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Councilman Sam Allevato New San Juan Capistrano Mayor

The council majority snubs the minority.

A changing of the guard: New San Juan Capistrano Mayor Sam Allevato with outgoing Mayor John Taylor. Patch photo credit: Penny Arévalo
A changing of the guard: New San Juan Capistrano Mayor Sam Allevato with outgoing Mayor John Taylor. Patch photo credit: Penny Arévalo

The San Juan Capistrano City Council majority flexed its muscles by putting two of its own in the Nos. 1 and 2 spots, with Sam Allevato becoming mayor and Larry Kramer becoming mayor pro tem.

Unlike last year, when minority Councilman Derek Reeve was first passed over for the mayor pro tem position and tempers flared, there was no discussion about the reshuffling.

Allevato is facing a recall attempt, and recently civility between the 3-2 split has broken down. Kramer's seat is up for re-election in the coming year.

“Every decision I make is really based on what’s best for the majority of this town,” Allevato said in his first remarks as mayor. “Thank you for this honor. I won’t let you down.”

During the break, Reeve said there was no point in trying to return to a more normal rotation of the honorary role. Last year, Kramer “made it very clear he will never vote for me because he disagrees with me on the issues, and I don’t think anything’s changed.”

Councilman Roy Byrnes was selected chairman of the San Juan Capistrano Housing Authority and Reeve vice chair.

Outgoing Mayor John Taylor also got a chance to summarize his year as mayor, a year that saw the downtown becoming more vibrant, opening of a new dog park, the trains silencing their horns through town and  the selling of several city properties.

“It’s been one of the dreams of my life [to be mayor]. I did the best I could, and I think we did a lot,” Taylor said.

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bill odel December 05, 2013 at 08:57 PM
see Donna, this "Sam Avacado thing and Sunshine thing" is just making a joke of SJC, and he is one of yours. SJC, RIP.
bill odel December 05, 2013 at 09:07 PM
sorry Penny, your attempt to discuss issues or importance in SJC have been hijacked by you know who. Taking the high road with such a group of mean morons has not worked. You are the best, but its not enough. I'm done reading the patch from SJC. Sorry.
Sunshine December 05, 2013 at 09:25 PM
Bill, thank you for your opinions. But I don't think what Sam has done to SJC is a joke. "Mean Morons"? Really? When people have no defense to comments, they screech nasty names and racism and class warfare. You guys are hitting them all. I'm pretty sick of it.
Donna Fleming December 05, 2013 at 10:32 PM
Bill...it is like satire. Yes, people are upset. This has become our forum to share opinions. I have learned much. I am sorry that you think we are mean morons. Did you know that the city council negotiated a deal to buy land in Rancho Mission Viejo? I did not. I did vote for open space. I understood that it meant to keep some space in San Juan open. I guess that was dumb. The realtor who sold me this home said the was a "hold" on development in SJC and I could expect slow growth and little traffic. Again and again I have learned about these closed door CC meetings. Issues are voted on or not, we hear about it after the fact. This is what we want to change in our town. We want a transparent government.. Sam may have been a good public servant in the past. But, he has developed some bad policies and friends in high places with money. Yet, our status financially has been down graded under Sam's watch. We are angry. Throw the tea in the harbor.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) December 05, 2013 at 10:36 PM
Bill, I know where you're coming from. Both sides actually get frustrated that they have to deal with the other at Patch. But Patch is only best when we all come together. I don't want to be taken over by either side. Hope to "see" you again!
Sunshine December 05, 2013 at 10:40 PM
Actually, Penny, I think Patch is best when we have healthy discussions and debates, not singing Kumbaya, otherwise we're all zombies.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) December 05, 2013 at 10:43 PM
I didn't mean to imply singing Kumbaya. I meant, coming together to discuss the issues. Same thing I say in my profile here at Patch. I like a vigorous debate. The day Patch sings to the choir is the day we get really boring!
Sunshine December 05, 2013 at 11:04 PM
Super, Penny! Sorry I misunderstood. :)
Steve Behmerwohld December 05, 2013 at 11:57 PM
The fact that you "people" are badmouthing Ricardo, without him even commenting here, shows just what bullies you are. Who cares if they don't live in town. They employ a lot of people who do. I guarantee you that he gives more back to San Juan than all the people at CCS combinerd. Ricardo and Rosa are two of the nicest, kindest people I've ever known. FYI Ricardo was just awarded the Capistrano Community Spirit Award by State Senator Wyland. "Sunshine", since you don't use your name, how do we know you live in town?
Penny Arévalo (Editor) December 06, 2013 at 12:03 AM
Steve, I agree in the sense that I don't know why business owners would be second-class citizens. Don't they have as much at stake as any of us? There was also the insinuation earlier that renters' opinions shouldn't count. That doesn't make sense either.
Donna Fleming December 06, 2013 at 12:36 AM
Penny...Not to worry about Patch being boring. Not in this town. I think they are going to make a movie here. Capistrano Place.
Sunshine December 06, 2013 at 01:11 AM
Let me please ask for forgiveness for my comments concerning Ricardo. I do like him and I love his restaurant. I will probably go eat there next week. It actually is my favorite Mexican Restaurant in SJC. My bad. Sorry.
Sunshine December 06, 2013 at 01:16 AM
Steve, I was there at Sanator Wyland's Open House. It was a nice event and had great chili from Costco. Steve, you'll just have to trust me when I say I have lived in SJC since 1999. Oh, and I deleted my rude comments about Ricardo. Sorry again.
Angus Kevin Mckay December 06, 2013 at 09:39 AM
Great Park in Irvine becoming golf course. http://ranchosantamargarita.patch.com/groups/politics-and-elections/p/a-notsogreat-park-gets-ok-from-irvine-ranchosantamargarita
Sunshine December 06, 2013 at 01:18 PM
OMGoodness, Angus!!!! Looks like the rich developers plan at the Great Park of Irvine worked!!! More homes and a golf course. How many residents of irvine will enjoy all the new traffic, smog and golf course and it's green fees? Who wanted a park for the families, anyway! All these rich developers are in bed with each other or are one in the same. Didn't buddies Sam Allevato and Robert Ferguson work for the Great Park? I believe they did. Job well done, guys! Everything these guys touch turns to gold for their developer outlaws. Not so for the residents. More taxes, more roads, more people, more concrete, more pollution, more rules, regulations, etc. etc. Sam et al are running out of OC cities to destroy and citizens to screw.
Jonathan Volzke December 06, 2013 at 02:34 PM
Sunshine, you don't mind being wrong, do you? Rob Ferguson was an appointed commissioner in the City of Irvine. No salary, not working for Great Park. Sam Allevato worked for the designer of the original great park, long before the deal with the developer was struck. He hasn't worked there in years, by the way.
Sunshine December 06, 2013 at 02:55 PM
Right, Jonathan. Sam has no connections with rich developers. You're lobbying job is showing. BTW, I have a Ground Water Plant I'd like to sell you. Interested?
Jonathan Volzke December 06, 2013 at 03:33 PM
Yes, Sunshine, I would absolutely invest in an alternative source of water in a heartbeat. And your post didn't say Sam had connections with rich developers, you linked him to the changes at the Great Park and the Five Points developer -- which are false. You sound jealous. Don't you have successful friends?
Sunshine December 06, 2013 at 03:57 PM
Well, it's not your choice or in your power to invest in an alternative source of water so we can quit getting those illegal water bills every month. It's up to your three friends on the city council. Sam does have connections to rich developers. I did not say he is part of the Great Park NOW. But all the players are still playing. And you're still a lobbyist. Now we're playing the jealous card? Is that all you've got V-O-L-Z-K-E?
Gus Gunderson December 06, 2013 at 08:30 PM
JV- it has been a little less than a year since ford and molrich was fired from the great park. Sam worked for ford and molrich. It has not been years and years since he worked there.
Beve Semerwohld December 06, 2013 at 09:07 PM
Yes I am the creepy guy who pops out of bushes and takes photos of people. You could be next. I like to follow people around. My friends call me Beve like Wally and the Beve. I used to be president of my trailer park HOA until I was recalled. Sam Allevato and I have much in common in terms of being recalled. I am a professional volunteer and do nothing else in my life. Nothing excites me more in life than standing next to Brad Gates at the city council meetings when he wears Diane Harkeys husbands windbreaker emblazoned with Point Center Financial on it. It makes me feel like one of the guys. What were we talking about. Oh Ricardo. He is not a second class business at all. But why can't my friend Sam Allevato get hardly anyone from SJC to stand up and stump for him? Why do they all come from out of town? I got it ? The residents are fed up with Sam and no one will stand up for home that lives in town. It is true I worked for the phone company for 25 years and have been in most of your homes. I know it is a little creepy isn't it? Hi Ho hi Ho its off to volunteer I go.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) December 06, 2013 at 09:12 PM
For the record, Steve B. says he didn't take the Clint photo.
Beve Semerwohld December 06, 2013 at 09:24 PM
Miss Pennny as the creepy guy who takes photos of course I would deny it. I don't want to tarnish my image and have people run for cover every time I pull out my phone just to answer my phone. That would be embarrassing. I need to mend my reputation so people feel comfortable when Jonathinnnn and I text each other.
Whiskey Bent December 06, 2013 at 10:38 PM
I dare Steve to make that claim publicly and not hide behind Penny.
socalfam December 06, 2013 at 11:16 PM
The problem as I see it with Ricardo, Mark Bodenhamer, and at least 10 other Chamber Board members who are choosing to interfere with our local election is that they do not live in and therefore are not registered to vote in San Juan. These Board members do not pay the increased residential property taxes and high residential water rates nor subsidize the recycled water that we San Juan residents are subject to but do not get. They are not required to pay for open space that we residents were promised, but cannot use - thanks in part to Sam Allevato's sell out of the residents of San Juan. If it is true that only about 5 of the 15 Chamber of Commerce Board members even live in San Juan (Penny, perhaps you know whether that's a true statement), why are they dictating to San Juan residents who we should vote for? How offensive is it that they think they know better than us who should lead us? Regardless; the Chamber Board's "proposal" to allegedly "heal" the divisiveness in the community was nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to try to marginalize opposition to the recall of Allevato. It backfired, in my opinion. The Chamber has an elephant-in-the-room-sized conflict of interest in that they are awarded $25,000 of our tax dollars every year by Sam Allevato and at least two council colleagues who vote in lock step with him. As a resident, homeowner and business owner in San Juan my family, neighbors and business colleagues in San Juan continue to pay the price for Allevato's poor decisions, both financially and through a decrease in the quality of life we sought when moving here umpteen years ago. This town is only a shell of what it once was, thanks in part to Allevato's bad leadership. For all these reasons, I find the Chamber's support of Sam Allevato frankly offensive. This is why I am not a member of the Chamber. They apparently did not stop to consider that for all the people they think they can influence to not vote Allevato out of office, there are that many more who feel as my family and I do and who are offended by their actions.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) December 06, 2013 at 11:23 PM
I don't need to investigate it because I don't find it a story. Sure, some people work here and don't live here. Some people live here but don't work here. Both people who live in San Juan and people who work in San Juan do have a stake in what happens in San Juan. It's the same with people who rent. Some have suggested that's a scandal. Nope, people who rent also have an interest in San Juan. Opine about it as much as you like in the comment section. I've got a million other stories to do! ;-)
Donna Fleming December 07, 2013 at 12:04 AM
Even renters pay water bills. And, business owners pay water bills and contribute to our community. But, in large part I agree with So Cal Fam... Allevato has become a poor leader and cost us outrageous amounts of money thru his decisions on the city council. My neighbors are all asking why our city bought land in Mission Viejo to create an even park? This was not the open space we voted for.
Gus Gunderson December 07, 2013 at 02:24 AM
The bottom line is that Sam Allevato is deliberately using people who don't live in SJC to influence what we do in OUR town. These people do not even have the right to vote in OUR town.
Sunshine December 07, 2013 at 10:56 AM
Another bottom line, Gus, Sam has been using the residents of SJC as the trough to feed the rich Rancho Mission Viejo Development Company pigs.
Christie December 22, 2013 at 05:55 PM
Regionalizing" the Ground Water Recovery Plant a Solution to an Expensive Problem By Roy L. Byrnes, MD, San Juan Capistrano City Councilmember Our “water troubles” began about ten years ago when the City made the fateful choice to move away from the Metropolitan Water District (MWD), which had been our traditional supplier of water for nearly 100 years. Unfortunately, the City decided that we should obtain about 75% of our water by pumping the subterranean aquifer from the San Juan basin using the local Ground Water Recovery Plant (GWRP). That was a bad decision and we've been paying a very high price for it ever since. Indeed, over the past 10 years, we've learned that the GWRP is more expensive and less reliable than MWD water. Looking to the future, the rising cost of electricity, plus the cost of 21 employees to run it, plus the maintenance and repairs, plus the expenses of installing recharge facilities, plus the construction of barriers to protect from ocean water intrusion - all these factors mean that the future operational costs of the GWRP will continue to outpace even the expected increase in MWD water costs. What to do? Last month Councilman Sam Allevato suggested that the City should determine the costs and consequences of shuttering the “water factory” and stopping (defaulting on) the bond payments. Upon suggestion of the City Attorney, he withdrew his suggestion. Today I offer a better solution. This is a return to the original concept when the San Juan Basin Authority was formed decades ago. This approach involves reducing operational expenses by spreading costs of operation over a larger number of customers; a program of “regionalization” which gets the City of San Juan Capistrano out of the water business without financial injury. At the present time the City has a goal of producing about 75% of its water from the GWRP and 24% from the less expensive MWD source. This places a heavy financial burden on the 11,000 San Juan customers. In time this will become unbearable as the increased costs of electricity, staff and measures to protect against ocean water intrusion are added on. I suggest we start by removing the operation of the GWRP (water plant) from the City of San Juan and transferring it to the San Juan Basin Authority (the actual owners of the facility) so that the GWRP can supply water to all four of the Basin Authority participants, not just San Juan. That means that the financial burden of the GWRP would be supported by a vastly increased number of customers – an estimated 75,000. Thus each customer will pay far less to support the operation of the plant. San Juan would reverse its pattern and acquire about 85-90% of its water from the less expensive MWD source and only a small 5 -10% from the GWRP. San Juan's water costs drop! There could be three net results of this change: 1. The role of the GWRP is switched – no longer is it the primary water source for the City of San Juan. Instead, the GWRP becomes an auxiliary-backup-emergency water source for a much larger group of customers from all of the San Juan Basin participants – as originally intended. 2. Since the GWRP is no longer their direct responsibility, the San Juan ratepayers are relieved of an insufferable financial burden. The City is “out of the water business” as the San Juan Basin Authority takes over. San Juan finances improve hugely! 3. The costs of leasing the GWRP would be assumed by all the San Juan Basin Authority members. This would supply the money to meet bond payments. There is no interruption in the payment of money to bondholders and no bankruptcy. This illustration is offered to show that reasonable alternatives do exist.

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