Laguna Niguel City Councilwoman Sandy Rains abruptly resigned from office Wednesday citing safety concerns – the second council member to resign in the city this year.

Rains’ resignation comes roughly a month after Councilmember Rischi Paul Sharma abruptly resigned.

In her resignation letter, Rains said she’s the “right person at the wrong time.”

Her resignation letter was sent to Voice of OC shortly after a special meeting began to fill Sharma’s vacant seat by appointment. 

“Effective immediately I am rendering my resignation from the Laguna Niguel City Council,” she wrote. 

“This decision did not come lightly, however for the safety and protection of my family it is the appropriate time. An environment that is not safe to disagree in is an environment that is not focused on growth- it is an environment that is focused on control. I no longer feel I can effectively serve our community in this hostile environment.”

In February, Rains stepped down as the city’s mayor after two of her colleagues, Councilmembers Stephanie Oddo and Ray Gennawey, publicly called for her removal from the mayoral office.

Her colleagues demanded Rains step down from the largely ceremonial mayor position after she called for a debate on firing City Manager Tamara Letourneau.

[Read: Laguna Niguel’s Mayor Abruptly Resigns]

Shortly after Rains stepped down from office the council stripped the mayor’s ability to single handedly put items on city council meeting agendas.

Rains was also removed from serving on local ad hoc committees and regional boards representing the city.

Now, Laguna Niguel City Council members have yet another vacancy to wrestle with.

On April 6, Sharma, who served as acting mayor after Rains, resigned without giving a clear reason why.

“It has been a distinct honor and pleasure to have served the people of Laguna Niguel and to have worked alongside our city staff,” Sharma wrote in a resignation letter. “I wish you and the team all the best and am confident the leadership that is in place will continue to move the city of Laguna Niguel forward.”

[Read: Laguna Niguel Looks to Fill City Council Seat by Appointment]

The council voted last month to move forward with appointing a new council member to fill Sharma’s vacant seat.

At a special 5 p.m. council meeting Wednesday, the council is set to conduct eight interviews for potential candidates to fill Sharma’s vacant seat, according to the agenda. The council is agendized to appoint a new member after the interviews.

Rains wrote in her resignation letter that it was an honor to serve the residents of Laguna Niguel.

As of Wednesday at 5:40 p.m. Rains was still listed as a city council member on the Laguna Niguel website.

“Receiving the highest vote count in both of my terms clearly makes a statement that I was the right person to represent Laguna Niguel. I will be forever grateful for the confidence placed in my ability to serve the constituents,” Rains wrote.

“My hope is that the council will make the right choice for my successor to serve the community as it deserves to be served.”

Hosam Elattar is a Voice of OC reporter and corps member with Report for America, a GroundTruth initiative. Contact him at or on Twitter @ElattarHosam.

Angelina Hicks is a Voice of OC Reporting Fellow. Contact her at or on Twitter @angelinahicks13.


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