San Juan Capistrano

SJC Pipeline to Supply Water to Sendero

By Kim Lefner

A proposed agreement with the Santa Margarita Water District (SMWD) to use our pipeline to supply water to the Ranch’s new “Sendero” residential development, and to purchase recycled water from the SMWD is surprising in its lack of clarity about several important issues. The water service to Sendero will be for an estimated period of four years while the SMWD builds reservoirs to service the new development.

According to minutes of the September 25 meeting (see Minutes under "Community Links" in the column to the right), the SMWD Board of Directors unanimously approved the agreement to supply water to Sendero via City of San Juan Capistrano water line “SC-4” that runs adjacent to the Sendero development. The pipeline cost our City approximately $6.9 million to construct. According to the SMWD, of the 4.91cfs of water allocated to San Juan through our pipeline, an estimated 41% will be supplied to Sendero. We do not yet know how much of this capacity is being used to service SJC water needs especially the high altitude uses. Do we have enough excess capacity to meet our needs with 59% of what we are now getting?

Mission Viejo

Preventing Costly Mistakes

By Ed Sachs

How do we prevent repeating mistakes that are costly to taxpayers? In my professional career in the private sector, I accomplished this by holding responsible parties accountable for their mistakes. Not surprisingly, this had the effect of eliminating or at least reducing the number of mistakes which translated into savings for the company.
I write this in the hopes it will encourage our city council and staff to do the same within our local government. I refer to the city council’s recent admission that, “oops, we forgot to consider irrigation for the Dog Park.” I find it hard to believe that a Dog Park that requires grass was designed without a water source. Yet just recently, a Change Order asking Mission Viejo residents for an additional $190,600 was presented for approval. The reason staff and council are asking for more of your money is that once again, somebody neglected to include irrigation in the initial project specs.

The Dog Park started with a design/build cost of $800,000 to city taxpayers. This Dog Park has now ballooned to a cost of  more than $1.1M for Phase 1. And if it has a Phase 1, wouldn’t it stand to reason that it would also have a Phase 2 (or 3, or more)?

San Juan Capistrano

Transparency, not Tyranny!


The on-going attempts by certain city officials to intimidate and silence those who disagree with or question their decisions have reached a new and unfortunate low.

We refer to the latest tactic by councilmen Sam Allevato, Larry Kramer and John Taylor, who voted to place on the November 5 council agenda a discussion of whether they should report councilmen Roy Byrnes and Derek Reeve to the Grand Jury, alleging Brown Act violation and breach of fiduciary responsibility, and censure of Reeve for ethics violations.

The allegations leveled against Byrnes and Reeve are patently false. We know this because they revolve around the present ban of all newspapers including the Community Common Sense (CCS) on public property.

Mission Viejo

                         Audit of City Credit Cards Protects Taxpayers
                                     By Mission Viejo Councilwoman Cathy Schlicht

At the October 21, 2013, Mission Viejo City Council meeting, I made a motion that “the city council order an immediate external audit of the CAL-Card program to evaluate the adequacy of the control environment as it relates to purchases to determine that expenditures are being made in accordance with approved policies and procedures.” For those unfamiliar with CAL-Cards, they are credit cards issued to City employees to pay for work-related expenses.

In a 12-month period, these credit card purchases have increased by 31%, from $194,530 in Fiscal Year 2011-2012 to $254,950 in Fiscal Year 2012-2013.

The number of credit cards issued also grew from 9 cards in 4 departments in February 2009 to today’s total of 30 cards in 8 departments. The total of CAL-Card expenditures for the last three fiscal years is $601,282.

San Juan Capistrano

Neighborhood Watch…
Listed below is the second in a series of stories submitted by residents about daily life in their San Juan neighborhood. Many who live in areas free from crime and blight may be unaware of the problems in other San Juan neighborhoods. It is our hope that bringing these issues to light will encourage the City to help these residents improve their neighborhoods through proper code enforcement and maintenance.

Quality of Life in the Villas: Part II

By Dan Buckner

In the Villas we have small gardening businesses, food services and clothing sales being conducted out of some of the Villas units. I will buy someone a lunch if any of these guys are licensed, and if they are I don’t think they should be allowed to conduct these types of businesses in a residential community like this. In the early morning hours and on weekends their presence is especially noticeable.
The city has codes that prohibit excessive noise and that govern commercial activity. There are traffic and parking codes, but enforcement is difficult and expensive, because the problem has become overwhelming.

To make the rent of between $1,500 and $2,000, rooms are sub-let and we end up with as many as 11 people living in a three bedroom unit. Some garages are being used for sleeping quarters. The unit next to my mother’s has someone (maybe two) people living in the garage. When the urge hits in the middle of the night I suppose it is less disruptive to just step outside and let it go. Again we have that distinctive smell to contend with when approaching my mother’s front door.

Mission Viejo

Hats Off to Residents Who Protect 
our Tax Dollars and Quality of Life

By Larry Gilbert

As Mission Viejo celebrates its 25th anniversary, it is worth noting that the road has not been without potholes. Some of these problems have been fixed thanks to the efforts of residents passionate about protecting their community. This is the first in a series of articles about those “everyday residents” who have made a difference.

Over the years we have lost some of our community activists who loved our city. I tip my hat to "Tex" Shannon whom I met standing along Alicia Parkway by our Lake, gathering signatures to block a MV Company-funded effort to install a wall along Alicia Parkway at Lake Mission Viejo that would impair the view of the lake and mountains.

Mission Viejo

Editor’s note: Listed below is the third in an on-going series about Mello-Roos taxation and its impacts to homeowners. 

Mello-Roos: Part III

On February 23, 1987 the Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD) and the Mission Viejo Company entered into an agreement to form Community Facilities District 87-1 (“87-1”). The agreement states in part that 87-1 bonds will be used to provide funds to construct 87-1 School Facilities in accordance with the Plan to the extent that funds for the School Facilities are neither timely nor adequately provided by the State
of California or from other sources. And, that the Special Tax shall be levied to pay off the bonds for providing the 87-1 School Facilities, furniture, equipment, and required sites therefore, in accordance with the Plan. The facilities discussed in the plan and financed under the Mello-Roos Program are specifically intended to meet the needs of the students generated by residential developments within 87-1.

Resolution 87-38 adopted on April 20, 1987 expands the use of the 87-1 taxes, without a vote of the taxpayers, to include construction, acquisition, modification or rehabilitation of certain real and other tangible property with an estimated useful life of five years or longer, including certain school and related facilities to serve the project area as fully described in Resolution 87-31 and the report.

San Juan Capistrano

“Ghost Walk” a Reminder of San Juan’s Colorful History

By Kim Lefner

If you haven’t yet been on the Halloween “Ghost Walk” on Los Rios Street, I recommend it. It’s an entertaining reminder of the rich history that surrounds us here in San Juan Capistrano.

The Ghost Walk, sponsored by the San Juan Capistrano Historical Society, has evolved since my family and I did it ten years ago. While the ghost stories are essentially the same, they are told in more compelling detail and offer historical background about the characters and the time period.

No fancy special effects or high-tech wizardry, just good old-fashioned story-telling, with the “ghosts” sharing their stories in period costumes. The walk started out with the ghost of “La Llorona” wandering up the street, calling out for her children. The jilted bride who drowned her children in Trabuco Creek when she learned that her fiancee had married another woman was still dressed in her tattered, graying wedding gown as she told her sad story by candlelight.
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