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Mayor Sam Allevato gives a speech during the Veterans Day ceremony.
Councilman Sam Allevato gives a speech at the 2014 Veterans Day ceremony. Photo: Allison Jarrell

By Allison Jarrell

San Juan Capistrano Councilman Sam Allevato made an early exit from City Council chambers Tuesday night following a discussion about his removal from the outside agencies he served on, including the Transportation Corridor Agencies and the Orange County Fire Authority.

The last item on the council’s March 3 agenda was to appoint a representative to the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station Decommissioning Community Engagement Panel and to consider filling the vacancies on outside agencies created by former council member Roy Byrnes’ retirement.

However, the discussion quickly shifted when newly-appointed Councilman John Perry asked if the council could discuss other positions as well. Perry requested that Allevato be removed from the Transportation Corridors Agency due to his “outspoken” support of the toll road, which Perry said conflicted with the viewpoint of the rest of the council.

Mayor Pro Tem Pam Patterson and Councilwoman Kerry Ferguson agreed with Perry, and in addition, Patterson recommended that Allevato be removed from all of his positions on outside agencies due to his “lack of decorum and professionalism.” Patterson and Ferguson said they felt Allevato’s emails to his supporters and an editorial he wrote were “personal attacks” against the other council members.

Allevato responded to the council members’ comments by defending the work he’s done while serving on the TCA, as well as boards like the Orange County Fire Authority.

“I’ve worked hard on this and I take this as a personal attack by you folks who have made those comments, because I have done a good job,” Allevato said. “You don’t get to be chair of the toll road agency by not being someone who is dedicated to seeing this project completed.”

Shortly after Mayor Derek Reeve suggested the council have a “valuable discussion” on whether they support the toll road, Allevato walked out of the council chambers.

“You know what, I’m done,” Allevato said before exiting. “You folks do what you want to do.”

The council went on to remove Allevato from the four boards he served on. Reeve abstained from three of the four votes, voting against removing Allevato from the Orange County Library Advisory Board.

Allevato told The Dispatch on Wednesday that the actions of his fellow council members Tuesday night were “spiteful” and “retaliatory,” adding that he has “some decisions to make” and hasn’t decided yet whether to resign following Tuesday’s events. Allevato made similar comments about resigning following the Nov. 4 election, saying at the time that he didn’t want to work in a “toxic” environment.

“I’m considering all of my options right now, and (resignation) is one of my options,” Allevato said. “I don’t want to work in a toxic environment. Time is your most precious resource, and how you want to spend your time is a big consideration for anybody.”

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comments (24)

  • Are you saying Sam, that “what’s good for the goose, ISN’T good for the gander”???????

  • Clint Worthington

    Sam Allevato told The Orange County Register he was resigning last night. It makes you wonder if the investigation of his voting for the contract for his employer while a city council member is weighing on him. The City of Irvine voted in December to spend more money investigating Sam Allevato and the Great Park. Or, do you think it is the decision we are waiting from the Appeals Court regarding the illegal water rates that Sam Allevato charged us and he won’t Sam have egg on his face. Or, is it the emails said sent from Sam Allevatos person email account that he was worried about and did not want read to the public.

    There are so many , many things that this man has done wrong that have cost this city and its residents millions and millions of dollars.

  • The community of San Juan Capistrano has a long list of grievances against Sam Allevato. The residents of San Juan Capistrano have become proactive, by taking up picket signs, gathering signatures and voting in new city council members. The democratic process is alive and well in San Juan Capistrano today. The good ole boys are not happy. They had hoped to continue running this town like the old west. Was it the water rate hike, the land deal, the Common Sense newspaper removed from city property, the CC meetings lasting until 3am and rubber stamp approval of developer deals passed despite a community yelling NO1, or the private e-mails from Allevato to his personal supporters denigrating the new council members and other members of the community? We may never know just how much Sam cost our city. But, we have a new city council and residents taking part in the Democratic Process. It is a good day in San Juan Capistrano. Maybe the Swallows will come back.

  • Charles Peterson, resident of SJC

    It appears SJC does have a gang problem after all. Pam, Kerry, Derek, John, Clint, Rose, Bonnie, Ian, Barbara, Steve, Donna, Roy, Kim, Kim, et. al. A gang of bullies that uses verbal, written and cyber attacks.

    “Bullying is a blustering, browbeating, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates. The behavior is often repeated and habitually cruel to others.”

    To the leader of the upcoming recall: Whether Mr. Allevato resigns or not, please keep the rest of the citizens of SJC informed of the recall efforts for the sitting majority of the city council. SJC is the joke of south Orange County now. It’s time for real leadership with good characters that can govern with decorum and civility. Individuals that care about our city more than they care about their own egos, interests and bullying Sam Allevato.

    • Clint Worthington

      Charles Peterson, why do facts and information scare you ? Sam Allevato embarrassed us in front of the nation by becoming the only city in the United States that has a restraining order against it form the Superior Court to ensure the protection of the First Amendment. Please Mr. Peterson, who is being bullied here ? Is it Sam Allevato who held secret meetings behind closed doors to halt the distribution of a newspaper and had the City Attorney send a letter to the newspaper threatening criminal prosecution. Or, is it the residents who want transparency in our city ? Who is being bullied here Mr. Peterson ?

      Why is the City of Irvine, Sam Allevatos previous employer spending tens of thousands of dollars investigating, subpoenaing, deposing Sam Allevato? This is the same Sam Allevato that his employer charged the taxpayers $29,500.00 a month for Sam Allevatos services. The same Sam Allevato who as a City council member voted on a contract for GAFCON who was his employer ! The same Sam Allevato who in eleven years has failed to fix the Ghost Train. Yet, the new city council in the first 30 days have made more strides to alleviating the Ghost Train than the eleven years that Sam Allevato did nothing.

      The 1.2 million dollars Sam Allevato spent just on attorney fees fighting the appeal of the Scalzo lawsuit. The 1.5 million dollars that Sam Allevato has spent fighting the illegal water rates. In essence, fighting to return the residents own money to them for the water rates that were illegally charged to them.

      How do you think Mr. Peterson the eighty people a month on the average that had their water turned off for non-payment ? I bet if they had been charged a legal water rate and not charged for recycled water that they never received, their water would not have been shut off. In the private sector, these actions are called fraud.

      So Mr. Peterson, who has been bullied here ? It has been the residents.

      • “The 1.5 million dollars that Sam Allevato has spent fighting the illegal water rates. In essence, fighting to return the residents own money to them for the water rates that were illegally charged to them.”

        Wasn’t Perry the plaintiff in that suit?

        It’s not the facts that bother us, Clint, its the bullying. Check out “Guest Opinion: Just What is Going On?” by Sam. 455 comments. The issue of water, and the impact drought and population growth was having on our water was mentioned a number of times, not just by me, but they were ignored in favor of one response after another bashing Sam, Larry and John. You were, and continue to beat a dead horse. How about some solutions. Perry was apparently a plaintiff in the suit against tiered water rates, and Reeve allegedly was one of the attorneys representing the CCS group in another law suit against the city. Can we trust them to represent the will of the people?

        If someone posts a legitimate letter suggesting things that could be done to reduce some of the problems facing San Juan, it is largely ignored. Why is that Clint?

  • Charles,if there is a recall would you consider running?

  • Charles Peterson

    No, Ms. Clark, I don’t believe myself to be the best or correct person to govern. I am flattered, thank you. I do believe several of the individuals that put themselves before the city council to fill Dr. Byrnes seat and others in the city would serve us well. For example, as Mayor Reeve and other council members mentioned that fateful night, Evan Chaffee is an excellent choice. It wasn’t clearly explained why he wasn’t selected although many of us believe it was decided before that night who they would appoint. Or perhaps Laura Freese would be willing to return to the dias. This is just my early morning opinion and should be read that way.

    • Clint Worthington

      Charles Peterson, you should submit an application to take Sam Allevatos seat. You are articulate and get your message across easily.

      You need to submit your application. Do it.

    • Charles:

      Interesting that you call people you don’t agree with “bullies”, then suggest Laura Freese as a good choice to replace Sam on the dais. Are you aware that Freese called people “nazis” and “hatemongers” – in writing, not because they verbally attacked her but because she doesn’t agree with their point of view? Isn’t that bullying?

      Are you aware that Sam Allevato has personally attacked members of the community (ironically some of the people you accused of bullying), calling them “liars” and “bomb throwers” and so forth publicly, from the dais – not because they personally attacked him, but because they expressed opinions he didn’t agree with?

      Are you aware that Sam Allevato violated the first amendment right to free speech and free press when he banned a newspaper that was critical of his actions? Isn’t that bullying and an attempt to intimidate?

      Why is it that certain people resort to personal, ugly attacks and extreme measures like trying to silence any dissent when they don’t agree? Whatever happened to just agreeing to disagree?

  • After watching video of the meeting it seems Councilmember Paterson was the instigator and the Mayor was not supportive. Rumors are Paterson and the Mayor are no longer allies. That didn’t last long.

    • wait…so that kind of throws a monkey wrench into the conspiracy theory about the council all marching in lock step.

  • Perhaps Joanna could throw her hat in to replace Sam. Joanna is somewhat of an expert on water, drought and California’s water shortage. It would be nice to have her knowledge with respect to water, which is a huge issue in San Juan Capistrano. The ground water, the rate, and any and all development that needs a new water permit.

    • Rose Stone: Are you referring to Joanna Clark when you say “I suggest that Joanna throw her hat in the ring to replace Sam”? If so, no thanks; this town is divided enough.

      I have read her nasty personal attacks on people posting that she doesn’t agree with. That is absolutely what we don’t need imo.

      • Jan… I must have missed any verbal attacks by Joanna. I never saw any attacks. I merely suggested Joanna based on her knowledge of water, drought, fracking, water rates, and California legislation regarding water. It is always nice to have experts on our city council or commissions who bring knowledge with them.

    • Thank you, Rose, for your nice comment about me. If I were in better health, I would consider throwing my hat in the ring.

      • Clint Worthington

        Joanna Clark, the lawsuit is Capistrano Tacpayers Association vs. city of San Juan Capistrano. The plaintiff is Capsitrano Taxpayers Association, not John Perry.

      • Clint Worthington

        Joanna Clark, I am sorry about your health, Rose Stone is correct, you should throw your hat in the ring.

  • So at noon, the day after Sam “resigned” or more accurately stormed off the dais in the middle of the council meeting, he was seen having lunch with Brad Gates. Right after the council meeting, he’d told one newspaper he was resigning, and another he was considering resigning ~ I think in that order. So, what’s the deal? And equally importantly, what would be the rational? Shortly after the election, he already proclaimed the newly formed City Council “toxic” to him and stated he was considering stepping down then. If he stays, is it due to his will ~ or the will of Brad Gates? As of today, it’s a week…

    • Well that must have been some lunch. Coincidence that they met the day after Sam walked off out of the CC meeting in a huff? Everyone has referred to Brad Gates as the silent city council member. Information is very important to these guys. Keeping Allevato on the CC keeps Gates in the loop about actions in San Juan Capistrano. I can’t imagine that Gates would encourage Allevato to walk away. But, who knows?

      • And the other shoe drops! Sunday’s O.C. Register reports Sam has (surprisingly) reconsidered and is NOT stepping down (Shock!). They reported: The former mayor backed off his resignation plans on Friday, following what he described as receiving “overwhelming support” from the community to stay on as “a voice of reason.”

        You can almost hear Brad whispering in his ear…or wagging his finger in Sam’s face!

        Full article

  • “Not so fast old boy…..I need you on the inside to keep tabs on those newby’s on the city council…just say you reconsidered….” said the tall emposing man who had been running the county for years.

    • And on that Pyrretic Victory comes this week’s City Manager’s Weekly Report, which buried deep inside notes:
      Water Production The goal for local groundwater production from the Groundwater Recovery Plant (GWRP) for this Fiscal Year (July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015) is 3,000 acre feet (revised down from 4,187 at the first quarter budget adjustment due to the drought). The GWRP production for the month of February was 220 acre feet; an average of 7.9 acre feet per day (2.6 million gallons per day). Thus far, the GWRP production for the month of March is 60 acre feet; an average of 7.5 acre feet per day (2.5 million gallons per day). As the severe drought has continued to persist, the City voluntarily turned off two wells in September as a proactive step. The City continues to evaluate and monitor the drought and the groundwater basin. With these two wells off, the City’s maximum production capacity is approximately 2.6 million gallons per day.

      So much for being “Water Independent” and “drought proof” as now we are in danger of loosing our emergency source (which was the original intention). Can a loss on the appeal for the illegal Water Rates be far behind?

      Sam, exactly why are you sticking around? Brad must have an apple stuffed in your mouth as you twirl over a slow fire… I think Sam’s “overwhelming support” must be disappearing as fast as the water in the basin.

  • Considering resignation to lunch with Brad and announcing he’s staying on……the change certainly implies Sam likes being out-numbered in more ways than one.

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