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    Civic Activist Colette Marie McLaughlin, PhD Takes Post With Monterey School District, Bids Farewell to LB

    (June 14, 2003) -- Veteran LB civic activist and City Council communicator Colette Marie McLaughlin, recently awarded a PhD by the University of CA, Irvine, has accepted a position with the Monterey Unified School district and will be leaving LB.

    Colette McLaughlin farewell June 14/03
    Dr. McLaughlin makes a point to Press-Telegram scribe Tom Hennessy
    On June 14, a number of LB luminaries and friends gathered to wish the tireless ELB activist well.

    Dr. McLaughlin is perhaps best known for adopting an acronym used by LB Mayor Beverly O'Neill during Democrats' 1996 convention. Mayor O'Neill advised CA delegates, "Don't listen to the CAVE people, those are Citizens Against Virtually Everything."

    Although the Mayor didn't mention any particular person, Dr. McLaughlin adopted the term as a badge of honor for herself, forming a group she dubbed the "CAVE People"...and has continued proudly to identify herself as such, most recently at an April '03 LB conference on Redevelopment.Colette McLaughlin farewell June 14/03
    LB writer Bry Myown, with Dr. McLaughlin

    Colette McLaughlin farewell June 14/03
    Ann Cantrell enjoys the festivities.
    During her years of LB activism, Dr. McLaughlin opposed City Hall's demolition of the LB Naval Station's historic buildings and supported Ann Cantrell's "Save the Park" campaign that stopped plans to put a 40-acre commercial sports complex in El Dorado Park.

    Dr. McLaughlin also supported 4th district homeowner Traci Wilson-Kleekamp in pressing for an alternative site to Stearns Park for a 911 Emergency Communications & Operations Center...due to open shortly at Spring St/Redondo Ave.Colette McLaughlin farewell June 14/03
    LB area activists Ann Denison & Diane Rush

    Colette McLaughlin farewell June 14/03
    Dr. McLaughlin, sister in law Vicki Jersin, sister Connie Newman
    Dr. McLaughlin's PhD dissertation, "Blighted Partnerships: Unsustainable Redevelopment Practices," included LB examples and concluded:

    "A large body of research has documented the tendency of redevelopment to be unsustainable...Fifty years of redevelopment reforms have not abated harmful abuses. Social identity theory explains this tenacity of unsustainable redevelopment practices as a byproduct of private-public partnerships, which encourage decision-makers to enable their private partners to profit by passing hidden costs onto the public."

    Dr. McLaughlin also joined in a class action consumer lawsuit seeking rebates for LB residents for oppressive natural gas rates charged by LB's City Hall-run natural gas utility from roughly Dec. 2000-Feb. 2001. The suit, currently pending, alleges the disproportionately high bills during that period violated LB's City Charter requiring City Hall-run utilities to charge rates prevailing for other like area utilities.

    The farewell event was held at a location chosen by Dr. McLaughlin: the Wrigley area home of 86-year old City Council communicator, Thomas Murphy.

    Mr. Murphy, who is probably LB's oldest environmentalist, is a former engineer and retired owner of restaurants on the Pike and "Murphys," formerly at LB Blvd./Willow St.

    Colette McLaughlin farewell June 14/03
    Mr. Murphy receiving guests in his home

    Mr. Murphy first journeyed to the City Council in the 1980's to propose a device that would catch trash in the L.A. river before it hit LB beaches. Officialdom deemed his advice infeasible...then spent taxpayer money that basically adapted Mr. Murphy's "catch the trash in the river" reasoning using different systems and prototypes. A few years ago, government officials held a press event at the river to take credit for their handiwork...but didn't invite or acknowledge Mr. Murphy.

    In August 2000, a Press-Telegram editorial stated, "[W]e'd give anything if the geezers who read from scripts at the start of City Council meetings would find something better to do on Tuesday evenings. But that's part of the charm of the city." called the PT comment an epithet beneath the level of LB. PT columnist Tom Hennessy also devoted part of his column to opine that he found the "G" word offensive.

    Colette McLaughlin farewell June 14/03Undeterred by that brouhaha or others, Mr. Murphy has continued coming to Council meetings to deliver a piece of his mind on various agenda items each week.

    "I admire and respect Mr. Murphy," Dr. McLaughlin told

    Dr. McLaughlin, who has (among other things) instructed a course in Landscape/Architecture at UCLA Extension and instructed and assisted a course in Educational Technology for UCI's Dept. of Education, will assume her new post as a Facilities Planner for the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District shortly. She previously served as a planner for the Santa Ana Unified School District.

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