Letter: Response to Sue Kempf’s Guest Column

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We call it “fluffing” in advertising, when we present only part of the facts as Councilmember Sue Kempf did in her supposed expose of Candidate Weiss’ lists of City expenditures. Shall we go back and look at the components of the Downtown Action Plan (DAP), according to the March 2020 document? Let’s do it by the page numbers:

P.306: Projected costs for all phases when completed was $13,924,000 but excluded the costs of the tree wells with an estimated additional cost of $1,500 per well, an estimated cost provided when questioned by Mayor Bob Whalen. Depending on how you measure it Weiss either committed the sin of an underestimate by citing $14 million without including the tree well costs, or he rounded $13.9 million into 14 million (not an unusual rounding strategy). The Council voted to allocate $1.6 million as a preliminary action on the DAP as Kempf notes. She neglects to mention that the Council didn’t vote against the proposed $14 million plan. We’re just in the starting phase.

P.147: Recommended the removal of all but 5 trees on Forest Avenue, and many on Ocean and Broadway—a recommendation that was shelved due to public outcry. (I can’t find any City information confirming how long the current trees will remain on these three streets, or if the “hold” is just a delayed execution).

This is the start of what is meant by “fluffing” or selective presentation of the facts in Kempf’s opinion piece. Actually, opinion is an apt label. It always helps to go back to the actual documents for facts.

Deborah Laughton, Laguna Beach

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  1. Deborah, why do you continue to refuse using your actual last name, Weiss, as in the wife of candidate George Weiss, when you write these letters? If you claim your husband is running a campaign based on transparency, you should consider that when you hide behind your maiden name while attacking others.

  2. Mr. Johnson, There is a Deborah Weiss, who lives in Laguna Niguel. Perhaps you were thinking of her? I have no need to hide behind a name other than my own. I’ve been Deborah Laughton for as long as I can remember and had the dubious pleasure of being referred to as Debbie#5 due to the amount of Debbies in my elementary class. It has been my name for decades in my career as a publisher.

  3. Deborah, are you denying your marriage to George Weiss? I don’t understand the desire to deceive the community and change the subject. You pick and choose when to use your maiden name and when to be the wife of a city council candidate. Just own it and stop playing us as if we are fools.


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