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Laguna Beach


Analyzing the LBUSD Board situation

My name is Dr. Debby Bowes and I have lived in Laguna for 30 years. I share my background as I believe every reader is entitled to know the experiences of the person sharing opinions. I have been an educator for 40 years serving as classroom teacher, Director of Curriculum/Instruction/Assistant Superintendent/Director of Hillsides, a school for mentally and emotionally disturbed children. I received my doctorate from USC and was elected to the School Board in San Marino for two terms. I was recently selected by the Trademark Women of Distinction 2019 Honors Edition. Sharing my background is for the purpose of assuring my audience that I have the expertise to analyze the LBUSD Board situation.

Dee Perry was elected by the residents of Laguna Beach and as such should be respected for her opinions even if they vary from the superintendent and board members. It is clear to me the board has shown disrespect to Dee as well as those who elected her. Passing her over as Board president because they did not believe her capable stands irony on its head, to me. Vickers was selected, it has been suggested, because “Dee can’t do the job.” Yet under Vickers’ leadership, chaos prevails. In the entire time I served on the San Marino School Board, at no time did any member ever say negative things about another member publicly. These board members do not seem to have any sense of decorum, and with what many feel are their careless attacks have done great harm to Dee, as we see it, her family, and the parents and students in our community.

The main points I wish to make are these:

1. The board has, in my opinion, disrespected the will of the people in their treatment of Dee Perry;

2. The board lacks the acumen and political expertise, in my opinion, to serve successfully;

3. Lawyer Bresee has created much of the problem, in my opinion, by seemingly suggesting Dee Perry be excluded from confidential matters, a suggestion unheard of to most. Why was a lawyer with a seemingly sketchy past hired in Laguna Beach? It seems he has engaged in a power struggle with Dee who simply disagreed with several of his decisions. In all of the districts I worked in, I have never seen a lawyer give a board what I believe is such inappropriate advice. The focus of a lawyer ought to be to assure the smooth functioning of the board. Instead, Bresee has created a mountain out of a molehill to me, seemingly steering the board to the edge of the cliff. In my opinion, Bresee should be terminated for what I see as his poor performance.

4. Given the obvious (to me) dysfunction of the Board, an outside consultant was brought in to provide training in effective boardsmanship. I thought this was a positive step forward but then the board canceled future training because of cost. There could be no better use of money, in my opinion, than providing the skills needed to turn this board around. Apparently, in this case, a skunk can’t smell its own odor.

5. I have had extensive training in observing and analyzing individual and group behavior. As such, I recently I attended a School Board meeting where several parents expressed concern about the treatment of Dee Perry. Vickers’ interaction was caustic and snappy in tone, to me. Normandin was looking down writing instead of showing interest in the speaker, which initiated criticism from the audience. The remaining members were passive for the most part. I conclude from these interactions and tremendous community input that there is a wide schism between the parents in Laguna Beach and the board. Having seen this first-hand, I think it is important that in November board members be elected who understand that having a positive rapport with the parents in LBUSD is paramount. The members of this board seem to have forgotten who they serve.

Dr. Debby Bowes

Laguna Beach


Commending our City Council

When the Council does something right they need to be commended. During the last Council meeting, Council member Toni Iseman proposed banning flavored vape products in Laguna Beach. After some clear and convincing testimony from Laguna Beach High School students, the Council voted to implement this ban. We note that the President is now contemplating asking the FDA to do the same. We are proud of our Council for taking this courageous stance to protect the health of our young residents.

Laguna continues to lead! You make us proud.

Johanna Felder

President, Village Laguna


Thank you, Judie Mancuso

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” --Mahatma Gandhi

Thank you, Judie Mancuso, for your love and commitment to the animals that have no voice. By your actions, you have saved the lives of so many unfortunate and helpless creatures.

In a better world, creatures would not be captured nor bred to be slaughtered and eaten; it would not be considered “fashionable” to wear the scales and hides of helpless wild creatures, kept in captivity for their lifetimes. An animal is not a “thing.”

May Gandhi be wrong. May we never be judged by the way our animals are treated.

And thank you, Judie Mancuso, for helping us make moral progress, little by little, as long as it takes.

Jahn Levitt

Laguna Beach

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