Amazing ride. Protagonists, antagonists, passion, hostility, clandestine operations, derision, deception, “Spins”, petitions, court rulings, and finally a controversial ballot measure where 50% of the voters in the city participated in a Primary election. Any pollster will tell you that is a high percentage for any election, but particularly so for a primary. Ultimately there was a victor and the defeated. In the case of Measure C, San Clemente, what does the victory mean? You saved open space? You prevented traffic congestion? Maybe, maybe not. I wish that for just one election people would actually read up on an issue and not just the signs along the side of the road. A victory for the NO’s here means that the patch of dirt on Vista Hermosa/La Pata will remain so for many years to come, that a new Senior Center will not be built anytime in the near future, nor the wall necessary to complete the new fire station. Parents will still have to drive their sports playing children to Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo and San Juan Capistrano because the city they live in won’t accomodate them. We’ll stay the same, stagnant. We will have Charles Mann’s favorite nine-holes. Unless of course the club closes. Hooray.


The group “Save San Clemente Open Space” neglects to weigh in on a conversion of open space just two weeks after a locally publicized open space issue.

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Lie to me. Persuade me to fight your fight.  I’ve waited my whole life to save 9-holes of a private golf course.  I’m passionate about being used.  You know I only read the headlines.  Your seductive catch-phrases and hooks have my complete attention, today.  The facts aren’t important as long as we look good right now.  Our children/grandchildren will celebrate our vapidity/shallowness.  After all, we look good right now.  Follow the herd.  Always follow the herd.  Good.


MANN LIED – (submitted Dec.8th, 2007)

I’m going to shoot you in the face. I’m going to kiss you in the face. I only changed one word. Mr. and Mrs. Jones your daughter is dead. Mr. and Mrs. Jones your daughter is alive. Again, only changed one word. Charles Mann claiming victory after being ordered by Judge Warren Siegel to change 12 of 13 points in his “No on C” argument is ridiculous yet totally predictable. He and his golf buddies have been manipulating the media since they began their faux-environmental group in January of this year. This time they were called to the carpet and lost. How arrogant do you need to be to walk out of a courtroom after being handed your lunch and say you won? If you’re reading this, and you know Charles Mann, then you know what I’m talking about. Oh, by the way, Judge Siegel only changed one word in his ruling on 12 of 13 points, from innocent to guilty.

POLITICAL SELF PRESERVATION – (submitted April 8th,2007)

We all want to keep our jobs, right? And most of us, I would hope, have a desire to achieve beyond our current station in life. Sifting through the thousands of job-related decisions one makes each day, what percentage is truly for the good of the business and what percentage is completely self-serving? Maybe you don’t have a job like that. But if you’re a politician representing the city of San Clemente, you most certainly do. That specific consideration is waged on each and every decision you make. The question for you, as a political animal, is will the decision benefit the city more or benefit you more? Or, will it only benefit what you percieve as a positive political decision? At the March 20th, San Clemente City Council meeting I witnessed what I percieved to be political self-preservation at it’s clumsiest. Again, a predetermined G. Wayne Eggleston deliberated with image and image alone in mind. How else can you explain his reasons for voting against the rezoning of 7 acres of land from neighborhood commercial to residential. He stated that his two greatest concerns were;

a) the process in which the city undertook the project and

b) traffic.

a) It was made abundantly clear during the meeting that the process was standard protocol.

b) traffic,…Mr. Eggleston must have a very low opinion of his constituents intelligence, or as stated above, he only voted against the Amendment to make himself look good, or both. Who actually thinks that 135 units would dramatically affect traffic? Have you ever driven down Vista Hermosa? Have you ever been at the Vista Hermosa/La Pata intersection? As pointed out by Lori Donchek, the affected thoroughfares would retain “A” LOS (Level of Service) cIassifications. And at “A” classifications, motorists are able to regularly drive well above the posted speed limit. In a school zone, how safe is that? Mr. Eggleston shares some of the same charm and demographic as the late Liberace, and he has been equally successful in steering his following to support his agenda, but back to my original question; what percentage of the decisions are best for the city in which he serves and what percentage are solely for political self-preservation?

Jim’s Up To His Old Tricks Again – (SCTimes Mar. 22-28)

If you read the San Clemente Times “Letter to the Editor”(Mar.15-21, Vol. 2, issue 11) entitled “unplayable lies” by Jim Smith and you’re not a golfer, you didn’t get his attempt at being clever. Once again, just as with the flyers he and his clan littered your doorways and windshield wipers with, the half-truths and misleading statements came spewing forth like the projectile spittle of an onion-nosed, overzealous timeshare salesman. Mr. Smith stated that Pacific Golf has been open every day since July, 1988, and that one of the previous owners never filed for bankruptcy. Relevance please? Michael Rosenfeld didn’t file for bankruptcy either. But he did promise to keep the course open for the members, like Jim Smith who is a member, while he prepared a plan to make the club financially solvent. Mr. Smith stated that Golf Investment LLC does not own or operate any other golf courses. Golf Investment LLC is a limited liability company created specifically for Pacific Golf Club. The majority of the management team at Pacific has worked the better part of the last two decades for major “Golf Course Operators” and private golf clubs, mostly in California. Mr. Smith also has an LLC in which he operates just one business (which incidentally is not a golf course). Mr. Smith cited several clubs as examples of successful clubs he termed, “non-18 hole” business models. Of the courses he listed, all but two have hotels, homes, golf villas or condominium real estate attached. Only one has 27 holes, home of the Masters Tournament, Augusta National. If you visit his website,, and read through the FAQ’s it becomes quite apparent that saving open space is not his objective. Hopefully, experienced golfers and all the citizens of San Clemente will recognize this ruse for what it is, a plain old lie.

Madness in San Clemente

There are no bounds to the insidious acts of the politically motivated. I respect those who are true to their convictions. I respect an honest and passionate viewpoint and an intelligent argument. But I object when a group misleads and manipulates to accomplish their own selfish objective. When has the protection of a Private Golf Course ever been an environmental issue? How is it that a group of residents, who are not members of the club, have become embroiled in saving a small parcel of land that they can’t use and can’t see?

Mr. Kettle? My name is Pot

Jim Smith’s recent letter (SC Times, Vol. 2, issue 40) alleges that Pacific Golf Club’s owner has begun a smear campaign and that “Personal attacks are bread ‘n’ butter favorites”. And if that were true, he would know. He and his group started their smear campaign and personal attacks months ago. He also alleges that general manager Shahin Vosough “tries to discredit an open space supporter”, as he himself attempts to discredit Mr. Vosough. He asserts that Mr. Vosough is trying to fool readers about the size of the boondoggle, while he tries to fool readers about the scope of the project. Confused? You should be. There is a boondoggle afoot, but it rests solidly on the shoulders the faux-environmentalist group “Save San Clemente Open Space”. If their name reflected their true motivation, it would read “Save Muirfield, My Favorite Nine Holes”, because that is the only open space issue they have ever addressed. Mr. Smith refers to the survey that was distributed to the membership as “highly flawed”, citing that the members were never told the land was zoned open space. So when Mr. Smith signed the questionnaire (in favor of the project, by the way) that stated, “I acknowledge that the property owner will be developing a portion of the property and agree to have my name added to a petition requesting the City of San Clemente to approve the rezoning of this land to allow for development”, what did he think? This whole debacle is yet one more instance of a small special interest group with enough money to make a big enough noise using the tried and true tactic of emphasizing imminent doom and pushing your emotional buttons. Don’t be fooled by a few selfish disgruntled golf members.

David Kelsen

Not Again (Sun Post News – 06/5/2007)

Isn’t ironic that the group “Save San San Clemente Open Space”, used a Cree Indian prophesy as a moniker on their webpage? And that co-founder Charles Mann would suggest at the March 6th City Council meeting that open space is a birthright? Mr. Mann wasn’t born in the United States. How do you think the Juaneno band of Mission Indians, San Clemente’s original denizens, would feel about that?

In response to a letter to the editor on April 19th, Jim Smith(SSCOS founder) took a statement out of context. When Mr. Rosenfeld said words to the effect of “we’re barely making it” he was referring to the margin on the project, not club operations. Club operations are solidly in the red.

About open space: “Open space” has become a technical term, a category, and it’s interpretive. The definition of Open Space in California Government Code Section 65560:(b) states that “Open-Space land” is any parcel or area of land or water, which is essentially unimproved… which this particular parcel of private property clearly is not. The open space that San Juan Capistrano is buying back is unimproved, natural habitat. Not a developed, graded, private golf course.

The fact is that this project, if approved, falls well below the number of residential units already allowed for in the San Clemente Specific Plan. The fact is, Talega, Rancho San Clemente and Forester Ranch built well below their original targets. The fact is that the predominant use of the property at Pacific Golf Club will remain the intact. Not to mention that the city stands to benefit substantially not only from the funding predetermined in the development agreement, but from the vital resource and integral element to our community resource that this club represents.

David Kelsen

I wish you would just die – (Sun Post – 6/24/2007)

The battle has become more important than the cause for the opponents of the Pacific Golf project. Sadly evidenced in this cryptic quote from a petitioner and directed at one of Pacific’s supporters.

You could minimize the intent by saying it was in the heat of the moment, but the truth is that this Pacific supporter was quietly standing near when the opponent in question stated coldly and deliberately, “I haven’t wished this on anyone, but I wish you would just die.” The two had never before met.

Other supporters of Pacific have been called “scumbags”, “cockroaches”, “paid thugs” and a myriad of similar defamations. Sheriffs have been called in, stories were fabricated in order to have supporters forcibly removed, all the while diverting the valuable attention of our law enforcement away from actual crimes possibly taking place and wasting more of our tax dollars.

Jim Smith, Save Open Space (SOS) organizer, was quoted in a Sun Post News article (Thurs. June 21, “Pacific Golf referendum drive heats up”) saying “the democratic process is really being strangled here”. I had always thought that democracy was about choice.

Is the act of offering more complete information, or more sides of an issue strangling democracy? I always thought it was a responsibility. Is he suggesting that democracy exists as long as the other side doesn’t fight back?

There have been a number of one-sided regimes in history, but my teachers had called those forms of government something else. Maybe Jim went to a different school than I did. While only slightly surprised, I am deeply ashamed of the behavior of these individuals. They are not a product of San Clemente’s new component in Talega and they are not outsiders.

Most of these opponents are well into their fifties and beyond, and purport to be long-time residents. Shame on you. And for the misguided few helping this disingenuious lot, read up on the facts, please. But don’t believe me, simply pay attention to these peoples behavior and what they are saying.

David Kelsen