City Manager’s Updates

National Public Safety Telecommunicators (Dispatchers) Appreciation Week – The week of April 14-21 is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Appreciation Week, also known as Dispatcher Appreciation Week. Our Laguna Beach dispatchers are the “first” first responders and answer all incoming non-emergency, 911 calls, and relay important information to our first responders in the field. Dispatchers are the ones behind the scene, who are often not recognized for their work. They are a calm voice in that moment of need, and the ones who get the information to tell first responders where they are needed. Here in Laguna Beach our dispatch center is responsible for dispatching Police, Fire, and Marine Safety. Our Dispatchers are truly the best in the business, and we thank them for all they do. 

SB 584 - Wildfire Mitigation Through Undergrounding of Power Lines – State Senate Bill 584 would expedite opportunities for local jurisdictions like Laguna Beach located in Tier 3 fire-threat areas to underground current overhead electrical infrastructure for wildfire mitigation. The bill will also establish a Wildfire Mitigation Oversight Board to develop and implement policies that reduce the looming threat of more wildfires. Overhead utility lines and equipment have caused many devastating blazes, with the equipment of California’s three largest utilities being responsible for igniting over 2,000 fires between 2014 and 2017. 

Utility companies propose “hardening” the overhead systems as a means of fire mitigation, but Southern California Edison noted in its Grid Safety and Resilience Program that hardening overhead systems is only 60 percent as effective as putting overhead systems underground. Currently, there are methods to aide municipalities in undergrounding their electrical lines. However, the criteria have remained mostly the same over the years and have not adapted to the changing utility dynamics that may necessitate undergrounding for a wider range of reasons, including wildfire mitigation and environmental protection. 

Click on this video – – to hear Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Whalen and Laguna Beach Fire Chief Mike Garcia speak more about the issue as it pertains to our City.

City Hall Temporary Sculpture Installation – On Monday, April 29, artist team Hybycozo will be installing three sculptures outside City Hall. Created of steel, the sculptures will be on exhibit for three months. The artists Yelena Filipchuk and Serge Beaulieu are based in Oakland and have been featured artists at the Burning Man Festival. The lodging establishments and the City of Laguna Beach have funded this program.

Red Telephone Booth Sculpture Rotation – On Monday, April 22, the installation Nine Billion by artist Douglas Turner will be removed from the red telephone booth on Forest Avenue, concluding its 2-year exhibition. The telephone booth will be cleaned and repainted in preparation for a new temporary installation, Super Hero Changing Station by local artist Robert Holton, which will be put in on Friday, April 26. The lodging establishments and the City of Laguna Beach fund this program.

Diversity & The Creative Economy – On Monday, April 29 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., learn how nurturing inclusion can foster economic mobility and prosperity for Laguna Beach, Orange County, and beyond. The Laguna Beach LGBTQ Heritage & Culture Alliance, Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce, and other sponsors will provide a platform for community members, as well as business, civic, and education leaders, to learn how to take the word “diversity” from being an elusive catchword to being a prosperous future with clear benefits to the economics, social vitality and well being for everyone. 

For more information, visit 

City Council Appointed Committees – The City Council is accepting applications for the following Committees, Commissions, and Boards: four positions on the Arts Commission; five positions on the Emergency Disaster Preparedness Committee; six positions on the Housing and Human Services Committee; two positions on the Planning Commission; and four positions on the Personnel Board. All terms will be two-years beginning July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2021. Interviews and appointments will be conducted on Tuesday, May 7 at 6 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, 505 Forest Ave.

Laguna Beach residents who are interested in serving on one of these committees should obtain an application from the City Clerk’s office or online from the City’s website at and file in the City Clerk’s office no later than Thursday, April 25 at 5 p.m. Applications will not be accepted after the April 25, 5 p.m. deadline.