Letter: Lagunans have right to know where tax dollars go

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Let’s take a brief look at where we are. We have lost our city manager, and it will now take an estimated five to six months to find a new suitable replacement. By way of transparency, we know that the city council held five closed-door sessions to reach the decision to protect councilmember George Weiss and to let go of a critical city employee Shohreh Dupuis. According to the Indy, this decision has cost Laguna taxpayers $637,280 plus undisclosed legal fees.

As a matter of transparency, I personally went to the city hall to file a Freedom of Information Act request. The city clerk gave me the proper form, and I summarily completed my request. I requested all payments paid to Ritan and Tucker Law Firm for legal fees for council’s closed-door sessions and for drawing separation documents for settlement with city manager Shohreh Dupuis. This information will fully disclose what this decision has cost the citizens of Laguna Beach in our tax dollars. 

I received the following reply: “Dear Eric Axel Jensen, The City has not yet received copies of the invoices or total amount billed for these services; therefore, the information requested is not available at this time. We will now close your request for records. Feel free to submit the request again at a later date. Thank you for your time.” 

These meetings took place in August. 

I responded that I stand by my request. I assured them that my request would remain active until the information became available. I see no stipulation that gives the government the authority to cancel my legitimate request unilaterally. We may not be privileged to know what happened in secret meetings, but we are entitled to know how our hard-earned tax dollars are spent. 

Eric Jensen, Laguna Beach

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