Arts Funding Lacked Unanimous Support

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Sam Goldstein, Karyn Phillippsen and Paul Freeman brought the BID–Business Improvement District–to the Council. The local hotels and motels had agreed to increase their bed tax by two cents. One cent would go to the Visitor’s Bureau (now Visit Laguna) and one would be divided four ways, 25% to the Playhouse, the Museum, LCAD and the Arts Commission. The council had to ratify it.

Two council members refused to support it. Wayne Baglin and Cheryl Kinsman would not vote for a tax increase, even though it was charged to tourists. Steve Dicterow was on the fence. The Arts Commission didn’t feel that 25% was enough and Steve would only support it if the Arts Commission supported it.

I negotiated a five-way split…20% not 25%. The Arts Commission funding was increased to two segments of 20%. They were pleased. We had Steve’s vote. It passed, 3-2. This has brought millions of dollars to the arts community.

I wonder if Wayne Baglin and Cheryl Kinsman regret their vote.


Toni Iseman, Laguna Beach

The author is an incumbent City Council member.

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