Are the residents really first? or is it just another political slogan?
City council candidates Charles Mann and Bob Baker regularly reference their participation in Save San Clemente Open Space (SSCOS), a group formed to stop the rezoning of 50.5 acres at Pacific Golf and Country Club. Candidate Mann is a founder of SSCOS, however Mr. Baker originally was a supporter of Pacific’s plan to convert 9-holes of private recreational open space into 224 single family homes and Golf Villas. Actually each of the founding members of SSCOS signed petitions in support of the project initially. One of the SSCOS founders (a real estate developer) even demanded right of refusal on two lots or houses. When contemplating casting a vote for someone to represent my best interests as a resident of San Clemente, I’ll consider those who come closest to my views on civic issues. But first I need as best as possible to develop a level of trust for that individual, which includes gaining a sense about one’s ethics, honesty and overall character. On the national level we have a plethora of media reports as well as sites like factcheck.org and snopes.com to monitor the veracity of statements made by the candidates, and stories or accusations related to them. On the local level it’s more difficult to determine who to trust.
The deception employed by SSCOS was addressed when Judge Warren Siegel ordered Mr. Mann to modify the language in 12 of 13 points in the arguments against Measure C he submitted to be included on the Feb. 5th ballot. Judge Siegel ruled that the text was “false and misleading”. However Mr. Mann, in Orwellian political doublespeak, claimed a victory. Two examples of unethical behavior from SSCOS include:
A founder of SSCOS attended and spoke at the emotionally charged Talega parents meeting regarding the Capistrano Unified School District boundary changes in Dec. 2007. He told the parents that if Measure C passed, their children would have less chance of attending their neighborhood school, Vista Del Mar, because the proposed development fell within Vista Del Mar’s boundaries. The allegation was false, children from the proposed development would’ve been slated to attend Clarence Lobo, and the man speaking was not a parent of school age children, nor a resident of Talega. An obvious use of deceptive tactics to take advantage of San Clemente resident’s emotions.
The superintendent at Pacific and his wife were enthusiastically involved in the attempt to educate residents during the referendum petition drive in the summer of 2007. A neighbor and close friend was approached by an SSCOS founder as she left Wal-Mart and aggressively encouraged to sign the petition. When the neighbor refused, citing her friendship with the couple, the man lied saying that the wife had already signed and the superintendent wanted to, but would be fired if he did. The neighbor knew better and left.
These two examples of questionable ethics were not isolated events, in fact they illustrate the standard operating procedure of the organization that candidate Mann lead. Mr. Mann continues to mislead residents in his statements regarding Measure W. Is this the behavior of a candidate you can trust?
Lastly, I am saddened when viewing the images of our wounded brave men and women of military who are risking their lives to give you the opportunity to choose this November. But I am enraged at the dishonor shown these protectors of our quality of life by those who disregard integrity and choose to manipulate the masses for their own self-serving agendas. Please choose wisely in November.
Former Director of Food & Beverage
Pacific Golf and Country Club