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By Collin Breaux

Paul Lopez, Cody Martin and John Campbell are the three candidates running for the District 3 seat on the San Juan Capistrano City Council.

Ahead of the November ballot, we asked them questions about various topics of interest and are publishing their answers. More questions and answers will be published in upcoming issues.

Introduce yourself to voters. What’s your general background, and what experience do you bring to the table? What’s your platform and what issues are important to you?

Paul Lopez

Paul Lopez: Hello, my name is Paul Lopez, and I am running for San Juan Capistrano City Council District 3. I am a longtime resident of the area, homeowner, city commissioner, nonprofit attorney, family man and local volunteer with strong roots in our community. As Vice-Chair of the San Juan Capistrano Cultural Heritage Commission, I help oversee projects within the city and advise the City Council on promoting awareness and preservation of our city’s vibrant history. My incredible wife is a kindergarten teacher in San Juan Capistrano, and our two wonderful children attend that same local school.

The first in my family to graduate from college, I worked full-time while putting myself through law school to support my family. I now work as in-house counsel for a nonprofit organization that provides mental health services to underserved communities in Orange County. I also teach law part-time at two community colleges. My passion for serving the community has also led me to volunteer with a local food bank and coach my son’s Little League team.

Raised by a father who was a veteran and in law enforcement, I learned the value of hard work, discipline and the importance of public safety and protecting neighborhoods. I am running for San Juan Capistrano City Council to continue that record of service and bring my experience and work ethic to the city I love. It is my goal to help create an even better city for future generations, with more recreation and small businesses for all to enjoy.

Through my experience as an attorney, I understand public safety and what it takes to protect our community. I will work with County and State officials to make sure our law enforcement and fire services have the resources they need to keep us safe. I will also work to improve traffic throughout our city. Intertwined with traffic is responsible development. I will work to ensure any new development preserves the small-town vibe of our city. As commissioner, I voted against projects that would worsen traffic without bringing additional value to residents. I will directly address our homelessness crisis and find long-term solutions. I will also look to create new environmental solutions to preserve our beautiful city for generations to come. I will work with all sides for the benefit of San Juan Capistrano.

Cody Martin

Cody Martin: Hello, my name is Cody Martin, and I am running for San Juan Capistrano City Council! I am a lifetime resident of San Juan Capistrano, where I proudly attended Del Obispo Elementary School, Marco Forster Middle School and was a member of the Boys and Girls Club.

To put it simply, I love this town. The decisions I make as a councilman will have a direct effect on me and my family. Being raised in this town has given me a unique perspective on the needs of my district, and the city as a whole. I am a small business owner, and I understand the challenges our working families face. I have been involved in the political field for over six years now, working for multiple candidates and working as paid staff in multiple states. In addition, I currently serve as the chairman of our city’s Parks, Equestrian & Community Services Commission, where I have worked to oversee the beautification of our parks and fought tirelessly to protect our open space and equestrian way of life.

If I am elected, I plan to focus on: collaborating and maintaining civility on the dais, working to reduce traffic and congestion, as well as always maintaining a balanced budget. I look forward to continuing to serve San Juan Capistrano in a new role and always putting the people first.

John Campbell

John Campbell: My name is John Campbell. My wife, Hoa, and I have lived in San Juan Capistrano for 16 years. We have been blessed by our historic, quaint town and have participated in many of the events and activities.

As your council representative I will:

-Fully fund our first responders and Deputy Sheriff’s to promote a safer city. Implement a plan to promote greater enforcement for electric bicycle safety on our streets and, especially, trails. I will encourage formal instruction to be required that addresses safety and explore special city licensing requirements to use an electric bike in our city limits.

-Find immediate and long-term solutions to remove the homeless from our streets. We are talking about some of the most challenged people in our community. Helping with the homeless situation is a critical challenge that needs to be coordinated on a regional basis, with close cooperation with our neighboring cities and the County of Orange.

-Fight against poorly managed sober living operations in our neighborhoods. These facilities are a dangerous nuisance, and greater enforcement is the key here. I will demand a policy requiring inspections to ensure patient safety and ordinance compliance, while supporting quality facilities, as they do an excellent job helping those recovering from addiction.

I have a track record dedicated to our town. I serve as the treasurer and board member of the Camino Real Playhouse. We have enjoyed supporting and hosting events for many of our town’s nonprofits, including The Boys and Girls Club, Homefront America, CREER and the Mission Basilica School.  My wife is a practicing dentist, and many years she and I have been quite active volunteering for medical missions, both domestic and abroad.

I am a semi-retired businessman, primarily in construction. I have also worked successfully as a consultant in the medical industry, assisting doctors to negotiate financial transactions for capital expenditures.

Throughout the years, I have been an engaged citizen and active participant in city government. I have addressed the Council many times on issues I feel are important to our community. During that time, I have been an observer of both the best and worst of city politics. I congratulate today’s council for the significant growth that has come to San Juan under their leadership and their ability to remove the unnecessary drama that engulfed previous councils.

Collin Breaux

Collin Breaux covers San Juan Capistrano and other South Orange County news as the City Editor for The Capistrano Dispatch. Before moving to California, he covered Hurricane Michael, politics and education in Panama City, Florida. He can be reached by email at cbreaux@picketfencemedia.com.

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