The following are personal statements from each of the City Council candidates. They are shown in order of ballot position:

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Robert Whalen

Occupation: municipal finance attorney

My primary focus as a council member will be to ensure the financial health of Laguna Beach during a time when California cities are experiencing unprecedented financial turmoil. I am recognized statewide as a legal expert on municipal finance. I believe my 30 years of professional experience will benefit our city.

I have a proven track record on fiscal responsibility. During my 10 years on the Laguna Beach school board we replenished depleted reserves, achieved competitive teacher salaries and modernized all schools while staying within budget.

A sound financial foundation is critical to moving forward with important city projects, including: devoting resources to public safety and disaster preparedness; improving parking, circulation and pedestrian access; adding open space; beautifying our village entrance; and promoting local businesses.

As a 28-year resident, active community volunteer and current planning commissioner, I have worked hard to make Laguna Beach a better place to live, work and raise families. While respecting our history and community character, I commit to moving our city forward. I will listen to all viewpoints, work diligently, think independently and make the hard decisions when needed.

I ask for your vote.

For more on my background, please visit http://www.bobwhalenforcouncil.com.

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Steve Dicterow

Occupation: small-business owner

I am running for City Council to preserve the unique nature of Laguna by maximizing local control and community input.

As your councilman, I'll restore fiscal discipline so that we can prioritize public safety, invest in community infrastructure and support local jobs.

Businessman & Community Leader: I've been deeply involved in Laguna Beach civics and arts including the Festival of Arts, North Laguna Community Assn., Laguna Beach Neighborhood Watch, Laguna Beach Taxpayers' Assn., and the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce.

Proven Track Record of Getting Results: My 12 years of success on the City Council (1994-2006) and business experience in financial management, strategic planning and operations make me an effective public servant. During my previous time in office, I was instrumental in adding five new police officers, which reduced crime by 50%. My opposition to the county takeover of the Fire Department ensured that we have our own reliable first responders. I also settled a judgment against the city down to zero, saving taxpayers $20 million. I'll use this experience to ensure that city government efficiently delivers core city services and improves the quality of life for all Laguna Beach residents.

Please contact me directly any time at (949) 500-1132 or sdicterow1121@yahoo.com.

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Verna Rollinger