City Government

The City of Laguna Beach (CLB) is a general law city. This means the city operates
under the laws of the State of California and has a Council-Manager form of

Elected’s – The Council consists of five members elected by the public and a Mayor
selected to serve annually by the Council. Council sets policy and directs the City
Manager. Municipal governing elections are held in November of even-numbered years.
Follow the upcoming Election 2024

Appointed’s – Part of the Council legislative power includes appointing citizens to
boards and commissions that serve as advisory bodies. Some like the Planning
Commission and Design Review Board also have overarching decision-making and
approval authorities. B&C Link.

City News – CLB issues a regular city newsletter. The City Manager’s Office issues a
weekly “The Week that Was” city business report available to the Council and the
public. City Council member George Weiss issues recaps of items covered at City
Council meetings.

Guest Opinions: Roger Bütow

Roger Bütow

Hallie Jones






2024 Council Candidate Form 410
2024 Candidate 501 Intention Statement  for Hallie Jones

Media and other Candidate information:

Hallie Jones, Judie Mancuso enter race for Laguna Beach City Council – Daily Pilot Interview
Crystal Cove Conservancy Announces Hallie Jones as Executive VP and Chief Program Officer – Article courtasy of the LB Indy from August 2023. – View here

Other affiliated organizations: All Kids Bike

LBCHAT! New Guest Opinions

NEW this year!

LBCHAT welcomes Laguna residents who have city related knowledge, experiences and areas of expertise to share publicly. If there’s a community topic that interests you and you think other locals would be interested and should be aware of – please share it with us.

Our goal at LBCHAT is to help educate and inform Laguna Beach locals, especially voters, on the workings of our city government and issues concerning to residents. City facts and data sharing is important to us.

Guest columns should be no longer then 1,000 words and include information references and data sources to support any/all claims. Guest columns will include a content disclaimer stating: The views and opinions of any guest columnist is the sole responsibility of that guest columnist and the columnist or city residents cannot hold LBCHAT or its publisher liable for the views, information or opinions expressed in this section. All items submitted by the public must be approved by LBCHAT’s Publisher prior to publishing on this site.

Please submit your guest column articles to: contact us

We look forward to being enlightened by the information and perspectives you share. This is your community and you can make it better.

Thank you. LBCHAT

Hotel Laguna – Community Gem

Needless to say, Laguna’s historic landmark gem the Hotel Laguna has been the center of attention locally, regionally and nationally. Sadly, not all good news. The hotel is the subject of illegal construction, unsupervised permit work by city staff resulting in five stop work orders, an investor group take-over involving the police and armed security guards and the decision to shut down the hotel by former Laguna Beach City Manager, Shohreh Dupuis. City documents and local media coverage (below) offers some insight into the ownerships and legal issues surrounding the hotel as well as the City decisions to shut down the Hotel Laguna and the 14 West Hotel in Laguna Beach.

Documents include Mohammad (Mo) Honarker/Laguna Beach Company. inc. and the MOM Group currently operating and managing the Hotel Laguna per a court approval and several other properties formerly operated and managed by Mo Honarker. Here’s one legal court document on the dispute. Word has it that additional court documents may be available in the first quarter of 2024. Stay tuned!

Here’s an interesting guest letter to the Indy Editor from the MOM Group explaining their position.

In case you missed the news, here’s some local coverage by the LB Indy.

Letter: Hotel Laguna Investor Group To Host Town Hall Meeting

Civil Disputes at Hotel Laguna and 14 West Prompt Forced Closure by City 

Hotel Laguna and 14 West Reopen After Court Issues Honarkar Temporary Restraining Order 

Who Owns Hotel Laguna?

Laguna Beach News | April 7, 2023

Coastal Commission widens scope of Hotel Laguna beach club probe

Coastal Commission probes “members only” signs on the sand at Hotel Laguna

On a brighter note, hotel managers MOM are hosting and featuring local artists at their ARTSTART event in the Rose Garden at 5:00 p.m. during Laguna’s First Thursday Artswalk. Drop by for a glass of wine and tasty appetizers.

Fire Mitigation Plan

CLB adopted a Fire Mitigation Plan in 2019. The plan includes fire safety measures, emergency preparedness and city evacuation information.

Fire Safety Report 2019 –

BE PREPARED! Here’s what you can do.

While the City works tirelessly to prepare for emergencies, we rely on residents, businesses, and visitors to be ready no matter what happens. Whether flood, fire, earthquake, or tsunami, these resources can help.

Sign up for emergency alerts. Alert and Warning System
Check out our disaster preparedness guide.
Purchase an emergency backpack or create an emergency kit and family emergency plan
Know what hazards we face in Laguna Beach and how to prepare for each one. Prepare for an Emergency
Plan now for an evacuation. Evacuation Routes
Family, friends, and neighbors with disabilities, access, or functional needs may need a little extra help preparing for an emergency. This link from FEMA can help. FEMA
Join the Laguna Beach Community Emergency Response Team. Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)
Review your insurance coverage. Go to OC Public Works and Floodsmart National Flood Insurance Program for more information.
ACT RESPONSIBLY! Property Owners and Real Estate Professionals should be aware and comply with the CLB Defensible Space Ordinance. See:

City Resources:

Department of Emergency Services

Fire Mitigation – Vegetation Management

CLB Fire Chief Niko King.


Laguna Beach Spills More Sewage Into Ocean Than Anywhere Else in OC!

Article in the Voice of OC

If this 2023 top poo-luters recognition doesn’t uncover the watered down
priority and negligence of our aging sewer infrastructure system by public
officials what does? LB property and business owners should be outraged.
Ask yourselves and your city officials:

WHY have Bob Whalen and Sue Kempf the Mayor and Mayor Pro-Tem
position-swapping duo for a decade not prioritized this infrastructure
problem? Especially since they have served as our water representatives
for years. They get paid extra to attend water agency meetings and protect
our community and coastal environment.

And WHY have they focused on catering to investors/developers,
proposing multi-million dollar parking structures at resident taxpayers
expense and buying expensive private properties (St. Catherines School
$23 M and Ti Amo Restaurant for $2.7 M) that we clearly didn’t want or

Wasn’t this hefty $1.5 M Fine by the State Water Agency in 2021 for a raw
sewage spill into the ocean enough to wake them up?

Other News Stories on Local Oil Spills:
na_beach_enforcement_06052021.pdf https://
The Patch:

Water Expert Roger Butow Guest Opinions:
The Patch – Laguna Beach 95,000 Gallon Sewer Spill How You Can Help
The Patch – Laguna Beach’s Bob Whalen Lost Clueless Over Chronic Sewage Spills
The Mirror – Laguna Beach reopens after almost 100,000 gallons of sewage leaked into water

Judie Mancuso Guest Opinions:
Letter: Laguna’s ocean water quality is a public priority


Message to City of Laguna Beach VOTERS:

YOU hold the power to having the community and quality of life you want. Voting for representatives that align with your vision and values is critical. So is holding officials accountable for the issues and priorities considered important to you and your family.

Too often residents are finding that candidates say what Voters want to hear when vying for an elected position. And organized candidate panel discussions are often politically biased and don’t begin to help voters uncover a candidates depth of knowledge, professionalism or actual qualifications necessary to lead a city effectively and in the public’s best interest. It’s up to you to carefully vett those asking for your vote.

Don’t fall into the automatic incumbent voting trap!  It’s no secret that LB stakeholders concerns about officials financial decision-making and special-interest bias and favoritism has grown over the last decade. The community division, discourse and mistrust between city officials and the public is at an all-time high. We simply must ask ourselves WHY.

LBCHAT traced the public division and mistrust back to the 2018 City Council Election. In 2018, the town of Laguna Beach became a political battleground between a new developer/investor Political Action Committee (PAC) called Liberate Laguna and Village Laguna and resident-centric PAC that had existed since the 1970’s.  The Liberate Laguna PAC was open about their intent to challenge VL’s existence and focus on installing candidates sympathetic to their development intentions. They were successful in getting two pro-development Council members elected.  Council Member Sue Kempf served in 2018 and was re-elected to serve in 2022. Council Member Peter Blake served one term and was overwhelmingly rejected by voters in 2022. Two new Council Members, Mark Orgill and Alex Rounaghi were elected.  Five-Term Council Member Toni Iseman did not run.

Over the last several years our small coastal city has been inundated with over a dozen special-interest Political Action Committees (PAC’s). The 2022 campaign funding for candidates and a ballot measure was in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Much of the campaign funding came from out-of-towner’s. This is an impactful change on our city leadership and government environment.  It’s extremely important to do your due-diligence by following the money to see who is behind political candidates and who may expect a payback by those they help get elected.

In 2024, voters will elect two Council representatives. We currently have no confirmation as to whether Three-Term Council Member Bob Whalen (2012-2024) and One-Term Council Member George Weiss (2018-2024) are running for re-election.  As Council Candidates are confirmed, they will be featured under “Meet The Candidates” (below) which will include mandatory candidate disclosure information and other professional and personal public information to assist voters in assessing their character, qualifications, expertise, accomplishments and public service track records.

Exercise your right to vote!  “Never Doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”  Margaret Mead

Voter Resources:  

State of California:

Candidates 2024

City of Laguna Beach Candidates

Candidates’ information and statements Here
PACs and Local Organizations Campaign Support Here

The election is November 5th, 2024. LBCHAT intends to compile and publish all local and state public documents related to the personal and professional backgrounds on every candidate running for a Laguna Beach Public Office position every campaign year.

Sources will include campaign disclosure statements, financial campaign contribution reports, websites/podcasts, news and social media coverage and personal, professional and criminal background information as supported by the California Public Records Act Code# 6253 (CPRA). We also welcome public information and legal document submittals from the public for publishing consideration. The more we know about our candidates, the better decisions we make when casting our votes.

Thank you for being an educated and informed voter. Our city’s health and future depends on it! LBCHAT

City Council Candidates

Judie Mancuso
Hallie Jones

Treasurer Candidates

City Clerk Candidates

LAGUNABEACHCHAT.COM : CHAT stands for City Hall Accountability and Transparency. Our Mission: Laguna Beach CHAT desires to advance accountability and transparency. We serve residents by providing them with an open and honest platform to gain knowledge about City officials, functions and decisions that impact our quality of life and our local community.