Laguna Beach voters will have plenty of choices to make Nov. 6, with 12 candidates competing for three seats on the City Council, five candidates vying for three seats on the Laguna Beach Unified School District board, and a city sales tax measure intended to fund the undergrounding of utility poles and wires along evacuation routes like Laguna Canyon Road.
Three seats are up for grabs on the Laguna Beach City Council as the terms of Council member Toni Iseman, Mayor Pro Tem Rob Zur Schmiede and Mayor Kelly Boyd expire this year. Boyd’s seat will be open as he’s retiring. Both Zur Schmiede and Iseman have filed to run for another term.
Ten other candidates have thrown their hats in the ring for those three seats: Judie Mancuso, nonprofit CEO and California Veterinary Medical Board member; Laguna Canyon Conservancy board member Lorene Laguna;
Planning Commissioner Sue Kempf; former council member and accountant Cheryl Kinsman; real estate agent Elizabeth Bates; gallerist Peter Blake; former council member Ann Christoph; artist Allison Mathews; financial manager Paul Merritt; and financial services professional Sue Marie Connolly.
In the Laguna Beach Unified School District race, incumbents Dee Perry and Carol Normandin are running for another term, challenged by attorney Christine de Bretteville, retired college president James Kelly, and business owner Mark Nelson.
Of the five-member school board, three terms are set to expire in November. One seat is open as board member Ketta Brown is not seeking a fourth term.
Voters will also decide the fate of a proposed one-cent sales tax hike that would generate funds for burying utility poles along Laguna Canyon Road and other local evacuation routes.
The proposed special purpose tax, if approved, would raise local sales tax to 8.75 percent from 7.75 percent, or a 12.9 percent increase, which would be the highest in the county.
The tax will require a two-thirds majority vote to pass and earmarks the funds for specific uses that can only be altered by a vote of the public. A sunset clause in the ballot measure states that the tax would conclude within 25 years.