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Kramer Chosen as Mayor but Not Without Controversy

The City Council votes 3-2 to bypass Councilwoman Laura Freese again, opting for sophomore Larry Kramer.

San Juan Capistrano has a new mayor in Larry Kramer, but the decision was not unanimous.

For the second year in a row, the City Council shot down Councilwoman Laura Freese's bid for the job. Last year, a , who relinquished the honorary title Tuesday night.

At that time, Freese, who had served the year before as mayor pro tem – kind of like a vice mayor who often slides into the mayoral position – said she agreed to go along with the out-of-order shuffling because council members vowed to support her this year.

“Was that just rhetoric? So it must have been,” Freese said Tuesday.

This time, Freese did not go along with the majority vote. She had intended to nominate herself, but Councilman John Taylor piped up first, nominating Kramer instead.

Councilman Derek Reeve noted that although the mayor’s seat is largely ceremonial and not that important, he would support Freese.

“This is really not about Larry or Laura or any of us. This is about San Juan Capistrano. I would really like to get back to a routine,” Reeve said. “The last thing we need to be contentious about is who’s going to be mayor.”

Before the vote, during the open-comments portion of the agenda, resident Kim McCarthy implored the council to vote for Freese.

“Laura has served her time, and it’s due,” she said, accusing the council of being a “good ol' boys” network.

Before Allevato stepped down, he ticked off a number of accomplishments the council oversaw in the past year, including:

  • A with a 15 percent reduction in spending
  • The groundwater recovery plant is
  • Favorably settling over groundwater contamination
  • Construction of the and
  • The grand opening of the

Taking the center seat at the dais, Kramer said he didn’t have a speech prepared, but acknowledged he has enjoyed his first year on the council.

“I was reluctant to ever run for City Council. I prefer to be a volunteer. It turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me,” he said.

“I will accept the fact that not everybody is going to accept me or like me, but after a while, you’ll respect me,” Kramer said.

During a five-minute break, Freese said she wanted harmony.

"I know Larry Kramer will make a fine mayor and John Taylor will make a fabulous mayor pro tem," she said. "But I am disappointed."

SJCNative December 08, 2011 at 12:52 AM
The former Mayor apparently does not realize that a balanced budget is required by law. Did he forget the 8.2 million dollar deficit in the Utility Department? Did he forget that that the City is still collecting payments from the water users for a bond that was never issued? Did he forget that the City is so upside down financially that the City had to obtain a Court approval to issue a bond? Did he forget that the City could not issue an 18 million dollar bond because the City would be unable to repay it? Did he forget that the Scalzo settlement left the City without almost not reserves? Did he forget that after 50 years of being a City that we have zero dollars saved for a City Hall due to the numerous lawsuits against the City? Did he forget that he renewed the Kinoshita note so that after 30 years of making payments, we will have paid almost zero on the principal balance? Did he forget he gave 5 million dollars to the auto dealerships in cash? Please Sam Allevato, don't let the door hit you on the way out.
socalfam December 11, 2011 at 06:14 AM
Enough with the good ol' boys already! Kramer and John Taylor are viewed as little more than puppets for Brad Gates and the Ranch, who are running this town into the ground, not just financially but with even more traffic if that's even possible. I can't wait until the good ol' boys, led by Sam Allevato, are thrown out of office so we can finally begin to clean up the wreckage they've left in their wake.
DVC December 03, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Still having "The Ghost Train" makes SJC look like an incompetent/Paralyzed City that just doesn't get it---progressive cities would have fixed it years ago without all of the theatrics--my take, it will never be fiixed but we will have some closure on "Juan" at Zoomars sometime in the next 10 years

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