Letter: Michael Ray Defense of the Indefensible


In 2019 Michael Ray, one of the principals, I believe, of Liberate Laguna, the well-funded megadeveloper PAC, wrote a glowing column on the virtues of Peter Blake.

It is evident that the money spent in direct support of Blake and Sue Kempf coupled with attack ads against other candidates was instrumental in their victories. In this “defense” he stated that Peter Blake was and still is a mentor to his children. Since that ringing approval Blake’s actions have reached new lows in personal attacks of not only residents but also against one council member, Toni Iseman.

And yet just recently Michael (or should I say “Mitch”) Ray gave another endorsement of Peter Blake even though twice Blake has officially demanded that Toni resign because of Blake’s assessment that she is unfit to continue in her capacity. But the latest outrage of Blake’s, in my view, sociopathic verging on sadistic bullying was his referring to Toni as “Village Laguna’s mouthpiece and sycophantic slag”.

Since Blake used a few polysyllabic words he surely knew that in modern usage the noun slag used in reference to a female is equivalent to the word slut. So what I would like to ask Mr. Ray is: if someone used that term to describe your wife or daughter would you take offense and institute legal action?

Would you ever excuse that abhorrent bullying? And do you still defend and thereby condone this bullying from your self-described mentor of your children? We have all seen the tragic results of unscrupulous politicians like Mitch McConnell excusing and condoning abhorrent behavior so I think a response is warranted from one who sees himself as an influencer in Laguna Beach.

Chris Catsimanes, Laguna Beach

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  1. What is the point of this letter?

    No, let me guess.

    Ahhh, a repetition of the continual Village Laguna attacks on anyone who does not lay down in front of them as though they represented The Promised Land?

    Yup, that sounds about right.

  2. Thank you, Chris, for pointing out the connection between developer and Liberate Laguna founder Michael Ray and City Council embarrassment Peter Blake. In my judgment it is wrong for the Indy to provide an ongoing regular forum for Ray’s self-interested opinions on city governance, development, and most particularly Village Laguna, without at the very least identifying his personal and financial interests in these issues. Ray should be free to write a letter any time he chooses, but he should not be a regular columnist in our community newspaper.

  3. Here comes Village Laguna board member Chris Catsimanes with his weekly attack LTE. As usual, hypocrisy levels are extended and facts are non-existent.

    For starters I have mentored Michael’s children and many others via internships in my gallery. I teach young people how to run a business. I am currently mentoring a recent college graduate on how to to be a politician in today’s brutal political climate. I use LTE’s from political predators like you, MJ Abraham and Johanna Felder as an example of how low some activists will go to achieve their goals.

    I have sparred with Toni Iseman in response to attacks that she herself has launched against me and also the attacks she’s choreographed with others. She’s a ruthless adversary and was described perfectly by ex-Mayor Kelly Boyd who served with her for years. He commented that “her knife was dull from stabbing so many people in the back”. I have asked her to resign because I believe that she has a cognitive impairment that keeps her from fulfilling her duties as a Councilperson. She was barely qualified to run a small seaside village, she’s NOT qualified to run a city with a 100 million dollar budget. As far as my comment about her being Village Laguna’s mouthpiece, she is, and you as a board member know that. I did refer to Toni as a “sycophantic slag” but was taken out of context. For the record the definition of sycophantic is “behaving or done in an obsequious way in order to gain advantage” and slag is “waste matter separated from metals during the smelting or refining of ore” In the art world slag is a phrase we use when corrupted metal rises up to the surface of a cast sculpture and destroys the surface. My point was that she’s a bootlicking and corrupted politician. You and your colleagues claim the word slag refers to a “slut”? I guess that definition worked better for your false narrative. I suggest you use Google or Wikipedia when seeking the definition of words you don’t know. It works better than English dictionaries that are hundreds of years old.

    Nice try!

  4. Thanks for bringing attention to this issue. Blake’s attacks and name calling has reached an all-time low. Makes you wonder about anyone who supports and promotes someone like Peter Blake.

  5. MJ, I’m supported by the vast majority of Laguna’s residents. You know, the ones who value property rights, Law and Order and safety from the criminal transients you coddle, and a sophisticated dining and retail experience (something a tasteless frump like yourself cant begin to comprehend). They happen to believe that my continued defense of their rights, as the tax-payers who pay the bulk of our city’s hundred million dollar budget, is at an all-time high especially when directed towards Luddites like yourself.

    Thanks for bringing attention to this issue!

  6. If Michael Ray was referring to my LTE titled “Michael Ray Defense of the Indefensible” when he asked what the point of it was he obviously did not comprehend my missive. So I’ll try to make it clear. You have at least two times and now with your ringing endorsement for at least the third time during Blake’s censure told us how much you support Peter Blake. In one of your endorsements you stated that was and still is a mentor to your children. I don’t believe that many parents would have a mentor like Blake for their children based on his conduct toward women and to a lesser degree how he treats anybody with whom he disagrees. But if that is your idea of a mentor so be it. But the real question I have especially since you wholeheartedly supported Blake during the censure is: Would you approve of anyone calling your wife, sister, or mother a slag? And make no mistake about it in American slang the slag when referring to a woman means one of loose morals or a woman who sleeps around; Blake’s protestations not withstanding. I hope my question is clear enough.


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