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Laguna Beach

 Volume 14, Issue 79  |  October 4, 2022

Fair Game


Love my 5-year-old granddaughter in spite of her shortcomings in the art world

TJ headshot AugSo, Saturday my granddaughter and I ventured out to the Paul Frank painting and clock making class at the Laguna Art Museum. Kate is 5, and if early indications of talent are anything, she better not make her career as an artist. 

Trust me, I know where she gets it. When I was a kid, my older brother could color a picture beautifully. The crayon would be evenly applied perfectly, the borders of whatever he was coloring properly highlighted…a true piece of art.

Me, the colors were uneven, I barely stayed in the lines and my choices of colors were horrendous.

It’s no wonder why our mother always hung his pictures prominently on the front of the refrigerator and mine were hung on the back…next to the cord, facing the wall.

Still, Kate and I tackled Paul’s class intent on creating beautiful clocks with a couple of the Paul Frank characters and, perhaps, hanging them for all to enjoy.

Kate chose Mika the Cat…me, of course, being the traditionalist, took Julius the Monkey.

It’s pretty cool how Paul and his team have the class set up. Each artist, that’s me and Kate, got a plastic bag with all the elements of our character cut out in pieces, ready for paint.

For example, for Julius, I got his torso, with a hole cut for where the clock and hands would eventually stick through; two arms and, separately, two hands; Julius’ face included the main part of his head, with a template to add definitions that you’d attach over it with eye and nose holes already cut, two pieces for the ears and, of course, his lips.

Kate’s was similar for Mika.

Me, I called up a picture of Julius on my mobile phone to access the proper color scheme. Kate, on the other hand, decided she didn’t need any help. So, Mika the Cat, which is normally black, had in Kate’s case a half-red and half-yellow body, a pink head, with yellow highlighted eyes, one beige arm and one white arm. 

Fair Game Mika in window

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Tom Johnson

Kate’s work of art

Paul wasn’t handing out awards for the day, but I had to figure that if he did, Kate certainly would have won. Maybe not for the best clock, but certainly for the cutest kid in the class (being honest, there were two other little ones in the class who were also awfully cute).

I think the most fun Kate may have had on the day, was taking the tray of different colors of paint and mixing them to make new colors.

“Hey, Papa, look, red and yellow make orange,” and so on.

By the time the class ended Kate realized that everything mixed together makes brown if you catch my drift…oh, and that water glasses to clean your brushes in can actually be knocked over and spill across the table and on to the floor. It was quite the mess! But, when it’s Papa and Kate, it’s all fun and she can do no wrong.

Fair Game Kate at table

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Photo by Tom Johnson

Smiles were the order of the day

Quite different than being a parent, I might add. If you don’t believe me, ask my daughter whose ears are probably still ringing from incidents like those mentioned above.

Oh, we live and learn.

Bottom line is, keep an eye on the Museum and take advantage of their classes. They’re fun. And if and when Paul Frank returns, I’d make it a point to check him out. Just don’t tell him you know Tom and Kate.

Fair Game Paul Frank and Kate

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Tom Johnson

Paul Frank (left), as Kate Dell, 5, shows off her Mika the Cat work of art

• • •

Elsewhere in Stu News today you will see that my daughter, Ashley Johnson, from Visit Laguna Beach, is leaving to accept a role at Visit Newport Beach. She’s been here in Laguna for something like 16 years and has loved every minute of it!

What does that mean now? Will I stop giving all of that favorable treatment to Visit Laguna Beach as I’m so often accused?

Absolutely not. Visit Laguna Beach and tourism is here to stay. It’s ALWAYS been a part of Laguna long before any of you ever moved here.

Tourism provides so much in the way of TOT taxes that help the city operate.

And for those who complain, you might have your complaints somewhat confused.

There are two types of visitors that enjoy Laguna Beach. First off are the day-trippers. Those who pack up their cars, fill up their coolers and head for the beach for a day of enjoyment.

Many of these are in the vehicles residents repeatedly complain about crowding up our streets and parking in the neighborhoods. Good people and well-intended, but these are also the visitor that Visit Laguna Beach DOES NOT promote to.

The visitor that Visit Laguna Beach actually messages are those that come to enjoy our hotels and resorts, who can drop $300 to $400 or more on a night, who dine in our restaurants and spend money in our shops. They also park their cars in their resorts’ parking area.

These visitors are the ones who also create the TOT tax that help pay for your public safety and other services around town, as one of the top tax revenue streams for the city.

So, am I still going to promote tourism, you bet! The right tourist is GOOD for all of Laguna Beach.

And, as far as Ashley’s move, I can tell you this, she will miss Laguna. Over the years she has made plenty of friends throughout the city…I thank you, as a father, for always being good to her.

• • •

The Laguna Beach Police Employees’ Association has endorsed Mark OrgillJerome Pudwill and Alex Rounaghi for Laguna Beach City Council.

A statement on behalf of the association said, “Mark has an impressive record of meaningful property development, he has demonstrated selfless service to our community through several nonprofits and charities, and his significant experience as an employer gives him a unique perspective that will quide him toward favorable decisions for Laguna’s residents and employees. We’re encouraged by Mark’s commitment to maintaining a safe community and his desire for Laguna Beach to become an employer of choice.”

They issued similar favorable comments about Jerome, “We support Jerome’s commitment to honest transparency in city government and representing residents above visitors. Jerome supports a highly trained, well-compensated workforce, understands the complexities of public safety and how important it is to inspire, motivate, value and retain employees that serve the needs of our residents. Lastly, we appreciate Jerome’s recognition and support of the tireless work our members do in the community.”

For Alex, they said, “After only a few listening sessions with Alex, it was clear that he has the ideas, passion, skill and experience to move Laguna Beach into the 21st century. As a lifelong resident of Laguna Beach and a product of our schools and community, Alex possesses a unique perspective that no one else has. We believe that that perspective, coupled with his vast experience in public service through his involvement in local and county government, makes Alex an excellent choice for city council.”

Public safety endorsements are huge, congrats to Mark, Jerome and Alex for the recognition.

• • •

Other news and notes: Providence Mission Hospital yesterday announced a $712 million expansion plan that has been approved and will include an expansion of 100 beds, as well as many other offerings in patient care at their South County/Mission Viejo location.

–Mark your calendars: the Laguna Beach Patriots Day Parade is scheduled for Saturday, March 4, 2023, with a theme of “Volunteer Heroes.”

–With the High Holidays approaching at sundown this Sunday, Sept. 25, Chabad of Laguna Beach will once again be hosting inspirational High Holiday services open to the community. Reservations are necessary. Visit or call 949.499.0770.

–You’re invited to the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach’s 8th Annual Night at the Ranch this Friday, Sept. 23 at 5:30 p.m., featuring among other things, Common Sense. For more info go here.


Shaena Stabler, President & CEO -

Lana Johnson, Editor -

Tom Johnson, Publisher -

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are our photographers.

Alexis Amaradio, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Marrie Stone, Sara Hall, Suzie Harrison and Theresa Keegan are our writers and/or columnists.

In Memoriam - Stu Saffer and Barbara Diamond.

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