Is this Sam Won Capistrano?

Overreaching by our Mayor...
Orrie Brown

The last water bill I received included a letter on official stationery from the Office of the Mayor, entitled “Understanding the importance of redevelopment to everyone”. I knew that Mayor Allevato had sent a letter to Governor Jerry Brown, approved with a four to one vote (Reeve dissenting), but I did not recall hearing or reading of a decision by City Council to send a similar letter to residents of San Juan Capistrano. A few days later I received an email blast letter “Understanding the facts about City Debt”.

Is SJC the next City of Bell?

Editorial Board

Nerves were clearly struck at the March 2nd City Council meeting when SJC resident Mamie Maywhort brought to light the fact that some staff members earned more in 2010 than in 2009; when we were told that staff took an across the board pay cut in 2010. According to city payroll records for 2010, many employees actually received raises, not reductions.  It appears that the majority of the raises were given at the executive level.  Both the Assistant Utilities Director and Senior Executive Assistant earned $10,000 more in 2010 than they did in 2009.

Here is what happened. After she spoke, Mayor Allevato asked CFO Cindy Russell and Human Resources Director Kathleen Springer for their explanations.  Their responses were basically non-answers.  Something about reduction in furlough days, promotions, regular step increases, etc. Their explanations made no sense to us for the following reasons:
  • If we are not mistaken, employees took every other Friday off and two weeks off during Christmas as furlough days.  We dont think they did this in 2009.  So, is this furlough thing just a bunch of smoke and mirrors to let us think they are taking cuts with furlough days?
  • Promotions?  Who?   As far as we know Cindy Russell, Steven Apple, Kathleen Springer, or Cathy Salcedo (just to name a few) did not change job responsibilities in 2010, but they all received nice raises.
  • Automatic "step" increases? This is nothing more than entitlement in the public sector.  How about raises ONLY when you merit it?

Do You Know What Your City Attorney is Doing?

Roy L. Byrnes, for Mayor of San Juan Capistrano

When you read this article about the San Juan City Attorney, you might be surprised. Last year our City Attorney and his firm were paid well over a million dollars. Compare that to neighboring Laguna Niguel with a population twice that of San Juan; their legal fees totaled around $300,000 last year while ours exceeded $1.2 million. What does our City Attorney do to earn his $1.2 million?

The City Attorney's job is to protect his clients interests. Great, that's me, you'll say. You're wrong! He's not your attorney; he has no interest in protecting you. The real job of this million dollar lawyer has been to facilitate the politico network controlling our City Hall. Since the City Attorney is required by canons of legal ethics to serve the interests of his client, be it the City Council or City staff, he cannot be the champion of the interests of the citizens of San Juan  something the average citizen fails to realize.

Here are several examples of how the City Attorney serves City Hall politicos, often to the detriment of San Juan citizens:

Status of E-Verify

Hopefully, most of our readers have heard of the government tool, E-Verify, that employers can use to be sure their current or prospective employees have the legal right to work in this country.  It is free, 99.6% accurate and readily available to any employer who has a computer and internet access.

In these, and any economic times, it is vital that employers hire only those that have the legal right to be legally employed. The best source of information on the accuracy and effectiveness of E-Verify is the government-commissioned Westat report, which came out early last year The Obama Administration's U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services summary of the Westat report (Westat Evaluation of the E-Verify Program: USCIS Synopsis of Key Findings and Program Implications, January 28, 2010) says that:

  • over 99 percent of authorized workers are initially found to be employment authorized, and the majority of the rest are ultimately found to be authorized
  • E-Verify accurately detects the status of unauthorized workers almost half of the time
  • it may be that E-Verify deters many unauthorized workers from even applying for jobs
  • E-Verify is much more effective than the Form I-9 verification process used without E-Verify
  • E-Verify is the best available tool to help employers determine whether their employees are authorized to work in the United States
  • E-Verify reduces discrimination against foreign-born workers
  • Employers are generally satisfied with the program and feel it is non-burdensome
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