Letter: Weiss deserves his day in court

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In America, everyone is entitled to defend themselves and are presumed innocent until proven guilty. 

So when I see residents wanting to act as the judge, jury and executioner of Councilman George Weiss, I have to ask why? 

Their unproven charges of guilt and loud, indignant calls for justice fail to acknowledge the most fundamental principle of American justice – the right to a fair trial.  

Councilman Weiss has never been given the opportunity to defend himself against the former City Manager Shohreh Dupuis’ hostile work environment claims. The City Council has seen to that.  

The City Council never gave Weiss the specific charges leveled against him until after they’d blindsided him and paid off his accuser behind closed doors – instead, they negotiated the pay-off before any investigation was completed that could prove her claims, as if Weiss was already guilty.  

Mayor Whalen handled the negotiations into the charges. He and the City Attorney selected the law firm that previously defended the CM during her refusal to release her traffic stop video. (Only Whalen and Kempf voted not to release the video.) That law firm hired the investigator. Interestingly, the investigator’s response rejects all of Ms. Dupuis’s legal claims. 

The Council never gave Weiss an unredacted draft of the report, much less one which redacted only the names of those who testified against him. Plus they have never allowed him to cross-examine the testimony against him for its validity, biased allegiances, coercion, or fear of retaliation as City employees.  

The City Council will have none of that.  

Instead, they voted to deny releasing any and all of the report to the public or Weiss. Why? Certainly not to protect the identity of those testifying, as identities are not protected by state law to deter false witness. So much for transparency. 

Why the persecution? Probably because of the antipathy Whalen, Kempf and Dupuis have for Weiss, who has exposed and opposed their failures and highly questionable plans – including their hiring of the inexperienced and uncredentialed Dupuis, their $2.8M Ti Amo non-fire station purchase, their Brown Act violations when they secretly voted to allow Hotel Laguna renovations without plans, permits and inspections, their sneaky attempt to buy the library and possibility turn it into a parking lot, their vote to prevent the release of Dupuis’ traffic stop video, their onerous and impractical Presbyterian parking structure, and their bungled handling of the May 2 armed hotel take-overs which has exposed the City to a multimillion dollar lawsuit. Is it any wonder they’d like to smear and marginalize him? 

Councilman Weiss deserves his day in court. So does the public.  

Jerome Pudwill, Laguna Beach

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Well said, Jerome. I was a resident of Los Angeles in 2016, when then Mayor Garcetti cut a deal with the Fire fighters Union boss to set up, disgrace and remove the then Deputy Chief, Fire Marshall of LA because his brilliant digital inspection transformation enabled 10 years of inspection back log to get done in two years. The old guard crony inspectors were billing inspection double-time, and reinspecting buildings every few months taking our tax payer money. They did not want their payday ruined by positive change.

    Garcetti gave the story to the LA Times, who never even contacted the Chief for comment. The Times thus was complicit in damaging the Chief. Garcetti in turn got $373,000 in campaign contributions and endorsement from the union. I helped the Chief get the real story out and roughly two years later Garcetti and the City of LA settled a defamation case right before I was to be deposed. The Chief received public apology, 7 figures and high praise.

    I am hoping CM Weiss litigates against Laguna Beach. He is a good man that stands up for us everyday. He challenges incompetence and negligence. He does deep research on projects and issues that truly require that. He listens to us and calls us back. He helps protect our property rights and environment. He tells it like it is when CEQA code is violated. He questions the status quo. He deserves more than an apology.

    I was appalled when I heard from several sources that Mayor Whalen was aware of the Dupuis body cam video modification. That Council never investigated Depuis lying to a police officer. Our city council will never investigate itself like LA, Anaheim and the city of Bell.

    I support CM Weiss. Time to take off the gloves. Time for change.

  2. So Tony, you want this sideshow litigated – at taxpayer expense? Fine, but be careful what you wish for as this may be a further stain on Mr. Weiss. The fact that he has remained silent is the tell. Sure, we all want to know the lurid details of his tantrums, but is it good for the city?

    We already know the charges were upheld that he yelled at the City Manager in her office, and banged on her desk, not once – but twice. It was corroborated by witnesses. Further, we have records of his incessant attacks on the City Manager during public commentary. And his regular attacks on her in his newsletter and website. As former Indy columnist JJ Gasperotti wrote a few weeks ago, “No one council member ever has the right or the power to privately ‘supervise’ the conduct of the manager by harassing them or berating them when they become disenchanted with the manager’s performance, no matter what.”

    And did you not see how he behaved last week in the Council meeting when two members of the public dared to speak up against his agenda item to rotate council people into the mayor’s position (clearly a strategic move to position himself for re-election). He interrupted and attacked them. Who does that – besides Peter Blake? We all know what happened to him, because that’s not the way for a council person – let alone mayor – to behave. Our community won’t stand for it and Weiss should not suffer the embarrassment of running again.

    The haters got what they wanted – a new City Manager. But rather than do a victory lap and move on, every week we must see their tedious and bogus attempts to exonerate her main antagonizer and whitewash the whole thing. Sad, but not surprising.

  3. “I did have the privilege of checking out Council members for 24 years – I have a little history – and I can tell you no one ever worked as hard as George [Weiss] . . . He’s gone far beyond what would ever be expected of a Council member. . . Please recognize how lucky we have been to have George and thank him rather than assault him.”
    – Toni Iseman, September 26, 2023 City Council Meeting

  4. We need transparency period! We need term limits period! I wonder how much Dupuis harassed George, I do know some of it, I know she also harassed others..I can only say I am glad she is gone and you can actually feel the difference..Dupuis was part of a alliance and it was quite clear..I think that George should do what he needs to do and we as a community really need to clean house..

  5. Ya know, Billy, you constantly talk about the haters. You might want to re-read some of your posts and fact-free columns – take a good hard look at your tone. Always accusing others. Bullying with false and unproven accusations. Who’s the real hater here, Billy?

    Love how you continue to rant about all the alleged activities surrounding Ms. Dupuis charges when the very essence of my letter to the editor is that none of these charges have been cross-examined – and need to be.

    For instance, the corroboration of the fist-pounding is thought to have come from Ken Domer, a Dupuis acolyte who owed her big time because she threw his career a lifeline after he got fired as City Manager by the Fullerton City Council. Not what I’d call a reliable witness.

    Dupuis was disastrous for the community. One chaotic circus act after another – with Weiss the only Council member to call out her errors and failures. As stated before, criticism comes with Dupuis’ position. Couching criticism as harassment shows just how weak she was. Plus how devious she was in smearing Weiss for his opposition while also playing the harassment card for a bigger payoff.

    If she was every bit as wonderful as you say she was, she’d still be here. She’s not. Get over it.

  6. JP, thank you, for your thought provoking LTE…. we both candidly understand by personal experience how incredibly difficult it is to campaign without political support contributions from big money Political Action Committee support offered by PAC BIG MONEY contributions. We also both understand that large financial contributions that fund campaigns do come with an anticipated future political expectation. It is my understanding that council member GW had no local PAC financial support and that he was elected to sole represent the people.

    Yes, residents agree that Council Member George Weiss deserves his day in court to be provided equal opportunity to disprove the many grievances & allegations made against him that have caused his personal life & professional reputation to become adversely tarnished. A personal & professional slander & liable case may be warranted.

    Furthermore, the litany of city “scandals” directly or indirectly created/caused by former City Manager Dupuis do appear to have been proven by facts & circumstance to meet the basic litmus test standards of poor judgement & incompetence for a government official that have come under considerable public scrutiny. Much will depend upon your personal values & perspectives. The truth is often an uncomfortable journey. By nature humans do tend to prefer to digest fabricated pleasant propaganda.

    I personally consider the actions of a “whistle blower” to be brave & heroic with due consideration of the potential consequences. Whenever governance operates under a lack of transparency or whenever the appearance of corruption is exposed to members of the public by an elected city government official; members of the public must catch our breath because the information will invariably become very uncomfortable. Whenever faced with uncomfortable information the human mind default is set at “denial” or “deflection”.

    The border wall to the south may be impaired but the border wall that surrounds city hall appears to be an impenetrable boundary to resident cries for greater transparency.

    During campaign season, residents are always promised “greater transparency” with each campaign slogan. IMO, after the election, residents are left in the dark and it becomes business as usual. Just what happens behind the cloak of darkness?

    In short, the continued disclosures of impropriety at City Hall appear to be followed by a proven lack of transparency that should leave all residents in our community gravely concerned.

    I will continue to promote ethical values and principles of TERM LIMITS & TRANSPARENCY. I thank you, for your continued dedication to speaking the uncomfortable truth with honesty & for promoting the value of transparency for local city government.

  7. I wish I felt that our future as a city was in good hands. If the election cycle thru 26 does not reverse the current 4-1 vote our property rights, view equity will be gone and equity will be halved. Our safety threatened, our preserved green belt gone.

    Just a taste, pay attention to Coyote pack hunting at 3:00 and 5:00pm daily. Start in Zone 19. I can think of many platform needs, but start here. And pray. What else does Kempf want to tear down aside from Hotel Laguna. Your house? And she and Bob in the Mayor, protem role for 6 years because they are adept? If voters let this continue the legacy of this city will reflect sorrow. Weiss stands alone as our only voice, his selection to Mayor ignored. Well then we will get what we deserve if we do nothing. You are entirely up to you.

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