Mayor Elizabeth Pearson officially announced Friday, April 4, that she will not seek a fourth term on the Laguna Beach City Council in November, because of job demands. She is president and chief executive of the Pacific Chorale, which is the resident choir of the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.
She said that when she interviewed for the position last year there was a concern that her public duties might encroach on her work for the arts organization. To allay those fears, “I made a commitment upon hiring that I would not run this cycle,” she said, though Pearson did not divulge that decision publicly despite repeated questions over her plans until this week.
Before her current 12 consecutive years on the City Council, Pearson spent 6.5 years as a planning commissioner (not consecutively), prior to which she served on other committees, as well as three terms as president of the North Laguna Community Association.
Pearson said she believes in the value of taking a break after 12 consecutive years on the Council. “It allows new people and ideas to surface,” she said, adding that it’s important for any longtime public servant to take a break before the words “we tried that and it didn’t work” become a mantra. Even so, she didn’t dismiss the idea that such an individual might return to public service later, if they could do so “with a fresh outlook.”
In the meantime, Pearson endorses Council member Kelly Boyd in his bid for re-election and restaurant owner and heritage committee chair Jon Madison in his first-time run for a Council seat, since both meet her criteria that worthy a candidate must have served on a city commission or committee, publicly supported businesses and the arts in Laguna, and demonstrated a “heart” for local seniors.
Pearson said she plans to keep living in Laguna Beach, stay actively involved in the arts community, and continue to stand behind the seniors and the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce.