I was born and raised in Laguna, and my husband and I are now raising our young son in town. The Laguna I love and respect is not only the town known for its beaches and art festivals, but also a town that is considerate, respectful, understanding and kindhearted. The City Council meeting on July 9 did not uphold those values. It was hostile, mean-hearted, and unpredictable— lacking respect for those sharing their viewpoints, no matter the side they were on.
You shouldn’t have to suit up in armor to share your thoughts at a Council meeting. You shouldn’t be bullied at a Council meeting. And I want to be clear that my feelings aren’t caused by the outcome of certain decisions—it is the overall tone of the meetings, particularly from one council member. Peter Blake’s behaviors were shocking as he accused attendees of lying and turned a passionate and polite discussion into an aggressive and heated argument. Blake was allowed to lash out, speak unkindly and interrupt, never once being asked to stop. Blake’s unacceptable behavior was also extended to his fellow Council members.
The Laguna Beach Unified School District has a zero tolerance for bullying, and I can only hope the City Council has the same policy. Mayor Whalen, I am asking you to reevaluate the current accepted behaviors of Council members, particularly Peter Blake.
The solution is seemingly straightforward—all Council members treat each other and the citizens of Laguna Beach with respect and kindness. Mr. Blake, I am still waiting for my apology for being called a liar. The residents of Laguna are awaiting their apology.
Hate has no home here.
Meredith McMahon, Laguna Beach