Who is Serving Whom?

Public Servants...

What we don’t know can and will kill us! At the least, it can and will devastate our city’s finances. At the August 17, 2010 council meeting, the Capistrano Organizational Review Effort (CORE) Team, comprised of selected city staff, submitted to the council a report on “In-Sourcing vs. Outsourcing.” A glaring fact in the report was that, in an era where outsourcing can enhance efficiency and curb cost, our city continues to use in-house personnel to process its payroll. This is simply mind-boggling.

Then at the November 16, 2010 council meeting, more ugly truth concerning city wages and benefits finally surfaced. Here is a summary:

For the calendar year ended December 31, 2009, taxpayers paid. . . 
  • An “Accounting Specialist,” AKA: Payroll Clerk, to process the city’s bi-monthly payroll at a cost of over $60,000 per year. 
  • 124 employees (today the city has 133 employees., 119 full-time and 14 part-time). 
  • $7.7 million in wages per year ($647,657 per month) before benefits. This was 39% of the city’s budget of $20 million (now $17 million). 
  • 55 employees (more than 44% of the total staff) received overtime pay or other compensation. The cost to taxpayers was $403,000 ($33,583 per month). 
  • $326,000 for the employee share of pension contributions. This is in addition to the employer share also paid by taxpayers. Seems like they want all the money! 
  • $58,000 in deferred compensation to key employees. 
  • $977,000 for the staff and dependent’s health, vision, and dental premiums. Taxpayers are footing 100% of the cost for both the staff and their family members! Are you upset yet? 

But wait! There is more…a lot more:

Economic Profiling by the OC Sheriff and San Juan Capistrano

Taxation by Citation

When was the last time you received a traffic ticket in San Juan Capistrano?

From our observation the favorite spots for the Sheriff to give tickets, by direction of our city council, are on the east side of town at Ambuehl School 7 a.m.-8 a.m. while parents drop their children off at school, Camino Lacouague while parents drop their kids off to walk to SJHHS, the Ortega speed trap just east of La Novia, and last but not least – exceeding $400+ each ticket – the red light cameras at Ortega/Del Obispo and at Camino Capistrano/Del Obispo.

Did you know our city splits the revenue from these tickets with the Sheriff? Apparently, $7 million+ fee for the Sheriff's services is not enough, and who can blame our illustrious city leaders present and past resorting to this form of Taxation by Citation?

Election Recap

Looking Forward

Well, as the swallows of Capistrano Common Sense foretold, the makeup of our City Council has really changed with the recent election. Capistrano Common Sense wishes to congratulate Larry Kramer, Derek Reeve, and John Taylor as they become the new City Council members on Tuesday, December 7.

It will be very interesting to see how votes line up over the next two years, as many perceive Allevato, Kramer and Taylor to be representing the "good ole' boys" club, Freese to be on a mission to "yuppify" our downtown (even if it means using eminent domain) and giving our hard-earned tax dollars to every social engineering program in town, while Reeve is the scholar and "unknown" on the council.

We hope you will all listen to your constituents, treat us with respect whether we agree or disagree on issues, and remember that you are representing the citizens of San Juan Capistrano with every decision you make.

In that vein, we'd like to raise the following issues that our readers, friends and families think are important and areas deserving of your attention:
  • Stop pursuing building or purchasing a new City Hall. You don't need one and we don't want one. 
  • Please stop wasting our tax dollars on lobbyists and grant writing. There is no such thing as "free" money. Taxpayers pay for all sides of grants as well as salaries for staff and lobbyists to obtain them. 
  • Establish San Juan Capistrano as a Rule of Law City and please don't tell us it can't be done. While you're at it, require E-Verify for not only City Staff and Contractors, but for every business that operates in our City when they apply for a business license. 
  • Speaking of business licenses, do you know that some of our neighboring cities do not require them? If we eliminated this expense, perhaps more businesses would stay in San Juan Capistrano. And definitely eliminate the requirement for a “building” to have a business license.. 
  • Remove the red light cameras. They don't reduce accidents or improve safety, but are unfriendly to businesses, citizens and visitors. A great example of taxation by citation. 
  • Instruct the OC Sheriff officers in our City to apply the law to all residents equally in all areas of our City. 
  • Cut our City Staff to a more reasonable number, somewhere between 50 and 75 and take another look at the employment benefits they receive, once again all at taxpayer expense. 
  • Be open and transparent in every way possible. No more back door deals and secret meetings. A great step in that direction would be to televise all City Council meetings. 
We look forward to hearing your views and seeing how things play out with this new Council makeup. We will be paying close attention and trust you will do your best to represent the citizens of San Juan Capistrano.

Happy New Year to our City Council and to all citizens of San Juan Capistrano!
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