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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.

Kathleen Ward October 31, 2012 at 08:04 PM
Nothing to report here. I am a San Clemente resident. Chris Hamm is reporting a Lake Arrowhead address on my check. San Clemente is my primary home and I vote here. Why would I be involved otherwise?
Moonshine October 31, 2012 at 09:00 PM
Richard- I questioned above if you knew the meaning of the word "quote" I just got ANOTHER attack mailer from "Watchdog" AKA Charles Mann. And folks- I can verify, NO. NO- Mann, Richard, Baker & Hamm do NOT understand the definition of quote. It's a shame the TENS OF THOUSANDS Mann is spending to send out these attack mailers. It literally disgusts me the insane amount of money that Charles Mann is spending on this election, and to send out attack ads?! Can you guys really not think of enough positive points to fill a positive mailer in support of your candidates?? These tens of thousands could be going to a charity- whether it be here in SC or in Charles Mann's home town of SJC. It sickens me someone would spend SO much money to send hate mail, and knowingly print LIES. Charles Mann needs to butt out of San Clemente politics, he should waste his $$$ in his own city, quit filling our SC mailboxes with your angry garbage and hate mail.
Kathleen Ward October 31, 2012 at 10:11 PM
Charles Mann is a resident of San Clemente. This IS his city. As such, he has a right to be part of this election. Residents have the right to say what they want their town to be.
Moonshine November 01, 2012 at 03:36 AM
This is "his" city? I thought it was our city? huh. If it's "His city" why does he have Nevada license plates on his cars??? How many days of the year does he live in NV? Let me guess, just enough so he doesn't have to pay CA State income tax that benefits "his city"? If San Clemente is "his city", why are his offices in San Juan Capistrano? Why is his PAC based in SJC? Simply owning a house here does not make this "his city." Trying to buy an election with a hundred thousand dollars of negative attack ads filled with lies from the city next door just looks and sounds ridiculous. I hope he loses, and so does a lot of people I know. oh wait, he's not running. why is he spending a hundred grand again? Good thing Honest Bob won't take PAC money and warns against PAC's and Special Interests from trying to buy the election -- oh wait -- he forgot to mention unless it's for me! The irony and hypocrisy are almost as rich as Mann. Almost.
Kathleen Ward November 01, 2012 at 04:14 AM
I didn't put the emphasis on 'his'. You did. Charles wants the citizens of San Clemente to know about the important issues in this election that will have a great impact on our lives. It's not any different than I want to. I write letters and talk to people. Charles talks to people, writes flyers, and reaches many more people. You'll notice that he doesn't answer the false representations of him, like he's a developer. He keeps his eye on what is important. He sincerely loves this city, as we all. Why would we not actively take part? How could we not? The alternative of this city being run over by development is not what residents say they want. There are many residents that are active in different ways. We are lucky we have someone like Charles Mann, among others, ALL residents, who participate as actively as they do. They are exercising their right to participate and to support their candidates of choice.
Bill S November 01, 2012 at 04:17 AM
moonshine don't be a hater. we just call it like we see it. your tone in your comments is degrading into anger and desparation.
Bill S November 01, 2012 at 04:23 AM
Yup, we are all blessed to live in San Clemente, Orange County, CA, USA!!! My prayers to the people who have lost their loved ones, homes, and personal items to the Frankenstorm Sandy.
Moonshine November 01, 2012 at 06:57 AM
Kathleen - re-eading things you're right, you did not put the emphasis on his, you put it on is, when you said this IS his city. Meaning, this is Mann's city. I disagree, I still think it's our city -- the residents that is. You know, the ones Baker/Hamm supposedly put first. Oh, and you also didn't answer the following, which I think we all deserve to know: why does he have Nevada license plates on his cars??? How many days of the year does he live in NV? Let me guess, just enough so he doesn't have to pay CA State income tax that benefits "his city"? TRUE OR FALSE? If San Clemente is "his city", why are his offices in San Juan Capistrano? Why is his PAC based in SJC? Also, in your most recent comment you say he doesn't answer false representations -- like what specifically? I doubt you'll specify a single thing. Just like none of you have ever named a single idea that Baker/Hamm have for improving this City. Just like none of you can provide a single, legitimate justification for voting against handicap bathrooms, banning smoking in public parks, the farmer's market, Nick's restaurant, the new motorcycle shop's signs, recycle bins on the beach.
Moonshine November 01, 2012 at 07:04 AM
Jonni, I assume your reinvigorated involvement on these blogs means that you're on Mann's payroll now too. Congrats on the extra income. Maybe you can ask your boss the questions above? Does he live in NV? If not, why does he have NV plates? I'll take an answer on that. Thanks Jonni. Oh, and there's nothing desperate about anything I've written. Facts aren't desperate, lies are. Writing my opinion on an open blog isn't desperate, but spending $100,000+ attacking a self made guy who's done nothing besides offer a vision of unity, fiscal conservatism and civic strength, and loaning yourself $40,000 to win a City Council race sure is. Nice try though.
Kathleen Ward November 01, 2012 at 01:04 PM
You, know, Moonshine. You are taking it all wrong. When I said it IS his city, it is the same as saying this IS my city. We don't own it. Someone questioned whether I live here, also, and I had to clarify that. So, yes, this IS where I live. The only negativity is from you. Bob Baker has told people what he will continue to do for this city. You are distorting his record. I believe he has something coming soon that will explain to all the people exactly what he voted on and why. So if you truly are interested in the record, you can read it for yourself.
Moonshine November 01, 2012 at 03:00 PM
No negativity here. Just pointing out the facts, Kathleen. Unlike you, I'm afraid to say. Here is another fact, you failed, and continue to fail, to address any of my questions. What false representations have been made about Mann? What false representations have been made about Baker? Start with those, and when you do so, make sure to point out the ones that Mortenson has made (hint, none). If you have more time, feel free to add Baker and Hamm's ideas for San Clemente. Most of us on these blogs have been waiting since August. As far as Baker's "explanations" -- boy, I can't wait to hear how it just cost too much to install handicap bathrooms, safe sidewalks and cross walks, to enforce smoking bans in public parks, to add recycle bins on the beaches, and how the farmer's market and Carnival pay too little. It's surprising that someone SOOOO fiscally conservative, doesn't have a SINGLE ENDORSEMENT FROM A REAL CONSERVATIVE GROUP. Huh, sure hope he explains that. As well as how he reconciles his warning against PAC/Special Interest "buying" election, but his warm embrace of Mann's negativity, lies and vitriol. Can't wait.
Kathleen Ward November 01, 2012 at 05:23 PM
Re-read a few posts up and you will see my response. Instead of worrying about how the Manns' spend their money, you should worry about Jim Dahl's record of voting for things that have been overturned and cost us big-time. I am more concerned with the waste of taxpayer's money than what people do personally with theirs.
Tom Barnes November 01, 2012 at 08:51 PM
I think Moonshine has been drinking to much of the illegal stuff. 4 Pinocchio's to the illegal liquor advocate for failing to cite one lie. Calling someone a lier and not producing the lie is lying. I have had my differences with Charles Mann but when he puts his own money up, not the city's, to preserve Open Space and stop the Land giveaway to the LAB at North Beach he is doing the public a service and should not be vilified. To save San Clemente retire Dahl, learn more about Mortenson, and vote for the fiscal conservatism 1 Bob Baker and Chris Hamm.
Moonshine November 01, 2012 at 09:15 PM
Kathleen, I scolled up and saw nothing. Please copy and past, I'd like to read it. Also, no one has answered, or even attempted to answer, the following: why does Mann have Nevada license plates on his cars??? How many days of the year does he live in NV? Let me guess, just enough so he doesn't have to pay CA State income tax that benefits "his city"? TRUE OR FALSE? If San Clemente is "his city", why are his offices in San Juan Capistrano? Why is his PAC based in SJC? Nor has anyone explained the following votes by Bob Baker (who Hamm, who does whatever Baker/Mann/Herr Eggelston tell him to do, presumably would vote the same). So let me make it easy, simply list the number of the statement and then say whether it's true or false. the Residents, that Baker puts first, would appreciate it: 1. Baker voted AGAINST banning smoking in public parks where kids play. TRUE OR FALSE? 2. Baker voted AGAINST constructing a handicap-access bathroom FOR HANDICAPPED KIDS at Courtney's Sandcastle. TRUE OR FALSE? 3. Baker voted AGAINST the Farmer's Market. TRUE OR FALSE? 4. Baker voted AGAINST the Carnival. TRUE OR FALSE? 5. Baker voted AGAINST installing RECYCLE BINS on our BEACHES. TRUE OR FALSE? 6. Baker voted AGAINST Nick's Restaurant. TRUE OR FALSE? 7. Baker voted to fill in a coastal canyon off of Ave. Valencia for development. TRUE OR FALSE? 8. Baker voted AGAINST safe sidewalks and cross walks for kids at Las Palmas. TRUE OR FALSE? Thanks
Moonshine November 01, 2012 at 09:24 PM
Nope, don't drink. How about you Tom? By the way, I hardly think you're the authority on truth telling, especially when property is involved, right Tom? As for the lies, how about these from the latest Mann mailer: Mortenson said "Businesses come first, then come residents." LIE. Here's another lie, SC Taxpayers funded the Chamber's PAC. LIE. And another one, "Los Angeles Realtors Association" gave Mortenson $10k. LIE. The California Real Estate Political Action Committee did -- yes, it's address is in LA because it's a statewide PAC made up of plenty of SC real estate agents. Mortenson "will owe favors to..." 5 LIES right there. What say you Tom. Just thought that with you being a "historian" and all, facts would matter. Here's a thought, Tom, list out some IDEAS that Baker/Hamm have for SC rather than reguritating the LIES.
Tom Barnes November 01, 2012 at 09:44 PM
Moonshine, You are doing it again calling me a lier about property. Calling me a lier without citing the lie makes You "the lier." I have written more than 27,000 words for Patch in my Barnes-Eye View column and dozens of published letters to the editor in the Sun Post & SC Times without anyone citing a lie. Go look at my record. By the way I am proud of what I write and always sign my name, unlike you who hides behind an alias. I rarely drink only once in while socially.
Moonshine November 01, 2012 at 10:21 PM
Tom, This is not about how many words or letters you have typed, but congratulations. I bet if you think real hard you can remember getting a slap on the wrist for some not so honest decisions you made regarding a property you owned. For your sake, I will not go into details even though you are badgering me to. Your welcome. And for the 5th time, I'm not hiding behind my name, it was a response to the poster Sunshine, we see things VERY differently. Get it?!?!? funny huh? You may be proud of your writing skills, but I'm less than impressed with your reading skills since you just keep bringing up the same silly questions about alcohol and my user name. Get over it, it was a joke. I'm not here to discuss personal decisions you have made with your property, nor am I here to discuss how humorous I am with my username. I have repeatedly asked questions to you and Kathleen that have gone unanswered, and I have stated a few of the many lies Mann has printed in his mailers, per your request. So I have done my job. P.S. I like you, am also quite proud of what I write!
sunshine November 02, 2012 at 12:30 AM
I am proud of my writing too. Many of my thoughts have seemed to dominate the discussion forums. Yup, I posted them under Sunshine, which certainly got the people debating around the facts, theories and speculations for the future. Facts started when Dahl and Mortenson's sign appeared on Marblehead. Facts started when Dahl and McBride Hart signed 0-bobs nomination forms. Lies started when Mortenson and Dahl word smithed Baker's voting record to fit their literature needs. Lies continued when bloggers like Moonshine repeatedly listed No Votes without the context and reasons around the No votes. we all have opinions, it just so happens that we disagree. I personally believe that Hamm and Baker have run very clean campaigns. Hundreds and hundreds of residents agree with Baker and Hamm based on the amount of signs I see in peoples yards. #1Baker dominates the signs in yards. We shall see on Tuesday who wins, but based on residents signs, #1Baker is leading. Please vote #1 Baker and Hamm for prudent forward movement of San Clemente. Smart development and growth is what we need and #1Baker and Hamm will do that.
sunshine November 02, 2012 at 12:36 AM
Moonshine, I like your creative name. you are quite funny and I am sure you have San Clemente's best interests in your heart, just as all the others here do. We just disagree on approaches. I like to rinse the dishes before I put them in the dishwasher. My spouse likes to just put them in the dishwasher. Who is right?
Moonshine November 02, 2012 at 01:06 AM
Sunshine, Welcome back. I like to stick to facts and I just can't believe it's a fact that Baker "dominates" yard signs. How is this proven? By what you see? I see a ton of Mortenson signs in many different neighborhoods across San Clemente. I myself have one up, so do all of my neighbors- mine has been stolen 3 times. But I keep asking for replacements and get them promptly. Maybe you did your count on one of the days mine had mysteriously disappeared?? I have only seen a couple Baker signs where I live and not one Hamm sign at all. I don't think we can base things on residents signs, especially when so many come and go- mine at least...
sunshine November 02, 2012 at 01:28 AM
No one has stolen my Baker or Hamm sign. I happen to have a few up on multiple properties too. I happen to live near the high school and the neighborhoods near me are dominated with Baker and Hamm. I have seen zero mortenson signs except with Dahl on commercial buildings (probably out of city owners). Tuesday will be interesting. We shall learn quite a bit about our city, state, and the country's direction. honest question here: Romney or Obama? who do you prefer if you care to share?
Moonshine November 02, 2012 at 01:31 AM
I also disagree with your statement that Baker/Hamm ran clean campaigns- I see Hamm signs in many places other than residents front yards, so I wish he wouldn't have repeated SO many times, over and over "only" in yards. It's just not true, I know it, you know it, and Chris Hamm knows it. If he wants to "promise" me as a resident that I will only see his signs in the yards of residents he better think twice before putting a few at the Valero station, at Villas by the Sea, in front of a community entrance to The Reserve, etc... Besides that he is just standing in Baker's shadow repeating what Baker says, no ideas or thoughts of his own. Bob Baker1 has been unbelievably hypocritical, criticizing others- mostly Mortenson, for things Baker himself was doing at exponentially larger levels than he accused Mortenson of. For example, making such a huge deal over Mortenson's Santa Ana yard signs, while Baker spent over 20K in Torrance, as well as Orange and Lousianna. If Baker knew he was spending SO much elsewhere, why would he ever pick that fight? Mortenson's yard sign purchase was NOTHING compared to the tens of thousands Baker spent outside SC. Also- BB1 warning us against PAC's on his own website, yet Charles Mann's PAC is spending absurd amounts of money on attack mailers filled with lies to support Baker/Hamm campaigns. Nobody else has received that much $ from a PAC sending mail in this race- not even close. We do agree on one thing- We will all find out on Tuesday...
Tom Barnes November 02, 2012 at 02:12 AM
Yard sign count: Baker 397 Hamm 209 Mortenson 159 Dahl 128
Moonshine November 02, 2012 at 02:17 AM
Not buying those numbers Tom...
Moonshine November 02, 2012 at 02:25 AM
Sunshine, you are lucky nobody ever stole your signs. It's a shame when people stoop to that level in these elections. I proudly voted for Mitt Romney. Last election I voted for Obama. He got his 4 years and in my mind failed, time for a REAL change.
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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