Mission Viejo illustration of Politics over Principles


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Several years ago former Assemblyman Gil Ferguson created an organization which he named “Principles over Politics.” While Gil passed away a few years ago the non partisan group that he founded continues to flourish meeting once a month in Newport Beach with a Who’s Who of invited guest speakers. Under Gil’s leadership POP has always placed “principles over politics.”

Now let me switch gears and give you and actual example of “Politics over Principles” that we witnessed on Monday evening in Mission Viejo.

For the past few months the council majority actively supported a proposal submitted by a consultant to “factor” future receivables namely revenue from cell tower leases.

On Monday evening, members Lance MacLean and Frank Ury made strong arguments promoting the suggestion of our city consultant ATS to sell our lease agreements. In his presentation the chairman of the Investment Advisory Committee pointed out that this act is not what those in the know would call “monetization.” I only reference that city “term” for consistency in this ongoing story.
Two members of that Commission attended and explained their recommendation reached after three hours of discussion with both consultants on Friday afternoon.  The proposed sale would not pencil out.

Frank Ury and Lance MacLean dug in their heels to overturn the 5-0 recommendation of our professional Investment Advisory Commission and city treasurer, not to block the sale. The ATS proposal would result in our selling off future assets worth just under $19 million dollars with a net to Mission Viejo of roughly $4 million to $4.5 million dollars after ATS got it’s 10 percent, or $500,000.

Once mayor Kelley indicated her support leaning to the Staff Recommendation, and after a lengthy cross examination of the two Commission Members by Frank Ury trying to blow holes in their analysis, the Motion to support the Staff Recommendation was made by John Paul Ledesma and seconded by Mayor Kelley. Member Reavis has been consistent in her opposition to the sale

Sitting next to another citizen I guessed that the vote would be 3-2 to oppose the sale. My colleague set me straight in saying the vote would be 5-0.
While I am a political junkie, he is not. However, he called it.

Reading the direction of the wind, and not wanting this vote to hurt an upcoming and a future election in 2010, both Frank Ury and Lance MacLean voted with the majority resulting in a 5-0 final vote. Unity on the council is nice but was that “flip/flop” a change of heart or was it driven by safe political expediency and cover?

Standing in the back of the council chambers was Laguna Niguel Mayor Paul Glaab. So nice of Paul to skip the OCGOP Central  Committeee meeting to observe the vote on this item.


About Larry Gilbert