Four candidates for various city positions will add to the electoral mix on Nov. 8.
Environmental and animal rights activist Judie Mancuso says she’s got the chops to take on the two incumbents, council member Bob Whalen and Mayor Steve Dicterow, who have already announced their candidacy for re-election this fall.
Mancuso’s been dealing with legislative bodies for 20 years, which became the impetus to start her Social Compassion in Legislation nonprofit founded in 2003, she said. She informally signaled her plans to run for City Council last week by opening a bank account specifically for campaign funds.
And, for the first time in years, the city treasurer position may see some competition. Anne McGraw announced her intention to run against Laura Parisi, who has been the unopposed city treasurer since 1999.
McGraw moved to Laguna in 1992 as operations manager for Orange National Bank and started a bookkeeping business in 1998, working with 18 local families and businesses, and is the current treasurer for the Woman’s Club.
McGraw said she’s always wanted to run for city treasurer but was raising a daughter, who’s now old enough to drive. “This is a natural extension of what I already do,” she said Wednesday. “I think I could save the city a lot of money. I’ve done a lot of research and a lot of money is being spent and could be saved in the role of the treasurer.”
Parisi, a CPA, announced her candidacy this week as well and pointed to additional qualifications, such as certifications as a municipal treasurer and fixed-income practitioner as well as chairperson of the League of California Cities’ revenue and taxation committee.
Parisi said her management of the city’s investments this year generated $860,000 in income, $200,000 more than anticipated. She says her efforts to refinance assessment-district bonds generated $1.3 million in savings to property owners. By auditing revenue generated from the Business Improvement District and the Transient Occupancy Tax from hotels, she saved the city money in outside consulting fees, Parisi said in statement announcing her candidacy.
Lisette Chel also announced plans to seek her second term as city clerk, a position she was awarded by voters in 2012. The city clerk and city treasurer are the only two elected administrative positions in City Hall.
“I am proud to say that I have been endorsed by all the City Council members,” Chel said in a statement this week.
Chel, a 36-year resident, has worked 33 years for the city, starting as a parking cashier in the police department. She became deputy city clerk in 2008. She earned certification as a municipal clerk from the Institute of Municipal Clerks in 2010 and is currently working toward masters status, she said.
Her intention is to provide a transparent approach to city government, she said. “My door is always open during office hours and I am available by email 24/7,” she said.