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Judge Orders News Racks Back at San Juan Capistrano City Hall

He orders lawyers for a newspaper and the city into a room to hammer out an agreement.

News racks at San Juan Capistrano City Hall (on the left) before they were banned. Patch file photo.
News racks at San Juan Capistrano City Hall (on the left) before they were banned. Patch file photo.

UPDATED: Edited to include the agreement the judge signed as an order. Originally posted at 4:03 p.m. Dec. 19, 2013.

“The people are going to get their chance to read their newspapers.”

That was Orange County Superior Court Judge James Di Cesare, ordering the lawyers for Community Common Sense newspaper and the city of San Juan Capistrano into a jury room to once again, try to agree where news racks for several media outlets – removed in August from City Hall and the Community Center – can temporarily return.

The controversy began in early August, when representatives from Common Sense, an advocacy paper often critical of the council majority, asked permission to place their racks next to the Capistrano Dispatch and the Capo Valley News at City Hall and the Community Center.

Shortly after, the City Council discussed in closed session eliminating all the racks. A letter to the three newspapers soon followed, asking for their removal.

In November, Common Sense filed a lawsuit against City Attorney Hans Van Ligten, Mayor Sam Allevato and Councilmen Larry Kramer and John Taylor, claiming they “violate the constitutional right of every resident in SJC to access and read newspapers and news publications as they see fit.”

The lawsuit seeks the return of all the news racks.

The parties were in court last week, trying to hammer out a settlement, which the City Council discussed at Tuesday’s meeting. Although councilmen announced they had a proposal to allow the news racks’ return, representatives from Common Sense said the offer fell short in several areas.

“You need to agree where these news racks are going to be,” Di Cesare said to the lawyers today, sending them to the jury room to negotiate. “You’re not going to leave here until we’re done or I’ll decide where they’re going to be.”

After 45 minutes, the judge then pulled the lawyers into his chambers. When they emerged, Di Cesare said the racks will be placed, by Dec. 24, to the right of City Hall's entry doors, where a trash receptacle is currently located. The racks used to be the left of the door [see photo].

Also part of the order, Common Sense will be permitted to put 10 copies of its publication in the senior reading room at the Community Center. 

The agreement will take shape as an order from the judge, who placed a Feb. 27 hearing to discuss the matter further.

Patch will have more news from the Santa Ana Courthouse as it becomes available.

Donna Fleming December 20, 2013 at 04:25 AM
If this does not convince the city that Allevato is running our city into the poor house, nothing will. Allevato has a huge ego. We cannot afford Allevato.
Angus Kevin Mckay December 20, 2013 at 09:34 AM
Volzke, nothin? I know you read this, any info, emails would be appreciated.
Angus Kevin Mckay December 20, 2013 at 09:49 AM
This story makes me think of that mailer talking about how much a recall would cost us. Robert Ferguson should have put our council majority on a mailer as well. If he truely cared about our town, and cares about injustices. But he might be out of a position if he didn't back his buddies. Jonathan, anyone involved in the issue if you really want to know how petty and pompous removing newspapers from our public venues is, ask a veteran ask a boyscout, hell ask someone's mother and see what they say. As for the leadership in town, remember you are nothing but the legacy you leave behind. Do you really want to be remembered for this? Childsplay, and no matter how much everyone blames Clint, it takes two to make an issue. As my grandma would say, shut up and get to work. Can we vote to have a part time city council?
Sam Avacado December 20, 2013 at 10:04 AM
Ok, cats out of the bag. Let me give you the skinny on the CCS winny. I just got sick and tired of Community Common Sense printing facts that even Jonathinnnn Vodka as good of a lobbyist as he is could not stretch the words long enough to get me out of this jam. I was embarrassing myself. I had to do something. So, I took the advice of Laura Schmorra and went Nazi on the news racks. I terminated them. Ran them off the property and if I saw that newspaper again, I had the city attorney threaten Community Common Sense with criminal prosecution. I know, I know, it violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and I don't know how many other laws, but I had to do something. Going Nazi on them and eliminating the press was all I could think to do. I wanted to sentence the paper to Auschwitz but they said it would be too obvious and expensive. Heck with the amount of money I spent on attorney fees we could have supplemented my biggest fan Mark Boboheimer and the Chamber of Communication. That is what I call it. Because if there is anything I don't want to be seen as coming from me, like the Kumbaya city council meeting where I had Mark Boboheimer address me, Sam Avacado with all the ideas I had given him to get me out of being investigated I just give it to Mark Boboheimer and he does whatever I want. How embarrassing would that investigation have been? I just had to stop the investigation. The truth keeps coming out about me and it is really helping that stupid recall. At my recall speech I called people bully's. But I am really the bully aren't I? I try to stop freedom of the press. I charge illegal water rates. These people are on to me. I don't know how many other facts they are going to dig up on me. I am very worried if the public finds out more secrets about me. Speaking of secrets, I have one for you....Shhhh...do you know why my last name is Avacado? Because avacados drink so much water, it give me a chance to raise rates all I want to !!! I never saw a water rate increase I did not like. After all, I am Sam Avacado !!
Sunshine December 20, 2013 at 12:33 PM
Sam Avacado, could you give me a ball park amount you have cost the residents of SJC on all your frivolous lawsuits? When Judge Di Cesare said at the very onset of the hearing yesterday, “The people are going to get their chance to read their newspapers", he basically told the court there was no question in his mind that the First Amendment must be upheld and Community Common Sense had a right to be available in public areas. But, Sam, you STILL want to go back in February, spending more SJC tax dollars, to continue to fight the First Amendment? (This is similar to your choice to now appeal the judge's ruling that our high water bills are illegal so you, Sam, can continue to charge us more) At this point, I would like to have the city send YOU, personally, those legal bills. You definitely were NOT representing me when you sought to trample on the First Amendment to stop an adversarial newspaper which continues to reveal the corruption within the leadership in the city. And that would include you and Kramer, Taylor and all your rich development buddies who have screwed us over the years and become rich and richer off the bank accounts of residents in SJC. I'll bet your next step will be to have one of your minions or lobbyists (here that Jonathan Vodka?) write your own little non "news" paper and place it next to the Community Common Sense in those public areas. Ha, that will be so obvious! But you must be grateful that your nazi actions caused CCS to have to hire an attorney to go to court to fight you and your attack on the First Amendment. Now, you, Sam Avacado, have the freedom to place a publication in public areas without the fear of you and your two city council puppets banning them. You owe a big thanks to CCS!
Donna Fleming December 20, 2013 at 12:57 PM
This is the second time a judge has ruled "for the people", and against our city council. I have a feeling 2014 will be the year of justice.
Sunshine December 20, 2013 at 01:09 PM
Donna you asked, "Why the newspaper was banned from city property? " My answer would be because the Community Common Sense is dangerous. It's spotlighting the corruption of a handful of Cosa Nostra type guys who have been running San Juan Capistrano for their own benefit for years. They have been feeding off the residents and, because of their hand picked majority in elected positions, have been able to continue doing this. The power players including Brad Gates and Tony Moiso tell Sam, Kramer, Taylor and our city attorney to jump, and they genuflect and ask, "How high?" The puppeteers control the puppets and, therefore, city actions. I think it's that simple. They have their little minions like Jonathan Vodka to lobby for them in opinion sections and in Dispatch articles and they have their heavies that threaten businesses if they show any support for CCS. We've got our own little mafioso right here in SJC. That's why it's so important to sign the petition and Recall Sam. Stop the thugs. Cut the puppet strings. www.recallSam.com
Sam Avacado December 20, 2013 at 01:29 PM
Let's see frivolous lawsuits. Hmmmm....I have cost the taxpayers of our small town millions and millions ( I feel just like Mcdonalds when I say that) of hard earned taxpayer dollars. The boy who lost his leg when the car hit him after residents repeatedly came to the council and asked for a stop sign and in our arrogance, we knew better than the residence. That was good for about 8.5 million not including attorney fees. The entire MTBE debacle when the city drilled the main water well for the GWRP less than 2,500 feet from a gasoline tank that leaked and the city never even did the due diligence and checked with the county if there would be any problems with that. Hmmmm...the water department lost 8.2 million and the city recovered about 3 million from Chevron that would make it about a 5.2 million dollar loss not including attorney fees. Scalzo lawsuit was 3 million for the judgement obligation bond, about 3 million in cash, almost 3 million that the city was required to spend on capital improvements for the drainage for the reservoir that was leaking a million gallons of water a month. Attorney fees just for the city were 1.2 million dollars. My thinking and arrogance cost the taxpayers about 10.2 million dollars not including the amount to pay the Scalzo attorney. Then there is the people that just wanted to have prayer meetings at their home. Oh gosh, I don't know on that one how many thousands we spent on attorney fees. The Capistrano Taxpayers Association my good friend David Shmellis pointed out the attorney fees for them was $442,000 not including the city attorney fees. I used to state I did not know David Scmellis, but now that the emails are out that we emailed each other campaign strategies, I have to backtrack and say I know him. Appeal costs will probably be 2 million dollars in attorney fees. The latest claim is for 30 million not including attorney fees and damages. By the way, did you know when people could not pay their water bill due to the incredibly illegal water rates, we would turn off their water. Let me say it again, when people on hard times could not pay their water bills because we were charging them illegal water rates, we would just turn off the water. Yes sirrree, that is the Sam Avacado way. Let's see, let me add up the millions and millions of taxpayer dollars I have wasted. I come up with about 47 or 48 million dollars. It is no big deal though, it is just hard earned taxpayer money. Where is Jonathinnnn Vodka to defend me? I wonder if he drowned riding around in that jeep of his with the flames on the side and no top to the jeep? From what I can tell a great number of my supporters are abandoning me one by one. I am feeling like Anthony Rizzo right now from the city of bell. I have spent all the taxpayer money with my arrogance and bad decisions and have nothing to show for it. Well, I did get Rancho Viejo Road repaved in front of my house while we told the residents of village San Juan there was no money to repair their streets. Oh well, the Avacado life style lives on. Shhhhh....I have a secret to tell you. Get a little closer.....the Rancho Capistrano property was offered to the city to purchase prior to purchasing the RMV riding park and we turned it down ! No restrictions on the purchase of the property, nothing. People could have actually used it as a park !!! Shhh...don't tell anyone.
Sam Avacado December 20, 2013 at 01:31 PM
I hope I answered your question.
Sunshine December 20, 2013 at 02:05 PM
You did, Sam Avacado. You're a crook. You run this city like the Godfather. Jeff.gottlieb@latimes.com and Ruben.vives@latimes.com broke the city of Bell story. How about everyone send them a short email and ask them to bring their magnifying glasses and investigation kits down here to SJC. Unfortunately, I think our story is bigger and better. Sign the petition to www.RecallSam.com Better yet, email these guys and let's get Sam et al in a cell next to the city of Bell council members.
Sam Avacado December 20, 2013 at 03:52 PM
Yes, yes, I know I am a crook. I can't help myself. It's the Avacado way. Did you see my full page adds in the Capistrano Dispatch ? Weren't they nice ? I feel like a celebrity with all the notables coming to my rescue and wanting to out their name next to mine. But that list is getting shorter and shorter. I remember when Diane Shmarkey tried to come to my rescue and tried get the republican endorsement for me. It did not work out so well for me. Now that I think about it, it is not working out so well for she and her husband either. I see her and her husband in the news all the time coming out of a court house. Almost like the Avacados and the city of San Juan. I did not think it was appropriate to haver her name displayed spin such big letters as last time with all the trouble her family is in. I don't understand why my supporters are dropping out just as fast as when I went Nazi on the news racks. I just don't understand why people are so uppity about this first amendment thing. It is my town and I will choose what you say and read. Well, until at least there is a court order telling me I can't do what I want any longer and threaten people with criminal prosecution. Well, now that there is that court order maybe I will just go and see if I can mess up some more traffic intersections in town. Remember, the Rancho Viejo/Junipero Serra intersection ? I voted to spend over a million dollars to redo that intersection complete with recycled water. Guess what? It was horrible. Luckily no one was killed. They had to undo everything that we spent a million dollars for because it was so bad. I think it is fixed now. Laura Schmora the Nazi caller would be so proud of the money my vote wasted on that. Shhhh.....come a little closer and I will tell you a secret. I have a pet name for Laura Schmora. I call her Lolly. It is so cute !! I love the Avacado lifestyle. Waste taxpayer money and trample all over the residents civil rights !!
bill odel December 20, 2013 at 05:22 PM
sorry penny i have stayed away from you postings for a few weeks, and now I will never bother to read your patch again. As you know and can see it has been hijacked by a mob. Its all one side now with crazy people posting under several names. Sad you really tried, but the crazy people who are killing the city have killed you local patch. drop by for coffee.
Capo Parent December 20, 2013 at 06:33 PM
BO If people are posting anonymously under several names, how would you know? As for your claim the posters are crazy, maybe they're sane and you're crazy. They're cheering that the First Amendment was upheld. It appears you're bemoaning the fact that the First Amendment prevailed over censorship, so who's really crazy?
Donna Fleming December 20, 2013 at 07:05 PM
Bill Odel..., Capo Parent...has spent lots of time helping with kids homework and certainly knows high school government. Too bad so many residents have forgotten just how important freedom of speech is, and how lucky we are to have it in the USA. This is actually a great way for kids to learn about city government and the workings of government on the city level. Our own City Council challenged the 1st Ammendment by removing a newspaper with content it did not approve of. The judge has ruled for the people and the 1st Ammendment. The Patch is the voice of our community. For and against. Thank God we have a public forum.
Sunshine December 20, 2013 at 07:24 PM
BO, perhaps the postings are one sided because Sam's followers and lobbyists can't refute the judge's statement "The people are going to get their chance to read their newspapers" and the fact that the First Amendment is the winner in this case as it had been hijacked by a mob on the city council. www.RecallSam.com
Angus Kevin Mckay December 20, 2013 at 08:02 PM
Bill, it's crazy to assume anything on patch is affecting the city. I also think it's pretty obvious that the other side as you call it is refraining from commenting on this particular story.
Apple sauce is gross December 20, 2013 at 08:16 PM
I am curious, is Bill Odel your real name, or are you postin under a name that is not your name. Wouldn't that be a hypocrite ?
Penny Arévalo (Editor) December 20, 2013 at 08:40 PM
Bill, I will miss you, but please understand, it's not my role to kick people out of Patch and make it a club for any one side. Patch is just a reflection of the city. We've got a lot of opinions in this city. Maybe if we can get along here and voice them respectfully, we can get along in the real world, too. :-) signed Pollyanna!
Sunshine December 20, 2013 at 08:55 PM
BO, instead of whining, post a dissenting comment. Penny welcomes all comments. But in this case, how do you disagree with the judge's order in favor of the First Amendment?
Angus Kevin Mckay December 21, 2013 at 10:27 AM
The thing that I see as funny is that Mr. Odelston has made these claims before and has been asked to stop insulting people by our fine editor. There are even a few places where his posts were deleted, probably because Penny pointed out that his insults need to stop. Furthermore his place of business is near Mr. Ferguson's office on rmv road. Bill, did the paper annex print the mailers that were sent out to residents? Must be nice to ride in on that high horse, but then turn around when you do the very thing you are denouncing.
Angus Kevin Mckay December 21, 2013 at 10:33 AM
The irony of Jonathan not commenting on this post is comical. You know he is reading this. Maybe if I take this story down to Starbucks today and post it in a few places people might start asking him questions. The million dollar question, Can Mr. Volzke comment on an article that proves the city was wrong? Is he on vacay? He is the city spokeperson afteralld
Sunshine December 21, 2013 at 12:46 PM
Jonathan Vodka has no problem telling SJC residents to shut up and quit complaining when they discuss how councilmen Mayor Sam Allavato, Larry Kramer, and John Taylor are putting the screws to them. In recent posts, he defended these three amigos when they voted in secret to ban the Community Common Sense because they were angry and fearful the newspaper was spotlighting too much of the corrupt dealings by the city council majority that might lead to another city of Bell wake up call. Well, Jonathan, you can tell your buddies, whom you lobby for, that the gloves are off. Incriminating facts will continue to be published and will contine to be accessible on public property, despite arrogantly thinking you guys controlled that property like you control everything else in this city. Even though you agreed with the city council majority, Jonathan, you couldn't trample on Freedom of the Press and get away with it. You better bring in a big shredding machine.
Christie December 22, 2013 at 01:41 AM
While I am grateful that Judge Di Cesare ordered the news papers to be returned to where the public can access them, there is nothing to really celebrate when an elected official wastes resources trying to eliminate one of our fundamental rights as U.S. Citizens. Even more alarming is those that defend him. What is he trying to hide? Again I have to ask, what is the rationale behind doing something this outrageous and wasteful?
Christie December 22, 2013 at 03:08 PM
Resident Mark McCloseky offered his perspective on Sam Allevato and the minority councilmen who have made votes opposite of the majority council. Regarding Councilman Reeve, a Constitutional law expert he says, "He seems to believe that the rules, regulations and laws of our city are beneath him. He and Mr. Byrnes should be the ones being recalled." I would be curious to hear Mr. McCloseky's insight to Mr. Allevato's attempt to go above the Constitutional protection of freedom of the press by banning news papers from City property. This effort seems to have been a bullying tactic (my impression from the threats revealed in a CCS press release) to silence a viewpoint in opposition to Sam's. An effort like this originates from a position where one feels he is above the law. ________________________________________
Christie December 22, 2013 at 03:11 PM
"If the public determines that Sam is not serving well they can vote again in November. My vote though, remains." — Mechelle Lawrence ________________________________________ Sam Allevato is not up for election come this November.
Christie December 22, 2013 at 03:12 PM
Officers Oath I, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God
Christie December 22, 2013 at 03:20 PM
"[Sam] represents the residents of San Juan Capistrano intelligently and steadfastly. The effort to recall him is a waste of time and taxpayer money." — Senator Mimi Walters, 37th SD ________________________________________ The mounting lawsuits resulting from his leadership suggest otherwise. $100,000 divided amongst roughly 11,000 households is about $9. This is far less expensive than what is added to each water bill monthly for services we do not receive. Protecting our freedoms as enumerated in the Bill of Rights: priceless.
Gus Gunderson December 22, 2013 at 03:46 PM
Christie your comments and thoughts are right on the spot. Sam who has sworn to uphold the U.S. Constitution is apparently not aware of it. Yes I am a former Sam Allevato supporter. Sam must be recalled.
Sunshine December 22, 2013 at 04:19 PM
In a posting above, Sam Avacado detailed some of the millions and millions if dollars Mayor Sam has cost us. $100,000 (a ONETIME expense of $5 a household) is an expense we can't afford not to spend to stop the bleeding and corruption. We are on the road to bankruptcy.
Whiskey Bent December 22, 2013 at 05:36 PM
To Christie, those quotes are on the official Allevato website and are presumed to be endorsed by him. McCloskey also said “Derek Reeve’s quote about having an oath to the Constitution in deference to a city resolution was particularly galling. “ Gee so a city resolution is more important than the U.S. Constitution? With that mentality no wonder Allevato banned newspapers.

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