Residents weigh in on mayor’s future
With respect to whether or not Mayor Baglin should be indicted, I
feel he should not.
I worked in city government for more than 17 years and I know how
they function. In this case, everyone knew about Baglin’s
involvement, and if his accepting a commission was illegal, he should
have been advised by the city attorney that this would be a conflict.
The fact that he recused himself from the negotiations would have
alerted the city attorney to his involvement, and the city attorney
had an obligation to inform Wayne of any potential problems.
Mayor Wayne Baglin should absolutely not be indicted.
I dined with a few neighbors here in Laguna Beach last evening,
and they all (except, apparently, me) wanted Wayne Baglin to be
jailed for what he did.
My point to them, and for all of us to consider for the long run
(when our children and their children will be affected) is, if
someone like Baglin, who has been a trusted and very successful
public citizen for years and is a former mayor, is not an acceptable
office holder, who do we expect to sacrifice their lives to run for
office and subject themselves to the rancor and unending gratuitous
complaints of those who’d rather sit back and complain?
Is there anyone you could respect who would choose to expose
themselves to this rain of diatribe on an ongoing basis?
Baglin did apparently accept a commission on a piece of property
that he was involved in representing even before his candidacy for
mayor. He then recused himself from voting upon the matter after
revealing his involvement to his fellow council members and the
public at large (after all, the City Council meetings are broadcast
on Channel 30 into our homes every time they meet).
In short, I think even his detractors agree that there was no
criminal intent involved in what he did ....He simply believed he was
acting honorably by fully revealing his involvement.
But note that, in the face of the probability of the city
exercising its privilege of eminent domain, he could have advised his
clients to seek a more generous buyer instead of selling this
important property to the city. Is that what his detractors would
Our U.S. legal system (based on British tort law) was put in place
by our founding fathers to interpret the laws so as to bring about
Our laws are our attempt to create justice. Our system of justice
stands ready to prosecute someone with criminal intent. That’s why
the legal system exists.
If there is no criminal intent, do we really want to persecute or
prosecute our public officials for their views or actions? After all,
every minute that these people spend in court defending themselves,
is a minute when the city’s business is not getting done.
Did Wayne Baglin earn a commission on the transaction from Laguna
Did he recuse himself from the decision to buy the properties in
Did he try to conceal the fact that he earned a commission from
the sellers? No.
Is this whole tempest in a teapot a bunch of political cods
J. PHILIP DEVARENNE JR.
I have been living in Switzerland for the last year and a half and
just recently returned to Laguna Beach.
The other night at dinner, my wife and I were told by some
acquaintances that Wayne Baglin had been recently indicted. I could
not ignore the glee from one gentleman that evening nor the rather
pious statements made in the press this past week by some city
notables, including the mayor emeritus, Robert Gentry.
Having since spoken to residents that both support and reject the
indictment, I have found that the basis for the disagreement is
If one were to step back and look at the entire timeline, one
would need to ignore several points of context.
He represented his client prior to his role as a council member.
This is significant and should not be ignored.
Another fact is, the city was not the only interested party in the
property. Baglin did represent his client and, when the city advanced
its position, he then excused himself from the proceedings.
Those in favor of the indictment seem to ignore the entirety and
pursue a conclusion not based on the reason but rather that of a
legal truth applied incorrectly.
One might easily assume that Baglin has enemies that hold a
grudge. The action on their part is not borne by a noble requirement
of justice, but rather, it would seem, something much less lofty.
The truth is that Baglin has held to his reputation, one that does
not compromise easily, one that may at times appear to be inflexible.
These traits are the very reason that I hold him in high regard,
as I have found him to be a man that sticks to his principals.
This indictment was brought about by the weakest of justice’s
foundational elements and will not stand on its own as common sense
and the context of Baglin’s actions will prevail.