Letter: Response to Michael Ray’s column

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Mike Ray’s column last week, Goodbye Liberate Laguna, is disingenuous at best, mendacious at the very least in my opinion. To expect anyone to believe that the three founding unhappy people, Ray, Sam Goldstein and Cindy Shopoff will have nothing to do with their PAC defies belief. These three have collected and or donated over $250,000 to advance their personal agendas and get developer-friendly (yes, they are all developers) councilmembers Peter Blake and Sue Kempf elected. They then proceeded to stack all the committees with members who would give them what they wanted. And Ray brags about that—amazing what money can do eh?

His list of accomplishments is full of inaccuracies, something I come to expect from anything Ray says. Promenade wildly popular—with who and how does he know?

Outdoor dining decks that took away much needed downtown parking? Rational people on committees—you mean the ones who voted to give you what you wanted? A city manager who is working her darndest to be anything but transparent and resident friendly? How come I still see homeless everywhere in Laguna if your guy, Blake, got rid of them? Hotel Laguna is a restaurant—so much for our local treasure and we all know the problems the city had with Mo Honarkar and his method of doing business. Liberate Laguna Forward is welcoming the wholesale remake of our town which Ray denies with the passing of the revised Downtown Specific Plan. Just how resident friendly will all that be?

But my favorite part of his column – welcoming Sally Anne Sheridan to “run” his PAC.  You mean the former mayor of Irvine, that wonder of planned community, high density, developer’s dream land? Wow – just the vision of what I want for Laguna.

Sorry, Mike. I’m not buying that you are out of the picture. Your, Sam and Cindy’s money will still do the talking.

Michèle Monda, Laguna Beach

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  1. Thanks for addressing Mr. Ray’s Liberate Laguna Forward PAC role and status article. I find that Mr. Ray often uses his INDY column to create his own narratives by misrepresenting the facts and exaggerating about LLF PAC and their Councilman Peter Blake’s representation and accomplishments.

    One doozy of an exaggeration and mistruth was this one about Main Beach Vagrants: “The police got tough on vagrants (Blake’s biggest issue). True story: my longtime girlfriend was walking with her 12-year old daughter on the Main Beach boardwalk. A vagrant saw them and deliberately urinated on the sand while shouting epithets at the daughter, who became too afraid to walk there. Imagine that: kids afraid of Main Beach. No longer. The vagrants are gone.”

    Seriously? Mr. Ray should leave his north laguna beach once in awhile and he would see just how ridiculous this statement is. Fact Mr. Ray: Main Beach Vagrants, nor citywide vagrants/transients, are gone. And Peter Blake has completely failed to fulfill his campaign promise to resolve our homeless problem. IMO – the problem seems to have gotten worse.

    Any local observer can see that Ray and Blake were driven by their resentments and anger and self-interest agendas in 2018 and absolutely nothing has changed. While I personally wish they would both say goodbye to politics – realistically no developer/investor walks away from their personal or business investments and certainly not when it involves buying influence and political power and no ego-driven developer-backed politician does either.

    Say goodbye to Peter “Mr. Monster” Blake in 2022 and get Laguna back on track as a peaceful, civil and respected city for residents and visitors to live, play and work together like it was just four years ago.

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