UPDATE: Mayor Reavis and Frank Ury disunite at Mission Viejo Council Meeting

Santa Ana was not the only Orange County city to hold a council meeting tonight!

After spending close to an hour discussing a potential ordinance relating to third party prohibitions in city parks, drafted by our City Attorney and discussed under his staff report, sparks began to fly at the Mission Viejo city council meeting.

This issue was triggered by resident concerns of health hazards of cell towers in city parks where our kids play. Mayor Gail Reavis questioned how a member of the council made a request to the city manager about an item that was not on the Agenda.

Councilman Ury admitted that he made a suggestion to staff and the city attorney regarding future implementation of a cell tower Master Plan for which the city attorney prepared a very broad Ordinance.

Time out! Our prior city attorney once told me that he only takes direction from the council majority. That being the case who instructed him to draft the Ordinance that was presented tonight?

It turns out that an email on the topic was sent to all five members of the council which we were told was not a violation of the Brown Act. The city attorney said the July 19th letter was only issued for member comment. He added that “there was no consensus building. Attorney Curley said “there is nothing murky” adding “it is perfectly legal” and “we are just giving each other a heads up?

Why is a proposed Ordinance listed on the city attorney’s comments that has never been listed under city council new business with full public notification? After spending all this time on the Ordinance our attorney tells the council that “this is not an action item.” He added that “you do not need to adopt it tonight.” Thank you. What is this Comedy Central? To make matters worse, the related cell tower master plan has not yet been reviewed at the council level.

Not to be left out of the debate, member MacLean told the city attorney “thanks for all your work..now throw it in the circular file.” A nice attitude. We ask the city attorney, as he is on the clock, to draft an Ordinance at taxpayer expense, spend council and public time explaining all of it’s legal points, and Lance MacLean blows it off as a waste.

Lance then suggests that we should take a public opinion survey when the city manager already conducted a public relations campaign on cell tower safety with Laguna Niguel councilmember Paul Glaab’s firm.

Take note: Another item I overlooked in my first issue is how did we know that a survey was taken? I commend Mayor Reavis for her vigilance. This is not the first time she found information by reading a check register instead of having knowledge of the activity. If she had not seen an invoice payable to Paul Glaab we might never have heard of the city manager’s PR to offset resident concerns on cell tower emissions. Let me remind everyone of our prior city manager who purchased a $6,000 desk and pad for his office that was also discovered by council member Gail Reavis in reading that check register. As someone who has himself found a several hundred thousand “stealth” activity let me suggest that if you have some time, look at these expenses in your city. There is a lot of information in these pages. My exposure led to the cancellation of the “lower Curtis park clean up project.”

For the record. Frank Ury and Lance MacLean served on the ad-hoc committee that negotiated the cell tower contract where their meetings were conducted outside of public view. That said, this demonstrates that this “ad-hoc” team deserves the award for the gang that couldn’t shoot straight. Frank says draft the Ordinance and Lance says throw it in the trash.

Stay tuned. Both Mayor Reavis and Councilman Ury’s terms expire next year. You can take it to the bank that they will not be endorsing each other for reelection.

P.S. For those who are curious about the expansion of Crown Valley Parkway that is now roughly six to nine months behind schedule. After delays relating to SDG&E we were told that they finally have their act together and work will commence shortly.

Our city manager estimates the eastbound lanes should be completed by the end of the year with the westbound lanes by early spring or next summer. This delay has also impacted other major road improvements such as the intersection of Oso Parkway and Marguerite Parkway and La Paz Roads. What we haven’t heard is will the cost increase due to the delay. And if so, who will pick up the tab?

PS: To view last night’s council meeting on your computer simply go to:
http://missionviejo.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=4&clip_id=104

Once there “jump to” item 23


About Larry Gilbert