Laguna Beach council candidates talk city issues at forum

The three challengers and two incumbents discuss their stances on ideas like traffic circulation, the Village Entrance and pension reform.

August 30, 2012|By Joanna Clay
  • City Council candidates Steve Dicterow, Robert Whalen and Robert Ross, left to right, answer questions during the Meet the Press public forum Tuesday. The three will challenge incumbents Verna Rollinger and Jane Egly in the upcoming City Council election.
City Council candidates Steve Dicterow, Robert Whalen… (DON LEACH, Coastline…)

The five Laguna Beach City Council candidates had their feet held to the fire by members of the local press and the public at City Hall on Tuesday night as they addressed city issues, such as parking, pension reform and the Village Entrance.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly called it the Village Laguna entrance.

Robert Whalen, Robert Ross and Steve Dicterow are challenging incumbents Mayor Jane Egly and Mayor Pro Tem Verna Rollinger for two open seats.


Around town

Traffic circulation and parking were two of the biggest issues discussed during the public forum.

Orange County Register reporter Claudia Koerner asked the candidates how they planned to make it easier to get from point A to point B in town.

Egly pointed to her work with Complete Streets and said she wants to continue pushing citizens to get out of their cars and enjoy the town by foot.


Dicterow called traffic circulation a two-month problem, an issue that only arises during the city's busy summer months. Instead of increasing congestion with a potential parking structure, he suggested satellite parking and a year-round trolley system.

Whalen said it is hard to get a spot in town 12 months out of the year. He suggested putting parking underground, expanding the trolleys, adding sharrows in town and a bike path in the canyon.

"There's no silver bullet," he said. "It's a combination of things that have to be worked on."

Rollinger suggested adding parking to the Festival of Arts admission. Parking could be outside of town, she said, and people could be shuttled in. Dicterow, who serves on the festival board, said he wouldn't support adding parking to the ticket.

Ross said he'd like to see the city buy the trolleys, which they currently lease.

When it comes to buildings, all of the candidates, except for Ross, supported the 36-foot height limit, although Whalen said he didn't think any zones permitted buildings above the limit.

Rollinger and Egly said they'd vote yes on the Open Space Initiative, which would tax property owners to raise money for open space purchases. Dicterow and Whalen said they'd vote no, both citing issues with the taxation.

"I don't know. I haven't studied it that much," Ross said about the issue.

The candidates also addressed whether the city offered a hospitable climate to new businesses.

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