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Staff Reports Available
George Weiss: Staff Reports on City Council proceedings are always readily available. To read the Staff Reports on any of the items below, go to:


Public Comments; Options for Fourth of July Celebration; Promenade Ad Hoc Committee Work Plan.

In this recap we cover, Vendor Agreement for Parking Meter Operations and Transaction Processing; Ratification of Agreement for July 4th Drone Light Show; and, Options for Qualified Referendum for Laguna Beach Ordinance No. 1675, on Mass, Height, Lot Combinations within Commercial Districts.


As some of you may have noticed, I wasn’t physically present at the May 28, 2024 CC meeting, but I did watch the proceedings from a remote site.  I unfortunately wasn’t able to attend the CC meeting via Zoom because I emailed notice that I would be out of town on Friday, May 24, which didn’t give staff enough time to set up a Zoom meeting for Tuesday due to the Monday Memorial Day holiday.


On a happier note, I want to give a shout out of kudos to the Laguna Ocean Foundation for organizing Laguna’s KelpFest on Saturday, June 8.  There were great exhibits for the kids and families, music, and educational materials about preserving our remarkable marine sanctuary provided by the Laguna Bluebelt Coalition, Pacific Marine Mammal Center, OC Coastkeeper and more. Thanks to all the wonderful volunteers who made it such a special day.





















kelp Festival 2024

Notable Items from Public Comments


James Burnes:  Presented some compelling information about the negative impacts ADUs are having on neighborhoods, including the reduction of home property values when views are eliminated or reduced by the ADU.   


Ann Belyea: She noted that The Food Pantry has been around for 30 years, and that Laguna Beach residents are the number one recipients of the food. 40,000 pounds of food are given out every week while 217 volunteers help. 


Ann Caen: Made a plea to reinstate the Zoom option for City Council meetings because it is important to residents who are unable to physically attend the Council meeting due to child care, disability, etc.  She asked to please re-instate it. 


Laura Parisi: The April 9th council meeting actions do not seem right about the oversight of the City’s investments. Input from the City Manager and the Treasurer should be allowed. She reported that the contract for outsourcing investment services with Meeder was signed at the end of April, but that Gavin Curran was the only party to receive notice.


Jacob Cherub: He reported that he has been researching information with other cities about how they are managing Zoom participation at City Council meetings, and it appears that a number of them have been able to reinstate a Zoom option for their communities. He will be gathering more data on this topic, but so far it appears that hanging up on callers who make racist or sexist remarks has been one strategy as well as having callers register ahead of time regarding topics they would like to provide comments on.  He also expressed support of the City Treasurer, Laura Parisi.


GW: An increasing number of residents have been writing to the City Council requesting that the use of Zoom be reinstated. While there are always risks associated with outsiders disrupting a Council meeting, on balance allowing residents who are not able to attend in person is the greater benefit. At a previous City Council meeting Councilman Orgill asked the City Attorney to opine on whether there were sufficient safeguards to prevent Zoom from hackers and she said no. It is kind of like asking are there any computer systems with security software that are safe from hackers. The answer is NO. No system is completely safe so one must decide based on what is beneficial for the majority of the community. I would like to hear readers’ comments on this subject or come to the City Council meeting tomorrow at 5PM. 



(pulled for discussion by Council member)

Item # 4 – Pulled by Mayor Sue Kempf.  Vendor Agreement for Parking Meter Operations and Transaction Processing, passed 4-0. 


Background: The City operates 1,800 solar powered parking meters and fourteen multi-space pay stations. The City uses IPS Group to provide maintenance, replacement parts, data management services, and credit card transaction processing for these devices. Parking revenue brings in over ten million dollars in revenue to the city, so it is an important source of funding. 


Mayor Kempf pulled this item in to get additional information about the costs of the contract and whether, over time, the city would be replacing most of the 1, 800 meters with the lower cost and more efficient pay stations. Mike Litschi confirmed this was the case. 


GW: A number of residents have also asked why we do not meter much of Pacific Coast Highway in S. Laguna and for neighborhoods in S. Laguna that are inundated with beach goers. We will be doing the former but doing either (or both) require approval from the Coastal Commission. 


Parking revenue is one method of getting visitors to pay for the services that Public Works, Marine Safety, the Fire Department and Police Department provide to the 6.5 million visitors we welcome each year. Most of the parking revenues are not used to offset services provided for visitors. While taking into account parking revenues, hotel and sales tax we are still short about twenty million for public services that support these visitors. The remaining 60% of visitors’ costs are subsidized via the property taxes and fees that residents pay. 


Item #11-Pulled by Council member Alex Rounaghi. Ratification of Agreement for July 4th Drone Light Show, passed 4-0.


Background: At the Council meeting of May 2, 2023, Council directed staff to look at alternatives to the traditional July 4fireworks display that would be more environmentally friendly. On April 23, 2024, a laser drone show was approved at a cost of $75,000. Councilmember  Rounaghi pulled this item saying that some people in the community objected to this change and asked if other council members were inclined to change their minds.

GW: The Council confirmed that they were still in support of the drone show, and Councilmember Bob Whalen noted that this is a trial and if not successful we could revert back to a traditional fireworks display in 2025. 



Item # 14: Options for Qualified Referendum for Laguna Beach Ordinance No. 1675, Mass, Height, Lot Combinations within Commercial Districts, Passed 3-0 (Mark Orgill recused himself and I was not present)


Background:  Ordinance 1675 was developed by past Community Development Director, Marc Wiener, and City Staff with recommendations from a resident commercial development group and then Mayor Bob Whalen as a counter to the provisions of the Measure Q Ballot Initiative.


The major provisions of Ordinance 1675 as follows:

  1. Allows for lot combinations in Downtown of no more than 5,000 ft. 

  2. Within five hundred feet of the boundaries of Downtown projects no larger than 15,000 sq. ft. are allowed. 

  3. Design standards for Building Sites of 15,000 square feet or larger shall incorporate building facades with a variety of widths, different paint colors, roof forms and building heights so that the mass of these larger buildings are made to look like more than one building. 


Resident Comments: Gene Felder, Jacob Cherub, and Michele Monda said that the ordinance should go to a vote of the people to let them decide on whether or not to implement this ordinance. 


The City Attorney said that the ordinance, if passed by the people, might be subject to a lawsuit and that if that happened the ordinance would have to be re-written and voted on by the people to rescind it. 


GW: The City Attorney’s comments were a bit confusing because it appears that past court decisions have ruled that if any part of an Ordinance is invalid, then the Ordinance remains in effect except for the judicially nullified provision(s).   


Laws passed by legislative bodies includes a severability clause saying if any provision within the law or ordinance is at odds with existing law passed by a higher body such as the County, State or Federal government, that provision shall be deemed unenforceable and declared invalid. The remaining provisions shall then remain in effect as was voted by the people. 


If a lawsuit was brought forward and a provision of the ordinance was found to be in violation of County, State or Federal law, the judge would simply rule that the offending provision was not enforceable and direct that it be stricken from the ordinance.


Circus Bella: Lastly, a big THANK YOU to our Lodging establishments for sponsoring a return visit of Circus Bella at 1 and 3 p.m. at Bluebird Park on Saturday, June 8.  Great music, amazing jugglers, and jaw-dropping feats of aerial wonder, strength, and contortions.  See photo below of some awe-struck spectators and the performance they were watching.


All representations made in this email reflect the views of the author and are not official statements of the City of Laguna Beach or City Council.
Any mistakes or  omissions are the sole responsibility of the author, George Weiss. No public funds were expended on this website.

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Disclaimer: All representations made in this email reflect the views of the author and are not official statements of the City of Laguna Beach or City Council. Any mistakes or omissions are the sole responsibility of the author, George Weiss.


Have a question about city government, need a document, or help finding the right person to talk to or anything else, please know that our City Clerk, Ann-Marie McKay is there to assist you professionally and capably. Email: or call 949-497-0309

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