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Thank you to our local, independent news organizations

Before the election is in the distant past, I want to commend both Stu News and the LB Indy for their fair and even-handed treatment of local election issues over the past few weeks. In a national climate where election issues are hotly contested and the news media is vilified by some as “the enemy of the people”, we in Laguna are fortunate to have two local, independent news organizations staffed with hard working people dedicated to upholding the best traditions of the industry.

John Thomas

Laguna Beach

Saturday’s Shoreline event was what Laguna is about

A tale of alchemy during divisive diatribes: We were all dressed in black from neck to toe, waiting for our umbrellas in lines that twisted from multiple sites on Main Beach. Some of us came from town, and some from afar – each clutching our release waivers and hoping for one of the thousand umbrellas etched with seashell X-ray mandalas. We heeded instructions – wait for the signal, then open and click on, stay on the sand, no flash photography.

There were clusters of friends, neighbors, families, dancers; and, as many individuals – all ages, genders, shapes and heights. The drums started and a wide oval formed around a dance troupe that performed as the sun started to set. The sky darkened, the signal came, and the umbrellas went up. One click to light the ribs, a second click to light the pole. My white umbrella with the charcoal shell etching unfurled to my smile, the laugh of others caught by the wonder of theirs, and we started to whirl to the drum dance. Some marched. Some twirled their umbrellas. Others opened and closed theirs. A disorganized order of individuals creating a pattern like blown dandelion puff balls or coral polyp fronds emerging from their skeletons to feed. Pure joy, participation as we eddied from one side of the beach to the other – performing together free of partisan politics and campaigning feuds.

Elizabeth Turk’s Shoreline Project brought Laguna locals and our visitors to play. This is what Laguna is about. Thanks to Laguna Art Museum, the donors, and the participants who made the magic happen.

C. Deborah Laughton

Laguna Beach


Alan Sedoff 

January 5, 1945 - October 19, 2018 

Alan Sedoff with sister

Click on photo for a larger image

Alan came to Laguna Beach in 1958 from Michigan with his parents and two siblings.  He was funny, charming and a handsome devil! He loved spearfishing and body surfing. Alan was an excellent artist and had a deep love for animals. He attended Laguna Beach High School and was good friends with Chip Harrell and Kelly Boyd and more of the local Laguna Beach rascals. 

Alan was drafted into the Army right out of high school and did a two-year tour in Vietnam. He came back and met his first wife with whom he had two sons, Bayne and Barrett. 

Later, he was an excellent caretaker to our parents until our Mother Louise passed, and then he moved to Montana. He fell in love with Montana and lived there the rest of his life with his wife Helen and three cats. He is survived by his wife Helen, son Bayne and two grandchildren, Gabby and Ethan, brother Greg Sedoff and sister Alexis Cunningham.


Ann Richardson 

May 1, 1937 - October 30, 2018

Ann Richardson closeup

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Ann Caroline Grover Richardson passed away peacefully on October 30, 2018, in the company of her loving husband John and her adoring children, at her home in Laguna Beach, California.

Ann was born on May 1, 1937, in Silver Spring, Maryland, to Esther and Wayne Grover. After attending college at Miami University in Ohio, she moved to California to become an elementary school teacher. She met John while living on Balboa Island, they married in 1960, and they raised their family in the cities of Redlands and Upland. They moved to Laguna Beach in 1997.

Ann dedicated her life to being a caring, Christ-like servant to her family members, her fellow members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and everyone in the community. She was a Cub Scout leader, served over 20 years on the Laguna Beach Interfaith Council and was an active volunteer at the Laguna Beach ASL Emergency Shelter, Cafe Pacifica, Laguna Beach Friendship Shelter, and Laguna Pantry. She was a conscientious citizen and voter who researched candidates and issues with great care. Everything she did was in the service of others, in order to “make the world a better place.” She accepted as a friend every person that she met.

Ann’s family and faith were at the center of her life. She taught through word and example to always “have an attitude of gratitude” for the blessings and experiences in our lives. She absolutely loved supporting and listening to her 11 grandchildren as they shared their experiences with her. She talked and texted constantly with her daughters, son, and other relatives and friends. She absolutely loved spending time with John, particularly during their daily walks near the beach and when sharing meals together each day.

She leaves a legacy of selfless service and will be fondly remembered and greatly missed by her husband John; her sisters Jane Brown and Victoria Grover; her children Sue Coe (Dave), Peter Richardson (Heather), Carrie Hall (Matt); and her 11 grandchildren Kenzie, Abbie, Aubrye, Jack, Harriet, Bryson, Porter, Henry, Jed, Zach and Taylor. She is preceded in passing by her son Grant, her sister Mary Blumenthal, and her parents Wayne and Esther Grover.

In lieu of flowers or donations, Ann asks that you take your family and loved ones out to dinner to make memories and enjoy each other’s company.

All who wish to attend a memorial service in honor of Ann are invited to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints at 2 p.m. on Saturday, November 3, at 682 Park Avenue in Laguna Beach.

Leadership testimonials for Judie Mancuso

A testament of just how well Judie Mancuso interacts and works effectively with others for the better good is her recent candidacy endorsement by her 2016 city council rival Councilman Steve Dicterow. Councilman Dicterow’s support of Judie to serve as our next city council member has come after two years of observation and scrutiny, that only a city council person can offer from being in the position and understanding its nuances and high-level requirements. 

His endorsement quote reads: “Over the last two years I have watched Judie grow into a leader who listens to all sides and all perspectives before coming to a conclusion. She knows how to work with everyone in a consensus building way. These are the characteristics which are necessary to serve effectively on the Laguna Beach City Council.” -Steve Dicterow, Council member.

I agree, and I support Councilman Dicterow’s choice of dynamo Judie Mancuso as our next city council person. I respect him for stepping up on our behalf to ensure that we get the best and brightest leader to intelligently and effectively represent us. It’s encouraging to see two leaders from different political backgrounds working together and committed to making the best decisions possible to protect and enhance our town. Thank you both for your efforts. 

As a city government watchdog, I offer my own leadership testament, “I have been very impressed at Councilman Dicterow’s effort to improve city government transparency. In fact, it is because of his objectiveness and persistence that residents opposing the city undergrounding proposal had the opportunity to formally address the council with their concerns about the suggested general fund tax vs a designated tax approach. This support for residents to have a major say in the issue of taxing to underground utilities resulted in Measure P that voters will vote on November 6th. To me his actions spoke volumes as to taking steps to move towards constituent voices being heard and improving city relations and transparency.” 

We have the opportunity right now to choose new capable and qualified leaders. With Councilman Dicterow’s support, and Judie’s ability to hit the ground running, it will be the beginning of a new era in Laguna Beach with more positive testaments on the horizon. 

MJ Abraham

Laguna Beach

Don’t be fooled again!

In 1994, after a successful four-year term on the Laguna Beach City Council, Ann Christoph ran for a second term. This was one year following the 1993 Laguna Beach firestorm. At election time, the Treasure Island investors were negotiating with the city for what would become the Montage Resort. The investors did not want Ann to be re-elected to the council for a second term, so they initiated a political smear campaign to claim that Ann was “responsible” for the fire because the proposed Alta Laguna reservoir had not been approved. In truth, Ann was part of the consultant team that designed Alta Laguna Park prior to her election in 1990, and therefore was not allowed to vote on the adjacent proposed reservoir. But the actual facts didn’t matter to the investors. Their character assassination worked and she lost the election.

“Deja vu all over again”. It’s now 2018, 24 years later, and the Political Action Committee “Liberate Laguna” is dusting off the old playbook of lies and deception. Ann’s character and competence are backed by community leaders, business owners, and past mayors. Liberate Laguna PAC’s primary financial backer, Shopoff Realty Investments, states in their website that their “total commitment is to the success of their investors”. 

There are good developers and good projects, to be sure. But there are others who are misguided and would do our community harm. Ann Christoph will look out for our town and watch our collective backs. Please vote for her to protect the Laguna Beach we love.

Bob Borthwick

Laguna Beach

Please vote carefully as much is at stake

The Sierra Club did not endorse anyone running for city office in Laguna Beach – not even those that claim to be sensitive to the environment such as Ann Christoph and Toni Iseman. I wonder why?

Have you noticed how much money is being spent this year on midterm elections? Some like P – brochure after brochure – does each donor realize that their donation could have been spent over a time period in support of what P stands for anyway? I wonder how much was collected for each proposition where official anti-taxpaying groups formed – how much they paid in salaries and paper/postage and even the people who created the messages, how much were they paid? How about advertising on TV, radio, etc. That is a lot of money in my eyes. Also a lot of waste – hopefully some of the brochures were recycled. Maybe they can tape over the new Proposition letter or number in the 2020 election and reuse the same brochure – the message is always the same. Isn’t it?

I wonder if these smaller donations have a tax break on their income tax – the big boys do don’t they?

I wonder if the drop in unemployment rate was due to so many people being hired across the country to produce all the “stuff” for this midterm election and we will see more people unemployed after the Christmas holidays. 

Will the winners go around gloating and use their power to make life uncomfortable for those they suspect did not vote for them – locally and across the country? It is getting to be very divisive around here. 

Please vote carefully as much is at stake – not only for us but for future generations. Especially since many messages have changed midstream (did you notice this on the brochures?), were poorly written (on purpose you wonder) so as to confuse the reader/voter, or maybe even contained untruths (I don’t know what to call lies any more).

Ganka Brown

Laguna Beach

Ann Christoph responds to Liberate Laguna mailers

To set the record straight: I never voted no on the Alta Laguna Reservoir.

For more information see

Ann Christoph

Laguna Beach

To our concerned friends and neighbors

Hasty Honarkar’s ad, first printed in Stu News as a lengthy letter, began on a very somber yet realistic note. Yes, it is clear that this Laguna Beach City Council election put us all into uncharted territory. 

To us, the most dramatic change is that Ms. Honarkar’s father is one of four local real estate developers who amassed a war chest of over $153,000. That is a lot to spend on any campaign, but even more so, and more decisive if you trace where that money has been spent:

1. To bitterly attack the incumbent Toni Iseman, with her excellent track record, putting residents first and saying no to big development interests. 

2. Supporting the two most vocal pro-development, fast-track commercial development candidates, Sue Kempf and Peter Blake. 

3. Coaxing Laguna residents into eliminating the common sense building restrictions that have protected us for years.

4. An unrealistically harsh attack on Village Laguna, the very group which helped fight to save Main Beach from development, and secured height and density limits, exactly what her dad wants to eliminate.

Ms. Honarkar may be correct in stating that her dad is not proposing 10-story structures...yet...but in a total makeover of the block just North of Ralphs he is proposing a new 112-room hotel when the lot’s building code limit is only 80. He is proposing a height exemption which will create a massive wall that we are not exposed to now. He is proposing to cover 90 percent of the lot with a building, far in excess of what is permitted or what we are used to seeing in this town. If Hasty’s dad is able to get away with this then every other developer will want to do the same, and our town will become the worst of what Long Beach has become. Think of it.

Ms. Honarkar, we recognize that you are sincere, but if you love Laguna...will you be able to persuade your father to please take his development dreams to some other town that has already been ruined by following this path? Can you tell him that it is not fair to buy his way into this campaign in such an aggressive manner? We love Laguna Beach for all of its organic imperfections. 

We want developers to leave us alone so our traditional merchants will not be forced out. It is the developer’s dreams for building higher and deeper on the space where they once had their shops that is forcing them out. Please say no to more complete block remodels. Merchants could compete today, but not if their rents are based on the exaggerated value of grounding their shops up and replacing them with a taller, denser building. Leave us and our town alone, please. Take the development elsewhere. Take all of that money spent on a 112-room hotel and buy an election in Irvine.

With positive energy from some of us in your “beloved “ community of Laguna Beach:

Johanna Felder

Verna Rollinger

Charlotte Masarik

Armando Baez

Liz Toomey

Jahn M. Levitt

Response to John Thomas’ recent letters

I find your incessant negative writings of Liberate Laguna in Stu News an insult to our community. How come you didn’t attend and speak at the Billy Fried radio show [last] Thursday night? You seem to believe yourself the “mouthpiece” of reason for Village Laguna, Toni Iseman and Ann Christoph, a.k.a. “no change”. You have lost all of your credibility with me.

Sam Goldstein

Laguna Beach

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