News flash! Mission Viejo city council member Gail Reavis will not seek a third term!

Rick and Mission Viejo Council Woman Gail Reavis notified me that she will not be seeking a third term on our city council.  Her official statement precedes my remarks.

Just received from Gail Reavis.  “My Husband Rick, retired 15 years ago.  For the past 12 years he has put his retirement on hold to work with and to support me in two very important undertakings. First to stop the airport at El Toro, and for the past 8 years to run my campaigns and support my work as a Council woman, Vice Mayor and twice as Mayor of the great City of Mission Viejo.

For us, this has not been a part time job. We have been called at midnight, weekends, holidays and have had trips interrupted to get back in time for meeting and events in and for the city.

We did this together, without reservation for 8 years because we love the wonderful City of Mission Viejo.

After much soul searching, we believe in term limits and, if the voters had had  a choice, we believe they would have chosen 8 years, two terms, instead of 12 years and three terms limit.  While I could run for another term, I made a statement two months ago, in open session, that I felt two terms and 8 years should be the norm. I am living up to that statement.

My husband will celebrate his 76th birthday on September 1st. We have a world to see and travel plans we have put on hold for 12 years.

On May 23rd we decided together not to wait any longer to enjoy these years we have together, by traveling the world. Most of you know we enjoy cruising and our next trip is already booked. We now can plan several longer trips in 2009, because we will not have the duties of the city council to attend to.
It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve the residents of Mission Viejo.
I will still be here to contribute, but for now it is family and friends first.


While we all have our flaws, myself included, Gail has been a devoted citizen of our city which predates her first election victory in 2000. While there are those from central or north county that supported an international airport at MCAS El Toro, lobbying as a private citizen, Gail joined the Base Realignment and Closure Committee to clean up the base. She attended virtually every meeting of the Board of Supervisors opposing that re-use option. As an opponent of any commercial aviation reuse of El Toro, Gail was very active in TRP (Taxpayers for Responsible Planning) and both the Measures F and W anti-airport campaigns which followed.

Having attended many of our city council meetings I can honestly report that she has been the most consistent conservative Republican member of our council during her eight years in office.

Ask anyone who serves on a 4-1 elected Board how welcome you are by the majority when you defeat one of their chosen. In January of 2000 Roger Faubel was appointed by the council majority to complete the term of their close friend Councilman Tom Potocki who died the prior December. Even with their endorsements, and his spending a Mission Viejo record of $80,000 in his campaign, the Reavis team and the Committee for Integrity in Government supported Gail’s bid to displace Roger Faubel that November resulting in a major upset.

However, she now had to interface with that same majority who preferred a status quo. In January of 2001, one month after taking the Oath of Office, Gail found something strange on the Check Register that council members routinely approve at every meeting. In this case it was an expenditure of $6,286 for a new desk and leather pad for our former city manager, which at the time, became a countywide news story. I recall the city manager, when questioned about the cost, responding that “this desk will be here long after I’m gone.”  Well, he is gone but the desk remains.

Since that date she has not been afraid to fight for what she believes is in the best interest of the citizens. A major concern for Gail is that the city not engage in adding housing at the Casta del Sol golf course. She opposes spending $300,000 for a Rose Parade float and voted no on the last of a dozen Change Orders on our Murray Center expansion where that tab was $350,000.

Yes, we have discussed her 2005 claim against the city for which I offer no defense on her behalf. I am reporting events, not justifying them. Over the past eight years I have expressed my disappointment in some of her actions as well as offering praise when I feel she has used good judgment in her voting on key issues.

Let me take you under the covers of our “class act” city council.

What is sad about the “contact sport” of public service is that she took a risk and assisted incumbent John Paul Ledesma and challengers Trish Kelley and Lance MacLean in their clean sweep victory in Nov 2002 where we unseated the mayor and vice mayor as blogged previously. Word on the street is that this new gang of three, along with Councilman Ury, have hand picked their candidate choice to replace her this November. At this point Gail has trumped their alleged plan by deciding not to run. No, I am not building a case for a possible Brown Act violation.

Yes, politics is a strange endeavor. Only two years ago I assisted in the campaign of another Mission Viejo challenger who was also supported by Councilman Ury. In public meetings he stated his desire to unseat the very same three incumbents and supported his choices, listed first, second and third on the November 2006 ballot. While we were very close with one candidate, all three eventually lost.
Yet here we are less than two years later and all is forgiven. Sure!

Some additional trivia. Gail appointed Frank Ury to the Financial Advisory Committee and later as her representative on the Community Service Commission, his launching pad for his first term.
And some question why we can all find qualified and honorable residents that have decided to avoid local political service.

About Larry Gilbert