Larry Kramer: A Good Man with a Bad Habit

Open Letter to San Juan Capistrano from Roy L Byrnes, M. D. former Mayor

Larry Kramer and I have been friends. Nevertheless, when Larry asked for my vote in the City Council election, I had to think about it. Here’s what I know about Larry. 

Kramer’s election pamphlet says: ”Time for a Change”, but he’s been the instigator of the very things requiring change. Larry wants you to think he’s a “Reforming Outsider” -- but in truth, for years he’s been a member of San Juan's inside power-elite whose terrible decisions have messed-up our City.

For example, in 2008 San Juan voters approved a $30 million bond program to purchase “open space within the City". That's the true wording of the initiative, -- “open space within the City." Kramer, Nielsen and Uso did not tell us the truth. Actually, negotiations were in progress to purchase a property that was not within the City boundaries, the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park. This was kept secret from the public until after the bond measure was passed.

Kramer, Nielsen and Uso artfully deceived the voters into granting them a $30 million blank check which they used to make an unwise land purchase that is very disadvantageous to San Juan taxpayers. Have you looked at your property tax bill that arrived last week?

Through a series of secret maneuvers, the money was directed to the Mission Viejo Ranch Company to purchase 134 acres of “Riding Park”. They told us that this purchase was necessary to keep the Ranch from building on the property. They didn’t tell us that the Ranch would build anyway – just moving the development across the street. They did not tell us that most of the land was really not buildable and was already protected by Federal restrictive easements. They didn’t tell us that we citizens would be forbidden entry to virtually all of the land. All deceptions. Over the coming decades the true cost of this debacle will exceed $100 million -- a millstone around the neck of the City.

The phony “Open Space” program created by Kramer, Nielsen and Uso, and others is really all about cronyism with the Ranch Company, political favors, money and public deception. Should this trickery be rewarded by election to the City Council? For me, the answer is, "NO!" That’s why I do NOT support Kramer, Nielsen and Uso.

Yesterday Larry circulated a multi-colored, slick and expensive campaign piece called: “Checklist for Change. It’s time for Change” It listed his 4 objectives:

1. “Make Our Open Space a Priority”. Larry, you already foisted a $30 million open space program on us. It will cost over $100 million before the bond program ends -- a back-breaking load for this community! Isn’t that enough of a priority? How much more do you want? Have you considered the present and future costs of these open space adventures? How much more can we stand?

2. “Address Traffic Problems”. Yee Gods, Larry. You were Chairman of the Traffic Commission. How can you now propose a "change" to address traffic problems with a straight face? Weren’t you doing that when you were Traffic Commission Chairman? You now offer to cure problems you’ve helped to create?

3. ”Improve City Government”. But, you’ve been a leading City Hall powerhouse for years as Planning Chair of the Open Space Committee and Chair of Traffic Commission. How can you now decide that we must "change" to improve city government?

4. “Protect Our Downtown". Wait a minute! Wasn’t it your Open Space Committee that hatched the plan to take $10 million of Redevelopment Agency money -- badly needed downtown -– to take that money and give it to CLC for open space land in connection with their senior housing development on the North West Schuller property?

Yes, Larry’s a good person, and I admire his military contributions. However, he has participated in some terrible schemes and decisions. If elected to the City Council, I fear that this pattern would continue with disastrous results. Indeed, I’m appalled at Larry's role in the Open Space Disaster (the phony $30 million “Open Space” bond program). That deception and my love for San Juan compel me to say, "Larry, I can NOT vote for you." For the same reason, I cannot vote for either Mark Nielsen nor Lon Uso,

My votes go to Reeve, Reardon and Worthington because that Team intends to clean up City Hall; that is the first priority.


Roy L Byrnes, M. D. former Mayor, San Juan Capistrano


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