By Elliott Levenson, San Juan Capistrano
Dissent is a principal spoke in the wheel of our political system. We all know America’s founders had broken with the old order that was rife with various forms of persecution. Fast forward to a more recent act of dissent in the form of a recall attempt on our recently elected councilmember, Sam Allevato. The superficial reason given for this recall has been associated, by a very small group of people, with the Ground Water Recovery Plant (GWRP) operating within our town. Let me opine from the outset that the attempt has little to do about the GWRP and more to do with a political agenda of swaying the City Council voting majority in the coming 2014 elections. If one is to accept this premise, then the form of dissent currently being carried out borders on insidious.
So who are these self-proclaimed activists? The individuals are an integral part of the team that publishes the local paper Community Common Sense. Let me state clearly that I appreciate the publication’s efforts. San Juan Capistrano is a diverse community and as a 16-year resident, I enjoy the benefits of many “points and counterpoints” venues. What I do disagree with is the recall effort of Sam Allevato.
The GWRP is a complex issue and to discuss the points and counterpoints editorially here would be quickly lost in the proverbial weeds. An interested individual can Google “San Juan Capistrano Ground Water Recovery Plant” and you will see approximately 10 pages of articles.
Consider the following facts:
An Orange County Register piece from February 1, 2013 by John Perry and Councilman Larry Kramer titled “Pro or Con: Is the groundwater recovery plant a good idea?”
Mayor John Taylor and Councilman Kramer have consistently voted with Mayor Pro Tem Allevato.
The above facts beg the question why selectively pick on Sam? The estimated time frame of the recall would probably be sometime around August 2014 with an approximate cost to the taxpayers of San Juan Capistrano of $100,000. The scheduled national election is in November, so why insist on a special election and negating the thousands of legitimately casted votes of last year?
Having served on the San Juan Capistrano Bond Oversight Committee and currently the Open Space, Trails and Equestrian Commission, I have never seen any of these self-described activists show up to any of the meetings. We the citizens of San Juan Capistrano collectively desire many amenities in our town from the city. These desires include a revitalized downtown area, improved parks and recreation areas, among others. The City Council, including Allevato, has shown wisdom and great leadership in that quest.
The few petitioners who signed the letter of intent to recall Allevato want a special election, knowing that local elections generally have a very limited percentage of the registered voters showing up at the polls. They will perpetuate their myths and lies at the petition gathering sites, relying on an uninformed electorate to sign up. If successful they will then try to “pick off” Sam and elect their own.
When the signature-gathering phase of this frivolous effort begins, please consider very carefully about signing this petition. Elections do have consequences and we will all have a chance to speak again in November.