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Challenger Baker Drops Out of Council Race

The man with the same name as the incumbent sent his resignation letter to the city this week, but it's too late to remove his name from the November ballot.

The man with the same name as incumbent Robert "Bob" Baker pulled out of the San Clemente City Council race today.

In a concise letter to the San Clemente City Clerk, he said he was pulling out of the race for "personal reasons."

His candidacy had been criticized in the press as a political ploy by those in opposition to the incumbent Robert "Bob" Baker to split his supporters and cause him to lose his seat, one of two up for grabs in the November election.

But it's too late to remove Baker 0's name from the ballot. City Clerk Joanne Baade described the election procedure as it stands now in an email to the media:

If Robert “Bob” Baker 0 were to be elected, he could then decide whether to resign immediately, thus opening a vacancy on the City Council.

The San Clemente Municipal Code provides that whenever a vacancy occurs on the City Council, the Council shall immediately call a special election to fill such vacancy.

Said special election may be held on the next regularly scheduled election date to be held throughout the City; however, such election date may not be less than 114 days from the call of the special election. 

The Code further provides that Council may appoint a person to fill the vacancy until such time as a special election is held and a successor is duly elected and installed.

The special election called for the purpose of filling said vacancy shall be for the purpose of filling the remainder of the unexpired term of office.

Incumbent Bob Baker said in a phone interview that he was confused by the wording of the challenger's withdrawal letter. Baker 0 states "after reassessing my candidacy, [I] wish to redraw from this election..."

"What does 'redraw' mean there?" Baker 1 asked. "With this government stuff, the devil is in the details."

Patch put in a call to the former candidate Baker for clarification, but that call was not immediately returned. Look for updates later today on Patch.

Lindsey Hanson September 27, 2012 at 06:03 PM
The bathroom at Courtney's Sand Castle was voted against by Baker for a VERY logical reason. They wanted to build that bathroom for $500.00 dollars a square foot. That is just INSANITY! Anyone who would vote for such an illogical costly project has no basic understanding of money.
Lindsey Hanson September 27, 2012 at 06:07 PM
LaI find it VERY VERY VERY Difficult to accept that you all were at the same party with Bob Baker the Faker and all signed in support with out the motive of throwing off the vote. I can't buy the idea you were all at some random party and some guy you never named Bob Baker walks in and asks to have your signatures on Council papers. This is so ridiculous. I can't wait until the truth is known so people can see just how far you'll take this farce. The truth will be told.
Lindsey Hanson September 27, 2012 at 06:13 PM
ATTENTION: The house on the Corner of Valenica and S. Ola Vista. The big, ugly, empty monstrosity that has been vacant since it was built. You know the one...a Mortenson sign keeps reappearing in the lawn. I spoke to the owner of the property and he said he DID NOT approve the sign and threw it away. The very next day a Mortenson sign reappeared. This sign too has been thrown away because it was NOT APPROVED by the property manager. This sign is being placed illegally and will continue to be tossed each time it is criminally placed. If you know the law breaker let them know it is NOT wanted.
Barbara Lindquist September 27, 2012 at 06:21 PM
1 Robert "Bob" Baker occupation will be clearly listed as Councilman/Retired Aviator on the ballot to distinguish him from the Bob Baker that resigned from the campaign. Another canidate from nearby San Juan Capistrano has also resigned last week.
Larry Corwin September 27, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Dear Barbara, thank you for joining the debate and please accept my apologies as well. I agree that name calling and inappropriate comments have no place in the debate. With that in mind, I appreciate your eye witness account of the events that led to Zero's candidacy. I think it is important to conduct an investigation to ensure there was no plan to undermine a candidate's efforts for re-election. If all was innocent, let that be known too. But some tough questions need to be asked to get to the truth. Barbara, in your account you mentioned you took it personally that Baker 1 had questioned issues of the bathroom at Courtney's Sand Castle so we can assume you were not happy with Baker 1. What you failed to convey was why you thought 0 was a good or qualified candidate worthy of our city's highest elected position with no history of service. Many people who signed his paper claim 0 was a total stranger so it leads people to wonder was this party a "pro" 0 party? or an anti-1 party? The eyewitness accounts rendered so far suggest the latter. Not that people can't obsessively object to a candidate, but it does call into question the judgement and ethics of city leaders like Jim Dahl to understand the consequences of their actions especially under the circumstances of a competitor with the exact same name. I am sorry but the notion a candidate with no experience and a complete stranger could garnish the support for his candidacy to City Council is just unbelievable.
Larry Corwin September 27, 2012 at 06:50 PM
Thanks Bill Hart, don't mind if I do. You were also an attendee at this party so maybe you can share more insight. Can you describe the purpose of the party? Political? Pro Zero? Anti 1? You too confirmed the fact Zero was a complete stranger to some at this party so you can understand the relevance as to the purpose of the party. Was this a meet and greet or something else? You described Zero as a "nice guy" and a reason you would have signed his papers. Bill, you are a very active guy in this city serving on Coastal Advisory, GPAC, Watershed Task Force to name a few so I find it amazing that someone who has spent some much time in the service of San Clemente would support someone with absolutely no service solely because he's "a good guy". It just doesn't seem to make sense. Doesn't seem to make sense.
Larry Corwin September 27, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Yeah but Barbara in the sake of fairness, don't you think it appropriate that next to Baker 0 they should note "withdrawn"? Or if that is not possible that a sign be posted at polling places announcing the withdrawal of Baker 0. At the end of the day, I think we can all support fair elections.
Bill Hart September 27, 2012 at 07:27 PM
To clarify, through my longtime friend Barbara I had met Bob Baker prior to the party. He's a nice guy and he also cares about the City! Others at the party knew him as well (but Jim Dahl did not). Everything I said is true and there can only be one version of the truth. Sorry if you are frustrated.
Jim Evert September 27, 2012 at 08:05 PM
Adam - I really dislike the kind of politics and negative rhetoric that this time of year brings. I'm surprised that in your position you respond and carry on with a person calling people dirt bags. I'm not even sure Jonni is real - she is not listed as a voter in San Clemente and gives the appearance of fake name. I'd really like to hear more about what people want in San Clemente to grow our city as well as maintaining the great village by the sea character we have. It's no secret that I support Jim Dahl and Mike Mortenson. They are common sense independent thinkers. Jonni - if you are real - please show up at tonight's forum and introduce yourself to me . I'd love to hear any positive thoughts you have on moving forward in San Clemente
Larry Corwin September 27, 2012 at 08:09 PM
Thanks Bill for the ongoing input. I hope you can understand the importance of doing our best to prove OR disprove the possibility there was a plan to undermine the campaign of an individual. Don't you agree? If there are dots that are connected, they need to be examined. Again I think you might agree with that. For me the nature of this gathering still wants clarification. I take you and Barbara at your word that Jim Dahl met zero at this party and that's how his candidacy papers got signed. However didn't anyone at this gathering realize the implication of a nominee with the identical name as to an incumbent given what appears to be hostile sentiment toward a sitting councilman? Even in joking? A candidate that has absolutely no qualifications except that he is a good guy and shares the identical name with this councilman that many if not all at this gathering seem to oppose? That Bill I have a hard time believing. You are right it may never be proven that a relative unknown with no qualifications garnishes the support of councilmen, commissioners, advisory board members was part of a plan to confuse the San Clemente voter. But as they say, San Clemente voters can weight the preponderance of evidence and make up their own mind.
Jim Evert September 27, 2012 at 08:22 PM
Sunshine - don't know who you are since you don't use your real name. Also don't appreciate people like you who have nothing better to do then than try to slander those of us who actual get involved because we love our community and want to do the best for all of San Clemente. I honestly believe that all the Candidates including your candidates (Chris and Bob) feel strongly about doing whats right for San Clemente. Just because we have different approaches to getting there is not a bad thing. We're all volunteers and quite frankly to suggest and make anonymous allegations of corruption is a disservice to all of our residents. If you choose to reveal yourself - please talk to me at tonight's' Camber voters forum.
Bill Hart September 27, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Larry, you raise a good question. Does signing somebody's nomination papers mean you support them? Remember, I didn't sign Bob 0's papers but suppose I had? In the past I signed the nomination papers for Steve Knoblock when he ran for re-election. At the time we were not seeing eye to eye over Playa del Norte - in fact we were at great odds with one another. But one night he was in a room circulating his papers for reelection and I added my signature out of respect for Steve as a person. In that election I endorsed and supported two of his opponents. In this election I am supporting Mortenson and Dahl but it doesn't mean I wouldn't have signed Bob 0's papers. I have seen many other civic leaders act in the same manner. My view is that in order to get respect you must give respect. From my experience, the whole thing about who signed nomination papers is quite a bit overblown.
Larry Corwin September 27, 2012 at 08:34 PM
Mr. Mayor, welcome to the debate. Personally I think Adam is doing a great job being an objective journalist walking the fine line between hate speech and free speech. To your point Mr. Mayor, there is no room for name calling but if you really dislike political rhetoric, seems you made a bad choice running for office. Comes with the territory big guy. Mr. Evert I never thought it a good idea for an elected official to advocate for an issue or election. It's one thing to state your opinion which you will obviously do twice each month for 4 years, but don't you think the people who care about your opinion already know it? By all means support who you choose like any other citizen, but a good leader will unite his city and advocacy is a perfect way to divide. Did the cost and experience of measure A teach us nothing?
Larry Corwin September 27, 2012 at 08:51 PM
Yes Bill I think signing someone's declaration of candidacy means a lot. And yes I am glad you had not signed zero's papers if you did not believe he was a qualified candidate. Nobody seems to be able to identify the origin of the signatures but a valid theory I believe is the people who sign these papers are declaring their support of a candidate. That they know and can vouch for the person's credibility and worthiness. Why else would someone sign a candidates papers??? Respectfully I would decline signing someone candidacy papers if I couldn't wholeheartedly support them as a candidate. I respect you Bill a lot, I really do. But please don't ask me to sign your candidacy papers in the future unless you can demonstrate your ability to not only be a good councilman, but an outstanding councilman.
Bill Hart September 27, 2012 at 09:26 PM
Larry, I assume you are willing to apply those same standards to Bob Baker and Tim Brown? After all, they have advocated for issues and candidates as well.
Larry Corwin September 27, 2012 at 10:10 PM
Bill, I most certainly do apply these standards to Tim Brown, Bob Baker, Lori Donchak, Jim Dahl and Jim Evert or any other councilman in the past, present or future. It is simply wrong. I think some wise city councilmen and women in the past were 100% correct when they passed the city policy against advocacy. Let's look at a recent example we can both surely identify with; Measure A Here was a situation where everyone knew each council person's opinion on the matter. Their votes made it perfectly clear. The decision was challenged by a private group of citizens through referendum and as a result of the vote, the decision was overturned. In time leading up to the election, the advocacy got so bad, the issue was brought up by Tim Brown in council and really not knowing how to handle the issue, it was decided to ignore the policy until after Measure A was decided. So what happened? Nearly 60% of the citizens decided the matter which in my opinion left Donchak, Evert and Dahl damaged as leaders whose decision was overturned and to perhaps a lesser extent, Bob Baker 1 as evidenced by what he is facing now in his efforts to become re-elected. Tim Brown who truly did not advocate came out best. Leaders have their opinions, but must possess the wisdom and leadership to get out of the way when it's time for the people to decide. Advocacy is divisive and at the end of the day doesn't accomplish anything.
Jim Evert September 27, 2012 at 10:47 PM
Larry - I see - so the meeting your having in Marblehead & Highland (Residents of HighLand Light Please read this it truly affects our neighborhood, home values and views!) where Baker; Hamm; along with Tim and Wayne will be speaking about a proposal that doesn't exist and that Baker (advocating) has already said he won't support even if it did exist is perfectly alright. I on the other hand support what I heard from Mike at the last forum - When a proposal is actually made we'll listen to it's merits and the input from the neighborhoods affected and do what we truly believe is the right thing. I know I don't want any overbearing signs , but for goodness sake - let's wait to hear the proposal next year before divisive scarce tactics are employed to get votes. Larry - We've had some good conversations - but buddy, you can't have it both ways. You need to walk the talk on advocacy.
Jim Evert September 27, 2012 at 10:58 PM
Larry - need to add - from a history point of view - the first advocacy on North beach was the formal election ballot info that explained the pros & cons of the issue - The No position was written by and signed by Bob baker as Mayor pro-tem.
Larry Corwin September 27, 2012 at 11:11 PM
You bet Jim, better than perfectly alright. You see I am not a public official and there in lies the difference. As a private citizen I have an obligation to advocate on issues pertinent to my community. You on the other hand as a public official do not because theoretically your neighborhood is all of San Clemente. I hope you understand the difference. I do not know the content of the discussion as this is not my program, but I can guess 2 candidates will present their views as to why 2 opponent candidates have their names on the land we look at each day. Our neighbors can draw their own conclusions. I was asked to host this and I obliged and so far, the response has been off the chart. Maybe Mortenson and Dahl want equal opportunity? I haven't been contacted yet but there's still a month. Mr. Mayor, you are right there is no proposal for a sign variance at Marblehead and I truly hope it stays that way. But I find interesting your choice of words "WHEN a proposal is actually made..." not "IF" a proposal is made leading us to believe we think it's in our interest to remained prepared. In my opinion, the transparency of this developer is obvious. I hope I'm wrong. See you tonight.
Larry Corwin September 27, 2012 at 11:16 PM
Very good point. That in my opinion was a mistake.
Larry Corwin September 27, 2012 at 11:28 PM
And one that apparently is coming with a heavy price. Thanks for making my point.
Dan Bane September 27, 2012 at 11:29 PM
Thank you, Jim. Could not have said it any better if I tried. Truly, how can an issue be judged until we know what is even proposed? Simple. We can't. I certainly don't want any outrageous signs either, but prejudging any issue on mere speculation and conjecture isn't debate, its just hysteria - and its unproductive.
Larry Corwin September 27, 2012 at 11:44 PM
Dan hysteria? Really? Your guy is supported by a developer who wanted to have San Clemente's sign ordinance varied. What's wrong with San Clemente's sign ordinance anyway? What's wrong with the approved signage other than it does not maximize Craig's ROI? The court decision didn't sit well and Craig expressed his displeasure quite publicly. Hey one question Dan, if Mortenson is so well qualified with both years experience living in San Clemente, why doesn't he volunteer to take his signs down as a gesture of independence? Can you answer that? Now let the people speak. Hope to meet you in person tonight.
Jim Evert September 27, 2012 at 11:46 PM
Larry - I said "when" because I don't believe there is any approved signage plan ( conforming or not). I may be wrong , but I think he has to go back to planning even with a conforming plan. I'll verify and let you know.
Dan Bane September 28, 2012 at 04:40 AM
Larry, Nice to see you tonight at the debate. Yes, Mike has signs on the Marblehead property. Other than that, not sure what other "support" you could be referencing. As far as I am aware, Mike that he has never even met Steve Craig. Also, I am not aware of any application pending to have San Clemente's sign ordinance varied. Do you know of one I should be concerned about? If and when the time comes, Mike would consider the application on its merits. End of story. You reference "approved signage." I'm not aware of any approved signage for Marblehead. If there is approved signage, then what are we talking about here? To your question, Mike doesn't need to take his signs down to prove his independence. He has made that pledge repeatedly, as you are now more than aware. I think the real issue is you don't like the exposure Mike gets due to the high visibility the Marblehead site offers. Understandable to be sure. However, your continued insinuation that Mike is somehow biased towards private developers is simply baseless. Not sure what else I can say in this regard.
Larry Corwin September 28, 2012 at 05:17 AM
Hi Dan, great night and very informative. I went there expecting Mike to be well spoken and articulate and he did not disappoint. As expected given his short time in town, he was a bit limited and non-specific as to his pro-business platform but not terrible. And yes after the forum, Mike did take time to explain how his signage came about and I found his explanation to be creditable. Again his inexperience is something to provide pause but all in all, not a bad night. I thought Chris Hamm absolutely hit it out of the park. He was on-point all night and was able to clearly articulate a very positive outlook moving forward. Certainly the topic of unifying the Hatfield McCoy mentality in town was very well accepted and both Mike and Chris hit that point well. What say you?
Dan Bane September 28, 2012 at 04:47 PM
Larry, I agree that it was a great night and I'm glad you got the chance to talk with Mike. Admittedly, I was disappointed with the debate format as it did not really give the candidates a great deal of time to go in depth regarding the issues. I think Mike did a great job hitting on his credentials, certainly knew the issues. and presented some solid ideas for moving forward. I know Chris from my time on the GPAC and I thought he was very well spoken as well. I like Chris. However, in the end, this election will turn on the issues and solutions. I'm a little concerned that Chris seems to think that our traffic problems on the 5 are caused by traffic alert signs and that our parking problems around town will be solved by paving one lot in North Beach. These issues are certainly more pervasive than Chris admits. I’m also concerned that Chris thinks SC is the only town in which people can shop, dine and go to the beach in the same day. SC is simply not unique in this regard. While the beach is certainly a resource, we cannot simply sit back and hope that fact alone will help our local businesses to thrive. Thoughtful effort must be given to strengthening our local business - i.e. through the cooperative efforts of local government and businesses that Mike touched upon last night. I was disappointed that I did not hear more from Baker last night. I found him to be largely off topic. The Bob-0 issue is not even remotely the most critical issue facing SC.
Dan Bane September 28, 2012 at 04:52 PM
Larry, one more point. I agree with you 100% regarding the "Hatfield and McCoy" divisiveness that has consumed us since measure A. Very happy to hear both Chris and Mike touch on this issue. It's easy to dismiss those you disagree with, but it takes a true leader to bridge the divide and build consensus
Lindsey Hanson September 28, 2012 at 04:55 PM
Now if a certain group of bad kids who think tampering with the political process and disturbing the vote of the people for kicks would just grow up, we could better focus on the true issues...
Larry Corwin September 28, 2012 at 07:34 PM
Yes, I think the one minute format was almost a waste of time. I know the moderator was concerned with time, but even 2 minutes isn't a lot of time to begin to scratch the surface of the complex questions that are being asked. I'm not sure I heard any meaningful answer except I5 is not controlled locally. La Pata is important and also out of our control. So what game changing traffic solution have you heard that' provides the solution? What does help businesses really mean? Give them money? Force people to purchase their products and services? The government can certainly streamline processes for permits, licenses and assist with infrastructure like parking and street appearances, but don't you see that happening already? I thought Bob Baker's resistance to spending 250k per year was prudent. I knew the previous business development director and I see the business environment only improving since his departure. Not finding fault with the job he did, but there doesn't seem to be critical mass in SC to warrant another fat administrative cost. The forces of free enterprise will ultimately prevail. New stores and restaurants may be great for choice, but may offer competition to local businesses who are working hard to survive. Here is where Mike's having lived in SC for 2 years might hurt him. The perception of a new comer making decisions that can effect businesses that have been here for a long time, might not go over in some circles.

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