Melissa O'Neal: Woman with a vision

October 18, 2002

Melissa O'Neal blesses the day in 1989 when she and her husband,

Michael, moved to Laguna Beach. But it was participation in the

Vision Laguna strategic planning process that prompted her to run for


"For Laguna to remain the city we treasure, we must address three

challenges: problems caused by aging and neglected infrastructure;

growth and development pressures from inside and outside Laguna; and


competing requests for city services," the Mystic Hills resident


Her experience as a facilitator for Vision Laguna and her career

as a water quality consultant led to her appointment on the

Wastewater Advisory Committee.

"My energy and drive allows me to think outside the normal

bureaucratic box," she said.

O'Neal is concerned that the Laguna Canyon flood control project

design got as far as it did without flaws being discovered in time to

repair them and keep the project alive, funded by the county and the

Corps of Engineers.

"I don't think the county will come back again," she said.

O'Neal signed the $30,000 spending limit. She had raised cash

contributions of $2,274 and a loan of $500 as of Sept. 21.

Village Laguna, Laguna Beach Republicans, Orange County League of

Conservation Voters, ECCO, the Sierra Club and the Log Cabin Club

endorsed her.


1. With the proposed construction of more than 1,000 parking

spaces three blocks from the Village Entrance to Third Street, what

can the city do to alleviate traffic problems in the area?

The success of Laguna Beach as a destination challenges us to fill

a 5-pound sack with a 10-pound load creatively. The goal is simple:

get cars parked efficiently so people can enjoy our town and shop. A

single solution to this issue doesn't exist. Resolution will only

occur when a combination of projects are agreed upon, funded and

built. Easing gridlock along the Civic Arts District corridor can be

achieved by:

* Creating peripheral parking and signage directing drivers to

their location.

* Facilitating safe and convenient parking for employees.

* Expanding the use of our tram service.

2. How do you feel about putting public funds into private

organizations, like the community clinic and senior center, versus

using the money for infrastructure, particularly the sewer system?

I believe municipal government must protect the health and safety

of its residents and businesses by providing basic services such as

police, fire, lifeguards, streets, water and sewer service. This

mission must never be compromised. I work as a grant writer and I

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