Opinion: Musings on the Coast

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The Hate Crime Attack

By Michael Ray

Political violence and intimidation are sweeping America, and it finally has arrived in Laguna on the back of Village Laguna’s goon-mobile.

Here is what happened: 

Last Wednesday night, City Manager Shohreh Dupuis’ house was hit. According to reports, “Officers discovered feces and raw sewage smeared across the house, the planters, stairs, the mailbox, and the general walkway adjacent to the home.”

In my opinion, it was a hate crime intended to intimidate Ms. Dupuis.

Some facts. One night before the attack, during the Feb. 7 City Council meeting, Village Laguna (VL) acolytes verbally assaulted Dupuis in a coordinated political hit-job. And 36 hours later, her home was assaulted. If you believe the two are unrelated, I think you’re on something.

Here are some of VL verbal attacks from Feb. 7:

First, in public session, a VL acolyte claimed Ms. Dupuis had lied about the facts surrounding a $20 traffic ticket (driving while talking on her cell phone) and then tried to cover it up in some half-baked conspiracy with the police chief. The VL member ends her attack by stating, “Council, doesn’t this sound like supervisory pressure, intimidation and [using] fear of retribution [against city employees]?”

Another VL member took center stage with an unsubstantiated “timeline” purporting to “prove” Ms. Dupuis’ guilt. The “timeline” was professionally created (I wonder how much it cost), and its purpose was to “prove” the half-baked conspiracy charge—and the speaker finished by stating a full investigation was necessary to uncover the facts.

Next, the members’ attorney appeared, claimed great expertise on public matters, and in his conclusion, also stated there must be a big investigation into the matter to determine “whether the City is run by an honest city manager who has abused her power for personal gain.” 

Finally, Councilman George Weiss, another VL acolyte, spoke that the matter “goes to the heart of the integrity of the city,” and he called for a special investigation.

Note there were three calls for a “complete” public investigation. Mind you, this was all over a $20 traffic ticket.  

These verbal assaults on Dupuis were vicious, coordinated and designed to intimidate her and, derivatively, any others who oppose Village Laguna.

Less than 36 hours later, Dupuis’ home was smeared with feces. As I already stated, my opinion is simple: if you believe the verbal assaults were not associated with the physical attack, you’re smoking hallucinogens. 

My other opinion is that this hate crime resulted from several years of VL smears of the city manager. They want her to resign because she represents their own political unpopularity, so they smear her ruthlessly in Council chambers, in letters to the editor, on Nextdoor Neighborhood, and on Facebook and all other forms of social and printed media.

Want to smoosh this hatred in Laguna? Good. Show up at the next City Council meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 21, step to the lectern, and state your opinion.

Village Laguna, you claim to champion “civility.” Yet, you have been involved in continual degrading and deceitful smear tactics against a person simply to intimidate her and, ultimately, the people who support her.

So dear reader, please do show up on Tuesday. Village Laguna preaches “civility” yet ignores its preaching. It is not a “civil” organization, as its actions have proven. It openly and deliberately intimidates its opposition. If we allow it to continue, it will mean a tiny minority in this city can get away with such open and continual onslaughts it now has sown an escalation into violence.

They need to stop it. Now.

Michael is a Laguna Beach resident and principal officer emeritus of Laguna Forward PAC.

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9 COMMENTS

  1. Oops—please ask this columnist, Mr Ray, to check his facts before printing them. In going back through the 2/7/23 City Council video, it appears that neither of the two residents he described as being members of VL (Village Laguna) are members upon checking VL’s membership records. Journalism 101 mandates checking facts against three different sources, although I admit I only checked against two—but then, I’m not a column writer for this newspaper as Mr Ray is.
    I have to admit, though, that Mr. Ray’s column as well as some LTEs 4 or 5 years ago did have an impact on my own behavior. Upon reading all those anti-VL rants five years ago, I started looking into Village Laguna’s history and actions. The information I found prompted me to send them a decent-sized donation, and then to later join. Why? I discovered VL was being unjustly smeared. Like many in our big-hearted community, I find smears through the use of bullying and false information of any group or individual, repulsive. I also find the physical smearing of the CM’s property with fish emulsion (if the initial reports of the substance are accurate) repulsive.
    As for the CM’s publicly naming four women as bullying and harassing her, it wasn’t repulsive so much as surprisingly unprofessional. We can’t publicly say (or write) things like that in corporate professions. Isn’t that true for professions in city government? The First Amendment protects free speech within certain constraints, but employers for over a century have added their own constraints of their employees’ words under the umbrella of “professional standards.”

  2. Michael Ray has the wrong information as usual, how can The Independent continue to print misinformation from Michael Ray. Now, he as his friend Peter Blake are trying to incite hate against another group. Please stop printing his untrue columns

  3. Please re-read my column. I used the word “acolytes” of VL, not “members,” and I repeat again: if you believe the smears on the City Manager were not related to her house being smeared with feces, no matter how processed, you must also believe Trump had zero to do with the Insurrection on our nation’s Capitol.

    Provocation is provocation. Period. And help post a reward to find who did it.

  4. Please see Mr. Ray’s comments claiming on the commentary threads above that he said nothing about the speakers being VL members:
    >”The VL member ends her attack by stating, “Council, doesn’t this sound like supervisory pressure, intimidation and [using] fear of retribution [against city employees]?”

    Another VL member took center stage with an unsubstantiated “timeline” purporting to “prove” Ms. Dupuis’ guilt. The “timeline” was professionally created (I wonder how much it cost), and its purpose was to “prove” the half-baked conspiracy charge—and the speaker finished by stating a full investigation was necessary to uncover the facts.”< These are direct quotes from your column, Mr. Ray. Interested in publishing a correction? In addition to checking your claims about VL membership and the now retracted initial report that feces were used on the CM's property, you might want to reread your column for your own wording.

  5. Dear reader,

    These responses are typical of Village Laguna. Instead of condemning whoever attacked the home of the City Manager, they attack me, the bearer of the message. They do this to everyone who disagrees with them. As an alternative, they should lead the campaign to raise reward money for information leading to finding who attacked the house.

    Or are they afraid of the truth?

  6. Mr. Ray. Facts are Facts. You might try using them in your column sometime. Maybe start with offering factual evidence on the “smearing feces” statement you keep peddling. It was an attention grabber in the city press release blasted out to the media world but false from what I understand. The misinformation you consistently spread does garner attention for you. Isn’t that really what this is about?

  7. MJ the feces hypothesis was such an attention grabber and the outpouring of sympathy seemed to be what Ms. Dupuis needed after the questions that arose her police about her explanation and timeline which could be easily confirmed by just releasing the information. What a fortuitous timing of events for Ms. Dupuis! I am going to formally ask if she discussed with anyone on the city council about hiring a high priced lawyer to, in my opinion, subvert the intent of the PRA.

    As far as Ray continually lying even though he is on record that shows his lies, it is he who is emulating the past president. Perhaps age may be catching up with Ray but he should still know where to look and verify what he has said. But then he may believe that infamous saying that “ a lie repeated often enough becomes the truth”.

  8. A hate crime? Really? Not sure which woke dictionary you’re using but if smearing feces on someone’s property (political opponent or not) is a hate crime, then you’re gonna need to start arresting transients, errant dog-walkers & teenage pranksters as well.

  9. For the above comments – – (again) Laguna’s reliable Holy People show their guileful scheming shmeared over the Ray-Bagel to enounce passive agressive malador.

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