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Recall Leader Says Mayor Interfered with Signature Gathering

John Perry files a police report. San Juan Capistrano Mayor Sam Allevato and Councilman Larry Kramer say they were just exercising their right to free speech.

Councilman John Taylor (left) and Mayor Sam Allevato (back toward camera) in front of Vons Saturday where petitioners were trying to collect signatures to recall Allevato. Photo courtesy of John Perry.
Councilman John Taylor (left) and Mayor Sam Allevato (back toward camera) in front of Vons Saturday where petitioners were trying to collect signatures to recall Allevato. Photo courtesy of John Perry.

A leader of the movement trying to recall Mayor Sam Allevato has filed a police report against the mayor and two other councilmen for interfering with petitioners’ attempts to collect signatures.

John Perry said he and others from Residents for Honest Government were in front of Vons, soliciting signatures for the recall petitions, when Allevato, Larry Kramer and John Taylor  along with a few others came up to their table, passing out their own fliers and disparaging the pro-recall folks.

“John Taylor and Sam were standing first about 10 feet from us and then moved so that they were directly behind our petition table,” Perry said. They stayed for a little more than two hours.

“They said, ‘Don’t sign these petitions; these people are bad people,’” Perry said. “I feel people were being intimidated so I went down today [Monday] and made a report.”

Deputies told him they would not be pursuing an investigation unless there were any physical altercations, Perry said. But he says state law is very clear.

He cited Elections Code 18620 which states anyone stopping “the circulation of the initiative or referendum measure or recall petition, or perform[ing] any act that will prevent or aid in preventing the … recall petition from qualifying as an initiative or referendum measure” can be fined up to $5,000 or be sentenced to 16 months in state prison.

However, Allevato said he was just exercising his own First Amendment rights to free speech.

“I have as much right to the public space in front of Von's as Mr. Perry. After all, this is America where divergent opinions on issues are welcomed,” Allevato said. “I was presenting my view on this frivolous recall as was he. No intimidation, just talking to shoppers and handing out information.”

Allevato said he got permission to be there from Vons, who told him where to stand and post signs. He called Perry’s police report a “totally ridiculous complaint.”

Kramer turned the table on Perry, saying “it sounds like Mr. Perry is trying to intimidate me from exercising my First Amendment rights.”

Perry acknowledged the councilmen had a right to be out in the public, just not so close in proximity to signature collectors.

“It’s pretty clear when someone’s at a petition table, they can’t come up and intimidate people,” Perry said, noting that Allevato himself referred to the group as his “posse” on a Facebook post.

Perry would not indicate how signature gathering is going, but did say that normally in front of Vons, petitioners average 24 signatures in a couple of hours. Saturday, they collected three.

The recall backers have until March 7 to collect 3,502 valid signatures to bring the matter to a public vote.

Tornado Johnson January 25, 2014 at 11:59 AM
"Steve" no need for a public records request. The information is available online. It is listed on the city council agenda where the expenses are paid silly boy. A little bit of a conspiracy theorist aren't you ? What is a CCS person exactly? Recommend
Donna Fleming January 25, 2014 at 01:20 PM
Tornedo...My guess, a CCS person is anyone who openly reads the Capistrano Common Sense, writes an expose in CCS, or advertises in CCS. Personally, when I read CCS, it is carefully consealed inside a hardbound copy of "A Tale of Two Cities". Since I do read in public I am ever watchful of someone snapping my picture or looking over my shoulder. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
Donna Fleming January 25, 2014 at 01:30 PM
JV, Small business owners depend on community spending to keep their doors open and make a profit at the end of the year. They cannot afford to alienate anyone. I think it is very unethical to avoid a certain shop because they share a difference in opinion on the recall, water rate appeal, or zoning change. I may fervently disagree with someone but, as long as they gave me good service and a fair price on goods, I would not refuse to do business with them. But, business owners are being pressured to support Allevato, Sunshine is right, it is wrong for the city council to pressure businesses, by dangling city contracts in exchange for support. This is unethical and probably illegal.
Smokey Bear January 28, 2014 at 02:06 AM
How can I sign the petition? Will they be at Vons this Saturday or Sunday? I have had a very personal attack on me & my husband face to face with Allevato at a scheduled 1 on 1 meeting about saving our home from their highway venture & said that we couldn't afford to buy another house in San Juan these days & he said, just make more money. I said I helped a family member with cancer treatment & how some people do not have unlimited money & how we are good people who have lived here for over 20 yrs. & he said so what, go back to school & earn more money or move away!! Ends up that we won for now, but are still fighting for so many years just to live here & in the meantime we lost our family member to cancer. For Allevato to be so cold hearted to say that he didn't care what happened to us or not even to be able to relate to not being able to just buy another house is just asinine & so disturbing. I was shaking & felt like I was going to have a heart attack right there. We did not yell or speak disrespectfully to him, but he did to us. The only thing I said after all he said, is that, "I hope no one in your family gets cancer & your city tries to kick you out of your home". I have never met such an obnoxious cold hearted person like this & want to sign the petition. Please tell me how!
Peace 4 SJC January 29, 2014 at 03:45 AM
Smokey, you should stop smoking that whacking tobacco and stick to putting out fires. That is a whopper of a story…more like Double Whopper with Cheese kind of story.
Gus Gunderson January 29, 2014 at 10:43 AM
You are right. It is a whopper of a story. Sam Allevato must be recalled. Next thing you know Sam Allevato will be trampling over our First Amendment rights.....
Peace 4 SJC January 29, 2014 at 07:37 PM
Gus, Sounds like getting out of town is the best thing before a drone crashes into your house while printing a petition &/or newspaper about the government or during an assembled gathering for praying. There's not much time left...
Gus Gunderson January 29, 2014 at 10:14 PM
Sorry Peace 4 SJC, not worried about drones, it was good to see you the other day with your tin foul drone protection hat on. What is really necessary for your children to wear the tin foil hats too?
Donna Fleming January 30, 2014 at 12:40 AM
Smokey. that was a ghastly story about Allevato. I know he seems to have no compunction about walking on people, but your story is the worst. He wants the power. His huge ego is getting him into trouble. Intimidating people at the petition signing, fighting the first ammendment (remove the CCS), running the water company, raising our rates, ignoring court orders. The man is out of control. You can sign the petition at Vons on the Weekend. Recall Sam Allevato.
Donna Fleming January 30, 2014 at 12:41 AM
Peace 4 San Juan....you are an ass for talking to Smokey that way. Maybe you are Sam Allevato.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) January 30, 2014 at 12:44 AM
Look guys, I'm going to be busier than ever tending to many Patch sites for a little while. I can't monitor your comments as much. Could you try not to name call? Thanks.
Jonathan Volzke January 30, 2014 at 12:03 PM
Smokey -- I think you're blowing smoke. What highway project is threatening your home?
Donna Fleming January 30, 2014 at 06:34 PM
No one could make that up. She had too many details.
Jonathan Volzke January 31, 2014 at 04:20 PM
What Donna? People can't make up details? What highway widening is there in San Juan Capistrano that threatens homes?
Jonathan Volzke January 31, 2014 at 04:46 PM
That part where it says "the city tries to kick you out of your home," Donna? That's flat out wrong. The city is not widening any roads that would lead to homes be taken. Think about it. Have you heard of anything? Your friends would blow a gasket if the city was going to take someone's home. As I said, I think Smokey's story is just that -- a story.
Peace 4 SJC January 31, 2014 at 10:46 PM
Wow Donna, It doesn't surprise me that you believe the story, you so want to believe anything negative about government and this town's leadership. Are you smoking what Smokey is smoking? It would explain the root of your comments.
Smokey Bear February 04, 2014 at 03:07 AM
I went to Vons last Saturday to sign the recall petition & on my way to find the table I passed a group of people on the sidewalk blocking my path to the table & asked, "where is the petition?", then as I looked up, I quickly said, oh no, your "him" (Sam) & he said, we don't want you to sign that petition. I kept walking to the table & as they were still haggling me, I said, "you don't remember me, but I have a very good reason for signing. I made the time to make an apt. with him 5 yrs ago after he was trying to remove my home to build developments (undetermined) & the reason for meeting was to show that we were decent human beings & have lived here for over 20 yrs now & if you destroy our home, we have no place to go & can't just buy another house. Some people have obligations to sick family members & are set in the wage they make etc. He said, he didn't care & that my house didn't fit in with the development they wanted to build & we should just go back to school & make more money or move away! He was very rude to us & last Saturday at the Petition table at Vons. The nice men volunteering saw how badly I was shaking & could barely hold the pen to sign as all of the previous events & him haggling me had me so shaken up. I did not say a word to him except that I was "looking for the petition table & that you don't remember me, you tried to demolish my house & then told me you didn't care we were taking care of a sick family member, he started laughing & I said, you think everything is a joke & this is why I am signing. After I signed, he followed me across the parking lot yelling, "Miss, Miss, come here, I started walking faster & got in my truck & quickly pulled away. I was so upset & shaken from being haggled & chased by him & interrupted when I was asking the petition table volunteers how many signatures they needed & how I could help them. They were both very quiet, mellow & professional & told me not to respond to Sam or his people. I told my husband what happened when I got home, & he also got very upset that he chased me through the parking lot.
Peace 4 SJC February 04, 2014 at 03:59 PM
Smokey, Are you allowed to drive while under the influence? It sounds dangerous to be on the road or shopping at the same time you do. Please be safe and be sure to order extra napkins for your Whoppers.
Tornado Johnson February 04, 2014 at 04:07 PM
Who needs napkins for Whoppers ? They are chocolate and crunch when you bite them. Maybe you should get your eating habits inline....
Smokey Bear February 05, 2014 at 02:21 AM
What? I am allergic to chocolate & I don't drink or smoke. I put out forest fires (or support fire safety) I live here for over 25 years now & Sam is the worst. When I moved here, population 8100, now it is around 25000 & growing. Everything that made San Juan special is being tossed away to housing developments. I moved here for the peace & quiet, the hiking trails & the surf & loved that horses were allowed on the streets on Sundays, but no more. I have had to fight for my existence here for 15 years & since Sam has been in office, he has sold off every piece of land he can get his grubby hands on & they don't care who is in the way of it. He certainly doesn't care about you Peace 4 SJC. If it was your house & your mother you were taking care of & he said those things to you, you would be so helpless & sad, it would affect your whole life. It has been so hard, but we fought it & won so far. I just want to live in peace!
Donna Fleming February 05, 2014 at 03:02 AM
Smokey....I think... Tornado's comment was to Peace, to get his whopper comment in line. Most of us moved here for the same reasons you moved here. All of the small town benefits are being swallowed up by developers. And I agree, things have escalated since Sam Allevato has been on the city council. Water, re-zoning, land deals, non profit organizations, and the law suits all contribute to reasons why we need to recall Sam Allevato.
Jonathan Volzke February 05, 2014 at 03:25 AM
Smokey, you're blowing smoke again. Sam didn't sell off a single piece of land. The old-timers who had ranches here sold off their land for housing .... you say you lived here since the population was 8,100 ... the city records show that was before 1974, when the population was 9,000. That's well over 25 years -- the population was actually 25,000 25 years ago, when you said you moved here ... it's 37,000 now. So 12,000 growth since 1990 isn't too outrageous. Smokey, your story just doesn't make sense. You're just blowing smoke.
Jonathan Volzke February 05, 2014 at 03:27 AM
So Donna, your idea of city government is that they allow private land owners to build homes until you get yours, then stop letting anyone else build? There was somebody who didn't want your tract built, too.
Jonathan Volzke February 05, 2014 at 03:28 AM
Shoot Smokey. I didn't read back far enough. You've been here 20 years .. or 25? It's hard to keep the "facts" straight when you're making them up, huh?
Donna Fleming February 05, 2014 at 11:49 AM
JV, At this time 2014...our town can not support the need for resident water at a population of 37,000. So, to continue building and increase the water necessary for more families is not good judgement. It is like building a train track before there is a train. Also, it took me 30 min yesterday to get from Camino Cap in town and thru the Del Obispo signal left to reach my near Calle Aspero. Usually it takes 10 minutes. My cousin commented it was like the basin in Mesa, Arizona at rush hour.
Jonathan Volzke February 05, 2014 at 12:06 PM
Donna, I'm no railroad expert, but I believe you always build the track before the train.
Donna Fleming February 05, 2014 at 12:39 PM
JV...It is an old expression. You are probably too young to have heard it.
Peace 4 SJC February 07, 2014 at 04:21 PM
TJ - there is more than one food item named Whopper, look it up Smokey - you should read "Who Moved My Cheese" it may help get a perspective on how great we have it here...probably not since the medications (wink, wink) will have you eating the book instead.
Tornado Johnson February 07, 2014 at 05:48 PM
My research shows that Burger King vacated both locations in San Juan Capistrano Peace 4 SJC. The location on Del Obispo which became an Arby's and the Burger King location at Costco Plaza. No "Whoppers" in San Juan Capistrano any longer Peace 4 SJC from Burger King. That leaves the "Whoppers" of the chocolate variety that can be found at both Ralph's and Von's that I posted about. I do my research so I don't have to put my foot in my mouth Peace 4 SJC and embarrass myself.
Donna Fleming February 07, 2014 at 06:20 PM
In terms of new developments JV, our city cannot support the need for water. If someone wants to move here they can buy a home that is already built. My home was not new when I bought it. We need to stop the new development and need for more water.

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