Weekly Updates

Meeting with SCE President Pedro Pizarro - Mr. Pizarro has accepted Mayor Whalen’s request for a meeting which will be held on August 21 in Rosemead. Mayor Whalen and Councilmember Zur Schmiede will be joined by the City Manager, Fire Chief, Director of Public Works, and the City Project Director during the afternoon meeting to discuss ideas to expedite the undergrounding of overhead utilities in Laguna Beach.

Catalina Los Robles Roundabout Installed - The City Council approved a preliminary design for a temporary roundabout at the five point intersection of Los Robles, Catalina, and El Camino Del Mar in April 2014. The temporary roundabout was installed last Monday and is fully functional. Because this is a new installation that people are not used to seeing here, delineators were installed as a temporary measure to aid in visibility until people get accustomed to the layout. There are still some aesthetic treatments for the central island that will be added over the next couple of weeks. So far, the feedback from drivers has been very positive. If the installation proves to be beneficial over a trial period of a couple of years, then a permanent installation may be considered.

Milligan Drive Bridge - The Director of Public Works has been reviewing concerns from citizens regarding the assessment methodology for apportioning costs for replacing the bridge and is recommending that we revisit the matter. As a result, we are placing an agenda bill on the August 4 City Council agenda to rescind the current methodology and postpone a vote on the assessment until other factors can be considered.

Pearl Street Steps to Beach Repair - A retaining wall at the Pearl Street Steps to the Beach has failed. Emergency repairs are scheduled to begin next Monday, August 10. The steps will be closed to the public through Friday of that week.

UBER Teams up with the Police Department - As part of its “Know Your Limits” campaign, UBER has teamed with the Laguna Beach Police Department to prevent drunk drivers from getting on our roadways. As part of an educational outreach campaign, officers will be visiting local bars, restaurants, and nightclubs to meet with patrons and tell them about our program. Drunk driving education literature will be provided along with free UBER coupons for first time riders. The goal is to prevent accidents on our roads caused by individuals who have had “one too many.”

2015 Juried Fine Art Exhibition - The Arts Commission is currently accepting submissions to the annual Juried Fine Art Exhibition at City Hall. The competition is open to Orange County artists 18 years of age or older with two dimensional works. The juror will be Malcolm Warner, Executive Director of the Laguna Art Museum. The first place winner will be awarded $1,000. Applications must be made on-line with a non-refundable entry fee of $25. The deadline for submissions is September 8, 2015. http://www.lagunabeachcity.net/civicax/filebank/blobdload.aspx?BlobID=10352.

City Hall Exhibition - The public is invited to the “Laguna Plein Air Painters Exhibition” artist reception on Thursday, August 6, 2015, at 5 p.m. at City Hall located at 505 Forest Avenue. The exhibition runs through August 14, 2015, and can be viewed Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Cultural Arts Plan - The City of Laguna Beach is in the process of developing an arts and cultural plan. This plan will create a cultural blueprint highlighting Laguna Beach’s strengths, areas of opportunity, and innovative goals for the future. It is important that all Laguna Beach residents have a chance to share their thoughts about the future of our great community. So, help us by completing our survey at www.lbartsplan.com. The plan is being funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

Police Officer Testing - A competitive Police Officer testing process kicked off last Saturday when staff administered a written exam to qualified candidates. Out of the nearly 300 people applying for these open positions, approximately 50 will be invited to a physical agility exam on August 15, 2015. Individuals moving forward will then participate in a formal interview process taking place over a three day period. Applicants who pass the testing will be placed into a background investigation. Job offers are given to candidates who successfully meets State standards and fit the mold of what the community, and Police Department, are looking for in a Laguna Beach Police Officer.

Officer Zach Martinez being honored at Crime Survivors Gala - This Friday, Officer Zach Martinez is being honored by the Orange County Crime Survivors group at their Gratitude Gala taking place at the Marriot Hotel in Garden Grove. Officer Martinez is being recognized for his community outreach efforts in the downtown business district. He is the assigned foot beat officer in this area and responsible for interacting with the business owners, patrons, citizens and visitors to Laguna Beach.

Coffee with a Cop - Come visit with Police Department staff at the third “Coffee with a Cop” event. This regular program gives the community the opportunity to interact with police officers in a less formalized environment where they are free to ask questions while also letting us know about things going on in their neighborhoods. Previous events have been held in the City Council Chambers and a local Starbuck’s. This time, you can find the officers at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m.

Firefighters Support Library Readers - Laguna Beach Firefighters, partnering with the Laguna Beach Library and Friends of the Library, will be handing out awards to young readers on Saturday at Bluebird Park. Students from the Laguna Beach Unified School District who have completed at least ten hours of reading during the summer will be awarded “Medals of Recognition” by Firefighters for avoiding the “summer reading slide” and keeping their brains busy. The event will begin at 11:00 a.m. with games and festivities with awards being handed out at noon.

Senior Housing Task Force – Needs Assessment Survey – A select sample of Laguna Beach residents received a survey in the mail to help identify the needs of the City’s senior community members. The deadline for the mail-in survey has been extended to August 10. The response rate from the community is already higher than anticipated, but the City encourages residents that have received the survey to submit their comments. If you have any questions about this survey, please contact Belinda Deines, Associate Planner at (949) 464-6626 or bdeines@lagunabeachcity.net.


Swimming Pool Moratorium Update - The 45-day moratorium approved by the City Council on Tuesday, July 14, prohibits the approval of any development applications to construct or install swimming pools (the definition of a swimming pool includes spas) that do not already have the necessary design review entitlements. City staff will be returning to the City Council at its August 4 meeting with a report to identify options regarding swimming pool regulations, at which time the City Council will receive public comment regarding the moratorium and possible future policies.