Archive for October, 2008

    Mission Viejo drivers use Rockfield extensively to reach El Toro Rd or the I-5 Freeway from Los Alisos.  Concern arose, therefore, when Lake Forest threatened last week to reduce traffic lanes from 4 to 2 on that arterial roadway. 

    The lane reduction plan may be torpedoed by Lake Forest’s own residents, however.  Residents living near Rockfield turned out at a City workshop last night to strongly oppose the loss of any traffic lanes.  They were concerned about bottlenecks, traffic during peak school hours, and safety.

    The Community Room at the El Toro Library was lined with large streetscape illustrations depicting the trees, bike routes, and other beautification amenities already planned for the street.  After collecting and reading comment cards from the audience, however, Director of Public Works Bob Wooding  immediately summarized the mood of the crowd.  “Traffic is the main concern, not the streetscape.” he said.

    Wooding stated the 2-lane option was not a done deal; that his job was to report to the City Council about whether residents favored the 2-lane alternative.  Two City Council members, Kathryn McCullough and Marcia Rudolph, attended the workshop and heard first-hand the overwhelming opposition by neighbors to the 2-lane option.  No one stated support for eliminating 2 lanes.

    If the plan proceeded, it would require environmental evaluation under CEQA, approval by the OCTA for modification of the OC Master Plan for Arterial Roadways, and review by Mission Viejo and Laguna Hills.  As Wooding put it, “There are many hard miles to go.”

    The 2-lane option would reduce average daily vehicle trips from the current 17,000 to 12,000 according to city projections. 

    Beautification will proceed even if the road remains with 4 lanes. It was surprising to learn the power lines will not be buried, however. 


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In addition to the above mentioned concerns, I am most appalled at Ury’s effort to prevent the citizens of MV from speaking out on agenda items from the Council’s Consent Calendar. I stood on corners for him four years ago because I thought he actually believed that the citizens of MV have the right to open and transparent government. I was wrong to have believed him . . . very, very wrong.

Rhonda Reardon

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    Readers   have   endorsed Neil Lonsinger and Cathy Schlicht in the online poll conducted by the Dispatch.  The survey was posted for two weeks to permit all comers to voice their preference for the two seats being elected by voters next Tuesday.

    The results of the poll:

  1. Cathy Schlicht – 40%
  2. Neil Lonsinger – 37%
  3. Rich Atkinson – 8%
  4. Frank Ury – 8%
  5. Judy Rackaukus – 4%
  6. Michael Williamson – 3%

    Ironically, many of the votes for Lonsinger and Schlicht appear to have come from voters who supported Frank Ury when he was first elected four years ago.  Residents who passed out his fliers at public gatherings and waived his signs last time, are rejecting his current re-election effort. Ury has been seen alone on street corners.

    Based on reader feedback, the outcome of the poll was based on a number of perceived failures by Ury:

  • Ury’s willingness to accept high density housing on a portion of the Casta Golf Course.
  • Ury’s advocacy for high-density development in Mission Viejo.
  • Ury’s failure to follow-through against SCE’s high voltage transmission lines.
  • Ury’s failure to post EMF radiation warnings at Flo Jo Park after the Sage Consultant’s Report.
  • Ury’s disregard of citizens’ concerns about cell antenna installations near homes and parks.
  • Ury’s disregard for preserving neighborhood character in zoning decisions.
  • Ury’s actions to liquidate City assets (cell leases) to outside investors at a significant loss to the City.
  • Ury’s involvement in allowing 300% cost overruns on the renovation of the Murray Center.
  • Ury’s actions approving spending on discretionary projects, leading to inadequate City financial reserves.
  • Ury’s lead role in directing city staff not to enforce the City’s sign code (e.g. Kaleidoscope).
  • Ury’s vote to defer community impact fees from developers, thereby granting favors to the building industry and delaying revenue to the City.
  • Ury’s leadership in proposing and adopting a double pay increase for council members, even though they already ranked 3rd in OC in total compensation.
  • Ury’s involvement with secret Ad Hoc committees which operate without public disclosure.
  • Ury’s acceptance of large political contributions from outside special interests seeking city contracts, pro-density policies, and other favors.
  • Ury’s failure to keep promises to support fiscal restraint.

    Frank Ury’s running mate, Rich Atkinson, has expressed concurrence with Ury’s views.  The other two candidates, Judy Rackaukus and Michael Williamson, are non-contending candidates because they didn’t submit candidate profile statements for the official voters pamphlet.  They also failed to spend campaign funds required to become viable candidates.

    The Dispatch poll was not a scientific survey of the entire community.  It is a reflection of the viewpoint of readers of the Dispatch, which may be considerably different than a cross section of residents which includes less informed voters, such as those who do not read the Dispatch or do not closely follow actions at City Hall. 

    The online poll listed the candidates in the same order as they appear on the official ballot.  It also listed the official occupational descriptions.

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    A resident who wants to construct an 18-car underground garage has appealed a denial by the Planning Commission.  On October 13 the Commission unanimously rejected the application after owners of 33 neighboring homes objected to the project.

    Appeals of Planning Commission decisions are heard by the City Council.  The hearing will be probably be conducted at the Council’s regular meeting on November 17, according to Planning Manager Elaine Lister.

   Tony Le’s attorney, Philip Kohn from the Rutan & Tucker law firm, submitted the appeal and paid the $600 filing fee on Monday.  He argues the Le family is entitled to approval of the proposal because:

  • It is consistent with provisions of the City’s General Plan.
  • It is consistent with the intent and objectives of the design criteria in the City’s Development Code pertaining to architectural review; and
  • It is compatible with the existing neighborhood character.

    The appeal letter relies on a sentence from MV’s architectural and design regulations stating, “It is not the intent to restrict or regulate the right of an individual property owner to determine the type of structure of addition he or she may wish to place or modify on the parcel.”  Le argues the underground garage, including a new driveway and above ground entrance, “does not create any significant adverse impacts.”

    The letter criticizes the Planning Commission for focusing on the tainted history of renovations on the property, including the grading and construction of a full basement without permits. Kohn implies the outcome of the Commission hearing was therefore prejudiced.  He argues that only the characteristics of the current proposal should have been considered.

    Based on a previous conversation with Le’s contractor, one of the neighbors told the Commission Le was prepared to litigate the matter if the City failed to approve the plans.  If so, the City Council hearing would not be the end of the matter, even if the Council also rejected the underground garage.

    It is difficult to predict the Council’s leanings.  Based on past statements and actions by Councilmember Frank Ury on other applications, he might vote to approve Le’s garage.  Lance MacLean has also been loathe to reject large home construction projects, even if they breach the character of the neighborhood.  

    Although this City Council is not known for its deep or articulate discussions, the Le hearing could produce some interesting moments.

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    Mission Viejo kids got a dress rehearsal for Halloween at the City’s Hometown Halloween event.  The party was held at the Murray Community Center where game booths, a haunted house, and hay rides offered something for everyone.  Kids even got to ‘trick-or-treat’ at the affair, although no tricks were discovered around the place the next morning, even from this menacing pirate.

    Here are a few characters you may encounter at your door Friday evening. (Photos by Vivian Frerichs)


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    Two student groups joined this morning to protest against Proposition 8 regarding gay marriage.  The Freethinking Atheist and Agnostic Kinship (FAAK) picketed outside Capo High together with the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance.

    FAAK formed last year just prior to a lawsuit which was filed by a student against FAAK’s faculty advisor, James Corbett.  The suit against Corbett included allegations the teacher made anti-religion statements in his classroom.  FAAK members, and other students sympathetic to Corbett, demonstrated then to defend him. The lawsuit is still pending, and Corbett is still the faculty advisor to FAAK.

    A counter demonstration by students supporting Prop 8 was conducted simultaneously nearby.

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L-R Samantha Tyson, Ashley Wall, Erica Lee, Carly Wells and Emily Arnold

L-R Samantha Tyson, Ashley Wall, Erica Lee, Carly Wells and Emily Arnold

Queen Samantha

Queen Samantha

    Trabuco High’s Homecoming event honored its Homecoming Court, crowned its Queen, and cheered the football team to a victory. [Photos courtesy of TrabucoHillsPhotos.com]

    The homecoming nominees were presented during a colorful and exciting halftime program.   Samantha Tyson was elected as the Homecoming Queen.

    The football game was a one-sided 53-14 romp over league rival Huntington Beach.  The Mustangs scored 34 points in the second quarter.

    On the ground Trabuco out-rushed HB 272-69 yards, which accounted for the lopsided win.  Passing yardage was closer, 177-131, although Trabuco only threw 10 passes, completing all of them.



    Five runners combined for nearly 300 yards and six rushing touchdowns; Shane DeCillo (126), Danny Arriola (74), Nicholas Cody (46), Donnie Simonsen (29) and Chris Simonton (6).

    Pass receivers were Chris Simonton (108), Justen Lasch (53), Shane DeCillo (16), and Landon Maslyn (6).  Simonton and Lasch both took passes from Jason Mayer for touchdowns.

    Trabuco remains unbeaten in league play.  This week it will meet Woodbridge (1-6-0). 

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