After Laguna Beach’s City Manager Shohreh Dupuis’ home was smeared with what was reported to be feces, I wrote a column stating that: 1. It was a hate crime. 2. Hate crimes occur when hate has been created. 3. Village Laguna (VL) members and/or their followers (by whatever name) had repeatedly and openly criticized, denigrated, and questioned the character of Ms. Dupuis (frankly, as a proxy for the entire city council, which they no longer control).
Such a verbal attack on Ms. Dupuis occurred at a council meeting one night before her house was smeared. Was the next night’s assault a coincidence? I think not.
What ensued is what kept Village Laguna in power for 30 years. They attacked (and called for my censorship).
At the next city council meeting, more than one person wanted a personal apology from Ms. Dupuis because she was inappropriate in her response.
Others attacked former council member Peter Blake, even though he lost the last election and several attacked me.
Then, in the next edition of the Indy, the attacks continued.
Kiku Terasaki wrote to the editor, “Ray’s longstanding personal animosity toward Village Laguna is galloping directly toward libel. It is time for the Indy to stop this nonsense….” And, “it does not speak well of the current city manager that there have been so many instances of conflict and concern.”
Letter writer Paul Holmes wrote that I slander “VL by implying without evidence that the group had something to do with the vandalization of the city manager’s home.” and “Better yet, just terminate it [my column].”
From a column by Village Laguna President Ann Caenn: “Ray claims, falsely…Village Laguna made public comments at Feb. 7 city council… that….led to the defacing of her home.” And, “it is time for the Laguna Beach Independent to stop publishing these attacks.” Finally, “Mr. Ray used his false statements to damage Village Laguna’s reputation by explicitly linking the statements [VL supporters made at the Council meeting] and the attack on Ms. Dupuis’ home.”
Former Mayor and VL Chair Ann Christoph wrote, “It turns out the substance [smeared on Dupuis’ home] seems to have been fish emulsion fertilizer…. It smells bad…but it’s harmless.” Also, “Next, what to do with the culprit? How about six months of heavy weeding?”
Get it? The whole thing is a joke.
Dear reader, before I go further, please stop here and put yourself in the city manager’s shoes. In the early morning, you smell something terrible; it is outside. You venture out in your pajamas and look. It is cold and something that looks and smells like feces is smeared all over your front door, front porch, in your mailbox and on your exterior walls.
What would you think? Would you be horrified? Terrified? Would you sleep in that house? Would you sleep at all? Would you ask, what will they do next? (Will they escalate?) Would you buy a gun?
Or would you call the whole thing a joke?
Not one person admitted VL or its followers held any responsibility whatsoever. Not one person stated that maybe, just maybe, VL and its followers had gone too far in creating a combustive atmosphere.
In short, dear members/followers of VL, your actions and words are uncivil. You preach civility, but you do not practice it.
In the meantime, stop attacking our city manager and/or other city employees. As we now know, it is dangerous.
In general, gang, stop threatening. Stop attacking. Stop your incivility.
And stop making jokes out of a terrifying incident. Enough is enough.
Michael is a Laguna Beach resident and principal officer emeritus of Laguna Forward PAC.