Flood task force members selected

In wake of Dec. 22 flood, the 11-member group will seek out ways to deal with flooding of Laguna Canyon and city's downtown.

March 03, 2011|By Barbara Diamond,

Eight applicants have been chosen for the newly formed Laguna Canyon Flood Mitigation Task Force.

The council on Tuesday selected landscape architect Bob Borthwick, Laguna Canyon businesswoman and resident Susan Hamil, retired county official Eric Jessen, former City Manager of Temple City Karl Koski, retired engineer William E. Lawson, sculptor and canyon resident Louis Longi, retired civil engineer Carl R. Nelson and canyon resident and U.S. Marine Corps Col. (ret.) Charles Quilter II to serve on the task force.

"I can't tell you how gratified I am that we had 15 applicants," said Councilwoman Verna Rollinger, who proposed the task force. "It shows a great deal of interest."


The panel was created to come up with measures the city can undertake to help Laguna Canyon property owners better prepare for floods and to make recommendations to the county and Caltrans that would benefit local efforts.

The eight members selected Tuesday will work with a member of the Planning Commission, to be named, and council members Kelly Boyd and Rollinger. A member of the Public Works division will be assigned to provide staff assistance.

"There were so many people who applied who need to be on the task force," Mayor Toni Iseman said.

As it was, the council expanded the at-large membership to eight from the proposed seven.

All of the applicants are Laguna Beach residents except Nelson, whose name was pulled from the list of applicants before the vote at the request of Iseman, who wanted to ensure his appointment because of his expertise.

Nelson worked for 50 years in Orange County flood control, including planning projects in Laguna Canyon from 1962 to 1989. He also served as county director of Public Works from 1975 to 1989.

City Atty. Philip Kohn said there is no residency requirement for membership on the task force, although the application asks for the number of years an applicant has lived in Laguna. At least two of the selected members were required to be residents of Laguna Canyon, fulfilled by the appointments of Hamil, Longi and Quilter.

Quilter said he had experienced just about every weather condition in his 39 years as a canyon resident, including the 1998 mudslides when he lost his home. He has special training in meteorology, weather phenomena and related technology.

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