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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: The Tenor of City Council Meetings

Writer makes a trip to a City Council meeting and doesn't like what she sees.

EDITOR'S NOTE: All readers of San Juan Capistrano Patch are welcome to submit letters to the editor on any topic. Email us at penny.arevalo@patch.com.

Now I remember why I don’t like to go to City Council meetings.

I went Tuesday evening to support a friend, Marianne Taylor, who is working with John Q. Humphrey to beautify Los Rios Park with plants butterflies are attracted to. I sat with Dotty Frankel who was accepting an award for the DAR’s program on our Constitution at the Mission. Next to me was Jean Vincenze who works tirelessly with the Friends of the Library to make our library even better.

Behind me were Rosa Beas, who with her husband works for the youth of our city, and Stephanie Heredia, who with her husband, Bob Kline, gives our city a week of magic during the West Coast Film Festival and Steve Behmerwohld, who was in his ASAP uniform, one of his many volunteer services to our city.

With all that energy, this should have been a wonderful, positive meeting. Then a "black hole" got up to speak, and the mood changed to one of why isn’t the city doing more, more, more to support his needs.

I consider myself a conservative. I even voted for Barry Goldwater. But I thought being a conservative meant taking personal responsibility and not wanting government to do those things I could do for myself. And yet, that person touts his membership in a group that claims "common sense."

Two things the "black hole" has mentioned Tuesday night and in the past:

One is personal responsibility for emergency preparedness. My husband and I took the city’s CERT training. I may not have the agility of an EMT, but I recognize that in an emergency all governments’ resources will be overwhelmed, and I can do some things myself.

And as far as lending a hand to our neighbors, it didn’t require an athlete to pass out information on smoke detectors to residents who had lost a neighbor in a fire and to let the fire department know that one family had hearing problems and could use a different type of detector, which they could supply. Or if we have wildfires and have to use the Riding Park to stable animals, it doesn’t take much to be trained to take photos of the horses for record keeping. Small things, but I refuse to accept the position that less than perfect health keeps someone from being prepared.

And last night’s complaint was about car theft. I know I don’t want police on every corner in my neighborhood, but if we have a problem, the first thing I would do is see if our neighborhood watch is active and ask the police in for a briefing about what we can do to reduce our risk.

So, instead of making the council and staff and audience listen to the "black hole," it would be so pleasant if we could enjoy going to City Council meetings and celebrate the wonderful job our council, staff and citizens do to make this a fabulous place to live.

Thank you,

Chris Kramer

Clint Worthington September 23, 2012 at 04:01 AM
It should be fair Mrs. Kramer that you disclose that you are the wife of the Mayor, Larry Kramer. In addition, Marianne Taylor is the wife of City Council member John Taylor. Not all of us Mrs. Kramer choose to ignore what is going on around us in our community. Yes, Mrs. Kramer, that was your husband who recently voted another rate hike to our water and sewer bills. There are many people in our City who can no longer afford the water and sewer bills because they are so high. Look at the number of people who consistently complain to the City regarding the water bills. Mrs. Kramer, is it wrong to ask the police to patrol the homes in gate guarded communities? The taxpayers living in these communities pay for the service just like everyone else, but do not receive the same level of patroling as people not living in the gate guarded communities. As I live at the entrance to my community, I very, very rarely see a Deputy patrol my community. I am here during the day and during the evening. Nope. No patrols. People attend City Council meetings because the other avenues they have tried to resolve problems did not work. City Council members are held accountable by the voters. Just ask Lon Uso, Mark Nielsen or Joe Soto. Where City employees are only held accountable to the City Manager. Yes, Mrs. Kramer I love our City also, However, all is not well in our City.
thejellyfish September 23, 2012 at 04:07 AM
The mayor is sending in his wife when he is getting picked on? Ouch.
socalfam September 23, 2012 at 06:27 AM
Dusty- It's hard to "relax" when I can hardly pay my water bill. I'm not the only one. My neighbor for example, is a single Mom who is raising 3 kids and struggling to pay her bills. She gets shut off notices from the water dept because her water bill is so high. Maybe I should tell her to "just relax and stop complaining"? It's hard for me and others to "relax" when it takes a half hour to drive home from the grocery store that's less than a mile from home because we're sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic. We moved here over 12 yrs ago because we loved San Juan's beautiful historic charm, the Mission, Los Rios, etc and thought it would be a great place to raise a family. It used to be that way but I've watched it deteriorate into a traffic-clogged mess. The outrageously high cost of water was and is completely avoidable. The traffic didn't have to get this bad if the council hadn't continued to approve development with little to no real traffic mitigation. Our property taxes didn't have to go up by hundreds of dollars a year to pay for open space that only a select few can use. These are all TERRIBLE decisions made by the council that residents like me have to pay for. You can keep your blinders on, but it's pretty darn arrogant of you to tell me and all the other residents who are frustrated with this council to do the same. The leadership in this town has been lacking for a long time now. It's time for a change.
Clint Worthington September 23, 2012 at 06:46 AM
Mrs. Kramer, let me give you another example why people are upset in our City. Your friend, Marianne Taylor's husband (Council Member John Taylor) was recently sent a warning by the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) for voting on a project that was withing 500 feet of his real property interests. You can see a copy of this letter here: http://www.fppc.ca.gov/enf_letter/05-29-12/ENF046.PDF Mrs. Kramer, are you aware that our City employess were taking reservations for Marianne Taylors business, "Goin Native". Lets think about this Mrs. Kramer. We have a City Council member who has already been given a written warning by the FPPC regarding his voting practices and now we have taxpayer paid City employees that were taking reservations for his wifes business. I will also tell you Mrs. Kramer, that once that was recently brought to the City Managers attention, that practice was stopped. Mrs. Kramer, are you still wondering how the residents can be upset when you have these kind of shenanigans going on in our City?
Lon Uso September 23, 2012 at 10:09 PM
Dear Mrs. Kramer, City business is a combination of pleasant and unpleasant moments. I couldn't help but notice that these American patriots that are so upset about the waves crashing on shore, that enjoy railing against and blaming the ocean for being so incompetent, forgot to mention the First Amendment of the Constitution. In this wonderful country of ours, people have the right to disagree with their elected officials. Sometimes with good cause and sometimes manufacturing baloney to help get their pals elected. Either way, the have the most fundamental right to do so and you have the right to say that you don't like it.

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