San Juan Capistrano

       Major Traffic Increases on the Horizon 


                                              by Kim Lefner

Anyone trying to get through town knows that traffic in our small town is a mess. It’s not just the new freeway interchange project; the traffic was backed up before that project even started. 
                    
Compounding the problem are development projects that have been approved but not yet built. The largest of these in terms of traffic, is the Distrito La Novia project. Traffic studies estimate 8,000 additional car trips per day added to our already crowded streets, including haulers removing the estimated 25 tons of waste daily from the 775-horse Equestrian Center approved on that site. “Mitigation measures” proposed by the Draft Environmental Impact Report (“DEIR”) consisted only of “lane striping”, “street alignments”, or “payment of in lieu fees”. There was no plan in the DEIR for the daily disposal of the 25 tons of horse manure.

 Other developments approved but not yet built include: 
  • Pacifica San Juan/Sea Country - 416 homes, 96 built as of April, 2014. Above the CUSD headquarters building.
  • Ventanas - 236,329sf of two-story office buildings. Commercial development at the end of Calle Arroyo (near 24 Hour Fitness shopping center). Approved for. Rumors are circulating that the land owners now want to request approval for a medical center and hotel on that site.·
  • Centra Pointe - 34,874sf of two-story office buildings. Rancho Viejo Road across from Marbella Plaza. Under construction.
  • Oliva residential development; 31 approved/ nine more proposed. Under construction , on Del Obispo, across the street from Armstrong’s Nursery/Vermeulen Ranch Center (where the proposed Spieker Development would be built if approved).
  • The Oaks - 32 homes (at last count) on the former Oaks Equestrian Center site.

Mission Viejo

                       Mission Viejo City Council - Let’s Start Over!

                                                              By Steve Magdziak

In Mission Viejo, eight candidates are running for three city council seats on the Nov. 4 ballot. Trish Kelley is terming out, and Dave Leckness and Rhonda Reardon are running for re-election.

I can sum up this election in three words: let’s start over. Remove the incumbents and elect three challengers – Desi Kiss, Ed Sachs and Greg Raths.
Desi Kiss has my vote because he comprehends the budget, Capital Improvement Projects and how the city staff operates. I’m confident he can’t be bought, and he won’t allow the progressives in City Hall to run over the council or deplete the reserves. Desi says the city is at a crossroads, and he wants to preserve the Mission Viejo Company’s low-density plan.

Ed Sachs retired as CEO of the Mobile Electronics Division of Pioneer Electronics, and he serves on the city’s Financial Advisory Commission. He’s good with numbers, smart and quick on his feet. I’m voting for Ed because he’s an advocate of small government and he asks for accountability. He’s a good business manager.

If Desi and Ed both win, Mission Viejo wins. Both men have had professional standing in world-class corporations, and that’s a bonus for our city council.

Greg Raths is the third candidate for the three openings on the council. He’s running as a fiscal conservative, and he’s a retired Marine Corps colonel.

I am recommending against Rhonda Reardon, Dave Leckness and Wendy Bucknum. Bucknum publicly says the three are running together, and Leckness privately says they are not.

San Juan Capistrano

 
                                Who is Looking Out for the Taxpayers?

                                                                     By Kim Lefner

Plagiarism is bad enough, but using tax dollars to promote and justify one’s existence is even worse in my opinion.

In the September issue of the CCS we reported on an “Opinion Column” in the Capistrano Dispatch about the Orange County Vector Control, allegedly written by Councilman John Taylor. Taylor’s column contained wording identical to a Dispatch “Opinion Column” by former San Clemente Councilman Jim Dahl, and an article published in the OC Register by Anaheim Council member Lucille Kring. Taylor, Dahl and Kring all serve on the Board of the taxpayer-funded OC Vector Control. They were appointed to represent the taxpayers from their respective cities.


 The taxpayer-funded OC Vector Control has 35 Board member
           representing  cities throughout Orange County

Recently, OC Register reporter Meghann Cuniff wrote an article in which former Dispatch editor-turned-public-relations-representative Jonathan Volzke stated that he actually wrote all three of the columns, which the elected officials then claimed as their own. Volzke was working as a public relations representative for a PR firm that had the OC Vector Control as a client. Volzke suggested that this type of misrepresentation is somehow OK because it’s done all the time.   

We now question how elected officials like Taylor, who are supposed to be looking out for the taxpayers’ best interests, instead allow a paid PR firm to use them to promote the PR firms’ clients. This seems like a conflict, especially when the OC Vector Control had recently proposed yet another property tax increase to pay $1 million for a museum exhibit promoting the OC Vector Control. If the elected official is promoting the taxpayer-funded agency, then who is looking out for the taxpayer?

San Juan Capistrano

Roy L. Byrnes, MD
                                                                          Guest Opinion Column

                             An Open Letter
             to San Juan Residents
         from San Juan Capistrano City Councilman Dr. Roy Byrnes

I’m the senior member of your City Council and I 'm furious. Two years ago, at the age of 88, I came out of retirement because I couldn’t stand to watch this great City be further decimated by a bunch of greedy folks masquerading as leaders.

Forty years ago as Mayor of San Juan, I established our first General Plan for the City. This capped the population and created the ambiance that we enjoy today. Sadly, the hopes and dreams that we then established are dissolving like a sugar cube in boiling water. Now I drive down the Ortega at a snail’s pace witnessing the hills being carved-up for 14,000 more homes to our east. San Juan Capistrano is becoming merely a freeway on/off ramp for the Ranch's new developments. Our lack of local response is due to out of town power brokers who have stacked the deck on our City Council. We must put a stop to this evil control. Like a spoiled child, this Council deserves a trip to the woodshed to have it's bottom warmed. 

The “Allevato machine”, which controls the Council, seems to have a love affair with litigation. They have never found a lawyer or a litigation they didn't want to embrace. If this gladdens your heart, then pick the slate of Kramer and Taylor. They have pushed our legal bills with the firm of Rutan and Tucker to over a million dollars a year –and rising!

Mission Viejo

                         Know Who You’re Voting For
                                                                    
                                                              By Joe Holtzman

Two Mission Viejo City Council candidates came under scrutiny on September 3. How did they respond? They misrepresented their records, ideology and votes, defying facts on video and audiotape.                        

The occasion was the county’s GOP endorsement committee meeting. Councilwoman Rhonda Reardon and challenger Wendy Bucknum took adjacent seats facing six members of the Orange County Republican Central Committee.

Audience members were allowed to speak in opposition to the candidates. Four Mission Viejo residents informed the committee that Bucknum is a paid lobbyist whose campaign is financed with special-interest money. They exposed Reardon’s false claim she lowered the city’s pension debt and cut wasteful spending.

San Juan Capistrano

Letter to the Editor
                                                                                                                         
            
                                            Nature, Politics and Water

Natural forces and a decade of bad political decisions are converging to create a water crisis in San Juan that is almost unimaginable. Property values, lifestyle and employment are among the items at stake. Serious long-term environmental damage may already be underway too.

The upcoming election represents an opportunity for the community to change direction on water by changing the majority of our City Council.

Our city is now embroiled in two separate lawsuits arising from its water policies. While city wells are nearly empty, the city council has chosen quietly to protect the status quo. There is no logic to this except to protect their control of the City Council. The interests of this majority are also aligned with our lavishly expensive Utility Department staff and their fabulously expensive Groundwater Recovery Plant [“GWRP”]. The GWRP is a miraculous device; it drains the wells and the city treasury simultaneously!

In July, the ruling council majority implemented new water rates that are cynically opposed to water conservation, rewarding everyone in town with a 50 percent increase in their allocation of the lowest cost water. Afterward, they lecture us about the necessity of conservation!  

After the election, they will be forced to reverse course and implement draconian water penalties in response to obvious natural conditions. The structure of these inevitable restrictions will affect your property values, your lifestyle and jobs in this area.

Voters would be wise to install a fresh majority to consider these crisis issues from a new and independent perspective.

Jim Reardon
San Juan Capistrano

Member, Capistrano Taxpayers Association
 



Mission Viejo

Letter to the Editor
                     More On Billboards,
                             Toll Lanes                          

In the September CCS, I wrote about the Mission Viejo City Council race with a brief description of each candidate. A reader emailed the Mission Viejo editor and asked for further information about council incumbent Rhonda Reardon, who is running for re-election.

 The article referenced her support for electronic billboards and toll lanes on the 405. Discussions can be found on council videotapes (1-21-13 for billboards; 12-2-13 and 9-2-14 for toll roads).

 Additionally, Reardon in December 2012 arranged a private meeting on behalf of billboard developer Colby Durnin and consultant Roger Faubel. She invited residents as well as Councilwoman Cathy Schlicht. The residents told CCS the meeting was to talk down their resistance to billboards.

Councilwoman Cathy Schlicht said, “Rhonda’s position during the meeting was that she was OK with the electronic billboards on the Kaleidoscope building as long as they faced the freeway and not homes.”
If residents watch the 1-12-13 council meeting, they will observe Reardon’s concern about offsite advertising on the billboards and her vote in the 4-1 majority against asking city staff to work on changing the city’s sign ordinance.

Councilwoman Schlicht told CCS, “The electronic billboards are not dead. They’ll be back after the election.”
 Reardon had two opportunities during council meetings (12-2-13 and 9-2-14) to go on record opposing toll lanes on the 405. Councilwoman Cathy Schlicht twice attempted to pass a resolution in opposition to toll lanes. No other council member supported the resolutions, and no action was taken by the council. Perhaps there’s a fine line between supporting toll lanes and being opposed to opposing them.
Kirk Kelley
Mission Viejo
 

Mission Viejo

Letter to the Editor
                                                                             
                         Restore Mission Viejo to #1

Two city council incumbents are in campaign mode – Dave Leckness and Rhonda Reardon. They’re saying Mission Viejo is California’s safest city, and Reardon said it in her ballot statement.

How many years has it been since Mission Viejo was the safest city?

Based on FBI crime data, Mission Viejo is No. 13 on one list (http://lawstreetmedia.com/slideshow-americas-safest-dangerous-cities/california-2014/) and No. 18 on another (http://www.safewise.com/blog/50-safest-cities-california/). Rather than claiming we’re No. 1, shouldn’t the incumbents explain the decline?

They should also explain why the costs of policing the city have gone up 76 percent during the past 10 years. http://www.ocregister.com/articles/public-635037-safety-percent.html

Rather than keeping the city safe, Leckness and Reardon are contributing to its decline. They’re changing our community of single-family homes and open space to high-density projects. Leckness and Reardon have either approved high-density housing (e.g., on Oso near the freeway) or increased apartment density (on Los Alisos near the 241).

Watch Leckness on this YouTube video, crowing about the apartments and turning Oso into an 8-lane freeway for cut-through traffic, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2BR8HX5TMs&feature=em-share_video_user

Instead of listening to campaign rhetoric, let’s elect leaders to restore our city to No. 1. I strongly recommend that voters remove both Leckness and Reardon from the council in the Nov. 4 election.

Lamar Kelsoe
Mission Viejo
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