“…a re-awakening in my values and thinking.”

For me, president elect Donald Trump brought a re-awakening in my values and thinking. 

His disregard for Hispanics reminded me of the wonderful people who are friends and workers all over our town and the U.S.A., some of whom have come from south of the border in recent years. The U.S. Catholic Bishops called on the Trump transitional team last week to ask them to be considerate of Latino immigrants. Without Hispanics, our town would come to a grinding halt. 

His attacks on Muslims made me realize how many Middle Eastern people own businesses in Laguna, work in our town, are active at our Community Center and Susi Q and feel comfortable visiting our town. Many have picnics at my favorite city parks, Heisler and Treasure Island and enforce our decades old values of maintaining a totally open society. If any one place reflects this value, it’s our boardwalk. 

His mean words for FOX news person Megyn Kelly regarding her bleeding from here and there and his actions and insults against women are embarrassing for me as a American and his plan to take away a woman’s choice is hard to believe, especially in 2016.

With L.G.B.T. suicide prevention hot lines overwhelmed, millions of young people including school children living in fear of Mr. Trump and dozens of other concerns, I believe he is already destroying our fragile society. 

What do you think? 

Roger Carter

Laguna Beach

Trump campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, deserves credit

As an unabashed Hillary Clinton supporter, it’s time to give credit to the victors, especially Kellyanne Conway.  She is the first woman to run a winning presidential campaign. In doing so, she reached a height no other woman in U.S. political history has: On Tuesday, she successfully broke the second highest glass ceiling in the land.

I don’t suggest Conway think about running for president herself, but it’s clear she knew how to market Donald Trump to the voters.  Given her success, I don’t think it will be long before the highest, toughest glass ceiling in America is shattered.

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach


Congratulations to Steve Dicterow for extolling Laguna’s Rustic Charm and unique Village character. Keeping focus on Laguna’s essential attributes and values on which you campaigned must be ensured-Thank you!

With the re-election of incumbents, their combined experience, commitment and thoughtfulness will be greatly appreciated and tested in the years to come.

I hope each will work diligently to find thoughtful resolution for the    urgent and far-reaching issues, be it traffic, water, services, public transportation, tourism, cleanliness, improvements for safety and better communication as well all important environmental mandates.

I encourage City Council to expand public involvement, develop more citizen oversight, demanding greater transparency in city affairs and managing public funds responsibly while highlighting and supporting Laguna’s unique cultural and physical qualities through meaningful debate and decision-making.

A star example of local environmental success and model of how expansive goals merge with rustic charm in an environmentally sensitive location was highlighted at the Art Hotel this week honoring the late Rose Ekeberg DVM, Jim Stauffer and John Cunningham who initiated and developed Friends of the Sea Lions, now the Pacific Marine Mammal Center.

Congratulations to Bob Whalen for his important work to secure nuclear waste, Laura Parisi as our valued city Treasurer and Laguna Beach School Board elects, Peggy Wolff and Jan Vickers for their tireless commitment to future generations.

To Verna Rollinger, my great admiration and appreciation for her continuing efforts and involvement keeping Laguna beautiful, relevant and unique.

To all who campaigned, greatappreciation for your efforts and my very best for a Happy Thanksgiving!

Leah Vasquez

Laguna Beach

Are public beach accesses a city liability or a public asset?

A design for rehabilitation of the public beach access at the end of Agate Street is currently up for City Council appeal on Tuesday Nov 15th. It is a widely used access and viewing area where the public enjoys coveted views of the unique surf break, Catalina sunsets, Pearl Rock and the famous Arch.

Reasons for the Appeal:  1) the approved plan reduces the upper viewing platform’s usable area by over half, down to the size of a large parking space. This new 10x16 ft space is further restricted when one includes the access pathway through it, as well as the new seating.  The existing view platform now accommodates about 15 people, which has been reduced to about 6 people.  2) Seating needs to be wooden benches and not hard cold concrete seat walls.  3) Wheelchair access ramps have been eliminated to this new viewing platform.  A very small area streetside, amongst a new bike rack and garbage can, has been created as an after thought.  4) No view studies on the remaining views have been performed.  The view of the Arch from the bench is in jeopardy despite being preserved in perpetuity by past Conditions of Approvals.

This is a Public Works project, being paid for with our public tax dollars.  Why is it the public’s opinion is not being valued and utilized to make this into more of an asset for the public’s usage? It appears the design focus is to minimize the overall size and to reduce the liability of loitering rather than to enhance the currently enjoyed assets of these gateways to our beaches.

City Council needs to grant this appeal and send this poor design back to the DRB with specific guidance to make this a more palatable design for the public who can then enjoy it for a very long time. With just a little effort and openness to small changes, this can be achieved and the existing million dollar public views will be preserved.  

Please help save the assets of this public beach access by contacting our City Council or attending Tuesday’s meeting and supporting the Appeal.  Let’s preserve and enhance, not reduce and restrict Laguna’s public assets.

Peter Mann

Laguna Beach

After the Trump victory

Now that the election is over, it is time to get on with the peaceful transfer of power from Barack Obama to Donald Trump.  

I know the mere mention of Trump’s name makes some people’s blood boil; however, what’s done is done.

Democracy thrives because we are a nation of laws.  Going forward, my wish is those who voted for Hillary Clinton, Gary Johnson or Jill Stein (or didn’t vote at all) work within the system to make the U.S. a more perfect union. The best way to get there is peacefully and thoughtfully.  

By definition, this means no civil war in the streets and no more congressional dysfunction.   

It is clear to this sixty-something father of three the character of our neighbors and fabric of this nation will be tested between now and inauguration day January 20, 2017.  Which means there is one more vote to tally. I’m counting on people’s better angels to win out.   

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach

1/4 mile Arc looked like “…a crappy fence blocking the ocean view”

I love art and wish we had more public art pieces in Laguna. However, the 1/4 Mile Arc installation on Main Beach by Phillip Smith is a major fail. I feel bad saying it, but it just is. 

Why anyone would think its “artistic” to put what looks like fence posts across the beach and block the ocean view at Main Beach makes me question their actual artistic abilities. 

I sincerely thought it was new construction on main beach and was sad that the view of the ocean would once again be blocked. The view of main beach was obstructed by construction fencing for years while the new lifeguard HQ was built. 

Please no more “art” that looks like a crappy fence blocking the ocean view.

J. White

Laguna Beach

Is Mayor Dicterow’s house an ATM machine?

Last month several people came to a City Council meeting voicing concerns about Steve Dicterow’s financial difficulties. The response from the public was compassion, “everyone has tough times”.  Laguna has a history of caring for one another. That’s who we are. But it can’t be left at that. How did Mayor Dicterow get there? 

Public records disclose that Mayor Dicterow bought his home in 1988 for $340,000. Since that time he refinanced his mortgage seven times:

$368,000 in 1995

$440,000 in 1999

$547,000 in 2003 with an additional $50,000 second

$500,000 additional borrowed in late 2003

$1,000,000 in 2006

$271,000 in 2007 as a second 

Granted, many people refinanced to reduce their mortgage rate during the roaring housing bubble of pre-2008.  It was tempting to pull out ready money as the value of a home increased during this period.  However, it was always a gamble to risk the family home particularly as Mayor Dicterow did to finance new business ventures, such as a motorcycle circuit venture and a mold and water restoration venture, both of which unfortunately failed.  Since he had accumulated another $281,000 in unsecured debts by 2014, he used the bankruptcy option to protect his home.  The bankruptcy option seems reasonable in this set of circumstances, but the multiple refinancing of the family home at such a level seems unwise.

We can (and should) feel compassion for anyone in danger of losing their home. It is a tough and sad situation for anyone to experience, and thank the government that there is a bankruptcy option for protection of the home.  

The real question is the soundness of Mayor Dicterow’s decision to refinance at increasingly larger amounts. It makes one wonder about his abilities to make sound decisions over Laguna’s $70,000,000 budget.

When Mayor Dicterow supported building a four story garage at the Village Entrance, which was eventually blocked by a residents’ revolt, he stated at the City Council that a $65 million dollar bond is like a mortgage, “you never expect to pay off your mortgage”. For him that’s unfortunately true. 

George Weiss

Laguna Beach

Mancuso will take the lead

Had enough of campaign literature? This year I got a shopping bag full; I got more “Vote for Dicterow” flyers than Tootsie Rolls in my Halloween candy.

Ever feel like Laguna politics is like sales hype to buy advice you don’t need? The first 3 bullets in Mayor Dicterow’s campaign literature are for police services, downtown and neighborhood patrols but no Lollipops. Our town must be at war. “Vote for Measure LL a Vital Services Measure” to provide more money for increased Police and ER calls, but eyed for tourist way-finding signs.

Meanwhile the LB Planning Commission hired city parking consultants IDI to figure out how to park 5700 cars in a town with good intentions - in the space for 3000 (October 18 City Agenda Item 12). IDI are experts in the analysis of 1970 parking requirements when Laguna had three car dealerships. Naturally IDI were selected to preserve Charm and Character because they use bigger computers.

Given their record with planning consultants will re-electing city council incumbents yield different results next year? Enough paper consultants, why don’t we hire local expertise and test our own ideas, that way we could sue ourselves if a Parklet goes bad.

We have had enough job programs for city staff, city delay and denial, join the Judie Mancuso campaign and let’s get the job done.

Stop the shenanigans at city hall: let’s have honest city government.

Stop obstructions by the city manager: start modern city policy, update the General Plan.

Stop pedestrian injuries at PCH: start traffic calming at Hip District, Broadway, The Urth Cafe.

Stop the pooping panhandlers: enforce our city ordinances or stop inviting irresponsible vagrants.

Stop professional public surveys for political agendas: start public education.

Unpack the Trojan horse: a “Welcome Entrance” means a modern transit depot, not a parking lot.

How about finishing Laguna sidewalks so residents are allowed car-free access to shopping? No more mobile phone dropouts. I don’t call Abu Dhabi so complete our phone network so that it friggin’ connects Laguna to itself. How about digital infrastructure that provides 50Mbps broadband?

Laguna Beach civic service is not a jobs program nor a retirement plan, that’s why Judie Mancuso has a 100 day Action-Plan to get the job done in Laguna Beach. She is ready to take the lead, give her your vote on November 8.

Les Miklosy

Laguna Beach

OC Register and Mayor Dicterow

For anyone seeking a public position where responsibility and judgment matter, it is especially applicable to Laguna’s current Mayor up for re-election.

It is a matter of public record that Mr. Dicterow filed CH11 Bankruptcy in Sept ‘14. Approximately 6 months later the Bankruptcy trustee was back before the judge with a motion to force Mr. Dicterow into Ch7 (liquidation) because of his failure to follow-through on his commitments made during the Ch11 filing. Unsecured creditors getting 32 cents on the dollar over 5 years? 

Yet Mr. Dicterow tells the Editorial Board of the OC Register that the City should live within its means and they accept that and use it for grounds to endorse him and state: “Mayor Steve Dicterow has proven to be a true fiscal conservative”. 

The OCR Editorial Board has lost a good measure of its credibility and appearance of non-partisanship.

Your Vote tells much-it matters.

Leah Vasquez

Laguna Beach

Howard Hills tells Tyler:  Let audience decide

Tyler Russell’s selective written “highlights” regarding my FX 93.5 interview last Sunday assumes Stu News readers are unable to judge for themselves. 

It speaks volumes that the radio station manager wants the Stu News audience passively to accept his editorial filter and political spin on my interview as a School Board candidate instead of listening to the actual interview podcast.  

Instead I am the one who wants readers to hear the live radio interview. Apparently he believes Stu News reaches a larger audience than he can reach on FX 93.5. But going from radio to print makes it harder to get away with his misleading description of the interview.

Contrary to Russell’s false narrative, I had no difficulty answering the FX 93.5 co-host’s question about common core curriculum, I nailed it. But I was not about to be bullied by a cub reporter trying to bring religion and national party politics into a school board race, especially when he had not pulled the same cheap stunt on the other candidate.

If your readers listen to the actual show they can decide whether it was me or the co-host who became “frustrated” and could not “effectively answer.” When it became clear from his amateurish questions he is not a professional journalist, I simply turned the tables and interviewed him about his political agenda.

So let me invite the Stu News audience to visit www.kx935.com and go to “Podcasts” click on “All Shows” then scroll down to “Laguna Round Table” and click on “Howard Hills – Jan Vickers.” 

My interview begins at Minute 42:00. I have supported FX 93.5 events and programming as a volunteer guest on several programs, but credibility in public affairs programming requires respecting journalistic standards and focusing honestly on issues rather than personalities.   

Howard Hills

Laguna Beach

Supporting Vickers and Wolff

The School Board sets policies to protect and enhance our local public schools. As former board members, we undertook this responsibility, and we care deeply about the future of our schools. 

In considering the current school board candidates, we look for the following attributes: (1) Will the candidate work collaboratively to foster and create a supportive and productive education system? (2) Is the candidate knowledgeable about our schools? (3) Will the candidate show up prepared, courteous, open-minded, and committed to merit-based decisions that serve all students in Laguna schools? 

Based on the above attributes, we believe the best candidates for the job are Jan Vickers and Peggy Wolff. Jan Vickers offers a depth and breadth of knowledge about our schools that serves our schools well. She has worked effectively for our community for the past 20 years, and that experience is invaluable. Peggy Wolff offers practical knowledge as a community volunteer to the district, having given generously of her time and talents at our schools in many ways over the years. Wolff also has experience as a public classroom teacher and relates well to parents, students, teachers and staff.

Both of these candidates have been engaged with our public education system for many years and have taken the time to invest in our schools. They are knowledgeable and are hard working. And they both work harmoniously with school staff, parents and students. We endorse Jan Vickers and Peggy Wolff for the two open positions on the Laguna Beach school board. We encourage you to cast your vote for the real-world experience and levelheadedness of Peggy Wolff and Jan Vickers on November 8.

Betsy Jenkins

El Hathaway

Laguna Beach

Peggy Wolff shows up

Being present is a respectable and admirable trait for a school board candidate. Through my various volunteer positions, I have consistently seen Peggy Wolff not only show up and be involved in, but also take on leadership roles for, the schools, PTA, and SchoolPower. She is always present in body...and mind, not easily distracted from the task at hand. She is fair, non-exclusive, follows the rules and dedicated to providing the best learning environment for our kids. I feel that she would be a tremendous asset to our community as a school board member.

Sharael Kolberg

Laguna Beach

The role of City Treasurer

As your City Treasurer I’ve been privileged to serve my fellow citizens for the past 17 years. I’ve never forgotten that I serve at the pleasure of the voters, and that those votes must be earned.

I’m disappointed by the mean-spirited, misleading campaign waged by my challenger in this election, and would like to set the record straight.

Neither my opponent nor her supporters have suggested I’m unqualified, have performed poorly or acted unethically or inappropriately, instead claiming my professional credentials and experience are unnecessary for the job. This betrays a troubling lack of understanding of the responsibilities involved.

The Treasurer’s office isn’t a bookkeeping position. The City has a separate Finance Department, Director of Finance and bookkeepers to handle routine tasks like paying the bills and keeping the City’s books.

The Treasurer, however, is an important steward of the City’s fiscal health, operating within a complex regulatory framework of federal and state laws and an investment policy developed collaboratively by the City Manager, Department of Finance and Treasurer, and approved by the City Council. The Treasurer provides the check and balance that every government needs and it’s important that they have the advanced education and expertise to administer these complicated responsibilities.

As Treasurer I manage the City’s portfolio of $75 to $100 million in investments, depending on the time of year, which generated almost  $900,000 in revenue last year. I’ve performed CPA-caliber work for tough projects assigned by the Council.  As Administrator of Laguna’s assessment districts I’ve succeeded in saving Laguna taxpayers $1.4 million. These accomplishments reflect the value of my qualifications as an experienced CPA, Certified California Municipal Treasurer and Certified Fixed Income Practitioner.

While there have been no complaints about my performance it’s been claimed the City is paying too much for its Treasurer. But of Laguna’s entire $44 million budgeted 2016 payroll, the Treasurer’s office including administrative costs, salary and benefits represents only $160,000. The Treasurer’s hours and compensation are determined entirely by the Council, which for the past 16 years has rewarded my performance with Exceptional Performance Pay.

This challenging work is different every day but I always approach it with the goals of efficiency and Best Practices. I never forget that the ultimate goal is protecting the fiscal assets of Laguna’s citizens and producing excellent results for our City. I’m proud of my track record, and respectfully ask that you honor me with your votes so we may continue this good work together.

Laura Parisi

Laguna Beach

The facts about the Treasurer’s salary

There has been a lot of misinformation floating around about the City Treasurer, including the gross error of attributing the entire departmental budget to the Treasurer’s salary. There is publicly available documentation showing that of the $160,000 budget for the department, the salary is $77,400 – less than half.

The department will have expenses and benefits regardless of whom we elect, and voters deserve accurate facts to make a fully informed decision next week. Misstatements like this should not happen. I also know Laura as a Rotarian. She has always been an active participant in many of our fundraisers and other activities like our dictionary program, Thanksgiving dinners we put together for 90 well deserving families and other projects.

In this election there is only one person who is qualified: sitting Treasurer Laura Parisi, CPA. Under her 17-year stewardship, City funds have grown and there has been consistently accurate, transparent reporting to the City and its taxpayers. Laura has always served us very well and I have no doubt that she will continue to do so.  

The caliber of the treasury professionals who have endorsed Laura is further proof of her superior qualifications. They include former County Treasurer (and current State Senator) John Moorlach; former state treasurer Bill Lockyer; the Orange County Superintendent of Schools;  Al Mijares, Ph.D.; Orange County Auditor Controller Eric Woolery, CPA;  Andy Dunn, Ed.D.: Gary Capata, CPA, Chairman of the Orange County Treasury Oversight Committee, and of course Retired Laguna Beach Treasurer Susan Morse.  

These professionals have endorsed Laura. I am voting for Laura Parisi, CPA for City Treasurer and I encourage you to do the same.

John L. Campbell, CPCU

Laguna Beach

Why we are voting for Laura Parisi, CPA for City Treasurer

We are voting for Laura Parisi because she is a CPA and has SEC and industry experience.  Rather than viewing these credentials as negatives for the city, we view them as positives.  Not only has Laura been professionally trained, with the experience and expertise to perform the duties required, she also brings independence and integrity to the treasury position.  

The cost of the treasury function has been questioned in campaign materials and we agree it is always good civic duty to question the compensation of our public servants.  We would like to know how much of a savings would result from a change in personnel at the position and at what cost to the City in terms of experience and expertise?

We are aware that in December 2015 Laura was awarded additional pay by the City Council for professional services she was asked by the City to perform that were outside of her normal responsibilities and duties.  Our understanding is that the work related to changes required to be made to certain mandatory disclosures the City previously had made to the SEC that were discovered to be in error.  The City wisely obtained the Treasurer’s expertise at a rate of $60 per hour, which is considerably less than it would have paid for outside consultants.

At the City Council meeting awarding the Treasurer the additional pay, council members made various relevant observations about the process.   One council member asked what we believe are the pertinent questions—why was the Treasurer asked to do this work and how did the errors happen?  To our knowledge, those questions (and we would add another, what has been done to ensure the City does not get into a similar position again?) have yet to be answered in a public forum.

Campaign materials being distributed cite Laura’s expertise and experience as negatives.  In our opinion, Laura’s expertise and experience have proved critical to the City of Laguna Beach in the past and are two of the reasons we are voting for her.

Mary Locatelli, CPA

Robin K. Hall, CPA

Laguna Beach

A question of risk: McGraw or Parisi?

I just received a slick postcard in the mail, urging me to vote for Anne McGraw for City Treasurer.

On the card, Ms. McGraw asked if I realized that we’re paying nearly $160,000 annually for the current Treasurer of Laguna Beach. Frankly I don’t think anyone realizes how much any City employee makes, but it inspired me to go to the City’s website to check out the big picture. 

Turns out that what we pay our City Treasurer, including benefits is a minuscule portion of the City’s entire payroll, which is budgeted at over $44 million dollars a year.  

Ms. McGraw went on to promise that she would do the same job as our current Treasurer at a much lower cost. The savings in the context of the City’s payroll would be virtually nothing. But the cost in experience and security would be far higher, and a big risk! 

If we replace our existing treasurer, Laura Parisi, a CPA and Certified Municipal Treasurer with many years experience in government finance, with a bookkeeper who’s never worked in the public sector, we should absolutely pay less. But we’d get what we pay for, which would be someone with zero experience in the complex management of almost $100 million of our – the citizens – money.

Thanks for the postcard – you’ve convinced me that voting to re-elect Laura Parisi as City Treasurer is the only way to go.

Rick Gold

Laguna Beach

CPA qualification important for Treasurer position

Obviously Laura Parisi’s opponent for City Treasurer does not know what training is involved with a CPA designation. She keeps on insisting that all a CPA does is taxes and that is why we do not need a CPA as treasurer in Laguna Beach. If the position of City Treasurer’s duties was only to do the bookkeeping, why is it an elected position?  

Our City currently has a bookkeeper on staff. I believe the intent of an elected treasurer is to be able to audit and watch over the people of Laguna’s money. This means that that a Treasurer should be able to audit financial records from our City Finance and Accounting department.  

Although I am not a CPA, I currently work for a CPA and my sister is a CPA. Laura Parisi as a CPA has consistently found errors with our Cities “non-CPA” City Finance and Accounting staff. That is why we need a CPA and not a bookkeeper. Please join me in voting for experience. For the record, this is not personal, Ms. McGraw, this is about qualifications and experience. Don’t you think it is time that we let Ms. Parisi know what a great job she has done for the last 17 years for Laguna Beach?

Nancy Miller, CPM

Laguna Beach

Uber not welcome in Laguna?

I live in Laguna Beach and recently started driving for Uber. I like driving and enjoy meeting many of my fellow Laguna Beach citizens as they often need rides from work and from many of our local businesses they enjoy. Among these local businesses are our restaurants and bars. Lots of times we get crowded parking and streets full of cars looking for parking and so we have what many of us appreciate, the free trolleys, taxi cabs and of course Uber and Lyft drivers. 

These all help us as citizens of Laguna Beach reduce the inconvenience of having to find parking and most importantly avoid drinking and driving and maybe to a lesser degree, parking tickets. Many of our fellow Orange County residents also enjoy these amenities for the same reasons when they come to our city. I’d say 50% of my passengers are from out of town and trust me, I get a lot of people who we should be grateful are not trying to make it home on our streets driving on their own. 

That’s why I’m wondering as a Laguna Beach resident and UberX driver why I’d be given a “double Parking ticket without so much as a warning or “move it along” when picking up passengers from our famous Sandpiper Lounge. A Traffic Accident Investigator on our police force has taken it either upon himself or following orders from his superiors to stand on the corner of Brooks and PCH and write “double parking” citations for drivers who have arrived to carry home those who need a ride. 

My question is, are revenues so low, are DUI and traffic accidents so infrequent that the officer has been reduced to scaring away taxis, Uber and Lyft drivers out of town? The reason I ask is because when I pulled up to the corner of Brooks and PCH, he was there standing in the crosswalk walk causing many motorists to become confused on whether he was going to cross the street or not. Many other police vehicles were at that intersection too so I felt safe enough to pull up and wait for my passengers and look for any guidance and assistance from our police as to where I ought to go if I’m not supposed to be waiting where I am. I made eye contact with him and I was relieved that he was coming to help me...but no such luck, he told me to stay there so he could do the “I’m going to write you a ticket”. I asked as my face went from a smile to a bewildered dolt “what for?”, he said “double parking” as if he was writing them all night for Uber and Lyft drivers! My passengers had just arrived at that very moment and climbed in. They were not very happy with the officer either. They laid into him pretty good while I asked them to please not make things any worse. Who knows what he’ll find wrong with my car next or maybe bump my citation up to “Impeding traffic”?

So now of course I’m forced to wait at the very spot I’m violating as he writes me a parking ticket. He asked “so you’re Uber” and I said “yes” and he nodded finished the final touches on my ticket in which I’ll be forced to pay $43.

Is this what we should come to expect from now on? No friendly warnings from a police department I’m proud of, well up til now? Are revenues and traffic accidents at such a low that we as Laguna Beach citizens are now treated like flies caught in a spider web of “gotcha”?

What happened to the “friendliest cops in the world” I always bragged about? Don’t get me wrong, the officer was not in any way disrespectful or mean. He just wasn’t helpful to me and I think message was, Uber isn’t welcome in Laguna Beach.

Greg Randall

Laguna Beach

Be kind after Tuesday

Now that we are entering the final weekend of the presidential campaign, I am urging my friends, whose anxiety levels are reaching all-time highs, to remember this: “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”  

It’s a great concept to keep in mind as we head toward election day. It may prove even more meaningful after Tuesday’s results.  

As far as this sixty-something father of three is concerned, we Americans are going to have to make a sobering choice. We will either put our differences behind us as generous, thoughtful and respectful citizens or stoke the flames of discord as selfish, mean and disrespectful people.  

One calls for immediate triage while the other encourages prolonged confrontation. I’d like to think one is healthy and the other is not. After such a long and negative campaign, it will be time to begin the healing process.That, my friends, will take kindness.  

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach

Setting the record straight about Parisi

Misrepresentations are circulating about compensation paid by the City to our treasurer, Laura Parisi. Let’s set the record straight. Your vote should be based on truth, not exaggeration and misinformation. 

Laura’s base salary is $6450 per month ($77,400 per year), plus the benefits other City employees receive. For the last several years the Council granted her exceptional performance pay, up to 5 percent, and Laura has also taken the additional responsibility of reviewing our hotel bed tax, the Transient Occupancy Tax. 

In 2015, the City chose Laura to resolve a complex accounting problem. She spent hundreds of hours correcting an error the City (not Laura) made on a document submitted to the federal government.  Neither the City or the outside auditor caught the error. It was discovered by our new auditing firm. Regardless of the responsibility, it had to be addressed. Laura had the skill set and we asked her to complete the task.   

The Laguna Beach City Council selected a subcommittee to determine appropriate compensation for Laura’s work.  Steve Dicterow and I, as the subcommittee, recognized that we did not have the expertise to understand the complexity of this task and what was necessary to correct the errors. We sought a respected local CPA to determine whether Laura›s request for compensation was appropriate.  He confirmed that her request was appropriate.  And he added that if we were forced to use an outside firm, the cost would have been much higher.   

Other comments have surfaced in an attempt to malign Laura’s reputation and integrity. Remarkably she’s been accused of being overqualified. Doesn’t Laguna deserve the most qualified to serve us? Not only is Laura a CPA, she is the only CPA working at the City. She has the training to be a Watchdog for the City and the Public.

Cities without this independent and qualified oversight run increased risks of improper handling of funds. Recently millions of dollars were embezzled  from the City of Placentia.

What a shame it would be to lose Laura as our Treasurer.

Toni Iseman

Mayor ProTem

Laguna Beach

Duties of City Treasurer have grown

Having served as Laguna Beach’s City Treasurer for 18 years, I can confirm that the duties and responsibilities of the position have grown significantly. With the growth that we enjoy, comes increased responsibility for the Office of the Laguna Beach Treasurer.

Laura Parisi has managed these increases very well with few resources. According to her Personnel Action Form, she has 25 hours per week at a monthly salary of $6,450 ($77,400 annually) to complete the investing, banking and assessment district administration responsibilities. Councils have voted to give her Exceptional Performance Pay this year and for many prior years. She receives the same benefits as other management employees at the director level.

The misrepresentations by her opponent were misleading as was the 2016 report by Mr. Flannery that ignored the critical role of the treasurer to serve as an internal control for our money. This point was sadly proven in an incidence of embezzlement that occurred only a couple of months later in one of the three cities cited that had a nominal role for the elected treasurer. http://www.ocregister.com/articles/city-719687-nguyen-placentia.html.

Because this is an elected position, it is very important that the City Treasurer have the knowledge and experience to carry on the duties of the office without interference from others. If an inexperienced person were to be elected, they would need to rely on the City Manager for advice and the independence, so critical to this position and the checks and balances, would be lost.

Laura Parisi has the experience, excellent qualifications, and takes her duties extremely seriously.

I urge you to vote for her.

Susan Morse

Retired City Treasurer

Laguna Beach

City treasurer more than a bookkeeper

Obviously Laura Parisi’s opponent for City Treasurer does not know what training is involved with a CPA designation. She keeps on insisting that all a CPA does is taxes and that is why we do not need a CPA as treasurer in Laguna Beach. If the position of City Treasurer’s duties was only to do the bookkeeping, why is it an elected position? Our City currently has a bookkeeper on staff. I believe the intent of an elected treasurer is to be able to audit and watch over the people of Laguna’s money. This means that that a Treasurer should be able to audit financial records from our City Finance and Accounting department.  Although I am not a CPA, I currently work for a CPA and my sister is a CPA. Laura Parisi as a CPA has consistently found errors with our City’s “non-CPA” City Finance and Accounting staff. That is why we need a CPA and not a bookkeeper. Please join me in voting for experience. For the record, this is not personal, Ms. McGraw, this is about qualifications and experience. Don’t you think it is time that we let Ms. Parisi know what a great job she has done for the last 17 years for Laguna Beach?

Nancy Miller, CPM

Laguna Beach


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