Our Laguna: 2012 was a year of change

January 03, 2013|By Barbara Diamond

The top 10 stories of 2011 included limitations on skateboarders; an arrest for alleged rapes and sexual assaults; flood recovery; Marine Life Protection Act implementation delay in Laguna; the Heisler Park renovation; the Resource Center pulling out from daytime services at the Alternative Sleeping Location; Laguna Terrace Park residents' attempts to buy the land under their mobile homes which remains unresolved; Bluebird Park residents' split on the fate of five eucalypti Edison wanted to remove; approval of the Mozambique's Quiet Zone; and the reopening of the Laguna Beach Animal Shelter.

City Manager John Pietig was the Newsmaker of the Year.

So what changed in 2012?

Still in the news: Laguna Terrace Park — the residents' bid was refused; the City Council upped the ante for breaking city skateboarding regulations with new penalties and approved the removal of 11 eucalyptus trees in Bluebird Canyon, more than twice the number discussed in 2011.


A murder-suicide was reported in 2012, the first murder in Laguna since Hotel Laguna catering manager Damon Nicholson was killed in 2009, according to Capt. Jason Kravetz.

Other newcomers to the list included the start of construction of the Lifeguard Headquarters and new restrooms on Main Beach, with the blessings of the California Coastal Commission; the 2012 election and its nasty aftertaste; and the loss of two iconic eateries — The Cottage and Royal Hawaiian.

The council closed out the year with a narrow 3-2 approval of a social host ordinance — making Laguna the fourth city in Orange County to enact such a, which penalizes adults who knowingly supply minors with booze.

Newly elected council members Robert Whalen and Steven Dicterow were named Newsmakers of the Year.

Other stories that made headlines, culled from the pages of the Coastline Pilot in 2012:

Jan. 6: An innovative test for HIV that reduces the diagnostic time was introduced at the Laguna Beach Community Clinic.

Sirous & Sons Rug Gallery was closed in the wake of the accusations that the store manager had raped or sexually assaulted 11 women in 2010 and 2011. A total of five rapes were reported in 2010, six in 2011 and six in 2012, as of noon Dec. 31, Kravetz said.

Jan. 13: City and Laguna Beach Police Department employees agreed to terms in a memorandum of understanding, in which new hires would contribute more toward their retirement benefits than department veterans — saving the city a bundle.

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