SUPPORT THIS INDEPENDENT JOURNALISM
The article you’re about to read is from our reporters doing their important work — investigating, researching, and writing their stories. We want to provide informative and inspirational stories that connect you to the people, issues and opportunities within our community. Journalism requires lots of resources. Today, our business model has been interrupted by the pandemic; the vast majority of our advertisers’ businesses have been impacted. That’s why The Capistrano Dispatch is now turning to you for financial support. Learn more about our new Insider’s program here. Thank you.
By Christie Smead, San Juan Capistrano
I am writing in response to Mayor Sam Allevato’s opinion column (“Your Questions Answered,” Jan. 10-23), in which he states his “decision making is something residents should consider … during the election cycle.”
I agree that we should consider his decision making. To begin, let’s consider the council’s illegal method of water billing. It was brought to Allevato’s attention on at least two occasions by the Capistrano Taxpayers Association, a volunteer group of residents. Allevato ignored the concerns and proceeded with the billing, which was deemed illegal by Orange County Superior Court Judge Gregory Munoz.
Let’s consider Allevato’s decision to appeal the judge’s ruling, costing us taxpayers many thousands more in additional legal fees.
Let’s consider Allevato’s decision to have news publications removed from city property. This is clearly a violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, state law and our municipal code. This decision is costing us taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars. When a governing entity wants to silence reporting on the government’s activities, it is cause for suspicion and concern. What is he trying to hide?
Let’s consider that Judge James Di Cesare had to step in to temporary put a stay on the newspaper ban. Once again, not just the townspeople find Allevato’s decisions illegal, a judge has as well. Let’s consider the additional cost in attorney fees to continue to pursure, in court, Allevato’s efforts to ban news publications.
New let’s consider the $93,000 to $100,000 in special election cost. This is a one-time expense of just under $5 per household.
Let’s consider that we do have an election in November, but Allevato will not be on that ballot. November is an excellent opportunity to retire councilmen Larry Kramer and John Taylor from their duties too, considering that they have played an integral part in much of Allevato’s folly, including the expensive legal battles we taxpayers are forced to fund.
Allevato states that, “slightly over a year ago … thousands of residents voted me back into office for my third full term.” This is true, but he barely won (by around 300 votes) despite being a nine-year incumbent and outspending his opponents 10-to-1.
Let’s consider the offensive glossy mailers Allevato’s supporters have spent tens of thousands of dollars to create and mail to each of us. It reminds me of something I heard about “the company you keep.”
To finalize this consideration, Allevato states that “recalls should be reserved for public officials that have violated the law, committed ethical violations and such.” In my opinion, he is correct here, and it is obvious that he too sees the value in his recall.
We cannot afford Allevato’s bad decisions. Please support your resident volunteers circulating the recall petitions.