Measure KK on marijuana dispensaries to be discussed at Village Laguna Meeting

At the Village Laguna general meeting on Monday, Oct 24, Laguna Beach Police Chief Laura Farinella and Councilmember Rob Zur Schmiede will provide information on the adverse impacts Measure KK and marijuana dispensaries will have on our community and how to spread the word in the last weeks before the election,

The meeting will be at the Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship, 429 Cypress Drive. The meeting is open to the public, and starts at 7 p.m.

Village Laguna is opposing Measure KK and urging a No vote. If passed, Laguna Beach would be the only city in southern Orange County with medical marijuana dispensaries. If the statewide ballot proposition allowing recreational use of marijuana should pass, these dispensaries would quickly become regional dealerships. The City would have no control over the selection of operators while being responsible for providing the additional public-safety resources that the operation of these lucrative all-cash businesses is expected to require. 

Contributions to the No campaign (made out to “Defeat Measure KK”) may be sent to Together Laguna Can Defeat Measure KK, P.O. Box 5134, Laguna Beach, CA 92652. “No on KK” yard signs, provided by Let Laguna Vote, may be picked up at 1960 Glenneyre Street.

Village Laguna

Campaign signs

Campaign signs are proliferating around town. Must be October!

One series of signs caught my eye: One candidate is campaigning on preserving and protecting the charm and scale of our Village. You can find these hung on hotels, big restaurants and empty lots all about town. 

If I recall correctly, this same candidate is the one who has championed huge parking garages, advocated for turning our neighborhoods into short term rental districts, votes in favor of big mansions in small scale neighborhoods, and always seem to favor big business over the one of a kind local venues.

There is only one candidate in the election who we can count on to be there to prevent the destruction of our charm and scale: Verna Rollinger.

Over the 34+ years that she has served our city as City Clerk and on the City Council, Verna always sided with our residents and neighborhoods and small business. It’s great that she is willing to serve again on the council.

Think about our future. If there is only one candidate you will vote for this November, make it Verna!

Armando Baez

Laguna Beach

Verna can do the math

Can anyone do math?

When you were in high school, you probably took either the ACT or SAT.  And you got a verbal score and a math score.

It looks to me like Laguna Beach is largely led by people with good verbal scores.

But can anyone do math?

Here’s a small example.  

This summer, to great fanfare, the City announced it would try an experiment called the “Summer Breeze” which was a hastily assembled program to lease a parking lot near the 405, and to have OCTA busses carry people for 16 summer weekend days from those parked cars to downtown Laguna and back 26 times per day. 

Cost to the City: $85,000.

The goals were to reduce congestion in the downtown, and to reduce the number of vehicles entering downtown.

The problem is – it is very expensive for what it accomplishes.

While there were a reported 5,428 bus “boardings”, actual cars parked and kept out of the downtown were about 1045 (total) or 65 per day the program was in effect.

So the effective cost of the program was $81.28 (per day) for every car kept out of the downtown.

But to keep 65 cars off the road, we added 26 bus trips.  So we only reduced vehicles in downtown by 39 per day.

On that basis, it cost $134.98 for every net vehicle kept out of downtown.

And the reduction in trips on Laguna Canyon Road was about 2/10 of 1%. That’s one out of every 500 cars.

Environmentally, we probably used more fuel for the bus trips than the cars would have used.

Okay, so it was an experiment, and it’s okay to experiment, but gee whiz -- let’s work on the math.

To make a real difference, how many trips per day would we need to save?  

What would that cost?

On this basis, keeping 1,000 vehicles out of the downtown, at a cost of $134.98 for every net vehicle kept out of downtown would cost $134,980 per day.  

And that would reduce vehicles in downtown by 5% on those days.

Seems pretty expensive.

If the City sent me a check for $134.98 to stay out of downtown, I’d do it.

It’s election time.  Maybe we need fewer verbal skills and more math skills running the City.  Vote for Verna.  Verna can do math.

John Thomas

Laguna Beach

Hiring city consultants – vote for Mancuso

Last Friday 10/14 the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) hosted the Active Transportation Forum. OC agencies share a common mission: to prepare our county planning documents to qualify for state and federal funding for mobility infrastructure. That means if their planning documents are not in order, they cannot compete for funding. In 2016 there was $79 million available in Federal CMAQ grant money up for grabs yet our LB Circulation Element was updated once in the last 42 years. Councilwoman Diana Carey showed the audience six essential preparations her city of Westminster used to qualify for funding, Laguna hasn’t prepared any of them.

Other OC communities are struggling to meet ever-increasing vehicular traffic, so the Metropolitan Planning Organization and SCAG are cooperating to redesign urban settings from cars back to livable environments for people using Active Transportation.

Our speaker Hasan Ikhrata Executive Director of SCAG had advice for city institutions. When hiring planning consultants Hasan said, “provide choices, don’t direct options” which means ask consultants for best design choices, don’t specify the requirements to win the job.  For example to update the Laguna Beach Downtown Specific Plan the hired consultant will read these instructions:  Balance the need to preserve the existing village character and pedestrian orientation with the objective to accommodate the traffic and parking demands generated by tourists.  Wha? That’s like asking to preserve our pedestrian orientation but hide the parking garage.

Our City sells the illusion that if we get the parking just right our traffic congestion problems go away, if we hire the right expert they can work this out. Instead Laguna should hire consultants for demonstrated best practices not for options the city manager prescribes. If our city council cannot exercise oversight on behalf of residents then it’s time for new leadership from a council person who gets it. Judie Mancuso listens to consultants, she knows the difference between compensating for expert advice and paying for a jobs program.

Our keynote speaker was Founder Daniel Iacofano of MIG Consulting - yes that MIG. Daniel explained a benefit of Active Transportation is Real Estate Value Capture:  to revitalize any business district and raise property value, simply reduce automobile and increase walk-in traffic. Parklets done right are a means of creating community space that people are drawn to, hence walk-in traffic. 

Caltrans, OCTA and SoCal cities shared good company at the event, our city wasn’t represented. Laguna needs council members who draw best practices from outside Laguna, vote Judie Mancuso for City Council.

Les Miklosy

Laguna Beach

Vote for Verna, Judie, Susan and Hillary

Vote for Verna Rollinger and Judie Mancuso for Laguna Beach city council. Mayor Steve Dicterow has done too many dumb things to list here and Bob Whalen and Dicterow have voted to spend $1.5 million on consultants, voted for a giant 500 + garage at our city entranceand the hiring of a new police chief from out of town when one of our cops could have done a better job. 

Dicterow’s latest scheme cost us $80,000 for buses to transport visitors from the freeway to downtown’s bus station and it was a bust. Whalen’s grand scheme to underground utilities caused one lady to tell me she would rather keep looking at the poles and lines than be saddled with a tax bill for years to undergroiund.

Vote for Susan Savary for Congress person. Dana Rohrabacher, a friend of our Mayor Dicterow is a no show too. He has been a congressman for 27 years, has introduced 305 bills and only 3 became law. He has never been a full committee chairman and collected his salary while other federal employees were put on furlough when he voted for the government shutdown. 

Hillary Clinton isn’t perfect, but she is certainly not crazy like Donald Trump who experts say suffers from at least one personality disorder called narcissistic personality disorder, is a serial liar, has ripped everybody off from painting contractors to banks and the IRS. 

Laguna is different. We are dog town, canyon country, a sanctuary for birds, raccoons, skunks, deer,andsnakes.We are a skateboard park because we have the ideal topography for skateboarding.We sponsor one of the oldest surf contests in the world and are proud of our international LGBT friendly beach, West St. 

We are a walking paradise with endless gardens, fabulous parks, remarkable life guards, fantastic public art. We need city council people who care about our people - our history - our traditions and our trees. 

Vote for Verna, Judie, Susan and Hillary. 

Roger Carter

Laguna Beach

Putting the Needs of the Residents First, South Laguna Civic Association Supports Measure LL

Ed. Note: This letter was addressed to city leaders

This letter is to convey the decision of the Board of the South Laguna Civic Association to support Measure LL and to convey our appreciation for the efforts of the Laguna Beach City Council and the City staff to begin to address the concerns expressed over this past summer by many residents of South Laguna regarding issues associated with the growing impacts of tourism on the neighborhoods and beaches of South Laguna.

Being able to address the impact of tourism on residents and the need for more financial resources to support these efforts are clearly linked.  

Measure LL, an increase in the Transient Occupancy Tax, will provide additional funds to the City that can fund these additional efforts.  We further understand that the amount of the increase was the result of discussions with representatives of our local hotels, so we conclude that the increase is generally acceptable to the local hotel industry.

Resolution 16.068 adopted unanimously by the members of the City Council on August 30, 2016, states that, if measure LL is enacted, it is the intent of the City Council to prioritize spending options for future Measure LL revenue for the following purposes:

• Protect beaches from pollution;

• Provide fire and police protection, and emergency response services;

• Utility undergrounding to prevent fires and power outages;

• Improve the cleanliness of public areas such as sidewalks and streets; and

• To provide other services and improvements.

Further, a fact sheet distributed by the City further reinforces the City’s intent with the statement that “Our city’s first priority is to protect the safety of our citizens and preserve the quality of life that we all expect in Laguna Beach.”

Therefore, based on the understanding that funds from Measure LL will be used for those purposes, and more specifically, to address the South Laguna concerns referenced above, the Board of the South Laguna Civic Association, discussed the measure at its September 12, 2016, meeting and voted overwhelmingly to enthusiastically endorse and support Measure LL and the use of Measure LL funds as described above.

Once again, we thank the City Council for its recognition of the fundamental importance of the issues of public safety, quality of life, and quiet enjoyment of all its citizens, and the actions it is taking to put the needs of the residents first.

Greg O’Loughlin, President

South Laguna Civic Association

The 6 Million myth

Do six million people annually visit Laguna? That’s a lot.  Some say it’s a highly inflated number. They may be right.  

The city’s website says Laguna attracts over three million visitors annually, but the six million number comes from a Visit Laguna Beach 2007 study estimating 6.13 million visitors annually.  The study was based on 600 on-site visitor interviews, 154 Laguna household telephone interviews, and Laguna hotel performance data.  From that small data source we get, Viola! over 6 million visitors. That’s some arithmetic.  

Why is an accurate visitor count important? Well, that number is used to calculate percentages and the economic impact of tourism on Laguna, like the claim that 94% of all visitors are day-trippers. That’s allegedly 5.76 million day-trippers and just 261,000 hotel visitors. It’s also a number used to support growing the size of government in Laguna, including hiring more police. It’s also a number the city doesn’t want to refute because it wants to raise taxes by passing Measure LL, and pour $2 million into the City’s general fund. Slush.

For comparison, in 2015 the Grand Canyon had 5 million visitors, Yellowstone had 3.8 million, Universal Studios had 7 million, and Knots Berry Farm had 3.9 million. Santa Cruz (population 63,000) estimates 4 million visitors, and the lovely city of Coronado (population 30,000) estimates 2 million. Closer to home, Newport Beach (population 87,000) estimates just 7 million visitors and Surf City Huntington Beach (population 199,000) estimates just 3.5 million.

By comparison, 6 million seems ridiculously high for Laguna. It should not be the number bandied about to support increasing the size of local government, or to support raising taxes, or to demonize tourists, allegedly to pay for all the havoc and burden wreaked on City resources by 6 million invaders. 

The city claims it needs this money for “vital services”, yet page 1 of the city’s own 2015-2017 budget states clearly: “The General Fund is doing well and the City finds itself in a relatively healthy position with many of the City’s revenues meeting or exceeding levels experienced prior to the recession.” 

Say what???

In 2015 LA Times writer David Hansen exposed the 6 million myth.  He wrote that “the 6 million-plus visitors equals an average of 16,794 people per day”….but spreading the average to the peak summer period and “assigning 75% of the visitors to May through September” we get nearly 30,000 visitors daily. The city says “on a summer day, beach attendance can approach 70,000 individuals.”  Really?  

Hansen does the math and asks “where are they parking?” The city has under 2,000 parking spots in downtown and the canyon.  “Even if we count only visitors and are generous with the extended parking, that’s about 20 people per car.  Apparently most of the people who drive to Laguna arrive in party buses.” (Los Angeles Times, May 15, 2015, Hansen: How many people visit Laguna? Good question.)

We need real numbers to help with congestion and encourage transportation methods that don’t involve more cars. With new housing developments beyond our canyon, it’s going to get worse.  But, it’s important the city doesn’t use inflated numbers to justify government expansion, and turn Laguna into an overregulated, over-managed, and over-policed town. 

Measure LL is a money grab to fill the city’s general coffers that the city has already told you are full.  Shouldn’t taxes be raised only when really needed for a funding crisis or for a particular purpose? Measure LL is a slush fund, no matter how the city or councilmembers try to convince you it will only be used for “vital services.” The money has no strings attached, it slushes into the general fund. Promises of an oversight committee and resolutions of intent are nice, but have no binding effect.  

Voting NO on Measure LL will stop the slush fund, force the City to be specific before it asks to raises taxes, and force honesty about whether the true purpose of Measure LL is to float a multi-million dollar revenue bond for an even bigger slush into the general fund.

On a positive note, Visit Laguna Beach has contracted for a new study on tourist estimates, due out in 2017. We look forward to that new study, which hopefully will be more factually substantiated, so that we can plan and act accordingly.

Jennifer Welsh Zeiter

President, Laguna Beach Taxpayers Association

Two for Parisi

In a few weeks Laguna’s citizens will vote on the candidates for City Council and City Treasurer.

While the Council race has understandably drawn the most attention, the position of City Treasurer is equally if not more important. Our elected Treasurer is responsible for over $85 million in City investments (i.e. our dollars) in federal agency securities, municipal bonds the state investment pool and other vehicles. 

Our current Treasurer, Laura Parisi, is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Municipal Treasurer, and a Certified Fixed Income Practitioner in addition to possessing degrees in Accounting and Business Administration with a minor in economics. Under Laura’s stewardship as Treasurer, the City’s investments under management have tripled.

Laura Parisi has the qualifications and proven track record protect and grow our tax dollars. I hope you’ll join us in voting to re-elect Laura Parisi as City Treasurer.

Telitha Holewski and Wayne Gartin

Laguna Beach

Supporting Parisi

A letter published on Tuesday urged Lagunans to “vote locally so special interest groups don’t determine local elections,” and to vote to replace our incumbent City Treasurer.

What the heck is that supposed to mean?

Laura Parisi, our current City Treasurer, has earned the endorsement of many Laguna Beach community leaders including retired City Treasurer Susan Morse, who presumably knows a lot about Laguna’s finances since she served in that office for 18 years.

Laura Parisi has also been endorsed by the Orange County Auditor-Controller, former Orange County Treasurer, the Superintendent of Schools for Orange County Al Mijares, PhD, current State Senator John Moorlach (who represents Laguna Beach), former State Treasurer and Attorney General Bill Lockyer, all of whom were duly elected by voters including many in Laguna Beach. 

And Shari Freidenrich, a CPA and Orange County’s elected Treasurer-Tax Collector, recently wrote to the Laguna Beach City Council: “I have worked with your City Treasurer for the last 16 years in the public sector area. She is highly regarded by her peers and is known for her technical knowledge in a variety of areas, due to her CPA and prior work experience. She has represented the City of Laguna Beach very effectively … I believe that the City of Laguna Beach is lucky to have a CPA as their elected City Treasurer.”

If these are special interests, they’re special because they clearly have our best interests at heart. Laguna voters would be well-served to follow their lead and re-elect Laura Parisi as Laguna Beach City Treasurer.

Julie Sandler

Laguna Beach

Vote for Rollinger

Though I, personally, remain conflicted about this issue, I noted that Mayor Dicterow initially strongly opposed the Planning Commission’s complete ban on STRs (Short Term Rentals). Instead, he pushed to weaken the ordinance by allowing limited STRs in residential zones, thereby making the ordinance impossible to enforce and changing the face of Laguna forever.  After an avalanche of public protest, he flip-flopped and voted with the rest of the council for a total ban.  

Now he’s claiming credit for protecting our neighborhoods from STLs and preserving our village atmosphere.

A few weeks later Mayor Dicterow flip-flopped again. Running for re-election he publicly declares he is for the preservation and charm of LB, (his yard sign says “Retain Laguna’s Charm and Character”), yet he professed to be confused regarding keeping the listed historic house at 337 Hawthorne Road from being removed from the city’s Historic Register (City Council Meeting 9/13). He voted for its removal, which basically amounts to its future demolition.  

Confused Mr. Mayor? Now I am confused.

Please Vote for Verna Rollinger. She is honest and true, says what she means.  She thinks issues through carefully so she doesn’t have to change her mind.   

Lorna Shaw

Laguna Beach

Urging a vote for McGraw

I’m writing to urge Lagunans to pay attention and vote locally so special interest groups don’t determine local elections. It’s reported our city has an almost $100 million budget! The 17 year, unchallenged incumbent city treasurer has grown a bureaucracy of $134,000 per year for a part-time banking position and sought to expand the position to full-time year after year. The council has rejected this request since 2007 yet the treasurer continues to pursue pay increases and has excessive overtime expenses in 2016.   

Please join myself and four councilpersons: Whalen, Dicterow, Boyd and Zur Schmiede; the former city manager Ken Frank and former councilpersons Egly and Kinsman in supporting Anne McGraw for City Treasurer.  

Tatiana Ferguson

Laguna Beach

Parisi is the responsible choice

I know and like both parties running for City Treasurer, and believe both have Laguna’s best interests at heart.  But my 30+ years as a CPA with extensive knowledge of private and public accounting and finance lead me to conclude the differences between the qualifications of the candidates are too serious to be ignored.  

The role of Treasurer is not a bookkeeping function. The staff of the City’s Department of Finance handles the bookkeeping.  The Treasurer, elected by Laguna Beach residents, serves as the check and balance to those who keep the books, and has the fiscal responsibility to manage the City’s (our) money to ensure it grows and is protected. She is our Chief Investment Officer and administers the assessment districts.  

The Treasurer must have In-depth knowledge of compliance with and implementation of complex municipal finance laws and regulations, a thorough understanding of financial reporting according to Generally Accepted Government Accounting Standards, and expertise in the highly specialized field of municipal finance, all of which differ greatly from private sector rules and practices.  

Incumbent Laura Parisi is a CPA, Certified Municipal Treasurer and Certified Fixed Income Practitioner. She currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Orange County Treasury Oversight Committee (where the schools keep their money), Board Member for the State of California Local Agency Investment Board, and Chair of the Revenue and Taxation Committee for the League of California Cities.  She did not earn these positions of trust by accident.  

By contrast the challenger for the position operates a local bookkeeping business. Her decision to run for Treasurer is commendable, but bookkeeping skills are simply not adequate to responsibly and successfully fulfill the complicated duties of City Treasurer, including the stewardship of our $90 to $100 million investment portfolio. 

Qualifications and experience count, and the difference between the two candidates in this regard is unmistakable. Laura Parisi is the responsible choice for City Treasurer.

Vicki McIntosh

Laguna Beach

Laura Parisi has my supportive vote!

I have known and admired Laura for over 20 years and as a 37 year resident; appreciate her tremendous dedication to our beautiful town. Laura goes above and beyond her duties to Laguna Beach with meticulous detail and enthusiasm. 

As a 35-year business owner in Laguna Beach, I understand the complexities of her job! I am thankful to have Laura as our City Treasurer and look forward to many more years of her service.

With respect and admiration.

Heidi A. Miller

Laguna Beach

Urging a vote for Parisi

The Laguna Beach City Treasurer should not only look after the city’s investments, she should also look after the interests of the city’s residents.

As our Treasurer, Laura Parisi has done both.  In addition to presiding over years of positive financial growth, she has proven to be a conscientious watchdog on behalf of the taxpayers of Laguna Beach.  

For example, I am a resident of the Sycamore Hills assessment district more commonly known as The Terraces and California Cove.  In the course of her duties Laura discovered that residents of the Sycamore Hills assessment district had been overcharged for bond repayments by the City.  She worked with the city’s bond counsel to calculate a refund that was sent to homeowners.  I received that check along with my neighbors two days before Christmas.  The additional bonus was a reduced tax assessment going forward.  If she had not found the over collection, the city would not have refunded us and we would have continued to pay the higher assessment.

In another instance, Laura’s careful review of a construction fund surplus resulted in a $300,000 increased refund to residents of Arch Beach Heights.

Laura Parisi goes above and beyond to watch out for the people of Laguna Beach.  

I strongly support Laura’s re-election as Treasurer so she can continue her good work on our behalf.

Nancy M. Miller

Laguna Beach

Urging a vote for Grayson

For years I have followed Senator John Moorlach as a member of the OC Board of Supervisors and now as state senator. I applaud him for his concerns about wasteful spending but it seems he doesn’t get that as a senator he’s also responsible for all the things needed to have a strong economy and healthy communities.

Moorlach recently opposed a bill addressing global climate change signed by Gov. Brown. Climate change is real, the CO2 emissions that contribute to climate change are harmful to our health. Trivializing or ignoring the problem won’t make it go away.  Not addressing the problem only makes it more difficult to deal with later. This summer was the hottest worldwide ever, last year was the 2nd hottest summer.  

Californians are already feeling the effects of climate change, from rising sea levels along the coastal communities to drought-stricken farming communities. It’s long past time that we address the problems and plan for our future.  We need to capture the rare rainfall we receive and if necessary, build desalination plants to supplement our water needs. Why isn’t John Moorlach able to see what we need and plan accordingly?

Moorlach wants only to address is pensions. Fair enough, but why does Moorlach attack the pensions of police, firefighters, and teachers when he’s taking an $84,000 pension from OC taxpayers? The LA Times said Moorlach blamed the pension problems on policies when Moorlach “knew better.”  The problem was caused by an economic crisis slowdown. 

The threat to our economy and our future isn’t pensions; the threat is not having clean air and available water. Without them our quality of life suffers, businesses are driven away, and our economy struggles.

I urge you to support Ari Grayson for state senate. Ari has the vision California needs to thrive.

Pat Grossman, MD

Newport Beach

“The Trump campaign is over”

Like many of my friends in town, I watched Sunday night’s presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.  At one point, I couldn’t help but think I was witnessing a “dead man walking” on stage.  And not because of the lewd, disgusting comments Trump made about women in 2005.  No, for the second time in a row, the GOP candidate flunked the commander-in-chief test.  Basically, his answers about Russia, Aleppo and Syria not only were uninspiring, they were woefully underwhelming.  

No presidential candidate has lost two debates and then gone on to win the general election.  The big question for Republicans coast to coast now is this:  How much longer will they remain loyal supporters of The Donald?  Given the trickle of defections that began on Saturday, I feel Trump did little during the debate to calm the political waters.  That said, my guess is there will be a mass exodus this week.  

Dead men can’t talk, so I’ll say it:  The Trump campaign is over.

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach

In support of Laura Parisi

A recent letter to the editor disparaged the performance of City Treasurer, Laura Parisi, citing current investment return, “little more than 1%.”  This criticism is misguided and unwarranted.

City funds must be invested to allow for cash flow demands of City operations.  This means a chunk of the portfolio must always be immediately available.  Other chunks must be available for use periodically during the coming months and years.  To meet these continual demands, prudent portfolio management requires funds be invested in a spectrum of maturities.  

Further, by law no investment maturity may be longer than five years.  So if managed properly we should expect average portfolio maturity to be about two and a half years.  It is currently 2.3 years.  Further, both state law and city regulations require investments only in the safest instruments.  Therefore, a fair benchmark is the two-year treasury rate.

Return on investable funds as of the latest report, June 2016, was 1.12% as reported in the latest Treasurer’s monthly report.  This soundly beat the two-year treasury benchmark of 0.58%.  Impressively, at no time during the previous twelve months did this benchmark ever reach the 1.12% of Laguna’s portfolio. 

Still, one data point is a shortsighted measure either of investment returns or of a manager’s performance.  During Treasurer Parisi’s seventeen-year tenure, returns reported as of each June 30 for funds under her management have average a 2.74% annualized return compared to 2.24% for the benchmark.  

Furthermore Laguna’s portfolio has experienced lower volatility than the benchmark. Achieving higher returns with lower volatility is the gold standard in investing.  By these appropriate measures Laguna’s portfolio has excelled.

While the performance has been superior, it has not been miraculous. These numbers reflect what happens when a proper diversification of investment type and duration is instituted and maintained.  In this, our incumbent City Treasurer has served Laguna very well indeed.  

I commend Treasurer Laura Parisi.  I will be voting for her in November.

Tom Halliday

Laguna Beach

Howard Hills comments…

Anyone who thinks our ad was an endorsement of me by Dr. Viloria instead of an endorsement by me for him needs remedial instruction in civics and reading comprehension, but if Dr. Viloria wants to reassure them he is neutral I will support him in doing so.

NO on increasing the TOT

Laguna Beach Taxpayers’ Association does not support an increase in the TOT.   

The primary reason, despite its misleading name and language, which appears to direct funding for “fire, police protection and emergency response”, it in fact, directs the revenues from this tax increase to instead go to the general fund.  

It gives the City a blank check to spend the money raised by the increase in taxes in any way the City chooses, without voter input or approval.  There is no demonstrated need for an increase in revenues in the City at this time. The City has a reserve of $11 Million, and is operating at a surplus with revenues expected to increase year after year over the next several fiscal years. Property taxes alone are expected to increase by 6.75%. 

The City does not need the money.  

We also do not support this measure because the revenues raised by the increase in taxes are not specifically directed to a particular need. The City placed this general fund initiative on the ballot knowing that only a simple voter approval of 51% would be necessary for approval, as opposed to the 2/3rds voter approval threshold required for specific needs.  

An increase in taxes should only be approved when there is an urgent and demonstrated essential need for additional monies to provide essential City services, and none has been shown.  Further, the City has already signaled it’s intent to use this increase in taxes to support a multi-million dollar revenue bond measure at taxpayer expense so that it can spend even more of your money, without further voter approval.  How much is enough?  

Vote NO on this increase in taxes. 

Laguna Beach Taxpayers’ Association

Jennifer Zeiter, President

KK is bad for Laguna

If you read the full text of Measure KK, the Medical Marijuana Dispensary ballot measure, you will quickly figure out that it is all about avoiding local control.

Like thedrug rehab or recovery houses that have sprung up in Laguna with no local control, KK circumvents local control and grants to one specific applicant priority in registering for the exclusive right to the monopoly to sell medical marijuana, and potentially recreational marijuana, in Laguna Beach.  The applicant who would have priority is described in detail in the measure but never identified by name.

Regardless of whether you are a proponent or an opponent of medical and/or recreational marijuana, we urge you to not vote for Measure KK in the upcoming election.  

Measure KK is bad for Laguna.  

It is written so that the city of Laguna Beach has no control or oversight over who would operate these dispensaries, their hours of operation, their business plan or even that they must obtain the same use permit that other businesses in our city must obtain. This measure benefits only the writers of the initiative.  

It would hand a highly controversial land use in our community to someone who has gambled that for the cost of gathering a couple thousand signatures, the reward might be the exclusive franchise to sell marijuana in Laguna Beach.  

Don’t be fooled. Don’t let that happen. 

Defeat Measure KK!

John and Peggie Thomas

Laguna Beach

From the LBUSD Superintendent

This message from Dr. Jason Viloria, LBUSD Superintendent, was sent out via email to all families

Members of the Laguna Beach Unified School District Community,

I was recently contacted by several community members who asked whether or not I had endorsed a candidate for LBUSD Board of Education, based on the recent advertisement titled “Building Community Around Even Better Public Schools” in a local newspaper.

I am providing this brief communiqué to emphasize that I consider it my professional and ethical obligation to be neutral on Laguna Beach Unified School District Board elections, to ensure that I work collaboratively and productively with whomever the citizens of Laguna Beach elect to represent them.  I look forward to doing just that.  

To the extent anyone interpreted the advertisement as an endorsement of a candidate by the LBUSD Superintendent, please note that it is not an endorsement and I was not involved in its creation or distribution.

Jason Viloria, Ed.D.


Laguna Beach Unified School District

Police & firefighters urge, “YES” on measure LL, “NO” on measure KK

Darin Lenyi, President

Laguna Beach Police and Fire Management Association

The Laguna Beach Police & Fire Management Association strongly urges you to vote YES on Vital Services Measure LL and vote NO on Measure KK to help our police and firefighters better protect you, your family and your neighbors. 

Measure LL would increase the tax on hotel guests by 2% to raise approximately $2 million per year for important public safety improvements and other vital services.  Residents don’t pay this “transient occupancy tax” unless they stay at a local hotel but would benefit greatly from the public services Measure LL could help fund.

In placing Measure LL on the ballot, Council said that they intend to use those added funds principally to provide much needed additional resources for public safety -- fire protection, emergency medical response, law enforcement, marine safety, disaster preparedness and accelerated utility undergrounding – an essential step to reduce the chance of another devastating wildfire like the one that destroyed a good part of the City in 1993.

We support Council’s desire to enhance public safety through Measure LL.  

You should too.

Moving on to Measure KK, that initiative would do harm to our community and we strongly urge a “No” vote regardless of how you might feel about medical or recreational marijuana use.   KK has nothing to do with helping residents obtain marijuana for legitimate medical needs.  They can get medical marijuana delivered right to their door, right now. 

Measure KK was cleverly crafted to allow drug dealers -- even convicted felons -- to replace existing City ordinances and set up shop at multiple locations in Laguna Beach.  These facilities could well be close by residential neighborhoods, in virtually any commercial or industrial location more than 1,000 feet from a school.   

Measure KK would permit virtually no ownership vetting, public input or operational oversight by the City and would generate little, if any, local tax revenue to offset the costs these drug sales facilities would impose on local taxpayers. 

If KK passes, Laguna Beach would be the site of the only marijuana distribution facilities in South County. According to statistical data from other jurisdictions, such marijuana sales facilities are likely to become crime magnets. 

We could see drug users from all over OC driving into Laguna Beach each day, adding to our traffic and parking congestion. Also, we don’t need more impaired drivers on our streets.

As public safety professionals who protect this community every day, we ask you to join with us and others in voting NO on KK and YES on LL for a safer Laguna Beach. 


Shaena Stabler is the Owner and Publisher.

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Allison Rael, Barbara Diamond, Diane Armitage, Dianne Russell, Laura Buckle, Maggi Henrikson, Marrie Stone, Samantha Washer and Suzie Harrison are staff writers.

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