Iseman Honored For 24 Years of Public Service

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Retiring Councilmember Toni Iseman stands with Laguna Beach residents after an outpouring of gratitude and tributes during the public comment. Photo/Clara Beard

The Laguna Beach City Chambers was standing room only, with some left to only peer through the outside windows as residents gathered to honor Councilmember Toni Iseman’s extraordinary 24 years of public service to the City of Laguna Beach during the Nov. 15 council meeting.

Laguna Tunes sings to City Council before the Nov. 15 Regular Meeting. Photo/Clara Beard

Iseman made history as the longest-running councilmember and, in that time, was Laguna’s mayor four times: 2003, 2007, 2011. Among Iseman’s many accomplishments was requesting the Laguna Beach Trolley system be changed to free rideship, recommending traffic controllers downtown, developing the Community and Susi Q Center, preserving the City’s open spaces, supporting historic heritage, working a regional effort to close San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant, and saving the iconic pepper tree in front of City Hall. She also improved sidewalk cleaning in the City to improve its aesthetics and championed the Neighbourhood and Environmental protection Plan to help address the quality of life for residents. 

Retiring Councilmember Toni Iseman stands with Laguna Beach residents who came to acknowledge her public service. Photo/Clara Beard

For more than an hour, Laguna Beach residents took turns paying tribute to Iseman, including representatives from Coastal Green Belt Authority, Sally’s Fund, Village Laguna, Laguna Tunes Community Chorus, Laguna Nursery owner Ruben Flores, Cindy Obrand from KX Radio, Laguna Canyon Conservancy, Friendship Shelter, American Legion, No Square Theatre, Judie Mancuso, Laguna Canyon Foundation, Susi Q, Laguna Greenbelt, representatives from South Laguna, LB Community Clinic, Laguna Beach Pride and many more. 

 

“Village Laguna takes this opportunity to recognize the amazing and inspiring career of public servant, activist, citizen, mayor and City Councilmember Toni Iseman,” Laguna Beach resident and Villiage Laguna President Ann Caen said during public comment. “To thank her publicly as she steps down from her council seat. In her 24-year career as a Councilmember, Toni has unflinchingly served as a prominent voice for residents and preserving what makes Laguna a special place to live, visit, or conduct business.”

In 2017, Iseman was the recipient of the Community Hero Award for her service to the Laguna Beach Community. She was also honored as the 2019 Woman of the Year by the Laguna Beach Woman’s Club. 

 

“I could be here all day thanking you,” a representative from the American Legion and No Square Theater said. You have been our biggest supporter and you’re the most giving, loving and wonderful person who has helped us with everything. Especially the kids at the theater, with scholarships and making it a safe place for them to go, I can’t begin to thank you. We love you dearly.” 

 

In a September interview with the Independent, Iseman said her decision to step down was partly motivated by the increasing incivility in the Council Chambers, which reflected the bitter tone of national politics trickling into an artistic beach town. Iseman also credited the move with her inability to get things done at city hall because she often found herself in the minority of a 3-2 vote.

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