Compiled by Shawn Raymundo
From the statewide legalization of marijuana for recreational use to the midterm elections, 2018 certainly was an eventful year that brought about significant changes while laying the groundwork for what’s to come. And while a new year provides an opportunity to grow and move forward, we should first take a step back and remember how and why we got here. Below is a compilation of some of the year’s biggest headlines.
A petition to recall San Juan Capistrano City Councilmembers Kerry Ferguson, Derek Reeve and Pam Patterson began collecting signatures after the City Clerk’s office approved the notices of intent in late December 2017.
A three-year tentative agreement regarding teachers’ salaries and benefits was struck Jan. 17 between the Capistrano Unified School District and the Capistrano Unified Education Association. Part of the agreement was to provide teachers 1 percent salary increases during the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years, as well as a 1 percent retroactive increase for the 2016-17 school year.
Statewide, several new laws went into effect, including the legalization of recreational marijuana and a handful of hot-button business laws. Some of the laws included minimum-wage hikes, requiring employers with 25 employees or fewer to pay $10.50 an hour and $11 an hour if they employed more than 25 people.
The San Juan Capistrano City Council on Feb. 6 denied the Capistrano Unified School District’s application to initiate a study of a proposed code amendment that would have allowed a development of up to 47 single-family homes in a 7.29-acre site called Pacifica San Juan. The proposed site, off Camino Las Ramblas and Avenida California, is designated as a potential school site.
CUSD had previously noted that there are not a sufficient number of students to warrant the construction of a new school. CUSD also said that if it’s successful in obtaining the approval of residential use of the property, the funds gained from selling the property to a residential developer would be committed to various district capital facilities’ needs.
The College and Career Planning course was removed as a graduation requirement for high school students by the Capistrano Unified School District Board of Trustees on Feb. 28. The course, which was a semester-long class, helps students with college and career planning.
About 1,000 San Juan Hills High School students participated in a national school walkout March 14 to protest gun violence. The demonstration was a response to the 17 victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Feb. 14, 2018.
In a 4-1 vote, with Mayor Sergio Farias dissenting, the City Council on April 3 passed a symbolic resolution condemning California Senate Bill 54 (SB 54), also known as the Sanctuary State Law. SB 54 went into effect at the start of the year, banning local and state law enforcement agencies from “using money or personnel to investigate, interrogate, detain, detect, or arrest persons for immigration enforcement purposes.”
The petitions to recall City Councilmembers Kerry Ferguson, Pam Patterson and Derek Reeve were withdrawn because of a “lack of sufficient signatures,” the council announced on April 19.
City Council on May 1 voted down a resolution that would have formally apologized to city staff on behalf of the Council for allegations lobbed by Councilmember Pam Patterson back in July 2017 that the staff “stole $600,000.”
A few weeks later, on May 16, Patterson attended a meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House, where she joined a small group of Southern California representatives who opposed California’s controversial Sanctuary Law.
The San Juan Capistrano City Council on June 19 approved the conceptual design of the Verdugo Street Beautification Project, which had been in the works for about a decade. The project includes widening sidewalks, installing landscaping and enhancing paving, lights and street furniture. With the council’s approval, the project could also move forward with requests for final design services.
San Juan Capistrano business owner and resident Stephen Armond Nordeck died of cancer on June 25. Nordeck, known for his philanthropy and involvement in San Juan’s business and equestrian communities, was 76 years old.
The environmental organization Action for Nature named 8-year-old Ryan Hickman as a 2018 International Young Eco-Hero for starting his own recycling company. With the help of his father, Ryan started Ryan’s Recycling Company, which recycled roughly 370,000 cans and bottles to help keep them out of landfills and to “save the planet.”
The nonprofit organization, Capistrano Unified School Foundation, which helps fund needs of the Capistrano Unified School District, filed a lawsuit against its former director, Michelle Hart. The lawsuit accused Hart of embezzling more than $50,000 from the foundation.
Following the Capistrano Unified School Foundation’s lawsuit against its former director, the Capistrano Unified School District Board of Trustees voted on Oct. 10 to adopt a resolution to distance itself from the foundation. Trustees considered the resolution after concerns were raised regarding the foundation’s management of raising funds.
Residents of San Juan Capistrano elected Troy Bourne and former Mayor John Taylor to the City Council, representing Districts 2 and 4, respectively. Incumbent Councilmember Derek Reeve was re-elected, defeating fellow Councilmembers Pam Patterson and Kerry Ferguson.
Because of the creation of districts, Reeve, Patterson and Ferguson ran against each other for District 3. The field of candidates also included college student Cody Martin, businesswoman Joyce Anderson and write-in candidate Robert Hagstrom, a U.S. Air Force Veteran.
Newly elected Councilmembers Troy Bourne and John Taylor were sworn in to office, replacing Councilmembers Kerry Ferguson and Pam Patterson, who were unseated in the November elections. With a fresh new City Council in place, the members unanimously voted to appoint Mayor Pro Tem Brian Maryott as the mayor of San Juan Capistrano.