San Juan Capistrano

                                                 Rumors vs Reality

Perhaps you have heard some of the following rumors that have been floating around town. In an effort to lay them to rest, we have listed below the rumors, and the facts based on our research and documentation. Due to space limitations, we will print additional rumors vs. facts in upcoming issues.

Rumor: Water rate refunds will increase your water rates.

There is no data to support the claim that refunds will increase water rates. In fact, if we merged with a larger water agency as has been proposed, rates would likely decrease, as the hugely expensive cost to operate and maintain the water plant (that we are only leasing) would be spread over a larger customer base.
Rumor: The “Riding Park” property pays for itself and its maintenance.

Fact: This is perhaps the biggest fallacy. The principle and interest on the “open space” property alone is more than $2 million per year. The majority of the flat, useable property within this “open space” is the Riding Park.  
The Riding Park has been locked up with an exclusive annual lease granted to a private equestrian events promotion company by previous city council majorities, for which the private company pays around $200,000 per year. That’s less than 10% of the annual principle and interest payments.

Because it is leased to a private company, San Juan residents are prohibited from using the property they are paying for, which increased the average SJC property tax bill by several hundred dollars per year.   

The only one who benefits from this deal is the private company that is leasing the Riding Park. They generate an estimated $2 million per year on our publicly owned, taxpayer funded property. 
 Rumor: The new city council majority’s appointment of fresh faces on the city commissions is “retaliation and payback”.

Fact: Many of the commissioners had served on the city commissions from between 18 to 31 years. New applicants stated they had previously applied for commissions but were rejected by the previous council majority who they believed were granting commission appointments to their friends and supporters. As a result, the number of applicants for the commissions this year nearly doubled under the new council. The new council opened up the opportunities to all, not just a select well-connected few.

Rumor: The referendum against the Laguna Glen and Urban Village developments robbed San Juan of much-needed developer dollars for infrastructure improvements and maintenance.

Fact: Large developments put additional strain on infrastructure such as adding traffic congestion, wear and tear on roads, strain on sewer and water systems and creating additional demand for scarce water resources. The infrastructure strain is costly, and as we can see from the traffic generated by developments approved by previous council majorities, has a devastating impact on small-town quality of life. 

 Rumor: The free Downtown Trolley takes people out of downtown, sending them to outlying areas away from the downtown shopping and attractions before returning them to their cars parked downtown.

The Trolley is designed to bring people in to the downtown from outlying areas, not the other way around. The Trolley picks up shoppers and diners from areas east of the freeway such as the Park n’ Ride and seniors facilities, and from the Marriott Residence Inn at the west end of town. The Trolley will help to relieve parking and traffic congestion downtown.

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