Promoting One Race in San Juan Capistrano

By Kim McCarthy

CREER is a local non-profit, tax-subsidized organization that describes its mission as “for the Empowerment of Mexican/Latino Youth” and “to fortify the identity of the Mexican/Latino Community”. The racial division promoted by groups like CREER fuel racial tension experienced by non-Hispanic Americans throughout our country.

Why does Capistrano have two languages, two local newspapers, two Rite-Aids, two local Coffee Chats, separate schools and separate neighborhoods? These are self-imposed barriers, unlike those once imposed on American Blacks back when racial segregation was widespread. Today, racial division is the result of resistance to assimilation to the American culture. Ethnically distinct groups create isolated communities within ours while reaping the benefits of taxpayer-funded subsidies, all the while promoting their culture of origin.

Graffiti Action

Our City Council is to be congratulated for passing a new law specifically targeting graffiti. This law makes the parents of a minor child financially responsible for the actions of the child.

The Political Season Begins

Editorial Board - Capistrano Common Sense

We wish remind incumbents and others who may seek public office this November that being accountable is part of the bargain.

Last week an article by Councilman Mark Nielsen called "Straight Talk" was his opening salvo in a quest to get your vote in November. The article comes across as the plea of an incumbent that claims to have a corner on truth and a monopoly on fact. His demand that his critics be accountable for their opinions is a diversion. Actual responsibility rests with those elected to office, like Mark Nielsen.

Inside Job?

Do you know that our City is in the final phases of drafting our Long Term Vision/Strategic Business Plan Document? Do you know what is encompassed in that document? Do you know that instead of City staff drafting the document or hiring the company that has worked on the plan for two years (GFOA), the City decided to complete the project with yet another consultant for almost $2,000 MORE than the bid for the contract from GFOA?

City Faces $6.7 Million Jury Award - Legal Disaster?

After a four year legal battle with the City of San Juan Capistrano, on Tuesday June 1, 2010, a jury awarded $6,768,000 in compensation to the Scalzo Family Trust for the city’s illegal imposition of development conditions on the Trust’s proposed residential subdivision.

This is a disastrous result that we should all hope is somehow overturned. But after such a jury award, the prospect for relief is remote. Still, it is likely that the City will first ask the trial judge to set aside the verdict. If that doesn't work, then they will certainly appeal the case.

In the political dimension, this situation shows that the City is being poorly advised on legal matters. The fact that this matter got to an actual trial by jury suggests that on numerous occasions the City Council was assured by its attorney that the City would prevail. Obviously, that advice was wrong.

The failure is on two levels. The City's choice of legal representation should be reviewed. But more importantly, the City Council as a whole is responsible to voters for this result because it failed to exercise oversight that might have kept this matter out of court and away from a jury in the first place.

The City Council is collectively to blame. It is impossible to know whether the decision not to settle but instead submit the matter to trial was the position of every City Council member because this entire matter was handled in closed session and the strategy and votes will never be revealed to the public. It is therefore a collective Council decision, along with the selection of the attorney who represented the City.

San Juan Capistrano has a deserved reputation for being capricious in its demands on those who would seek to develop their property or start a business within the town. This is the bitter result -- an uninsured loss of $6.7 million, plus attorney's fees, plus the City's own attorney's fees, plus the fact that the property remains undeveloped yet today.

Will the City learn from this result? Only if there is outrage among the voters in November!

A Broken Promise Wrapped in Lies

The April issue of Capistrano Common Sense warned of plans to alter a long-standing development plan for the area bounded by San Juan Creek Road, La Novia and Interstate-5, the so-call "Distrito La Novia" or "Meadows" project.  Since our article appeared, our City's Planning Commission has formally rejected the application to alter the project and forwarded the matter to the City Council for a final decision.

On May 26, the developer Advanced Real Estate Services (ARES) launched a deceitful letter-writing campaign that aims to have the City Council set aside the decision of the Planning Commission and approve the changes to the project.  These changes would require a formal amendment to the City's General Plan.

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