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Fair Game


City has a day planned Saturday to look at the ideas and work ahead to make the city even better

TJ headshot AugThe City of Laguna Beach has their Annual Planning Workshop this Saturday, Jan. 28 at Susi Q Community Center, Multipurpose Room. The workshop runs from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.

A complete agenda of the day can be found here.

The workshop begins with a welcome from Mayor Bob Whalen, then 30 minutes of public comments, followed by City Manager Shohreh Dupuis offering an overview of what’s planned for the day.

Next up is a Mission, Vision, Value Workshop. The thought here is that by establishing organization-wide Mission, Visions and Values, it will help the community and employees to better understand the long-term strategic direction, which will create alignment around how they will get there. Additionally, as part of all this, the mission statement communicates the city’s purpose, while the vision statement defines the future goals and aspirations, and the values represent the core principles and ethics that would guide the community toward the vision.

Then, it’s a break for lunch.

After everyone returns, they’ll then move into a Five-year Financial Outlook, looking at two scenarios: first, one with a recession in mind; secondly, with no recession. Then a Review of City Council Priorities that will also include a Q&A session.

Following an afternoon break, everyone returns for the 2023 Strategic Direction which will also include other City Council Priorities for 2023 and a look into the city’s Facilities Master Plan.

As City Manager Dupuis said, “The day is to make sure our organization is on a path to success in achieving the goals in 2023.”

Let me say this…the day is NOT designed to be a “bitch” session, complaining about what’s been done and who’s responsible. It’s actually an opportunity to come together as a summit of sorts, and offer thought and ideas, having everyone listened to, trying to create the best roadmap moving the city forward…and not wasting time complaining about the past.

And think about it…there are parking and traffic issues, downtown concerns, vacant buildings, what to do with the St. Catherine’s property and a whole bunch of other things that need our attention. We can look back and blame or get to fixing these issues.

So, bring your ideas and a strong, positive outlook and plan to contribute in a positive and upbeat way. It’ll make the day rewarding, I promise!

• • •

Speaking of planning, I’m excited that this Friday I’ll be joining my Stu News cohorts Shaena Stabler and Lana Johnson as we do some brainstorming on potential new ideas and modifications for the betterment of Stu News

To maximize our inspiration, we’ve chosen and booked a spot in the Beach Club at the Hotel Laguna, thanks to the assistance of Mo and Hasty Honarkar. Is there any better inspiration in Laguna Beach? I mean, I’m looking forward to sitting in the absolute comfort of that beautifully appointed Beach Club, with a view of the ocean, while being surrounded by so many of the good things Laguna Beach has to offer all of us.

Here’s the plan, we’re going to look at the past year of what we’ve done in Stu News from an editorial and business standpoint. What have we done best? What can we do better? What areas we are lacking coverage in? And, opposite of that, is there anything we’re allocating too much or not enough attention to?

What new ideas can we come up with? Is there a columnist out there that we should attempt to lure in to present perhaps a new voice or a new opinion? 

It’s also where you, our readers, come in. Your voices are always important to us. How would you answer some of the things I’ve noted above? What ideas might you have? Let me know at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We’re open to anything and everything!

Please reach out to any of us. And, if it’s good, constructive criticism you want to offer, do it…nobody’s feelings are going to get hurt. 

Our goal is to not be afraid of building on what Stu Saffer so wonderfully helped create back in the early days of Stu News, before leaving us all too soon.

Knowing our team, I’m certain we’ll be channeling Stu multiple times throughout the day, calling on him to continually inspire us.

Let us know what you’re thinking. 

• • •

Two things coming up this weekend at the Laguna Art Museum. Saturday, Jan. 28 celebrates the 10th anniversary of LAM’s signature Art & Nature initiative with a special artist panel. 

Join artists Lita Albuquerque, Kelly Berg, Laddie John Dill, Rebeca Méndez and Phillip K Smith III in a discussion of their Art & Nature projects and the impact of the Southern California environment on their artistic practices, moderated by LAM Curatorial Fellow Rochelle Steiner. A Champagne reception will commence the celebration starting at 5 p.m. and the panel will be held at 6 p.m. Tickets cost $30 for museum members and $40 for non-members.

Then, on Sunday, Jan. 29 at 11 a.m., is The Big One Kids’ Workshop where they’ll celebrate “the beautiful creatures of the ocean as Robert Young did in his various art pieces.” 

Led by the Museum’s education staff, attendees will create their own under-the-sea masterpiece inspired by Young’s vibrant painting, The Big One, currently exhibiting as part of Laguna Art Museum’s Art & Nature. Tickets are $7 for museum members and $14 for non-members. Children 12 and under are free when accompanied by at least one paying adult.

For more information about the Art & Nature and Museum programming, visit

• • •

Congrats to the Laguna Food Pantry for their just completed third annual Stock the Pantry Gift Basket Fundraiser. Final tallies show they were able to raise $25,000.

Thanks to the Mike Johnson Group of Compass who sponsored the event and the number of retailers that created gift baskets to help raise funds.


Shaena Stabler, President & CEO -

Lana Johnson, Editor -

Tom Johnson, Publisher -

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are our photographers.

Alexis Amaradio, Dennis McTighe, Marrie Stone, Sara Hall, Suzie Harrison and Theresa Keegan are our writers and/or columnists.

In Memoriam - Stu Saffer and Barbara Diamond.

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