Rounaghi, Kempf and Orgill Lead Laguna City Council Race

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Alex Rounaghi and Gwen McNallan, president of the Laguna Beach Democratic Club, celebrate his success in the Nov. 8 City Council Election. Photo/Barbara McMurray

Alex Rounaghi, current Laguna Beach mayor Sue Kempf and Mark Orgill are on their way to filling the three empty seats on Laguna Beach City Council. The three candidates solidly have the most votes after two batches of initial votes were counted on Nov. 8.

“Thank you, Laguna Beach. I’m honored by the overwhelming support from our outstanding community,” Rounaghi said. “The residents’ participation is inspiring and I look forward to working with them, city staff, and the Council to improve and enhance the Laguna Beach we all love.”

OC Registrar of Voters predicts it could take up to a week for every ballot to be counted. However, Rounaghi, Kempf and Orgill have all but sealed the race with 24-year-old Rounaghi in the lead at 21 percent, and incumbent Kempf close behind with 20 percent of the votes. Orgill is third at 14 percent.

“I thank the residents of Laguna Beach for their confidence and support in returning me for a second term,” Kempf said. “I am looking forward to working with the new Council as we continue to address the needs of the community.”

In the District 5 County Supervisor race, Katrina Foley is in the lead with 50 percent of the votes.

Laguna Residents First’s Measure Q, which would require a public vote on certain developments on Pacific Coast Highway and Laguna Canyon Road won’t pass, with 62 percent of residents voting against the measure.

“The No On Q success says wonders about Laguna’s voters,” said Joe Hanauer, a vocal advocate of the No On Q campaign. “It is a no vote for turning our backs on a representative democracy, a no vote for holding Laguna hostage to the past, a no vote on nasty electioneering, and a no vote on Village Laguna if it continues as a barrier to progress. Laguna’s voters read Measure Q, considered the arguments from both sides and fortunately for our wonderful town, gave it what it deserved.”

Laguna Residents First Co-Founder David Raber said he was grateful for the outpouring of involvement and dialogue that was bestowed on the issue “of what becomes of Laguna Beach in the face of increased coastal development pressure.”

“We hope that the dialogue continues since those pressures will continue to be present, just as they were 50 years ago when the Irvine Company had plans to develop Laguna Canyon, and needed to be stopped by a consensus of the residents,” Raber said.

Sponsored by Unite Here Local 11, a LA hospitality labor union, Measures S and R also look to be on their way out. Measure S would create a minimum wage of $18 an hour for hotel employees and put limits on workloads and require panic buttons. The ballot measure would make sure wages increased by $1 each year. Measure R would place limitations on new developments specific to hotels. Measure S was voted down by 68 percent and Measure R by 70 percent as of Nov. 10.

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