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Chamber Endorses Dahl, Mortenson for SC Council

The San Clemente Chamber of Commerce released their endorsements early Thursday morning.

The San Clemente Chamber of Commerce has endorsed incumbent Jim Dahl and challenger Mike Mortenson for the two San Clemente City Council seats open this election.

The chamber emailed its official endorsement to the press Thursday morning, but campaign signs for Dahl and Mortenson have been displayed on the lawn of the organization's El Camino Real offices for a few weeks.

Dahl and Mortenson have thus far established themselves as friendlier to developers and businesses on at least a couple of issues. In council candidate forums, both have stopped short of endorsing a controversial ban on three-story buildings.

Dahl has advocated a sort of middle way in the two-story debate, calling for form-based codes that would allow the city more control over how the streetscape looks.

Both Dahl and Mortenson have also said they'd keep an open mind in future public hearings about what kind of billboards Marblehead mall developer Craig Realty would be allowed to construct along the I-5 to advertise the coming retail outlet.

Moonshine October 12, 2012 at 04:41 PM
Kathleen- "Giving larger signs than city codes allow" Really? There are no signs currently proposed, to be voted on, so your statement is far from the truth, and actually quite ridiculous. Do you know of some secret signs that have been approved? If so, please do share... Many people and organizations share the same "wisdom" that the Chamber has when it comes to Mortenson for city council. The list includes: The Republican Party of Orange County, The Lincoln Club, CRA, The OC Register, 6 Former San Clemente Mayors, the list goes on and on. Please see for yourself at www.mikemortenson.com
Larry Corwin October 12, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Sorry Moonshine your statement is not correct. The issue on Marblehead signage is really as simple as this. There is a San Clemente sign ordinance that dictates the size and scope of ALL signage in San Clemente and it is an ordinance that ALL businesses had to abide by. The outlet developer has already requested and received a variance of the ordinance which as we know was overturned in court so there is every reason to believe they will seek another variance. So the question to ask the candidates is "do you support San Clemente's existing sign ordinance or should various projects be exempt"? Mike Mortenson and Jim Dahl have come out in favor of looking at the possibilities of variance and Bob Baker 1 and Chris Hamm support the existing ordinance. It's no wonder the developer supports Mortenson and Dahl. I agree with Tom Barnes that the Chamber's public funding should end as they regularly advocate on behalf of pro large development candidates. Ironically, their support of large out of town development will certainly hurt many small businesses and restaurants in town to whom they are supposed to represent. Go figure.
Moonshine October 12, 2012 at 08:15 PM
Larry- Re-read your statement above. "reason to believe they will seek another variance". So my statement is indeed correct, there is no current plan proposed before council. That's what I said, and seems to be what you said as well, looks like we agree for once. I was responding to Kathleen's VERY misleading statement, that one has already been agreed to by Mortenson and Dahl. On another note, it's hysterical all the talk about "Developer's" It is public information who has donated to the campaigns, Mortenson has not received 1 penny from Craig Realty or any other developer. You all know this, so stop with the lies and insinuations. You know who has indeed gotten financial support from a big developer??? Hamm and Baker. An out of town developer is a HUGE supporter of Baker and Hamm, just so happens he purchased Hamm's signs for him. Baker and Hamm will gladly take checks from that developer. In another interesting turn, Baker wasted quite a bit of time on the few campaign signs Mortenson had printed in Santa Ana, a fraction of Mortenson's campaign materials, far from the majority, all the rest he has stated have been made in San Clemente. All the while Bob Baker 1 has spent the MAJORITY of his campaign funds on a campaign consulting firm in TORRANCE. Bob Baker has also spent campaign money in Orange, and Louisiana as well! And he was whining about some yard signs from Santa Ana? You just can't get much more two-faced than that. I'm glad the truth finally came out.
Anthony (Tony) Hunter October 12, 2012 at 08:20 PM
San Clemente is a micro-cosim of what this nation is going through. We have two types of politicians; One is a representative (one that tries to follow the wishes of the majority of their constituants). Two is a manipulator (one that acts as a conduit for special interest). Many people that enter politics start as representatives, but then are lured over by special interest groups (wether by financial gain, or by their own self interest) and become MANIPULATORS. This situation, in itself, is reason for term limits. It is obvious to me and many of the voters here in San Clemente that Dahl and Mortenson fall into the catagory of MANIPULATORS. Dahl has been in office far too long, and seems only to be interested in creating his personal vision of what's best for San Clemente, regardless of what the majority want. I would think that the Chamber of Commerce would also get a clue and start listening to San Clemente residence that want to keep this a great place to visit because it does have a Village atmosphere.
K. Smith October 12, 2012 at 08:33 PM
I have listened to these candidates debate and I have read their statements. I find it very frustrating that the people who comment on these blogs are continuing to spin truths and can't tell fact from fiction. It is irresponsible for Baker and Hamm to support a flat out ban when there hasn't even been a proposal. I’m sure you have all read the articles about campaign donations. Neither Mortenson nor Dahl has received any money from developers. How can they be developer’s candidates then? They can’t and aren’t. I understand that you support your candidates but lying about the other candidates just reflects poorly on Baker and Hamm. It’s also hard to understand how Mortenson and Dahl are being verbally punished for being willing to look at an issue once it arises. For me, as a voter, the vote is clear. I am looking for councilmen who are at least willing to look at issues without making blanket NO statements.
Larry Corwin October 13, 2012 at 01:59 PM
What you may find frustrating K Smith is the steadfast support the people of San Clemente continuously show for it's city character, that of a smaller and less developed town. If you are addressing the issue of Marblehead, there is most definitely an issue regarding signage. Your suggestion Baker and Hamm support a ban on Marblehead signage is outright false. They support the enforcement of our current sign ordinance, an ordinance that has been crafted by dozens of city councilmen and women over the decades. No not a ban on signs but support of an ordinance that guides appearance, height, quantity and hours of operation. Both Mortenson and Dahl have not stated their support of the San Clemente sign ordinance and have stated they will consider all applications so when the developer allows just these two candidates to solicit on their private property, he has endorsed these candidates. And the ONLY conclusion that can be drawn is the developer's support for these candidates and their position on the sign ordinance.
Larry Corwin October 13, 2012 at 02:19 PM
Hi Tony, a very interesting comparison with the national elections and debate. Let's take the comparison a step further. Jim Dahl has a long voting record here in San Clemente. And like the incumbent President, he cannot run on his voting record because it is an outright disaster. In fact Jim Dahl does everything he can to avoid discussing his voting record (sound familiar?). Jim Dahl's voting record leaves a wake of lawsuits and citizen referendum(s) that have cost the city millions of dollars. Millions that could have financed Courtney's Sandcastle phase 2 or more and better sidewalks downtown or dozens of other worthwhile projects that San Clemente needs. Jim Dahl has voted against the people's will on land development, open space, toll roads, sign ordinances to name a few and these decisions have cost San Clemente so much.
Moonshine October 13, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Larry- Drawing conclusions and then posting them is a waste of everyone's time. For example, many people drew some conclusions when Baker attacked Mortenson for having a few signs printed in Santa Ana, while he was spending the majority of his money right here in San Clemente. I'm glad those people all know now, that Baker spent the MAJORITY of his campaign money in Torrance, with some also spent in Orange and Louisiana. Maybe nobody should be drawing any conclusions, especially when it comes to signage at Marblehead, an issue that is not currently before council. Stick to the facts Larry. Here are a few: -An out of town Developer purchased Hamm's yard signs -Baker spent most campaign funds in Torrance -Baker ordered campaign merch from Louisiana -Hamm thinks traffic is caused by Amber Alert Signs -Baker voted NO to stop smoking in our children's parks -Baker voted NO to the Farmer's Market -Baker voted NO to bathroom's at Courtney's Sandcastle -Baker voted NO to safe crosswalks and sidewalks for kids walking to school We all know the "NO" list goes on and on, but I'll stop here. It's time we all give Bob Baker#1 a taste of his own medicine. VOTE NO NO NO to BAKER AND HAMM!
Larry Corwin October 13, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Political wisdom and insight from a guy known as Moonshine. I understand why you don't write under your real name.
K. Smith October 13, 2012 at 06:33 PM
Larry, As I mentioned, I have read these posts and am fully aware as to where your alliance lies. San Clemente is no longer a tiny 15,000 resident town. As much as you may not like it, things have changed here and will continue to change. I also mentioned that I saw these candidates speak... you telling me that they are endorsed by the developer doesn't sway me. I have heard what they have to say and I have made my own conclusions. I don't believe they are endorsed by the developer, have they received any money from them? They haven't. That's an indisputable fact. The reason you are choosing to believe and spread these rumors is because you support opposing candidates. You must also believe that traffic is caused by amber alerts signs and that 'open space' preservation really refers to 9 holes at Mr. Baker's country club. I have done my homework Mr. Corwin
Larry Corwin October 13, 2012 at 07:09 PM
Please do not state you are fully aware as to where my alliances lie unless you have asked me that question. Would you like my opinion as to the qualifications of each candidate? Because you don't believe Mortenson and Dahl have been endorsed by the outlet developer does not make that true. The value of a strategic sign location may not be quantifiable, but a vast majority of people would strongly agree it has a significant value. You did not agree with Mr. Baker's decision to support open space, but 70% of your neighbors strongly did agree so apparently you hold a minority opinion in that area too. I am confident I speak for a majority of people in this town in our support of responsible development in San Clemente. If a business wishes to succeed in this town, their projects will typically be self-contained. They should not require changes of general plans,re-dedication of open space zoned for perpetuity, should not require variances, financial aid, parking assistance or anything else. Target, Walmart, Michael's, Lowe's, Ralph's, McDonald's, Albertson's, DeNault's, Fisherman, Pier One and hundreds of others have all managed to develop and operate successful businesses here in SC all without special consideration or assistance from our government. My intension of writing in these blogs is to share my observations and to peal away the noise and distractions around these topics so any citizen of this town has an opportunity to decide for themselves.
Moonshine October 13, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Larry- "Sunshine" was posting so many ridiculous untruthful posts, I figured everyone deserved a little Moonshine. My first choice was "Cash" but I heard that was taken...
Larry Corwin October 13, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Ok so that's when you decided to take on an alias and post your own ridiculous untruths. Thanks for the explanation.
Moonshine October 13, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Nah. I'm sticking with the facts. Thanks Cash, er--Larry.
O Captain! My Captain! October 15, 2012 at 04:29 AM
I'm voting for Mortensen for sure. I'm also voting for Steve Lang for CUSD school board. Good businessman with no political favors to repay. (www.stevelang4cusd.com) On the other hand, check out how his opponent, John Alpay, has voted time and again to cut instruction time, increase class sizes, and waste money hurting teachers and the district. (www.whoisjohnalpay.com)
Dan Bane October 15, 2012 at 05:14 AM
Larry, This is getting ridiculous. You know as well as anyone that Dahl and Mortenson have not "come out in favor of looking at the possibility of a variance." They have not come out in favor of anything other doing what they are legally and ethically required to do, which is to evaluate each application on its merits. There is no application pending. There is no proposal for "large digital signs"....never was and likely never will be. Such an application will never be approved by anyone. Additionally, the chamber of commerce is supported by its members....local businesses who donate their own funds. Obviously, they support Dahl and Mortenson and I believe local businesses know better than anyone what will help them and what will hurt them. Looks like they have made their choice pretty clear.
Larry Corwin October 15, 2012 at 05:24 PM
Welcome back Dan. San Clemente Sun Post reported campaign contributions this past Saturday and an old familiar name surfaced. Normally this wouldn't be all that newsworthy, but seems like many of Mortenson's surrogates are suggesting Mike does not accepted campaign contributions from "out of town" or development interests. Seems that is not quite accurate. Mortenson campaign shows a $ 10,000.00 contribution from a political action committee call OCAR (Orange County Association of Realtors). The same PAC that contributed $ 45,000.00 to the LAB during the turbulent Measure A fiasco. Why do you think they would contribute such a large amount in our village's city council election? I think the citizen's of San Clemente will be very interested to hear the answer to that question. Spin away!
Dan Bane October 16, 2012 at 12:14 AM
Is OCAR an out of town development interest or an organization to which many local realtors and business owners belong? Doesn't seem unreasonable at all that an profesional organization would donate money at the request of their local members and business owners. Mike doesn’t know why they donated but he was appreciative (why don’t you reach out to the PAC and ask – I would love to hear their answer). Campaigns are expensive, and at the rate Baker is spending, Mike’s happy others find him a worthy candidate so he didn’t have to spend his own money. In any event, I am pretty certain that all of our statements have been in defense of your persistent and unfounded allegation that Mike has taken money from Steve Craig. I think we can all be happy knowing (with certainty) that he did not. No spin. Just a fact. By the way, seems Baker is spending an awful lot on this election seems to be hiding behind PACs and anonymous donations. What's with all of his spending out of state and a $20,000 payment to a political consultant in L.A.!? Getting a long way from home now for a purported "grass roots" campaign. I'm just happy Mike has stuck to ideas and issues. It's pretty telling that Mike and Jim consistently provide ideas and solutions while Baker and Hamm focus on hyperpole and speculation. Haven't heard an original idea yet from either of them. Which seems to be why you consistently proffer "conspiraciy theories" to change the subject. Conspire away!
Dan Bane October 16, 2012 at 12:22 AM
Larry, One more thing, did you happen to catch that the OC Register (i.e. Sun Post) endorsed both Mike and Jim as well? Something about Bob "equivocates" and Hamm has too rigid of an approach to the three story ban. Ideas and vision are why Mike and Jim continue to get contributions and endorsements. Not vast conspiracies as you continually imply. It should be noted that the City Council is essentially a "volunteer" position. People get involved because they genuinely care about the community. Time to own up to that Larry. I would say the same for Hamm and Baker. I agree with Mike and Jim's vision and you don't. But for the record, I have never once accused Baker or Hamm of ill-motive as you and other Baker/Hamm supporters can't help but do regarding Mike and Jim. If Mike and Jim win, it will be because they offered solutions and vision and Baker/Hamm did not. Time to find something of substance re issues Larry or I'm going to grow bored even debating you.
Larry Corwin October 16, 2012 at 04:54 AM
I would never dispute service on city council is voluntary and my hats off to those that serve. It is also noteworthy that to serve in government is to serve the will of the people even when that will conflicts with personal belief. To receive financial contributions from PAC's or non-monetary endorsements from developers just makes the job of serving the people that much harder. You can suggest your guy will be objective despite having taken monies and favors and I hope you are right. But I know you are wrong and anyone who follows politics is perfectly aware of "influence" so save your breath in trying to dispute that. If on November 7th Jim Dahl has been voted off city council and we have a new President, for me it will be a great day.
we the people October 16, 2012 at 05:05 AM
**Completely unethical behavior ** Given the Chamber is funded by the city it is completely unethical for them to endorse anyone. But it is no real surprise that they support candidates that anti-resident and pro-outside business.
Dan Bane October 16, 2012 at 05:20 AM
Larry, Don't know how you could know I am wrong. Pretty presumptuous. I know Mike Mortenson and know for a fact that he harbors no bias and his vote has not been "bought" in any way. Taking your logic to its ridiculous conclusion would mean that any candidate receiving an endorsement or a campaign contribution from any source is automatically biased towards giving those folks what they want. I refuse to believe that, especially at the City Council level. People appreciate smart candidates with vision, ideas, and solutions. Mike has provided those things and that is why he has received several endorsements and lots of donations from several sources. Not sure what you mean by "favors" Larry, but I don't like the connotation. There are no "favors" to speak of. There are donations and endorsements. Just like Baker/Hamm have received donations and endorsements of their own (albeit fewer). You just can't help to help yourself with the unfounded insinuations. Not sure what made you so jaded in connection with local politics. At least we can find common ground in terms of having a new President.
Larry Corwin October 16, 2012 at 05:31 AM
Not presumptuous just intuitive. And yes any candidate that takes a large financial contribution from an organization is beholden to that organization. Take that anyway you like it is what it is. Otherwise why would an organization based in Los Angeles fork over $ 10,000.00? Is Mortenson a charitable organization? Nobody forced him to take the money so whatever conclusions people draw is 100% on him.
Dan Bane October 16, 2012 at 05:33 AM
The SC Chamber is funded by its private voluntary membership. These local businesses strive to promote local business in the community and have endorsed candidates they believe have ideas and solutions that will achieve that end. I'm confused as to why you would say these local business owners would support candidates who are "pro-outside business." Perhaps you meant to say these local business owners support candidates that are pro-local business, in which case you are exactly right! I think local business owners are smart enough to know what candidates support them. Mike Mortenson are pro-local business and certainly pro-resident.
Larry Corwin October 16, 2012 at 05:43 AM
The San Clemente Chamber of Commerce does collect revenue from their members but they are also funded by the City. The purpose of these funds are to promote business in San Clemente and not for PAC activities. Let's see how this works, Chamber receives funds from the city, diverts them toward support of candidates who in turn support their funding. Pretty cozy arrangement. I forget, what do they call that in Chicago?
Dan Bane October 16, 2012 at 05:48 AM
Draw whatever conclusion you like Larry. Two undeniable facts remain for me: (1) Baker/Hamm have no substantive ideas or platform (as confirmed in the debates); and (2) Mortenson/Dahl have overwhelming support from local businesses, residents, and current and former City Officials because of their ideas, vision, and platform. In a race of ideas, vision, and solutions going forward..... I am very happy that my vote went to Mike Mortenson and Jim Dahl. Out.
Jim Evert October 16, 2012 at 08:18 AM
"We the People" - Sounds like your mind is already made up, but I'll give you the benefit of maybe being one of the few people on this blog, who actually wants objective and honest dialog. The chamber has fund raisers like the fiesta and the taste of SC plus dues that members pay. This is the chambers source of operating funds. Each year the city working with the chamber - pays the chamber for specific projects (representing only a small part of their annual funds) that the chamber can do cheaper and utilizing their volunteers. In the past that has included events supporting the Marines (with many chamber volunteers); the banners (currently recognizing surfers) along El Camino Real; and the visitors guide given out throughout the city, pier and airports. I have supported each of these individual projects because I believe they benefit our city. This was supported by 4- 1 - With Tim Brown, Lori, Jim Dahl and myself supporting. Now of the second point - the Chamber PAC is independently funded by members and is separate and distinct from the operating budget. That is why I consider the item that Mann put in his Dahl hit piece was an outright lie. It's a new low for SC in nasty and divisive politicking. It's a shame that that we can't concentrate on positives and stick to real issues.
Moonshine October 16, 2012 at 05:35 PM
We the People- Do you guys know you're lying, and not care, or you don't know you're lying? Setting aside the fact that Mike's wife isn't running, and bringing the candidate's families into the debate is a new low, even for bottom feeders like Eggleston and Mann, she is not a democrat. Even if she were, what would it matter? Does it matter that Baker supported Obama last election? Or that Hamm is endorsed by a union? Not to me. Does it matter that Mortenson is the ONLY candidate ENDORSED BY THE REPUBLICAN PARTY, you bet it does!! And it matters to THOUSANDS of other people in this town. Don't forget, we're 51% Republican. Why didn't Hamm or Baker get endorsed by the OC GOP, or the Lincoln Club, or the California Republican Assembly, or by the OC Register, or the Chamber of Commerce? Are all these organizations involved in the big conspiracy to bring in jumbo tron signs and rubber stamp all development? Nope, Baker and Hamm didn't get endorsed because they HAVE NO IDEAS for strengthening SC and Baker has a HORRENDOUS record as a councilman (which is why only 1 councilmember supports him -- the same one he helped get elected). If you disagree -- feel free to tell us their ideas -- because they sure failed to do so despite multiple opportunities. You guys need to seriously grow up, start thinking for yourselves and stop being spoon-fed the divisive Kool-aid that Eggy and his rich developer buddy Charlie Man are serving up.
Larry Corwin October 16, 2012 at 07:33 PM
I'm going to tap out on this one as all points seem to have been made. In departing I would like to thank all of the Patch bloggers who have engaged the debate and I hope to get the opportunity to meet you all in the future. In parting, I would like to extend a shout out to the wives, girlfriend and family of all the candidates and thank them for accepting our free speech and for supporting our democratic process. I hope we all remember you guys are off limits and we appreciate your support of your "significant others" who seek to serve our city. Pam Baker is a loyal and dedicated partner of Bob Baker and works as hard as anyone I have met. Chris Hamm's girlfriend Danielle is charming and delightful and we look forward to watching their relationship develop. I have not met Mrs. Mortenson but from the pictures I have seen, they have a most beautiful family and I wish them all the best in their San Clemente futures. I have never met Mrs. Dahl and despite our political differences, I have heard only great things about her and their family. We might have two incumbents reclaim their seats. We may have two new council members or any combination in between. Regardless of the election outcome, it has been a pleasure to have gotten to know more of you and I am proud of my neighbors and our town.
Allison Winters October 24, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Anybody but Bob Baker; worst council member ever. What a hypocrite! He has no vision for San Clemente. How can he claim to be the protector of open space when he has that four mega mansion down on T-street but doesn't want to allow downtown businesses to improve their properties with three stories. Baker shows no respect for our city by placing his banners and yard signs down on the beach trail. That is no mans land for yard signs. No one wants to see that crap on the beach. I guess that is why all the banners downtown are supporting Dahl and Mortenson. Anybody but Baker! What an idiot!

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