Interview of Dale Tyler, Mission Viejo recall candidate

Dale Tyler

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I just concluded a 90 minute interview of Mission Viejo recall candidate Dale Tyler.

Background for this post. The election to recall Mission Viejo vice mayor Lance MacLean will occur on February 2, 2010.

There will only be two names on the ballot to select from.  Dem. Dave Leckness, whom I interviewed  on November 9th and Rep. Dale Tyler whom I just interviewed.
Let me preface the Q & A with the following information.

Unlike many interviews where questionnaires are sent to every candidate who is then given one or two weeks to respond, I did not share any of my questions in advance with either of them.

Although I asked Dale many more questions than Dave Leckness, neither of them had a clue as to what I planned to ask nor today’s listing which follows below.

LG. First question. Having been a Mission Viejo resident for over 20 years what participation, if any, have you had in any of our prior city council elections?

DT.  I have been involved in every Mission Viejo election over the past 10 years starting with JP in 1998 and Trish, JP and Lance in 2002, to Gail in 2004 and other candidates.

LG. Are you involved in any local organizations? If so, which ones?

DT. The Saddleback Republican Assembly, CIG, (the Committee for Integrity in Government), and DHS (Drivers for Highway Safety).

LG. Although you just filed your nominating papers, what endorsements have you been able to get for this Feb. Special election?

DT. I have not sought any for this election. I was endorsed by the Saddleback Republican Assembly

LG. Of the 8 charges against Lance MacLean which do you feel are the most egregious and why?

DT. Lifetime medical benefits..doubling his  salary..disrespecting voters.. Measure K (a proposed tax increase promoted by Lance)

LG. Lance and several residents have stated that he is not the only one responsible for those decisions. How do you respond to those remarks?

DT. You are accountable for your own decisions. The fact that others may have voted for it doesn’t change your vote. Lance made either the Motion or provided the Second on many of these issues.

LG. Aside from Lance, Frank and Trish can any future council members qualify for the same $270,000 lifetime health care benefits that they each voted for?

DT. As of today the answer is NO.

LG. If Lance were to get reelected in Nov. would he qualify for that benefit?


LG. What do you feel are the largest issues facing the city today?

DT. Lifetime medical benefits..doubling council salary and out of control spending that is a longer term process

LG. What recommendations would you bring forward to address them?

DT. Immediately revoke lifetime medical benefits and rollback pay increase

LG. In your candidate statement you reference projects that end up 200% to 300% over budget. Can you be more specific?

DT. The Murray Center, City Hall and the Montanoso renovation

LG. You also wish to promote a more open government. Can you give us some examples where our government has not been open? What changes would you recommend?

DT.  Documentation requests. The data on the electronic sign was laughably incomplete.. the same answer for the costs and subsequent destruction of easels. I would give the city clerk more power to put teeth in Public Records requests and demand compliance from uncompliant employees.
Strictly limit matters in Closed Session to those that are unambiguously permitted by the Brown Act.

LG. A lot has been said about the Casta Golf Course being converted for housing. Is the city Moratorium on this property still in effect and, if so, when does that Moratorium expire?

DT. I believe it is still in effect until February..not sure. Even if they set a date certain, it could be terminated early

LG. What is the Right To Vote Initiative and what was your role in the that effort?

DT. I developed the wording in the Ordinance based on Yorba Linda’s Ordinance and campaigned getting signatures. The Initiative is a means for the citizens to gain control of major planning  and zoning decisions

LG. When is that Initiative to appear on a Mission Viejo ballot?

DT. It will be on the regular June 2010 ballot

LG. Does it require a simple majority or 2/3rds for passage of the Initiative?

DT. A simple majority

LG. Same question for major development projects should the Initiative pass.

DT. A simple majority

LG. Can the current owner sell that golf course property in whole or in part today?

DT. Yes, subject to any deed restrictions

LG. How is the Casta golf course property zoned?

DT. Open space

LG.  Without the Right to Vote Initiative what would it require to change that zoning to residential usage?

DT. Three votes

LG. If the Right to Vote Initiative is approved, what are the trigger points for that potential voter participation?

DT. Major zoning changes to parcels in our city. I am not opposed to using property  as currently zoned and will encourage it

LG. In your candidate statement it reads that you want to “require city budgets to be balanced every year.” Aren’t our budgets balanced or is that balance only accomplished by taking money from our reserves?

DT. I believe today’s budget is balanced  by accounting tricks and don’t reflect the actual fiscal state of the city

LG. Another area in your candidate statement says that you want to stop self-enrichment. Can you provide any examples of that remark?

DT. Lifetime medical benefits…doubling your own salary

LG. Recreation has always been a major reason why many families move to Mission Viejo. Were you involved in the 2002-03 effort to save the Sierra Recreation Center?

DT. Yes

LG. Do you support our city’s recreation programs?

DT. I do

LG. Do you support the $4 million expansion of the Marguerite Tennis Center as proposed?

DT. No.

LG. Why not?

DT. It’s $4 million dollars for approximately 150 residents

LG. A recent hot issue in Mission Viejo is the location and cost of a dog park. Do you support that future CIP?

DT. YES. I believe we should have a dog park in our city that is reasonably priced that is away from homes, schools and parks

LG. How much should we spend and where would you recommend that it be located?

DT. Other cities have built dog parks for less than $100,000. I would support a siting process that includeds input form every home and business within 2,000 to 5,000 feet of the proposed site.

LG. Due to the current recession in the construction industry we have not moved forward with any new housing start including the state mandated 94 low and super low income affordable units. Where would you prefer that the shortfall be located?

DT. A number of locations have been given special zoning, including density bonuses. It’s up to the developers. The city doesn’t build the units

LG. Would you promote placing all of them in one project or spread around the city?

DT. We’re done. The RENA allocations could be fully satisfied by the zoning made by the current council

LG. Would you support a new school District in Mission Viejo as some parents and council members have been promoting?

DT. It appears to me that the complexity of creating a Mission Viejo only school district far out weigh the benefits. However, if it could be done in a  revenue neutral and site neutral school site I could support it

LG. The current city council has filed lawsuits against both of our school districts. Do you support either of those actions?

DT. I don’t see the point of either action. Any disputes could have been resolved out of court.

LG. A recent request was made by a member of the Mallorca HOA Board of Directors for the city to spend around $500,000 in taxpayer funds to upgrade their private slopes. How do you feel when discovering that over $one million dollars, 28%, was removed from our infrastructure budget for roads and medians?

DT. I think its’ inappropriate for the city to maintain private property. That the city council failed to maintain city property while spending foolishly on things like the Rose Bowl Float and decorating medians on Crown Valley Parkway is simply outrageous.

LG. Let’s address the 700 pound gorilla in this election.

Without providing any names a hit piece and your challenger allege that someone wants to fire staff members, privatize the library and animal shelter, reduce the number of sheriff deputies, get rid of the Kids factory and school crossing guards.

Here is your chance to respond to these charges.

LG. Do you wish to privatize the library?  YES, or NO?


LG. Do you wish to privatize the animal shelter? YES, or NO?


LG. Are you familiar with the Kids Factory program?

DT. Yes, I believe its an after school program

LG. Do you want to get rid of the Kids Factory? YES, or NO?


LG. Another general comment relates to our OCSD Contract. Do you want to reduce the number of sworn deputies serving our city?


LG. How about our SRO’s. Do you wish to reduce the number of our school resources officers?


LG. What is your opinion of the taxpayer funded MV Community Foundation?

DT. The Foundation has failed to live up to its promise to raise funds for various city projects

LG. At what point, if any, do you feel the city should support an entry in the Tournament of Roses Parade? And if so, how much should be spent and funded by whom?

DT. Any time the businesses in Mission Viejo  want to enter a Rose Parade Float I would applaud their efforts. However, the City of Mission Viejo should not spend another dime

LG. Final questions. As this election will be decided in the next 2 and a half months are you utilizing a professional campaign manager?


LG. What is your campaign budget for this election?

DT. We are going to spend whatever it takes to win.

Note: This exchange took place between 12:30 and 2 p.m. today at Denny’s restaurant on Alicia Parkway in Mission Viejo.

About Larry Gilbert