Topping this week’s biggest decisions in local government, Laguna Hills weighs in on the San Onofre nuclear power plant, and Irvine hires an interim city attorney firm — but at what cost?

Laguna Hills council members are scheduled to vote Tuesday on sending a letter to nuclear safety regulators expressing safety concerns over plans to restart the San Onofre plant and seeking reimbursement to the public for the plant’s faulty generators.

Southern California utility customers are said to be paying about $54 million per month to run the plant, which hasn’t been producing electricity for more than a year after a minor radiation leak was discovered.

A report by Councilwoman Melody Carruth asserted that plant operator, Southern California Edison, “has not been forthright with its ratepayers” and “failed to properly oversee and manage the design process for equipment which was paid for by ratepayers.”

Edison has strongly disputed such statements, saying it has been fully open and has followed safety regulations.

Laguna Hills leaders are also set to explore options for creating a city planning commission.

A report by Mayor Barbara Kogerman strongly urges her colleagues to form such a commission, remarking that of the 34 cities in Orange County, only four — Aliso Viejo, Cypress, Laguna Hills and Villa Park — have no independent planning commissions.

In Irvine on Tuesday, council members are scheduled to appoint the law firm Jones & Mayer as their new interim city attorney, but it’s unknown how much the new contract will cost.

“Specific financial terms of the agreement for interim city attorney are unknown,” City Manager Sean Joyce wrote in his staff report.

And a search of the contract didn’t show any cap on how much the firm would make, though it does provide for up to $300 per hour in compensation.

Terminating the previous contract with Rutan & Tucker was a move by the Republican majority to bring new officials into the city bureaucracy who don’t have longstanding relationships with Democrats Larry Agran and Beth Krom.

Here’s a rundown of agendas this week:

Orange County Transportation Authority, Monday, March 25, at 9 a.m.

  • Receiving a report on the agency’s plans in the event of a fuel crisis.
  • Improving beach trail crossing safety in San Clemente.
  • Approving a four-year, $160,000 contract with MC Transportation to provide bus service for disabled riders.
  • Reviewing the M2020 plan.

Anaheim City Council, Tuesday, March 26, at 5 p.m.

  • Approving a contract with Paul Maurer Shows for Cinco de Mayo celebrations at La Palma Park at an unspecified cost.
  • Increasing the cost of a contract with Dudek from $790,000 to $980,000 for construction management services of the water recycling demonstration project “largely due to extensions in the time needed to construct the project.”
  • Resolution memorializing council direction to the city attorney to sign future conflict of interest waivers for the city’s legal representatives.

Irvine City Council, Tuesday, March 26, at 4 p.m.

  • Appointing the law firm Jones & Mayer as interim city attorney at an “unknown” cost, according to city staff. The contract provides for up to $300 per hour in compensation with no apparent cap.
  • Considering a request from Councilman Larry Agran to reconsider expanding the iShuttle service.

Laguna Hills City Council, Tuesday, March 26, at 7 p.m.

  • Approving a contract with Aliso Meadows Condominium Association to provide $162,000 in community development block grant funds for rehabilitating 20 low-to-moderate income housing units.
  • Approving a letter to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission stating concern over plans to restart the San Onofre nuclear power plant and seeking reimbursement to the public for the plant’s faulty generators.
  • Directing city staff to report on how to form a city planning commission.

Rancho Santa Margarita City Council, Wednesday, March 28, at 7 p.m.

  • Authorizing the sale of $174,000 in public utility credits to Laguna Beach for $96,000 and transferring the revenue into the council strategic reserve category of the general fund’s “council strategic reserve.”

San Clemente City Council, Tuesday, March 26, at 4 p.m.

  • Receiving the 2013 long-term financial plan and transfers adding up to several million dollars.

Adam Elmahrek and Brendan Wiles contributed to this report.

You can reach Nick Gerda at, and follow him on Twitter: @nicholasgerda.

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