Council Members Lance MacLean & Frank Ury out of touch with MV voters

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Even before entering the race for any elected office one of the first things a candidate should do is to take the pulse of the citizens. That said, I am amazed that our city council, with the exception of Gail Reavis, agreed to give council member Lance MacLean his early Christmas present. In the council meeting of Jan 29, 2007, just after being re-elected, Lance recommended “funding a Rose Parade float to support and advertise the community and possibly partnering with the non-profit and business communities.”  At the June 19, 2007 council meeting a “Motion made by Council Member MacLean, seconded by Council Member Ury, to set aside $300,000 for the potential of entering a float in the January 1, 2009 Rose Parade.” The vote was 4-1 in favor with Gail Reavis voting NO.

Larry we heard all this already. Stay tuned for the rest of the story and lessons learned which follow.

I guess one could ask how did Lance arrive at the $300,000 figure? Another comment might be why he failed to mention that “wish list” project during his campaign the prior summer and fall? Did he run this idea past the non-profit and business communities to see what support they might bring to the Rose Parade float?

The city of Mission Viejo has been an advocate for taking community survey’s. If it moves we take a survey. If it doesn’t we take another one.  Seriously, at the June 5, 2006 council meeting we received the results of a Community Opinion Survey conducted by True North Research conducted between April 7-11 where 400 randomly selected registered voters participated.

The Agenda report reads that “it is important to follow up and act upon information obtained in a resident survey to demonstrate the value the City places on resident feedback. The information from this survey can be put to use in revising the FY 2006-07 budget and subsequently, can be factored into the next update of the Master Financial Plan (January 2007) and the development of the 2007-09 budget.”

Let’s look into the 76 page report to see if a Rose Parade float was ever mentioned.
On page 38 you will find the category of “spending priorities” which opens saying: “it is often the case that residents’ desires for public facilities and programs exceed a city’s financial resources. In such cases, a city must prioritize projects and programs based upon a variety of factors, including the preferences and needs of the residents.”

Lance and Frank. I will be happy to provide a copy of the survey if you no longer have yours.

“Spending priorities.” Based on the True North survey the highest priorities were to coordinate traffic signals and widen congested roads. At the bottom of the list was the question to “convert Community Sign Board to electronic board” where only 7.3 percent gave it a high priority yet the council went ahead with the change anyway. So much for considering taxpayer input.  Yes, we opposed building a gym and improvement of city-owned tennis courts.  No where on this list is a suggestion to enter a float in the Rose Parade.
Yes, you are elected to make decisions. But if you spend taxpayer money to take survey’s and ignore the results, then you are violating the trust of the electorate.

About Larry Gilbert