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By The Capistrano Dispatch

City Council Candidates Ask for Your Vote
A heated election season winds down as the candidates have their final say

For the last month, the candidates for two seats on the San Juan Capistrano City Council have discussed various issues facing the city in The Dispatch’s question-and-answer series. This week, they sum up what they have said and make a final pitch for the votes of the city.

We asked the candidates:

Other than the issues already discussed, what is the most important issue facing San Juan Capistrano and how would you address it? Lastly, why should voters vote for you?

Here are their responses in the order in which they will appear on the November ballot:

Sam Allevato
Councilmember/Retired Policeman

I admire and respect every voter. I only know myself to be honest, have integrity and also bring solid experience to my position.

The remaining issue is one of leadership and honest dealing with the public. My opponents have made statements that are blatantly false, maligned my character and have distorted the facts.

They have been called out as liars in public forums and have nothing to respond with other than mass mailings unregistered with the state that promote more fabrication and lies. They can never stand toe-to-toe with someone that is armed with the truth and facts. A few desperate people have even resorted to stealing my signs. They have done nothing but put a black eye on our wonderful city and driven down property values. Our city is financially sound, our revenues continue to climb to over 19 percent this year, and we have made the tough choices to reign in pension costs and reduced staff, which will save us millions over the years. We have reduced the budget by 12 percent, improved our existing groundwater recovery plant and returned our auto dealers and new small businesses to town.

I am a proven leader with experience. Visit:

Ginny Kerr
Planning Commissioner

As a member of the City Council I will fight to preserve the unique character and historical significance of our city. I am dedicated to preserving and enhancing the quality of life for our residents and encouraging growth and vitality in our local businesses.

Our city is financially sound. We are headed toward independence from reliance upon imported water where we have no control over cost or availability and we have traffic improvements either being implemented or being planned to move traffic around our city.

I have been a Planning Commissioner for the last five years and I understand the issues and the process. It is essential to our local economy to streamline the business approval process and diversify our tax base so that we can continue to provide services to our residents.

I will work diligently in cooperation with my colleagues to lead San Juan Capistrano into a bright future, free of personal agendas.

Research the candidates to make certain they meet your standards for honesty, integrity, knowledge of the issues, applicable experience and a desire to continue to lead our city in a positive direction.

Choose wisely. The future of our city is dependent upon your vote.

Kim McCarthy
Newsletter Editor

In my opinion, the most important issue facing San Juan Capistrano is cronyism. Our City Council seats have been occupied by good ol’ boys to control taxpayer dollars and council votes for their personal enrichment. The result for residents is out of control water rates, traffic nightmares and mounting debt of over $100 million.

Take the high cost of water for example. Allevato and Kerr advocate continuing operation of the Groundwater Recovery Plant knowing that the current rate structure has produced a multi-million dollar deficit in the Utilities Department. The GWRP is too expensive to operate because of staff compensation and benefits which currently amount to $2.4 million per year. In addition, it is a poorly designed facility that requires extensive, costly maintenance. We simply can’t afford to pay the water rates required to keep it running.

Ginny Kerr states that she won’t increase water rates “without a water-rate study” but surely she’s aware that Allevato already voted to automatically increase our rates every year through 2016.

Beware what these politicians tell you. Look at your water bills, look at the traffic they have created, and ask yourself if they deserve to be rewarded with your vote.

Tom Marantz
Technology Administrator

I’d like to bring balance to the Council. There are a lot of changes happening in our town, and we should have a Council that is more responsive to its residents and businesses. I am a strong believer in creating collaborations between all the stakeholders in our community: from residents, local groups and our commissions to businesses and developers, just to name a few. These collaborations lead to better outcomes for all involved, and I will have an open-door policy as a Councilmember to facilitate this.

I will work to make our Council actions clearer, so we remove the confusion a lot of residents expressed to me around many local issues. We can accomplish this by providing a better account of what is happening to solve our issues like the “ghost train,” quiet zones and budgetary matters, incorporating dashboards so our citizens can quickly assess where we stand.

As the independent candidate, I plan to lead guided by my principles: hard and honest work, small efficient government, pragmatic decision-making, and I come from a place that values cooperation and transparency to represent our town.

It would be a privilege to serve the people of San Juan Capistrano. God bless this great town we call home.

Roy L. Byrnes
Retired Physician/Surgeon

We need more truth and openness from our city government. Councilman Allevato should not be reelected because he deceived the public. He helped to engineer the gift of $27.5 million of bond money to purchase the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park which is largely closed to us. This deception will eventually cost over $55 million in total. We’re forbidden entry and use, except for a movie two times a year or when the Blenheim leaseholder permits.

We were told: “It’s necessary to buy this to prevent massive development and oppressive traffic.” That was false because flood plains, conservation and power line and pipeline easements vastly limit the use; less than 60 percent of the land is buildable. After the purchase, the “prevented” development was moved across the Ortega Highway so we got the extra traffic anyway.

Allevato’s Council promised to: “Buy Open Space within the City.” More deception! They showed us five phony acquisition targets. The “stealth target” was located within the future city of Rancho Mission Viejo outside San Juan. Their future citizens will enjoy free “open space views” which we’ll pay for! I’m an experienced former mayor. Please vote for me and for Kim McCarthy. We can do better. We’ll make a difference.

CUSD Candidates Make their Final Pitch
Candidates in Districts 1 and 2 make their case for a place on the board

This year, San Juan Capistrano voters will be responsible for electing two CUSD board members in Districts 1 and 2, and for the past several weeks, the candidates have offered their take on some district-wide issues. In the final installment of our question-and-answer series, San Juan Capistrano’s CUSD candidates ask for your vote.

We asked the candidates:

Why should voters cast their ballots for you?

Here are the candidates’ responses in the order in which their names will appear on the November ballot:


Karin Schnell
Community Volunteer

Over the years I have worked in education on a variety of levels, from museum education, to teaching at California State University, Fullerton. Specifically to CUSD, I partnered with the district for grants for programs at elementary schools and coordinated the Capistrano Alliance for Arts Education to raise awareness and advocacy for arts education.

I have served on several commissions as a community appointee by Orange County Supervisor Pat Bates on the John Wayne Airport Arts Commission and the newly formed Arts and Culture Commission in the city of Dana Point. As chair of both of these commissions, it is my responsibility to lead and work closely with my fellow commissioners and the community.

It is vital to provide a truly 21st century education that prepares all children for our future workforce. This can be accomplished with STEAM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics). Fields such as high technology and the entertainment business are central to California economic vitality.

It is also important to educate our young people for college, work, and life using the Four C’s: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving, Communication, Collaboration and Creativity and Innovation. As adults we must strive to be lifelong learners. I know as a board member my skills will include critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity.

As a parent, education advocate, and community leader, I am the qualified, independent choice who will work for you and your children.

Amy Hanacek
Small Business Owner

I have enjoyed almost 20 years working in my children’s schools. CUSD teachers and administrators have done an excellent job educating my sons despite receiving inadequate funding from the state. I am motivated to not only promote this road to success for all students but also to enhance and improve this valuable path.

My goal is to make CUSD a model district with outstanding and innovative curriculum and instruction presented by highly qualified teachers at each and every school. As a believer and strong supporter of public education, I will advocate for important educational reforms in California that will result in greater local control and flexibility in how we utilize state-allocated funds. I am committed to reforms that will equalize school funding in California and bring desperately needed resources to CUSD.

In short, I will do my best to foster an environment of excellence in all areas of public education and remain committed to our children so that they may become the innovators and good neighbors of the 21st century.


Carol L. McCormick
Community Volunteer

As a long time board member in my community I have demonstrated sound financial management and fiscal accountability to my constituents. I understand a board member’s responsibility to adhere to public meeting guidelines as defined in the Brown Act and am committed to maintaining open and transparent communication.

My leadership experience includes more than a decade of service to schools, youth sports, scouting and my community services association. I have successfully worked with parents, businesses and community leaders to successfully manage activities that support children.

Having worked in college admissions at USC, I recognize the value of broad, rigorous academic preparation and the importance of meaningful extra-curricular activities. I am committed to protecting and promoting opportunities for students to have a full and rich educational experience in our schools.

My family has made a commitment to our community. My three children grew up here and have received an outstanding education. I am saddened that students entering kindergarten today may not have all of the benefits of the same outstanding public education that my children had because of the steady decline in funding for schools by the state of California. We need reforms that bring greater local control and flexibility in how districts use state-allocated funds. I am committed to getting CUSD what we need to best serve our students.

Our local schools are an integral part of the fabric of our neighborhoods. Their success is our success. I am dedicated to success of all children and families in CUSD.

Don Franklin Richardson
Public School Teacher

I have taught in California’s public schools for over 40 years. I have had a chance to teach at the elementary, intermediate, high school and college levels. In the evenings, I ran an athletic program at Capistrano Valley Christian School just before the principal, a friend, let to start Saddleback Valley Christian School. I graduated from the University of Redlands in biology and chemistry with the daughter of a couple who had a part in starting St. Margaret’s Episcopal School here in San Juan Capistrano. I have had a chance to teach at the two prison schools in the foothills of Saddleback Mountain. I have been the manager of our family’s shopping center for over 30 years. I have been in the band, have played and coached football and swam. Besides the sciences, I have taught drama, dart, history and math. My family has been in California for over 150 years.

Jim Reardon
Business Owner/Engineer

I have an unquestionable commitment to public education, including educational choices such as magnet and charter schools. I can read and understand financial statements, and I have formal training and experience in board governance that I have successfully applied to my business and with several non-profit organizations including a private school. I believe that California has an iron-clad school funding mechanism in its Constitution and that no new school taxes or fees are necessary to restore greatness to our public schools.

Voters Choosing in a Variety of Federal and State Races

In addition to the local races, there are obviously a number of federal and state level races San Juan Capistrano voters will be voting for on November 6. On top of the Presidential Election, voters will also be choosing a new representative in Congress.

Due to the redrawing of district lines, San Juan has been drawn into the 49th Congressional District, which is currently represented by Vista Republican Darrell Issa, who currently chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Issa has served in Congress since 2001.

Republican Ken Calvert currently represents the city in Congress. His district has been redrawn to primarily include Riverside County and other parts of the Inland Empire.

Issa is being challenged by Democrat Jerry Tetalman, a Carlsbad Realtor. A long-time political activist, Tetalman said that he’d volunteered previously on a number of different campaigns and decided to run this year because “it was time.”

“I really felt I needed to take a stand,” Tetalman said. Tetalman said he would be in favor of phasing out the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. “I believe we need to move to renewables. The risks of San Onofre are too great, in terms of safety.”

Tetalman said he also opposed offshore drilling in the area, which he said Issa had favored. He pointed to the damage wrought by the 1969 oil spill near Santa Barbara.

Tetalman said he would champion electrifying transportation, as well as high-speed rail if elected.

Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein is also up for reelection. The incumbent is seeking her fourth term in the Senate. The former San Francisco Mayor has served since 1993. She currently serves on the Judiciary Committee, the Appropriations Committee, the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the Select Committee on Intelligence, Homeland Security Subcommittee of Appropriations and the Rules and Administration Committee.

She is being challenged by Danville Autism advocate Elizabeth Emken. Emken is the former vice president for government relations at Autism Speaks, a national advocacy organization. She had previously worked at IBM. She had previously run for Congress in the 11th District, which is in northern California.

For State Assembly District 73, San Clemente teacher James Corbett is challenging the incumbent, Dana Point Republican Diane Harkey. Corbett is best known for his involvement in a 2007 lawsuit while he taught at Capistrano Valley High School.

Corbett allegedly disparaged creationism during a lecture, which prompted a lawsuit by a Christian student. The student initially won his suit against the Capistrano Unified School District in Federal District Court, but the suit was overturned on appeal. As a candidate, he has stated that he would champion equalization of state education funding, noting the funding problems of CUSD in recent years.

Harkey currently serves as vice-chair of both the Assembly Committee on Appropriations and Revenue and Taxation Committee. She has recently spoken out against state funding of high-speed rail projects, and has promised to introduce a bill to de-fund the program in January if re-elected. She also serves on the Assembly Committee on Public Employees Retirement System and Social Security, the Assembly Select Committee on Biotechnology and the Banking and Finance Committee and Budget Committee.

Area voters will also be voting on 11 ballot propositions:

Proposition 30 would increase sales taxes and income taxes for those earning more than $250,000 a year in order to fund schools and community colleges, as well as public safety services.

Proposition 31 would establish a two-year budgeting cycle, as well as force the state legislature to offset any spending over $25 million with corresponding budget cuts. It also forces a performance review of all state programs, as well as allows local governments to alter how laws governing state-funded programs apply to them.

Proposition 32 would forbid payroll deductions by unions or corporations to be used for political purposes. It would also prohibit unions or corporations from contributing directly to candidates or candidate committees.

Proposition 33 would allow auto insurance companies to set prices based on whether a driver has previously had insurance.

Proposition 34 would abolish the death penalty in the state, making life without parole the maximum sentence for those found guilty of murder. It would apply retroactively; meaning those currently under a death sentence would be commuted to life sentences.

Proposition 35 would increase the penalties for human trafficking, allowing for sentences up to life in prison, in some cases. It requires those found guilty of trafficking to register as sex offender, and to provide information on their internet access and identities.

Proposition 36 changes the state’s “three-strikes law,” to impose a life sentence only in the case of a serious or violent felony conviction. It would also allow the state to re-asses those currently facing life sentences for non-violent felonies.

Proposition 37 would require labels on food that either is genetically modified, or processed food with genetically modified ingredients. Certain foods would be exempt from labeling. Genetically modified foods would also be prohibited from being labeled as “natural.”

Proposition 38 would increase personal income tax rates on annual earnings over $7,316 using sliding scale from .4% for lowest individual earners to 2.2% for individuals earning over $2.5 million, for twelve years, and allocates 60% of revenues to K-12 schools, 30% to repaying state debt, and 10% to early childhood programs for the first four years.

Proposition 39 requires multi-state businesses to calculate their state income tax liability based on the percentage of their sales in the state.

Proposition 40 would accept the State Senate districts drawn by the Citizen Redistricting Commission. If rejected, the boundary lines will be adjusted by officials, supervised by the state Supreme Court.

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