Letter: In Regards to Councilmember George Weiss Call for Censure

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As we approach the year-mark of this global pandemic, our town grieves. Over 50 storefront buildings sit empty… Hotel Laguna, Coast Inn, Mosuns, The White House, San Shi Go–amongst many others.

People have lost everything. Their businesses, their sense of community, but most of all: their loved ones.

One would think, given the circumstances, that the City Council would be laser-focused on one agenda item: helping our residents emerge on the other side of this dark time.

This is not the case with Councilmember George Weiss. As his first agenda item, he is bringing a politically-charged censure against Councilmember Peter Blake, which is no surprise, given his previous attack on artist Jorg Dubin in attempts to remove him from the Planning Commission.

And please remember, this is the same “civil” George Weiss who strategically parked a van, depicted with a giant picture of a bulldozer, in the middle of downtown to attack innocent candidates. This is the same “civil” man who helped organize a protest at a private business because they donated space to an organization he simply didn’t like.

However, let’s switch to the agenda item at hand during the March 9 meeting.

Councilmember Toni Iseman, after 25 years of  political maneuvering, you’re telling us you cannot stand up to another person on the council

Let’s not forget that much of the anger directed your way has been self-induced. As former mayor Kelly Boyd said so eloquently at a council meeting: he should be dead from all the times you stabbed him in the back on issues.

Toni, you’re a powerful woman and rather than dealing with this issue yourself, you bring in a man to fight your battle. Sounds a bit outdated for the year 2021, don’t you think?

Toni, we believe you are perfectly capable of handling Peter Blake offline rather than creating this drama via your incessant virtue-signaling. And if you aren’t, how are you qualified to be sitting on this city council?

One can simply review the recordings of city council meetings to witness that you’re having trouble following the issues and cannot stay on top of agenda items. You probably couldn’t get through one meeting without the constant texts you receive from others.

We all know he could be polite, but I don’t think Peter’s behavior is the only one to be called into question tonight.

This is nothing but political theatrics that only distract from the real issues at hand. Weiss’s hypocritical calls for civility are nothing more than confirming that he doesn’t intend to act in good faith to manage this city through this perilous time. Why would he make it his debut agenda item?

You can no longer pour energy into such pursuits when the residents of Laguna need our City Council to focus on real issues. Let’s stop wasting everyone’s time and get to the real work  that the city council should be doing.

Cindy Shopoff, Laguna Beach

8 COMMENTS

  1. Peter Blake’s continuous attacks and bullying against people voicing opinions that differ from his are negatively affecting political participation of Laguna Beach residents. Many people have given testimony to this fact; and this is detrimental to our City. And make no mistake, despite Mr. Blake’s continual claims that he is simply defending himself against the vicious, entrenched establishment that is Village Laguna, the record shows he is the initiator of the vast majority of conflicts and nastiness.

    Unfortunately, until Mr. Weiss joined City Council, none of Mr. Blake’s colleagues on Council have had the courage to call Mr. Blake to account. Not Mayor Bob Whalen, nor Mayor Pro Tem Sue Kempf. That was unfortunate and it was to everyone’s detriment. It’s unclear whether Mr. Blake will now learn to restrain his temper and nasty behavior, but if the Council didn’t censure him for this, then there is really nothing that the council could expect to censure any current or future council member for.

    As for getting the City’s business done, Ms. Shopoff is conveniently ignoring the many positive decisions that the Council have taken over the past year to address issues affecting businesses and residents. Indeed, since Mr. Weiss joined the council, the funds made available to businesses in need were expanded to include matching funds for needy residents. As far as shuttered storefronts, the reality is that many of these were shuttered before CV-19 and many were on the brink. The nature of retail is fundamentally changing and many of these retail businesses may never come back. That is why it is refreshing to hear Council member Weiss express an openness to attracting other, non-tourist-focused businesses to Laguna Beach. Such new thinking is exacting what we’ve needed on Council (who for years have automatically aligned with the antiquated thinking that a beach town needs beach-tourism to survive), and hopefully we’ll see the fruits of such new thinking in the near-term.

    I can understand that a developer who together with her company donated well over $75,000 in cash and in-kind contributions to the Liberate Laguna PAC over the last 2 election cycles might be frustrated that her agenda isn’t moving along as quickly as she initial thought; but all residents’ needs should come up for consideration – and they should expect to participate in that process without fear or intimidation. Mr. Weiss’ successful censure motion will hopefully make this more likely in the future.

  2. An examination of Ms Shopoffs rationale for continuing to overlook and thereby condone the Liberate Laguna candidate Peter Blake’s actions signifies how many in this country have seemingly fail to understand the meaning of and necessity for civility. Ms. Shopoff goes from blaming the victim as has been done in any number of sexual assault cases to blaming the person, George Weiss, who had the courage, sadly lacking for two years, to simply do, according to his oath of office, his duty. Remember, Ms Shopoff, the code of conduct was unanimously approved by the council which included Peter Blake. So your candidate, Michael Ray, Sam Goldstein and you should really stop your anguished cries of foul play.

    As to your assertion that Toni Iseman is fully capable of handling this matter if you had absorbed anything that Blake said about his bullying you surely would have realised that even after the censure he has no intention whatsoever of restraining his vile behaviour. Why Should councilwoman Iseman waste her time on this? It is also interesting that you are actually just rephrasing Blake’s attack on Toni with your implication that she cannot fulfil her duties at the city council. But then you say she is strong enough to defend herself? So which is it? Or are you just throwing “stuff” against the wall to see if anything will stick? And of course when there is no defence for your candidate’s abhorrent behaviour you, Goldstein and Ray try to deflect from the real issue by telling us that there are more important things to do and demand that George withdraw the censure motion. What is more important than addressing a problem that is at the very heart of a democracy? We had four years of a party at the national level that did ignore a very similar situation and what did we get? So I suggest that the Liberate Laguna leaders who seem to be the self anointed leaders of our town take a deep breath and reflect on civility and democracy.

  3. On the record Michael the ONLY thing George Weiss has done is this ridiculous censure. Please do not attribute the hard work of the part of city council that actually works to him.
    His first and ONLY item brought to the council. Gee I can’t wait to see what he does next. As to my agenda, my agenda is doing just fine. Thanks. Honey. Get me a scotch!!!

  4. Village Laguna bootlicker and Laguna Residents First co-founder, Michael Morris is concerned that I’m affecting public participation? Right! The activists he’s referring to would Zoom in from their deathbeds to express themselves. They never miss a Council meeting or an opportunity to enforce their will and agenda onto Laguna’s residents. They’re the ones who actually bully and negatively affect public participation.

    Since getting elected, Michael’s best friend and Village Laguna lapdog George Weiss, has been busy exerting his leftist agenda every chance he can. He “negotiated a settlement” with his fellow preservationist suppressors allowing the Rivian to move forward (he helped put out the fire he and his supporters started) He displayed his anti-cop views when he voted against a Council resolution to support OC Sherif Barnes in his attempts to keep dangerous criminals incarcerated (he was concerned with them getting Covid) The woke hypocrite (affordable housing advocate) then went on to snitch on artist Jorg Dubin for living in his studio where he’s lived and worked since 1978. He wanted Jorg’s seat on the Planning Commission for a Village Laguna crony (he failed). Last week he flexed his political muscles and orchestrated the Censure Charade. A political maneuver meant to suppress and ultimately remove a duly elected political opponent via public humiliation. He was after all endorsed and funded by his masters at Village Laguna to “rein me in” and limit the damage I’ve inflicted onto their power base (he’s failed again)

    Oh, and now Michael has informed us that tastemaker George will work on attracting “non-tourist-focused businesses” leaving us all wondering about the retailers he’ll bring to Laguna. Maybe his fellow frumps over at Village Laguna could make some suggestions? How bout a VCR repair shop? Lawnmower repair? A smock dress outlet? Stay tuned shoppers!

    Michael you’re correct about previous Councils being “automatically aligned with the antiquated thinking that a beach town needs beach-tourism to survive” That approach originated from Village Laguna mouthpiece Toni Iseman and her colleagues who from the dais oversaw an explosion of low-end tourists coming to Laguna. Over the last 30 years the numbers went up by the millions on her watch and she did nothing to curtail it (you’re trying to blame me?) Maybe Toni was too busy codling the transients that she and her left-wing supporters attracted and enabled with open arms and gilded welcome mats?

    Oh, and thanks for keeping tabs on my agenda. I’m happy to report that it’s moving along faster than expected.The Design Review Board has four new members and is finally respecting property rights, the Planning Commission is looking towards the future with an expanded vision, our downtown is showing encouraging signs and City Hall has been liberated from the stranglehold Village Laguna has had on it for 50 years. New staff members are working with existing ones to streamline the system and it’s coming together beautifully! I can only imagine how frustrated all of you must be. Change never comes easy to Laguna’s Luddites.

    And finally how’s “Mr. Weiss’ successful censure motion” working? We both know it’s destined to fail along with the Code of Conduct farce. Sorry, but the residents of Laguna aren’t open to your brand of Cancel Culture and you picked the wrong Councilman to try it out on.

    What’s next Michael? Recall?

  5. Ms. Shopoff, That, to me, is the “Tom Smothers reply” made famous in the Smothers Btothers TV show. Failing to answer a point because there was no good answer Tom Smothers would simply say “Oh yeah?!” You went one better by attacking the messenger as well. After two years of cowering before Blake George Weiss had the guts to apply the code of conduct remedy which is his right and duty. Good on you, George!

  6. Hello Ms. Shopoff. You state: “Weiss’s hypocritical calls for civility are nothing more than confirming that he doesn’t intend to act in good faith to manage this city through this perilous time. Why would he make it his debut agenda item?”

    I think the answer to your question is that without respectful civil engagement between the city council and their constituents, who rightfully have a say in how their government is being run and how representatives are conducting themselves on their behalf, it’s impossible for the council to accomplish all that needs to be done in the midst of such ongoing discourse. While you may disagree with CC Weiss taking immediate action to utilize our City Decorum and Civility Policy (created by Mayor Bob Whalen and adopted by the entire Council in 2019) as a remedy for such distracting and destructive behavior, he had every right to address a growing toxic civic environment issue and to ask his co-council and the public for their opinions and support. Obviously, they agreed with him as witnessed by their unanimous approval to censure Councilman Blake.

    I applaud the fact that CC Weiss has the leadership skills to know that you have to get to the root of a problem in order to move forward. He did just that and he used our governments very own policy to help resolve the problem which it was intended to do. I say this is what real leadership looks like. And I thank Bob, Sue and Toni for their show of what responsible governance looks like.

  7. And now Blake is blaming the ever increasing hordes, primarily day trippers, on Village Laguna and Toni Iseman. Apparently he didn’t watch the, I believe, MTV program about Laguna Beach nor the million plus dollars a year being spent by Visit Laguna to attract even more of these hordes. Another “Tom Smothers” reply.

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