Opinion: Rebuttal to Sam Goldstein’s Column


By MJ Abraham

Sam Goldstein, founder of Liberate Laguna Forward PAC has shown us he is not beyond skewing the truth to mislead voters. In his recent column he purposely links me to various people/political groups because I support the Laguna Resident First Ballot Initiative and he doesn’t.

Fact-less Sam’s shotgun approach linking me with individuals and controversial issues is a sign that he feels threatened that his LLFPAC city leadership and self-interest takeover agenda is exposed.

That’s obvious from his rambling buzz-word accusations: “attacked Micheal Ray, Joe Hanauer, Chris Quilter and several other residents for speaking out against the BI.”, “This same group created this totally restrictive Ballot Initiative.’, “is also against low cost/affordable and ADU housing so I guess this home spun group is called no growth and for the past 47 years they have been successful in creating zero growth for the artist live-work units, low-cost/affordable housing, ADUs, and assisted living housing.”, “These same people have done the same for Vision 2030 and the Arts, saying no to just about everything that has to do with the arts.”, “They have stopped all parking in the downtown except one at the city entrance with a parking lot that took away 46 parking spaces and cost $11.3 million to build, which in turn stops all buildings being expanded and has created a “dying, decaying, totally fragmented city right now with too many of our businesses closed. Talk about a success record of destroying a city.” , “They also tried their best to shut down Forest Avenue from becoming a pedestrian-only street and thankfully, they have not succeeded.”, “Their celebration party ended when the City Council created a new Historic Preservation Plan and a Downtown Specific Plan update. But Catherine Jurca and her friends have sent these already approved changes by the City Council, Design Review Board, Planning Commission and Coastal Commission to the Courts on appeal.”, “I wonder who is paying the lawyer as Village Laguna had about $35,000 in their bank account in January. Laguna Residents First PAC reported having less than $7,300.”, “Here is their list of the lawsuits against the City of Laguna.”

No proof nor facts offered.

Fact is, Goldstein is dead wrong. I am not a member of any PAC nor involved in any appeals or lawsuits in our city. I support commercial and residential property owners rights and responsible developments suitable to our coastal city in accordance with previously established building codes and specific plans. I believe in residents having a say on permanent changes funded by taxpayers including parking structures and property acquisitions. I feel we have honorable investors and developers in our city including long-timer’s Joe Hanauer, Mark Orgill and Greg MacGillivray to name a few and respected community leaders like Quilter even though we sometimes disagree. As a residential, commercial property and business owner, a former city management employee and Art Museum Executive and Social Justice Cultural Center Director and original art collector, I support city staff, residents, businesses, the arts and artists. I started the lagunabeachchat.com blog in 2016 focused on accountability and transparency to help folks understand government operations. I believe in honest, objective and respectful dialogue on city issues.

Some advice for Goldstein; before you make false statements suggesting my involvement do your research. Anyone who knows me personally knows your claims are ludicrous. Such sly tactics by a Laguna Beach restaurant business owner does not present you or our town well. An honest gentleman would issue an apology to me and the voters you’re attempting to mislead.

MJ is a Laguna Beach resident.

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  1. I wrote this similar response to Goldstein a couple of weeks ago:

    Sorry to say your accusations and aspersions are so wildly outlandish and incorrect, they’re breathtaking.

    Personally, I’ve always acted as a private citizen – as an at-will free agent, not a card-carrying member of any organization.

    That you should be mentioning me seems to indicate that much of what I’ve stated in the past must be getting through to people or you wouldn’t be trying to publicly intimidate me and other private citizens with so many inaccurate accusations.

    Your many false claims here seem to indicate the desperation and lengths you and other developers will go to kill the Laguna Residents First ballot initiative and take away the residents’ right to vote on the direction of their own town.

    Quit trying to stop democracy.

  2. Jerome Pudwill. Thank you for addressing local restaurant owner Sam Goldstein’s unsubstantiated resident bashing. Simply, not acceptable. IMO- he should be embarrassed resorting to such political carpetbagging tactics. A respectable person would issue an apology to those of us he falsely tried to trash and the voters they attempted to mislead.


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