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

OPEN SPACE NOT THE ISSUE – Sun Post (3/8/2007)

How does it feel to be duped? It makes me kind of angry. The small group of Pacific Golf Club members who orchestrated this campaign against their own club are not interested in Open Space or Traffic. Their intentions are not honorable and their tactics are deplorable. Since when has saving a portion of a Private Golf Course become a noble cause? You’ll have to excuse me, I grew up in the sixties, and there weren’t too many crusades to save Private Golf Courses in those days. And I can promise you that a Private Golf Course was never referred to as “Sacred Open Space”, as it was on Tuesday night at the March 6th, City Council Meeting. The admitted assumption by this group, dare I say “special interest” group, is that the owner will be forced to sell the property back to the bank. Who will in turn sell it to a Golf Course Operator, who will continue to operate the club in its current 27-hole configuration. The assumption is that life will continue as usual, no crowded fairways, no waiting for tee-times, all the luxurious amenities that a Private Club member demands. And they have you, the homeowners in Rancho San Clemente to thank for it. So what do you, the homeowners in Rancho San Clemente receive in return? “O”, goose egg, squat. I’m sorry, you’re not a member, get off my property. Oh, you can see it from afar…well not really. The visual buffer that Council man Eggleston referred to in his prepared dissertation, doesn’t really apply unless they decide to build a housing development in the Dog Park, the Industrial Park or Camp Pendleton. By the way, I was under the impression that our elected officials were interested in what we, the public who voted for them, had to say. I was at the city council meeting, I watched as Wayne Eggleston sat and listened intently to the public hearing, holding his hands together in front of him the entire time by the tips of his fingers almost prayer-like in contemplation. But when he spoke at the end, he read from a prepared written statement. He hadn’t written anything down, save for a few quick notes all night. If you had millions of dollars riding on a vote, wouldn’t you be just a little upset that one of the votes was so predetermined that a multiple page dissertation had been prepared? I mean what’s the point?

They lied to us. They repeatedly told us the housing was high-density condos, but it was never that, public records back that up. They told us that this project would hurl us into gridlock, but the reports from the independent consultants the city hired and our own city traffic engineers indicate that that is far from the truth. They used slogans like “SAY GOODBYE TO THE BEACH” and “OUR CHILDREN ARE AT RISK”. They sent duplicates, triplicates and quadruples of letters and emails to the city council. Before the meeting got started they threatened the council with a lawsuit and a referendum. Less than an hour before the proceedings a 22-page document with attachments was received by the city attorney that was prepared by a law firm in L.A. to debunk the EIR, which the city attorney described as a ploy written by someone who wasn’t familiar with the area or the project. Of course the EIR was completed over a year ago, and there were public hearings, so there was ample time and opportunity to question it then, but that’s not very dramatic, that’s not very “Law & Order”. But don’t confuse me with the facts. The lesson here is that if you need to get something by the City Council, play dirty.

David Kelsen