Our Laguna: A three-time mayor is given the crystal gavel

February 10, 2011|By Barbara Diamond
  • Gayle Waite, left, and Stephany Skenderian pull names out of a bucket for a drawing during the annual Mayor's Luncheon at the Laguna Beach Women's Club on Feb. 4.
Gayle Waite, left, and Stephany Skenderian pull names… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

If the third time is the charm, Elizabeth Pearson is the charmer.

Pearson's third term as mayor of Laguna Beach was honored Feb. 4 by the Laguna Beach Woman's Club. She swears there won't be a fourth term — but that's not what her supporters want to hear.

To the tune of "Where or When," Bree Burgess Rosen sang lyrics written by Chris Quilter titled "Elizabeth, You'll be Mayor Again."

"It seems I've stood and sung like this before

"I think 'Liz'beth Pearson was the mayor then

"But I can't remember where or when.

"Those retro outfits we still adore

"I think there was a landslide and a husband then,

"But I can't remember where or when

"Some things that happened for the first time

"Just go on happening again

"And so this lunch we will repeat once more

"Same bunch once more


"Will munch once more

For she'll be mayor again."

Quilter said in time Pearson will forgive him for the lyrics that put him further in her debt.

The debt includes selling him her cottage in North Laguna and her dedication to the construction of the Susi Q for Laguna Seniors, a group which he heads.

He not only owes her, he admires her.

"She could have succeeded on a much larger stage [than Laguna], but she threw in her lot with us, and I am grateful," Quilter said.

Quilter was among the folks at the luncheon who spoke of their regard for Pearson.

"Thank you all for being here," said club President Gayle Waite. "I know how much we all want to extend our thanks to Elizabeth. She's a keeper."

Appreciation was voiced by colleagues and friends, many of them seated at the head table with Pearson: former Mayor Cheryl Kinsman, Waste Management's Michelle Clarke, Orange County Building Assn. Executive Director Kris Thalman, former Chamber of Commerce President Dave Sanford and his partner, Steve Dotorotos, Deborah and Godfather Cody Engle, Carey Glenn and Planning Commissioner Anne Johnson.

"I got to know her at the time of the landslide in 2005," Johnson said. "We were at El Morro Trailer Park and the temperature was about 105 and she was tearing around looking for four trailers [for temporary housing for survivors].

"Then she asked me to be her campaign manager."

Card-carrying Democrat Johnson sought the advice of fellow Democrat, Councilwoman Toni Iseman, who advised her to go for it.

"The first thing I told Elizabeth is we have to get volunteers to address envelopes," Johnson said.

Pearson gave her a look and explained that she hired a company to do that.

Volunteer catering for fundraisers? Ditto.

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