Hallie Jones vies for city council seat

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Hallie Jones, Crystal Cove Conservancy’s Executive Vice President and a third-generation Laguna native, held her official campaign launch event at The Ranch last Sunday, June 30. 

About 70 supporters attended. 

City Council candidate Hallie Jones officially launched her campaign at a breakfast event last Sunday at The Ranch with about 70 supporters, including Ben Warner (left) of Coast Film Festival, and well-known waterman and entrepreneur Paul Naude (right). Photo/Barbara McMurray

After attending Laguna Beach schools until her junior year, Jones graduated from Georgetown Day School in Washington D.C. and went on to earn a degree from UCLA.

She has spent her career in nonprofit management, with a focus on land and ocean conservation and began her career at Santa Monica’s Heal the Bay, which works to protect California’s coastline and waterways and support clean water legislation.

Jones then spent a decade as Laguna Canyon Foundation’s executive director, and led a staff of biologists, ecologists and support personnel who educate hikers and work to maintain 26 miles of trails in Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park and Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. 

In August 2023, Jones joined Crystal Cove Conservancy as executive vice president and chief program officer.

Michele McCormick (left) and artist Kathy Jones (right), the candidate’s mother, coffee up at the official campaign launch party for Hallie Jones, who is running for Laguna Beach City Council. Photo/Mary Jo Winefordner

Jones, 46, outlined her platform and the priorities guiding her on the council dais. They include preserving Laguna’s open space, protecting its beaches and coastal waters, building climate resiliency and encouraging smart development that protects viewsheds and our town’s charm while imagining attractive new spaces and welcoming the next generation of neighbors.  

The Ranch’s CEO, Mark Christy, also an environmental activist, introduced Jones. Christy said he observed the difficulty of a council member’s job and expressed his appreciation for those who seek a seat.

In her first campaign speech, Jones highlighted some of her platform’s key issues, such as public safety and fire protection, climate change and natural resources, and infrastructure and development.

“Some of the work I’m most proud of has been around promoting smart infrastructure and development projects in our community,” Jones told her supporters. “To me, smart development means projects that align with our community values – our environment, the arts, small businesses – and support our quality of life as residents. I was a member of the Laguna Canyon Road Task Force and helped lead negotiations with CalTrans on both the Hidden Valley development and the widening of the 133 at the El Toro Road intersection. While neither of those projects turned out perfectly, they’re a heck of a lot better for our town than they would have been if we hadn’t come to the table and negotiated with CalTrans.”

Jones also listed affordable housing and small businesses, streamlining permit processes, artist housing and preserving open space as other key issues facing Laguna. 

“I have over 25 years of work experience in marine and land conservation,” Jones, who chose the California poppy as her official campaign emblem. “Our beaches and trails are among the most special things about Laguna. I’ll work to preserve the remaining acres of open space and implement our climate action plan to help build climate resiliency in town, on our beaches, and in the hills. I also think we can, and should, dedicate resources to our world-famous trail system and endangered habitats.”

In addition to participating at public candidate forums, Jones’s campaign will host Sunday morning “Hikes with Hallie,” during which she will lead small groups on local trails to identify the flora and discuss biodiversity, environmental stewardship, the importance of fire protection and city issues. 

Jones also plans to offer house parties, which are informal neighborhood opportunities to get to know Jones in a relaxed setting. More information, including how to attend or host a house party, is available at Hallieforlaguna.com.

Laguna Beach’s general municipal election will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 5, to elect two city council members, the city clerk and city treasurer. All positions will hold a full term of four years. 

The nomination period for these offices begins on Monday, July 15 and closes on Friday, Aug. 9, at 5 p.m. Council members George Weiss and Bob Whalen, as well as city treasurer Laura Parisi and city clerk Ann Marie McKay, are up for reelection.

As of press time, only Jones and Judie Mancuso, Social Compassion in Legislation CEO and Environmental Sustainability Committee chair, have officially announced their bids for city council.

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