Letter: Two Sides of the Same Coin


I’ve often wondered what this saying actually means. I hate to admit that I never took the time to look it up and that it has taken several experiences and observations gnawing at me to prompt me to do so. I’ll share them after I share the meaning I came across. 

Two sides of the same coin: “If two things are two sides of the same coin, they are very closely related although they seem different: Violent behaviors and deep insecurity are often two sides of the same coin.” (Cambridge Dictionary)

What triggered my interest? Two different aspects of the same situation. 

As you may know, our homeless population has caused concern for various reasons including physical safety during some unpleasant encounters. As I’ve thought about what scares or offends me about their behavior, it is that they often appear angry, they intimidate, they don’t always control their emotions and they verbally abuse and bully those around them.

As you may also know, our local civics has caused concern for various reasons as well due to increasingly unpleasant public official and constituent encounters. These encounters are contained to one public official who states “I’m a bully and no apologies” and whose behavior is often openly angry, intimidating, and verbally abusive to Laguna residents.

I realized after a time… that these behavior are the same. It’s just that they are coming from opposite sides of our society.

Now the questions I keep asking are why is this tolerated by one and not the other? Why is one side of this coin considered for lock-down and the other side given such freedom for the very same behavior? To make matters worse this public official led the “get rid-of-em and lock-em-up” anthem against the proposed homeless abusers in 2019.

Have we given those with political status a free pass? Have we accepted that hostile approaches and instilling fear and intimidation is OK depending on who it is? Those considered violent or the insecure? What does this say about our community? 

MJ Abraham, Laguna Beach

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  1. Here comes political predator MJ Abraham with her thousandth attempt at a takedown of a duly elected Councilperson. This left-wing extremist (previous Director of the Center for Social Justice & Civil Liberties in Riverside) introduced ruthless and ugly politics to Laguna in 2016 when she and her lapdog, Michael Morris launched personal attacks on Steve Dicterow to get their supported candidate elected. She’s shifted her focus onto me ever since I was elected. Yes, I advocated for the removal of criminal transients from our community (still do) Notice the patrols of Main Beach? The searching of ASL “clients” for drugs, alcohol and weapons before admission? Did I yank the welcome mat? Yes! She and her friends from the radical left could easily turn Laguna into a homeless shelter if they could. Comparing me to these thugs is just how low she’ll go to stop the progress that Ive initiated in our community since my election. Notice a new and friendlier DRB? Planners with vision? City Hall treating residents with respect and welcoming their projects with a yes instead of the NO that MJ and Village Laguna prefer? Read her posts and gauge the vitriol. Is it surprising that I have to defend myself the way I do? If she and the rest of her gang of political operatives could only suppress me and keep me from voting and speaking my mind, they would. They comment about me interrupting “residents” Far from it! These pathetic gadflies show up to every meeting and demand their obstructionist agenda, dating back to 1971, still being adhered to. Well sorry MJ Abraham, Michelle Monda, George Weiss, Johanna Felder, Village Laguna and their newest proxy Laguna Residents First, and the rest of you who’ve had a stranglehold on Laguna Beach for decades. You all need to get out of the way! The next generation has taken control of Laguna and we’re not giving it up! Toni has voted against the Council most of the time. What does that tell you about how out of step she and all of you are with our community? We want a retail experience commensurate with the sophistication of the current residents (polyester Bettys like you need not apply) We want a vibrant downtown, property rights, culture, safety from criminals and a quality of life second to none. We’re almost there!

    MJ, I could care less what you and the rest of you hypocrites think. I’ll keep doing the job I was elected to do. I’ve kept promises to my constituents and will continue to do so for the next 2 1/2 years of my term. No, I’ll NEVER resign and a censure from the Council is about as meaningless as your threats to recall me.

    Please spare me your self-absorbed holier than thou BS and BTW, I plan on fighting harder than ever!


  2. Thank you Peter Blake for proving the comparison so well. Someone with your level of toxicity in our city government is showing us just how volatile we are. We deal with intimidation and fear by some of our homeless on our streets and experience the same type by you as you try to hide behind your public position.

    Sorry Peter, you’re not fooling anyone. One coin-two sides. Keep trying to lock them up for their behavior Peter …or just try looking in the mirror?

  3. Interesting Peter how you missed the point of the letter. That your behavior is eerily the same as the homeless who you hate – intimidating (or trying to be), always angry (listen to the tone you have in your comment) and verbally abusive (insults which you repeat over and over – you need some new ones). You don’t interrupt residents, you scream at them. The next generation has taken control?? You mean the developers wanting to make money at the expense of our quaint town which was why most people moved here? Because it ISN”T Dana Point or Newport Beach. As more and more of your antics and bullying behavior is exposed you have lost that so called constituency except for the echo chamber with which you surround yourself. Maybe you should calm yourself down and try to be more effective and stop degrading the position to which many of us regrettably voted you in. It’s better for your blood pressure too.

  4. Councilman Blake’s reply here seems to contradict his assertion about “city hall treating residents with respect.”

  5. City Council member Peter Blake targets city activists and insults resident(s) with the following slurs of impunity:
    “political predator” “left-wing extremist” “radical left” “gang of political operatives” “pathetic gadflies” “obstructionist” “You all need to get out of the way!

    “Toni has voted against the Council most of the time” ??Excuse me, for being blunt, but Toni is the longest standing City Council member elected for several terms by residents. Peter Blake has lost his edge, lost his former constituency and Peter Blake will most certainly lose the next election.

    “City Hall treating residents with respect and welcoming their projects”
    City Council member Peter Blake has proven himself incapable of respective the voices of residents and is unfit to serve as an elected official and appears psychologically unfit to lead.

  6. Trish – Peter Blake’s entire reply is an attempt to divert the attention away from the emotional and mental concerns that I found comparable. Other than our unhoused and some instances where addicts or mentally ill patients have escaped from the Mission Hospital near me, I can’t recall encountering someone with such aggressive and intimidating behavior other than Peter Blake in Laguna Beach. The man prides himself on bullying and having this title for goodness sake! What healthy person does this? I find his personal and professional attacks on residents highly disturbing and quite adolescent. And the way he can retell situations and stories, including playing a “politician victim” now is priceless. I believe Laguna locals are fed up with his bully tactics and just wish he’d go away.

  7. Thank you Ms. Smiley for speaking up. While I know many residents are not comfortable doing so in a public forum, they are sharing privately as well as to the city council their utter disgust for Peter Blake and the destruction of our once civil and peaceful environment. Poor Peter. He lashes out at locals because he has nothing else to offer. He’s brought nothing positive to our city and continues to fake his way through his leadership role. His vitriol is inaccurate and his name-calling and intimidation tactics are being exposed. I fully agree that he is unfit to lead.

    A good lesson learned for LB voters. Please VETT candidates personally and professionally before putting them in the highest office in our city. Know who their biggest supporters are. In this case Liberate Laguna Developers. And don’t get sucked in to low-hanging fruit topics like Blake’s “I’ll get rid of the homeless” campaign rhetoric. As we can see, his attempts were cosmetic and he has completely failed us. Covid19 city shut down did more on this front than Blake. He has been busy stacking our boards and commissions with pro-developer supporters to pave the way for development projects and giving away our tax dollars without regard though. As he says, he just goes along with Staff because they know best. Wow. Peter, ever met a government employee who doesn’t like to come up with big projects and spend other people’s money? It’s called job security. Your inexperience is costing us. Wonder how much by 2022?


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