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Leadership event draws big crowd

Chamber of Commerce event goes on despite missing longtime host Claes Andersen and organizer Bobbi Cox.

January 27, 2011|By Cindy Frazier, cindy.frazier@latimes.com
  • Claes Andersen in 2008.
Claes Andersen in 2008. (CINDY FRAZIER,…)

Laguna Beach civic leaders and business people celebrated their accomplishments of 2010 and stated their goals for 2011 at the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce's annual Leadership Luncheon.

Meeting Tuesday at Hotel Laguna, the first order of business was honoring the memory of hotel owner Claes Andersen, whose death in 2010 stunned the community. The 60 seconds allotted for individual comments was instead filled with silent reverence for the hotelier who had hosted the event since it began 22 years ago.

Also missing was longtime organizer Bobbi Cox, who reportedly decided to sit the event out this year after serving as mistress of ceremonies — and rigorous time-keeper — since the event began in 1988. Serving as "mistresses of the gong" were Michele Clark of Waste Management and Kay Kearney of Doctors Ambulance, who performed as a veritable comic duo in keeping the speakers brief — and the crowd laughing.

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Many speakers said they were hoping for an uneventful year after December rainstorms flooded city streets and filled homes and businesses with mud.

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'No disasters'

Mayor Toni Iseman set the tone by saying she "is looking forward to a year with no disasters," while counting her reelection chief among her accomplishments. Iseman is the only council member to serve four consecutive terms.

Councilman Kelly Boyd concurred with Iseman that his biggest accomplishment of 2010 was getting reelected.

"I'm looking forward to getting a lot accomplished in 2011, including the new budget and keeping spending down," he said.

"I want to spend less time with e-mail and newspapers and more with books and friends," Iseman said.

Councilmember Verna Rollinger said her biggest accomplishment of 2010 was "that I finished planting my yard." Rollinger said her chief goal for the coming year is "to get the Village Entrance project off the ground."

Chamber President Chris Keller said he was proudest of opening a new restaurant, the House of Big Fish and Ice Cold Beer, on South Coast Highway, and that he is looking forward to turning 40 in 2011.

City Clerk Martha Anderson said her department's chief accomplishment was enhancing online access to city information, as well as being able to record documents with the Orange County Clerk via the Internet.

City Manager John Pietig said his biggest accomplishment was being hired to replace longtime City Manager Ken Frank.

"My goals are not to have another disaster and to work on the [city] budget," Pietig said.

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