Letter: Councilmember Kempf Collaborates with StuNews Editor/Owner


I only recently received public records from City Hall that I requested over four months ago.

These documents were extremely redacted, but something slipped through their secretive black-out net.

There appears to be an unhealthy relationship, or should I say collaboration, between Shaena Stabler, the editor/owner of StuNews, and Councilwoman Sue Kempf.

On April 21, 202,1 Sue Kempf emailed the City Attorney and the Mayor with the following:

“Shaena Stabler [the editor of StuNews] texted me this evening to alert me to the fact that there is a breach of confidentiality regarding the City Manager selection. She also sent me this email string and told me ‘to do what I want with it.’ It appears that [Michele] Monda was writing a letter for the Stu and Shaena pushed back. This is a problem for both George and Toni. Frankly, they should be disqualified from participating further in any selection process.”

So Sue, do you make it a habit of colluding with StuNews to twist and control the City’s narrative behind the public’s back? Is there any way that we can possibly not think that StuNews is in bed with you—aiding and abetting your agenda and thereafter the Mayor and City Attorney’s agendas? Is Stabler triangulating residents’ concerns and getting approval from city officials she favors before she prints our letters? At this week’s City Council meeting it was revealed by Iseman that Stabler had threatened her with the release of a voicemail if she worked with me. Is this proper behavior for a journalist?

So much for StuNews doing their job asking the hard questions, investigating what goes on behind the public’s back, and being part of the unbiased fourth estate. So much for her journalistic integrity. So much for her honesty. Hello collaboration. It seems that StuNews is nothing more than the propaganda arm of city officials and developer friendly councilmembers.

I will never trust StuNews, Stabler, or Kempf again.

I have to ask the public, “Is this your idea of public service and transparency? Is this the behavior of a city councilmember you want representing you?”

Michèle Monda, Laguna Beach 

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  1. Transparency? 4th Estate? It’s a community rag not the NYT. If Monda lost trust in Stunews she’s the only one in Laguna that had trust in StuNews. The rest of us always knew better


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