Letter: Residents Deserve Transparency

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At the Feb. 7 city council meeting, city manager Shohreh Dupuis said four residents had cyberbullied her on social media and at council meetings for months. Surprised, I paid special attention when Ms. Dupuis identified each resident by name!

Ms. Dupuis also accused the four of creating a “hostile work environment” but offered no evidence. Since the four have never worked for the city, Ms. Dupuis’ hostile environment accusation is specious.

At the meeting, the city council majority failed to ask Ms. Dupuis for evidence. The recently elected council candidates who ran on transparency, civility and change listened to Ms. Dupuis’ unsubstantiated claims in pointed silence. Why was there no questioning about these defamatory accusations?

The council majority then closed public comments without allowing the four to defend themselves. Finally, at the Feb. 21 city council meeting, the four asked city manager Dupuis for her evidence. Despite having two weeks to prepare, Ms. Dupuis remained silent.

A local reviewer on the NextDoor community platform also spoke on Feb. 21 and dispelled the city manager’s cyberbullying claims by checking active and removed posts on NextDoor and Facebook. The reviewer found nothing to support Ms. Dupuis’ accusations.

In another incident, Ms. Dupuis was stopped and cited for talking on her cell phone while driving. She allegedly told the police officer she was talking to the police chief. A local resident and an attorney made a public records request regarding this stop. Subsequently, Ms. Dupuis accused the resident and the attorney of bullying and harassing her. The city has also hired a Los Angeles law firm at taxpayer expense to assist with withholding these records.

Why is Ms. Dupuis allowed to attack residents without any evidence? Why is the council majority uninterested in protecting residents’ First Amendment and Brown Act rights? Why is the council uninterested in disciplining wayward city officials who violate multiple code of ethics and rules of procedures?

The city manager can eliminate all public doubt by presenting factual evidence of bullying and harassment and by releasing all requested records. If not, her credibility will continue to be in doubt.

Laguna residents deserve the release of all applicable information and a formal public review of these matters now.

Tyrone Borelli, Laguna Beach

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Shouldn’t the person asking for transparency be transparent about who he/or she is???
    I thought it was the Indy’s policy to only print articles/or responses from people who are transparent about who they are.
    I truly have NO opinion about the City Manager one way or the other, but I feel strongly about not operating in the DARK especially if someone is on the attack.
    Closed door secret meetings; unnamed sources; hidden agendas; personal grudges all with NO accountability is wrong and dangerous.
    I would love to be able to support someones concern’s or grievances that are justified, but that is impossible without knowing where the issues arise from.
    I understand that people may be worried about retaliation especially in this town; but there is NO change without conviction and the consequence that come from your convictions.

  2. I am apparently the (retired) freedom of information attorney referenced in the anonymous guest column. In response to Kirk Langton’s comments, anonymous writing has been a lynchpin of free speech in this nation since the American Revolution. I quote the Institute for Free Speech nine years ago:

    “Today, we celebrate the anniversary of one of the most important pieces of writing in American history – Thomas Paine’s Common Sense. Originally published 238 years ago on January 10, 1776, the pamphlet is famous as one of the most influential essays in history, credited with convincing large portions of the American colonies that independence from Great Britain was necessary. Without Paine’s work, the American Revolution as we know it may not have happened. . . .

    “When it was first published in 1776, Common Sense did not credit its author. Its publisher, the wealthy Benjamin Rush, was also anonymous. For many months, while the pamphlet was the talk of the colonies, the public didn’t know who wrote or published it. Paine wanted it that way, both because his arguments against British rule would bring government retaliation, and because he shared the Enlightenment belief that ideas were more important than the identity of the speaker expressing them.”

    If anyone disputes anything in the guest column, they are free to state their case.

  3. Kirk Langton: You are jumping to conclusions. As the print and digital editions make clear, the letter was written by Tyrone Borelli, who also is jumping to conclusions. I’m sure the editor will correct the omission.

  4. Oh please elaborate Mr. Quilter on what conclusions the author is jumping to?? I am one of the four women called out by Dupuis in a public meeting. I have repeatedly asked for proof of her statements against me and no proof or acknowledgement of their existence has been made. I’m still waiting because she has none and I want it on the record.

  5. Chris- Thank you…This correction ADDS strength to Mr. Borelli’s concerns.
    The Indy obviously made the correction and ADDED Mr. Borelli’s name to his letter.
    As stated I had NO opinion or concerns about the letter or its content and was merely commenting on transparency and the Indy’s letter policies.
    My letter should have NEVER made it to print. During the Indy’s review process they should have realized they had omitted Mr. Borelli’s name from his article, corrected it and replied to my comments stating this was an oversight and not an omission.
    End of Story….

  6. Chris Quilter your talk about jumping to conclusions seems to be selective or you must not have read Michael Ray’s
    immediate conclusion both in LTE’s and in his ringing endorsement of the CM and her job performance and conversely his jumping to conclusions about Village Laguna supporters or even VL members being responsible the “feces “ which were on the house and the side walk of the the CM’s house. Based on the political situation and missteps made by the City Manager since she was appointed as the LB CM in the opinion of more than a few people she was not performing a the level expected for that position.

    She was dismissive of council member Toni Iseman, who after all is her superior, by telling her that she was prejudiced and that she would not give her information as to the numerous times work without permits was done by Mo at Hotel Laguna and always being followed up by after the fact permits because Toni did not vote in favor of her appointment as CM. That is gross insubordination. Need I say anything about parking spaces leased for an average of $58 dollars a month, buying the Ti Amo property for reportedly $200,000 over an offer on the table without getting an appraisal only to have the property be declared surplus about a year it was purchased. And of let us not forget the probably thousands of staff hours spent on the air lease Memorandum of Understanding with the Presbyterian Church which was so totally so one sided and at the absolute worst location that it appears to be having a quiet death. And of course the CM did not get an independent appraisal of the Church’s valuation of the land of $7.4 million I still remember your ringing endorsement of what I call the “Great Church Giveaway”.

    Then after her being stopped for illegal use of a cell phone while driving there were some questions as to her actions during and after the stop. A resident totally within her right made a public record request. Shortly after the request was made rather than giving the information that would confirm the story that any attempt at using her position as CM to avoid the ticket she at our expense hire a high priced lawyer to opine that the crucial data could not be divulged. She also accused four women of cyber bullying and creating a hostile work place. So we are asked to believe what I see as a convoluted story that seems to have evolved over several meetings that we know of. But the data that would confirm or refute her story is not going to be made available unless legal action is instituted.

    The intelligence level of Laguna residents, I suspect, is above normal. We have eveolved a method of making inferences on incomplete data as a survival trait. This is called Bayesian inference. The data available currently has two, in my view, equally probable outcomes as to whether the CM lied and or may have used her position to change reports. That is not jumping to a conclusion. That is using available data to make a hypothesis or inference. In my way of analyzing the data the greater the effort the CM makes to keep the body cam record and the cell phone records from the time the officer started his pursuit the harder it is going to be to believe her story.

    Now that we have had the time to look at who gained the most from this “feces” episode it is starting to smell like the fish compound that was used on the CM’s house. Again that is a hypothesis that can either be confirmed or refuted, but only if the perpetrators are caught. And there is a non-zero probability that neither the VL members or their supporters had anything to do with it. That is not jumping to conclusions, Chris, that is how the human brain works. A good detective looks at all possibilities. I hope if the Police are investigating this “fishy” incident they cast a wide net of suspects before zeroing in on one group.

  7. Mr. Borelli, thank you for your observations, stating facts and asking relevant questions on the issues you address.

    When City Council members appear to condone that residents who speak up about city leadership and city business operations can be subject to public personal attacks and unsubstantiated accusations by an executive-level city employee – it’s a serious matter.

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