OC Political

A right-of-center blog covering local, statewide, and national politics

Posts Tagged ‘Lake Forest City Council’

Before The Ink Is Dry On Their First Effort, Lake Forest Recall Group Serves Second Set Of Recall Papers On Councilmembers [Updated]

Posted by Greg Woodard on May 4, 2016

Lake Forest residents have been inundated over the past several months with signature gatherers, Council outbursts, and divisive rhetoric, as a group called Committee to Recall City Council Members Voigts, Hamilton & Robinson is attempting to recall City Council members Scott Voigts, Andrew Hamilton, and Dwight Robinson.

Two weeks ago, the group submitted approximately 8,200 recall signatures for each Council member.  The Orange County Registrar of Voters has not finished counting the votes to determine whether the group has met the requirement to force a special election in August, September, or October 2016.  Counting the votes alone will cost the city of Lake Forest at least $85,000.  If the recall is certified, the special election would cost the city at least another $100,000.

In a strange twist, although the Registrar of Voters has not said whether enough signatures have been gathered for the initial recall petition, the group served a second set of recall papers on Hamilton, Voigts, and Robinson after last night’s City Council meeting.

Andrew Hamilton, one of the recall targets, stated “Obviously, Adam Nick knows that the first recall didn’t succeed.  Why else would he have personally served me with another set of recall papers? That questions his ability to be looking out for taxpayers in Lake Forest when the Jim Gardner and Adam Nick-supported recall proponents knowingly submitted insufficient recall quantities of signatures.  This wasted $85,000 of taxpayer money due to their personal ambition.  What budget cuts are we going to need to make because of this?  We don’t need a perpetual recall in Lake Forest that continually wastes taxpayers’ money in spreading false accusations.  Adam Nick should stop his failed power grab and instead look out for the best interest of Lake Forest taxpayers.”

Jim Gardner, another current Council member who is supporting the recall, and has paid $30,000 to the group, said “I was told by the recall organizers that ‘the second petition was designed to show them [the Gang of 3] that we are not going away.  We will continue until they are gone.’  I think the recall supporters achieved enough signatures with the 8,100+ they already submitted, since they were verified by an independent agency.  But you can never tell what the authorities will say or do.  I was surprised  when the DA decided not to prosecute a resident who was accused of assaulting a recall supporter trying to gather signatures.  The video, just released, appears to clearly show the assault and eye-witnesses to whom I spoke also claimed that the assault was unprovoked.  So you can never tell what will happen, and I think the recall supporters are hedging their bets.”

To the residents of Lake Forest, get ready for Round 2.

[Update] Apparently, the pro-recall forces have failed in their second bid to recall Voigts, Hamilton, and Robinson, as Robinson confirmed that the recall petition was not timely submitted to the City Clerk.  While that does not prevent the recall folks from taking a third shot, it does call into question their organization when they cannot meet one of the most basic requirements for a recall effort.

Posted in Lake Forest | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Lake Forest City Council Member Announces New Policy Of Appeasement

Posted by Greg Woodard on December 10, 2012

I went to last Tuesday’s Lake Forest City Council meeting to watch the swearing-in of the two newest council members, Dwight Robinson and Adam Nick.  Before the ceremony, I was treated to a clinic in how not to run a city.  The most contentious agenda item was the staff’s recommendation that the council repeal its ordinance passed last year banning registered sex offenders from public parks.  District Attorney Tony Rackauckas has spearheaded Orange County’s effort to get local cities to adopt an ordinance that bans registered sex offenders from parks.  Since last year, 15 Orange County cities have adopted such ordinances.

Unfortunately, not all of the cities have adopted ordinances verbatim to the county’s ordinance, which contains a mechanism that allows a registered sex offender to request a waiver from enforcement.  Lake Forest, for some reason, passed its ordinance without a waiver and they got sued by an anonymous plaintiff claiming the ordinance violates his constitutional rights (he says he served his sentence more than 15 years ago and is now married with children).  That leads us to Tuesday’s meeting.  During the public comment portion of the discussion, several people affiliated with California Reform Sex Offender Laws (yes, there is an organization out there advocating for the rights of registered sex offenders) testified, using the same “constitutional rights” buzzwords.  I will resist the urge to inform these folks of the numerous ways that our constitutional rights are properly regulated every day and just say that we agree to disagree.  One speaker from the group also compared their effort to repeal sex offender laws to segregation and the civil rights movement.  She then announced that in 30 years we may have a President who is a registered sex offender.  Janice Belluci, the President of the organization, told the council that she has two more plaintiffs ready to sue the city if it does not repeal the ordinance.

The Lake Forest City Attorney also chimed in on the existing lawsuit, as well as lawsuits that are pending against other Orange County cities.  He said that, while he did not like to disclose the city’s war chest for litigation, in this case he would make an exception.  He proceeded to tell the Council that defending the lawsuit could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.  In an OC Register article, the City Attorney also said that one of Belluci’s two plaintiffs is seeking $36 million in damages.

I will reserve my rant about City Attorneys trying to influence policy for another day, but suffice to say, all of this got the attention of outgoing Mayor Kathryn McCullough (she will remain on the Council for at least two more years, but her term as Mayor is up).  In a testy exchange with Rackauckas, who had come to encourage the Council to maintain the ordinance, McCullough cried foul on the cost of the litigation and challenged Rackauckas to agree to indemnify the city for all of its legal fees.  Rackauckas held his ground and shot back at McCullough that she knew that the DA does not indemnify cities.  Once the grandstanding ended, McCullough essentially announced to all present that the city could not afford to fight the lawsuit because of the legal costs.

The Council then took a vote with little to no comment from any council member (other than Scott Voigts), which was shocking considering the gravity of the action the council was going to take.  After outgoing council member Mark Tettemer tried, and failed, to pass off responsibility for the vote to the new council (he said he was not trying to avoid voting), the council voted 4-0, with Tettemer abstaining, to repeal the ordinance.  And thus apparently began Lake Forest’s new policy of caving to anyone who threatens or files a lawsuit against the city.  This is a monumentally bad policy for any council member to support, but to announce it during a public council meeting, as Council member McCullough did, strains common sense.

It looks like new Council members Robinson and Nick will have an opportunity to chime in on the planned repeal since there has to be a second reading of the repealing ordinance at the December 18 meeting before it can take effect.

Posted in Lake Forest | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Introducing Lake Forest City Council Candidates Dwight Robinson And Adam Nick

Posted by Greg Woodard on November 2, 2012

In my continuing series on South County candidates who sought the endorsement of the OCGOP, we reach our northernmost city, Lake Forest, which Mayor Pro Tem Scott Voigts likes to call the “Gateway to South County.”  The two candidates are Dwight Robinson and Adam Nick.

Dwight Robinson

Dwight is running for city council for the residents’ children and businesses, and to make sure that Lake Forest continues to be a great city to live, work, and raise a family.

Dwight believes that traffic congestion is an important issue facing the city.  Dwight plans to work closely with OCTA to make sure the city is getting its fair share of Measure M funds and is using those funds for light synchronization and future road construction projects, including the completion of Portola Parkway.

Dwight also feels that the city’s regulatory environment is too burdensome for businesses.  He plans to hit the ground running and review some of the city’s ordinances (first and foremost the sign ordinance) to make sure the city is not impeding businesses from promoting themselves.  Dwight says that, in the midst of an economic slump, the city needs to be working with businesses, asking them how the city can partner with them as they create jobs and serve the community.  Dwight believes the city needs to start acting like it is pro-business and stop paying lip-service to it.  Dwight adheres to the old mantra that actions speak louder than words.

Dwight said that employee compensation of some of the city’s employees is too high (especially the council members).  Dwight will start with proposing that the city eliminates council pay and benefits.  He believes that by starting with holding themselves accountable, the council will then have some moral authority to start discussing some of the other employee pay, perks, and benefits that need to be retooled or removed.

Dwight noted that the property rights of existing residents need to be balanced with the rights of property owners of undeveloped land or lands that needs redevelopment.  He said that the rights of one should be balanced with the rights of another…one should not outweigh the other.  A few thousand new homes will be built in Lake Forest in the coming years and Dwight knows that more development will bring more people.  Dwight wants to make sure that infrastructure is provided to ensure Lake Forest remains a good place to live.  He said that infrastructure improvements are in the best interest of the developers who are trying to build and sell homes and in the interest of existing residents who want to maintain their current quality of life.  Roads and traffic flow are the most important infrastructure issues that Dwight feels need to be planned for.  He said he will establish a Traffic Commission, similar to Irvine’s and Mission Viejo’s, so residents can bring forth traffic and transportation issues and staff can be made aware of the problems and held accountable for developing solutions to this issues.  Dwight also will make sure Lake Forest has the resources to address things such as light synchronization and road improvements.  Impact to local schools and other public services will also need to be address and Dwight said he will make sure that the city does not neglect the community’s infrastructure needs.  Dwight highlighted his experience as a business owner who needs to always be forecasting, projecting, and planning for the future, and he believes his private sector business experience gives him the unique skill set to help Lake Forest be great again.

Dwight is endorsed by, among others, Lake Forest Mayor Pro Tem Scott Voigts, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, the Orange County Register, the Orange County Republican Party, and the Orange County Taxpayers Association.

You can find out more about Dwight at www.robinsonforcitycouncil.com.

Adam Nick

Adam believes that, in a democracy, nothing is more important for keeping a government in check than a well-informed electorate.  He says that what largely sets us apart from most of the rest of the world is our Constitution.  One major fact in our Constitution is that the government derives its power from the people; not the other way around.  Accordingly, Adam feels that elected officials work for residents.  If they do a good job, we can re-elect them.  If they do not do a good job, we can elect someone else who will.  Adam is running because he believes he can do a better job for Lake Forest residents as their council member.

Adam wants to improve the city’s infrastructure, protect and improve its quality of life, uphold American principles and values, and plan for even a more prosperous future.  He said he will achieve this by stopping wasteful spending, reforming city management’s excessive compensation, eliminating self-serving agendas, ending cronyism, and eliminating the influences of special interests.

Adam noted that, though Lake Forest has been a city for over twenty years, on the current council’s watch, the city does not have a Senior Center, Youth Center, its own Community Hospital, or even a dog park.  Adam also said that the city has rented the building that houses City Hall and probably has paid more in rent in the last two decades than it would have taken to buy its own building for City Hall.

Adam also said that the current council failed to challenge the expansion and reclassification of the Musick Jail to house a more dangerous class of felons, despite the fact that many city residents live within walking distance of the jail.  He contrasted that with the Irvine City Council which initiated a legal action to stop the expansion/reclassification.

Adam also noted that the current City Manager’s compensation is $300,000.00+.  He also criticized the council members spending thousands of dollars per year in personal expense reimbursements for things such as taxi rides.

Adam believes that the city must operate in a manner similar to a profit-oriented business, with the utmost efficiency and with an appreciation that resources are scarce, meaning the optimal value for each dollar must be achieved.

Adam feels that his 30 years of Lake Forest residency, his experience as a local business owner, and his 21-year professional experience as an accountant and auditor collectively qualify and enable him to be the city’s best representative and advocate on the City Council.

You can find out more about Adam at http://nickforcouncil2012.com/.

Posted in Lake Forest | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »