Fair Game



City Council has zeroed in on their man; Dave Kiff to be named city manager

Exciting news for the City of Laguna Beach! On Tuesday’s upcoming City Council agenda, under Regular Business, is an item recommending the adoption of a resolution calling for the “appointing (of) Dave Kiff as City Manager.”

For those of you who know Dave, I think you’ll admit how fortunate the city is to attract someone of that quality to the position. First off, he’s been a long-time resident of Laguna Beach prior to moving north a few years back. He also, in my estimation, has a prior history as a beloved, knowledgeable and respected city manager for Newport Beach, and should be a welcome addition to City Hall.

He is also able to draw on experiences that are unique to cities such as Laguna Beach, which include waterfront issues, lifeguard first responders, as a destination, with traffic concerns and more.

According to Kiff, “I’m looking forward to working on important projects and challenges with the staff, community and council. Laguna is a great town and we’ve missed being a part of it. Tom (Lochner) and I are both excited to be coming back.”

Mayor Sue Kempf added, “Dave Kiff is an experienced city manager and as a former resident he has the added advantage of knowing our city well. Dave is a great choice for Laguna and I look forward to working with him for years to come.”

Courtesy of Dave Kiff

New Laguna Beach City Manager Dave Kiff who will be fully confirmed at Tuesday’s council meeting

Many leaders from Newport Beach also appeared excited upon hearing of the news:

–Newport Beach Mayor Will O’Neill added, “Congratulations to Laguna Beach on recruiting an experienced city manager who will no doubt bring stability. We look forward to a continued and prosperous partnership between our cities.”

Homer Bludau, former city manager of Newport Beach, who employed Dave for a number of years as his #2: “Dave is one of the absolute finest city managers and public officials I have ever known. His integrity is absolute. His compassion is vast, and he believes in public service and doing the right thing for the right reasons with all his heart.

“This is a great city manager appointment for Laguna Beach, as he knows the city so very well.”

–Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce President & CEO and former Mayor of Newport Beach Steve Rosansky said, “The residents of Laguna Beach should be ecstatic that they have managed to hire one of the top city managers in the State of California.

“During the years I worked with him, Dave proved to be a compassionate and caring administrator who had the respect of the City Council, his co-workers and the people of Newport Beach. He’s always all-in on any task he takes on.”

–“Dave Kiff was one of the most beloved city managers in Newport Beach history. Laguna Beach residents are fortunate to have a city leader with his considerable experience, intellect and exceptional character,” said Nancy Scarbrough, successful business executive, long-time activist, instrumental member of SPON (Still Protecting Our Newport) and a 2024 City Council candidate.

But no one conveyed their excitement quite like Susan Skinner, an activist with residences in both Newport and Laguna, “WOO-HOO! Dave is an excellent city manager and Laguna is damn lucky to have gotten him. He listens well, seeks to understand and is one of the most ethical and honest men I know.

“The added plus is that his city updates are wonderfully amusing. I’m delighted that Laguna snagged him!”

Kiff is expected to start in early May, a date which should be shared following Tuesday’s City Council formalities.

• • •

That’s not all, there are other changes announced around City Hall – our own Sara Hall informed me that “during yesterday’s Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee meeting, Acting City Manager/Chief Financial Officer Gavin Curran said there will be a change to the interim position for community development director. Mark McAvoy will head back to his position as public works director and the city will be bringing in another temporary CDD, David Crabtree, who retired from the same role in Brea in 2019. Crabtree has filled in as interim CDD for a few other jurisdictions and is expected to start in the position in Laguna Beach on Monday.”

Curran added that they also hope to fill the full-time community development director position by summer.

• • •

Tuesday (April 2), a number of members in the community were treated to a wonderful State of the City Luncheon, organized by the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce and the City of Laguna Beach, at Montage Laguna Beach. It’s a nice combination.

The gathering included many of the city’s who’s who, including elected officials, city staff, business owners, school leaders and top officials from our non-profit world.

Mayor Kempf offered a well-done video presentation outlining “highlights and challenges” of the past year.

Fortunately, for those of you who couldn’t or didn’t attend, the complete video is here.

View the video presentation that Mayor Sue Kempf made available to the community last Tuesday at Montage Laguna Beach

Paula Hornbuckle-Arnold, Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce chairman, then conducted a Q&A panel of community leaders, including Police Chief Jeff Calvert, Fire Chief Niko King, Marine Safety Captain Kai Bond, Public Works Director Mark McAvoy and Acting City Manager Gavin Curran.

Questions submitted prior to the luncheon and during the luncheon were entertained.

The mayor has also included her speech elsewhere today in Stu News Laguna in her letter titled Inside City Hall.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

(L-R) Chamber Chairman Paula Hornbuckle-Arnold, Mayor Sue Kemp and City Communications Manager Cassie Walder

• • •

The Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach is earmarking a $6,000 grant bestowed to them by the Festival of Arts Foundation for their Arts for All program.

The Arts for All program will “ensure that every child in attendance has access to the transformative power of art.” The program helps foster young people’s creativity, self-confidence and ability to contribute to the world.

For more information about the art activities, contact Mar Stash at 949.494.2535, or mars@bgclaguna.org, or visit the club’s website at www.bgclagunabeach.org.

• • •

A controversy erupted earlier this week at Laguna Beach High School following the distribution of nude photos created by wrongly using artificial intelligence, falsely giving the appearance that the photos reflected several local students.

The school and district are undertaking a full investigation and education program for all students discussing the potential dangers involved in using AI incorrectly.

Due to school privacy guidelines, disciplinary actions are not public.

The incident is beyond acceptable under any circumstances.

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