The censure of Councilmember Blake was the ultimate nothing burger. Achieving mass media exposure seems to have been its only accomplishment. That and making our local governance the butt of yet more Laguna jokes, our city’s limp leadership into a target of wider ridicule regionally.
First, everyone knew in advance that such a procedure has no legal ramifications, no fiscal or civil sanctions hence no real consequences unless one believes the banner headlines exclaiming “Peter Blake: Bad dog! Bad dog!” are meaningfully significant.
A lot of venting, prior, during and still vibrant after the city council hearing by both pro and con parties. Oh, and one must not forget the CYA aspect regarding buffering comments by Mayor Bob Whalen and Mayor Pro Team Sue Kempf. Post-haste, both were quickly quoted, walked back their yes censure votes in said media. Can you say wishy-washy? I knew you could!
Waffling, cleaning up, self-serving with their fingers to their future respective political winds, Whalen and Kempf in a sense neutered their own votes by alleging that Blake was intentionally baited into exhibiting certain behavior. Thus cushioning, excusing him even though they voted to censure, you know, “But his dog did eat his homework.”
The cons, who had spent several years jousting with Blake both online, at meetings and in letters to the editor, who abhorred and sought retributive punishment for his perceived crimes got their wish. Or did they?
Did anybody win anything, was anything really accomplished? If Blake decides to run again in 2022, he can make this censure a badge of courage as Trump did. As a Marine in the mid-60s, I was told to never give your enemy ammunition.
Internecine warfare, where there’s actually no blood, no casualties, doesn’t resolve anything. Blake got a lot of free publicity to assist him in his “champion of the silent majority” image. Those who apparently are repulsed, disgusted and appalled by his perceived incivility and objectionable language, his coarse mannerisms, got a few hours of free therapy out of the council hearing.
Isn’t it reasonable for many to ask all of those involved: What was your ultimate goal? What did you hope to accomplish? What outcome that truly changed the situation occurred?
As both sides continue to speak and write some pretty nasty and harsh things about and to each other, Laguna becomes yet more polarized as a city. All due to a council hearing full of sound and fury that signified nothing.
Roger E. Bütow, Laguna Beach
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