Meet the candidates for the San Juan Capistrano City Council

San Juan Capistrano voters cast their ballots via electronic vote at the Del Obispo Terrace Senior Center during the 2012 election. Photo: Kevin Dahlgren
San Juan Capistrano voters cast their ballots via electronic vote at the Del Obispo Terrace Senior Center during the 2012 election. Photo: Kevin Dahlgren

By Brian Park

San Juan Capistrano residents will be choosing from a field of nine candidates to fill three seats on the City Council in the November election.

All three incumbents, Councilmen Larry Kramer, Derek Reeve and John Taylor, are running for reelection. They are joined by Greg Acho, Kerry Ferguson, Stephanie Frisch, Pam Patterson, Jan Siegel and Rob Williams.

In the coming weeks, The Dispatch will be providing ongoing coverage of the election, including publishing the candidates’ responses to our question-and-answer series about issues facing the city, culminating in our special election issue Friday, Oct. 24. If you have questions about what topics should be covered, email

Eight of the nine candidates submitted ballot statements to the city, which are printed here verbatim. The order is the same as the names will appear on the ballot.

Jan Siegel


Jan Siegel, Community Volunteer

I am running for City Council to bridge economic expansion and historical preservation. There are a number of economic developments that need to go forward within the City in order to maintain viability. At the same time these developments need to fit into the historic landscape of our unique community.

Honored as Chamber of Commerce woman of the year, by the City on the Wall of Recognition, City Volunteer of the Year, Mission Gala Honoree, “Moment In Time” columnist for the Capistrano Dispatch, and member of the Cultural Heritage Commission, I have proven that I can work with all the groups within the City to achieve the betterment of our community.

As a docent for the Friends of the Library Architectural Walking Tour, Mission Volunteer, Museum Curator of the Historical Society, past President of Meridth Canyon Homeowners Association, and Chair of the City’s 50th Anniversary Celebration Committee, I have shown that I have the vision and work ethic to achieve success for San Juan Capistrano.

I have been endorsed and supported by community leaders including former and current City Council members.

I will bring this creativity, vision, integrity, passion, work ethic and experience to the City Council.

I ask for your vote.

Derek Reeve


Derek Reeve, Councilman/Constitutional Attorney

As a San Juan Capistrano councilman, I have a proven record fighting for taxpayers, everyday residents, and the constitutional rights of all. I stand against the powerful political establishment to defend residents. I am an independent constitutional conservative who has kept every campaign promise.

Voted against every tax and fee increase and opposed incurring more debt and wasteful spending totaling millions of dollars.

Crusaded to remove San Juan Capistrano from the water business and stop high density development and increased traffic.

Fought for:

Christian groups holding bible studies;

Term limits;

Rule of Law;

Resolving lawsuits against the city;

Eliminating Red Light Cameras;

Eliminating business taxes.

Re-elect Reeve and we will take back City Hall. The political establishment works for out of town special interests while you sit in traffic figuring out how to pay your water bills. I will address the issues that concern residents; water, traffic and debt.

San Juan Capistrano is for everyone, not just political elites who control your tax dollars. If you’re tired of unnecessary water rate increases, burdensome traffic, and overwhelming debt, please join everyday residents and re-elect Derek Reeve. Together, we can fight City Hall!

Councilman, Constitutional Attorney, Small Business owner and parent. USC undergrad/Law; Claremont M.A.

Pam Patterson


Pam Patterson, Constitutional Attorney/Businesswoman

As a 19-year resident, I am uniquely qualified to be a member of the San Juan Capistrano City Council. As a Constitutional attorney, I have real world experience curbing an overreaching government. Government officials and bureaucrats routinely ignore the law in favor of their own agenda. This is why:

Our city has been involved in so many expensive lawsuits;

We have extreme traffic problems in our community; and

Our water bills are skyrocketing.

Our city government has failed its fiduciary duty to maintain and enhance the quality of life of city’s residents.

The charm of our beautiful historic town is eroding due to reckless and inappropriate development, and has caused congestion and traffic issues. I favor responsible development. Projects must enhance rather than have a devastating effect on the surrounding areas. Bad planning further contributes to an already strained water supply by creating further demand, which will in turn raise already high rates for all our residents.

Our city government has breached this fiduciary duty to our residents. The only way to stop further harm is to elect residents running for office whose hearts are committed to benefit the city, not their own interests. I am such a person.

Greg Acho


Greg Acho

Greg Acho declined to submit a candidate statement.

John Taylor

John Taylor, Businessman/Councilmember

San Juan Capistrano is experiencing a renaissance. When I began my term on City Council four years ago, our downtown was in a recession. Thanks to our revitalization efforts, dozens of new businesses have opened and our city is once again thriving.

As a businessman, I approach government with the same principles as running a successful company. As a 25-year resident of the Los Rios District, I also embrace our small town atmosphere and historic heritage.

I will continue to:

Practice fiscal responsibility – we increased our emergency cash reserve from 8% in 2010 to a healthy 50% today.

Run an efficient staff – we reduced employees from 109 to 87, saving thousands of dollars; annual audits rated excellent.

Keep our city safe – we increased positions in the Sheriff’s Department resulting in the lowest crime rates in years.

Protect our water supply – we obtained $5 million in state grants to upgrade our Groundwater Recovery Plant, producing nearly half the city’s water from our own wells.

Manage traffic – work with other agencies to proactively mitigate traffic issues.

I am a leader for positive change, and will continue to steer a course for good government while maintaining respect for others.

Robert Williams

Robert Williams, Architect/Business Owner

My wife and I chose to raise our three children in San Juan Capistrano. We made it our home because it is unique in its historic charm and rare in its quality of life. It’s a special community, and the values and history we have all come to love must be preserved.

As a Planning Commissioner, I fought against development that would ruin our town’s character. These weren’t easy decisions, but I am committed to putting the needs of our residents first. We need thoughtful growth that enhances our community.

As an architect for over 30 years, I understand both the need for development and the importance of maintaining San Juan Capistrano’s character.

As a small business owner, I understand the importance of limited government. City Hall needs to eliminate wasteful spending that jeopardizes our city’s budget.

I’m committed to:

Preserving the rural, equestrian and historical character of our community;

Finding traffic solutions that preserve the flavor of our historic downtown;

Fighting against wasteful spending;

Making sure we have the best public safety available.

If elected, I will fight to maintain San Juan Capistrano’s uniqueness. I love our town and would be honored to have your vote. Together we can keep San Juan Capistrano special.

Stephanie Frisch

Stephanie Frisch, Independent Insurance Broker

As a small business owner in San Juan Capistrano, I know firsthand how important it is to have a responsive, business friendly city government to ensure the ongoing financial health of our city.

I have served on the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors for six years, including two years as Chairman. I believe my experience and proven leadership capabilities will help guide our city on the important issues that face us.

My focus:

Develop and implement a plan to increase downtown parking;

Encourage responsible redevelopment of our downtown commercial corridor;

Preserve and maintain San Juan Capistrano’s cultural heritage and open space;

Continue to foster a receptive and positive business environment for all new and existing local businesses;

Work with our local law enforcement to ensure residents and guests are provided with a safe community.

San Juan Capistrano is unique — 40% of our city is open space. We enjoy a small town atmosphere where residents pitch in to help their neighbors, cherish a safe community, and know their local elected leaders. My goal is to maintain what we hold dear and make smart decisions to ensure a bright future for our city.

I would be honored to serve as your representative on the City Council.

Kerry Ferguson

Kerry Ferguson, Businesswoman/Educator

My pledge is to put my considerable experience as a successful business owner, educator and civic leader to work for you to:

Honor our heritage

Shape a great future

Serve equally every resident

I will work for you to hold the line on taxes, fees and spending, making sure new development doesn’t bring undue impact on our daily living with new pressures on water supplies, parking and traffic. I will treat your tax contributions as a precious resource to be invested wisely with care.

I will work for you to protect the rich history and varied culture that make San Juan Capistrano unique, especially when planning new projects. It is that heritage that creates the charm and romantic aura that we all love and visitors come to see.

I will work for you to help create a vibrant downtown core with the kind of eclectic mix of stores and restaurants, living spaces and redevelopment that will insure long term success for our town.

In short, I will work for everyone, for our heritage, for our future, and to serve every resident. I ask for your vote.

Education: Graduate of USC with BSc in Education

Larry Kramer

Larry Kramer, Retired Submarine Captain

I understand leadership and decision-making. As a Naval Officer, I commanded three nuclear submarines and a submarine base with an annual budget over $50 million. As a member of the San Juan Capistrano City Council, I have learned that our citizens want leaders who will listen, gather facts and make informed decisions.

I am a strong believe in community involvement. In addition to serving on the City Council for the past four years, I am an active member of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and past President of the San Juan Capistrano Rotary.

My priorities:

Make San Juan Capistrano a better place to live for all the residents;

Continue to improve the city’s financial footing;

Improve flow of traffic in and around San Juan Capistrano;

Enhance our open space and make it accessible to all;

Make our town an inviting, safe place to shop, dine and tour;

Insure that we have an adequate supply of safe drinking water;

Preserve the historical atmosphere that is our city’s trademark.

I will continue to put the people of San Juan Capistrano first, make decisions based on facts, preserve our small town atmosphere and conduct myself with integrity and transparency.

Larry Kramer

City Council Member/Mayor Pro Tem

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