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Cathy Pechstedt, San Juan Capistrano

I read Rich Heimann’s letter in the Feb. 28-March 12 issue, and I realize I’ve waited too long to show my appreciation to San Juan Capistrano.

It’s down to the tiny details that my husband and I discover daily about this place. From the beauty along the bike trails we ride, to the mission bells we can sometimes hear in the distance from our home, to the often turquoise waters at Doheny Beach. We watch wildlife as we hike the trails, and we might hear a horse whinny or a rooster crow nearby. We can meander Los Rios and see folks ride by on horseback. As we approach San Juan Creek Road and La Novia and look north, we are stunned at the view of our hills. That corner is so rare and is set aside. The whole “California’s past” feel of the place is preserved like nowhere else! We have found a welcoming community—a true home.

We’ve heard that San Juan has had a tumultuous political past. Not having lived through it, I can only applaud the locals for their passion and foresight in voting for The Ecology Center, the Hillside Buffer, Open Space initiatives, and historic preservation victories. The previous administrations that pushed for the implementation of those desires are to be applauded. In the current climate where development is favored over all else, it is stunning to be in a place where they seem to have gotten it (mostly) right.

As we hurtle toward the future, it’s reassuring to know that San Juan will come along, too . . . just at a more measured pace. More considered.

Is it perfect here? No. Challenges lie ahead. I’m sure that the citizens of San Juan will attend to them all in turn. The passion they (we) have for this town will find a way through and make it even better!

Meanwhile, if you’re coming home to San Juan at night on the I-5, pay attention as you leave Mission Viejo. Those bright lights as far as you can see . . . as you round the bend, look! It’s dark. It’s very dark here at night . . . unless there’s a game on at the high school. It’s as if you’re driving into . . . California’s past.

Editor’s note: This letter was written before the coronavirus-induced shutdown.

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