Laguna Beach City Manager Shohreh Dupuis’ home was vandalized last night or in the early hours of Feb. 9, according to a City press release.
“This is a shocking personal attack on our city manager at her residence,” Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Whalen said. “It is criminal conduct that will be investigated immediately and thoroughly. I strongly urge anyone with any information regarding this crime to contact our police department. I truly hope we will find the perpetrator or perpetrators of this crime and bring them to justice. As a City, we will not tolerate acts to intimidate or harm any city employee, appointed, or elected official. Our city manager is a dedicated and hard-working person who only wants the best for our residents and the City. Her job is hard enough without the added stress and anxiety that this type of attack creates. She doesn’t deserve this disrespect, and I fully expect our community to rally around her.”
Laguna Beach Police received a report of the vandalism at 7:27 a.m. at Dupuis’ home, located on 3rd Avenue. On arriving, officers found feces or sewage smeared around the property, including on the house, front yard, mailbox, planters, stairs and walkway adjacent to the home.
The home is City property. The City owns half the building, and Dupuis owns the other, as stipulated in her employment contract.
“The Police Department is actively investigating this vandalism,” said Laguna Beach Police Chief Jeff Calvert. “We urge anyone with information about the vandalism to come forward to identify the suspect in this cruel act, which is uncharacteristic of our community.”
Anyone with information about the vandalism can call Laguna Beach Police at (949) 497-0701.View Our User Comment Policy
As noted in Ms. Dupuis’ comments during the recent City Council meeting, the actions of Michelle Monda, Nancy Swenson, Trish Sweeney, and MJ Abraham have crossed the line into bullying. I’d add that these actions are hateful, intimidating, misogynistic and xenophobic, in my opinion. It now appears to have resulted in vandalism of the City Manager’s property.
City Manager Dupuis, in her statement, says that she has been cyber bullied by these residents for over a year. I have witnessed the bullying of some Laguna Residents First members and made public comment a while back at a Council meeting asking Councilmember Weiss (LRF PAC Founder) to stop LRF from spreading the degrading “cartoon” that the group was promoting to intimidate certain city officials.
I would estimate that somewhere in the range of 95% of the residents of this community don’t want council and staff wasting time and money hiring lawyers and responding to the claims of this small group of residents. The results of our recent elections were clear, residents chose three candidates to join the 2 currently seated, to tackle the big issues that our city faces: traffic, safety, protecting our natural resources, homelessness, small businesses, quality of life for homeowners and more.
Mayor Whalen made a statement describing Dupuis as hard-working and someone who wants what’s best for the town’s residents. That is what I’ve observed in Ms. Dupuis role as City Manager and I commend and appreciate her efforts.
Instead of an investigation into Ms. Dupuis’ traffic stop for cell phone use, I’d like to see an investigation into the cyber and other forms of bullying against city officials that has now escalated to an incident of harassment, vandalism, and trespassing against our City Manager.
Who would do something so sh*tty?
In regards to your last paragraph, I would almost agree with you, I would like to see, investigation into both, I think sadly since the CM got legal advice instead of just giving the actual information that was requested by law, this would have not mushroomed into a legal and ethical question. The fact that the four professional and respectful women you named have been accused in a televised public meeting in the council chambers of bullying the city manager by the city manager should be as well, to clear their names and connecting any of the timely throwing of a brown substance on a front porch, there was no harm to the actual property. Yet was covered by all news media which I find very interesting. I have seen these woman talk respectfully on topics in Council about things they care about, I have never seen anything but very diplomatic questions or comments which are by right allowed to be discussed. I think in all fairness to everyone involved and for our town we all need answers.
I can’t believe someone is blaming citizens that care for our city. Until the police do their investigation no one should blame others without facts. It’s irresponsible that the Independent would allow that to be posted without facts.
Jusse Smollet? just sayin’.
Neither City Manager Dupuis, Ms. Visconti nor anyone else has cited a single word by the four residents they malign that constitutes “bullying” or is “hateful, intimidating, misogynistic [or] xenophobic.” To hurl such allegations, and even worse, hold these residents responsible for the vandalizing of Ms. Dupuis’ home, without any factual support is as abhorrent as the conduct by them that Ms. Visconti baselessly alleges.
I, a Jewish American, am all too aware of the growth of hate crimes in this nation. (Jews are consistently the community most targeted by hate crimes in the U.S. https://www.adl.org/resources/blog/six-facts-about-threats-jewish-community.) I have fought bigotry for my entire adult life and have learned through experience that hurling unfounded charges of bigotry to gain political advantage undermines that very fight. As a long-time open government advocate, I also have been working with Ms. Monda to obtain release of public records relating to Ms. Dupuis’ Nov. 16 traffic incident to which the public is legally entitled. There is nothing contradictory about those dual efforts.
Unlike Ms. Visconti, I expect that whatever their policy priorities, most Laguna residents, like Ms. Monda and I, want California’s open government laws to be respected by our City officials. They need not make the false choice between obedience of those laws and obedience of the laws against violent hate crimes.
First, I’d like to acknowledge that this vandalism incident is disturbing and unacceptable. There is no room for this type of destructive act within our city and the sooner the police investigate and find the perpetrator(s) the better.
In fact, I feel so strongly about respect for others that in 2019, I initiated our City’s first Decorum and Civility Policy through Mayor Bob Whalen to address an official who was bullying residents. Sadly, a reprimand was issued only once – while residents endured four long years of public and private intimidation and harassment under the noses of city officials. It took LB voters to put a stop to this abuse in the 2022 election. I can’t thank them enough!
In response to Ms. Visconti’s outrages remarks, it saddens me that she would use an “unsubstantiated accusation” by our City Manager as a political opportunity to further personally attack four residents without any evidence whatsoever. Visconti states, “I’d add that these actions are hateful, intimidating, misogynistic and xenophobic, in my opinion. It now appears to have resulted in vandalism of the City Manager’s property.”
Interestingly enough I am seeing the same offensive terms and finger-pointing propaganda being used by other politically motivated folks which suggests to me that it has been scripted and distributed. In my opinion, this looks like an organized effort on behalf of the City Manager.
It’s no secret that the business community is disturbed that residents are dissatisfied and asking more questions and voicing their opinions on spending, parking, open space developments and even the latest hot topic – the spraying of our hillsides with Roundup. It seems there’s quite a large number of people with reasons to have sent the City/CM such a strong visible message. Why single out four individual vocal women to label and place blame? Dupuis’s contract comes up for renewal soon. If not renewed, investors and businesses may lose their City Hall dominance and benefits. Wouldn’t this be reason enough to deflect and create a sympathy smoke screen?
No one should have icky stuff dumped on their property, which while it would not include the old school prank of toilet papering a house, it would include fish emulsion as some have identified the substance used on the defacement of the CM’s property. As a woman who was once the first and youngest to become an acquisitions editor directly from the field, I can feel for another woman who is one of the first. However, that doesn’t mean that I believe that retaliation by slandering other women (or men) in a public forum is okay—even if one feels provoked. Many of us have had our share of public verbal and written attacks, and it is prudent to keep records of each. We are also required by my corporation to take regular training and tests on harassment and what constitutes negative work environments by the CA Dept of Fair Employment and Housing. I assume that nonprofits, such as City government officials, must take and test on harassment and negative work environments just like we do in for-profit corporations. Given that, our CM must have known that neither the public nor the media can be charged with a creating a hostile work environment any more than our buyers can be charged. One wonders why someone who knows these rules, such as our competent CM as others here have attested, would engage in a public display and accusation like that?
The hostile environment anfpd bullying at the city government was, in my view, a well orchestrated plan by the founders of Liberate Laguna to tarnish by whatever means necessary those that stood in the way of making Laguna Beach a goldmine for developers at the cost of our safety and our quality of life. You will recall how Blake was supported by Liberate Laguna and has been continuously praised by at least one of the LL founding members throughout Blake’s four years of bullying anyone who had the audacity to question the obvious favouritism given to developers and business interests. Recall the unpermitted work by Mo at Hotel Laguna that was time after time given after the fact permits on remodelling done on an ad hoc basis. When one of our council members went to the City managers office to ask questions about this project, I have been told, the she was was was accused by the CM of being prejudiced and that CM would not help her because that council member did not vote in favor of Ms. Dupuis becoming CM. Talk about hostile environment! This attitude by the CM, in my view, was because she knew there would be no consequences which was very evident by Blake’s continuing harassment of that council member with no consequence to him with the exception of one censure in four years of bullying. It, was , in my opinion just playing good cop/bad cop with Whalen, Kempf, and Blake because Blake was doing what the developers wanted done and Kempf and Whalen had plausible deniability. That , to me , is the most logical conclusion of the sorrowful four years that many residents had to endure. Now we are suffering this legacy of the leaders of the city council who were in my opinion unwilling to do their job. I, of course, do not condone the vandalism of the house of the CM but I think in the case of her calling out four residents for bullying her is a case of “ Me thinks she doth protest too much” i.e. just a case of deflection.