Letter: Respect of Colleagues


What do these three people have in common?

– Edward Lorr (1970-1974)
– Bill Wilcoxen (1981-1982)
– Peter Blake (2018-2022)

Answer: These are the only Laguna Beach councilmembers during the past 52 years who never served as either Mayor or Mayor Pro Tempore during their 1st terms.

Being voted as Mayor or Mayor Pro Tempore is sometimes viewed as a procedural or collegial matter. But being nominated to either role is also an acknowledgment by one’s colleagues of respect and leadership capabilities. It’s therefore notable that so few councilmembers of the dozens that have served, have failed to be elevated to either position during the past half century plus.

During their first terms: Kelly Boyd, Ann Christoph, Steve Dicterow, Toni Iseman, Verna Rollinger, Bob Whalen, Rob Zur Schmiede, and Sue Kempf had all either been honored with the Mayorship or Pro Tempore position. Indeed during Iseman’s 24 years on council, she has spent a third of the time as either Mayor or Pro Tem. Whalen’s record is even more impressive, in that he’s spent 60% of his time in one or the other role (with two years to go!).

We can’t be completely certain what prevented the three oddballs from obtaining either position. Wilcoxen was appointed to fill a vacant seat and only served nine months on council. Edward Lorr’s term was slightly less than four years because he was recalled in a special election shortly before the end of his term (the recall petition accused him of misconduct). But in the case of Blake it’s a good bet that his colleagues never felt he could live up to either position. That’s even more startling given that during his first two years on Council there was a four-one split with Blake being in the majority. Did his colleagues see then, what many Laguna voters see now?

Michael Morris, Laguna Beach

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  1. Thank you Mike Morris. Interesting historical facts about our city leaders.

    I particularly agree with this statement, “But in the case of Blake it’s a good bet that his colleagues never felt he could live up to either position.”

    If true, it speaks volumes. I thank and commend all of the council members Blake has served with who recognized this. And give his two co-council member supporters credit for never proposing him for either position as well. I believe it would cause a public civic upheaval like we’ve not seen before.

    Interesting political times. We are seeing nearby cities enacting stronger civility and ethics policies and adopting protective Initiatives that suggest public officials aren’t representing constituents appropriately nor fulfilling their commitments once elected. In addition, there’s substantial movement to term limits for City Council and Boards and Commissions members, district voting and elected Mayors and City Attorneys that once never considered them. Wonder where Laguna is headed?

  2. “Honor” is the operative word here, because to bestow either title indicates respect of the highest order. Agreeing to serve is hard work, as our longest-serving public official– Councilwoman Iseman–well knows. Whether you agree with her or not, she has managed the job gracefully for years, often pointing out crucial details others miss entirely or never knew. In contrast, bypassing a colleague like this indicates a distinct lack of confidence–whether in ability or temperament–and sends an unmistakeable message. The lack of respect for residents and certain council members is, unfortunately, well-documented. Those who care about community might take stock of the last four years and vote their values at the ballot box. We can do better.

  3. Michael Morris, thank you for diverting the time that you could have spent on your bogus Ballot Initiative to research this pertinent and valuable historical precedent.

    To anyone who actually cares, it was determined immediately after the 2018 election that I would never be a candidate for Mayor or Mayor Pro Tem. Bob Whalen and John Pietig laughed out loud when I first brought it up in 2019. Needless to say, I never asked again. Rather than get upset about it, I realized that my real value as a Councilman wasn’t determined by an appointment to a meaningless and ceremonial position. My job was to fight the ruthless authoritarians who had controlled our community for over 50 years. No one thought that this fight would be easy or clean. This was an ideological and philosophical war and Village Laguna would swoop to unprecedented lows to maintain power and control. Toni Iseman the queen of the nanny-state was reduced to reading her marching orders on her cell phone while engaging in mind-numbing rants.

    Oh, and thanks for giving the brainless Trish Sweeney and the political predator MJ Abraham some fodder to entertain themselves while on a time out from Nextdoor.

    See all of you in November!

  4. Interesting that you are taken to revisionist history Peter. I clearly recall you stating at the meeting when Bob was renominated to be Mayor that “I will wait my turn”. Mock it all you want but back then you clearly wanted to be Mayor. I can’t imagine a worse scenario for Laguna than you as Mayor.

  5. Ms. Monda is correct if the video evidence from the 3Dec2019 City Council meeting is to be believed. In the link I provide below, you can see the relevant video evidence where Blake is seen nominating Steve Dicterow to his 2nd consecutive term as Mayor Pro Tem. He wants to know whether Dicterow will accept the nomination, given how hard the Mayor & Pro Tem positions had become since Blake’s arrival on Council. Once Dicterow says he will accept the nomination, & after attacking his opponents, you can hear Blake saying: “…I would leave well enough alone for this year and then Sue and I would come in the following years.” That doesn’t align with what Mr. Blake states in his above reply.


  6. hmm… I thought I was pretty clear in the post above that I wanted to be Mayor and got laughed at when I asked for the nomination. Obviously, my colleagues didn’t have the backbone to stand up to political trash like you.

    Don’t worry Michael and Michelle, I’ll be the Mayor in my second term.

  7. “You Said! I did not. Yes you did! No I didn’t. I heard it. No you didn’t” Our Leader Peter Will Win Re-Election to help us taxpayers sick of RINOS and Phoney’s who pollute our City.

  8. What does Mrs. Monda know about respect? She’s one of a legion of Emil-come-latelies in Laguna wannabes that contribute opinons seeking relevancy that perpetrate the total foolish lifestyles of the rich.

  9. Wow, stooping to personal attacks in the face of facts. Classy move guys. Peter – you accuse the world of being a liar and yet you lied. You desperately want to be Mayor. Yes, what you call that “meaningless and ceremonial position”. Your colleagues with no backbone? Are you kidding? Who do you think controls Sue and Bob? You are hilarious to think anything but your own behavior is what will always stop you from being Mayor.


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