San Juan Capistrano

                                         Residents Express Concern about
                  Proposed SDG&E Expansion at CPUC Hearing

                                                                                      By Kim Lefner

On March 25, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) held a hearing in San Juan Capistrano about SDG&E's proposed “Reliability Project” which will nearly double the size of the electrical substation bordering residential neighborhoods, and at the entrance to historic downtown. It will also double the voltage throughout San Juan, and increase the height of transmission poles in town.
Supporters of the proposed expansion at the hearing, comprised mostly of a coalition of business owners, maintain that we need the increased power and “reliability”. But residents who will be impacted by the project say that SDG&E wants to turn the San Juan substation into a “hub” for all of South County, at their expense. San Juan is built out, they say; we don’t need the increased power. Many believe the expansion is more about providing power to new and expanding communities, such as the Rancho Mission Viejo developments east of town.

Mission Viejo

                                          Updating the Nadadores Aquatic Complex

                                                                                            By Larry Gilbert

Since my March article on the Mission Viejo Marguerite swim complex renovation was published in the Community Common Sense, I have attended both City Council and Community Services Commission meetings to gather additional information on the proposed upgrade of a facility that is almost exclusively used by the Nadadores swim and dive teams. To be clear regarding my position on this project, I wish to go on record; this Marguerite swim complex is a city asset that should have been maintained over time and not neglected by our city staff and prior city council majorities.

In his narrative about our city's recreation facilities, Councilman Frank Ury made the following point which I will paraphrase: Our city is made up of "three percenters"; three percent of MV residents have different wishes than others that warrant our attention. 

If that is true, that means that only 25 youth divers and two adult (Masters) divers out of our 100,000 residents (0.025%) use the 10 meter dive tower. This Nadadore input surely fails to reach a credible level for consideration, especially when the Nadadores Board of Directors wants the city to spend around one million dollars to replace our current 10 meter dive tower. In their request to the city, this dive pool and tower was their top priority.

San Juan Capistrano

                                                                                  Guest Opinion Column

                                                                            Calling All Residents

                                                                                           By Pam Patterson

SJC Mayor Pro Tem Pam Patterson
It’s time to gear up for another fight. We have yet another out-of-town interest that is trying to force a change on our community which will severely impact our residents. This time, however, it's not only the ambience and quality of life that will be impacted but our health, and the health of our children.

The new culprit is San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), executives of which are lobbying throughout the county and state to get approval for an expansion of the San Juan substation and increased voltage on power lines located dangerously close to neighborhoods, schools and parks where children play. The purpose of the expansion is to provide power, not to San Juan residents, but to “all of south county”, including some 14,000 new homes and 5 million sf of retail/commercial business outside the city limits in a new Rancho Mission Viejo development.

San Juan Capistrano

                                                                                   Editorial Opinion

                                                                      The Ortega Widening 

Our goal in the CCS is to report on issues that raise awareness and hopefully stimulate discussion - and action when necessary - about what is happening in your backyard. One of these issues is the widening of goal to widen Ortega Highway.
Although we have known for some time about studies describing the ultimate goal to widen it to six lanes, we opted not to report on it as it was listed as a long-range plan and presumably would not happen any time soon. A red flag was raised recently however, when a county official reportedly asked a local official when “we” are going to get Ortega widened to six lanes. 

In a recent guest column (March 27 Capistrano Dispatch), Councilman Allevato claimed that it would be nearly impossible to widen to six lanes for several reasons.

Mission Viejo

                   Parking Issues Reemerge at Capo Valley High School

                                                                                               By Kirk Kelley

 Councilwoman Wendy Bucknum has reopened the discussion of parking and students being dropped off in neighborhoods adjacent to Capistrano Valley High School. Residents of the Coronado Homes (off Avery Parkway east of Marguerite) have filled the council chamber several times over the years to work out a solution.

The city in 2007 implemented restrictions of no stopping or parking except by permits on school days on residential streets near the school. The council extended the hours on March 17, 2014. Residents showed videos during the council meeting, documenting reckless driving and safety risks to those on foot and riding skateboards. The videos also showed vandalism and littering.

San Juan Capistrano

                                                                           Letter to the  Editor                                                                              
                           SDG&E Expansion Raises Concerns

Thank you for publishing the notice of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) March 25 hearing on the proposed SDG&E Substation expansion. The project as proposed will approximately double the size of the existing substation on Camino Capistrano and will double the voltage on the power lines running throughout San Juan. 

At the hearing, supporters of the expansion repeated the phrase that the proposed expansion will ensure “reliability” and redundancy for our electrical supply to South County. I soundly support that.  

What I do not support however, is expanding a substation in a residential neighborhood when at least one alternative in the Draft EIR proposes moving the hub/Substation to remote spots such as out by the Landfill and/or on Rancho Mission Viejo acreage, away from homes and schools. Incredibly, the proposal to move it away from residents and the center of our historic town is not SDG&E’s first choice.

San Juan Capistrano

                                                                            Letter to the Editor
                              Push Back on the Ortega Widening

 A few thoughts to consider about the article in the last issue of the CCS; “The Push to Widen Ortega”.  Traffic, like water, finds its own level. Right now the choke point slows the volume of traffic on Ortega which may cause minor back up to the new Ranch developments.   

But it also slows it down enough that SJC residents can “catch a break” and turn onto Ortega from streets within the community.

It’s a fallacy that eliminating the current choke point will solve the traffic issues. Why? Because there’s already a second choke point at I-5 and Ortega…which at 8am backs up all the way to La Novia on the East side of town, and far down Camino Capistrano on the west side of town.

The argument will be made that once the freeway interchange is completed, that will all disappear. I think not, because our “new and improved” interchange will be nearly identical to the newly upgraded.

I-5 / La Paz interchange; both East and West sides have a dedicated on-ramp for each direction of travel, and they too have a high school on the East side of that interchange. Yet even with all those improvements, traffic regularly backs up on both sides of the freeway access… and they don’t have anything like the Ranch development on their eastern border. Plus, their I-5 South off-ramp has an additional lane that ours will not, and they’ve had tremendous back up at times.

 I think that the current upgrade I-5 upgrade solves our current traffic needs (barely), but isn’t going to provide any relief once the new Ranch developments come on line. If you have any doubts, take a look at Crown Valley at 4pm any week day. They have Ladera Ranch on their Eastern side, with Crown Valley widened to 6 to 8 lanes on that side, yet the I-5 Northbound on-ramp backs all the way up onto Crown Valley from just the East side… and that’s with TWO very long on-bound lanes for that on ramp (I think we’ll only have one, which will be much shorter).

 The net effect, when everything is built and sold is that Ortega will be a parking lot, as bad if not worse than it is at this exact moment. At least, that’s the way I see it.

Mark Speros
San Juan Capistrano


San Juan Capistrano

               Kinoshita Bond Illustrates the Importance of Watchdog Leadership

Publicly financed Bonds allow the public to purchase and pay over time for such big ticket items as “open space”. But how many taxpayers thought they would still owe the original amount of the purchase price for “open space” that they purchased in 1991? The case in point is the purchase of the Kinoshita property, on which the Sports Park and Community Center were built.

When the Measure D “Open Space” bond was first proposed to the public in 1990, proponents claimed that the Kinoshita farmland was being eyed by developers and that taxpayers should purchase the property to preserve it as “open space”. This same argument was used 18 years later in 2008 to convince voters to tax themselves yet again to purchase “open space” in San Juan to protect it from development. In that case, a few well-connected insiders used the $27.5 million of taxpayer funding to purchase the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park “open space” property, which San Juan residents are still restricted from using.
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