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Archive for March, 2008

    smokey-cropped.jpgWe’re baaack! We’re Smokey and the Bandit, those lovable little dogs in Allan Pilger’s household who sometimes give a more liberal viewpoint in rebuttal to Allan’s letters supporting “limited government.” For years we eavesdropped on Allan’s rants and the many activists’ meetings in our home.

    Now he’s bummed out because Mr. California Conservative, Tom McClintock, worked out a sweet loophole to pocket an extra $170 per working day tax-free in the General Assembly. Look, if the system gets to somebody like Tom McClintock, how can you blame those bumpkins on the Mission Viejobandit.jpg City Council for getting sucked in?

    But council people are not as simple-minded as they appear. Allan was right saying the former city council majority acted like a free-spending aristocracy, building a magnificent city hall for the council and staff.  Allan still swears there is a dungeon somewhere under the castle, but if there really is one, the police chief would have had Joe Holtzman’s keester in there a long time ago for complaining about motorcycle cops and speed traps. Joe’s still out there lobbing verbal cannonballs at the castle.

    The aristocracy did, though, move to strike down the rebellion with personal attack letters to the editor or by trying to humiliate speakers at council meetings. And friends like chamber of commerce members said all sorts of catty things about the rebels. It all served to continue the public debate and rally the troops to stick together and fight back.

   The new city council wisely keeps mostly quiet, letting activists sort of whistle into the wind.  We defend the council’s big government spending.  The new city council replaced the aristocracy with the MV Nanny State, which spends money even faster to take care of the unique needs of an affluent community.

    The city hall cost was double the original low-ball estimate, while the new community center is triple the original low-ball projection. Is that great planning, or what, to gradually suck people into supporting projects?

   The city library is the perfect place for preteens and teens to young to drive to goof off, with internet access and private meeting rooms.  But with glass facing the street, there’s no place to make out! The new community center has outdoor cabanas with drop-down drapes for privacy. The MV Nanny State can’t get any better than that.

   It bears repeating. The City of Mission Viejo is flush with cash walking down the street with dollar bills falling out of its pockets.

Respectfully, Smokey & the Bandit

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    Mothers, some with their children, school-pickets-small.jpgpicketed this afternoon on all four corners at the intersection of LaPaz and Marguerite.  They are mad about proposed education cutbacks. Administrators at Capo and Saddleback School Districts are trying to calm the storm by saying some proposed budget reductions might be withdrawn.

    The moms aren’t finding any consolation, however, because hundreds of teachers have already received pink slips.  Class sizes, especially for grades 1-3, will be increasing.  Many specialized and extracurricular programs will remain on the chopping block, which could cripple or eliminate programs like the one proudly exhibited on the music-bumper-sticker-small.jpgbumber sticker shown in the photo.

    Protests were conducted simultaneously today in other nearby cities.  Mission Viejo’s Trabuco High will be the site of a protest march on Monday.  SVUSD is scheduled to hold an information meeting there for parents regarding budget cutbacks.  The march will begin about 4:45 at the east end of Mustang Run and proceed to the High School where the SVUSD meeting begins at 6:30 p.m.

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    A special meeting of the City Council has been called for Monday at 5 p.m.  The sole agenda item is the extension of the 45-day moratorium previously adopted by the Council to prevent any decision regarding development of housing on the Casta del Sol Public Golf Course.

    State law limits initial moratoriums to 45 days although an extension may thereafter be added to create a cumulative moratorium period of one or two years.  The Council will be voting to extend the moratorium by another 10 1/2 months pending the revision of the City’s General Plan.  The update to the General Plan could include heightened priority for open space, including the Golf Course.

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    While many Republican politicians from the governor to Mission Viejo City Council members have abandoned their pledges for limited government, State Senator Tom McClintock has led the statewide fight for consistent conservative principles. 

    But now the LA Times has revealed that McClintock, termed out of the Assembly and running for Congress, has accepted over the years $306,000 in tax-free, per-diem payments from the state that are supposed to go to legislators living far from Sacramento.

    McClintock lives year-round in suburban Sacramento, but maintains a residence in his Ventura County legislative district. So he tacks $170 per working day on top of his $116,000 annual salary, living in a 4,000 square foot home 400 miles or so from his constituency. Political opponents and watchdog groups like Common Cause are blasting his hypocrisy.

    So what does this have mcclintock-cropped.jpgto do with Mission Viejo? Plenty. Myself and two other city residents traveled with a group to the Capitol in 1998 to support McClintock’s bill to give citizens the right to vote on redevelopment bonds that divert property taxes to private investors.  I’m on the left in the photo. 

    Although the bill failed to reach the Assembly floor, we three activists came back inspired by McClintock’s challenge: “Go back to your cities and agitate, agitate, agitate.” And we did, as part of a citizen’s group fighting a city council that acted like a free-spending monarchy. Eventually the old council was voted out of office, but the new council over the past six years has gravitated back toward big government.

    Mission Viejo council members make splashy spending decisions, cave in to developers to get special-interest support for re-election, and are not truly underpaid representatives as they often imply.  Multiple monthly or per-meeting stipends are available for their roles representing the City on county and regional agencies.  They can earn lifetime free medical benefits premiums from the City (now worth about $1,000 per month) if they serve out three terms (12 years).

   Political heroes are hard to keep.

Allan Pilger

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    Families will take to the street corners tomorrow in a ‘Rally for Education’.  The purpose is to “show support for our students and teachers while informing others of the serious budget issues that face public education,” says Julie Collier of the Parents Advocate League.

    In Mission Viejo picketing will begin at 4:30 pm Friday afternoon on the corners at LaPaz and Marguerite.    Supporters are asked to come wearing something green to symbolize the need for education funding, and to bring posters with slogans like, “Support Our Teachers,”  “Support Our Kids (Our Future),” “Uphold Prop 98,” “Cut from the Top,” or “Fund Our Future.”

  

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    The Trabuco Hills Shopping Center, constructed in 1991, has been placed for sale.  The Center consists of two separate properties.  One parcel includes Claim Jumper Restaurant, Walgreens and Ramona Tire.  The second includes Denault’s Hardware Store, Party City, and other merchants.  The combined asking price for both pads is $41 million.

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    Yesterday Sue Palazzo and Ken Maddox announced their intentions to seek seats on the Capistrano Unified School District (“CUSD”) Board of Trustees in the upcoming recall campaign.  Last night the CUSD Trustees set June 24 as the date for the recall election.

    Both candidates have been endorsed by the CUSD Recall Committee, which has dubbed them the P.M. Reform Slate.  Thomas Russell, spokesperson for the Committee, says, “We are confident these reform candidates will ask the tough questions, hold the CUSD administrative staff accountable for their actions, and work to create a transparent organization that is responsive to the community.” 

sue-palazzo-edit.jpg    Sue Palazzo has been a public school teacher in Southern California for more than 30 years, the last 21 years as a substitute teacher in Capistrano Unified. Sue earned a B.A. in Sociology, a Standard Life Teaching Credential in Education and a M.A. in Elementary Education from the California State University at Los Angeles.

    “With new, energetic, honest and fiscally conservative leaders, CUSD can be the very best school district in the State of California,” she said.

    Sue and her husband of 38 years have lived within the Capistrano Unified School District for more than 25 years. They have three sons who graduated from CUSD’s San Clemente High School.

    Palazzo is a well-known critic of the current CUSD leadership having played a key role in the original 2005 CUSD Recall campaign. In addition to her role in education, Sue has served as President of her local homeowners association for the past 5 years and been a real estate property manager for 30 years.

    Ken Maddox is a former member ken-maddox-edit.jpgof the California State Assembly, co-author of the state legislation requiring school class size reduction, veteran police officer and “DARE officer” (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) in schools.

    Ken currently serves as the Director of Legislative Affairs for a member of the California State Board of Equalization. He earned a B.S. in Communication Arts, a M.A. in Management and was a Senior Fellow at the UCLA School of Public Policy and Social Research.

    Maddox has lived within the Capistrano Unified School District for more than seven years. His daughter is a graduate of Dana Hills High School and his son currently attends a CUSD elementary school in Laguna Niguel.

    Palazzo is running to replace incumbent Marlene Draper for the 2nd District seat, while Maddox is seeking to replace incumbent Sheila Benecke for the 5th District seat.

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