Councilman Byrnes Compares Colleagues to Hitler, the Klan

The bone of contention was alleged attempts to intimidate petitioners collecting signatures to recall Mayor Sam Allevato

Originally posted at 9:18 p.m. Feb. 5, 2014. Edited to add audio.

Decorum once again broke down at the San Juan Capistrano City Council Tuesday night, with Councilman Roy Byrnes likening some of his colleagues to fascists Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler.

The dustup centered on what recall leaders say are recent attempts by targeted Mayor Sam Allevato to interfere with signature gathering.

“I’m going to open my heart, as you can tell, I’m visibly shaking. I’m so upset,” Byrnes said before he made the comparisons to intimidation squads of the führer and Mussolini.

  • Hear the exchange yourself in the YouTube video above.

Allevato took great umbrage at the reference, and even the less demonstrative Councilman John Taylor jumped in the fray when Byrnes also drew an analogy to the Ku Klux Klan “without the burning of the cross or the white hoods.”

“Point of order,” Taylor said. “I really take offense with that. You weren’t there, for one thing.”

Around Jan. 18, Allevato and supporters started to show up in front of Vons, where recall supporters have been collecting signatures. The “posse,” as Allevato himself referred to the group on his Facebook page, have passed out their own fliers and talked to customers.

But recall leaders call it intimidation.

“They stand behind us and say don’t sign the petition,” John Perry complained during the meeting’s open comments’ portion of the agenda. He cited state election law and even a 2006 City Council resolution that support the rights of petition collectors to go about their business without intimidation.

But City Attorney Hans Van Ligten said both the state law and the city’s resolution – which does not have the force of law – are intended to stop the practice of interlopers paid to interfere with signature gathering.

He added that the state law and the city’s resolution may actually violate the free speech clause of the First Amendment.

“Enforcement would be violation of First Amendment itself,” Van Ligten said. “Political speech on both sides of the issues is clearly the most protected type of speech.”

Allevato agreed: “I have just as much right to stand there as to make my case clear, just as Mr. Perry.”

Byrnes was unmoved. He asked that the council revisit the 2006 resolution at its next meeting.

Donna Fleming February 12, 2014 at 04:18 PM
Jim... I did not make anything up. I just did some research on that development in Mission Viejo, the park on La Pata, and who contributes to Allevato. Then I checked the stock market then and today. I gather he is your friend. But someone is making money and there are lots of contractors on a list of contributors to the Allevato fund. It is a matter of public record. And, just so you know Jim. I will continue to shop at Buy my Bikes because you have done a fair job over the years and I like to shop locally if I can. I would not boycott a business because we disagree on who should be mayor.
Gus Gunderson February 12, 2014 at 04:27 PM
James Curwood, aren't you the same guy that when you received a citation for you Santa Claus in front of your bicycle shop that the first thing that you did was run to the news media? By doing so, you wanted to get the word out on how you have been wronged by the city. That is the same thing that Donna is doing, getting the word out. Fortunately for Donna, she has more class than you and does not go to the news media screaming look at me, look at me. She writes what she feel and what she has researched. It is unfortunate that you feel everyone must think exactly as you do. In Donnas case, she has continuously cited court cases in this city. Please reference your court cases in this city and your beliefs. Donna's court case she cited started with the First Amendment. Where does your court cases start?
James Curwood February 12, 2014 at 05:04 PM
Don't have any court cases! We sat down and talked it out and now anybody in San Juan can put up Holiday Decorations between Thanksgiving and New Years! The reason I called media was to make a point and get the rule amended for the holiday season! The following year it was implemented ! But what does that have to do with the city council being compared to HITLER!! Little extreme don't you think! Sorry but not the same thing Gus!
Eric Bergstrom February 12, 2014 at 05:15 PM
I love the Common Sense Teamwork with Donna Fleming AKA "Minion One" offering to help her partner, Penny.
Gus Gunderson February 12, 2014 at 05:18 PM
How is talking it out alerting television and newsprint media? Not quite talking it out. You stated Donna "keeps repeating the same trash". Not anything different than you did by continually repeating the same story to each media outlet, is it? Thankfully they are people in our city who rise to the occasion when leaders vote to squash free press and have the city attorney send them a letter that they will be "criminally prosecuted". That is what you can expect and have received from the city council that is led by Sam Allevato. Shameful and an embarrassment to the people and families who have lost loved one who have died protecting those freedoms.
shelly February 12, 2014 at 05:21 PM
Donna, It is no secret who supports Mayor Allevato. You can look it up. It is no secret. He is supported by developers and local business people and other citizens. But this comment board is about comparing him and others actions to Hitler's and the Klan's. I understand that you are very passionate about your cause and you dislike our city council. Write a blog on it or write an article in the CCS. But this article was about Council Member Byrnes comparing one of the most hated and evil people in history and a cowardly hate group to his fellow city council members. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Comparing our city council to Hitler and the Klan and to make it seem like your issues are at the same level as a decimated Germany ripe for manipulation of Hitler and the extreme hardships faced by the African Americans who lived in a post slavery/Jim Crow era and had absolutely no power, no support from the police, courts or citizens of the communities against a despicable hate group is extremely, extremely offensive. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Doing this is manipulative and offensive.
Gus Gunderson February 12, 2014 at 05:21 PM
Eric, where can I read who is on the Common Sense teamwork? Can you please provide a reference of these members? Is it a political party ? Where can I read what the values are? Or, Eric are you just shooting from the hip again?
Eric Bergstrom February 12, 2014 at 05:38 PM
No Gus, nobody knows. They lurk in the dark shadows of the internet using bogus names like Gus Gunderson and Tornado Johnson. But you can go to the council meetings and see them standing up by the glass entry door spewing venom.
Gus Gunderson February 12, 2014 at 05:54 PM
The venom you say they spew, the court has agreed with time after time and has found against the city council every time. It seems Eric, that it is the city council who is spewing the venom as they have been found in the wrong each and every time. The court records affirm that.
Gus Gunderson February 12, 2014 at 05:56 PM
Yes Eric this is not my real name. As a former Allevato supporter, I have seen what they do to people who go against them. For my sake and my families, I do not use my real name. If you don't believe me, just look at the mailers they sent out.
Donna Fleming February 12, 2014 at 07:51 PM
Gus... I am not sure about this. But, I think the mission of the Capistrano Common Sense follows along this line: "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessing of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity. Do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." It explains the purpose of the Constitution and sets the stage for the first 7 articles and the first 10 amendments, known as the Bill of Rights. I am just guessing but perhaps Eric is just unfamiliar with this text.
Flint Mervington February 12, 2014 at 10:13 PM
Thank you Donna. Thank you. Your reasonable and totally objective comparison of us Recall supporters to the founders of this great nation is spot on. To recap: pro-recall people are American heroes whose faces should be on our currency; those who oppose it are murderous dictators and Klan-members. It's simple, really.
Flint Mervington February 12, 2014 at 10:40 PM
Yeah "Eric" (if that is your name) you should be able to identify the people who disguise their identity FOR the people who disguise their identity because (a) it is TOTALLY not a diversion tactic and (b) the, uh... You see the reason that's possible and relevant is... ummm.... LOOKOUT! Mussolini is taking over SJC!
Eric Bergstrom February 13, 2014 at 12:44 AM
You got me, Flint. "Eric" is a goofy made-up name. And the reason for that is that those Common Nonsense people scare me so much...I'm shaking. As a former Common Non-sense political party supporter, I have seen what they do to people who go against them. For my sake and my family's, I do not use my real name. plus the fact that I'm a complete and utter coward unable to back up what I write. If you don't believe me, just look at the P.O.C. newsletter they send out.
Tornado Johnson February 13, 2014 at 02:43 AM
It must be your wit and charm that keeps you in each and every job you have had for so long. Your positive comments are always so endearing to your personality.
Eric Bergstrom February 13, 2014 at 02:52 AM
Just tryin' to show you the same love you burden our community with, twister sister. Oh wait, I guess Twisted Sister fits you. Where you been Tornado? Hiding out as Gus Gunderson?
Donna Fleming February 13, 2014 at 03:44 AM
It is the nomen consense supporters with their naked affirmations that elude the cowards. Those purists the nomen consense supporters rely on simple truth. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Take heart Eric, you have time to get it right.
Donna Fleming February 13, 2014 at 04:16 AM
We missed you Tornedo. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-aK6JnyFmk
Tornado Johnson February 13, 2014 at 10:49 AM
I don't find it necessary Eric Bergstrom to continually put people down and make fun of them like a fifth grade bully. It is unfortunate that you feel a need to do so . What a great father you must be.
Flint Mervington February 13, 2014 at 04:52 PM
Well said Tornado . I can't believe that awful man has the nerve to speak to you like that. You poor, fragile little bird. Eric, there's no need to be such a bully. Sweet Tornado was innocently digging up personal information on people to publicly embarrass them and you just come along acting like a big meany. You should be ashamed.
Donna Fleming February 13, 2014 at 06:40 PM
If you are holding a public office is it dirt or forensic evidence? Just asking? Personally, I do not care who Allevato cavorts on a beach with, but I think that Clint Worthington does mind. I would like to know more about the financial transfers, stock deals, and real estate deals, donations to (we think your great Sam) fund, and all of the general contractors working to build Rancho Mission Viejo and Reata Park.
Tornado Johnson February 13, 2014 at 07:12 PM
What I have posted is just the financial information Flint Mervington such as the Trustees sales, fraud lawsuits, and judgements. That is all public information readily available at the courthouse and county recorder. No digging up information or creepy photographers, it is all available for anyone to read.
Flint Mervington February 13, 2014 at 10:55 PM
Tornado, no need to explain. I'm on your side. Hey, who DOESN'T spend their leisure time digging around in the big electronic dumpster that is the Internet. What else are you going to do; something silly like "sharing experiences with loved ones" or "leaving the house" or "contributing to the community?" No thanks! Maybe you can find a particularly stressful divorce or something fun like that to expose tomorrow?!? That would be super. AND it's public record so obviously nothing weird/distasteful about posting it. Good luck!
Tornado Johnson February 13, 2014 at 11:20 PM
I do background investigations Flint Mervington for a living. This is normal for me to do this type of investigations.
Flint Mervington February 14, 2014 at 12:00 AM
Oh, that makes sense Tornado. Makes perfect sense. Besides I can always tell how "normal" something is by how much a person has to explicitly state that it is "normal"
Sunshine February 14, 2014 at 01:09 AM
Tornado, I hope you continue your research. Perhaps you will be able to link all the players. Follow the money. Me thinks this Flint Mervington protests too much.
Sunshine February 14, 2014 at 01:29 AM
1. Allevato continues to illegally charge us for water we don’t get, in defiance of the Superior Court ruling. 2. Allevato illegally banned newspapers in violation of the First Amendment right to free speech, and continues to fight it in court. 3. Allevato has raised $67,000 in 90 days from outside special interests to RETAIN CONTROL of our town.
Sunshine February 15, 2014 at 02:14 PM
Someone once said, "Just because you're offended, doesn't make you right." So true.
Beve Semerwohld February 15, 2014 at 02:28 PM
It is me the creepy photographer guy. I can't believe I supported Sam Allevato for so long. Maybe it was because he voted me on a commission that I had no previous experience. I can't believe I actually asked people to vote for him. I do like that he put me on his list of supporters in the Capistrano Dispatch advertisement. It elevated me out of trailer park trash, to well, just trash. Signing off now, the creepy photographer guy.
Sunshine February 15, 2014 at 03:28 PM
Beve, don't feel alone. Others have gone before you for less favors. Get back to creepy stalking. You do that best.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »