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Laura Freese: SJC Person of the Year

In a just-for-fun poll, the former councilwoman ran away with the vote.

By overwhelming demand, Patch users have named retiring City Councilwoman Laura Freese as their 2012 Person of the Year.

"Thank you very much for voting for me," Freese said when contacted about her win.  

Freese – who opted not to run again in November – received 47 percent of the 78 votes cast in Patch’s for-fun poll.

She joked that when she first ran in 2008, she received 29.9 percent of the vote.

"I'm going up in percentage." In all seriousness, Freese added: "It was my pleasure being a city councilman."

Veterinarian Dr. Jack Mannix, who died last month most unexpectedly, came in second with 19 percent.

Speaking to the community at large at her last meeting, Dec. 4, Freese said: “I do think I helped a little bit to make our wonderful, historical city just a little bit better.”

Among her accomplishments, according to a resolution passed by the rest of the City Council, are serving as the chair of the Redevelopment Agency, participating on the committee that devised a new master plan for development downtown and helping to attract new businesses – such as the Residence Inn, the Regency movie theater, three car dealerships and “countless small businesses.”

Economic development was her priority while on council, Freese said.

“When I first got onto council in 2008, sensible economic development and preservation was my main focus,” she said in a goodbye speech Dec. 4. “Then the economy went down, which made them even more important. They’re still my biggest issues and even though I will be off the council I will continue to work ferociously for the economic good of this city.”

Freese continues to serve on a committee formed a few months ago to help protect existing businesses during Caltrans’ major overhaul of the I-5 interchange at Ortega Highway, which could have “devastating” consequences unless action is taken, she said.

"I hope I can continue to do the job, even though I'm not a city councilman anymore," Freese said Friday.

Freese did her job “with skill and wisdom and has been sincerely dedicated to the welfare of the citizens of San Juan Capistrano,” reads the council’s resolution of appreciation.

Eric Groos January 05, 2013 at 05:46 PM
Right on! Thank you for your service to our City and to the citizenry of San Juan Capistrano, we are better for it. At your service, Eric.
Patrick O'Brien January 05, 2013 at 05:48 PM
Laura deserves every bit of praise available. She was a wonderful and thoughtful council person. To have an intelligent person who puts community before politics is a refreshing. We need more like her in decision making positions. Thank you , Laura.
Buy My Bikes January 05, 2013 at 10:17 PM
Laura is the BEST!!! Proud to know her! Bicycle Jim!
Whiskey Bent January 05, 2013 at 10:45 PM
She is a nice person yes, but she is also a typical tax and spend liberal. She always focused on how to increase revenues but not cut spending. We have a spending problem not a revenue problem. Add to that her avid support for the black hole water plant, votes to make traffic worse, open space debacle. The very fact that a radical liberal like O’Brien thinks so highly of her is telling. The city needs to change course and stop voting for people just because they’re nice.
Garry Meeker January 06, 2013 at 07:34 PM
With most of the votes in her favor, it surprises me why she never had a chance to become Mayor of San Juan Capistrano. She was rail roaded and dishonored by her then council members. Of course this has been going on since this City was first incorporated;

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