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SC Council Candidates Square off in Debates

Four of the 6 San Clemente City Council candidates squared off at a forum Thursday night.

Four of the six candidates for two San Clemente City Council seats squared off Thursday evening.

Incumbent Bob Baker (listed as "Robert 'Bob' Baker 1" on the ballot to differentiate him from the other Bob Baker running) and Chris Hamm marketed themselves as independent voices, claiming other candidates were beholden to developers.

Incumbent Jim Dahl and Mike Mortenson asserted they had the support of a broad base of San Clemente residents, and kept open minds about what was right for the city and all of its residents.

Read the Orange County Register's report on the debate here.

The Shorecliffs Terrace community is the organization which held the perennial San Clemente City Council debate.

Another event put on by the San Clemente Chamber of Commerce will happen at St. Andrews by the Sea at 6 p.m. Sept. 27.

Another forum will be hosted by the San Clemente Historical Society at 3 p.m. Oct. 7 at the San Clemente Community Center.

Larry Corwin September 26, 2012 at 01:20 AM
Anti business Council? What on earth are you talking about? Is your anti Bob Baker campaign have anything to do with his opposition of Measure A? Nearly 60% of San Clemente voters settled that one and agreed with Bob Baker #1. I am curious by the list of names that endorsed Bob Baker 0. it reads like a who's who of Playa Del Norte supporters including Jm Dahl. Was that a tactic to confuse voters or split the Bob Baker vote? If so it seems a little vindictive don't you agree? Yes video Jumbotron signs is a deliberate exaggeration. Not because I think it's beyond Craig's scope of hope but more in my confidence of the citizens of this city to bring about and succeed in the process of referendum. I'd just rather see monies and efforts applied to genuine quality development and quit wasting so much money on failed council decisions.
Bill S September 26, 2012 at 02:00 AM
Yes, Bill Hart's name was on zero-bob's application. Dirty little trick if you ask me. Jeanne O'Grady was there too. Dahl and Mayor Evert... Hmmm seems very shady and sad to me. This is like a John Grisham book if you ask me; The Appeal Here in SC the big development effort fuels a local election. The take over of city council at any cost... If Steve Craig from Newport can buy city council $millions and $millions will fall into his pockets and his closest elected official friends. Maybe I am wrong, but I need to assume these things based on experience and history.
Vanessa September 26, 2012 at 03:41 AM
I am voting for Mike Mortenson!!!!!!!
Larry Corwin September 26, 2012 at 03:45 AM
Hi Jeanne, I hope you're doing well. I wrote previously that it appeared the who's who of Measure A were behind this Bob Baker 0 sham and knowing you were a big supporter of A, I wish to extend my apologies to you if my comment cast too broad a net. I admire people who become engaged and involved and while we don't always agree, I do respect the work you have done. I am very pleased to learn you were not one of the signers of Bob Zero's papers. Exposing voter deceit is definitely news worthy. It's one thing for idiots to think this would be some kind of joke to divide Bob Baker's votes and it's a whole other story if people in our government like Jim Dahl knowingly signed these papers with an intent to deceive. I cannot think of a more un-American act than to subvert our elections. For those who have signed the endorsement list of Bob Baker 0, I hope you are proud of yourselves. You people are really scary and you all will be identified and held accountable.
Dan Bane September 26, 2012 at 04:30 AM
Larry, Thx for the welcome. I'm glad we agree that Mike is an impressive candidate. Regarding Mike's endorsement from Mr. Craig (referenced in your note as an outlet mall), I think every property owner has the right to participate in local government. I trust you don't disagree in this regard. Mr. Craig is no different. Whether his endorsement of Mike was necessary or not for Mike is really of little importance. The fact is, Mr. Craig, like numerous other San Clemente property and business owners, appreciates that Mike is a fiscal conservative whom believes it is better to promote economic strength for San Clemente rather than vilify those that make investments in our town. Finally, I really take issue with your insinuation that anyone receiving an endorsement from a property or business owner is automatically inclined to grant some sort of favor in return. I reject such a notion. Mike has made it crystal clear that no one, including Mr. Craig, will buy his vote or otherwise sway his decision either way. Mike has made a commitment to consider each and every project or idea on its merits, without any preconceived judgment or bias. As things stand, we do not currently know what is proposed and it is entirely improper for anyone wishing to be involved in City government to prejudge any application. Once you learn more about Mike and get to know him, I'm certain you will be voting for Mike as well. If you want reasoned judgment, Mike is your guy.
Lindsey Hanson September 26, 2012 at 04:40 AM
Jeanne O'Grady also sued the city of San Clemente twice since measure A. She sued for excess of a Million dollars. She sued the city to overturn the vote of the people. When she did not win the first time she sued the city again. So when Jeanne O'Grady signs in support just think about why she is supporting them and what their agenda is.
Lindsey Hanson September 26, 2012 at 04:42 AM
What are you going to sue? The most disturbing thing about all of this is that you guys plotted and schemed to make this happen. You concocted this plan knowing full well what you damage you were doing. I can imagine you all laughing like it's a big joke. I wonder how sad a person's life must be that at the end of the day this is what they do for joy. Sue and slander, scheme and plot.
Lindsey Hanson September 26, 2012 at 04:46 AM
I agree. Everyone keeps claiming he "voted against Nick's" when the reason behind his vote was so honest and level headed. The owner of Nick's thought the city should pay to have his 25,000 grease trap installed while all other local business owners were expected to do so themselves. Bob Baker was protecting the business owners of SC and assuring they all play on the same leveled field. The owner of Nick's also felt he was above city regulations for parking. The ladies at the Cellar had to do their part, what make's the Nick's guy so special. Nothing more than entitlement. Bob Baker is honest, fair and reasonable.
Larry Corwin September 26, 2012 at 05:22 AM
Hey Dan for the record, I am a businessman myself and have a great deal of respect for the business accomplishments of Craig Realty. However it was Mr. Craig's decision to climb into the not-always-pleasant world of San Clemente politics. So let it be known, he accepts the consequences. Getting things done in San Clemente isn't difficult, just ask Target. I don't think anyone has vilified Target or the way they got their project done. I will share a secret. Nearly everyone here in San Clemente likes quality development. But what the people want above all else is to maintain a unique smaller town quality that separates our city from all others and what likely attracted most people who chose to move here. Don't believe the rhetoric there is some type of conspiracy or anti-business. climate. This city is plenty business friendly and those that say different just don't want to listen and acknowledge what the people have been saying all along. Responsible development. To put it bluntly, it is not the responsibility of the City of San Clemente to maximize any developer's return on investment. It is all developer's responsibility to maximize the well being of the City of San Clemente. Those that learn this always win. Those that don't believe this usually resort to stacking the council and that never seems to work. Mr. Mortenson if you want to show your independence, take your sign down from Marblehead and get as far away from Jim Dahl as possible.
Bill Hart September 26, 2012 at 06:20 AM
Who is this Jonny character? Silly season is in full swing when anonymous liars start posting on the Patch. It'll be interesting to see if my name is in Adam's article about Bob 0.
Larry Corwin September 26, 2012 at 06:55 AM
A few last thoughts Dan, I don't know if Mike Mortenson is an impressive candidate, but I sure look forward to finding out. And I'm sorry if you take issue with insinuation that "anyone receiving an endorsement from a property or business owner is automatically inclined to grant some sort of favor in return". Cousin that dog don't hunt. Assuming Mike Mortenson is elected to City Council there will be a time where he will need to rule in favor or oppose something Steve Craig brings forward like a sign variance for example. You want to believe he will be able to do that without bias? Pretend there is not a CONFLICT OF INTEREST? Sorry Dan, if it walks like a duck..... The only way Mike can prove beyond reproach that he can be a fair and un-bias councilman is to not become beholden to anyone. Otherwise it's all B.S. out
Dan Bane September 26, 2012 at 03:13 PM
Larry, no apology necessary. I simply refuse to associate endorsements with back-room deals. Taking your logic to its conclusion, then every candidate that ever received an endorsement of any kind would be said to have a conflict of interest. Mike has made his position clear and I believe his reasoned judgment and rational decision-making if/when he is elected to the council will show his independence. All the speculation and assumption that you could possibly proffer won't change that simple truth. I do hope you will take the time to learn more about Mike. He's certainly not hiding his platform, intentions or his background. Check him out at: http://mikemortenson.com/ Perhaps then you won't be so suprised to learn how impressive Mike's credentials are. Take care!
Larry Corwin September 27, 2012 at 02:48 AM
Hey Bill, As a footnote, you made me curious as to the all the Mortenson signs you claim are dotted all over the downtown area and displayed by businesses. And unless those pesky Measure A sign stealers were at it again, I saw 3 Mortenson signs along Camino Real and Del Mar. What does that mean? First to me it means the business owners are far more savvy than given credit for. Never a good idea to advocate in the name of your business. Second it tells me aside from a few relics from Measure A supporters and Steve Craig, I wasn't able to locate a fraction of support signs that I saw for Bob Baker. Am I looking in the right downtown?
Tony O. September 27, 2012 at 04:34 AM
Mike Mortenson has come out of nowhere. It is very suspicious that a young man who has lived in town just over 2 years has suddenly received endorsements from the who’s who of the Yes on A (giveaway North Beach to the Sadhegis). Look down the list and you will see many prominent names that have suddenly become fascinated with our new 2 year resident. So much so that one of the most powerful developers in the city, Mr. Steve Craig, has also put signs up for him on Marblehead. How can a man that has lived in this city for 2 years recruit so many friends? If it smells fishy, it probably is a fish.
Tony O. September 27, 2012 at 04:36 AM
I will not vote for him simply because he is siding with the wrong people. You team with Dahl, you don’t get my vote. You are on the wrong side of the things that matter too much to me and many others. Character, ethics, and morals are a start. Mortenson is teaming with Dahl and they both supported a dirty play with the zero-bob. They both support Marblehead and the signs are a future problem there for sure. The toll road will be an issue and Dahl has proved that he is on the wrong side of that issue. Dahl and Mortenson were Big Yes on A, (lets give away North Beach) and create a mini mall fans and that is just the last couple years. Hmmm, so maybe in his 2 years of residency he has been on the wrong side of all these issues.
Tony O. September 27, 2012 at 04:39 AM
Bob Baker is a wise leader and brings fair balance to the council. He is a war hero, an accomplished pilot, a family man and a hero in his retirement for consistently staying honest and on track with his beliefs. He doesn’t buckle under the peer pressure of the other council members. Do you really want a majority council that goes along with every whim of the big-wigs that want to buy our town and ruin it. I moved to San Clemente for the laid back charm, houses are unique, the lack of HOAs and mello-roos, the vibe, and quaint city feel. I know people when I walk around. It feels like a neighborhood. These are the special qualities that make San Clemente valuable. Each one of us have our favorite San Clemente attributes, one that many agreed on was our unique history and small town charm. Everything I have seen from Dahl and Mortenson spells the opposite of that special small town charm. If Mortenson likes that and wants to be a leader in that style of city, why wouldn’t he move to Rancho Mission Viejo. There will be plenty of building there. It is north just 10 minutes.
HB Warner September 27, 2012 at 10:01 PM
Mike Mortenson has my vote. He has the vision and values to turn San Clemente around and supports the pro-business ideals necessary to allow us to continue enjoying the unique history, small town charm, and other special qualities that you mention that make San Clemente valuable.
Jim Evert September 28, 2012 at 12:33 AM
Jonna and Tony O - you get more bizarre all the time. I'd love it if you'd reveal yourselves to me . I'd be more then happy to sit with you and disuse SC. e-mail evertj@san-clemetne.org . Jonna - get your facts straight - I didn't sign Bakers papers - To say so is an outright lie and you know it. Also you say Mike didn't support rehab of SC building - FALSE. Just the opposite he wants to support small business and their improvements, but of course he can't do that until after we get him elected. Tony O?? - with respect to the Baker thing - Mike didn't even know him and did not support him. But you know that - tell a little white lie and who will know the difference. At least try to to be honest. Your attempting to malign people you don't even know and have never talked to. This is not what SC is about and I'm certainly glad neither of you are representative of the fine people of our city.
Larry Corwin September 28, 2012 at 12:36 AM
Beginning to understand why it's not a good idea to advocate from a council seat?
Tony O. September 28, 2012 at 02:43 AM
I stated that Mike Mortenson has teamed with Dahl, thus his affiliation includes him int the dirty trick (or play) on #1Bob. No lies. My opinion. Jim, I am glad you didn't sign zeros papers.
Tony O. September 28, 2012 at 02:52 AM
one more point. I am a voting resident of our town. I just see certain things differently. I agree with you on many point, but not your support for Dahl and Mortenson. Vote for #1 Bob Baker and Chris Hamm - they care about us and our future.
we the people October 16, 2012 at 05:25 AM
It sounds like you prefer the candidates which are bro-outside businesses and overlook them being anti-resident.
we the people October 16, 2012 at 05:26 AM
Jim is the anti-resident but pro-outside business candidate. He has unethical endorsements by the chamber of commerce which is city funded. Notice that Jim has premium sign placements on businesses....he's driven by special interest groups not the needs of residents.
we the people October 16, 2012 at 05:31 AM
Mike has not lived here long enough to understand the needs of residents. Interesting that his wife is a Democrat. He should get more involved in the community before attempting to represent anyone. Listening to his case by case statements about reviewing signage points to his inexperience in civic matters. He'll end up being another puppet like Jim Dahl is to the special interest groups. If you want a pro-resident candidates it's not Jim Dahl or Mike Mortenson.
we the people October 16, 2012 at 06:33 AM
they would rather drive them out to have a car dealership instead that can generate more sales tax revenue
we the people October 16, 2012 at 06:36 AM
Jim speaking of being honest and recognizing that you are the mayor. How about explaining why the chamber of commerce which is city funded is allowed to endorse candidates which is both unethical and a clear conflict of interest?
Jim Evert October 16, 2012 at 08:13 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.
Larry Corwin October 16, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Mr. Mayor, If the Chamber of Commerce had the sole focus to advocate San Clemente business, they would be more successful in assisting the businesses to whom they were engaged to represent. When they lose this focus and become a PAC and advocate for particular candidates, they have lost that focus. Many people in town including many members of the Chamber are tired of their representatives drawing political fire to their organization. It's simply not good for business and it draws focus away from their actual responsibility. The same is true with City Councilmen acting as advocates for issues or candidates. You have stated your witnessing of "a new low for SC in nasty and divisive politicking", yet you sit front and center and scratch your head? You are a big part of this divide and if you understood your job better, you might have a chance of actually doing your job better. Get yourself out of the gutter of nasty politicking and watch how much better your own concentration on real issues become.
Larry Corwin October 16, 2012 at 07:43 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.
Moonshine October 16, 2012 at 08:42 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, they 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.

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