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SC Candidate Nomination Signatures Can Suggest Alliances, Policy

Many supporters of candidates for San Clemente City Council are old hands in local politics, and others overlap in supporting candidates who are running together.

Signatures on nomination papers for a council candidate don't necessarily constitute endorsements, but they can suggest alliances among supporters and candidates, and hints to the policy direction the candidates themselves may pursue.

Many old hands in local politics signed petitions for certain of the five candidates for San Clemente City Council.

Incumbent Jim Dahl and challenger Mike Mortenson have so far been characterized as more pro-development than incumbent Robert "Bob" Baker 1 and challenger Chris Hamm.

(Challenger Robert "Bob" Baker 0, has since left the race, but it's too late to take his name off the ballot. The numbers will appear on the ballot to differentiate them)

Dahl and Mortenson have a number of overlapping signatures -- names recognizable from the pro-Measure A organization that fought unsuccessfully to allow the Playa del Norte retail-restaurant development at North Beach.

Mortenson and Dahl both received a signature from Kathryn Stovall Dennis, a local mover and shaker who ran the "Yes on A" campaign. Jeanne O'Grady also signed on with both men; she has been part of litigation against the city by the erstwhile North Beach developers Linda and Shaheen Sadeghi attempting to throw out the 2011 Measure A election results that prohibited the development.

Bill Hart and Christy MacBride Hart also signed on the nomination papers for both Dahl and Mortenson. Bill Hart is an appointed member of the city's Coastal Advisory and General Plan commissions who was also active in his support of the North Beach development.

Other overlapping supporters for Dahl and Mortenson include Ken Nielsen, Janis Hartju, John Tengdin and A. John Dorey.

Mortenson and longtime incumbent Dahl have established themselves as running against the more anti-development incumbent Bob Baker, judging from comments in a recent forum.

Dahl, as well as Nielsen, MacBride Hart, Hartju and O'Grady's former husband Rick Stephens signed the challenger Baker 0's papers. Incumbent Baker 1 points to this fact as more evidence that his challenger's candidacy was a ploy.

Dahl, a retired firefighter who has been on the San Clemente City Council for about 15 years, is a popular candidate and consistently one of the highest vote getters.

According to Dahl's nomination papers, he's got lots of support from within the city's staff. City Manager George Scarborough; Assistant City Manager and Treasurer T. Pall Gudgeirsson; Public Information Officer Laura Ferguson and staffer Laura Campagnolo all signed to nominate Dahl.

The incumbent Baker and Chris Hamm recently kicked off their campaigns at the same event at Irons in the Fire restaurant. Baker said he sees eye to eye with Hamm on a lot of issues, but said he's not running with Hamm officially.

Similarly, Dahl said he's not running together with Mortenson, though he agrees with much of his political philosophy.

Theoretically, either or both of the incumbents or any of the challengers could lose in the race for the two council seats involved in the election.

Many of incumbent Baker's signators aren't immediately recognizable by this author as being heavily involved in local politics, with the exception being former Councilman G. Wayne Eggleston, who also signed Hamm's papers.

No signatures of David Clegg's supporters were immediately recognizable by the author of this article, either. Clegg also did not show at the council forum held in the Shorecliffs community Sept. 20, but two major debates remain; one Thursday hosted by the Chamber of Commerce and the other in October hosted by the San Clemente Historical Society.

CORRECTION: Because of a reporting error, the relationship between Stephens and O'Grady was misstated in an earlier version of this article. Patch regrets the mistake.

Dan Bane September 28, 2012 at 11:07 PM
Well, I won't disagree that there is divisiveness if politics across all spectrums. But my point (and our discussion) was a narrow one. Sitting politicials advocate for those running in office all of the time. This is nothing new and I certainly don't attribute the divisiveness in politics to this fact. As your law book question, cute, but no I am not writing any law books. But it is a pretty basic point that local officials cannot prejudge or otherwise take a decisive position on matters pending before them, or that may be pending before them (i.e. three story ban and Marblehead [assuming you are correct that the sign issue is coming back]). Hamm and Baker have pretty clearly done that. As far as I can tell, only Jim Dahl and Mike Mortenson have stated that won't make a decision until all of the facts are in front of them. Now you know why. That is not only the proper and responsible thing to do, but its also legally required. Baker should know better as a sitting council member. I guess Hamm is just too inexperienced.
Larry Corwin September 28, 2012 at 11:21 PM
There is divisiveness all across the spectrum and I feel to a large degree advocacy by public servants has contributed. Not speaking legally but speaking strategically of public officials, it is simply not effective as a means to achieve an objective. Advocacy should be left to advocators like law should be left to lawyers management to managers and medicine to doctors. It's an art on to itself. Out
Moonshine September 28, 2012 at 11:30 PM
This is HYSTERICAL! Good to know someone around here has a sense of humor. Not too far off from some of the crazy theories I've heard. funny stuff!
Allison Winters October 18, 2012 at 04:55 PM
Vote for anyone but Bob Baker #1 (BB#1); anti-environmental, anti-business,anti-kids, anti-art, anti-historical preservation, anti-everything. You would think Bob Baker hates San Clemente by the way he votes “No” to everything.No is no a vision for San Clemente. He votes “NO” to everything good, bad or indifferent. He shows a total lack of vision & has the worst job performance record of any city council person in the history of San Clemente ever!
mike anfinson October 24, 2012 at 10:33 PM
Last week I received a recorded message from someone asking me to vote for Bob Baker. What was odd to me was that he introduced himself as a leader from the Tea Party? I guess most of us have a party affiliation but once I heard this it certainly left an impression on me. Does this mean that Baker will represent San Clemente residents with a 'Strong' Tea Party agenda?? Mike Anfinson, San Clemente

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