Letter: Fight for Laguna’s Character by Attending Charm Tour

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The true character of “Liberate Laguna” and its mega-developer members continues to be revealed. Recently, a complaint was filed with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and two lawsuits were launched alleging fraud and misrepresentations on the part of the Shopoff companies and its owners who are key players in Liberate Laguna. One of the lawsuits seeks a $31-million-dollar recovery for misappropriation of investor’s funds.

Liberate Laguna is a developer-controlled Political Action Committee (PAC) that has been attacking many Laguna Beach institutions. They spent over $150,000 to elect their approved candidate for City Council (Peter Blake). According to the public record, the Shopoff’s contributed about 44 percent of the money and resources spent by the PAC to support Blake.

They are now aggressively attacking the integrity of the Design Review Board and seem to be trying to replace experienced and competent members with development-friendly candidates.

They have led a smear campaign against Village Laguna, a community organization that has been working hard to protect and enhance Laguna’s village character since 1971. For example, they have attacked Village Laguna’s Annual Charm House Tour (May 19) that invites people to explore five exceptional examples of historic Laguna Beach homes.

The more we learn about Liberate Laguna and its backers, the more vigilant we all must be about its activities in Laguna Beach. Our Village is under tremendous pressure from these mega-developers eager to change the character of our town for their own financial benefit. We can, by acting in concert and participating in Village affairs, stop this effort to degrade our town for private financial gain. Laguna Beach is a special place and worth fighting for! I suggest you attend the May 19 Charm House Tour to experience up close what we love about our Laguna.

Armando Baez, Laguna Beach

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  1. Oh Armando, there you go again. Can’t write enough letters, can you? Haven’t you lied enough? $150,000 spent on my campaign? Seriously? Why won’t you accept that I won because the residents were fed up with you, Toni Anne and Village Laguna’s obstructionist and restrictive policies? Tired of your council candidates appointees on Design Review Board, Planning, Heritage and your excessive influence at City Hall. You couldn’t get your loyal and faithful devotee Anne Christoph elected? Decades of activism and she couldn’t gain a seat? Two-time failure? Toni couldn’t beat a newbie? And all this you claim is because some PAC came in and bought the election? Armando, you and Village Laguna lost the election fair and square. Now your goose that lays the golden eggs has been exposed for what it is, and you’re not happy. Village Laguna’s Charm House Tour is nothing but a fundraiser for a political action committee. 47 years of hiding the fact that monies raised go towards your preferred candidates who toe the line for your politicized agenda. Oh yeah, there’s a small percentage spent on a scholarship and some money gets transferred over to your proxy groups which oversee South Laguna, Top of the World and the Canyon.

    I can’t wait until the next election when the residents let you know once again how little influence they want from all of you.


  2. I was in attendance observing the non-inclusive Village Laguna Summit, wherein they tried to deceive an audience into believing that $150,000 was spent on Council Member Peter Blake’s campaign.

    Nothing could be further from the truth. Even if you remove a zero from that figure, it would still be more than what was spent. He won because the people responded to his message.

    It is unfortunate that an elite organization, that lives above the law, in the form of Village Laguna, will go to such great lengths to deceive our residents.


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