Members of a San Juan Capistrano watchdog group don’t think a banner advertising construction of the city’s dog park is legal.
So they put up their own sign in protest.
“Banner Wars” is playing out in clear sight of drivers on the I-5.
- UPDATE: City Joins 'Banner Wars' at Dog Park
Capistrano Common Sense, a group that often finds itself at odds with the majority of the City Council, sent a letter to City Hall in February, questioning the placement of a banner by the San Juan Capistrano Open Space Foundation, the private organization constructing the dog park.
“They do not own this property and it is improper to allow them to behave as if they do,” wrote Kim Lefner, editor of Common Sense’s newsletter, in a Feb. 12 letter to City Manager Karen Brust.
When a response came back from Bill Ramsey, assistant director of development services, saying city law exempts banners in public parks (see an excerpt in the photos), the group decided to put up one of its own.
“We are following the [Open Space Foundation’s] lead in providing the public with our website address, not to solicit funds but to provide for free information about events and public education, which are a public benefit,” Lefner said.
City officials did not respond to Patch's request for comment on this story.
The new banner says:
Capistrano Common Sense
“For the Residents, by the Residents”
The banner's purpose is to point out the Open Space Foundation "is not subject to the same transparency laws that public institutions must adhere to [and] appears to be attempting to usurp our open space."
Patch was unable to reach foundation representatives for comment.
Lefner's group is unhappy the Open Space Foundation has not provided an accounting of where it gets the money to construct city projects, such as the dog park and Reata Park and Event Center.
"Nor have they demonstrated to the city or the public whether the private Open Space Foundation is solvent or able to complete the construction of these improvements," she said.