Public Service in Mission Viejo. Please don’t hit me, please don’t hit me

While we have hundreds of volunteers  serving in Mission Viejo as members of our SCAT team, or in our animal shelter, library and Norman P, Murray Community and Senior Center, there is an area where the 80-20 rule is not even on the radar screen.

Politics. Apathy. And there surely are valid reasons for that shortage.

Let’s begin with a few facts. As of today Mission Viejo has 100,000 residents.

In the Nov 2008 election we had 62,298 registered voters.

Sixty-six days from today we will hold a Special RECALL election yet only four of our 62,298 registered voters expressed any interest to serve in that City council seat opening should Lance MacLean be recalled. Of the four, two chose not to participate leaving us with a number that is too small for any math considerations.

 Let’s see. Unlike a traditional 5 council member election when you have either 2 or 3 open seats every other year we had 6 candidates running for 2 open seats in 2008 and 10 seeking one of the brass rings in the 2006 election where we had 3 open seats.

Going negative apparently is the new political strategy and tactics be it your local water district and city council races to Congressman and candidates for president of the United States.

Case in point. I have been actively involved in more races than I care to remember. However the 2006 race for our city council had a new twist that involved two incumbents including  Lance MacLean. They placed yard signs all around the city during the final days of the Nov 4, 2006 election which read:  “Reject Barker & Greenwood. They’ll  Raise Your Taxes.” These signs paid for by the Committee to Elect Lance MacLean ID# 1225173 (and the other candidate).

Diane Greenwood lost to Lance by 94  votes out of the 32,941 ballots cast.

Lance MacLean, the same councilman who in 2004 promoted and authored a tax increase called Measure K who lamely tries to distance himself from his leadership role in getting Measure K on the Ballot by saying he was only giving us the opportunity to decide if we want to impose that tax increase on ourselves adding that council members, by themselves, cannot increase taxes, only the voters can raise taxes. Yes, that is what he is now saying in responding to one of the recall charges.

Readers. This is the same Lance MacLean who boasts of our having very large reserves as a percentage of our budget when compared with other OC cities.

That being the case why was he promoting a tax increase after saying (in his 2002 Campaign Statement) that he would “oppose all taxes or special assessments.”

Update: Since black Friday residents of Mission Viejo are beginning to see yard signs opposing the recall with more of the very same scare tactics. One was brought over to me by a resident who found it planted in his lawn.

The top lines of the sign reads: NO New taxes, NO Recall.

It worked in 2006 but I do not think it will fly in 2010

As she lost by less than 100 votes to Lance you  might inquire as to why Diane Greenwood isn’t a candidate today. Simple. Intimidation and fear. She observed Lance as he was moving or removing her campaign signs at La Paz and Marguerite Parkway and had to call 911 out of fear from this six foot five inch 220 pound council man who has major anger management issues.

Quoting from page 15, OC Weekly March 6-12,2009,  where it reads: “What matters most, though, are the public instances when others have said they’ve flat intimidated by MacLean. A few weeks before the 2006 election, rival candidate Diane Greenwood called 911 on him during a confrontation on a street corner. She says he tried to steal her campaign sign and “exploded” when he challenged him about it.

“He got in my face, and he went crazy, absolutely going off on me, ” Greenwood says. “I put my hands behind my back and said, “Please don’t hit me, please don’t hit me.”

 While Lance calls this account a fabrication the police were there as verified by the photos which appear on my Nov 4, 2006 post and another local blog.

Mrs. Greenwood ‘s next comments may explain this recall election and lack of citizen participation when she says that “she is genuinely terrified of MacLean–so much that she didn’t run in 2008, for fear of having to sit on the same dais with him. “He’s really scary stuff. He was just screaming,” she says. “Maybe I would run in the replacement election, but never if I’m serving with him. I really value my life.”

It’s this form of intimidation, fear and negative campaigning that is turning off the voters. Simply look back to all the attacks against Supervisor Chris Norby in his race for the 72nd AD where he will now compete in a runoff election.

So while we have many residents who receive awards for their community service, others have chosen to take a pass when being asked to run for our city council.

About Larry Gilbert