Merritt Defender Takes a Stand

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The campaign for the Laguna Beach City Council is in full swing and I have serious concerns. I’m concerned that citizen groups and candidates haven’t come together for civil debate about issues that affect all. A steady climb of pedestrian injuries and death for innocent Lagunans. Overdevelopment of Laguna Canyon’s diminishing rural areas. Marine ecology. Environmental integrity. Budget oversight. Planning. These are the issues that affect us all, now and in the future.

Falsehoods about Paul Merritt’s background and credentials abound. I’ve worked with Paul many times over the years. Paul Merritt is the name on his driver’s license and voter registration card. I was there when Paul presented original university diplomas at an editor’s interview. He earned and was awarded his doctorate in jurisprudence. As an adjunct professor, Paul taught complex federal tax law to students in three states. Nowadays, university classes in the United States are taught by adjunct professors because tenure is a luxury many colleges can no longer afford.

At a recent environmental forum in the village, Paul Merritt got one of the highest votes. Three candidates for City Council were present, but two ”slate” candidates were picked by the board to represent the village. To be independent, Paul spurned a “slate” endorsement from the village, yet many residents still trust him with their own independent endorsements.

And, a former mayor angrily ”disavows” her endorsement of Paul because her likeness appeared on Paul’s campaign brochure in a photo collage. Paul apologized about impressions her photo may have given voters before she began to defame his reputation. Here are the facts: she is a public figure; she gave me permission to take the picture at a public event her group invited Paul to attend.

The season of the City Council race is indeed upon us.  I am confident that Paul Merritt stands for a new direction for Laguna Beach.

Rex Claytor, Laguna Beach

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