Laguna Beach City Council elects Sue Kempf as mayor


Laguna Beach City Council saw a change of leadership on Tuesday, as the five-person panel voted unanimously to make Sue Kempf the city’s new mayor.

Kempf, who joined the council in 2018 and previously sat on the town planning commission, has been involved in initiatives such as the environmental and neighborhood protection plan, the forest walk and the town plan. fire mitigation and fire safety.

“I am touched and honored to serve our community as the mayor of Laguna Beach,” Kempf said in a prepared statement. “Over the past few years, our city council has worked together and made great strides in improving the quality of life, adding additional safety and fire mitigation measures, and streamlining improvement processes for our community.

“Collaborative work within city council and with city staff is essential to build on this momentum and move forward together. I look forward to working in partnership with residents, our business community and my colleagues on City Council to improve services and further define our priorities for the future.

Newly appointed mayor Sue Kempf, right, hands outgoing mayor Bob Whalen, left, a proclamation for his services at a Laguna Beach city council meeting on Tuesday.

(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Kempf has expressed interest in seeing community feedback that will emerge from the city’s survey of residents.

“First of all, I can’t wait to collect the survey results because I think in terms of strategic planning for our city, it will be good to have a large contribution from the residents, and we did not have that in the past, “Kempf said in a telephone interview on Wednesday.” We don’t do polls very often, so I think this is a good opportunity. … There will be a lot of good data that will help us to guide our decision making [and] planning process next year.

Kempf added that she wanted to research parking solutions that could alleviate some of the impact on neighborhoods and provide flexibility for local businesses.

Councilor Peter Blake and Kempf both proposed nominations for Bob Whalen, who has served as mayor for the past three years, to take on the role of interim mayor. He traded seats with Kempf following a 3-1-1 vote.

Outgoing Mayor Bob Whalen thanks the public after receiving a proclamation for his three years of service as mayor.

Outgoing Mayor Bob Whalen thanks the public after receiving a proclamation for his three years of service as mayor at a Laguna Beach city council meeting on Tuesday.

(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

A broad proclamation marked Whalen’s tenure as mayor. He received a memorial hammer for his last year of service.

“I used to joke at home that if I ever had to be mayor once again, I would have a hammer for every bathroom,” Whalen said.

City Councilor George Weiss had appointed City Councilor Toni Iseman as deputy mayor, citing Iseman’s status as the oldest member of the governing body in terms of years of service on the dais.

“You’ve been spectacular as mayor in so many ways, and for people watching, what’s going on here is just the tip of the iceberg,” Iseman said, acknowledging Whalen for his post as mayor. “I know how many hours you spend and have spent outside that chair and have represented us so well, and what difficult meetings we have had, and how lucky we were to have you sort of to keep the ship standing and moving, so I really appreciate that. “

Noting that she also appreciated Weiss’ gesture to name her, Iseman said – referring to Kempf, Whalen and Blake – “I think it’s obvious we live in a 3-2 world, and I hope. that will change because we might as well have a tip of three as long as all three of you still agree, and you still agree.

After hearing the proclamation read in its entirety, Whalen spoke of a collective effort by the council to achieve the accomplishments that have been highlighted.

“All of these efforts show how much we can do, and we’ve done, as a group of five, and it’s really a time to look back, but it really is a night to look to the future.” , Whalen said. “I am very happy that Sue is taking over as mayor. I think she’s going to do a great job for us. She’s really well connected in the community, and I’m sure she’s going to have her own agenda that she wants to pursue.

“We have to work, and Toni alluded to it, we just have to work together as a group and try to keep improving. I think we can, I hope, and it has been a privilege to be mayor for three years.

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