Michael Forster, San Juan Capistrano
Was I the only one disappointed by City Councilwoman Kerry Ferguson’s guest opinion about moving the city forward in the Oct. 23-Nov. 12, 2015 edition of The Capistrano Dispatch? The column just reinforced why many constituents are so frustrated with the lack of integrity and political tone deafness. Councilwoman Ferguson’s letter promotes that the new council members arrived on scene to save our city from the evils of the previous council. The reality is that these new faces on the City Council are trying to politically highjack the city by tacking politics to their minority extreme.
In her letter, Councilwoman Ferguson proclaims that “naysayers … tell mostly half-truths … telling untruths altogether” and the Vermeulen Lawsuit “improperly undermines the will of voters who exercised their inherent referendum powers” and that “60 percent of voters voted against incumbents.” She further contends that “the facts” support her position that San Juan Capistrano’s majority interests are being carried out by City Hall. Really? Let’s take a closer look at Councilwoman Ferguson’s perspective and what truly is fact.
First, “naysayers” are not the enemy. Naysayers are indispensable cornerstones of our democracy, freely and proudly voicing their perspective with the right to be heard and respected. Our City Council has the responsibility and duty to ensure that all residents are represented by closing their lips, opening their minds and listening well, whether they agree with it or not. You never know when a naysayer may have it right—anyone recall Galileo, who was jailed in 1633 for heresy by claiming that the earth revolves around the sun?
Second, her premise that the Vermeulen lawsuit “improperly undermines the will of voters” whereby “60 percent of voters voted against incumbents” is a skewed and politically motivated perspective not quite supported by the entirety of the facts. The Speiker project detractors’ misleading signature-gathering process aside, her argument that the Speiker project was specifically rejected based on the statement that “60 percent of voters voted against incumbents” in the last general election fundamentally falls short of credible. The facts are that of the 24,293 votes cast, only a minority 32.9 percent of the votes went to new Councilwomen Pam Patterson (4,313) and Ferguson (3,690). And let’s not forget that Councilman John Perry was appointed without a single vote of San Juan Capistrano’s 18,000 registered voters. How ludicrous it is to contend that overturning of the Spieker project was supported by the majority of residents.
On the bright side, Councilwoman Ferguson goes on to offer that, “Naysayers contend falsely that City Council is not working for all our residents. We meet constantly with constituents, whether they voted for us or not.” Councilmembers Ferguson, Patterson and Perry must be very busy these days meeting with the majority of San Juan Capistrano residents who did not vote for them. For San Juan Capistrano’s sake, I hope they are listening.