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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Anti-Dahl, Mortenson PAC Represents Residents

A local open-space advocate and general plan advisory commissioner lauds efforts by fellow activist Charles Mann, who is spending thousands this election to defeat two council candidates.

In the recent article “,” San Clemente City Council candidate Mike Mortenson is quoted as saying that he’s “disgusted by the Watchdog PAC's efforts” and that “this PAC is trying to buy the election in favor of Charles Mann's special interest, whatever that is.”

Mr. Mann’s interest is neither a mystery nor cause for disgust – his interest is, in fact, the public interest. The reason that activists like Charles Mann have had to intervene is that council members like Jim Dahl have repeatedly voted for overdevelopment despite residents’ demands that proposed development comply with city standards.

Mann’s contributions include collection of over 8,500 signatures to qualify ballot Measure C, which enabled voters to reverse an ill-considered city council decision to pave over open space. Mr Mann’s ballot Measure V, by residents’ overwhelming approval, permanently protects San Clemente’s Open Space from abuse of discretion by elected officials.

San Clemente’s recent history of citizen activism has helped to ensure that residents receive the representation that local government is intended to provide.

What is Mr Mortenson’s opinion of residents’ activism regarding hot-button issues like sign pollution and overdevelopment? "It's petty, and it's silly."

Contrary to that perspective, residents have made it abundantly clear that preservation of San Clemente’s character is a top priority. San Clemente citizens are committed to ensuring that projects like the Ralph’s supermarket on El Camino Real are consistent with San Clemente’s human scale, rather than a developer’s vision of an immense L.A.-style monolith.

Mr. Mortenson’s assertion that residents “can't put forth their own ideas” seems an admission of unawareness that San Clemente activists are largely motivated by a single fundamental idea: Residents expect their elected officials to represent them.

Mr. Dahl’s repeated failure to live up to that expectation is part of the reason that San Clemente is home to the most reversed city council in California. A partial list of Mr Dahl’s accomplishments over the last few years:

Voted to approve overdevelopment at North Beach. Reversed by residents (Measure A).

Voted to allow overdevelopment in Shorecliffs. Reversed by residents (Measure I).

Voted for overdevelopment on designated Open Space. Reversed by residents (Measure C).

Voted to allow billboard-like signs for the Marblehead Outlet Mall. Overturned by Orange County Superior Court. Cost to residents: $250,000.

Taken together, Mr Dahl’s voting record and Mr Mortenson’s dismissive attitude toward residents’ interests make a strong case against them as council candidates. The $10,000 that Mortenson has accepted from a Los Angeles Real Estate PAC, and similar contributions received by Mr Dahl raise serious questions about who they serve.

San Clemente is fortunate to have a Watchdog PAC, and is even more fortunate to have two city council candidates who represent residents, not special interests. Those two candidates are #1 Bob Baker and Chris Hamm.

Editor's note: The incumbent Bob Baker to whom Boyer refers is one of two with the same name on the ballot; he's designated by a "1." Boyer is president of San Clemente Citizens for Integrity in Development, which successfully sued the city to overturn a sign exception permit for planned Marblehead Outlet Mall signs. He is also a member of the General Plan Advisory Committee for the city.

Tom Barnes November 02, 2012 at 02:34 AM
Moonshine, Lets go out tomorrow and count them together and see what we come up with. We can use my car and you can do the tallying. Are you game or is it just one more example of you not wanting to deal with facts?
Moonshine November 02, 2012 at 03:22 AM
I have no problem dealing with facts, that's all I deal with actually. Although your offer to get into a car with a complete stranger that argues with me on the internet is tempting and sounds totally normal and safe, I'm going to have to politely decline. I have small children at home and we have a dentist appointment and play-date at the park tomorrow.
Tom Barnes November 02, 2012 at 03:58 AM
Moonshine, I accept the fact that you have declined my invitation to do some fact checking but I am hardly a complete stranger, read my bio on Patch. Tom
Moonshine November 02, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Nice wording Tom, but it was not your invitation to do fact checking that I declined... I declined to accept your offer because to accept I would have had to cancel a dentist appt I have had scheduled for months, tell my son he can't have his playdate with good friends that he has been talking about all week, I also declined because I would have had to scramble to find and pay for a babysitter on very short notice. I am guessing by the fact you thought it would be so simple to just drop everything and hop in the car, that you don't have small children at home. If that is indeed the case, our lives and days could not be more different. Just like Bob Baker and myself. His kids are grown and he votes NO to ban smoking in parks because he thinks it is too hard to police. I say my kids deserve the extra sign in the park that says No Smoking. It's not an issue to him because he doesn't have young children that play at the park. But it's an issue to me, and everyone I know. Second hand smoke kills. That's a fact. If you are still going to count today- add 1 for Baker1 and 1 for Hamm at the Ralph's Center in Talega. Those just popped up this morning. I wish I had a portable TV I could leave there with Hamm's youtube video playing on loop. You know the one with the amazing special effects? The one where he says we will ONLY see his signs in residents yards... Maybe he mistook the Talega shopping center for a resident's yard? Poor guy...
Larry Corwin November 03, 2012 at 01:01 PM
Superbly stated Richard. I too smile at the notion that Charles Mann is this HUGE developer that stands to profit from endorsing various projects or candidates. Using the classic wisdom "follow the money", we fail to see any financial interests between Mann's successful Measures A, I, C & V. Not one dime. Those that opposed these measures found themselves in the smallest minority yet these few loud voices pretend like they speak for the people. They do not and are a handful of sore losers that believe they should maximize their profits on the backs of the majority of citizens who consistently and overwhelming insist on keeping San Clemente's small town character first and foremost. Thank you Richard for the work you do on the GPAC and for all the work you do on behalf of San Clemente's best interest.

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