Fair Game

By TOM JOHNSON

 

Council meets Friday for Annual Planning Workshop to solidify plans and direction for city’s future

This Friday, Jan. 19 from 8 a.m.-4 p.m., is the Laguna Beach City Council’s 2024 Annual Planning Workshop at Council Chambers, 505 Forest Ave. It should be a rewarding day given two still relatively new councilmember voices; observations and recommendations from Interim City Manager Sean Joyce, who now has had some four months at the helm to get his feet wet, and, of course, three seasoned council people who bring their confident voices and experience.

The agenda begins at 8:30 a.m. with a welcome from Mayor Sue Kempf; then 30 minutes of public communication; followed by City Manager observations and suggestions; a financial outlook, before breaking for lunch.

The afternoon will then review existing policy initiatives, along with a Q&A; before concluding with the council’s 2024 Strategic Direction. This will include how to advance the “City’s Respective Master Plans” and deciding on other priorities for 2024.

Interim City Manager Joyce has submitted his “summary of issues, observations and selected suggested solutions.”

Some of those include:

–Determining how matters get placed on the City Council agenda.

–Codifying the means by which the Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem are appointed.

–A suggestion of a revised meeting agenda format.

–Codifying the city’s Municipal Code, which by comparison to other municipalities appears to be long overdue.

–A suggestion for a comprehensive review of the city’s Zoning Code.

–A recommendation to update city financial documents to provide greater clarity and guidelines to best ensure council and community fiscal interests.

–The recommendation of a policy defining the authority of a councilmember to initiate an assignment of the City Attorney’s office to prepare legal opinions and distributions.

–A stronger policy to clearly articulate the purpose and manner of the way minutes for Council, Commissions, Boards and Committees are gathered.

–More defined Committee Work Plans and Assignments.

One might argue that Laguna Beach appears to be on the cusp of potentially moving forward on a more united and positive front. Joyce has brought a strong taste of solid leadership inside City Hall and the council has apparently been moving forward on the possible appointment in the weeks ahead of a new City Manager.

This planning workshop will be another important step.

It’s free to attend and community voices are always encouraged and welcomed.

• • •

According to publicist/writer/friend Lynette Brasfield, under the heading “Exciting News”: Some national news last weekend included kudos to Susi Q’s innovative aging-in-place program. On CNBC’s national website, an article lauded their Lifelong Laguna for its innovative approach to helping seniors stay safely and happily in their homes.

According to Brasfield, “The article extensively quotes Rickie Redman, who is the director of Susi Q’s aging-in-place program. She notes that ‘many of the older residents have lived in the city since they were in their 20s and 30s, and now find themselves in their 70s and 80s.’”

Laguna Beach resident John Bradshaw, son of Sylvia Bradshaw, tells of his gratitude for the program.

“It is just such a wonderful relief,” John said. “It’s like having a second family, this team of people really supporting my parents, and others like them, to be able to stay and enjoy this part of the country.”

And, as you might imagine, Susi Q Executive Director Nadia Babayi couldn’t be more thrilled with the accolades received by her team.

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Susi Q

The Lifelong Laguna team: (L-R) Martha Hernandez, director of Care Management; Jo Ann Ekblad, director of Programming and Communication; Rickie Redman, director of Aging-in-Place (Lifelong Laguna); Nadia Babayi, executive director; Judy Baker, finance manager and Christine Brewer, Program and Events manager

“I’m so proud that the hard work of our Lifelong Laguna team, which has created a unique model for aging-in-place programs, has received national recognition,” said Babayi. “At the Susi Q, we pride ourselves on our creativity and forward-thinking as we develop strategies to enable healthy, fulfilled lives for the older adults in our community.

“The U.S. Surgeon General has identified loneliness as a health hazard and here in Laguna Beach we make a point of offering services and programs to address that issue along with the practical concerns that arise with getting older.”

Thanks to Brasfield, who also has longtime connections to Stu News Laguna, for the insight and the tip.

For more information about the Susi Q and Lifelong Laguna, visit www.thesusiq.org.

• • •

Top of the World Neighborhood Association (TOWNA) is a Laguna Beach neighborhood advocacy group that works and collaborates with city staff and stakeholders to find smart solutions to issues that impact that community. The association’s mission is to make the Top of the World neighborhood a safer and better place.

TOWNA recently elected their new officers for 2024 that include President Gene Felder, Vice President Michelle Highberg, Secretary Annie Sadler and Treasurer Peter Cole.

At their January meeting, Felder thanked long-serving and departing board members Piero Wemyss, Chris Brazelton, Mark Mani and Ursula Staubli.

Newly elected board members are Cole, Sally Costanzo, Chris Gourdal, Highberg and Sadler. They join those continuing on to serve including Duane Allee, Carol Buss, Felder, Kris Howson, Karen Schwager, Carey Strombotne, Tim Templeton and Scott Woodard.

The TOWNA board has lobbied the city for an increased police presence in the neighborhood and extended hours of the On-Demand shuttle serving the neighborhood.

• • •

The Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce is planning their Chamber Board Installation Mixer for Wednesday, Jan. 24 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Mozambique.

Mayor Kempf is expected to join the mixer to formally install the new board.

Also planned that evening is the Chamber’s naming of their Ambassador of the Year.

Tickets are 20 for members and $25 for non-members, which will include complimentary appetizers.

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