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Persistence pays off for Hopping

Resident who shows up at council meetings regularly and is head of Kalos Kagathos Foundation receives commendation from City Council.

January 19, 2012|By Barbara Diamond
  • SERVICEMAN: Bruce Hopping in his home office in 2010 with one of several special awards given to him over the years for contributions made in the world of swimming, diving and community involvement.
SERVICEMAN: Bruce Hopping in his home office in 2010 with… (DON LEACH, Coastline…)

The City Council presented Bruce Hopping with a commendation for his foundation, for which he had been lobbying for months.

Hopping and the Kalos Kagathos Foundation, which he heads, were honored at the Jan. 10 meeting for more than 40 years of service to the city.

"Mr. Bruce Hopping has attended a copious number of City Council meetings," said Councilman Kelly Boyd, to whom Hopping had appealed for the recognition of his foundation's good works. "His petulant behavior has prompted numerous painstaking discussions.

"However, Mr. Hopping's ardor for Laguna Beach has always been evident in his actions. Therefore, it is with great esteem that I recommended to the City Council that we honor Mr. Hopping's numerous requests and present him with the proclamations recognizing his stupendous contributions to Laguna Beach."

Hopping is nothing if not persistent.

He jousts at council meetings against traffic patrol citations, claiming the time and effort would be better spent on art that would attract tourists to town.

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He periodically calls on the art festivals to present a locals-only event to make up for what he considers an imposition on residents' quality of life.

Hopping bemoans the lack of figurative art in the city-owned collection and doggedly petitions the city to honor the Brooks Street Surfing Classic with a sculpture — a figurative one, naturally.

He advocates for skateboarding as a way of life and as a sport native to Laguna that has bred champions.

For years he pursued the installation of "Fantasy of Wings," a sculpture by Bob Krantz, but he finally gave up on that — a rare instance.

"I keep after things," Hopping said. "That is how I survived three weeks on a raft in the Pacific Ocean during World War II."

It was the war that brought the young Hopping to Laguna. As a U.S. Army pilot, Hopping was stationed at the Marine Corps Air Station El Toro.

"We used to visit Laguna," Hopping said. "It was paradise. That was before the developers came in."

Following the war, Hopping was based at a Maryland boot camp, where he coached swimming. After learning that the base cooks were scamming food meant for the "boots" and serving them swill instead, Hopping went to battle. His interference did not sit well with his superiors, and he was threatened with a court martial.

Instead, he was put on ship headed for the Korean Ward, where he once again found himself leading an insurrection.

"I reported the idiotic conduct of the captain of the ship," Hopping said.

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