Letter: Step Up To Help Your City


“Ask not what your City can do for you. Ask what you can do for your City.”

Paraphrasing JFK’s words, I hereby challenge Laguna Beach residents to ponder: do you possess skills, knowledge, or talents that could benefit our City?

Since my 2021 appointment by the City Council to the Housing and Human Services Committee, I have been pleasantly surprised at how gratifying it is to work with so many knowledgeable, energetic colleagues. Committee service has challenged my assumptions, deepened my knowledge, and raised my regard for city staff and electeds as they wrangle myriad challenges.

Seats are open on eight of the City’s committees: 

Board of Adjustment/Design Review Board – 3 two-year terms – considers requests for variances from the zoning code. Unlike most other volunteer committee positions, DRB members are compensated $392 per month.

Environmental Sustainability Committee – five two-year terms plus 1 alternate – researches, reviews, and advises the Council on protecting the environment and improving the community’s future sustainability. 

Heritage Committee – 3 two-year terms and 1 one-year term – serves in an advisory role on historic preservation matters and reviews applications for the City’s Historic Register. 

Parking, Traffic & Circulation Committee – 3 two-year terms ¬– acts in an advisory capacity on parking, traffic, circulation, transit, the Parking Management Plan, and traffic complaints. 

Recreation Committee – four two-year terms – provides for the recreation and park needs of the community. (Skate park, anyone?)

Housing and Human Services Committee – five, 15-month terms – assesses and identifies housing opportunities and human needs for all segments of the community and provides input on the City’s Housing Element of the General Plan.

Audit Review & Investment Advisory Committee – three 2-year terms – reviews the results of the annual financial audit, reviews the City’s Investment Policy, and more. The list of responsibilities for this one is long. See City website. 

View Restoration Committee – three 2-year terms and 1 one-year term – adjudicates claims by property owners to restore views alleged to be impaired by vegetation. 

If any of these piques your interest, I encourage you to learn more online at the City website and talk with current committee members. 

If you have been contemplating becoming more involved, consider this your invitation to contribute to Laguna’s civic life. It’s one thing to hold opinions about how our City should be run; it’s an entirely different and far more constructive one to give of oneself in a sincere effort to improve and help move it forward. Remember, too, that all committee meetings are open to the public. 

See details and applications at www.lagunabeachcity.net/government/departments/boards-commissions-committees. The deadline to apply is Jan. 20 at 4:30 pm. Contact the City Clerk’s office with any questions at (949) 497-0705. 

Ask not what your City can do for you. Step on up. 

Barbara McMurray, Laguna Beach

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