Guest Column

Why I am Running for San Juan City Council

by Roy Byrnes, MD 

People have asked me, a gray-haired retired doc, why I am willing to spend my retirement running for office again. After all, they’ve reminded me, I’d already done my “civic duty” years ago when serving multiple terms as Mayor of San Juan.

I tell them that after spending years working to preserve our ridgelines, Open Space and in general our quality of life, I cannot in all good conscience stand by and watch San Juan continue to be hijacked by powerful people with deep pockets.

A look at my track record will reveal that during my two terms as Mayor, I along with other good citizens established the original General Plan as a guideline for reasonable and sustainable future growth while protecting the quality of life in our small town. Sadly, things have gone badly astray.

Since my time on the council I have spent many years attending City Council meetings and speaking up when I believed our original City vision was being subverted to serve the interests of a select few, known as “the good ol’ boys” by many of us in San Juan.

In my opinion, some of the goings-on at City Hall are questionably legal, as evidenced by the most recent lawsuit filed against the City by the Capistrano Taxpayers Association (CTA). That lawsuit is designed to force the City to obey the law and bring our water rates down to a reasonable, affordable figure. Too bad it takes a lawsuit to get our City Council to listen. I hope to change that.

I believe it’s time to reassess; to come together and reassert a common sense approach to operating our City with transparency and fiscal honesty. One way to do this is to renounce the current “credit card” mentality of City Hall.

Some are already attacking me based on my age but the way I see it, my age is an asset. My experience and historical knowledge of San Juan will become your assets. I know how to get things done and I will represent you the resident and not some good ol' boy who doesn't care about your quality of life and who only wants your money or your vote in order to enrich himself.

I urge you to research the candidates. If they’re City officials, look at their voting records. Look at how they’ve managed growth and our finances. Look around town and see if you like the results of their leadership, then VOTE on November 6 – your quality of life depends on it!

Follow the Money

By Clint Worthington 

I was interested to find out exactly where the campaign contributions came from for incumbent City Council Candidate Sam Allevato. I obtained a copy of Form 460 from the City Clerks office and specifically looked at “Schedule A - Monetary Contributions Received”. Keep in mind, the contribution limit is $250.00 per individual but what often happens is that many people in one company will each donate. When you have a company the size of the Rancho Mission Viejo Company, that can (and does) add up.

I was quite surprised how many contributions were from corporations or individuals that at some point received a favorable vote from Sam Allevato. Here are just a few:

1. CR&R Waste ( evergreen contract for trash hauling)

2. Tony Moiso (CEO, Rancho Mission Viejo Company, who we purchased 132 acres from)

3. Gil Aguirre (VP, Rancho Mission Viejo Co)

4. Brad Gates (negotiator on 132 acre purchase of RMV Riding Park and friend of Moiso’s)

5. Christopher Townsend ( Lobbying contract with the City)

6. Last name of Friess (I lost count of how many contributed after five)

7. Myron Sukut (Developer/partner in Distrito La Novia & proponent of Yes on Measure B, Distrito La Novia)

8. Robb Cerruti (Developer/partner in Distrito La Novia & proponent of Yes on Measure B, Distrito La Novia)

9. Gretchen Stroesher Thompson ( future hotel developer at Del Obispo and Ortega Highway)

10. Orange County Automobile Dealers (favorable signs for auto dealers and $5 million in taxpayer-funded redevelopment agency money)

I’m sure Councilman Allevato would say it’s just a coincidence; that he and the contributors have done nothing wrong. Maybe not, but it sure makes me wonder why someone would raise so much money for a job that pays so little.
What Your Neighbors Are Saying…

Since we began publication 2 ½ years ago, we have encouraged emails and letters from our readers – and boy, do we get them!

Listed below are excerpts from some of them, to let you know what your fellow residents are saying:

“I have been a homeowner in SJC for 12 years. First of all I'd like to say that I appreciate all your efforts in trying to bring transparency to our towns’ political arena (where it is so very needed).”

“Can someone do some sleuthing and find out who was taking money under the table when this [CR&R trash] contract was signed? This contract smells…”

“I commend your services in "Capistrano Common Sense". Keep it up”

“Our water rates are WAY out of line. The major rate difference from the surrounding cities plus the illegal "tiered" billing is ridiculous!! Is the City going to take another 5 years to realize that?”

“Thank you for your newsletters, helping the citizens of San Juan Capistrano be apprised of the truth.”

“I am grateful to hear that I am not the only resident in SJC who is astounded by how much I pay for water compared to friends in other nearby communities. Another example of the gross mis-management that goes on in our city government. Thanks for watching out for us all.”

“It's comforting to my wife and I, especially in these days of such widespread apathy, to know that there are still some groups around willing to fight for what's right.”

“Watch dogs can be of great service to the citizens and great balance to any entity in power. Good luck with achieving that goal.”

“I recently received the Capistrano Common Sense and you can count me as one of your fellow outraged citizens...Things must change and soon. I now pay more for water than I do for cable, gas, trash service and electricity combined. What more can be done to hold those responsible accountable and to turn this ridiculous situation around?”

“Your last three issues have covered water concerns and rising water bills, but I do not see the City Council responding in kind. The two and three tier billing is just that - more money for the city. Common Sense and other concerned people better be at all meetings hammering this council to correct all financial problems with the city. It is basically what is wrong not only local but national. There is so much apathy, directed at people who continue to turn away from the true problems we have…Thanks”

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