We have been your lifeline during the pandemic, economic fallout, wildfires, protests and the election. Support us with a tax-deductible donation.

Eight candidates, including one incumbent, are vying for three open seats on the Laguna Niguel City Council on Tuesday. 


Editors’ Note: This dispatch is part of the Voice of OC Youth Media program, working with student journalists to cover public policy issues across Orange County. If you would like to submit your own student media project related to Orange County civics or if you have any response to this work, contact Digital Editor Sonya Quick at squick@voiceofoc.org.


In a city with a population of nearly 70,000 people, Laguna Niguel could see a majority of new faces make up the panel.

Up for election is Sherry Astrella, a retired business planner, Stephanie Oddo, a personal protective equipment provider, Shanana (Shani) Moslehi, an entrepreneur, John Dhaliwal, Michael Harvey Fair, an event security supervisor, Sandy Rains, a business owner and current City Council member, Kelly Jennings, a board member of the Moulton Niguel Water District, and Rischi Paul Sharma, a city commissioner and business owner.

The newcomers and the continuing council members will be dealing with the consequences of COVID-19 and other issues the city is facing.

Rischi Paul Sharma, who has raised almost $60,000 for his campaign from Jan. 1 to Oct. 17,  plans to oppose new taxes and fees, develop sustainable revenue opportunities, and create solutions for future pension obligations, according to his statement of qualifications.

Incumbent Sandy Rains has raised $35,461 for her campaign and plans to continue what she has started while serving the city for the past two years, according to her statement of qualifications.

Shani Moslehi raised almost $33,000 for her campaign. Her statement of qualifications states that she is the best candidate to lead the city to financial sustainability and prevent future potential budget deficits.

Stephanie Oddo, who has fundraised over $30,663, plans to protect small businesses, provide leadership for minorities, and protect the city’s green spaces, according to her candidate statement of qualifications.

Michael Harvey Fair has raised slightly over $1,500 and plans to increase public safety, assist small business owners, and maintain a fiscally conservative city budget, according to his statement of qualifications.

 Kelly Jennings has raised $34,928 for her campaign and promises to keep Laguna Niguel financially strong and safe, according to her statement of qualifications.

Sherry Astrella, has raised about $70 for her campaign. She plans to protect the city’s financial security and quality of life, according to her statement of qualifications.

Lastly, John Dhaliwal is running for City Council but has not turned in a statement of qualifications. He plans to raise less than and spend less than $2,000 on his campaign, according to a campaign financial statement.

Have an opinion on this story? Join the conversation… In lieu of comments, we encourage readers to engage with us across a variety of mediums. Join the open conversation on our Facebook page. Message us via our website form or staff page. Send us a secure news tip. Share your thoughts in a community opinion piece.