Letter: Let’s end the divisiveness in Laguna


It’s time to end the divisiveness in Laguna.

We have a new city council, a new city attorney and a new city manager coming. There are fewer reasons for divisiveness in Laguna, yet we still have columns in the paper and letters to the editors by people trying to drive wedges in our community. It’s time to start a new page.

One way the city government can help is to be truly open with the community, whether it’s good news or bad news. We can handle it.

In the absence of facts, some people make up their own truths.

It’s okay to have opinions, but it’s not okay to make up facts.

The recent retirement of the city manager is a case in point. We don’t know the whole story. We don’t have the facts. We have very few facts.

The release said, “Her decision comes as a result of a mutually agreed-upon separation agreement that was negotiated in response to a hostile workplace claim filed by Dupuis following a period of conflict with a city councilmember.” The actual separation agreement says, “… Employee represents and warrants that she has not filed any complaints, charges, grievances or lawsuits against the city, its officers, employees, agents, affiliates and attorneys with any governmental agency arising out of her employment with and separation from the city and that she will not do so at any time hereinafter…” That sounds like there was no actual complaint filed.

The public release also briefly references “legal and financial exposure to the city.” But from whom? Or what? A review of the last six months of closed sessions agendas includes: 1. Significant exposure of city to litigation by MOM investment group relating to May 2, 2023 incidents at Hotel Laguna and 14 West. 2. Potential Brown Act violation issue claims made by Councilmember Weiss. 3. Litigation between the Laguna Beach Company and the city. 4) tort claims against the city from a citizen. Could the reference to “exposure” be related to one of these issues? Without more information, we just don’t know, and people speculate, which feeds the divisiveness.

Let’s get past the blame game and do what the mayor suggested in the release, “…move forward with finding a new city manager and prioritizing the public’s business.”

We are all so fortunate to be able to live here. Let’s move on. And let’s see that the city government provides the community in the future with the full transparency it should provide.

John Thomas, Laguna Beach

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  1. Thank you for the sound message. We shouldn’t allow those with economic self-interests that are working overtime to create political divisiveness and outlandish city-related narratives to damper our community spirit.

    Laguna Beach welcomes its new legal counsel after 40 plus years and a 30 year experienced and professional interim city manager while we begin the search for an equally top-notch permanent city manager. Counting on all of our City Council members to fulfill their official duty to stakeholders by selecting a new CM recruitment firm, listening to residents input and bringing us a city manager who understands the importance of government transparency and showing respect for all LB employees and constituents.

    We have a great opportunity to move forward and heal our City. Lets go!

  2. Well said John. Thank you for pointing to the evidence. To all Council-members, current, past and future, we may not always agree but please use your position to lift us vs tear us down, please do not automatically defer to staff or city attorney opinions. You were elected you to represent us, the residents, not a few loud voices, not just major property owners but all of us. Please read our City policies vs blindly defer to outside legal opinions. read the policy, ask the questions, educate yourself on the General Plan, which is our community’s constitution. If you don’t agree with these policies, hold public meetings to to update or change them. Neighbors let’s lift each other up, show consideration and also abide by our rules and regulations or make public requests to change them. We have a great system let’s use it!

  3. Well said John. But unfortunately Freid and Ray eem to have an agenda that is just the opposite of what you suggest. One can hope that they have an epiphany especially Ray as his protege and mentor to his children , Peter Blake, seems to have started all this incivility and rancor.

  4. It’s not incivility to argue and disagree, but it’s being a baby to whine about people you don’t like and blame them for your unhappiness.


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