Letter: A Pure Cover-Up at City Hall

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Did you think residents wouldn’t notice your deception in Aug. 24, 2021’s staff report on the closed session regarding the Hotel Laguna? According to statements by Council members Weiss and Iseman at the last council meeting, there was no potential litigation discussed concerning the Hotel Laguna. The developer-friendly Liberate Laguna Forward threesome of Sue Kempf, Peter Blake, and Bob Whalen did not make any contradictory statements to that. Neither did the City Manager. Neither did the City Attorney when given the chance to speak or correct the record. Yet in this staff report, and I quote “On June 29, 2021, in connection with a conference of the City Council with its legal counsel and others at a closed session regarding the potential litigation related to the project, the City Counsel was notified of the City Manager’s and Community Development Director’s intention to modify the stop-work order”.

In my opinion you are intentionally revising history to give yourselves and Sue/Peter/Bob—who voted for this action—cover for this potential Brown Act violation. In fact, a lawyer has looked at this and I am told that it is in fact a violation of the Brown Act. So to respond to your critics and “correct and cure” the incident you agendized it for the Aug. 24 City Council meeting. And to further protect yourselves you have put incorrect information into the staff report. It was not noticed as litigation in closed session.  According to two councilmembers, litigation was not mentioned. It shouldn’t have been on the agenda at all since it didn’t deal with any one of the three items that fall under Closed Session guidelines.

Additionally, you give cover again for this probable Brown Act violation to Sue/Peter/Bob with the following statement. “The action for modifying the stop-work order was performed by City staff as an administrative matter, not the City Council.”  So why did they have to vote on this?  If this was just an administrative action then why even bring it up to council, especially in a closed session where it apparently shouldn’t have been?

I ask the City Council to request that these two references be stricken from the staff report and the record. I believe it is a pure cover up of the violations by a mendacious city staff interested in protecting themselves from a Brown Act lawsuit. Residents are awake and we are paying attention. Remember, it’s election time. Do the right thing.

Michèle Monda, Laguna Beach

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