President Gayle Waite has been a longtime supporter of preserving the open space environment since participating in the 1989 Walk to save Laguna Canyon. President of LCC for the past two years, she is also a member of the Laguna Beach Greenbelt, the Laguna Beach Woman’s Club (past President for two years), the Laguna Real Estate Charitable Assistance Fund (original incorporator/President, current VP), American Association of University Woman of Laguna Beach and a current board member of the All of Us Precision Medicine Research Study at UCI funded by the NIH. Formerly an art director in New York City for major publishers and advertising agencies before starting an Orange County ad agency, Gayle became a successful real estate broker in 1990. She is a past President of the Laguna Board of REALTORS and was recognized by the CA State Senate and Orange County Board of Supervisors for her professionalism. Gayle believes that careful real estate development and protection of the environment can be a successful partnership.
Vice President Norman is a retired geophysicist. Upon becoming a resident of Laguna Beach in 1968, he established the Laguna Beach Tennis Association and served as its President until 1973. In 1972 he served as Chairperson of the committee that developed the first draft of the Open Space and Conservation Element of the Laguna Beach General Plan. Later, while living in Dana Point, he played an active role in saving the Dana Point Headlands from overdevelopment, serving as Director and Chairman of the Dana point Headlands Conservancy from 1994 to 2004. He returned to Laguna in 2012.
Treasurer Gene Felder, long-time Laguna Canyon Conservancy Vice-President beginning in 1989, succeeded Carolyn Wood as President as is now Treasurer. Gene Felder was raised in La Mirada, graduated from Cal State Fullerton in Business, and received an MBA from UCLA. He retired in 2017 after spending his entire career in manufacturing. Gene and Johanna have lived in Laguna Beach since 1986 and Gene has donated significant time engaged on issues of public policy. He was Chair of Save Laguna Art Museum, active in Save the Pageant, and is currently President of the Top of the World Neighborhood Association. Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett appointed Gene to the Coastal Greenbelt Authority which oversees the Laguna Coast and Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Parks. Gene served on the Board of Directors of the Laguna Beach Historical Society from 2001 to 2014 serving as President from 2001 to 2006. He is co-author, with Foster J. Eubanks, of the 2013 book “Laguna Beach, Then & Now”.
Recording Secretary (Interim)
Communications Secretary Jahn Levitt, a native New Yorker, and former editor at Random House, later a move to California, where I became a buyer for Bullocks and a textile designer. After living in Laguna Beach, I was drawn to environmental issues. I was on the Board of Village Laguna for 4 years, a past member of the Women’s Club, and a current member of the American Association of University Woman. I served on the Board of the Laguna Beach Beautification Council, volunteered at the Blue Bell Home for Cats, and Yorkshire Terrier Rescue. For the past five years I have been a Judge for the K-high school Library Poetry Awards.
Sawdust Pollinator Garden Coordinator Jackie Gallagher is a Native Californian. She has participated in local environmental issues since the 1970’s. She has lived in Laguna since 1982 and appreciates the diverse ecosystem that makes up Laguna Beach. She participated in creating a STEAM (Science, Technology, English, ART, Math) Art Program at Dana Hills High School in collaboration with the Festival of Whales from 2009-2018. The goal to continue educating our community and increase ecological awareness, is important to her as a board member and conservationist.
Laguna Canyon Foundation Liaison Carey Strombotne moved to Laguna Beach in 1982, and instantly fell in love with everything Laguna. She and her husband, Dion, raised their two sons, Rex, and Derek, in Laguna, surfing and swimming at our local beaches, and instilled in them a love and appreciation for our oceans and canyons. Carey began her environmental protection advocacy while volunteering with the Save Trestles campaign, which was a 20-year battle to stop a toll road from bisecting San Onofre State Park, working alongside Surfrider, Sierra Club, and other groups that formed a coalition. She joined the board of Laguna Canyon Conservancy (LCC) in 2008 after meeting then president of LCC, Carolyn Wood while volunteering to help save Trestles. Carey is also on the Laguna Canyon Foundation board of directors as a liaison to Laguna Canyon Conservancy. She is also a longtime member of the Top of the World Neighborhood Association (TOWNA) board of directors.
Board Member Alice Harmon is a native Californian, born and raised in the San Fernando Valley. She graduated from USC with a degree in Elementary Education. She taught first grade for eight years in Los Angeles, Riverside and El Centro schools. While still living in El Centro Alice became a travel agent. Later she moved to Laguna Beach and continued her work in the travel industry until retirement. Alice is a member of the Trojan Guild of Orange County; PEO, a philanthropic and educational group; and Newport Panhellenic where she serves on the Scholarship Committee. Alice has been a member of Laguna Canyon Conservancy for many years.
Board Member Linda Mayer has been an Orange County resident since 1954, first in Santa Ana, then Costa Mesa and then to Irvine until moving to Laguna Beach in 2015. She has been active in various service organizations including Newport-Harbor chapter of Zonta International, AAUW and several Church groups. As a Court Reporter in Orange County Superior Court for 40 years specializing in business litigation, she witnessed many battles involving ocean views and other community coastal problems.
Board Member Ed Merrilees. I joined the Orange County District Attorney’s office in 1957 in Santa Ana as the 13th deputy. As Assistant DA I served on the Board of Directors of CSP, the predecessor in the courts to Waymakers, providing juvenile diversion and youth shelter services to deserving youth. In 1997, when the California Legislature approved a contract with a luxury resort developer to take over the cottages at Crystal Cove, I became involved in its opposition including serving on the Board of Friends of the Newport Coast. After 12 hard-fought years a successful result was obtained and now the public can continue to enjoy the beauty of Crystal Cove. Along the way I joined LCC and the Sierra Club and became a supporter of saving our natural habitats.
Board Member Paul Merritt, a native Southern Californian, ''Lagunatic'' for decades . Graduate of Laguna Beach high school. Past president of Laguna Taxpayers Association. Member 1990s Surfrider Foundation. Real property broker, lifetime member of Nature Conservancy. Former O.C. Elected official. Chairman O.C. Economic Commission [ Federal]; as well as a ''travel buff’'. Current Board member Woods Cove Association. Decade of local charity work, Exchange Club of Laguna. Early supporter of Laguna Greenbelt. Thirty years of membership Laguna Beautification Committee.