San Juan Capistrano Guest Column

                              BIG BUCKS IN A SMALL TOWN ELECTION

                                                 By John Perry

It’s a well known fact that if you have access to a lot of money, your chances of winning an election is enhanced. Just ask political lobbyist David Ellis, nicknamed “The Fixer” by the OC Register, who bragged that if you gave him $20,000 he could get you elected to any City Council in Orange County.

Money is certainly playing a critical role in the current recall of long time city councilman Sam Allevato. His benefactors have spent an estimated $40,000 on two Florida-based opinion polls, five professionally created full color flyers and attack mailers, four full-page advertisements in the Dispatch, and development of a web site. Allevato is also paying for the services of lobbyist Dave Ellis and political consultant Eileen Padberg.

The big question is; who is behind the funding of Allevato’s expensive campaign to stop the recall from gathering the necessary signatures to qualify for the ballot? None of the mailers and hit pieces that have been sent out list a registered political action committee (PAC) as required by law, so no donation disclosure forms will be available for public scrutiny. Why are the people and/or organizations that are funding Allevato trying so hard to keep him in office, and in such a secretive manner? Is he a reliable vote for the special interests, including the Ranch, developers and lobbyists? We will never know for sure but logic dictates that wise businessmen don’t spend money without expecting a return on their investment.
The voting public has the right to know who and what they are voting for. If the big money contributors supporting Sam Allevato are allowed to sway public opinion into thinking their candidate is the best choice, then they win - and the public loses. The public needs to become much more aware of where the campaign funding is coming from or we will never be able to rid San Juan Capistrano of politicians who are indebted to special interests rather than the residents.

This recall is not about vengeance or getting even. It is about the City Council not listening to its citizens. It is about forcing citizens into lawsuits instead of negotiating reasonable compromises in the first place. Over the years this city council has lost numerous lawsuits and cost the city tens of millions in attorney fees and judgments because of city council arrogance.

You have an opportunity to exercise your Constitutional right to tell your city council that you are tired of politics trumping leadership. The wisdom of the people always wins over slick advertising when the public is armed with the truth. Don’t let the big bucks behind the politicians fool you into making another bad choice. Sign the recall petition in your neighborhood or at Vons on most afternoons. See: for more information.

John Perry is a 23-year resident of San Juan Capistrano. John graduated with a Masters Degree in Education from USC and certification in School Business Management. John retired from a 25-year career in Education during which he served as an Assistant Superintendent of Business Services.John is a Board member of the Capistrano Taxpayers Association and in 2011 was appointed to the Special Water Management and Operations Audit Committee.

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