Meet Laguna Beach City Council Incumbents: Mayor Sue Kempf and Councilmember Peter Blake

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Mayor Sue Kempf and Councilmember Peter Blake both seek a second four-year term on the Laguna Beach City Council. They’re running against five challengers, Louis Weil, Alex Rounaghi, Mark Orgill, Jerome Pudwill and Ruben Flores, for three empty seats at the dais.

Mayor Sue Kempf

Born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Kempf moved to California where she received a Master’s degree in business. She began a management career in technology, and retired as President of Mirion Technologies in 2017. After moving to Laguna with her wife, Cheryl Sykes, in 2006, Kempf served on the View Preservation Committee, the Emergency Disaster Preparedness Committee, the Economic Development Task Force, and the Planning Commission before being elected to City Council in 2018.

While serving, she said her greatest accomplishments were the creation of a Fire Mitigation Plan, state-of-the-art ambulance service, the downtown Promenade, a Neighborhood & Environmental Protection Plan, an Accessory Dwelling Unit ordinance and Downtown Specific Plan, the work to strengthen development restrictions on height, mass, and scale.

If re-elected, Kempf’s priorities for the next four years would be to underground Laguna Canyon Road for safety, implement a comprehensive Climate Action Plan, pass the City’s first Master Parking Plan, make the best use of the St. Catherine’s school property and build affordable housing.

Kempf said that one of the main reasons she’s running is because she understands how City government works.

“I’ve been working with other outside agencies for grants and other improvements to Laguna Beach, and I’m good at that. And I have a good temperament to serve the community. I’m an issue-focused and fact-based person. I always have been. I can look at things dispassionately as issues before the city council. You don’t see me getting emotional. You don’t see outbursts from me. I always keep the community at the forefront of my mind. Serving on City Council is a serious job for serious people.”

Kempf is against Measure Q, a proposition written by local political action committee Laguna Residents First, requiring a public vote on certain large-scale development and major hotel remodels.

Kempf has received endorsements from Planned Parenthood of Orange and the Laguna Beach Firefighters Association.

Councilmember Peter Blake

Councilmember Peter Blake moved to Laguna Beach in 1986 and got his footing as a local waiter before eventually opening up his current art gallery soon after. In 2018, Blake said he became increasingly frustrated with the increase in low-level crime, lack of property rights, and the inability of young people to open a business.

“I was complaining to my wife one day, and she said, ‘why don’t you do something about it? Why don’t you run for office?’ I never imagined that I would be a politician,” Blake said. “As it’s pretty obvious in the way I write and the way I talk to people. I have a hot temper. I speak my mind and I don’t care what anybody thinks. I’ve been playing chicken with the voters for four and a half years. They want to vote for me. They vote for me on my terms, or else they don’t vote for me.”

Since his four years in office, Blake is proud of initiating the single-use plastic ban, reducing homelessness by 60 percent, fighting for property rights, free speech as well as including American flag imagery on Laguna Beach Police cars. City’s efforts in increased engagement during African American History Month. He is running on a similar platform this time and continues advocating for better dining and retail experiences.

“I love this town being quaint, but that doesn’t mean it has to be some hokey tourist trap town,” Blake said. “I don’t understand why we can’t have better galleries, why we can’t have a better restaurant, better clothing stores, better everything. That’s what we need.”

Like Kempf, Blake is also against Measure Q,

“Q an attempt to usurp the voter and to take control of this community via ballot box planning and a ballot initiative,” Blake said. “That pretty much takes us back to the days when Village Laguna controlled this community.”

The Lincoln Club, Greater Laguna Beach GOP, Nancy’s List and the Laguna Beach Firefighters have endorsed Blake for re-election.

 

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33 COMMENTS

  1. I must say the more and more I learn about Council Member Peter Blake the more I like him. We need more centrist people that are willing to stand up and fight against this “woke” ideology. People are so hell bent on shouting about how rude he is, while they are their actions are being just as rude as their accusations. Everyone is so sensitive about their feelings they forget the outcome they are fighting for. Steve Jobs wasn’t considered a nice guy, but he changed the world for the good. I believe Peter will keep helping Laguna Beach for the good.

  2. Our Leader Peter has the best point of view ever on the Council. When I read complaints about him it’s always something he called someone out on, and he’s not being nice. NO ONE ever says he didn’t get the job done. The landslide will put to rest any doubts, finally the Old Way is O.V.E.R. Let the complaining begin! Your mandate is coming Sir.

  3. Peter Blake has proven he’s got Laguna finally, on track. His detractors like Bill Fried are obsessed with collectivism because of the theory’s aesthetic feature, to use their marketing strategy to attract, or intimidate if you don’t go along. But no matter what they support, their main aim is to portray themselves as wise and moral. This reminds me of a popular quote by Thomas Sowell: “When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.” Blake’s landslide will give them derangement syndrome.

  4. I’ve read other posts about the haters who are pearl-clutching. They are absolutely inconsolable! “He’s rude he’s crude. He calls names. This is uncivil. Never seen before in Laguna Beach” (except on late Saturday nights at the old Boom Boom). Thank you Mr. Blake for staying the course and letting the village knuckleheads rant so we can see who’s sane.

  5. Isabella Alvarez: Whether or not (not, in my case) you are voting for Peter Blake, he is not a centrist. His two main endorsements are by the arch-conservative Lincoln Club of Orange County and the Greater Laguna Beach GOP, who believe the 2020 election was stolen from Trump.

  6. Quilter. Blake’s centrist in our world. It’s you guys who are radical thinking blue kook aid drinkers are haters. F.Y.I. The election was stolen from Trump, e.g. How did Sleepy Joe get 15 MILLION more votes than Barry O? That’s why today the courts found MAIL IN BALLOTS won’t count. Gratefully, Blake has earned support from The Lincoln Club’s collecitve intelligence and the newly organized Greater Laguna GOP. Red Wave Bro. The majority rules right?

  7. The haters are sitting around waiting for the usual “I’m sorries” but doing that gives away our power. Apologizing in business, especially when you’ve actually done something is just asking for trouble. That’s why the Village People are mad.

    They’re never satisfied and will never again see the candidates coming in groveling and exhibiting vulnerability, unless VL picks them.

    We’ve learned we will never again look weak and sink team morale.

    Blake’s standing his ground came with risks. Making the usual suspects wet their jammies. Not liked by them. He thinks it’s worth it to save Laguna from their nonsense.

    You can either conform to what the blow hards want you to be, or you can decide that you are going to risk offending them. “Life is about trade-offs.” Now, we’ll win.

  8. Chris Quilter: In recent times the left has gone so far that it has in effect shifted what use to be a centered moderate liberal running into the arms of conservatives. Where the people are in the center hasn’t changed, just the goal post for the left has gone way too far.

  9. Voting for Blake’s continued leadership is a no-brainer. The progress he’d made stopping Village Laguna’s old fashioned propaganda is music to our ears and money in our pockets. Those opposing now know that there’s always wreckage in the fast lane. Unfortunately, for them, they’ve been run over. Next he should lower property taxes and cut the budget for social give aways.

  10. Peter Blake Crude Rude Unelectable.
    Insulted so many women in town. Name calling fools, trash, liars. Just some of his favorite lame attacks. 19 people stood up and confronted Blake with his abuse, many others called in. We asked for his apology and mental health evaluation. He does not have the temperament to represent Laguna Beach. Vote NOMO Peter Blake

  11. The coming election of Mr. Blake is made out to be uglier by the day, due to the feigned inflamation of The Blake Hating Ladies. They profess his campaign to be a cruel and shallow money trench through the heart of the people. A long greasy plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs. And then there’s the negative side.

  12. Nancee, you are so right. Blake does not have the tempermen to represent you or the thinned skinned, but tanned women you and your cabal worship. He’s just callin’ ’em as he sees ’em and has never surrendered to your screed. Ciao Baby.

  13. Nancee- well, that’s not true. If Peter were unelectable, he wouldn’t have won the 2018 election by the most votes. I’m sure he insulted not just women but men too. I don’t think he discriminates; if you use Peter’s name or say nonsense, you will likely get a response. As a woman, I can appreciate how much safer my community and, therefore, my children have become since Peter took office.

    Don’t you register as a Republican? I heard you claim to be conservative but support democratic socialists like Jerome. I might be confused, but more likely, you seem confused.

    So, when Toni Iseman was having tremors, some of these insulted people you are referring to were furious when Peter asked for her to volunteer for a mental and physical health exam. But when you are requesting his mental health exam or marching down the street with signs labeling him as ‘Unfit,’ that’s okay?

  14. I would challenge every person in this thread, with the exception of Chris Quilter and Nancee Swensson, to verify their identities. Interesting that every individual that is pro-Peter Blake doesn’t show up when you Google their name and “Laguna Beach”. I find it humorous that Peter Blake might need to hire people to say positive things about him. Either that or people that are pro-Peter are so ashamed that they feel the need to hide behind a fake name. Please just email [email protected] and prove to her that you are who you say you are. Ask her to post here that she’s verified your identity. Until then….

  15. In our non-profit (LPRFC) group’s in person interviews with candidates, Peter Blake was interesting, engaging and strong in his convictions. The problem was that his convictions were contradictory. He claims to defend property rights/valuation but somehow doesn’t see ocean views as part of those rights (“there is no such thing as view equity”). His suggestion is to eliminate the DRB. If you own an ocean view property, then you need to think over those diametrically opposite positions. If you are the city treasurer, you better worry about property valuations because those will be threatened by a race to the bottom as far as ocean view preservations are concerned.

    As for the CC meeting decorum, he does keep a copy of “The Guerilla’s Guide to Robert’s Rules” in his gallery casually displayed. I assumed he has studied it but failed miserably at implementation. We didn’t ask our committee members that represent the whole political spectrum how to rank the candidates in terms of behaviors vs positions on issues. It just happens that he scored a zero out of a possible 5 and didn’t make it to our second round.

    Peter says he will be just as happy getting re-elected as he will running his gallery. I wish him happiness and success running his gallery.

  16. Like the man said, the only issue Blake complainers say over and over is he’s not nice to them. So what? He has gotten a job done for us in Laguna that no one else ever could. Maybe it’s time for Googlers, who have time to search every name in the thread, to pack up. The old way is over. Those of us who support Blake don’t have the need to self-promote like Clark.

  17. Ray Tang. It doesn’t surprise me that Blake didn’t make your cut. He doesn’t make any of the phoney baloney activists scorecards that threaten your ‘preservation”.
    Fact is done LPRFC has obstructed growth in Laguna. Nice Try, but really we can’t go along with you anymore because the old way was the wrong way. We tried it. Sorry

  18. Ray, I’m assuming you’re the activist for the tennis courts that interviewed me for a half hour in my gallery during business hours? Not quite sure what LPRFC stands for but the letter T for tennis isn’t there. Maybe you’re not. Regardless, my views on views and property rights are anything but contradictory. Maybe your hearing and self-serving sensibilities were unaligned that day? I do not believe in “view equity” The phrase and concept are not legally sound and are easily challenged in CA courts. I do want to eliminate DRB eventually although we have a great board currently that I’m proud to have recruited and appointed.The City Treasurer is not responsible for determining value to properties based on view blockage or one’s inability to build and block views, she manages our investments.

    I have not, nor will I, study Robert’s Rules. I made it clear when George Weiss brought it to the dais that I would not adhere to it. It was afterall an effort to suppress my Constitutional rights to express my views and the views of my residents. The book was dropped off at the gallery by a thoughtful supporter. It’s sitting in a landfill as I’m typing.

    Thanks for the zero score and please spare me your self-absorbed BS. I couldn’t care less what your group thinks of me. I’ll chalk up the loss of your group’s votes and file them away with Chris Quilter’s meaningless no vote.

    I’ll happily continue to run my gallery and represent those who vote me back into office for my second term.

    Thanks for the well wishes!

  19. Another observation…. All of the pro-Blake nutbars on this thread – in addition to drawing a big blank when you Google their names along with “Laguna Beach”, when you search the tax records for 92651 and the names that all (8) have used it yields zero results. I typically think of a pro-Blake voter as a me, me, me property-owner, so while I’m sure they will claim that they own their Laguna mansions in some sort of generically named trust, the evidence points to fake names being used here or even sadder that Peter is paying people to support him. Both are bad for Laguna… Be kind people and vote for civility! There are (6) City Council candidates that are smart, well-qualified and eager to do right by Laguna.

  20. Peter – LPRFC stands for Laguna Public Recreation Facilities Conservancy and origin of the group is described in a 2019 Indy article https://www.lagunabeachindy.com/tennis-players-rally-to-block-foa-expansion/ Over 800 people signed our petition to keep the courts and we will continue to advocate for recreational facilities and neighborhood parks. There is much more to Laguna than downtown. Residents pay around 85% of the taxes while downtown gets a disportionate share of attention during elections.

    Sorry to hurt your feelings regarding getting a zero score in LPRFC ranking discussions. Knowing that you probably have a well hidden sense of humor – we would gladly endorse you for Dog Catcher if Laguna ever decides to make that an elected position. Poor dogs.

  21. Thanks for speaking up Nancee. It’s very concerning when a public official uses their political position to intimidate residents. While we witness Blakes anger when constituents disagree with him, it appears that the women who don’t often become ongoing targets. You are certainly not alone.

    I watched the council meeting where you personally addressed him regarding his direct contact with you. The fact that he left that public meeting and then sent you more intimidating and foul emails says something isn’t registering. It’s downright creepy!

    Such aggressive behavior by anyone invading you and your family is unacceptable but when an elected official is doing it, LB residents should put a stop to it. They could be next.

    Voters: ANYONE but Peter Blake!

  22. Wow Clark!!!

    Less than two weeks before the election and you’re out doxing residents? Why aren’t you engaged in meaningful political discourse? Oh, I almost forgot, Village Laguna’s preferred candidates are a disaster! Creepy online troll, Jerome Pudwill, train wreck Rubin Flores, and then there’s your fave, Mark Orgill. You, and the decades long entitlement hustler, Morris Skenderian, cant do enough to prop him up. Visionless, rudderless, and severely conflicted, he ranks as the number one choice if you’re looking for a do-nothing candidate that has a plan for everything. Who would of imagined that a developer and Visit Laguna board member would be endorsed by the anti development, anti tourist, authoritarians at Village Laguna.

    How sad that I’m resorting to “paying people to support me” Nice try! Is Orgill paying you to host fundraisers for him? I bet you and Morris are salivating at the thought of recapturing the Council majority, DRB, Planning Commission, City Hall, and Heritage which you serve on. The two of you can work behind the scenes getting approvals for all of your cronie’s pet projects. Hiring the two of you used to guarantee success. The good ole days right? You are on Heritage and remodel historic cottages. Morris navigates his well heeled clients through the maze of our Municipal Code that he helped design to be intentionally onerous. Doesn’t take Mensa to figure out how that works out.

    Let’s face it Clark. You’re “bad for Laguna”

    On November 8th,”Be kind people and vote for civility” lol

  23. Clark,
    Excellent observation. I too googled the names. I’m a real homeowner in the Bluebird Park area and I’m a hard no on Peter Blake. I’m curious, is Isabella Alvarez connected or related to the Alvarez CPA company?

  24. Hi Joe, no, I am not related to Alvarez CPA. Please don’t dox and cancel that man’s business just because you don’t like my comments. If you disagree with my statements, I am happy to hear your point of view.

  25. The crazy thing is, Google Bramucci, MJ, Fried, even Blake and Zeiter and they all show right up as actual Laguna Beach residents. On the other hand, Google Peter’s supporters in these two threads (Isabella Alvarez, 
Jerry Weintraub Jr., Rance Crain, Ray Davies, Bill Kraemer, Kathy Fruin O’Malley, Rick Mell, Thomas Hunter, Brian Hoffman, Sean Marlington, Joseph Wang, 
Roger Wilson, James Highgate, Jorge Solti) and I don’t think one shows up. Peter likes to say that I’m doxing residents. On the contrary… doxing is exposing someone’s true identity. The Indy’s policy is that people use their real name in the comment section. I’m only calling attention to the fact that many, if not all, of these people haven’t done that. There may be some that shield their identity with an LLC, but all? Give me a break. This either shows the sad state of the Blake campaign or the sad state of the Blake voter. Both are sad. My money says that Michael Ray is behind one if not most of these names. I’m happy to admit if I’m wrong, so prove it to me.

  26. Hilarious reading these comments.

    Clark has been trolling the Independent and cut and pasting the same stupid tired thing, claiming people writing these comments don’t live in Laguna because he can’t find them on Google. Typical that some people believe only what Google tells them or doesn’t tell them. Google is God, lol. About sums up the intelligence level and lack of resourcefulness of some people.

    Swensson is no Republican, she is a RINO. She sits in the back of city council chambers and mocks and baits Peter Blake, acting like a child shaking her head and making hand signals or holding up signs that say “boo”. There is a video of her doing just that – embarrassing.

    Quilter likes to call anyone who doesn’t believe like him with his own radical leftist views an extremist. lol. Might as well call us domestic terrorists too, right Chris? Have you ever had a conversation with me or anyone on the GLB GOP board? Ever? The answer would be no, you are just blowing ignorant liberal smoke, as you often do. Must be exhausting to keep stroking the party line over and over and over. If you say it often enough maybe someone will believe it, right Chris?

    Ray Tang – you don’t represent the athletes of this town. Not sure what makes you think because us avid tennis players signed a petition to save our courts that you somehow represent our political views? Newsflash – you don’t. Your “endorsement” or lack thereof means zilch. Stick to advocating for recreational facilities and parks, and don’t pretend to represent anyone other than yourself in politics.

    The pearl clutching cabal of Peter-haters (that is rich!) need to grow up and un-wad their panties. Banging that drum is getting really old.

    I’m voting for Peter Blake. He will continue to get the job done and keep Laguna safe.

    (Gee, I better run over to PB’s gallery before tennis this morning and pick up my check for supporting him before I fly back in my big old carbon emitting jet to my residence ranch in Jackson Hole, lol)

  27. Jennifer – I apologize for coming across as representing all the athletes in this town when it comes to issues on recreational facilities. If I did, then it would be like Peter Blake claiming that he solved the homeless problem anywhere. Our membership includes a significant number of pickleball players. Several recreational golfers and gardeners. A few surfers. A few nationally ranked tennis players. A few former gymnasts including one that competed in the Barcelona Olympics. People of various professions including famed artists. Many retired execs and just plain folks enjoying exercising outdoors. We don’t like attempts or even the idea of public parks being privatized behind close doors.

    When we first formed the LPRFC non-profit, skateboarder advocates complained to us on our social media site “hey how about us?” That’s a legitimate complaint since why should tennis or anything else get priority over a public recreational space. There are competing uses for recreational space and we can’t address recreational space facilities conservancy and expansions without considering all usage. Kids and their families have asked for a skateboard park for decades and have been short changed. It’s time to add/convert enough recreational space and facilities to accommodate those demands.

    https://lagunabb.wixsite.com/lprfc

  28. Peter is just a bully and anyone supporting him condones that behavior. A really effective person can argue cogently with logic. All he can do is scream obscenities. If this is the best we can do for Laguna, we are in a sorry sorry state. It’s a shame we have fallen to the lowest possible place with this person.

  29. Thank you Jennifer Zeiter. Everything about Peter Blake insults the coddled, low-testosterone consensus that has been ruining Laguna Beach this last decade through the promulgation of their dependency agenda. Their stranglehold is breaking due to your leadership.

  30. Do we want to live in a community where each resident is able to build taller and take over most of the lot with a house? What are the unintended consequences of that kind of community? Will this bring neighbors closer together or create unimaginable conflict? Peter Blake is no stranger to conflict, in fact hate speak and conflict are the things that Peter Blake thrives on. Let’s just say Peter Blake’s, contractors and builders buy him a seat on council for 4 more years. Can all of the homeowners who loose their views sue the city for loss of property value? I suggest anyone effected by the loss of their views do two thing.
    1. An appraisal before the loss of your view.
    2. An appraisal after the loss of their view by their neighbors new home.
    Laguna Beach is famously sued frequently. The city must pay homeowners for their loss of property values. By Peter Blake’s poor decisions.
    Peter Blake NOMO

  31. The comments here, against Blake, are a great indication of how many people were acting happy-in-the-closet but really hated anyone who thought something they did not agree with. Swenson, Monda, Tang. Your logic is so polluted and angry that we’re happy you’re sad. It’s time you learned to grow up and support out leaders. Not insult them with trival gossip. Put your money where your hot air mouths are.

  32. Dear Communist Nancee Swenson;

    Sue for loss of view?

    Typical of The Self Entitled Laguna Beach Phonies who are now learning reality about ‘property rights’. (Never learned this in college huh?)

    Mark Towfiq & Carol Nakahara sissy fit sued Bill Gross for blocking “their” ocean view with a million dollar DALE CHILLULY sculpture. Get a life will ya?

  33. Me like Pete Blake. Me live in Laguna Beach. Like for reals.

    Don’t know about Pete Blake for dogcatcher tho. Can’t picture him getting dog fur all over his black turtleneck.

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