Laguna Residents First - Mission Statement

Laguna Residents First (LRF) is dedicated to cultivating a government and business climate that nurtures human-scale growth, not slick franchise-style redevelopment. LRF will be bringing forward Ballot Initiative(s) or Referendums that preserves the look and feel of Laguna that is known and respected the world over by fostering responsible, thoughtful, and viable evolution of our commercial districts.

Laguna Residents First  - Vision Statement

Laguna Residents First (LRF) is a non-profit, grassroots organization promoting policies and programs that protect the unique value of Laguna Beach.  We are for preserving the local environment here including the heritage and charm of Laguna.

As the city evolves and changes with the times, we believe that commercial development should:

  • Be unique, not part of large, monolithic developments.
  • Be responsible, so that each project fully mitigates the impact it has on its neighbors, Laguna residents, and visitors. This includes areas such as traffic, parking, scale, and aesthetic impacts.
  • Be flexible, so that individual business owners make their own decisions on how to use their space to meet the market’s needs.
  • Be innovative in finding ways to preserve the well-known value of Laguna's look and feel.


Laguna Residents First - Principal Officers

Merrill Anderson, Ph. D.

Merrill is a retired leadership and organization development executive and leadership coach whose family has lived in Laguna since the mid-eighties. Merrill and his bride moved into his family home in 2017. Soon after moving here Merrill became active in the community with Village Laguna and he facilitated a series of Laguna Community Summit meetings that led to the creation of Laguna Residents First. Merrill graduated from Colorado (B.A.), Toronto (M.A.) and NYU (Ph.D.) with degrees in psychology. He enjoys walking the beach, hiking, visiting his winery in Temecula and is active with his church.

Gene Felder - Treasurer

Gene Felder was raised in La Mirada, graduated from Cal State Fullerton in Business, and received a MBA from UCLA. He retired in 2017 after spending his entire career in manufacturing. Gene and Johanna have lived in Laguna Beach since1986 and Gene has donated significant time engaged on issues of public policy. He has served on the boards and as an officer of the Laguna Canyon Conservancy, Save Laguna Art Museum, and Top of the World Neighborhood Association. Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett appointed Gene as an alternate member of 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”.

David Raber

David's early interest in local government lead to an undergraduate program in city management which later morphed into a career in commercial software product development.  Now retired, David was the former Sr. VP of On-Line Product Development for Ticketmaster and Chief Technology Officer of Paciolan.

David first moved to Laguna in 1999.  He became active in community organizations including Temple Hills Community Association and the Laguna Beach Beautification Council and has served on the City's Historic Preservation Ordinance Task Force.  He has personally gone through both Design Review and Planning Commission processes, and has lived to tell about it.  Having four grandchildren in Laguna Beach Schools, he has a keen interest in how the next generation will view Laguna, and how it works for them now.

Laguna Beach Residents First - Advisory Board

  • Penelope Milne
  • Susan Skinner
  • John Thomas
  • Kurt Wiese

George Weiss - Founder Emeritus

A native of Chicago, George Weiss graduated from Loyola University at Chicago. George moved to California in 1981 to work for ATT. Arriving Laguna Beach in 2005 he served as the Chairperson of the Laguna Beach Film Society and in 2016 on the Housing and Human Services Committee as a Member and Chairperson. “Until recently I felt that participating in local government was a fool’s game. It seemed almost impossible to change how government works. I was wrong. Long-term persistent effort is the only way to make government responsive to residents and allow residents to have their voices heard. Laguna Residents First was launched to make those changes happen.”

Mike Morris - Founder Emeritus

Michael Morris is a retired computer software executive who has lived and owned a home in Laguna Beach since 2014. He and his husband moved here from Singapore where they resided for more than a decade. He remains civically active, having served a 2-year term as the appointed Laguna Beach trustee to the Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District; and serving a 1-year term on the Orange County Grand Jury (2015/16) which allowed him to indulge his interest in public policy and good governance. Mr. Morris graduated from UCI in 1982 (B.A.) and from Brown University in 1984 (Sc.M.). He enjoys tinkering with his Fulvia, home improvement and walking his 2 French Bulldogs around town.