City Council candidates Bob Whalen and incumbent Verna Rollinger cashed in on supporters over the last week to bolster their campaign finances.

Rollinger's fundraiser was held Sunday at the home of Dr. Gary and Betsy Jenkins. The Jenkinses also hosted Whalen's kickoff in March. Betsy Jenkins also serves as president of Laguna Beach Unified's school board.

"It was amazing," said Rollinger, who is serving as mayor pro tem in the last year of her first term on the council. "We had more than 100 reservations and then a ton came without reservations, even some I had never met before."

More than $10,000 was raised, with about 60 supporters each giving $360, the city's campaign donation limit. Rollinger reported in January contributions of $21,458 and expenditures of $4,719.

The highlight of the fundraiser was a tour of the Jenkinses drought-tolerant garden, led by landscape designer and former Planning Commissioner Jeff Powers, who designed it.

School board members Theresa O'Hare and Jan Vickers, Nancy Caruso, Lee Winocur Field, Ray Hiemstra, Carol Nilsen, Ginger Osborne, Chris Prelitz, Patricia Twitty and Carolyn Wood hosted the event.

Rollinger, who previously served seven terms as city clerk, ran twice for City Council before being elected.

She began her bid for reelection last year. Sunday's fundraiser was the second event of the campaign.

Her message hasn't changed.

"I want to bring a more user-friendly, customer service attitude to City Hall, complete a greener Village Entrance project, help restore Laguna Beach's financial strength and security, and keep providing resources to rebuild our sewer and water infrastructure," Rollinger said.

In her first term, Rollinger supported neighborhood-compatible structures and activities; open space acquisitions; preservation of Laguna's historic buildings, local artists and arts organizations; and the designation of most of the Laguna coastline as a protected marine reserve. She participated in the creation of the first business task force and chaired a task force that recommended solutions to Laguna Canyon and downtown flooding.

"Her hard work and leadership make our community a safer place to live," said Councilwoman Toni Iseman. "She cares about us and our future."

Rollinger has lived in Laguna for 43 years and raised two children here. During that time, she was involved with passing the 1971 initiative that limited building heights to 36 feet and organization of the 1989 Laguna Canyon Walk, which opposed construction in Laguna Canyon.

She also worked on state and local propositions and initiatives that brought Laguna Beach more than $43 million for open space acquisitions.

She opposed a commercial airport at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro.

Rollinger is a member of Village Laguna and has served on the Laguna Greenbelt Inc. board.

"Coming to Laguna changed my life," Rollinger said. "This beautiful town and its people nurtured me and my family, and provided opportunities I could never have envisioned.

"Knowing Lagunans as I do, I know that we share a respect for our history, a strong sense of community, and a willingness to participate in thoughtful planning for our future. Our shared values will be a source of strength in continuing to meet the challenges we face."


Whalen fundraiser