Guest Opinion: MJ Abraham

MJ Abraham is a retired former City Government Communications Manager & Principal Management Analyst and Art Museum Director living in Laguna Beach since 1970. MJ is the Founder of Laguna Beach promoting Laguna Beach City Hall Accountability and Transparency.

How Safe Do You Feel In Laguna

The City of Laguna Beach Police Department issued a press release via Nextdoor social media on 4/18/2024. The 2023 Violent and Property Crimes report which includes statistic comparisons to 2021 and 2022 is included here for review.

The report comes on the heels of multiple requests by Councilman George Weiss to see the annual crime report as well as residents showing increased concern for crime in their neighborhoods and community. Residents pay for city services and public safety/police protection tops the critical services list.

We should thank CC Weiss for requesting this important public safety information. Note: The 2023 CLB Crime Statistics Report has not been presented to City Council nor the public at this time so no public discussion has take place yet.

Lots of questions arise from a safety report like this. Factors such as public safety manpower, costs associated with the statistics and by whom/where the crimes are being committed would be very helpful. At one time or another we have all experienced the need for police services and eight been pleased or disappointed.

LBCHAT would love to hear from our residents and businesses. What’s your take and how do you interpret the reported statistics? For instance, I personally found interesting the attention to auto thefts – are we actually seeing this many auto thefts within our community or are these auto thefts passing through? Lets hear it all fellow Lagunian’s! It will be good feedback for our city leaders and police chief.

Press Release: 2023 Laguna Beach Crime Statistics Show Overall Decrease in Violent and Property Crimes

LAGUNA BEACH, CA—The Laguna Beach Police Department is pleased to report that the City was safer in 2023, as violent and property crimes decreased overall for the third consecutive year. The 2023 crime statistics show an overall 7% decrease in Part 1 violent and property crimes compared to 2022 and a 9% overall decrease since 2021

The 2023 crime statistics show LBPD observed a 26% decline in auto theft, effectively reducing the number from 47 incidents in 2022 to 35 in 2023. Additionally, there was a commendable 6% decrease in larceny cases. In 2023, there were four more reported robberies than the previous year. Weapons were involved in only two of the robberies, demonstrating that the use of weapons in these incidents is relatively uncommon

“This reduction in overall crime is a testament to the unwavering passion of our police force, coupled with the incredible support of our community,” remarked Laguna Beach Police Chief Jeff Calvert. “While we take pride in this achievement, our mission to transform into the safest coastal community in Orange County remains our top priority. We are committed to sustaining exceptional policing practices and fostering meaningful community partnerships to realize this goal.”

This year’s crime statistics demonstrate the outstanding efforts of our police department and the strong support of our community in maintaining Laguna Beach as a safe and welcoming place,” stated Laguna Beach Mayor Sue Kempf. “The significant reductions in overall crime rates are a testament to our ongoing commitment to public safety. Under the steadfast leadership of Police Chief Jeff Calvert, we will continue working together to uphold and enhance the safety and well-being of our City.”

The Laguna Beach Police Department remains dedicated to providing exemplary service, maintaining the highest standards, and ensuring the safety and well-being of all Laguna Beach residents and visitors. Click here to view the press release on the city’s website.


Laguna Residents First (LRF) PAC LB Survey 2024

Opinion: Surveying 2024 priorities for Laguna Beach

By Merrill Anderson

Laguna Residents First conducted an online Survey Monkey poll circulated amongst registered voters in Laguna Beach in January 2024. A total of 370 people responded (12% response rate) to a question about what the top priorities for Laguna Beach in 2024 should be.

Respondents could select multiple priorities and were invited to write comments.

Top priorities: Reducing traffic congestion (61% selected as a priority) and undergrounding power lines in green spaces (52%) emerged as the top two priorities. Respondents supported undergrounding all power lines, starting with the most critical areas, i.e., Laguna Canyon.

To read the full survey for 2024 on the Laguna Beach Indy website – Here

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

Monarchy or Democracy?

A recent letter to the editor in the LB Indy addressing the lack of real questioning at the local city candidates forums. Find the original letter here


A friend recently told me he never believed in democracy, and that a benevolent monarch would be a better choice any day. No, he is not a Marxist or fascist.

What do citizens need from candidates that reflects our love for our city?

The six forums that I witnessed were all similar. Every candidate elaborated on their special projects. Even when asked about the future, the answer was about their projects implemented then. The rest was reiterating status quo issues or political pawns like the village entrance or low cost housing with more intangible solutions. Can’t we work on these endless issues after the election anyway?

Where is Laguna’s charm and its preservation? Many leaders of this town delude themselves with outdated memories of what this town once was. They are calling it charm, art town and preservation of the good old life, which all seem to be only real in our minds. When I walk downtown, I see a town that does not seem to care for itself, not charm or anything to preserve. Similar, the canyon and much of Coast Highway looks like they have little juice left before they turn Laguna into a ghost town. Don’t look at their form, but what Dana Point and Corona del Mar have done recently, shows that they care about their town and how fast one can implement restoration. Why can Laguna’s leaders not adapt revamping the city in the same vein as they did with Heisler Park and the Montage?

The reason why we are stuck in our minds as in our traffic is that our opinions are reactive instead of proactive. Everyone in this town has an opinion, which is good, but without defining what one would like instead, those opinions are mostly duds. Yes, it is easier to focus on what we don’t want, but it keeps us relying on a memory of a Laguna whose time has past.

Citizens look to have something in common with the leader they vote for. It is even better when a leader has a vision that captures a future that the voter desires and wants to see implemented.

That’s why we have to start proactively start thinking about our future or get a benevolent monarch that makes decisions for us.

Michaell Magrutsche, Laguna Beach