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Measure A Fails

The Playa del Norte retail project will not be built. Negotiations on any new project are frozen for one year.

With all precincts reporting, Measure A failed, with 42.3 percent of the vote for it and 57.7 percent against, or 6,922 votes for and 9,424 against.

"We the people voted very loudly and clearly that we do not want a shopping center adjacent to our beach on land that was seized by eminent domain," project opponent and former Councilman Wayne Eggleston said in an e-mail after the election. "This is land that we own and have a right to vote on its destiny."

"Earlier in the evening I said I was cautiously optimistic," said project opponent Tom Barnes. "We can take out the caution now; this is a great victory for San Clemente."

The group of opponents who were gathered at Ichibiri were ecstatic about the results.

The Playa del Norte retail project will not be built. Negotiations on any new project are frozen for one year.

The "yes" and "no" crowds gathered at supporter Wendy Yoder's home and Ichibiri, respectively.

Earlier Tuesday:

As if any further evidence was needed that the debate over Measure A was a lightning rod in the community, hundreds of voters have turned out even to precincts miles away from North Beach to voice their opinions.

As of 6:58 p.m., more than 250 people had come to vote at the Orange Coast District Office precinct on the 3000 block of Avenida del Presidente.

Barbara Conn, a poll worker at the precinct, said those high numbers are not typical of an off-year, single-issue election.

"I think we're surprised," she said. "We're pleased."

Poll worker Sean Henschel said other, nearby precincts were seeing similar turnout.

"Concordia [Elementary] across the way—their numbers are even more," Henschel said. "They have a bigger volume."

Stay tuned to San Clemente Patch: Our next update will be with the first mail-in ballot counts after the polls close at 8 p.m.

Earlier tonight:

Poll worker Bob Ryan said the Ole Hanson Beach Club precinct he was working got busy around 4:30 p.m. and has steadily increased in traffic.

Of the 26 precincts in town, Ole Hanson is the closest to the site of the proposed Playa del Norte retail development that this election is all about.

A vote in favor of Measure A will move the 50,000-square-foot retail project another step closer to completion.

Ryan said that the Ole Hanson precinct has 499 mail-in ballots on the books and that as of 5:46 p.m., nearly 300 voters had cast their ballots in person.

Chine Duffy and her 4-year-old son, Nathan, came to vote at about 5:30. Duffy said she was voting "yes" on Measure A because she wanted more variety in North Beach.

"We just think it would be nice to have more variety here and upgrade things," Duffy said.

Stay tuned to San Clemente Patch for another precinct update with photos before the polls close, and then continual vote count updates through the evening. Reporters Jackie Connor and McKenzie Sixt will be filing from gatherings of both the "yes" and "no" campaigners as they await results.

Late Tuesday morning:

The Pacific Coast Church voting precinct off Vista Hermosa is still pretty quiet this afternoon as Measure A voters trickle in.

Poll workers there say the increasing popularity of vote-by-mail ballots has taken pressure off the 26 brick-and-mortar precincts in San Clemente.

"We've got so many people voting by mail [that low numbers at precincts are] not really an indication of turnout," said poll worker Charlie Fraser.

He also said that such single-issue, off-year elections tend to have low turnout.

Still, the Measure A issue has been a flashpoint in the community:

Tuesday morning:

The lines are sparse at the Ole Hanson Beach Club voting precinct this morning.

Poll worker Bob Ryan of San Juan Capistrano said the flow of voters casting ballots in the controversial Measure A special election was steady, however; more than 70 had voted by 9:15 a.m.

Polls around town opened at 7 a.m. and will remain open until 8 p.m.

The Ole Hanson Beach Club is in the center of ; approval of the measure will move forward the proposed 50,000-square-foot Playa del Norte retail development just feet away.

At the Beach Club, swimmers, mostly retirees, mingled with the voters heading in and out of the building. Some cast their ballots in swimsuits and towels after a morning dip.

One couple who live in the neighborhood, , said they voted “no” on Measure A.

 “I was standing out on the corner waving my surfboard around at the rally last weekend,” he said.

 Sherry Forsen said she was voting against the measure in part because of all the vacant commercial space already in town.

“We’ve got all these vacancies all over town,” she said.

Multimedia uploads are enabled on this article; only photos labeled with the byline "Adam Townsend" or "Jackie Connor" were uploaded by the authors.

CORRECTION: Because of a reporting error, the number of precincts in San Clemente was mistaken in an earlier version of this article.

Bill S March 08, 2011 at 07:11 PM
Michelle, I just summarize above why I am voting NO on A. Thank you for sharing and caring. I hope we all come together tomorrow and focus on the real problem. The Miramar is the real problem and that deserves our attention and efforts FIRST.
Bill S March 08, 2011 at 07:11 PM
Hi Michelle, Did I convince you to vote No On A? I had to try :) Thanks No on A
Bill S March 08, 2011 at 07:13 PM
on a side note; Yes Campaign spends $100,000 in final months of campaign. They can pay people all day, but they can't take our land.
Bill Koelzer March 08, 2011 at 07:21 PM
Debbie Ferrari and I both voted NO on this issue. We DO want development of North Beach, just not THIS development that has so many things wrong with it that it is pointless here on the voting day to list them all again. One might later do a "follow the money" analysis to see who in town might gain the most advantage or money/contracts, etc. if the LAB project goes through. I doubt if altruism is the main motivation for ALL the Yes voters...some may well have a business axe to grind...time will tell and we will keep our eyes wide open for more telltale hints.
Michelle March 08, 2011 at 07:42 PM
Bob Baker, SC City Councilman, you also voted no on continuing the Farmers Market, Not to provide SAFE Routes for our kids at Max Berg Park, Not to provide parking in North Beach for our historical Assets, Not to protect our Coastal Canyons by voting to allow someone to divide a lot next to the a coastal canyon. Your mentality is the same type of leadership that got us a U-Haul and a sewage plant with an ocean view and no Nixon Library. Yea, way to go Bob Baker! You are really in touch with San Clemente's needs. NOT!
concernedaboutthetruth March 08, 2011 at 07:49 PM
Michelle wants to shop and eat real bad.
Vasko Mitzev March 08, 2011 at 08:02 PM
Voting is cool; it is silent anonymity with deafening consequence. The interested citizens will speak today and our will will be done. Good luck San Clemente. I'm pullin' for ya!
Larry Corwin March 08, 2011 at 08:54 PM
Hi Michelle, You are correct in your statements here regarding the process of capitol residual value, however has it ever dawned on you that the property value can actually be reduced as a result of improvement? I would guess not because your assumptions are purely based on the improvement will add value to the property. The property has already been appraised at over 9 million dollars as a parking lot. That is fact. It is certain that the PDN improvement will reduce the value and based on the professional assessment made, it will fall between 0 and 3.6 million dollars. In which case the city will get the agreed upon 1 million minimum or at best, receive 50% of the 3.6 million and receive 1.8 million. That is all fact. You may not like these facts but it will not change their truth.
Larry Corwin March 08, 2011 at 08:59 PM
Again Michelle you are spouting false propaganda. The 4.5 million the city will spend is 100% because of PDN. If PDN is not built, the city will spend nothing. The parking you speak of is the required 300 spaces the project requires. The use of 3.5 million for parking is exclusively needed for the project and the 1 million in infrastructure would not be needed for many years into the future when the existing infrastructure reaches complete depreciation. I don;t know if you are an innocent victim of lies and propaganda or a perpetrator of lies yourself. Just be honest, if you love the project, defend the use of subsidies. It is not illegal for a government to use subsidies. But stop being naive and come to the realization this project requires them. if you still think its a worthwhile deal, you are entitled to that opinion.
Larry Corwin March 08, 2011 at 09:06 PM
You better check your facts again Michelle. It is 100% fact that the triangle property was condemned and seized via eminent domain. The property owners did not have a choice and by law received fair market value. The process was forced upon them and they had no option but to sell. The original designation of the property was for beach front parking and that original dedication is still provides the same public benefit it was intended to. Yes on A means the projects goes to court and gets killed there at a cost of several hundreds of thousands of dollars. OR San Clemente residents can save the city all these expenses and simply vote NO.
Diane March 08, 2011 at 09:09 PM
I love this town also and have a lot of confindence that the people of San Clemente will show their integrity and intellect with a victorious NO vote. Politics these days tries to appeal to the uniformed voter by offering the claims that the people want to hear, even if those claims are not true. The yes camp has has had the gall to tell us the LAB will bring more beach parking, more ocean views and more money to town. I am shocked they didn't try to tell us it would cure cancer! I think they have underestimated the San Clemente voter - we are smarter than they had hoped.
Larry Corwin March 08, 2011 at 09:09 PM
More propaganda by Michelle. The metrolink users have no such agreement. If they purchase an annual parking pass, they can park wherever they wish. There will be no parking code enforcement so you're making this stuff up. Complete and utter nonsense. The same holds true for the employees of the project. They too going to be forced to park across the street? That is complete fantasy.
Diane March 08, 2011 at 09:44 PM
OMG!!! I just went to the SC Times website and saw the yes group's ad at the top of the home page. They have stooped to a new marketing low with this ad. It reads that a yes vote on measure A is a vote for beauty. I cannot stop laughing. They must think that this city has the most stupid population of voters on earth. Are you kidding me? I am glad I sent my NO on A ballot in three weeks ago!
Larry Corwin March 08, 2011 at 10:21 PM
Fear not Linz, no Urban Outfitters at Califia. Marblehead maybe but not Califia.
Terry Robinson March 09, 2011 at 01:18 AM
Just wondering how many people who are voting Yes have seen the ugly LAB project on Bristol in Costa Mesa? Same developer, Shaheen Sadeghi who built the Costa Mesa LAB will build this LAB. Oh my gosh! Talk about an eyesore. One good thing about this issue....it sure got people out to vote, and that is outstanding. Can't wait to see the outcome and please let it be a big outstanding NO!
george gregory March 09, 2011 at 01:55 AM
A COMMUTER CENTER PLEASE I like the train at north beach and I cant wait to see the first surfing commuter I have seen bikes and pedestrians never seen a surfing commuter or a commuting fisher What a awful commute you've got to go to the beach twice a day Fastest way to fix the I-5 is get those people on those trains Its a shame the Amtrak stops at the pier and lets people off at the base of a daunting hill and not at flat accessible north beach MAY WE HAVE A COMMUTER CENTER PLEASE The Amtrak is like a mini LAX can get you any where in the country just a little slower but still gets you there Affording a hedge against oil embargoes and attracting large employers a commuter center gives a wide stance against uncontrolled circumstance VOTE NO ON A
george gregory March 09, 2011 at 02:31 AM
May we have a bigger park please after all north beach is very narrow and eroded and at high tide most of the beach is under water . we do need a place to go by the sea at high tide Vote no on A
ms.sc. March 09, 2011 at 08:51 AM
I will keep this short and simple..thank GOD greed did not prevail before beauty.
PK March 09, 2011 at 09:24 AM
The people of San Clemente have spoken! Now let's get down to the real issues facing this town. 1. get rid of the 7-ll's and dirty "smoke shops" 2. tear down all the ghetto apartment buildings and re-zone. 3. start fining scum bag cigarette smoker litter bugs that trash our streets and beach. 4. Last, clean up the north entry of the city. topple the 7-11, and revamp the Theater.
richard findlay March 09, 2011 at 02:12 PM
A great big THANK YOU to all the campaigners whose tireless work and exerted efforts saved our beach. Also thank you to the thousands of San Clemente voters (9,424 !!) who reviewed the facts and voted NO!
Lindsey Hanson March 09, 2011 at 03:12 PM
And the Majority has spoken. Thanks to all those that worked hard to get the truth to the masses. Grass roots fought big money and won. Hip hip hooray!
jeff s March 09, 2011 at 03:39 PM
No on A is a HUGE victory. Now let's build that park and clean up the Miramar theatre. Good Work today my friends!!
Chris March 09, 2011 at 03:59 PM
A clear and resounding rebuke for Donchak, Dahl, Evert: They used their public office office to back private enterprise with our tax dollars. They stacked the deck against the people of San Clemente and did it without shame. Donchak, Dahl, Evert, you no longer represent us. Time to step down.
Tom Barnes March 09, 2011 at 04:56 PM
Just a clarification on the story, I agreed to not only speak to the press by phone but also in person at my reserved table at Ichibiri's. I talked to reporters from San Clemente Patch, the Sun Post News and the SC Times. The North Beach Green Alternative did not participate in excluding the press from the victory celebration.
Adam Townsend March 09, 2011 at 05:03 PM
Yes, thank you for that Tom. That part of the story was from earlier in the day before I changed our coverage plans to tell Jackie to head over there. I'll change it in the story.
Terry Robinson March 10, 2011 at 02:16 AM
With a landslide win like this I would venture a guess that Yes didn't go down because the propaganda mailing wasn't sent out far enough ahead of the absentee voting, as I have heard stated.....the reason is, the people don't want LAB!!! I am overjoyed to see San Clemente residents stand up like this......BRAVO!
James Schumaker March 10, 2011 at 07:09 PM
If you want to see what a narrow escape San Clemente had, take a look at the reviews for the LAB Mall on Bristol in Costa Mesa (http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-lab-anti-mall-costa-mesa). It is billed as a kind of counter-culture "anti-mall," imitating other larger, and more successful malls of the same type in the San Francisco area. Doesn't exactly sound like something that would fit in with San Clemente's small town beach resort atmosphere, although it would obviously have a niche in a much bigger and more cosmopolitan place like Costa Mesa. The reviews of the LAB Mall are middling, with three out of five stars. However, it seems that those who count themselves as true hipsters scoff at the attempts by the mall to differentiate itself from other, larger malls in the area. Frequent complaints are that mall personnel are unfriendly to shoppers, and especially to photographers, and that parking is abysmal. Others also complain that while there are a few shops that have stood the test of time, most outlets in the mall come and go in a year or so. As if San Clemente didn't already have enough empty storefronts! Anyway, as you can probably tell, I voted no on the PDN project, so perhaps I am showing my bias by emphasizing the negative. I would invite others to check the reviews and share their observations.
James Schumaker March 10, 2011 at 07:13 PM
Sorry, a misplaced parenthesis leads to an incorrect address for the LAB Mall reviews. The correct address is: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-lab-anti-mall-costa-mesa .
george gregory March 12, 2011 at 03:06 AM
dont forget council meeting tuesday we all have a bone to pick
Michelle Cameron March 12, 2011 at 05:28 AM
Nice photo Martin! Way to go guys. It's great to see that the regular citizens still have power over what happens in their city.

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