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In Defense of Mrs. Penney-Hall

Editor,

I read with interest Mr. Navarro’s very strong and almost nasty letter in your fine paper of Nov. 12. In it, he appears to respond to a letter in the previous week’s edition from Mrs. Penney-Hall, which I did not read, since I was out of the country that week (I try to keep up with Laguna through the web pages of the Indy, but I missed that week’s edition). So, I used yahoo search to find the offending letter Mr. Navarro refers to so I could understand why he was so angry.

Well, I was really surprised to see that the letter Mr. Navarro refers to was nowhere to be found. Instead, I found a letter in which Mrs. Penney-Hall makes a strong but reasonable argument in defense of the City Council’s actions in denying Mr. Navarro’s wife’s reappointment to the DRB.

As someone who knows Mrs. Penney-Hall, I write this to set the record straight from my own point of view:

1. In writing that letter, Mrs. Penney-Hall does not claim to be writing on behalf of any local group, as Mr. Navarro claims.

2. Mrs. Penney-Hall never compares him to Stalin, as Mr. Navarro claims.

3. I have never heard it said that any community group has an “official” position to keep architects and other design professionals off the Design Review Board. If I read her letter carefully, Mrs. Penney-Hall did not say that it did, nor did she even state that this was her own position.

4. I wonder when any of the city council members became so docile as to be controlled by any person or group as Mr. Navarro claims? Rollinger, Egly, Iseman, Boyd or Pearson controlled by specific groups? If Mr. Navarro thinks any of the five council members can be so easily controlled, then I would like to see him try it. Maybe that way he could get the council to place his wife back on the Design Review Board.

I have never met Mr. Navarro, at least I cannot recall doing so, but I know his wife Leslie well, like her and respect her for her achievements. However, by continuing to make such a public and mean-spirited effort to “right the wrong” he feels his wife received, Mr. Navarro could wind up damaging her reputation and public record.

Armando Baez

Laguna Beach

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