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STEPHEN RIOS, San Juan Capistrano

Dear fellow citizens of San Juan Capistrano,

I own and reside in the Rios Adobe on Los Rios Street in San Juan Capistrano, with my wife, Olga, and our children. Our home was built in 1794 and my children are ninth generation direct descendants from Feliciano Rios, who arrived in San Juan Capistrano with Father Serra.

For more than 40 years, I have been actively involved in the preservation of our historic Los Rios neighborhood, utilizing the Los Rios Specific Plan. Through all these years, I have worked with many City Council members concerning these preservation efforts. No member has been more passionate or knowledgeable about our neighborhood and its unique needs than Councilwoman Kerry Ferguson. I find that she has always been readily accessible to myself, and others, who have various concerns.

It now offends me to read the “grounds for the recall” as listed in the Notice of Intention to Circulate Recall Petition, which are factually incorrect as they apply to the Los Rios Specific Plan. It is simply untrue to say that Mayor Ferguson “has failed to protect such Plan,” “actively promoted this shopping mall to residents…” and “ignored the voices of residents,” etc.

I have spoken to Councilwoman Ferguson numerous times about the River Street Project, and I have personally attended, or watched via live stream, every city meeting concerning the proposed project. Councilwoman Ferguson, as well as other City Council members, have simply voted to review the applicant’s request. Initiating a study of this matter is not an approval of the applicant’s request.

Also, it has been my pleasure to serve on the mayor’s advisory committee concerning the Northwest Open Space (NWOS) for the development of our Putuidem Tribal Village as an educational and cultural attraction. With other members of the committee, we have spent numerous hours and held many meetings with the mayor on this most important matter. Never once during these meetings has Ms. Ferguson ever spoken about “commercial development of the Northwest Open Space,” as the recall petition supporters allege.

When the River Street Project first came before City Council, I spoke in favor of the applicant’s right to a fair review process. When this process is completed, we will see a final proposal and then know whether it is appropriate for Los Rios Street. This, I suggest, is the same position that Councilwoman Ferguson has taken. Unfortunately, many of the recall petition supporters do not know the true facts surrounding the proposed project (River Street) or choose to intentionally distort them.

I support fair and due process review and continued appropriate protection of my beloved Los Rios Street. I know that the mayor strongly shares these feelings as well. It would be helpful if everyone would keep the true facts on the table.

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