Dubin picked to replace Kempf on Planning Commission

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The City Council on Tuesday picked sculptor Jorg Dubin out of seven applicants interviewed to replace Sue Kempf on the Planning Commission.

Dubin was selected on a 3-2 vote, the choice of Mayor Bob Whalen, Mayor Pro Tem Steven Dicterow and Councilman Peter Blake. Applicant Steven Goldman got the nod from Councilwomen Toni Iseman and Kempf.

Each candidate was given one minute to make a statement and then was questioned by council members.

Kempf, who spent four years on the commission, asked the applicants what they thought would be the most important projects in the next five years.

Dubin responded with the ever-popular traffic and parking. He also expects the city will be dealing with big projects such as the Hotel Laguna, of which he had just learned that day.

Asked by Iseman if he knew why Cold Stone was turned down as a replacement for a closed ice cream parlor, Dubin said, “Maybe [the commission] just thought the city didn’t need another sugar palace.”

Blake said he had no questions for Dubin as he has known him for 25 years.

Dicterow asked Dubin (and all the other applicants) if he could think of any changes he would like to see in the Downtown Specific Plan, which is being revised.

“I really believe we have gotten away from the types of businesses that serve locals,” said Dubin.

“We need a reassessment of what will better serve the community.”

Whalen asked all the applicants their opinion of live-work projects. 

“I am a big proponent of these projects,” said Dubin. “People in Laguna Canyon were opposed to a specific project out there, but we need to look at projects for their worth to the community and not get dictated too much by the neighborhood.”

Dubin, who was a write-in candidate for City Council in the 2018 election, said he applied for the commission to bring to it a different perspective.

“I feel we need to be living in the 21st Century in how we think about the future and what this city will look like in the decades to come,” said Dubin.

Dubin has been a resident of Laguna Beach for 42 years. He had an interior design business for 11 years. He also was an art director and production designer in the movie industry. 

He served three years on the Sawdust Festival Board of Directors, two years as grounds manager and one year as president. He was on the board of the Laguna Art Museum for three years and an exhibitor in the Festival of Arts for 10 years. 

Dubin was chosen by the City Council to be the sculptor of the evocative 911 memorial in Heisler Park.      

He describes himself as a lifelong, full-time artist.