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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Correcting a Newsletter

Writer says the latest edition of the Capistrano Common Sense cannot be trusted.

To all San Juan Voters,

In the latest issue of Capistrano Common Sense, City Council Candidate Kim McCarthy has a front page story that once again is incorrect in many “facts.” Ms. McCarthy has a right to her opinion, she does not have a right to create facts. She states “Urgent Strategic Priorities for 2012” that the City Council has outlined and then gives her spin as facts on the issues.  

One strategic priority is: Improve the East Open Space and Northwest Open Space into their best use. Ms .McCarthy infers that Reata Park was created for the benefit of the Ranch rather than for the citizen of San Juan Capistrano. Real Fact: Reata Park is for the use of all citizens of our city. I guess Ms. McCarthy missed the free movie night at the park. The contracted events will benefit the city with much needed revenue.  

Another strategic priority is: Finish Historic Town Center Master Plan. Ms. McCarthy wants to know why a source of funding to implement the plan was not in place. Real Fact:  It is a master plan; an idea of how to best revitalize our downtown during the years that construction of the Ortega interchange is taking place.  When the plan was first proposed there was redevelopment money that could be used to help finance the revitalization. The governor has taken away the redevelopment agencies from local cities, so there is no longer any funding for revitalization. But the Master Plan is still in place, so that when developers want to come into our town they can see what the city envisions for the future.  

And yet another strategic priority: Get Our Fiscal House in Order. Ms. McCarthy states, ”We need to stop spending money we don’t have.” Real Fact: Members of the Capistrano Common Sense editorial board and Ms. McCarthy have cost the city thousands of dollars in staff time, paper and ink for thousands of pages of information under the Freedom of Information Act.

A number of the documents that they have requested are available online and they could download the information themselves, but instead they choose to have staff do their work. Yes, they have a right to request this information, but they cannot then claim the city is not being fiscally conservative when they are creating staff inefficiency.

And these same people have cost the city thousands and thousands of dollars in frivolous lawsuits for legal fees and staff time. I say frivolous because they have not won one of these suits.  

In a recent mailer, Ms. McCarthy infers that the Ranch is duping the citizens of San Juan Capistrano and that Sam Allevto and Ginny Kerr are supporting the Ranch over the residents of San Juan Capistrano.

Real Fact: The Ranch is private property! They could build a million homes on the land that they own. Have you noticed what used to be the Irvine Ranch with all of its growth?  The Ranch is not within the city limits of San Juan Capistrano. Ortega Highway is not a city road. It is a state highway. No company doing business in San Juan Capistrano has been more supportive of our city than the Rancho Mission Viejo Company.  The Mission, the San Juan Capistrano Historical Society, the Boys & Girls Club and Shea Center are a few of the organizations in San Juan Capistrano that benefit from the generosity of the Ranch.  

So before you vote remember that opinion and spin are not facts.  

I am supporting Sam Allevato and Ginny Kerr because they have the best interest of San Juan Capistrano.     

If you agree with me, please pass this memo on to your friends and neighbors. This is a very important election for the future of our city. 

Jan Siegel

Kim October 29, 2012 at 11:09 PM
Michelle Lawrence, what are you thinking of..."way to go Jan, your letter is right on"! You may very well work with Ms. Mc Carthy down the road on our City Council. We are life time parishioners here in San Juan. I will take up your comments with the church and the various charities we support, who in turn, support the Chruch. Michelle, you have a right to your opinion, but, think about your position in our community. The opposition must be getting desperate to have you comment so negatively against Ms. Mc Carthy.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) October 29, 2012 at 11:09 PM
Removed for violating our Terms of Use.
Clint Worthington October 29, 2012 at 11:32 PM
Jan Siegel, one free movie night a year does not warrant spending 27.5 million dollars to purchase a park that was not even in our City. The amount the City receives is $200,000 a year in rent. Not even Bernie Madoff would have made that investment! Since you brought up redevelopment, Sam Allevato voted to give the automobile dealerships 5 million dollars in redevelopment money. It takes 12.5 years per the City Treasurer just to break even. Again, not even Bernie Madoff would have made that investment. But, Sam Allevato did ! Mrs. Siegel, just to help you out, the Freedom of Information act is different from the California Public Records Act. The PRA is a State Law that allows you to obtain information from the government. The requests are made under this state law. By the way, in case you did not know, those copies are not cheap. The state law regulates the price of those copies and they are three times the charge of what it costs at Kinko's. If you could please tell me what information I have requested that is available online? Mrs. Siegel, Capistrano Common Sense has filed NO lawsuits. None. Nada. I hope that you would do what is right and make an immediate retraction of that statement. I hope that it is not your intention to spread false information. I cannot speak for Kim McCarthy (the subject of the story), but I know of no lawsuit(s) that she has against the City. I would suggest an immediate retraction. Page 1
Ian Smith October 29, 2012 at 11:42 PM
Ms. Siegal did you miss the CR&R collection today because your messae should have been deposited right there. We all know JV's support for all things liberal and Ms, Siegal belongs to the same clan. Anything that costs other people money she will support. You did not mention which frivolous law suits but I guess you are referring to the single lawsit of the Capistrano Taxpayers Association. Maybe Ms. Siegal gets free water I dont and it costs toooooooo much. There are too many in town who can barely afford the bills this council and the leadership of Sam continue to raise.The fact alone that Allevato has been on the Council for 9 years is too long and it is time for him to go and alllow someone else to mop up the mess he is leaving behind. As Ms. Ginny is running on more of the same we do not need her either to carry on with Kramer, Taylor or Sam.
Clint Worthington October 29, 2012 at 11:43 PM
Page 2 Mrs. Siegel, if you don't think that Sam Allevato and Ginny Kerr are supporting the ranch and not the residents, then why did the latest Form 460's show that 42% of the contributions to Sam Allevatos campaign come from the Ranch and the automobile dealers? Sam and Ginny are supported by the Ranch. You can check the information out yourself at the City Clerks counter. Yes, you are right the Ranch is private property, but no, they could not build a "million homes". When you relate it to Irvine, Irvine is a planned community. Our community, shall we say for all intents and purposes is not planned. Our infrastructure and narrow streets will not support a "million homes". Your scare tactics of what could happen when broken down, just don't add up. Mrs. Siegel, I appreciate the time that you give to better our City. However, your information in your "memo" is not backed up with verifiable facts. None.
John Gamos October 29, 2012 at 11:48 PM
Mechelle Adams, I am shocked to see what you wrote. My husband, children and I have been going to the Catholic Church for years and I am just shocked that you would take such a stance. Are you speaking for the entire congregation? I am very, very disappointed in you.
Mechelle Lawrence Adams October 29, 2012 at 11:48 PM
Dear Kim, Thank you for the chance to respond. This will be my first, last and only response to you. First, I am allowed to speak as an individual last time I checked with our freedom of expression. I appreciate you respecting that. I respect the fact that you are allowed to chastise me without signing your full name. Transparency is important to me so I signed my name because this was my opinion as a person who loves this town and many of the people here. My door as a leader is - and has been open. I am sure members of our Foundation would meet anyone running for Council or enjoy seeing them at a Mission event to hear how they feel about preservation, protecting the downtown from the Caltrans' impacts, non-profit programming and more. Anyone intersted in getting involved is invited. To date, I have only experienced two of the total number of candidates taking time to introduce themselves and share their concerns about matters affecting our historic downtown, safe access for the regional and local visitor, and ensuring the sustainability of San Juan Capistrano as a destination for all. I would think any candidate would want to meet with various community entities. I think as a business leader I can say that, it is not directed at one person but at all candidates. Kim, thank you for the chance to clarify - you can call me if you want as this is my last post on this subject. Have a good day. And my name is Mechelle btw.
Frank E. October 29, 2012 at 11:51 PM
Mr. Smith: What is "JV" ?
John Gamos October 30, 2012 at 12:09 AM
Mechelle, I am curious, why did you not seek the candidates out yourself? I am busy like you are, and I would have found the time if it was truly that important to me as a business leader.
John Gamos October 30, 2012 at 12:16 AM
Frank E., It is a non-educated guess that it could be Jonothon Volzke. I am not saying it is, just a guess from the tone of the letter. If it is the same guy, I am so disturbed by the number of times that I believed him and what he wrote in his editorials. I voted what he said. Look at the last time he supported Nielsen and Uso, sitting council members who lost badly. He also supported Measure B. Again, my husband and I were stupid on that one too. Then ARES who also owned the Mobile Home Park filed bankruptcy on those poor tenants. My husband and I now run from whoever he or what he supports.
4 square October 30, 2012 at 01:59 AM
Is this letter some kind of joke? A candidate shouldn't articulate their priorities for the council? The taxpayers in San Juan spent $30 million for a free movie night? PS revenue from "other contracted events" go to Brandis not the city of San Juan. Redevelopment dollars were an unreliable funding source, who new? Oh that's right. Kim McCarthy knew. Here is a fact (as opposed to a "real" fact-hahahaha), the Ranch can't put a million homes on its property if it wanted to. The Ranch has to abide by zoning regulations like everyone else, unless it has friends like Ginny and Sam placed properly. Your work with the San Juan Historical Society surely benefits greatly from the Ranch's generosity. It is a good thing that they do there. We get why you and the Ranch are supporting Sam and Ginny. But why should we?
SJCNative October 30, 2012 at 03:05 AM
I am deeply disturbed by your support of this letter Mechelle. I have been a resident of San Juan all of my life. While I believe people have the right to free speach, as a huge supporter of the Catholic Church my entire life, I am surprised by your support of this letter. As the other writer mentions, I hope you are not speaking for the Church also.
SJCNative October 30, 2012 at 03:14 AM
I was so surpised to hear tonight at the debate that Sam Allevato in the negotiations to purchase the RMV Riding Park, gave away the Cities right to sue RMV. That is beyond belief. You purchase a property, in that purchase agreement, you give up the right to sue the seller. What kind of nonsense is that? Jan Siegel, your husband is an attorney and a retired judge. I cannot believe he thought that giving away that right to sue was ok. Then I have read that there are so many conservation easements the property could not be built on anyway. Sam Allevato thought this was a good purchase. He must be crazy. Please Jan, please tell me that you are not supporting Sam and Ginny. To support someone who would make those kind of agreements on the purchase of land does not make sense. Jan, you and I have known each other quite awhile. We think along the same lines. I have to tell you Jan, I disagree with you and cannot support your letter or to vote for Sam and Ginny.
Lennie October 30, 2012 at 06:23 AM
Jan, I sincerely appreciate your volunteer hours for the city and understand that you likely hold an allegiance to Mission Board members which might have you lean towards supporting candidates that your circle of friends support. I’m respectful that you and many good people donate their time and money in their support of the Mission, which is an integral part of San Juan’s history. However, sometimes, no matter how well intentioned, we get things wrong. We sometimes are not aware that our loyalty to an old friend may cloud our vision. I respectfully submit that many things in your letter are not supported by facts. As a watchdog myself, I have always looked out for what is in the best interest of all of our residents and with this knowledge, I will be joining many other Mission supporters and concerned residents in voting for Kim McCarthy and Roy Brynes for council
SJCfamily October 30, 2012 at 03:32 PM
Our town is unfortunately divided between Ranch supporters and those who are opposed, not necessarily to the Ranch but to the Ranch development and how it will impact residents who live in San Juan. What I am surprised about is Mechelle Lawrence's taking sides in this online "debate". As a parishioner at the Mission Basilica, I am disappointed to see such a public figure associated with the church taking a stance against a candidate in a city council race. To suggest that the candidates should approach her rather than her reaching out to them suggests to me a sort of arrogance; isn't it her job to reach out to all members of the community - especially public figures? I don't mean this as offense, I am only calling it as I see it. One would hope that the Executive Director of the Mission's foundation would adopt a position of reconciliation and fellowship rather than joining in on an attack against a council candidate.
Jonathan Volzke October 30, 2012 at 04:23 PM
To me, other discussions were more insightful. McCarthy kept saying we should buy our water from "Moulton.": She's apparently unaware of the city's effort a few years back: The city asked neighboring water agencies, including Moulton-Niguel, if they were interested in taking over water operations. Only South Coast Water District (which serves Dana Point) was even interested. Then, city leaders rejected the plan because they learned it would cost SJC residents more. McCarthy also continues to repeat that the city should work with private schools to change start times to potentially alleviate traffic. Another good idea, last floated by Mark Nielsen. The schools weren't too receptive. But then again, McCarthy was also talking about the preparations the city should be taking for the Ortega Interchange work. She suggested a website. Problem is, McCarthy hasn't attended a single meeting about it. Otherwise, she would know: http://ortega.dot.ca.gov (it's on facebook, too, under ortega interchange project). It's easy to make a bunch of claims and allegations when you're running for office, it's harder to create solutions that everybody buys into. Vote Allevato and Kerr on November 6!
SJCfamily October 30, 2012 at 05:30 PM
Unfortunately, ours is a divided town. There are those who support the Ranch and their development, represented by Sam Allevato and Ginny Kerr, while others, represented by Kim McCarthy and Dr. Byrnes are opposed - not necessarily to the Ranch, but to how their development will impact the quality of life of San Juan residents. What I am surprised about is Mechelle Lawrence Adams publicly taking sides against a candidate for city council. She is entitled to her opinion of course, but I find it disappointing that a public figure representing the Mission foundation would "pile on" by cheering on someone who attacks a council candidate - whether they agree with the candidates' opinions or not. No offense intended, but for Lawrence Adams to suggest that candidates should approach her rather than her reaching out to them suggests an arrogance on her part. Isn't at least part of her job to reach out to the community and build bridges? Whether it is or not, as a parishioner at Mission Basilica, I personally am disappointed that she would use such poor judgement in "speaking out" publicly against a council candidate as this does not bode well for the Mission foundation.
Clint Worthington October 30, 2012 at 06:43 PM
Jonathan, the website that you allude to has nothing about daily updates on closures or changes in the plans that would effect traffic. Nothing. She suggested something that is available on the smartphone It appears that you missed that part.
Clint Worthington October 30, 2012 at 06:49 PM
The more I thought about it last night Mrs. Siegel, the more I was was scared. The state law requires that all of the city documents be available to the public for a fee. It scares me that you would criticize people for asking for public documents. The courts (your husband is a judge) has ruled that these are public documents. Why would you want to go backwards and not have a city that is transparent? Why would you want all of these documents hidden away? The thinking Jan Siegel that these documents should not be made available to the public, is frankly, scary. As for the documents being available on the website, please remember our city did receive a letter grade of "F" for its website.
Clint Worthington October 30, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Jonathan, she made a mistake, she ment Metropolitan (Water District). If I remember correctly, you reported the deaths of two people in the Capistrano Dispatch who had not even died yet. If the issue is saying Moulton over Metropolitan, I will take that mistake over reporting people dead who have not died yet.
shelly October 30, 2012 at 08:27 PM
Kim and others, Does the Catholic church prohibit free speech or is it only for some with your opinion? SJ Family, This is America and we have freedom of speech no matter who you are. Whether you post anonymously or not. Clint Worthington, Read the letter. No where does Ms. Siegal state that the documents should not be provided. She states very clearly that it is the public's right to request them. She just states that if the documents are available online maybe the person that requests them can copy them online themselves instead of costing the city (and the tax payers money). But only if you want to save the city and taxpayers money.
shelly October 30, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Kim and others, Does the Catholic church prohibit free speech or is it only for some with your opinion? SJ Family, This is America and we have freedom of speech no matter who you are. Whether you post anonymously or not. Clint Worthington, Read the letter. No where does Ms. Siegal state that the documents should not be provided. She states very clearly that it is the public's right to request them. She just states that if the documents are available online maybe the person that requests them can copy them online themselves instead of costing the city (and the tax payers money). But only if you want to save the city and taxpayers money
Jonathan Volzke October 30, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Clint, I've learned your idea of research is seeing what you want to see, proving what you want to prove. Police officers and even reporters work very hard to fully investigate before drawing conclusions. From the Facebook page that "has nothing about daily updates on closures or changes in the plans" as you say: Don’t forget to sign-up to get Ortega Highway Interchange Improvement Project updates and notifications via email at Ortega.dot.ca.gov That was posted September 25, but you can go ahead and claim credit for it being your idea, too. Vote Allevato and Kerr!
Jonathan Volzke October 30, 2012 at 08:41 PM
And as far as "mistakes" Clint, Councilman Allevato's webmaster wrote he had been in office for 9 years instead of 8 and that spurred you to publicly call him a "liar." You tend to overlook the lies of your friends and overemphasize the mistakes of those with whom you don't agree.
Clint Worthington October 30, 2012 at 10:57 PM
Jonathan, I did not say anything about a Facebook page. Please don't put words in my mouth. You had a link in your comment. I could not find anything on that link that you had described in your comment. I did find the update to the Camino Capistrano project, but that was dated June 13, 2011. Almost a 1 1/2 old. Not very helpful. The emailing list that you described states nothing about updates. It just asks if you want to be on the email list. As for claiming an idea, please explain yourself
SJCfamily October 30, 2012 at 11:16 PM
Shelly - Read my comment. It doesn't question whether Ms. Lawrence Adams is entitled to an opinion nor does it question her right to free speech. It questions the wisdom of someone in her position publicly cheering on an attack on a city council candidate who she may have to work with in the future.
Clint Worthington October 30, 2012 at 11:26 PM
Jonathan, as for the Friends of Sam Allevato website, the website had been up for eight years. EIGHT YEARS. Sam Allevato had been sent an email six months prior to the City Council meeting where I asked him to change his years of service from 2003 to 2004. I waited six months since the email was sent. In those six months, Sam had still chosen not to correct the years of service. If I remember correctly, you are the same editor who kept writing about Joe Soto (correctly I might add) about his inflated educational background. This inflation is nothing different. I know you are going to say that Sam's was a typo as Sam stated. Sam chose not to correct it. Sam Allevato is just the same as Joe Soto and he was taking credit for things that did not happen. Eight years of an incorrect website inflating his time on the City Council and after he was told it was incorrect and chose not to change it, is a whole lot different that substituting "Moulton" for "Metropolitan". Intentionally done for eight years on a website and a verbal mistake at a meeting, two different things.
Clint Worthington October 30, 2012 at 11:35 PM
Shelly, I truly have a better use of my time than to take the time to request and pay for documents when I can get them online for free. If I could get them online for free I would. As an example, where are the latest form 460's. You won't find them on the City website. You are required to see the City Clerk and pay for a copy of the documents. Believe me, if I could obtain a copy of the documents online I would, but not all of the city documents are online. Are more documents available online than previously? Yes. But not all documents.
shelly October 31, 2012 at 01:39 AM
Clint Worthington, Ms. Siegel stated, "A number of the documents that they have requested are available online and they could download the information themselves, but instead they choose to have staff do their work. Yes, they have a right to request this information, but they cannot then claim the city is not being fiscally conservative when they are creating staff inefficiency."
shelly October 31, 2012 at 01:44 AM
Why? Sounds a bit threatening? Anyone elected is going to need to deal with people who spoke out against them or did not support them. This happens in every election. Are you saying that certain candidates if elected will retaliate?

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