Arnold Hano, right, at his 90th birthday party. (Courtesy Greg O'Loughlin / March 29, 2012)

A couple hundred of Bonnie and Arnold Hano's nearest and dearest celebrated Arnold's 90th birthday Saturday at Tivoli Terrace.

The nonagenarian requested no gifts for himself, but gifts to the Laguna Beach Community Clinic or Village Laguna were acceptable. Verbal bouquets were presented in abundance, beginning with the invitation, which read: "Friendship, wine and Arnold Hano improve with time."

"I am honored just to be here," said Barbara Painter.

John Monahan said he was also honored to be selected as master of ceremonies.

"I was Bonnie's first choice, not Arnold's," Monahan said. "However, Jennifer Lopez was not available."

Accolades began with Hano's son, Stephen.

He said the first birthday he remembers was his father's 30th.

"I was 8, and Bonnie brought out this chocolate cake. I had never seen so many candles," Stephen said. "He blew them all out and commented. 'Gee, the 20s went by so fast. Do you think the 30s will go as fast?'

"Yes, the 30s did. As did the 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s.

"If there is any justice in this world, in 2022, we will be celebrating your 100th birthday."

Mayor Pro Tem Verna Rollinger spoke next.

"Her connection to Arnold goes back to the 1970s," said Monahan. "He described her as a young chick getting her first taste of politics and never looked back."

Of course, Monahan was referring to the successful drive to limit building heights in Laguna and Rollinger's six terms as city clerk and, after a few years in retirement, her election to the City Council.

"I came to Laguna in 1970," Rollinger said. "In 1971, I was asked to help Phyllis Sweeney open an 'initiative office.' I hadn't been involved in anything like that, and I got to meet all these movers and shakers. And Village Laguna was formed.

"In 1972, I got a call from Arnold asking if I would be president of Village Laguna. I said I had never even attended a meeting. 'In that case,' he said, 'Would you be secretary?'"

When Rollinger ran for office in 1976, her brochure was written by Hano.

Councilwoman Toni Iseman followed Rollinger to the rostrum. She said her history with Hano was not without bumps.

Iseman spoke of one incident when he was vehemently opposed to a project she supported.

"He said I was supporting [the project] because the applicant was so handsome," Iseman said. "I was so offended. He wasn't my type."

Michael Phillips said as a young journalist he learned a lot about writing from Hano.