I read both Cindy Shopoff and Peter Blake’s responses to Johanna Felder’s letter in the Indy and watched the censure of Blake by the City Council on March 9. Afterward, everything became clear. Peter Blake, now on our City Council thanks to the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent by Liberate Laguna’s small group of developers remains their darling. Listening to the weak defense of Blake’s behavior during the meeting by the Shopoffs, Mr. Ray and Mr. Goldstein, all Liberate Laguna financial sponsors, Blake is clearly still their spokesperson and partner in their multi-year efforts to turn Laguna Beach into a redevelopment-based profit-generating machine.
In her letter, Ms. Shopoff proudly touts the significant investment they made in both the 2018 and 2020 council campaigns to further what she calls “the ideals of our group.” She compares favorably her contribution of $18,000 to Liberate Laguna in 2020 to Ms. Felder’s contribution of $500 to Village Laguna. But I am confused. Besides damaging historic buildings and developing large commercial structures throughout Laguna, just exactly what ideals are these?
In his own written response, Peter Blake also takes aim at Ms. Felder personally, the members of Village Laguna and the voters who rejected the 2020 Liberate Laguna anointed candidate for council. It wasn’t enough to call Councilmember Iseman a “sycophantic slag”. Blake in his response uses words such as “skilled enough liars”, “lapdogs on City Council”, “henchmen on commissions” and “tasteless frumps” to smear residents. He calls the 5,500 voters who elected George Weiss to the Council “useful idiots” and “luddites” because they did not vote for the Liberate Laguna endorsed candidate last November.
I thought Peter Blake’s clearly demonstrated contempt for Laguna’s women was an aberration. After reading these two letters and listening to the founders of Liberate Laguna defend Blake’s behavior against the charges that led to his censure, I am starting to believe all of this activity is a calculated attempt to destroy, at any cost, the one effective voice fighting to preserve Laguna’s heritage and small town atmosphere. Why else would they launch such vicious attacks on residents who have no profit motive in preserving Laguna’s historic character?
I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news to Liberate Laguna: We know what you are about. No amount of money and vile smears will deter residents in our efforts to preserve that which we hold so dear about our town.
Armando Baez, Laguna Beach
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