Who is Behind the Effort to Widen Ortega?

A mass mailing with a letter and a petition card urging residents to support the widening of Ortega was sent to residents in SJC and to communities east of town.

By our estimates, the mass mailing with the letter and petition cards was an expensive undertaking. The letter and card claim "safety" as their primary concern. The claim makes no sense however, when widening Ortega would only add more traffic and increase the speed limit.

So who is behind this effort and why are they going to such lengths to pressure the country to widen the road? We did a little digging, and the results are listed below: 

Brad Gates – Close friend and former business partner of Ranch CEO and developer Tony Moiso. Gates was the lead negotiator for the purchase of 132 acres of "open space" from Moiso at the corner of Ortega & La Pata, with $27.5 million in public bond money. Gates negotiated the deal entirely behind closed doors. The deal is so one-sided in favor of Moiso that it reads like a lease.

Eric Sellas – Ranch executive who is married to Ranch CEO Tony Moiso’s daughter.

Buck Bean – Long time Ranch employee, retired from the Ranch after approximately 40 years.

Wyatt Hart – Ranch-friendly former SJC Mayor. Owns one of ten properties that could split $4.3 million in eminent domain taxpayer funding for a portion of relatively useless property along Ortega should it be widened. 

Marlene Draper – Former Capistrano Unified Trustee who was targeted for recall by residents angry at mismanagement of school district finances. As a trustee, Draper voted to construct the 126,000 sf "Taj Mahal" headquarters building while children were crowded into moldy, 25-year-old portables. Draper served as a Director on Gates’ Open Space Foundation, and on the Open Space Committee that advocated for purchase of the "open space" property with public bond monies.

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