Steve Behmerwohld, San Juan Capistrano

I feel that I need to respond to the personal attack from Mayor Kerry Ferguson, “Online Petition Surfaces Calling for Removal of Mayor Kerry Ferguson,” in the last issue of The Dispatch.

In the first line of her full response (which was posted in the online version of the story), she lashes out at what she refers to as “a group of schoolyard bullies, many of whom hang out at coffee chat.” Coffee Chat is a group of local people who meet at Hennessey’s Tavern every Friday morning to discuss what’s going on in San Juan and exchange ideas. The group welcomes any resident who wants to exercise their First Amendment rights and come and speak and learn about issues and current events in our town. I am a regular co-host. Kerry has been invited and has refused to attend on several occasions, although sitting (and past) Council people have attended and co-hosted for decades.

Although Kerry doesn’t call me out by name, like she did with Ted Rosenfeldt and Sam Allevato, she does refer to “one of the most constant bullies who rails at council and commissioners.” I do speak regularly at Council meetings, which is my First Amendment right. I very rarely raise my voice and never “rail.” She seems to forget about the years that her friends Kim McCarthy and Clint Worthington yelled at Councilman Allevato and others.

Ferguson also wrote: “He was forced to resign from ASAP (police services volunteer group) after stealing signs from residents advocating against SDGE’s substation expansion. Again, he sought to crush their right of free speech.”

We did remove signs (which was part of our volunteer job with the sheriff’s department). I did resign from A.S.A.P., but I certainly wasn’t forced to. We didn’t “steal” anything. There was a several-month-long OCSD investigation, (which I thought was a total waste of time and money, but was insisted on by one of the anti-SDG&E zealots, who was also instrumental in getting Kerry elected). I was interviewed by OCSD investigators on three separate occasions and was completely exonerated. Kerry’s supporters wanted our then-city manager and then-chief of police services to be fired. I resigned because I was tired of seeing them unjustly harassed.

What brought on Kerry’s tirade was a simple question from Allison Jarrell at The Dispatch:  “In general, what is your response to Ted Rosenfeldt’s petition to unseat you as mayor?”

There are 43 comments online—every one supporting the petition. And there are 133 signatures in support of this statement: “We, the undersigned, urge the City Council to vote No Confidence and remove Council member, Kerry Ferguson, from leadership as Mayor of San Juan Capistrano.”

I think it’s ironic that after being asked a direct question about the petition, she never answered the question, but instead launched an attack on three citizens.

For someone who claims to be a supporter of the First Amendment, she sure seems to try to deny those very rights of anyone who disagrees with her.

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comments (6)

  • Clint Worthington Reply

    Steve, are you talking about the 20 million dollars the City charged residents that Council Member Sam Allevato approved in illegal water rates that ultimately went to the California Supreme Court to be decided and the City lost? That was also three million in attorney fees the City spent.

    Or Steve, was it when Sam Allevato held secret meetings to ban newspapers and had the City Attorney threaten the newspaper with criminal action ? Of course, because of your friend Sam Allevato we remain the only City in the entire United States that has a restraining order against it to allow newspapers. Sam Allevato agreed to the stipulated judgement and the City paid the court costs.

    Or, could it possibly be Steve when CR&R over billed the residents for trash and had to go back and pro rate the trash bills for three years ultimately refunding the money to the residents.

    Or Steve, could it be the 3am vote by Sam Allevato after being advised by the City Manager and the City a Attorney that the vote was illegal. Of course, the courts found it was illegal also.

    Or possibly Steve, could it be the purchase of the Riding Park ? The City is now facing over 180 million dollars in fines due to violations of the Clean Water Act. That 180 million does not include the cost of cleanup.

    Or Steve, was it when residents begged for a stop sign and Sam Allevato voted against it and a couple weeks later a young boy lost his leg with the City settling for eight million dollars.

    Or Steve, was it when Sam Allevato as a City Council member continued to pump water out of the groundwater basin resulting in a seawater intrusion as they pumped it below sea level ruining the groundwater basin with salt water for generations.

    Or Steve, was it when the City continued to pump water running the golf course wells dry who had senior water rights to the city. Now the City is paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to restore and supply water to the golf course. Yep, you guessed it, Sam Allevato was the City Council Member.

    Your friend Sam Allevato is also the same person who by an extremely slim margin avoided a recall.

    So Steve, if I am upset about the blatant mismanagement of our City by Sam Allevato, there are hundred more out there like myself. One hundred and thirty one signatures on a online petition is nothing. Gathering thousands of signatures for two referendums in less than nineteen days is a statement.

  • Steve Behmerwohld Reply

    Clint, so why didn’t Kerry answer Allison’s question?

  • Steve Behmerwohld Reply

    Crickets

  • Clint Worthington Reply

    Why didn’t Sam Allevato answer the questions in Community Common Sense?

  • Steve Behmerwohld Reply

    Clint, you’re the one who brought up Sam. I have no idea what you’re talking about, but that’s nothing new.

    • That surprises a lot of us Steve, as you were the one campaigning door to door for Sam Allevato. The same Steve who became very emotional at the City Ciuncil meeting when Sam Allevato left office. So to feign that you don’t know what I am writing about, you are truly doing a disservice to yourself and those who know you. People keep telling me you are a smart person.

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