Letter: Hostile Council Meeting Lacked Respect for Speakers

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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 

 

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10 COMMENTS

  1. Peter Blake needs to go. After seeing long time residents of Laguna called “hippies” (like that’s a bad thing) for sharing their concerns at meetings & his utter lack of respect for anyone whose view differ from his, I think it’s safe to say he has no place here.

  2. Wow. Sorry for whatever transpired. I admire Meredith’s articulate review and perception of the meeting. I hope the Mayor absorbs it and acts on it.

  3. Thanks for the recap on the CC meeting. Somehow it’s not quite in line with my recollection. It was far from a “passionate and polite discussion” You, Village Laguna and other activists were there to fight! My agenda bill was meant to finally bring resolution to a 20 year attempt to bully property owners into accepting “pathways” onto their private property against their will.

    Merideth, Many of the emails directed at Council and staff were full of distorted facts, and yes, some were filled with lies. I will never apologize for defending those who get bullied by activists attempting to use the system against the hard working, tax paying residents who value their property rights. I owe you, and no one an apology for defending the silent majority who voted for change in the last election.

    Youre right! The solution is straighforward. Respect and kindness are a two way street.

    Peter

  4. Peter, I support your efforts but your outbursts and interruptions during public comment diminish your credibility. I attend and watch on videos for every single meeting and the lack of respect that you have for people is disturbing and distracting. I get that things need to change but bullying is wrong. Please lead the community in a way that inspires creativity and forward thinking instead of bashing and putting people down for their efforts. Whether or not I agree with you on every topic your services appreciated.

  5. Peter, I support your efforts but your outbursts and interruptions during public comment diminish your credibility. I attend and watch every meeting and your actions indicate a lack of respect for people. It’s disturbing, distracting and aware of time. I get that things need to change but bullying is wrong. Please lead the community in a way that inspires creativity and forward thinking instead of bashing and putting people down for their efforts.

    Respect and kindness is not a two-way street when you are in a role of leadership. Your role is to always respect and be kind because that’s what will lead others to do the same.

    Whether or not I agree with you on every topic your services appreciated.

  6. Sheila, for the record, I’m not a punching bag for local political activists to have their way with. Respect goes both ways. I’m the one being bullied and I respond in kind. This should not be a surprise to anyone. I ran for office as one that was willing to go up against the status quo. Decades of Village Laguna ruling the Council Chamber have given way to equal representation for the silent majority. I was elected to fight. Not make nice.

    Peter

  7. Peter Blake was elected to promote the interested of Mo who paid 150K to buy.nPeter his seat on the city council. Everything else is PR.

  8. Peter Blake is the face of narcissism and bullying. He excuses name-calling with “they started it” like the childish schoolyard bully he is. I voted for him but I never imagined that he’d lower the bar of community discourse like this. But this is the new political model- to proclaim yourself a leader of the silenced, take to social media to disparage others, see yourself as a hero. He’s right and you’re wrong and that’s all there is to it. I’m sure his self-importance has served him well in his business life. But he’s not reflective of a sense of community at all.

  9. For the record, a number of Village Laguna proponents kept stating their children walked through the
    pathways on the way to and from school. This is impossible and yes, a lie. The pathways do not connect and lead to nowhere. They were lies. Peter stated the truth.

    Further, the VL people kept stating the pathways were required for escaping during fires; yet the top Fire Marshall at the CC meeting said this was NOT suggested and asked people please not to do it. This did not stop VL people from repeating the claim over and over. A half-lie? Yes? A false assertion? most certainly.

    The bullies are the Village Laguna people who will stop at nothing to get their way.

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