Letter: A Sorry Spectacle of Local Government

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The Laguna Beach City Council ignored both the facts and the law in its rush to censure Councilman George Weiss for violating the Brown Act by disclosing closed-session information to the public. Councilman Weiss did not disclose confidential information; he only conveyed information already made public by the City Manager. And his action is explicitly protected by the Brown Act.

The Council censured Councilman Weiss for informing the public that the City Council had illegally met and voted in closed session to allow construction to resume on Mohammad Honarkar’s renovation of the Hotel Laguna. However, a June 28, 2021 letter to the City Council from Village Laguna shows that the City Manager had already informed members of the public that the Council would take up this topic at the June 29 council meeting in closed session. Councilman Weiss was only restating information that had already been provided to the public by the City Manager.

The Brown Act prohibits the disclosure only of confidential information, and the City Manager had already publicly disclosed that the Council would discuss the Hotel Laguna in closed session. Also, the Brown Act provides that it is not a violation to disclose improper actions taken in closed session “including the disclosure of the nature and extent of the illegal or potentially illegal action.” That is precisely what Councilman Weiss disclosed when he informed the public that the Council had illegally met and voted in closed session to allow work to resume at the Hotel Laguna.

The City Council’s censure of Councilman Weiss was a sorry spectacle of local government running off the tracks. From the misbegotten and uninformed attempt to tarnish Councilwoman Iseman, who has over 20 years of distinguished service on the City Council, to the display of Council Members cross-examining each another on the podium, the City Council’s censure of Councilman Weiss was an epic train wreck. A lot of work will be required to repair the damage at City Hall. A good place to start would be by repealing Councilman Weiss’s censure and by curing the Council’s Brown Act violations with a public meeting on the Hotel Laguna.

Kurt Wiese

Village Laguna Board Member

Former General Counsel of the South Coast Air Quality Management District

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  1. Well, counselor, you conveniently omitted several data points: Mark Fudge & Paul Freeman.
    MF for snitching, rolling over and enmeshing George & Toni for his personal agenda gain (revenge against the City) and Paul for hosting a kiss and tell powwow at his place (Aliso Viejo?).
    Bad dog, bad dog, for Toni & George for even going there in the first place.
    But isn’t it obvious that Paul & Mark have, as Ricky Ricardo said, “some ‘splaining to do”?
    Two of the prime movers of the train wreck are NOT subject to censure, apparently are sheltered from legal quasi-legal blowback.
    And Village Laguna has collaborated, conspired with both.
    I keep LOL, I mean VL is a bunch of old foggies, their average age must be comparable to mine (75 this year)……and just to be clear, I think that those who gaslight, allege that VL has had a stranglehold on this City for decades are out of their rabbit ass minds.
    After launch, the Canyon Greenbelt and height limits issue progressed, they’ve become increasingly entropic, less power each year. IMHO, they’re pretty much irrelevant, a straw dog for developer friendly venting.
    Never mistake activity for achievement, they do try to monopolize the podium and MSM via LTE, columns, but after 9 pm they’re probably changing their Depends, taking meds and nodding off.
    They have become, as Chairman Mao put it, paper tigers.
    They NEVER lifted a finger, supported my enviro-NGO (Clean Water Now) in any way……..with one glaring, boldly inspirational exception: Toni Iseman, who to her credit attended and participated in our Cal Coastal Commission, SOC coastline award-winning 2000-2013 beach cleanup efforts. I never saw or heard from one other VL or SLCA. EVER.
    Toni came down, brought a strainer, we gave her a bag and I went out there in front of the MB Lifeguard Tower to observer her on her hands and knees staring out cigarette butts. That’s commitment, folks.
    So I support her “butt” not for the same reasons!

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