Tails Are Wagging In Mission Viejo


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Cartoon of a dog thinking

Hunter watching the city council meeting

After ten too many years, the dog park finally passed in Mission Viejo by 3 to 2 on December 3rd. As an agenda item, a park for people with dogs is an up and down vote; it’s a 3 meeting item at the most. But that isn’t how we do things in Mission Viejo, No, sir.

You see, we have Brad Morton and the Mortonettes in Mission Viejo, and they never rest until they have delayed a project for so long either people lose interest or the project ends up costing the city a good ten times more than it should.

I’m kind of embarrassed our residents are going to other cities for a dog park. That cost increase, there’s a reason for it. It’s not because we want gold-seated toilets or something. — Anna T. Boyce

And along with stalling, Brad Morton and the Mortonettes employ lies. “Dog Parks are noisy,” “dogs will get off the leash and cause chaos,” “dog parks are smelly,” “a dog will bite someone,” and my personal favorite:

The dog owners are asking for a facility that will cost over $2 million. It’s an entitlement not in our master plan and it should not be paid for by taxpayers. —Harry Lensik

First of all, there has only been an estimate prepared and the range was from $600,000 to $850,000; there haven’t been any bids so no one knows how much or little it will cost. The $2 million figure is a doubling down of Larry Gilbert’s fantastical $1 million of a couple years ago. The $1 million didn’t scare anyone, you see, so they doubled down. It’s what the crazies do. The problem is that fear doesn’t work as a long-term strategy. And that is the only weapon Brad Morton and the Mortonettes have in their armory.

Besides, Harry’s lie is stupid. We’re not talking about entitlements here, we’re talking about investing in an amenity that will add value to taxpayers lives and value to the homes in the surrounding area without touching a single penny of taxpayer money. Fees paid to the city by developers will fund the project. Currently Mission Viejo has $9 million in developer fees that must be used for parks and recreation. The park for people with dogs will only use about nine percent of those funds.

But what about “The Master Plan.” Oh my God, The Master Plan is under attack again…not The Master Plan…the crazies never bothered to learn the definition of ”plan” I guess. Plans change because whatever the future holds is hidden. Who knew?

When you go to a park for people with dogs, you meet…wait for it…other people. You see, your dog is pretty busy sniffing butts so you strike up a conversation with the other people — they do after all speak your language or at least a vastly similar one. And, of course, that means you’re getting to know the people in your town which always makes for a stronger community.

Fear and the lies we tell to spread it is the purview of the cowardly.

And sure enough after a few speakers the crazies scurried rat-like from the City Council Chamber leaving behind the two Mortonettes on the dias. And if you’re upset about the ultimate cost, you don’t need to look any farther than those two if you’re looking to place blame. They represent the group that lied to the residents surrounding the only other viable spot in Mission Viejo; they lied too well, the residents threatened to sue the city and the rest of us got stuck with the more expensive spot. That location was only going to cost $250,000, and that amount was due to the group’s stall tactics for seven years.

At the end, the two Mortonettes put up illogical objections. Schlicht weighted in with a statement about how there are rattlesnakes in the area. “No, schlicht, Cathy? Rattlesnakes? Who knew?” There are some very inexpensive and common sensical things you can do to protect against rattlesnakes. I made that point and to prove me wrong Schlicht claimed she had a dog that died of a rattlesnake bite. Some people should never have kids and some people should never be allowed anywhere near dogs.

Reardon said she’d like “dog areas” whatever those are, and whatever they are it shows a stunning amount of ignorance about what sorts of exercise dogs need to be happy and healthy and how much room that requires. She doesn’t want to spend so much money, but has no alternatives to offer. Her best argument boiled down to how not everyone who has a dog will use the park or even wants the park. Let’s just ignore the insultingly obvious logical problem and take her statement on face value. Doing so let’s us respond with a snappy “So?”.

Hard as this is to believe, there are people with baseball mitts in their garage that don’t play catch, there are families with kids who don’t play soccer, and I’m pretty sure there’s at least two guitars in Mission Viejo that never are caressed by fingers.

I don’t kiss my dog on the lips, but I do sleep with it every night — Councilman Dave Leckness

Councilman Leckness’ statement is charmingly honest. We need more of that in Mission Viejo.

Like the library, the community center, the recreation centers, the tennis center, and the animal shelter, this new investment in Mission Viejo will pay off far more in dividends to our community than it ever cost us in dollars. And that is, after all, the role of government.


About The Insufferable Dan Avery