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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.

Steven Jacobsen September 27, 2012 at 09:35 PM
Dahl, Nielsen, MacBride, Hart, Hartju and Stephens may have done some good things in the community but participating in the subversion of the democratic process by signing Bob 0's papers has caused me to lose all respect for them. In a previous article Dahl mentioned that his signing of Bob 0's papers didn't constitute support, yet here he claims that getting signatures of city staff on his papers does just that. You can't have it both ways.
Larry Corwin September 27, 2012 at 09:44 PM
Well framed Adam, great job. This election may depend on how voters interpret "pro-business" and "anti-business". To me, the phrases are meaningless because the amount of business friendliness is subjective and of course cannot be quantified. For example I think people who have been for certain development projects are quickly identified as being in the pockets of a developer. Equally unfair when a group comes out against a certain development they are as quickly identified as naysayers or anti-growth. I think a majority if not all San Clemente citizens would be correctly categorized as "Pro-Quality Development" and would support a project that adds to the San Clemente experience. And in here lies the subjectivity. So when evaluating the remaining candidates, ask tough questions and listen for the type of development that you can identify with and that satisfies your definition of quality development.
Dan Bane September 27, 2012 at 10:04 PM
As am I. I believe I signed both Mike and Jim's papers as well (I would agree that fact is not particularly newsworthy). I believe in both of these candidates and am very proud to give them my support. Regarding Mike, I can't tell you how pleased I am to see someone with a new perspective and ideas join the mix. He has the potential to do great things for our town for many years to come.
sunshine September 27, 2012 at 10:15 PM
I am proud to support #1 Bob Baker
Jim Evert September 27, 2012 at 10:17 PM
Larry - your right on - Most of us including Jim Dahl and Mike Mortenson are pro- quality development. But it goes beyond developement - very little space left for new - to support of our local business, support of the chamber and DBA, and supporting filing our empty retail and office buildings. Nice to see some positive dialog and legit questions.
Larry Corwin September 27, 2012 at 10:36 PM
Thanks again for the debate Jim, despite the times we don't agree, I always enjoy. I look forward to listening to Mike Mortenson and will keep a most opened mind, but at the same time I will admit a bias against him solely on his acceptance of support from the outlet developer. My experience suggests Steve Craig's motive of support are not pure and his support of Dahl and Mortenson are self-serving. While this by itself is not mortal, it's very damaging. For the record I am not against his outlet center, only his transparent self-serving candidate support. Next, we disagree on Jim Dahl and his so-called support of quality development. Looking at straight fact, Dahl has been overturned not once, but twice in 2 voter referendums. Aside from that, he was overturned on Ralph's first plan as well as outlet sign variance, open space, toll roads and the list goes on. Mr. Mayor can you tell me what this guy has gotten right?
sunshine September 27, 2012 at 10:46 PM
Thanks Jim for joining the fun. I choose to comment under an alias for many reasons which I don't need to share here. I do live in San Clemente and I do vote. My vote will be going for #1 Baker and Chris Hamm who are both "Pro-San Clemente"! Both Baker and Hamm look at each and every issue as unique possibilities for our city. Blanket statements and platforms are tough at the city level. I know you know this. My vote for Baker and Hamm is based on their stance with certain key issues. I didn't see them playing dirty tricks with nomination forms. I don't see their names on the Marblehead Coastal land. I didn't see their names associated to the N. Beach land give away. I don't see them being rude to people in public. They are polite and caring people with true history in this city. They understand why people visit and move here. We can debate issue by issue if you want. A disservice is done when people don't speak their minds and share their thoughts. We all have different views on why signs are here, and why she back him etc.... Speculation you might say, time tells the real story and most of the time it is hidden. I would like to see who Mr Steve Craig employs for law firms and see what connections might lie with Mortenson's. I still say follow the money, Shaheen Sadheghi's project was one. Marblehead will be the next big money pit. My bet is that factors into your support for Mortenson and Dahl. What a perfect election for a majority you hope?
MORTENSON EXPOSED September 28, 2012 at 06:02 AM
Ok. I can't take it anymore. I've known Mortenson for 25 years, and it's time people know the truth. Here it is -- the rumors are true. Mike Mortenson is indeed backed by a big developer. But it's not who everyone thinks. His patron is an anonymous developer from the planet of Ork. In fact, Mike's name isn't even Mike, it's Mork. Mork Mortenson. Mork is only concerned with money. So 3 years ago, when a big Orkian developer was looking to send someone to San Clemente to run for City Council, Mork stepped up. The developer sent Mork in an egg and offered to pay him trillions of dollars to change his name to "Mike". This developer wants "Mike" to develop skyscrapers all down Del Mar, build 7-story parking structures for flying cars, pave the beaches, and put a Wal-Mart on the pier and rename it Pier-Mart. So don't be fooled, Mike, I mean Mork, is not just a the guy he purports to be -- a self made guy who's worked for the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Governor of Virginia, started a successful business and is now is a successful attorney -- he's a greedy pawn set to do the developers bidding! Finally, you all know the truth! THIS IS HOW CRAZY ALL OF THESE THEORIES SOUND. I'm sure there are a few of you who will believe this, and have already started spreading it around town. But for the others out there, please think for yourself and do your research before you vote. Nanoo Nanoo
Bill Hart September 28, 2012 at 02:06 PM
LMAO! Great piece!
Lindsey Hanson September 28, 2012 at 02:34 PM
HA HA HA that is funny and must ave taken quite a bit of time to write. Absolute fabrication though, I admit funny. What is not funny is Dahl, Hart, O'Grady and many more signed papers for Bob Baker the Faker and did so with the sole purpose of confusing the people of San Clemente. They can deny it but the truth will prevail.
Dan Bane September 28, 2012 at 04:12 PM
MORTENSON EXPOSED, I tip my cap to you! I think this will forever be my favorite comment.
Jim Evert September 28, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Sunshine - Thanks - I do appreciate most of your response, but I need to address this money comments. Not that it will change your opinion, but since I'm working with Mike on his campaign, I can assure you that Mike not only hasn't received any contribution from Steve Craig, but he has never met him, had business involvement, or for that matter been endorsed by him. The sign is there because of a request we (yes that includes me) made through a fellow Rotarian that lives in SC and is employed by Craig Reality. It also appears that a School Board candidate requested and received an OK. I understand that with the lack of real issues on their side candidates and their followers like to manufacture issues - which is being done here. Fortunately those of us that know Mike and Jim Dahl, know how absurd your allegations are and hopefully the intelligent voter of our city will see the through attempts to discredit candidates. Larry has a good point in that as Mayor I shouldn't get involved in responding to this type of stuff, but campaigning of this nature is wrong in so many ways , I just can't help myself. Enough said - So let's get back to the real issues affecting Traffic , parking , sand on our beaches, etc. That's what a campaign should be about.
Larry Corwin September 28, 2012 at 08:34 PM
Mr Mayor, I can't stress in strong enough terms how profoundly wrong your active advocacy for candidates on City Council is. Your job is to work and collaborate with whomever San Clemente voters tell you to, not ones you want. What if Bob Baker wins? How are you going to cooperate with him in getting to the challenges of this city? Are you telling San Clemente that if they want Bob Baker as a councilman or Chris Ham or anyone that you can't work with them? And how should they feel about you? What should we the voting public expect moving forward? More voter referendums? More turmoil? We the people will tell you who you are working with and if you can't do your job, maybe you're not qualified. This is something to remember in 2 years when you come up for re-election. Sure you can vote for whomever you want but have some class, be a leader and do your job.
Dan Bane September 28, 2012 at 09:03 PM
Larry, I disagree with your above comment regarding Mayor Evert's support of certain candidates. Jim has shown a profound amount of class in this forum and elsewhere. Jim is simply participating and voicing his pereference for candidates with whom he agrees. I believe there is plentiful case law out there protecting the free speech rights of public officials in this regard. Take a look at state and national politics for example. How many times have you seen acting public officials speak on behalf of those running for office. Every day during election season. However, I do agree that lines are crossed when public officials (or public officials to be) start advocating for or against certain pending projects or applications (as Bob Baker and Chris Hamm have done) prior to a formal public hearing. Prejudgments such as those are undeniably improper.
Jim Evert September 28, 2012 at 09:14 PM
Larry - Sorry you brought up a few points - you are so far off base - just one example - you are divisively siring up an issue on something that hasn't even been proposed - inviting people to your Sunday meeting on Marblehead signage using a flyer with advocates Bob and Chis but also putting a picture of Tim Brown on your flyer along with the City seal implying a city position on something that isn't even proposed. So I see - council members Brown and Baker can advocate against something that hasn't been proposed, before they get any detail.. WOW - Taking positions without facts - That's something I don't do. Probably not fair to Tim - but I had to bring him in to make a point - since your claim we shouldn't advocate candidates or on issues.
Larry Corwin September 28, 2012 at 09:23 PM
Hi Dan, I'm sorry you disagree with my position of active council members advocating, but I thought I made the reasons very clear. I get paid a lot of money for this type of management training and I must say, my high school students seem to understand this a lot better than you and Jim seem to. If you read with an opened mind the paragraph about the each council member's job to work and perform well with whomever the voting public tells him to, it may come to you. Given we are all people and at times we let our emotions effect our decisions, you tell me how a dynamic involving the balance of Bob Baker's term and perhaps a re-election term will play out with Mr. Evert? Can you foresee an OPTIMAL relationship based on mutual respect and admiration? And if you can't, you want to try and tell me how and why we the voting citizens should put up less than optimal? Would you accept less than optimal? Dan can you honestly say if Bob Baker were to be re-elected, we as San Clemente citizens will enjoy the highest level of collaboration and most importantly, optimal results??? I can tell you with 100% certainty we will not. If we had leaders that can work through their differences and adopt the policy that what happens behind closed doors, stays behind closed doors, this city would have it's best chance of moving forward. Advocacy does not accomplish that.
Dan Bane September 28, 2012 at 09:46 PM
Larry, As I've said before, you don't need to apologize for disagreeing with me. I'm glad you make a good living and I won't pretend to know the extent of your training or experience on this subject. And I certainly have no idea what you teach your high school students. However, I am familiar, based on my training, with the first amendment and the case law surrounding it (I'm certain I have at least a high school understanding of this issue). Jim his perfectly within his rights and I admire him for voicing his position in public. And yes, I can honestly say that I believe that both Jim and Bob are big enough people to put their differences aside and do their work. What exactly is your idea of an OPTIMAL relationship? That they always agree? I believe that Jim adequately expressed the nature and extent of his professional relationship with Bob. I have heard nothing from Jim stating he would not be willing to work with Bob, or Chris Hamm. I've heard the opposite. Doesn't mean he needs to support them or otherwise muzzle his support for Mike Mortenson or Jim Dahl. That's the beauty of a republic, we all get a say in our elected representatives. In any event, we're somewhat afield of the issues.
Larry Corwin September 28, 2012 at 09:52 PM
So Jim, when Bob Baker turns his back to you, does that make you sad? That bad man was mean so you don't like him. I'm sorry Jim for the shot here but WOW. I'm formally trained to manage, not a relations therapist, but every item you brought forward sounded like a personalty difference. I did not hear one argument where you felt he was a bad councilman or questioned his worthiness to remain on council. I'm sure you have your differences there too, but you brought forward items of a personal nature and that is a tell that you are not working effectively with colleagues unless you like them. Not blaming you, many suffer the same weakness, but regrettably a weakness it is. When this stops being about "me" and starts being about the people of San Clemente, you will be a better leader. Not a moment sooner.
Larry Corwin September 28, 2012 at 10:12 PM
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind you believe that civil servants can and perhaps even should advocate and perhaps your law degree (just guessing) assures Mr. Mayor and every other US citizen's right to advocate. But you have a profound confusion between what he has a right to do and what to do that is right.
Dan Bane September 28, 2012 at 10:22 PM
Larry, My law degree does not assure every citizen the right to advocate, the First Amendment does. I guess my problem with your stance is that your position on "what is right" is incredibly subjective and I have not idea what benchmark you are using to set those parameters. If you know of other benchmarks, I am willing to consider them.
Larry Corwin September 28, 2012 at 10:28 PM
Alright Dan, I've had a look at state and national politics. What am I supposed to see? Partisan politics, ideological divide, ok I see that. Did I miss anything? How's it been working out for you? Our state and federal governments running on all cylinders? Taxpayers dollars being prudently spent? Ok I give up, what was I supposed to see?
Larry Corwin September 28, 2012 at 10:34 PM
Right on with the law hypothesis huh? Well Dan, what's right is subjective. It's like the definition of pornography. You can't really describe it but you know it when you see it.
Dan Bane September 28, 2012 at 10:43 PM
Yes. Right on with the law hypothesis. You nailed that one. I guess in our subjectivity, we'll agree to disagree. And that's allowed. We don't all have to agree. That is politics. But we can all be respectful, which you have been and I appreciate it.
Larry Corwin September 28, 2012 at 10:50 PM
Let's make sure I have this correct; a private citizen who advocates on a policy of development or a candidate running on a platform of responsible development has crossed the line or has acted "undeniably improperly? Have I understood you correctly? What law book did you find that in? Are you writing your own? Are you writing your own law book?
Larry Corwin September 28, 2012 at 10:51 PM
Me too partner. Good luck and have a good weekend.
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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