The Transition Laguna Candidates’ Forum at the Congregational church offered me these insights:
Kelly Boyd. Issues: safety, sidewalks and saving water. Not out of the box thinking; concerns about behavior during council meeting (re: see Sept. 2 village entrance section of video) with his inappropriate censure of Ann Christoph. Pearson or Whalen should have stopped him; their job under parliamentarian procedure. They failed. Boyd has been unwell, uses his family historic ties to justify and pose positions. He’s against the fishing ban. GOP support.
Paul Merritt (aka Paul Merritt Christiansen). Independent with fresh ideas: Creating jobs for teens in town. Ask hotels and restaurants to voluntarily use paper cups, plates and straws instead of non-biodegradable plastics. Favors public fishing ban but supports issuance of short-term fishing permits limited to select shoreline locations. Favors power conversion of our trolleys to natural gas. Strict enforcement of safety.
He was on the nascent Laguna Niguel City Council when the Binion development occurred, (1998) casting the dissenting vote (4-1); shows knowledge and courage to stand up for what is unsound. He published a number of papers on tolerance; has been an adjunct professor for law. No defined support group.
Jon Madison: While he talks landscape knowledge and water-wise, he supports green grass on Main Beach and City Hall. Issues include bridges over Laguna Canyon, pedestrian and traffic safety, water, transportation. Concern about faux credentials, shown by falsifications and no records to back up. Liked for community work, charity etc.
Michele Hall: Is supported by the LB GOP. She offers a few fresh ideas; is water savvy, values conservation, involved with schools and youth. Appears to think on her feet, well-prepared and speaks up, insisting she’s “independently minded”. Could replace Boyd to work with Iseman and newer candidates.
Toni Iseman. Long-standing voice of reason and thoughtful planning, undergrounding utilities. Encourages solutions for congestion. Has been in minority position with Pearson, Boyd and Dicterow. Honest, flexible, uncorrupted and works well with others. She has the most experience as a council member. Like Merritt, she listens. Favors more free trolleys and double-decking ACT V parking. Supports quiet zones; sidewalk cleaning, and monitoring San Onofre. Supported by Village Laguna and environmental groups.
Robert Zur Schmiede. Professional experience in planning, development; longtime on LB planning commission; offers “reasonable” in-box ideas. Campaign manager is Planning Commissioner Ann Johnson. Support mostly from business and development but balanced by city activists. Issues: safety, undergrounding, planning and trolleys.
Eli Grossman. Inattentive and unprepared; preoccupied with police issues; makes a point about unevenness and questionable police activities and effective city government; not versed in Laguna Beach subjects.
Leah Vasquez, Laguna BeachView Our User Comment Policy