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Laguna Beach Is Pretty Enough, Transit Officials Say

April 04, 2006|David Reyes | Times Staff Writer

Orange County transportation planners postponed approval for 10 roadside beautification projects Monday after a county supervisor complained that two of them were headed for Laguna Beach, already known for its scenic beauty.

Supervisor Chris Norby, who represents northern Orange County and has for years complained that the county has shortchanged his district, complained that his area and big cities such as Santa Ana and Anaheim were being shut out of the money again.

"Laguna Beach recently raised its sales tax and got all that federal landslide money," Norby said. "Come on, you got the ocean on one side and South Laguna on the other. How can you improve on that?"

At issue is nearly $4 million of federal highway beautification money handed out every two years.

A screening committee chose 10 of 39 projects submitted countywide, including one project each in Laguna Hills, La Palma, Irvine and Villa Park, and two projects apiece in Costa Mesa, Westminster and Laguna Beach.

The Laguna Beach projects totaled $561,000.

Other Orange County Transportation Authority board members who were part of a planning subcommittee said Norby had a point. "When it comes to beautification and parks, I do believe an inequity exists when it comes to the distribution of park bond money," said Supervisor Lou Correa.

Laguna Beach City Manager Kenneth C. Frank viewed Norby's comments and the committee's action as unfair. "A lot of times it's the bigger cities in the county like Santa Ana and Anaheim and Fullerton that get the project money, and we don't get money at all," Frank said.

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