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."