

So how many taxpayers file for an extension? Over 10 million people in the US file a tax extension each year. And according to www.filelater.com, filing an extension may even lower your chances of being audited. While no one really knows how the IRS determines which taxpayers will be audited, many people believe that auditors fill their required quotas before the October deadline.

No one enjoys paying taxes or filing their tax returns, but paying Uncle Sam on time, whether you file an extension or not, makes a lot more sense than paying taxes and penalties later.  

Loreen Gilbert is the Founder and President, WealthWise Financial Services and also serves on the Executive Board of National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), representing more than 13 million women business owners in the US. Gilbert is an ambassador for Opportunity International, a micro-lending organization helping mainly women in third world countries to start or expand a business. 

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