Mimi & the Mayor, Enhancing and Enjoying Life in San ClementeSep 26, 2022 09:34AM ● By Donia Moore
by Donia Moore.
Mimi Lane teaches. Like all dedicated teachers, the teaching doesn’t stop when the classroom closes. Educated at the University of California, Berkley, Mimi learned early that whether she was teaching elementary students in the Capistrano Unified School District or working as a Court Interpreter, her own continued education was paramount to her success and happiness in her life in her adopted homeland.
Mimi moved here from Iran as a young college student. Imagine training to be a nurse, and then as a micropaleontologist for her homeland’s government. Due to her high grades, she was offered a coveted teaching position in Iran and decided to try it. Trying the challenge of teaching led to loving it and eventually moving to the U.S. to attend U.C. Berkley to continue her education with the blessing and encouragement of her father. He worked with British, American and Russian diplomats and had a well-rounded relationship with them all. She wanted to eventually enter the field of medicine, but with her father’s unexpected death, she found herself needing to go to work to help support her mother and her siblings.
“Adapt to the Society you find yourself in!”
Mimi is a master of positivity and found that the world was still open to her and her love of learning. She adapted to the society in which she found herself and soon was in demand as a Court Interpreter for Farsi and French - speaking court cases. She always enjoyed her Court experiences because she never knew what was going to happen. She did find it a little difficult to remain neutral in some of the more difficult cases because she was not allowed to get involved with any of the clients. “When the women were in tears, I wanted so much to help them but I was not allowed to.”
“Always Advance in Your Learning.”
“Always Advance in Your Learning.”
Mimi also studied Marine Biology when she was younger, and today, she enjoys beautiful views of dolphin and whales surfing the ocean below her cliff top Ole Hanson home.
Charming, intelligent Mimi married the love of her life, Brian Patrick Lane, former San Clemente mayor (1976-77) and councilman (1974-78 and 1980-82) and a longtime attorney in town. They met while she was at UC Berkley and he was a newly minted attorney. He was also a talented artist and there are examples of his work throughout their home. Their partnership lasted until May 24, 2008, when he passed away while they were vacationing in Sedona, Arizona. Together they raised a daughter, Sabrina Yasmin Lane-Erwin and a son Sean-Patrick Lane.
Lane was elected to the City Council in 1974. As a council member, he helped form the Redevelopment Agency and secure county funding for the library on Avenida del Mar.
He was the second of three children, born in Alhambra, Ca. on Dec. 12, 1937, to Glenn Allen Lane and Ruth Virginia Lane. Following graduation from Flintridge Preparatory School, he attended Stanford University for one year before enlisting in the Army in 1956. After studying Czech at the Army Defense Language Institute in Monterey, he was stationed in Germany, where his detachment intercepted Czech military communications.
Honorably discharged in 1959, he returned to the United States and, in 1962, completed a bachelor’s degree in comparative literature at UC Riverside. He then attended law school at UC Berkeley for one year, completed his legal education at Whittier Law School and was admitted to the California State Bar in 1969. After one year as a prosecutor with the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, Lane established a private law practice in San Clemente, where he practiced for nearly four decades, most of it in his Spanish Colonial-style office on Avenida del Mar.
Mimi and Patrick moved to San Clemente because of the city’s small size, its proximity to the sea and the appealing presence of Spanish Colonial architecture. As a member of the City Council, he insisted that developers conform to the city’s natural topography in designing their projects, and he promoted the creation of parks in the city. One result was San Gorgonio Park.
The Mayor and Mimi made numerous strong and enduring friendships, and his positive effect on the city has proved non-ending. In their public and private lives, this team of San Clementeans has demonstrated great intelligence and wit, as well as uncompromising ethics and integrity.
In the early 1970s, Lane successfully challenged a large development firm and the San Clemente City Council on behalf of clients regarding the firm’s plan to build a large number of condominiums in Trafalgar Canyon. Ultimately, via the newly created Coastal Commission, Lane compelled the developer to scale back its plan significantly. Believing that the City Council had not acted in the best interests of the city, he was motivated by the experience to run for a council seat in 1974. He was elected by the slim margin of 13 votes, powered by grass-roots support.
As a council member, he spearheaded numerous projects designed to enhance San Clemente, and despite opposition at the time, many of these projects left positive and lasting marks on the city.
Shortly after his election, he shepherded into existence the Redevelopment Agency and used it to accomplish a major renovation of the run-down Pier Bowl area and establish the Fisherman’s Restaurant on the pier in place of a private, hereditary boat club.
Because he felt that San Clemente’s library was inadequate, he led the effort to secure county funding for a new library, acquire a prime location on Avenida del Mar and select an architect. Consequently, the Spanish Colonial-style library that stands today opened in 1981.
Regrettably, two of his campaigns to improve San Clemente failed. In 1980, a project to renovate the city’s municipal pools was under consideration by the City Council. The lap pool consisted of six narrow lanes and an inadequate gutter system, among other shortcomings. Councilman Lane proposed enhancing the project by expanding the pool and introducing a sufficient gutter system, in addition to other improvements.
Despite heavy opposition, he pressed for a cost analysis, which determined that the additional improvements would total approximately $100,000. But he was outvoted by his fellow council members. He also endeavored to relocate the city’s sewage facility to a gulch east of I-5, in what was then considered backcountry. The plan was spurned and defeated, however, by people opposed to spending the money required for the move, and the facility remains today on a large plot of premier real estate near the sea, along Avenida Pico.
As a proud owner of a historic home, bright-eyed Mimi has three suggestions for people who live on clifftops in historic houses: don’t dig; don’t water; no sprinklers; and don’t forget! She follows her own advice in her lovely garden of succulents and brilliantly colored geraniums in pots that require no extra watering. And she never forgets!b