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Zur Schmiede launches council campaign

Planning Commission chairman says he backs fiscal responsibility, non-partisan governing and the pursuit of local economic development.

March 19, 2014|By Bryce Alderton
  • Planning Commission Chairman Robert Zur Schmiede, left, greets Tim and Sunni Dupree at his campaign kickoff event Sunday at Aliso Creek Inn & Golf Course. Zur Schmiede is running for City Council this fall.
Planning Commission Chairman Robert Zur Schmiede, left,… (Taylor Sanderson )

Robert Zur Schmiede stood only steps from the first hole at Aliso Creek Inn & Golf Course, but he wasn't there to play.

No, his purpose Sunday was much more serious, to kick off his campaign for Laguna Beach City Council, and Mark Christy, owner of Aliso Creek Inn, had offered the place for the event.

Supporters gathered to hear Zur Schmiede's ideas. The guest list included City Council members Toni Iseman, Kelly Boyd and Steve Dicterow, former Councilwomen Kathleen Blackburn and Verna Rollinger, along with Festival of Arts board President Fred Sattler.

Zur Schmiede, chairman of the Planning Commission, announced in January that he would be running for council. He has spent 13 years on the commission and 14 months on the Design Review Board.

His campaign is centered on five themes: protecting Laguna's quality of life; practicing fiscal responsibility; promoting non-partisan government; pursuing local economic development; and planning for the future.

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"We need to protect and enhance our natural legacy by identifying opportunities to restore and repair degraded open space and actively support the many volunteer groups involved in these efforts," Zur Schmiede, 59, said. "We live in a beautiful place, but one that has witnessed more than its share of natural disasters.

"To protect our quality of life, we must prepare for emergencies through thorough preparedness planning, by supporting our volunteer Citizens on Patrol and Community Emergency Response Team programs and, most importantly, by providing our police and firefighters with the resources they need to safely perform their often-dangerous work."

Zur Schmiede, who hails from Indiana, moved to Laguna in 1996 and, along with wife, Robin, raised a daughter who went through the Laguna Beach Unified School District.

He has experience in economic development and city planning, having served as Long Beach's deputy director of development and as project planner for the Anaheim Redevelopment Agency.

Zur Schmiede is now a consultant for Kelly Associates Management Group, which primarily works with public agencies in planning, finance and economic development, according to the company'swebsite.

The candidate said he would like to create a Citizens Academy, which would provide opportunities for residents to learn about the city and mold them for future stints on boards, committees and commissions.

Maintaining existing businesses while welcoming new commerce is another key tenet of Zur Schmiede's campaign platform.

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