Guest Column: Stop Ray’s Attacks on Village Laguna

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By Anne Caenn, Village Laguna President

The Feb. 17 edition of the Independent is not the first time Michael Ray has harshly and unfairly attacked Village Laguna, but it demonstrates an escalation in his abusive accusations.

Village Laguna is a 50-year-old community organization dedicated to the preservation of the village character of Laguna Beach. We work in the public interest. Our board members are volunteers who are dedicated to keeping Laguna Beach the lovely, exceptional place that residents and visitors love.

It is time for the Laguna Beach Independent to stop publishing these attacks. It is time for positive messages. Instead of lobbing accusations and falsehoods, let’s work together to solve problems and make our community even better.

Ray’s column has damaged Village Laguna’s reputation by accusing the organization of causing the home of Laguna Beach city manager Shohreh Dupuis to be defaced. Ray claims, falsely, that Village Laguna made public comments at a Feb. 7 city council meeting about a traffic citation issued to Ms. Dupuis and that those comments led to the defacing of her home. A cursory investigation would have shown that Village Laguna never made comments at the February city council meeting, public or otherwise, about Ms. Dupuis’s traffic citation. 

At the Feb. 7 meeting, three Laguna Beach residents commented on the city’s handling of the traffic citation issued to Ms. Dupuis. While Village Laguna fully supports the rights of Laguna Beach residents to address the city council on matters of public concern, the persons addressing the council at the Feb. 7 city council meeting regarding her traffic citation did not do so on Village Laguna’s behalf. The speakers are not members of Village Laguna. No one authorized by, or representing Village Laguna, spoke at the city council meeting about Ms. Dupuis’ traffic citation. Despite this, Mr. Ray stated in his column that the statements made at the council meeting were “VL [Village Laguna] verbal attacks from Feb. 7.” He also identified two of the speakers as Village Laguna members, which is false.

Mr. Ray then used his false statements to damage Village Laguna’s reputation by explicitly linking the statements and the attack on Ms. Dupuis’ home. Not only is there no proven link between the comments regarding Ms. Dupuis’ traffic citation and the vandalism at her home, but it’s also entirely false to attribute the statements at the meeting to Village Laguna.

The true story is Village Laguna president Anne Caenn responded to the attack on Ms. Dupuis’ home by mailing a personal, supportive note to her on Feb. 11. Village Laguna published the following statement in a message to members on Feb. 16.

“The heart of our organization is preserving and creating the community that we want to live in. Village Laguna deplores the defacing of the home of our city manager Shohreh Dupuis. Hate and violence have no place in our community, and we sympathize with her in this trying moment.”

Our members, and residents not members of Village Laguna, have expressed their concern about Ray’s attacks, even terming them defamatory. 

The Independent should not accept columns without fact-checking. In the interest of operating a publication with high journalistic standards should refuse to accept columns that are, at best, repetitive and often attempt to generate hateful attitudes about others in the community. If you want to protect and enhance the village character of Laguna Beach, Village Laguna invites you to join us at VillageLaguna.org and attend our online meeting on Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. We are featuring the newest council members at our meetings. Last month, we heard from Alex Rounaghi. At this meeting, our guest will be Mark Orgill. Even if you don’t attend our meetings, we invite you to join us in working for positive and productive community discourse.

Anne is president of Village Laguna, Inc.

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12 COMMENTS

  1. I have only one reply. The attack on the City Manager’s home was very specific. No other home in Laguna similarly has been smeared with feces or what appears to be feces. Which leads to the question: who does Ms. Caenn believe fomented the attack on the City Manager’s home?

  2. As usual Village Laguna and friends of Village Laguna seek to silence dissent.

    When I asked on nextdoor.com whether Village Laguna would stop their attacks and nastiness after Measure Q was defeated and Peter Blake lost re-election, I received NO ANSWER from Village Laguna. Instead, my posts were removed by the Village Laguna members that are also local moderators of the website .

    After bullying Peter Blake for the years he was on the City Council, Village Laguna has turned its sites on the city manager, applying the same threatening theatrics at Council meetings. The anti-growth and anti-business zealots of Village Laguna will stop at nothing. While the vandalism to the City Manage’s home may not have been committed by Village Laguna, they have created a climate in this town where vandalism is an acceptable political tactic. I thank the Independent for publishing the truth. As long as Village Laguna remains, incivility and bullying is here to stay.

  3. Michael Ray needs something new to write about, he has become boring, please consider new material, we are all tired of his untrue and unfair rants. Thank you.

  4. The issue here is Village Laguna’s membership is based on the human need for “Belonging and Love”. Abraham Mazlov’s theory is clear, that the most basic need is Physiological, then Safety. All of us in Laguna are satisfied on those.

    Specifically Belonging and Love are what Village Laguna’s cult of personality preys on, e.g. You’re either with us or you’re out, and you won’t find that Belonging need met.

    Therefore, Mr. Ray has evolved past the ‘Need to Belong’ and writes with esteem, achievement, and confidence.

    He has achieved individualized potential that exceeds the group think whinning that Village Laguna Leadership chortles week after week in the name of preserving precious Laguna Beach.

    If the VL Members could evolve past their personality block, they might be able to digest new ideas and find more value in any other thinking counter to theirs.

  5. In my opinion:
    The major damage to Village Laguna’s reputation is self inflicted by their stand on resident’s property rights!
    Various lawsuits brought against the City of Laguna Beach by Village Laguna and their creations trying to use CEQA to stop approved projects is reprehensible!
    More Laguna Beach property owners are growing aware of what this “ well organized vocal minority “ is costing the City in terms of man hours & legal fees!
    The voice of the voters was heard in this last election!
    Awareness is the 1st. step to change, in my opinion.

  6. Hi, Anne –

    I was astounded at the number of community grants that Village Laguna gives to local organizations. Would you please list those who have received grants from your organization over the past year? Many thanks for your group’s kind works!

  7. This “Guest Column'” is Village Laguna’s real strength. It is no longer susceptible to reductio ad absurdum arguments. Before you can come up with a comical take on their phoney blather, their leader has already written an article advancing the idea.

  8. Excellent reply India Hynes. Thank you.

    Don’t always agree with Michael Ray, but I don’t believe in silencing anyone’s voice, unlike many in this town who try to aggressively censor opinions they don’t agree with. The commentator immediately above, is a case in point. Not sure who the “We” is – certainly does not apply to many who agree with Ray’s sentiments re VL.

  9. Michael Tay before you start playing detective you should consider who really benefitted from this vandalism. You were very quick to sound the clarion call to all the supporters for the CM. And in addition very quick to put the blame on Village Laguna or their supporters. And it was a perfect fit for your continuous screed against VL. What a fortunate sequence of events for you and for the City Manager who certainly got the sympathy of many people. While the sympathy was deserved it certainly took some attention off of her inexplicable refusal to make the traffic stop documents available on a PRA request. So before you continue your detective work you should wait until the police finish their investigation on the vandalism. We might all be surprised if the perpetrator is caught.

  10. ” Which leads to the question: who does Ms. Caenn believe fomented the attack on the City Manager’s home?” – Michael Ray

    I don’t know who Ms. Caenn thinks did it, but I’d sure love to know if the cops checked the City Manager’s hands for the smell of fish emulsion.

  11. In addition to our annual $1000 scholarship to a student at Laguna Beach High School, started many years ago by Arnold Hano, we also donate to the Laguna Food Pantry, La Playa Center, the Friendship Shelter, Laguna Beach Community Clinic, Laguna BlueBelt, the Kelp Festival, Laguna Canyon Foundation, CCC Laguna Day Workers Center, Laguna Beach Historical Society, So. Laguna Community Garden and this year we are adding Sally’s Fund.

  12. Anne Caenn, Thanks for sharing. I don’t know any other PAC that has supported Laguna clubs and organizations like this year after year. Wonder which local community organizations the RAY, Shopoff/Goldstein PAC’s “Liberate Laguna/Laguna Forward/Laguna 2022” supported?

    I’m not a member of VL and have never been. But I do know, when the same people work this hard to use unfortunate community situations as opportunities to push their political agendas and offer no facts, few logical people fall for it. Thanks goodness.

    I’m thinking Mr. Ray should rename his column “Misinformation on the Coast.” No need for facts and it just might win he and the INDY a community gossip entertainment award.

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