San Juan Capistrano

Editorial Opinion

CCS endorses Reeve, Patterson & Ferguson 
for City Council. Here’s why...

Much is at stake for our community in this City Council election. In our opinion, our unique historic town is going in the wrong direction. We see it in traffic congestion throughout town, in unnecessarily high water bills and in an overall decrease in our quality of life. Incumbent candidates John Taylor and Larry Kramer have contributed to this over the past four years with their council votes.

Our town is now faced with two large development proposals; “Spieker/Laguna Glen” which requires a re-zone from agricultural to high-density at the current Armstrong Nursery’s growing grounds, and the “Urban Village” downtown development project behind the historic Egan House, next to Historic Town Center Park. Urban Village does not conform to the Historic Town Center Master Plan as it mixes residential units with the hotel. Both projects will add traffic to our roads and require water that is in short supply. Candidates Larry Kramer, John Taylor, Stephanie Frisch, Jan Siegel and Rob Williams support these developments in one form or another. 

All five of these candidates also support continued operation of the failed Ground Water Recovery Plant. Their support is inexplicable when the water plant has never produced what they claimed it would, is damaging our aquifer through over-pumping, and is far too expensive to operate for a town our size.

Candidates Derek Reeve, Pam Patterson and Kerry Ferguson are opposed to both developments. They are also opposed to continuing to pour more money into the failed water plant. They are in agreement that given the current mess our town is in, we cannot handle any more traffic, strain on our water resources, or on our wallets. They support either “mothballing” or “regionalizing” the water plant to spread the cost over more cities.

San Juan Capistrano

Kramer, Taylor and Allevato 
Approve Massive Development 

Concerns about traffic, water dismissed

By Kim Lefner

Residents turned out for the council meeting in record numbers last week to oppose the re-zone of the last parcel of agricultural land in town for high-density development.
Residents opposing the Laguna Glen
development were forced to stand as
developer's supporters - many from
out of town, took up all the seating

Development supporters arrived at 2:30, 1 ½ hours before the scheduled meeting. The developer bought them all a box lunch and a light blue “I love San Juan” t-shirt. According to one observer, they were then given “a motivational speech and talking points” by developer Troy Bourne. The “blue shirts” took up the seating in the front of the room. After sitting through a lengthy power point presentation by Bourne, they were the first ones called to the podium to speak by Mayor Sam Allevato. Opponents were not called on to speak until 8:30pm, 4 1/2 hours after the meeting started. Noting the disparity, one opponent asked, “You gave the developer hours and gave us residents three minutes to speak? Who are you representing?

Wearing yellow “NO Re-zone/Save San Juan” t-shirts, opponents arrived just prior to the 4 pm meeting and were forced to stand in the back of the room. This prompted one long-time San Juan resident to remark to the council that the blue-shirted supporters he had spoken with did not live in San Juan, yet were taking seats from residents who will be impacted by the development.

Opponents say the “Laguna Glen” project, proposed on the property next to the Sports Park where Armstrong Nursery has its growing grounds, will forever change San Juan. It’s too big they say. The total building square footage is approximately 750,000sf. In comparison, the Capistrano Unified School District headquarters along the I-5 freeway measures 126,000 square feet. The project footprint is more than 1.4 million square feet, on 33 acres. The buildings will be a mix of one, two and three-story buildings with 400+ residential units and a 100+ bed medical center. It will also add 1,759 daily car/truck trips to San Juan streets. If they exceed the traffic estimates, they are not required to fix it; they need only pay a fee to the City.

Mission Viejo

Editorial Opinion

Vote To Protect Your Neighborhood!

By Steve Magdziak

Responsible leadership on the Mission Viejo City Council could resolve problems created by the incumbents seeking re-election:  

  •  Traffic congestion and parking issues the current council “cannot” fix.
  •  The threat of more housing development – look at the mess  on Oso!
  •  Mission Viejo’s fall to #13 among California’s safest cities.

We have solid evidence of the city council’s incompetence and their irresponsible votes – despite their campaign claims of preserving Mission Viejo’s quality of life. Incumbents Rhonda Reardon and Dave Leckness are sending out slick mailers, paid for by a labor union using the name “Citizens to Protect Mission Viejo”. Why is a union backing self-proclaimed “conservatives” Reardon, Leckness and housing lobbyist Wendy Bucknum?

Will you now take action by mailing in your absentee ballot or by going to your polling place on Election Day? Do not vote for Reardon and Leckness or Bucknum!

San Juan Capistrano - Mission Viejo

Teacher’s Union Stalls Negotiations, Attempts to 
Buy Candidates in School Board Race

By Ellen Addonizio and Jim Reardon

The Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD) started this school year without a teacher’s union contract, and no negotiations are underway. Meanwhile, the union has paid for the election campaigns of three candidates who, if elected, will secure a school board majority favorable to the union. We believe the refusal to negotiate and the election spending are connected.

The school board opened negotiations with the union on March 12 of this year. The union formally responded on April 23. Since that time, there has been no negotiation and none is planned. The schools have been operating since July 1 without a contract with the teachers.

Salaries and benefits are 90 percent of the cost to operate schools. Three unions and a management association represent CUSD employees. The teacher’s union is by far the largest group, comprised of 2,100 classroom teachers and others. With 63 campuses, CUSD is the largest employer in south Orange County.

We believe the teacher’s union does not want a contract before the school board election on November 4, in order to advance a political agenda. Instead of negotiating as they committed to do in April, the union has stalled and amassed a political war chest of about $150,000 that is being spent to finance three school board candidates. The union, Capistrano Unified Education Association (CUEA), and its affiliated Political Action Committee, CUEA “HOPE”, are spending heavily to support the candidacy of Lynn Hatton in Mission Viejo, along with newcomers Gila Jones in San Juan Capistrano, and Martha McNicholas in Laguna Niguel.

Presumably, all this political spending is intended to secure favorable terms at the bargaining table. How else can you explain the silence from the union at a time when teachers are working with no contract?

Ellen Addonizio was first elected to serve on the CUSD Board of Trustees in 2006, was re-elected in 2010 and is running for re-election in 2014. She serves Area 6, which covers portions of Mission Viejo, Laguna Niguel and San Juan Capistrano.

Jim Reardon was elected to the CUSD Board of Trustees in 2012, and serves Area 2 which covers portions of San Juan Capistrano, Mission Viejo, Ladera Ranch and Las Flores.



San Juan Capistrano


Union Contributions a Conflict?

Should Council members who accept large campaign contributions from the OC Sheriffs Union recuse themselves from voting to amend or approve the OC Sheriffs Department contract with our City?

Resident Ian Smith suggested such at the Oct. 21 Council meeting, pointing out that Councilmen Allevato, Kramer and Taylor have all accepted large campaign donations from the Sheriffs union (including $5,000 to oppose the recall of Allevato). The council members refused to recuse themselves, noting that it is not (technically) illegal for them to vote on the Sheriffs annual contract for $8 million per year (about 37% of the City’s annual budget), despite having accepted campaign contributions from them.

Smith also pointed out the “outrageously high” salaries of Lt. John Meyer at $310,000 per year, and the Sheriffs Sergeants at $275,000 per year. “No wonder we’re broke,” said Smith.





San Juan Capistrano

Special Favors Questioned

By Kim Lefner

At the October 21 council meeting, resident Clint Worthington addressed the council about an agenda item which amends the lease of city-owned property to Ortega Equestrian Center owner Kathy Holman. Holman who is reportedly a relative of retired Sheriff Brad Gates. Gates was famously referred to as “the 6th Councilman’ by a former council member, due to his influence on the council majority.

Worthington asked the council why Holman is being leased the city property for what amounts to about $246 per year. The lease agreement states that Holman will pay “25% of City sponsored programs" for use of the property. According to the staff report, since 2009 Holman has paid the city a total of $1,232.

Worthington then produced an email exchange between Councilman Sam Allevato and Holman dated November 7, 2011, in which Holman asks for a reduction in the high water bills at her equestrian center. The subject line of her email is: “Water bill is killing me”. Allevato responded with an offer to help by suggesting ways to get a special agricultural (reduced) rate set for stables. He also assured her of votes from Larry Kramer and John Taylor if she could get other stable owners to also make the case for obtaining agricultural rates. Here’s the text of the email response from Sam Allevato:

“Kathy,
The real issue is getting a special rate set for the stables. As you may remember, during the discussion on Agricultural rates, I asked the question lithe stables received a lower rate for their water like the farmers did and the answer was no and that this issue was going to be addressed next time we looked at water rates. Perhaps we could look at this issue sooner than later if all the stables could get together and ask for a special rate based upon it fitting our community character, revenue to the City, similar to the Ag users reasons, etc. Working through the Chamber of Commerce and the new Equestrian Council, this would be a worthwhile endeavor to take on. You know you would have my support, and Larry's, and John's, and ...

Sam“

Holman was granted the agricultural rate, which appears to violate the city’s requirement that agricultural rates be billed only for agricultural purposes. It is unknown whether other stable owners also got the reduced rate. Worthington pointed out that billing equestrians at lower rates violates Proposition 218, which states that the city can only bill customers for what it actually costs to deliver the water. “The city cannot bill customers for something we do not derive direct benefit from. Subsidizing businesses by giving them a reduced rate amounts to charging residential customers more for service they are not receiving. That violates the law,” Worthington said. Besides, Worthington pointed out, an equestrian center is not “agricultural use”.

“This is just more evidence of the favoritism displayed towards those the council majority likes, while sticking the rest of us residents with the tab,” Worthington said.





Letter to the Editor
                                Dirty Politics                                   
                                          
Dirty politics in this town.

All the political signs for Reeve are gone from Camino Capistrano north of the Mission. In their place are signs for Taylor, Frisch, Kramer, Siegel and Williams.

I am spreading the word to friends and neighbors not to vote for the above mentioned.

Diane Morgan
San Juan Capistrano

San Juan Capistrano

       Major Traffic Increases on the Horizon 


                                              by Kim Lefner

Anyone trying to get through town knows that traffic in our small town is a mess. It’s not just the new freeway interchange project; the traffic was backed up before that project even started. 
                    
Compounding the problem are development projects that have been approved but not yet built. The largest of these in terms of traffic, is the Distrito La Novia project. Traffic studies estimate 8,000 additional car trips per day added to our already crowded streets, including haulers removing the estimated 25 tons of waste daily from the 775-horse Equestrian Center approved on that site. “Mitigation measures” proposed by the Draft Environmental Impact Report (“DEIR”) consisted only of “lane striping”, “street alignments”, or “payment of in lieu fees”. There was no plan in the DEIR for the daily disposal of the 25 tons of horse manure.

 Other developments approved but not yet built include: 
  • Pacifica San Juan/Sea Country - 416 homes, 96 built as of April, 2014. Above the CUSD headquarters building.
  • Ventanas - 236,329sf of two-story office buildings. Commercial development at the end of Calle Arroyo (near 24 Hour Fitness shopping center). Approved for. Rumors are circulating that the land owners now want to request approval for a medical center and hotel on that site.·
  • Centra Pointe - 34,874sf of two-story office buildings. Rancho Viejo Road across from Marbella Plaza. Under construction.
  • Oliva residential development; 31 approved/ nine more proposed. Under construction , on Del Obispo, across the street from Armstrong’s Nursery/Vermeulen Ranch Center (where the proposed Spieker Development would be built if approved).
  • The Oaks - 32 homes (at last count) on the former Oaks Equestrian Center site.

Mission Viejo

                       Mission Viejo City Council - Let’s Start Over!

                                                              By Steve Magdziak

In Mission Viejo, eight candidates are running for three city council seats on the Nov. 4 ballot. Trish Kelley is terming out, and Dave Leckness and Rhonda Reardon are running for re-election.

I can sum up this election in three words: let’s start over. Remove the incumbents and elect three challengers – Desi Kiss, Ed Sachs and Greg Raths.
Desi Kiss has my vote because he comprehends the budget, Capital Improvement Projects and how the city staff operates. I’m confident he can’t be bought, and he won’t allow the progressives in City Hall to run over the council or deplete the reserves. Desi says the city is at a crossroads, and he wants to preserve the Mission Viejo Company’s low-density plan.

Ed Sachs retired as CEO of the Mobile Electronics Division of Pioneer Electronics, and he serves on the city’s Financial Advisory Commission. He’s good with numbers, smart and quick on his feet. I’m voting for Ed because he’s an advocate of small government and he asks for accountability. He’s a good business manager.

If Desi and Ed both win, Mission Viejo wins. Both men have had professional standing in world-class corporations, and that’s a bonus for our city council.

Greg Raths is the third candidate for the three openings on the council. He’s running as a fiscal conservative, and he’s a retired Marine Corps colonel.

I am recommending against Rhonda Reardon, Dave Leckness and Wendy Bucknum. Bucknum publicly says the three are running together, and Leckness privately says they are not.

San Juan Capistrano


                                Who is Looking Out for the Taxpayers?

                                                                     By Kim Lefner

Plagiarism is bad enough, but using tax dollars to promote and justify one’s existence is even worse in my opinion.

In the September issue of the CCS we reported on an “Opinion Column” in the Capistrano Dispatch about the Orange County Vector Control, allegedly written by Councilman John Taylor. Taylor’s column contained wording identical to a Dispatch “Opinion Column” by former San Clemente Councilman Jim Dahl, and an article published in the OC Register by Anaheim Council member Lucille Kring. Taylor, Dahl and Kring all serve on the Board of the taxpayer-funded OC Vector Control. They were appointed to represent the taxpayers from their respective cities.


 The taxpayer-funded OC Vector Control has 35 Board members
           representing  cities throughout Orange County

Recently, OC Register reporter Meghann Cuniff wrote an article in which former Dispatch editor-turned-public-relations-representative Jonathan Volzke stated that he actually wrote all three of the columns, which the elected officials then claimed as their own. Volzke was working as a public relations representative for a PR firm that had the OC Vector Control as a client. Volzke suggested that this type of misrepresentation is somehow OK because it’s done all the time.   

We now question how elected officials like Taylor, who are supposed to be looking out for the taxpayers’ best interests, instead allow a paid PR firm to use them to promote the PR firms’ clients. This seems like a conflict, especially when the OC Vector Control had recently proposed yet another property tax increase to pay $1 million for a museum exhibit promoting the OC Vector Control. If the elected official is promoting the taxpayer-funded agency, then who is looking out for the taxpayer?

San Juan Capistrano

Roy L. Byrnes, MD
                                    Guest Opinion Column 

                               An Open Letter
               to San Juan Residents
         from San Juan Capistrano City Councilman Dr. Roy Byrnes

I’m the senior member of your City Council and I 'm furious. Two years ago, at the age of 88, I came out of retirement because I couldn’t stand to watch this great City be further decimated by a bunch of greedy folks masquerading as leaders.

Forty years ago as Mayor of San Juan, I established our first General Plan for the City. This capped the population and created the ambiance that we enjoy today. Sadly, the hopes and dreams that we then established are dissolving like a sugar cube in boiling water. Now I drive down the Ortega at a snail’s pace witnessing the hills being carved-up for 14,000 more homes to our east. San Juan Capistrano is becoming merely a freeway on/off ramp for the Ranch's new developments. Our lack of local response is due to out of town power brokers who have stacked the deck on our City Council. We must put a stop to this evil control. Like a spoiled child, this Council deserves a trip to the woodshed to have it's bottom warmed. 

The “Allevato machine”, which controls the Council, seems to have a love affair with litigation. They have never found a lawyer or a litigation they didn't want to embrace. If this gladdens your heart, then pick the slate of Kramer and Taylor. They have pushed our legal bills with the firm of Rutan and Tucker to over a million dollars a year – and rising!

Mission Viejo

                         Know Who You’re Voting For
                                                                    
                                                              By Joe Holtzman

Two Mission Viejo City Council candidates came under scrutiny on September 3. How did they respond? They misrepresented their records, ideology and votes, defying facts on video and audiotape.                        

The occasion was the county’s GOP endorsement committee meeting. Councilwoman Rhonda Reardon and challenger Wendy Bucknum took adjacent seats facing six members of the Orange County Republican Central Committee.

Audience members were allowed to speak in opposition to the candidates. Four Mission Viejo residents informed the committee that Bucknum is a paid lobbyist whose campaign is financed with special-interest money. They exposed Reardon’s false claim she lowered the city’s pension debt and cut wasteful spending.

San Juan Capistrano

Letter to the Editor
                                                                                                                         
            
                                            Nature, Politics and Water

Natural forces and a decade of bad political decisions are converging to create a water crisis in San Juan that is almost unimaginable. Property values, lifestyle and employment are among the items at stake. Serious long-term environmental damage may already be underway too.

The upcoming election represents an opportunity for the community to change direction on water by changing the majority of our City Council.

Our city is now embroiled in two separate lawsuits arising from its water policies. While city wells are nearly empty, the city council has chosen quietly to protect the status quo. There is no logic to this except to protect their control of the City Council. The interests of this majority are also aligned with our lavishly expensive Utility Department staff and their fabulously expensive Groundwater Recovery Plant [“GWRP”]. The GWRP is a miraculous device; it drains the wells and the city treasury simultaneously!

In July, the ruling council majority implemented new water rates that are cynically opposed to water conservation, rewarding everyone in town with a 50 percent increase in their allocation of the lowest cost water. Afterward, they lecture us about the necessity of conservation!  

After the election, they will be forced to reverse course and implement draconian water penalties in response to obvious natural conditions. The structure of these inevitable restrictions will affect your property values, your lifestyle and jobs in this area.

Voters would be wise to install a fresh majority to consider these crisis issues from a new and independent perspective.

Jim Reardon
San Juan Capistrano

Member, Capistrano Taxpayers Association
 



Mission Viejo

Letter to the Editor
                     More On Billboards,
                             Toll Lanes                          

In the September CCS, I wrote about the Mission Viejo City Council race with a brief description of each candidate. A reader emailed the Mission Viejo editor and asked for further information about council incumbent Rhonda Reardon, who is running for re-election.

 The article referenced her support for electronic billboards and toll lanes on the 405. Discussions can be found on council videotapes (1-21-13 for billboards; 12-2-13 and 9-2-14 for toll roads).

 Additionally, Reardon in December 2012 arranged a private meeting on behalf of billboard developer Colby Durnin and consultant Roger Faubel. She invited residents as well as Councilwoman Cathy Schlicht. The residents told CCS the meeting was to talk down their resistance to billboards.

Councilwoman Cathy Schlicht said, “Rhonda’s position during the meeting was that she was OK with the electronic billboards on the Kaleidoscope building as long as they faced the freeway and not homes.”
If residents watch the 1-12-13 council meeting, they will observe Reardon’s concern about offsite advertising on the billboards and her vote in the 4-1 majority against asking city staff to work on changing the city’s sign ordinance.

Councilwoman Schlicht told CCS, “The electronic billboards are not dead. They’ll be back after the election.”
 Reardon had two opportunities during council meetings (12-2-13 and 9-2-14) to go on record opposing toll lanes on the 405. Councilwoman Cathy Schlicht twice attempted to pass a resolution in opposition to toll lanes. No other council member supported the resolutions, and no action was taken by the council. Perhaps there’s a fine line between supporting toll lanes and being opposed to opposing them.
Kirk Kelley
Mission Viejo
 

Mission Viejo

Letter to the Editor
                                                                             
                         Restore Mission Viejo to #1

Two city council incumbents are in campaign mode – Dave Leckness and Rhonda Reardon. They’re saying Mission Viejo is California’s safest city, and Reardon said it in her ballot statement.

How many years has it been since Mission Viejo was the safest city?

Based on FBI crime data, Mission Viejo is No. 13 on one list (http://lawstreetmedia.com/slideshow-americas-safest-dangerous-cities/california-2014/) and No. 18 on another (http://www.safewise.com/blog/50-safest-cities-california/). Rather than claiming we’re No. 1, shouldn’t the incumbents explain the decline?

They should also explain why the costs of policing the city have gone up 76 percent during the past 10 years. http://www.ocregister.com/articles/public-635037-safety-percent.html

Rather than keeping the city safe, Leckness and Reardon are contributing to its decline. They’re changing our community of single-family homes and open space to high-density projects. Leckness and Reardon have either approved high-density housing (e.g., on Oso near the freeway) or increased apartment density (on Los Alisos near the 241).

Watch Leckness on this YouTube video, crowing about the apartments and turning Oso into an 8-lane freeway for cut-through traffic, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2BR8HX5TMs&feature=em-share_video_user

Instead of listening to campaign rhetoric, let’s elect leaders to restore our city to No. 1. I strongly recommend that voters remove both Leckness and Reardon from the council in the Nov. 4 election.

Lamar Kelsoe
Mission Viejo

San Juan Capistrano

Golf Course Sues City Over “Stolen” Water

By John Perry

The San Juan Hills Golf Course filed a lawsuit in Orange County Superior Court on August 28 against the City of San Juan Capistrano and the San Juan Basin Authority for Breach of Contract, Trespass, Conversion of Water, and Negligence. The Golf Course is asking for a Permanent injunction and Damages incurred by the Golf Course.


The basis of the dispute is the amount of water the City is pumping from the San Juan Basin (the aquifer) that lies beneath the Golf Course. In 1997, the City and the Golf Course signed an agreement that the construction of the Ground Water Recovery Plant (GWRP) could not interfere with the Golf Course’s right to pump 550 acre feet of water per year from its wells.

Two years ago the City obtained a grant from Federal and State sources to expand the GWRP to increase its output, which required increased pumping of the basin (see “Tapped Out; City Over-pumped Basin” in the August CCS). The suit claims that the City is pumping over 500 million gallons per year of water from city wells near the golf course well and that action combined with a lack of rainfall has caused the basin water levels to drop to 53 feet below ground level. This has resulted in a shortfall in the amount of water available to the Golf Course, which fell from 550 acre feet to 200 acre feet per year.

The Golf Course has accused the City of over-pumping water in violation of the signed and notarized agreement in place since 1997. Without its rightful allocation of water, the Golf Course has been forced to stop watering portions of grass and landscape, causing plants and trees to die.

Mission Viejo

Look Who’s Running for City Council...

By Kirk Kelley

In the November 4 Mission Viejo city election, three council seats are on the ballot. Trish Kelley is terming out, and Dave Leckness and Rhonda Reardon are running for re-election.
Following is a summary of the eight Mission Viejo council candidates, including their ballot designations. While the CCS editorial staff has not yet endorsed candidates, I am offering a preview of the candidates. Three stars = highly recommended; 2 stars = recommended; 1 star = has merit.

*** Ed Sachs, Mission Viejo Commissioner/Business Owner: Retired CEO of Pioneer Electronics. He’s on the city’s Financial Advisory Commission, and he understands the city budget. From his ballot statement, Ed wants to reduce the size and scope of government and its intrusion into residents’ lives. He wants to hold city hall accountable to the taxpayer. Ed has also been a contributing writer to the Community Common Sense.

San Juan Capistrano

Councilman Taylor's Plagiarism Hypocrisy

By Kim Lefner

More than three years ago City Councilman Derek Reeve was accused of plagiarism when he responded to a request to write an online blog and used material without proper attribution. Reeve had submitted a lengthy blog post which unbeknownst to him was then broken up into three posts, and run as a series. It was further down in his blog post that he alluded to the material having come from another source, although he did not state the actual source. Because the blog was broken up into a series of three posts however, the mention of the material coming from elsewhere was not evident in the initial post, and he was accused of plagiarism.

What followed was a rather vicious attack on Reeve’s character, including from fellow Councilman John Taylor who wrote at the time, “Members of an elected body are supposed to be leaders—plagiarism is against the law … This lack of character and leadership is a hindrance in his ability to govern the affairs of our City.”

Based on his own characterization, Councilman Taylor himself is guilty of a “lack of character and leadership” in a recent formal article (as opposed to an online blog) Taylor wrote about the vector control in the July 11, 2014 Capistrano Dispatch. His article closely matches and is at times identical to a June 18 article in the San Clemente Times by former San Clemente City Councilman Jim Dahl, in which Dahl wrote about communicable diseases, "Examples include dengue fever, swine flu (H1N1) and avian flu (H5N1) also known as bird flu and malaria. And sadly, cases of typhus have already been reported in the county making the threat real and the work that OCVCD does more important than ever."

Several weeks later Taylor plagiarized Dahl almost verbatim when he wrote in his article, "Cases of dengue fever, swine flu (H1N1), avian flu (H5N1)—also known as bird flu—and malaria are increasing. Sadly, cases of typhus have already been reported in the county, making the threat real and the work that OCVCD does more important than ever."

Both articles are remarkably similar throughout. See the links below and judge for yourself:

http://www.sanclementetimes.com/guest-opinion-orange-countys-most-wanted/

http://www.thecapistranodispatch.com/guest-opinion-what-is-vector-control/

Ironically, Dahl appears himself to have plagiarized a June 2nd OC Register article written by Lucille Kring: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/residents-616623-ocvcd-water.html.

Mission Viejo

Warning; Professional Lobbyist on the Ballot!

By Joe Holtzman

One thing many Mission Viejo residents agree on is that they don’t want a lobbyist on the city council. In the 2012 city council race, Wendy Bucknum ran as a “businesswoman,” but she didn’t say what she does for a living. In this November’s election, voters will know Bucknum is a professional lobbyist in the housing industry. Thanks to Community Common Sense for getting the word out.

Wendy Bucknum ran unsuccessfully in 2012, primarily on special interest money while promoting Jumbotron-style billboards along Crown Valley Parkway. Her endorsers – politicians endorsing a lobbyist – are her clients who may have benefited from housing industry “campaign donations.” Bluntly, some elected officials sell their votes.Bucknum presents herself to the public as a volunteer – attending community events during work or after hours while campaigning for office.

It is important to know who/what Bucknum lobbies for and why a council seat would be a plum for her employer. She works for Professional Community Management (PCM), a huge company that manages Homeowners Associations (HOAs). PCM’s website describes its relationship with developers and builders; “We provide developers and builders the peace of mind of having a single point of contact …”
Bucknum’s employer is a force in the Community Associations Institute (CAI), a national trade association and special interest group. Research indicates the CAI lobbies state legislatures to promote laws beneficial to them and oppose laws harmful to them. The CAI sells services to HOA lawyers and community managers affiliated with “Common-interest developments” (CIDs), which lean toward higher-density developments. Such projects increase traffic and create problems associated with packing high numbers of people into compact spaces.



San Juan Capistrano

Editorial
A Win for Free Speech; a “Black Eye” for the City

The Community Common Sense was born out of the frustration of residents over the lack of information coming from City Hall four years ago. The top three topics covered have been the Ground Water Recovery Plant, the RMV Open Space boondoggle and traffic problems. Through it all we have learned that if the council majority, supported by a taxpayer-funded city attorney, are morally bankrupt they can easily control the message which allows them to control tax-payers and especially, their money.
L-R: Rutan & Tucker attorney Phil Kohn
Larry Kramer, Hans Vam Ligten
& Sam Allevato confer about the
newspaper ban at the courthouse -
on your dime.


This became glaringly obvious in the past year when we placed our newsstand next to others in front of City Hall and the Community Center. Within 4 days, Councilmen Sam Allevato, Larry Kramer and John Taylor voted in secret to ban newspapers from city property. They likely never anticipated the firestorm of controversy that would follow their decision. But the First Amendment is a fundamental constitutional right worth fighting for. Thankfully, Laguna Hills attorney Wayne Tate agreed, and offered to defend our right to free speech pro bono while San Juan taxpayers footed the estimated $60,000 bill for Allevato, Kramer & Taylor’s on-going quest to silence us.

San Juan Capistrano


SJC resident Pam Patterson
Guest Opinion Column 

Time to Retire “The Pack”

By Pam Patterson


The present majority on the San Juan City Council, which typically votes as a pack, is very adept at creating messes for us, the resident citizens of San Juan. You can see it in a typical day as you go about your business, in the gridlock which makes you leave 20 minutes earlier than previously to get to the freeway or just to get through town. You can see it on your water bill, which is higher than what most everyone else in the county is paying and which comes with a hefty City debt of $50 million to build a Groundwater Recovery Plant that we don’t even own. The water plant has generated lots of expensive lawsuits and attorneys’ fees, the most recent of which was filed August 28, 2014 due to the City's mess of so over-pumping the wells that they are nearly dry and in danger of salt water getting into our water supply.

If you have your ear to the ground, you may hear about the latest out-of-town developer getting special treatment at the hands of “The Pack” (Councilmen Allevato, Taylor & Kramer), enabling him to make lots of money at our expense. The latest is converting the last bit of San Juan high grade agricultural land located at Armstrong Nursery, into about 750,000 square feet (1.4 million total) of high density elitist senior living – again at our expense, as it would DOUBLE the traffic on Del Obispo, if that is even possible to do! The price tag on entry to Laguna Glen on the low end is $650,000 cash and $5,000 a month – so certainly not being built for an average San Juan resident, as is the claim.

It is clear to me that the current council majority who have contributed so much to this mess, must now step aside in order to allow qualified candidates to help clean up the mess that they have helped create. It won’t be easy, but I for one, am up for the challenge.

Pam has been a resident of San Juan Capistrano since 1995. She received her B.A. in Political Science from Whittier College before attending Western State Law School, where she served on Law Review and received American Jurisprudence Awards (the highest single grade in a class) in Wills and Trusts. Pam completed her post-graduate studies in Accounting at UCLA, and later founded a law firm before becoming the mother of five.


Mission Viejo

Letter to the Editor 

Character Counts

From my home, I can see the lights of city sports fields on La Paz and Felipe, and I have driven by the fields many times. Are residents aware the lights are sometimes left on for hours with no one on the fields? When I informed the city of this, one council member thanked me, and another one sent a rude response, complete with his city council title and the city seal.

Councilman Dave Leckness wrote;

“Hi Lamar,

Do you have any idea how ridiculous you come off? When you type in all capitals and say stupid-ass things in your email it makes it hard to take your comments seriously. To ask for someone to be replaced because lights were on our fields and only a few people were there is nuts. You don’t have all the facts and your running-off your mouth.

-Dave"

In my report to City Hall, I said the city administrator responsible for monitoring the lights, Kelly Doyle, wasn’t doing his job. I said I would speak during a council meeting about his performance. Can you believe City Hall countered by arranging to have the council give an award to the person responsible for the sports fields? I decided not to speak at that meeting. It was a setup, whereby I would have embarrassed the person and his family present for the award.

After I told Leckness that his response to my initial message had been rude, he emailed me again:

Mission Viejo

Letter to the Editor 
Council Erred on Fire Zone Decision

Public comments are sometimes the most amusing part of the Mission Viejo council meetings. During the Aug. 18 meeting, did I hear correctly that a resident thanked the council majority for putting her home in the Fire Zone (also called the Special Fire Protection Area)? She said the council majority’s maneuver was quite creative to get the city out of the control of the Fire Authority.

In my opinion, the council did the exact opposite by adding 12,000 Mission Viejo homes into the Fire Zone. With the total now up to 15,000 homes, those of us in the Fire Zone are subject to having our properties inspected by the Fire Authority.

The public speaker on Aug. 18 went on to suggest city employees should accompany the Orange County Fire Authority employees who are to inspect our homes, as if the Fire Authority can’t be trusted.

I have a different suggestion. The Fire Authority should put out fires, the city employees should tend to city business, and none of them should inspect our homes.

The Mission Viejo council majority should have followed the lead of cities like Laguna Niguel and not rezoned any homes into the Fire Zone.

Donna Snow
Mission Viejo

San Juan Capistrano

Tapped Out

Despite Warnings, City Over-pumped Basin

By John Perry

When the City decided to fund and build the $43 million Ground Water Recovery Plant (GWRP), the City Council justified the enormous cost by telling the residents, “we have to diversify our water supply to add reliability so that the City will have water in case of an extreme drought or earthquake that might interrupt the flow of water from the Metropolitan Water District” (MWD).

Well, we now have an extreme drought and guess what? The GWRP is not drought proof. In fact the San Juan Basin from which the GWRP pumps its water is in danger of drying up because of over pumping by San Juan Basin Authority members.

The Northern portion of the San Juan Basin controlled by the Rancho Mission Viejo Company is going dry because of overuse. Water is now being trucked in to portions of the upper basin because the wells are not producing due to water levels which have dropped to dangerously low levels below the well intakes.

The middle and lower basins also face the same prospect. Wells around the GWRP are now pumping at or below sea level because the water level has dropped by 35 feet in the past several years. Compounding the problem is the lack of replenishment from rainfall, according to a report prepared by Wildermuth Environmental Engineering. The consulting firm is concerned about sea water intrusion into the basin that would contaminate the water in the basin, making it unusable.

Laguna Woods Village


Time for an Independent Audit?

By Kim Lefner

Calls for an independent, forensic audit of operational expenses date back a number of years. In 2010, a residents’ group “Residents Voice” reviewed and questioned expenses charged to homeowners by PCM employees. PCM and Golden Rain Foundation (GRF) Board members claimed at the time that the expenses were work-related. When pressed about credit card charges for meals at upscale restaurants and visits to pricey entertainment venues, PCM then-General Manager Milton Johns claimed the credit cards were for “Emergency use only”.
A review of the charges however, indicates lavish spending with homeowners’ HOA dues money. Examples of some of the charges include meals at expensive restaurants such as Five Crowns in Corona del Mar ($834.71), the Chart House in Dana Point ($564.21) and Gullivers in Newport Beach ($543.72), among many others.

Entertainment charges included Dana Wharf Sportfishing ($375.00), the Disney Club ($700.00) and Dave & Buster’s ($811.72). There was even a charge for a purchase from Tiffany & Co. for $441.72, which we understand was for “earrings” as a retirement gift to a departing employee. When Residents Voice members questioned PCM employee Jerry Storage about the charges for such entertainment as a sportfishing cruise, they were told only that the charges were “mutually agreed upon expenses.” Storage is still employed as the General Manager of PCM in LWV and did not respond to request for input to this article.

Mission Viejo

Beware the Lobbyist in Volunteer’s clothing

By Joe Holtzman

Wendy Bucknum is a professional housing lobbyist running for a Mission Viejo council seat this November. She ran unsuccessfully in 2012, primarily funded by special interest money, while promoting jumbotron-style billboards along Crown Valley Parkway. Her endorsement list – politicians endorsing a lobbyist – is her list of clients who may have benefited from the housing lobby largesse.

Bucknum presents herself to the public as a volunteer – attending community events during work or after hours while campaigning for office. She makes announcements at nearly every council meeting as if she’s the spokesperson for a dozen groups.

To recap my article in the April edition of CCS, it is important to know who/what Bucknum lobbies for and why a council seat would be a plum for her employer. She works for Professional Community Management (PCM), a huge company that manages homeowner associations (HOAs). PCM’s website describes its relationship with developers and builders; “We provide developers and builders the peace of mind of having a single point of contact …”

Bucknum’s employer PCM is a force in the Community Associations Institute (CAI), a national trade association and special interest group. Research indicates the CAI lobbies state legislatures to promote laws beneficial to them and oppose laws harmful to them. The CAI sells services to HOA lawyers and community managers affiliated with “Common-interest developments” (CIDs), which lean toward higher-density developments. Such projects increase traffic and create problems associated with packing high numbers of people into compact spaces.

San Juan Capistrano

2012 Voting Record of SJC Councilmen 
Larry Kramer, Derek Reeve and John Taylor

Over the next 3 months leading up to the election, we will print the 2012, 2013 and 2014 Voting Record of SJC Council members Larry Kramer, Derek Reeve and John Taylor, all of whom are running for re-election to the SJC City Council in November. Only votes related to fiscal and quality of life impacts are listed, beginning in year 2012.


Mark Your Calendar...


San Juan Capistrano

                                                                     Letter to the Editor


                             Connecting the Dots...

Recently I came across a half page color ad in a local paper promoting the “Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo” held at the “Corner of Ortega Highway & Antonio/La Pata” - with no mention of it being in our city or the fact it’s OUR property! I thought the purchase agreement for this “Open Space” property required the property to be identified as the “Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park at San Juan Capistrano” in ALL advertisements?

Here, the real proof of where our council majority control comes from can be easily seen by the list of rodeo sponsors – Holy cow! Of the 25 sponsors listed, ALL BUT THREE (Cox, Mission Hospital, and The Ranch Restaurant) are developers, builders or key suppliers to builders! I think it’s pretty obvious how Sam Allevato’s anti-recall war chest filled as quickly as an Indy car gets in and out of a pit stop!

Even more suspect is the mention that “monies raised are donated to local SJC charities”, with no mention of which “charities” will benefit. Could the failure to list them be due to the fact that one of the primary beneficiaries of the rodeo revenue is Brad Gates’ Open Space Foundation? Gates was the “designated” (not clear by whom) lead negotiator for the purchase of the park with $27.5 million of our tax dollars (while, at the same time banning residents from using our property ~Great negotiation!!!). Gates also negotiated into the purchase agreement that “the majority of rodeo revenues” be directed to his Open Space Foundation and a couple of other pet charities.

Mission Viejo

Letter to the Editor 


     Fire Zone Questions Go Unanswered

Community Common Sense has done a good job of raising awareness of the Fire Map issue. I didn’t know half of Mission Viejo’s homes are now in the high-risk fire-hazard area. With all the information at hand, including Cal Fire’s Fire Map, why would anyone say that no Mission Viejo homes are in the Fire Zone?

As CCS reported, the decision by the council majority in July 2012 added 12,000 Mission Viejo homes to the 3,000 previously in the high-risk fire zone. The council increased potential liabilities to residents – lower property values, higher insurance rates and more bureaucracy.

The 12,000 homes were added with a 4-1 council vote. Rhonda Reardon, Trish Kelley, Frank Ury and Dave Leckness voted in favor of the change, and Cathy Schlicht voted against it.

At a city council meeting last month, Councilwoman Reardon tried to explain what happened, but her presentation didn’t address some basic questions.

What criteria were used to decide which homes were added? Who redrew the boundary and what are their qualifications for making decisions? Since Cal Fire is the authority on the state’s Fire Map, how can a city council majority overrule the state authority? Was Cal Fire even consulted when the boundary lines were redrawn?

Councilwoman Reardon has said Mission Viejo “has no homes in the Fire Zone.” However, thousands of Mission Viejo homeowners received the notice from the Orange County Fire Authority in May that their properties will be inspected. These properties include the ones the council added. As an equally problematic issue, Mission Viejo’s homes are on Cal Fire’s Fire Map.

Here’s the link to the information on Cal Fire’s website: http://www.fire.ca.gov/fire_prevention/fhsz_maps/FHSZ/orange/c30_MissionViejo_vhfhsz.pdf

Kirk Kelley
Mission Viejo

San Juan Capistrano

Guest Column

Down the Rabbit Hole into San Juan-derland
SJC resident Tom Perrin

                             By Tom Perrin

Things in San Juan Capistrano (SJC) just get “curiouser and curiouser.” I now suspect that the “Mad Hatter” is in charge of city planning, as the city’s perspective seems wildly distorted. While many large cities try to restore and enhance their “old town” areas in order to attract more tourists, SJC seems to want to modernize and blur our town’s distinctive heritage.

The rationale offered for some of the actions taken by the city include rejecting “In-n-Out” restaurant’s downtown application because it might add to the traffic congestion; forcing the “unpainting” of the red door of the “The Woman’s Club of San Juan Capistrano” because the city felt the color was inappropriate, and the eviction of the dinosaur from “Zoomars Petting Zoo,” because, according to SJC city staff, it didn’t fit with the area’s historical character.

Yet now, the SJC Planning Commission apparently wants to create an “urban village - complete with restaurants and retail space,” by building 33 townhomes and a 136 room hotel directly in the center of town. How does this fit into the area’s historical character? To me, it looks like these proposed projects are a far greater threat to SJC than the dinosaur evicted from Zoomars, and it raises a more important question; how will this development impact the existing traffic congestion?

Laguna Woods Village

  Letter to the Editor 
                   
                     Thumbs Up on Wish List     

I agree with your "Wish List" printed in the CCSense. These are good safeguards against "human nature".

Frank Q.
Laguna Woods Village

_________________________________________________________________
Letter to the Editor 

         Speaking of a Wish List...

Can we forbid absentee owners to rent their inherited condos to welfare recipients, persons on disability, registered sex offenders, persons on parole or probation, and (worse) renting by the room to different renters?

In an 8-condo building, 2 condos in a neighborhood are rented by the room. Do we have to share our neighborhood with such persons?

A condo owner
(Name withheld on request)
_______________________________________________________________
                                                                    Letter to the Editor 
         
                     The Importance of Voting

Laguna Woods Village pays PCM to manage the work needed to operate our community. Our elected boards provide oversight of that work [and outside contractors]. Laguna Woods is beautiful and well-cared for.

Perhaps the most important duty of the board members is to see that our costs are kept under control. This has worked fairly well for 50 years. The officers who are elected by the residents have usually been above reproach as far as conflicts of interests are concerned.

In recent times however, the Golden Rain Foundation Board embarked on what seemed to be excessive over-spending. A Recreation Master Plan to spend more then 18 million dollars in the next two years was rolled out in an almost obsessive, heavy handed manner. It would also create more monthly charges to operate another building. Yet when members showed objection and concern, GRF President Lynn Dvorak ordered them removed from the room by security. The [Board] officers seemed so aggressive in regard to their plan that one had to wonder why they would not allow the residents who were being indebted, to vote on it or even object to it in an open meeting.

Mission Viejo

Letter to the Editor 
            

             City Hall Underestimates Reaction         

The Coronado neighborhood in south Mission Viejo fought City Hall and won. Congratulations to the citizens who live near Avery Parkway for their July 14 victory.

The City Planning Commission received a proposal from Saddleback College to allow parking on Avery Parkway. Amazingly, the city staff was supporting the proposal against the wishes of the residents. Maybe the city staff underestimated the ability of the neighborhood to fight off another traffic problem. Residents mobilized, and the college withdrew the proposal.

Following is an example of a Coronado resident’s protest, which was sent to city officials and entered into the public record:

San Juan Capistrano

                                                                   Letter to the Editor 

                 "No” to the Status Quo

I just received a copy of a campaign statement from city council candidate Stephanie Frisch that raises some serious concerns.

Frisch is proposing “parking solutions” for the "growing parking problem" in the downtown area, which has become over-crowded and at times impossible to park for shopping and dining.

The first thing that struck me is the irony in Frisch acknowledging a problem that the council men she supports; Sam Allevato, Larry Kramer and John Taylor, helped to create.

The second thing that occurred to me is, isn't this one of the jobs of the Transportation Commission? If not, it should be. Duplicating efforts by creating even more committees just contributes to more red tape and bureaucracy. Establishing committees are one of the few things Government bureaucrats are good at. That’s not a compliment. How many "Blue Ribbon Commissions" have we convened over the past 20 years to study the downtown development plan - and at what cost?

San Juan Capistrano

Fight Censorship - Subscribe to the CCS!

Crony leadership in the three communities we serve are threatening our advertisers and placing illegal restrictions on the circulation of this newspaper. You can help us fight back by subscribing to the Community Common Sense (CCS). Your subscription will ensure that the newspaper is delivered directly to you without threat of interruption from those seeking to control the message.

Listed below are examples of comments made to our Advertising Director, Kim McCarthy. Some names are withheld, but these comments will give you an idea of the lengths those in power will go to silence the CCS:

  • You have not done anything wrong, the advertising was working. The owner just told me to pay you for the contract but not run any ads. A close friend of his told him not to continue advertising in the CCS.”
  • “The CCS is rubbish!” - Mission Viejo City Councilman Frank Ury when asked about his voting record, based on Public Records and printed in the January 2014 issue of the CCS. Remark was made during a candidate forum for the OC Board of Supervisors primary race, June 2014.
  • “I would like to advertise in your paper but these guys will stop at nothing. Here’s a donation…please keep up the good work...”

Laguna Woods Village

Changes on GRF Board Reflect Democracy in Action

By Kim Lefner

On June 13th, Corporate Board Members comprised of all the Directors from the United Mutual, Third Mutual, and Mutual 50, held a special meeting to vote on the removal of Golden Rain Foundation (“GRF”) president Larry Souza and GRF treasurer, Heather Gerson, as allowed under the GRF bylaws.
The proposed Recreation Master Plan including new clubhouse
pictured above, was put on hold by the GRF Board majority. 

This special meeting was called because the six-member majority on GRF refused to abide by an amendment passed by the Corporate Board Members which required the GRF to obtain a majority vote from the Corporate Board Members prior to “the construction of additional facilities; [and] the demolition and/or rebuilding of existing facilities.” The Board majority was determined to continue to implement the Recreation Master Plan including the demolition of Clubhouse 2, and the spending of tens of millions of dollars without community approval or support.

A minimum of 5,765 votes are required in order to recall a Board member. When the votes of the Corporate Board Members were counted, 7,956 votes had been cast in favor of recalling both Larry Souza and Heather Gerson.

The election board was then sworn in and took an oath as to their impartiality in the outcome. The Election Board was chaired by alternate member Bob Hatch whose impartiality was called into question when during the open hearing, he admitted his friendship with Larry Souza, saying “I love the guy!”

The numbers were clear after the vote; both GRF Board members Souza and Gerson had been recalled. However, while Bob Hatch certified the accuracy of the ballot numbers, he refused to certify the recall. Instead, he called for an opinion of the four attorneys representing each board (United, Third, Fifty and GRF).

The attorneys for United, The Towers, and GRF agreed with the results of the final vote. However, Third’s attorney protested the final result and was able to push the certification of the vote to a future date. Although there was no question about the votes to recall of Souza and Gerson from the GRF Board., Bob Hatch withheld the final certification.

Mission Viejo

Fire Zone Controversy Reignites

By Joe Holtzman

Approximately half of Mission Viejo homes are now in the high-risk fire zone. If anyone was in doubt, the Orange County Fire Authority notified those homeowners in May to anticipate property inspections by the OCFA.

How did 12,000 homes get added into the high-risk zone? The Mission Viejo council majority members made this decision on July 2, 2012, and ratified it on Aug. 20, 2012. Most homeowners were unaware, except for the 400 who pleaded with the council not to rezone their homes.

My intention in writing is not to undermine the concern for fire safety. However, here is what I learned; our city had already met fire safety standards that exceed the state fire safety requirements of Government Code Section 51179. The council had no reason to rezone any homes. The biggest fire risk is on government property – city, county and state. Public property is exempt from requirements regarding hazardous brush. Instead of addressing hazards on public property, the council majority added 12,000 Mission Viejo homes into the fire zone.

Guest Column - San Juan Capistrano


   What Would Judge Egan Think?

                             By Kerry Ferguson

Photo here I don’t exactly know what Judge Richard Egan would think about the proposed 3-story San Juan Hotel and 3-story villas the Urban Village Company plans to develop merely a few feet from the judge’s beautiful brick Victorian home on Camino Capistrano.

I do know what it was that brought my great grandparents here in the 1880’s – elbow room. They purposely left the crowded cities of the East and headed west looking for room to raise their families. If there was anything they didn’t want, it was every last space crowded to the hilt.
Historic Egan House on Camino Capistrano

Packing our little Historic Downtown with "high density" projects that need parking for guests, employees and event goers will further pressure our streets and parking facilities.

It is great to look down the east side of Camino Capistrano from the Mission and see charming and varied vintage buildings mixed with lovely little parks all the way to the Egan House.

Laguna Woods Village

Recall of United Board Fails

By Kim Lefner

An overwhelming majority of the United Mutual community voted against a recall of the United Board on Tuesday, July 2. The ballot numbers revealed 2,132 "No" votes against the recall and only 925 in favor, despite money spent promoting the recall by the “Enough Is Enough” group.

According to Protect Property Values (“PPV”) Club President Stevie Magid, “The community voiced their opinion on holding down spending, not creating new debt, and keeping our Village affordable by saying NO to the Recreation Master Plan and the demolition of Club House 2. When given the opportunity to express their opinions in an expensive election which was forced by a petition of only 449 United Mutual owner signatures, the owners spoke loudly and clearly. We are not a country club, but a community of retirees that want to live out our lives in a place that we can afford, and continue to enjoy the amenities and quality of life that we already have.”

According to Magid, residents are concerned about the lack of transparency and openness in the governing bodies in Laguna Woods, especially their ability to spend money without input from homeowners and residents. “No longer will that be business as usual in Laguna Woods Village,” said Magid.

Letter to the Editor - Mission Viejo


               Voting Records Prove 
             Helpful at Election Time

Prior to the June 3 Primary Election, I walked my Mission Viejo neighborhood and reminded everyone to vote. Some people told me they weren’t going to vote, and others said they didn’t know who to vote for. When so many candidates claim to be reformers and conservatives, it becomes difficult to tell which ones are genuine.

I have found Community Common Sense helpful with information on candidates. In December CCS published Anna Bryson’s voting record as a Capistrano school board trustee, and in January CCS published Frank Ury’s Mission Viejo council voting record. Bryson’s votes didn’t match her claims of being an education reformer, and Ury’s votes didn’t match his conservative claims.

Bryson lost her bid for an Assembly seat after spending a lot of money on mailers. Ury’s run for the Board of Supervisors ended despite three successful city council campaigns. Voters deserve credit for eliminating candidates with bad voting records, and CCS deserves credit for shining a light on them. Neighbors I spoke with said the mail they received from candidates became excessive, and it didn’t help them make a decision.

The large newspapers should follow CCS’s lead and focus on facts like voting records instead of favoring editorial employees’ political buddies. One reason we have low-information voters is the low-information news outlets.

Donna Snow
Mission Viejo

Letter to the Editor - San Juan Capistrano

              
             New Development 
       a Not-So-Welcome Change

Good news, San Juan Capistrano residents! Big changes are coming your way!! Your City Council, who you helped elect, is working diligently to transform your beloved hometown into something you won’t even recognize. Their hearts are so big they’re embracing the needs of the outside community, rather than indulge the wants of their own small constituency. Instead of giving in to small-minded and self-indulgent concerns of residents who want to keep our little town neighborly and pleasant, they’re looking ahead to the capital they can make from the developers and the bed taxes they can collect, so they can continue to over-spend on our behalf.

As you may already know, three of the projects they’re currently planning for our small town are The Shops at Capistrano, Urban Village’s San Juan Hotel & Villas, and Speiker Development’s Laguna Glen Continuing Care Retirement Community. Of course, there are many other developments they’re working on as well, but just these three projects alone will turn more than 41 acres of our town into high-density developments, meaning more outstanding architecture surrounding us, more of our abundant water supply being used up, more time spent idling in our cars smiling at our new neighbors! They’re expected to generate well over 3,400 additional vehicle trips in our town each day! You think traffic’s fun now? Just wait!

If that all sounds good to you and you’d like to thank our civic leaders as much as I would, for knowing what’s best for us better than we do, please remember them at re-election time this coming November.

Shelley Bachelder
San Juan Capistrano
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