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Our Laguna:

Week-by-week actions through 2009

January 01, 2010|By Barbara Diamond

Editor’s note: This is the first part of a two-part recap of weekly events in Laguna Beach as reported in the Coastline Pilot. The second half of the year will be recapped next week.

Folks were still shaking their heads as 2009 began about the lawsuit filed in December 2008 claiming the city’s anti-camping laws were aimed at the homeless and disabled, said to be the first such suit filed in the country.

A lot of residents who volunteer their services to aid the homeless couldn’t help but wonder why the American Civil Liberties Union targeted Laguna of all cities. However, others felt the claims were justified. It took almost a year of soul searching, strategy and policy meetings, and public hearings that threatened to splinter the city, to come to a solution that benefited the homeless and addressed the concerns of residents, businesses and the arts community.

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The opening of the ACT V haven for the homeless, which has restored the intended use of Laguna’s parks and beaches, which is not a camp site, capped a year of often vitriolic skirmishing.

A 4-1 vote at the June 16 council meeting to support the closure of all of Laguna’s coastline to fishing for five years pitted an irate then-Mayor Kelly Boyd, who stood for the fishers, against Councilwoman Toni Iseman, the environmentalists’ standard bearer, who had been staunch partners in the resolution of the homeless issues.

Here is a brief review of the stories that appeared in the Coastline Pilot in the first six months of 2009 that reflect what makes Laguna so special, but didn’t make the top 10.

Jan. 4: The second home in two weeks was destroyed by a house fire. Rosalind Russell, her housemate and two cats escaped unharmed. Friends offered assistance.

Jan. 9: Three new police officers and a dispatcher joined the Laguna Beach department: Officers Rock Wagner, Alicia Gutierrez and Henry Duchene, and Dispatcher Jennifer Gumina.

Jan. 16: With an eye on data that indicate Laguna Beach students have the highest use of intoxicants of any school district in Orange County, school officials began organizing a task force to deal combat the problem.

The City Council voted to support a lawsuit challenging the passage of Proposition 8, which bans same sex marriages in California.

Jan. 23: Realtor Bobbi Cox hosted the annual Leadership Luncheon at which representatives of organizations and businesses report their achievements in the previous year and goals for the new one.

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