My children and my property value on November 2

A Mom's "Special Interests"
Kim McCarthy

November 2 is an opportunity for San Juan Capistrano parents to vote to support their children and for all voters to protect their property values. We have watched our property values plummet while our historic town has been turned into a sanctuary city. Meanwhile, our current city “leaders” are spending our money like there’s no tomorrow on unnecessary pet projects.

I may not be a doctor, a businessman, or an open space committee member, but I know what’s good for my family and it’s not another four years of bad decisions by incumbents or committee members and their associates.

In the last City Council election, I made the mistake of trusting candidates who said they believed in public safety, fiscal responsibility and transparency, without asking for specifics. This time around I have asked for specifics and because I have done my homework, I am voting for REEVE, REARDON and WORTHINGTON for the following reasons:

Home Invasion in San Juan Capistrano

Orrie Brown

Yes, that's exactly what one family experienced on Tuesday, September 21. Martin Ramirez, a known gang member from San Clemente, was fleeing Deputies and entered a home to hide, while the family was home. The residents noticed a door in their master bedroom was closed, and had previously been open, so they became suspicious. The OCSD helicopter was in the air and deputies and canine units in the neighborhood. They called for help and five Deputies entered the house, with guns drawn, and successfully captured Ramirez.

The residents and law enforcement officials were very fortunate that there were no injuries, as Ramirez is wanted for attempted murder, auto theft, evading arrest, and trespassing. According to Lt. Dan Dwyer, he is currently being held at OC Jail, with one million dollars bail. Ramirez is also on hold for ICE as it is suspected he is not in the US legally. While living in a Gang Injunction zone makes City Council candidates Kramer, Nielsen and Taylor feel "safe", it scares the heck out of most of us who know what that means and how and why we got here. I look forward to the day when living under a Gang Injunction is no longer needed. Our City leaders should be working towards that goal and not accepting the status quo. Rid our City of "our" gang problems by tough enforcement of the law and focus on public safety!

Giving the Farm Away

Tony Brown, Editorial Board

It must be Global Warming. It must be the overwhelming heat. What else could explain this city council’s insistence on giving the Farm away (literally) to the non-profit group “The Ecology Center”?

They made a decision recently that they must think was very brave. They increased the rent for the Center’s use of the Congdon House and the surrounding grounds (3/4 of an acre) from $680 per year to $1,200 per year. This works out to about 27 cents per foot per year.

Crazy Issues

Jay Wade, CCS Reader

Three issues that are driving us absolutely CRAZY here in San Juan Capistrano are ridiculously apparent to those paying the bill (taxpayers) but seemingly a bona fide mystery to those spending other people’s money (city staff and city council). They are:

Immigration
What business does the City of San Juan have committing tens of thousands of our taxpayer dollars towards the funding of programs for illegals when we can’t even manage our OWN costs? 

Ground Water Recovery Plant
For God’s sake, audit the GWRP to find out why we’re spending $200,000 more per month to operate it than if we purchased the water from the Metropolitan Water District. If the rationale for building the GWRP was to create our own independent water source and save money and it is instead losing money, let’s find out why and figure out whether it makes sense to continue to dump money into it.

Open Space
Quoting council candidate Derek Reeve, who rightfully asked “How bad was the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park deal? Just look at the Purchase and Sale Agreement for the property that was purchased with the proceeds from the Open Space Bond approved by the voters in 2008. Keep in mind when you read it that this deal was negotiated entirely in secret by 3 unelected members of the Open Space Committee. None of them filed Conflict of Interest Disclosure forms which are required of every other committee and commission member in our city, yet they were allowed to negotiate real estate deals with tens of millions in public funds. One of the three (Brad Gates) owns property in close proximity to the newly acquired Open Space”. This reeks of special interest, collusion and theft of public funds.

When are we going to wake up and elect real, transparent fiscal conservatives to the City Council? I urge San Juan residents to VOTE for Reeve, Reardon and Worthington!

An Opportunity for San Juan Voters

John Perry, CCS Reader

The voters of San Juan Capistrano have an opportunity to change the way business is conducted in the future by the City Council. I can think of five good reasons why the incumbents do not deserve to be re-elected.

- The City Council has failed to manage the delivery of water to its residents without an endless series of rate increases. Since 2006, when (Lon) Uso and (Mark) Nielsen were elected, the water rates, including sewer, have nearly doubled. Every time the local water plant (GWRP) gets in the red, the council comes back to the ratepayers for another tax increase.

- Uso and Nielsen were involved on a committee with the developer of the Distrito La Novia/Meadows project promising to deliver a General Plan amendment and zoning change if the developer, ARES, agreed to build the kind of project they wanted. When ARES purchased the property, they knew they had entitlements to build a hotel and residential units. However, the City Council needs revenue and they see this project as the "golden goose," despite opposition from nearby residents who will be impacted by the traffic, excavation of the dump and at least 500 horses

- The City Council has failed the residents who thought they voted for open-space bonds, only to find that a secret deal had been cut with the equestrian elite to purchase the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park. This $27.5 million giveaway to the ranch is currently leased back to the previous operator for $200,000 per year when the cost to the taxpayers is over $2 million per year in bond repayment and maintenance costs.

- The Orange County Register reported that San Juan Capistrano's city manager was being paid $324,000 per year, the second-highest in the county. The City Council defended the salary, saying the city manager really was being paid for doing two jobs, city manager and utilities director, and that he was really saving the city money. The Register also disclosed that six top city administrators were all making more than $200,000. Not bad, huh?

- The city has blundered into a $9.4 million judgment for demanding property dedication as part of a 30-house development by a local resident. The resident sued and the jury found the city has acted improperly by requiring the property as a condition for approval of the development. The loss is not covered by insurance, and interest is accruing at $1,800 per day while the city ponders an appeal. Unless the city prevails on appeal, the city may have to declare bankruptcy if they can't find a pot of gold. Vote on Nov. 2 to change the City Council of San Juan Capistrano.
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