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Lawyer Files Complaint Against Websites' Political Activities

Resident claims the Common Sense newsletter and a related site are improperly acting as a political action committee for two San Juan City Council candidates. One candidate calls the issue "laughable" and an attempt at censorship.

A local resident has filed a complaint with the state Fair Political Practices Commission and the Orange County District Attorney’s office, claiming two City Council candidates have improperly created a political action committee.

Edmond Connor, a lawyer with an Irvine-based legal firm, filed the complaint Friday. In it, he alleges that the Capistrano Common Sense newsletter, online and delivered monthly to as many as 10,000 homes in San Juan Capistrano, is acting as a political action committee, or PAC, for candidates Kim McCarthy and Roy Byrnes, both of whom have long been involved with the newsletter.

Connor also alleges that a related website, known as Capistrano Common Sense Solutions, which promotes Byrnes’ and McCarthy’s candidacies, is also a PAC but has failed to register as a recipient committee to receive political donations.

McCarthy called the concerns “laughable.” She later issued a press release calling Connor's actions a “bullying tactic” done on behalf of council candidates Sam Allevato and Ginny Kerr.

With regards to the newsletter, McCarthy said: “To me it smells of censorship, and people in this town have been trying to censor us since we started publishing Capistrano Common Sense.”

Connor’s letter claims the newsletter is acting as a PAC because it published a letter in which Byrnes calls for incumbent (and campaign opponent) Sam Allevato and Councilwoman Laura Freese to step down.

(For the record, Patch also published this letter.)

“The tone, tenor, and content of CCS’s newsletters establish “clear advocacy” thus qualifying CCS as a political committee,” Connor writes in his complaint.

McCarthy said Connor has never asked for a letter to be published in Common Sense. She said the editorial board welcomes letters from the entire community.

“We’re not a committee,” she said.

As for the Capistrano Common Sense Solutions site that solicits donations for Byrnes and herself, she said that’s just a way to share the costs of running a website. 

The Orange County District Attorney's office has received a copy of the complaint, confirmed spokeswoman Farrah Emami.

"We're now reviewing it," she said.

Kim October 02, 2012 at 08:41 PM
Dr. Lon, my homework is complete. But, before I blast you with my discoveries, many of them are exactly what Mr. Worthignon, Hazel and SJC Native have stated, the real facts. In addition, I don't have enough fingers and toes to count how many law suits this city has PAID OUT because of the bad voting record you left behind. Perhaps we should make our council members financially responsible to pay personally on their bad voting debts, I can guarantee that a lot more thought would go into voting for nonsense like the "ghost train signal" . Your comment of "just take the damn thing out" is as absurd as voting to put it in. We'll be taxed on that too. Oh, but I forgot, it's not your $, and you have moved, so your taxes are not going up! You many think of me as a naive little housewife, but, there a lot of us seeing the truth, and guess what, WE VOTE!
Lon Uso October 02, 2012 at 09:16 PM
Other than Scalzo, what lawsuit are you talking about? You obviously have no idea what the process is for the city to place a tax on it's residents. I know that your homework consisted of talking to Kim, Clint or one of your cronies. That's not doing your homework, that's cheating and if you are going to cheat you should at least copy from the smart kid's paper
sjcnative1 October 02, 2012 at 09:39 PM
This is what you call your constituents. "Angry little people". Dr. Uso is that what you think of the voters? That is what you called them. I want to say I am sorry for you, but it is obvious that is how you feel about people. You said they lied through the campaiign. What lies did they tell? Please be specific..
SJCNative October 02, 2012 at 09:51 PM
If I remember correctly, the FF union sent out literature that you had a DUI. Then they provided a copy of an expense report that you had charged alcoholic beverages to the taxpayers. Is this true Dr. Uso.? I did not bring this up, you did. Did you have a DUI? Did you charge alcoholic beverages to the taxpayer? Remember, I did not bring this up, you did. From what I read, the City did not issue a bond for 18 million dollars because the City financials were in such a disaray. However, the city had no problem collecting the principal and interest payments for the bond that was never issued. I went to the websit and read it myself. You voted to charge a head tax to students did you not? It is in the city minutes that you did vote for it. You raised taxes because as the city never had the tax before. The schools only agreed to the tax as they had no other choice. If they did not pay the tax, it would not get approved. Do you not think the residents did not see right through your actions as a city council member. You held the school hostage. Pay the tax or you wont get the vote. Shame on you. As for the budget, you only cut the budget because there was no other choice. You had spent all the reserves !
SJCNative October 02, 2012 at 10:00 PM
Wow ! Did you forget the lawsuit about the young boy who lost his leg as there was not a stop sign. I was not even involved in the lawsuit and I remembered that one. I feel so sad for the young boy that the city council member did not remember him or what he will deal with the rest of his life with the loss of his leg. As a resident, I apologize. What about the young girl who hit her head on the City Limit sign and died? It is obvious that you forgot about her too. Need i list more Dr. Uso. This is just what I found on the city website search engine.and from newspaper articles. Yes Dr. Uso, I did my homework. It is apparent that you did not remember what your homework was. It is sad that you feel it necessary to contintue to insult and degrade others such as Kim by calling them names and others such as "angry little people and the smart kids paper. Dr. Uso, no one hear has called you names, but you continue to call others names.
Kim October 02, 2012 at 10:15 PM
Dr. Lon..you are not going to get off the hook that easily. I did exactly what a good sutdent does, research. I have reviewed all CC meetings/hearings during your tenure,(the City keeps excellent records on line), analyzing your motivation in voting the way you and your "cohorts" Mark Nielsen and Larua Freese did. And yes, I am now forced to use that word again. I have reviewed OC Register articles, Patch articles, other local papers as well as the CCS news paper during your stint on the Council, and there is no documentation showing why you feel so betrayed by the CCS...you may need to copy from me as I am now the knowledgable student. Just answer Mr. Worthingtons question, as I am not out to embarrass you.
Lon Uso October 02, 2012 at 10:42 PM
I wasn't even on the council at that time, This is exactly the kind of irresponsible lies you and your dishonest candidates perpetuate. I, in fact called the city two months before that accident and complained about the unsafe median.
Lon Uso October 02, 2012 at 10:51 PM
Actually I am so glad you brought it up I got a DUI 14 years ago coming from a Historical Society function and blew a .08. Everybody in San Juan knew it because I was honest and talked about it during my first election The receipt for the booze was signed by Dave Adams not me. I had never see that receipt before. They were using lies to hurt my campaign just like your dishonest candidates that use anonymous talking heads to do their dirty work.
Lon Uso October 03, 2012 at 12:07 AM
Ed Connor, if you need me to testify on your behalf, don't hesitate to call
sjcnative1 October 03, 2012 at 12:23 AM
The firefighters said you had a DUI. You admitted you had a DUI. Where is the lie there? As a medical doctor, I am sure that the greenback cash has been kind to you. I am sure that if it was a lie, you would have protected your name, ego and reputation for slander for spreading false information. But you did not hire an attorney to protect all of the above. That tells me that it must be true.
sjcnative1 October 03, 2012 at 12:26 AM
The city council minutes show differently.
Lon Uso October 03, 2012 at 12:39 AM
SJC, it's not that I want to call you names but you are either completely ignorant, gullible or deceitful. When I left the City we still had a very healthy reserve, $10 million. The Scalzo settlement was going to trim that substantially but we did not spend that money to operate the City, we cut salaries and expenditures. Saint Margarets didn't pay a tax, they agreed to pay to make up for the commercial land that was to be taken off the tax rolls by their expansion project and the traffic they would generate from the added students. It was not only ethical but fiscally sound, something you would not understand. If there was a bond involved it belonged to the new Council. The only bond during my watch was the Open Space bond that the residents voted on. If you are the best talking head your candidates can come up with, they are in trouble.
Lon Uso October 03, 2012 at 12:51 AM
You seem to have the same moral standards as that scummy hit man the union hired, they apparently used very similar logic. I should give you a referral. Of course the flier insinuated that I got drunk on taxpayer money and then was arrested for a DUI. Decent honorable people would consider that deceptive, but you, and of course, your candidates feel that deception is ok, as long as it's for the right reason
Lon Uso October 03, 2012 at 02:33 AM
I was not on the Council when this accident occurred or when litigation was initiated
Lon Uso October 03, 2012 at 02:41 AM
When litigation is initiated, Ed will subpoena the patch to understand the real players. I wonder who Kim, or SJCnative will be. Who knows, Kim Leffner, Orie Brown, Santa Clause or the Easter Bunny, I could be wrong. Who knows, it will make for interesting testimony. It always amazes me how people think they will remain anonymous on these blogs, especially when litigation is imminent.
Lon Uso October 03, 2012 at 02:44 AM
Of course my record is irrelevant since I am not running although you speak for the candidates, your voracity will certainly be questioned.
sjcnative1 October 03, 2012 at 03:05 AM
I am sorry that you do not see what you voted for, or do not want to admit it, but it is a tax upon the students at the schools. Known as a head tax on the number of students at the schools. You voted for it. You can also spin it anyway that you want to, but you voted for a head tax. The cities website shows that you voted for the water rate increase in 2010 which included the issuance of the bond.
sjcnative1 October 03, 2012 at 03:11 AM
I am sorry that you feel that way. I have no connection to any candidates running for office. I try to be well read by reading opinions from several different news services and have lived all my life in SJC. You brought up the firefighter union. I did not. Since you brought it up, I asked you questions. I am guessing that one of the reasons that you may have not been elected again, is your treatment of people. Again, I have not called you names, but you have now called me the scum of the earth, along with other names. I have disagreed with you, but I have treated you with respect. I would hope you would do the same. If you are unable to treat people with respect, then best of luck to you in life.
sjcnative1 October 03, 2012 at 03:12 AM
But you did make the decision on how to resolve the litigation, did you not?
sjcnative1 October 03, 2012 at 03:20 AM
Did you not read the story? There is no litigation. It is a complaint. A complaint is not litigation. If you read the first comment to this story, Ed Connor did not complete the proper forms to file a complaint. I even provided that information that you can verify this with on the website. A letter is not a sworn complaint. A sworn complaint is what is required by the FPPC. The website even states they will not accept it if it is not on their form. I cannot help you Dr. Uso. I have given you all the information to educate yourself, and you choose not to. Good luck in life to you son.
Lon Uso October 03, 2012 at 03:21 AM
no I didn't, the courts did. I have to say that the City had liability but the courts gave it too much weight. Don't you think that underage kids driving on city streets illegally should have taken a greater degree of blame? I sure as hell do!!!!! But I had nothing to do with it
Lon Uso October 03, 2012 at 03:41 AM
Dear friends, I have been more honest and have admitted to more mistakes than all of the politicians ever elected to the City of San Juan Capistrano combined. I am not a politician and never will be. I am just an honest human being that served our community reluctantly that is glad to be done with it I have put myself on the line for you with my colleagues, the building industry and the unions expecting nothing in return. I'm not smooth or clever but I have always been straight with you. I have been critical of Sam, Kim and Roy without taking sides other than yours. I have exposed my heart to you on this blog and even been critical of my own actions on Council when warranted. I have no dog in this fight although there seems to be a lot of dogs. I am surprised that very few of Sam's supporters have been critical of my statements. they are running a professional campaign. I can't say the same for the people supporting Kim and Roy. You have a tough decision to make. Not perfect choices and they may not make sense to you but I urge you to vote for Ginny and Tom. Stop the anger and the lies!!!
Kim October 03, 2012 at 03:43 AM
Yeez Dr. Lon. must be kidding with your threats, a grezzlie bear with suboena's , more like a worm. You must know about "The First Admentment", if not, don't sleep well tonight as you should be very bothered by your revieling comments....the illegal back door "activities" of the SJC Council, implicating Brad Gates, as the 6th Council member, remember, your comments! ( he might follow the OC Sheriffs now in jail) as well as and your compadres ( u are from Mexico so u get it). DONE with your outrageous ego validating the blame game and costing our citizens so much money. You are liable in my book!
Lon Uso October 03, 2012 at 03:57 AM
''as well as and your compadres ( u are from Mexico so u get it)'' Always new you SJC Americans were bigots, now the whole word can see it as well
Lon Uso October 03, 2012 at 05:01 AM
anybody notice the panic when these cowards think they might be exposed? now that was fun
sjcnative1 October 03, 2012 at 04:46 PM
It is unfortunate that you make comments that like that that are so far below what your intelligence actually is. Beat of luck to you Dr. Uso.
Lon Uso October 03, 2012 at 11:11 PM
I wish I could wish you luck as well but that would be insincere and I don't behave that way
Eric Bergstrom October 12, 2012 at 07:21 PM
Hmmm...No reply. There's your answer, Frank.
Joanna Clark November 04, 2012 at 07:43 PM
"My sign would say,; I am Lon Uso, I voted for this and I can see that it is not working, How can we fix it" And that is why I voted for you each time. Oh, and also because you always answered my e-mails, even at 11:30 at night.
Lon Uso November 04, 2012 at 07:51 PM
Thank you Joanna, you made my day! and thank you for being one of the 10 people that voted for me the second time around, lol Please vote for Tom and Ginny


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