The city won't be "pooh-poohing" Santa Claus this year.
That's what Jim Curwood called it for placing a giant blow-up Santa at the entrance to his well-known bike shop .
This year, however, under a new incentive program adopted by the City Council Tuesday night—"Shop San Juan Capistrano during the Holidays"—merchants will be exempt from sign ordinances that apply to banners, sandwich boards and even electricity-guzzling inflatables.
Plus, participating stores will offer 10 percent discounts from Thanksgiving through December and will offer $1 off admissions when guests show a receipt from local restaurants.
City Councilwoman Laura Freese, who devised the incentives along with Councilman John Taylor, called it, "another type of motivation to get people to spend money in town [during] Christmas so they don’t go up to the Mission Viejo mall or shop online."
The will spearhead the program.
"We’re very strongly in favor of this idea," said chamber representative Larry Thomas. "This is the first year ... in some ways it’s a daunting task, but we’re willing to put the resources into it to make it successful."