Last week’s Indy stated that our election for City Council was “Voters Choose Familiar Names.”
While certainly Toni Iseman and Kelly Boyd are familiar names, Rob Zur Schmiede did not start out that way. All three winners ran on their experience, knowledge and accomplishments in Laguna Beach. However, it is important to note that with the election of Iseman and Zur Schmiede, the Council chose a different philosophical path of “residents first,” the campaign themes both Toni and Rob ran on.
This election was a total rejection of Elizabeth Pearson, both philosophically and politically. Elizabeth chose not to run after her pet project, the $65 million parking garage at the village entrance, met with widespread public opposition after the Council initially voted 4-1 to support it (only Iseman opposed) and 3-2 against the financing of the garage with a 25-year bond (Toni and Kelly opposed), likely a reason the voters rewarded both Toni and Kelly. The opposition spawned the Let Laguna Vote movement with Toni Iseman leading the charge.
Elizabeth was also rejected for her politics. She worked behind-the-scenes to recruit Jon Madison (without vetting him first) so she could maintain influence on the Council in the hopes of defeating Toni. But instead of distancing herself from Madison after the Register published the story regarding the authenticity of his claimed college degrees, Elizabeth held on to him to the very end desperately trying to distract the voters by pointing the finger at Toni Iseman (indirectly) for providing the story about Madison’s background to the Register. Madison capsized, Elizabeth chose Michele Hall in another calculated attempt to maintain influence and to defeat Toni. Perhaps that is the reason why Michele did not fare very well.
In the end, the voters chose a very experienced and knowledgeable City Council, rejecting partisan politics, the past direction of the Council’s wholesale acceptance of developer interests over residents’ needs, and a desire not to “pave paradise” and to keep “Laguna, Laguna.”
Audrey Prosser, Laguna Beach
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