Letter: Stop the Interruptions at Council Meetings

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I wanted to acknowledge Mayor Pro Tem Bob Whalen for telling Councilmember Peter Blake at the July 12 City Council meeting that his behavior does reflect on him and his colleagues. I thank you for finally speaking out about the horrible behavior that we’ve had to witness these last three and a half years. If Whalen continues to speak up at the council meetings and let everyone know he will not put up with this kind of behavior, and if he calls for Point of Order when Blake interrupts the Citizens, City Staff, and Council Members, he’ll get my vote.

As for Mayor Sue Kempf’s remarks after hearing Whalen’s comments about how Blake’s behavior reflects on them, she says nothing about Blake’s behaviors but tries to put the blame on Councilmember George Weiss for Blake’s behavior. Weiss has only been on the Council for a year and a half. How could she try to blame him? This only confirms she is OK with Blake belittling Laguna Beach residents and her colleagues. One council meeting, Weiss was excited about the subject Kempf was sharing about and jumped in with his comments before the Mayor was finished. She was right to tell him to not interrupt her but the next week there we several letters from citizens complaining about the Mayor being interrupted by Councilmember Weiss. These concerned citizens have never commented on how Blake interrupts citizens, the staff, and all the councilmembers. One must question this! I’ve heard Kempf interrupt Councilmember Toni Iseman several times. Why didn’t those concerned citizens write letters about that? I’ve also heard the City Manager, Shohreh Dupuis, interrupt Iseman several times in one meeting, never letting her finish a comment. This behavior needs to stop.

I don’t understand it. The Mayor, Mayor Pro Tem, councilmembers, and city staffers all work very hard. All have important jobs that we desperately need. All of them need to work together for the citizens and businesses and not try to make each other look bad by yelling at each other, no one needs to interrupt. Even when some of you have conflicts with a project being presented or a citizen’s point of view is not yours there is no reason for interrupting with rude comments. My suggestion is; get counseling, learn how to present your opinions with grace and not belittling other colleagues or citizens. When you vote we understand where you stand on certain items so there is no need to force one’s opinion onto others.

Mayor Pro Tem, again, thank you, if you continue trying to get civility in the council meetings, you’ll have my vote.

Liza Interlandi Stewart, Laguna Beach

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  1. Thank you Liza Stewart. Bottom line: since the 2018 election those put in place to govern our city have let us down. We’ve wasted four years wrapped up in a council members turmoil and forced to witness our Mayors and Mayor Pro Tems inability to take charge and lead our governing body in a professional, effective and official manner.

    This dysfunction has caused serious damage to the functioning of our government operations and employees working within this tension and divisive environment as well as our community at large.

    It’s not enough for Mayor Kempf to make pleas to Councilman Blake to stop the continuous disruptions at civic meetings. IMO- the Mayor must step up and lead or step down.

    As for those jumping on the band wagon to bring attention to CC Weiss speaking out of turn when the Mayor was talking, it felt like just an attempt to deflect from the on-going outbursts of CC Blake. It didn’t work. The two simply cannot be compared.

    An election is coming and a chance to correct our governing problems. Change is needed, starting with our leadership. Laguna can come together again and move forward focused on better management of our city and making improvements that make sense and enhance our beautiful coastal town and accommodate our visitors.

    Vote in new City leadership this November. #noincumbents

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