Mission Viejo mayor Kelley may have cost our taxpayers $40,000

Lance MacLean is gone, but the corruption and waste continue in Mission Viejo, thanks to Trish Kelley

This is a follow up post to a Writ of Mandate regarding Mission Viejo’s Measure D (Right to Vote) RTV ballot argument. This Initiative Ordinance was crafted to empower citizens to have an input in major planning and zoning decisions such as converting part of a golf course into some form of housing.

The RTV was fashioned after a similar, successful initiative in Yorba Linda. In our City attorney’s impartial analysis of Measure D he found no legal objections to its text.

Instead of appearing in Superior Court on March 29th, where Judge Luis A. Rodriguez listened to almost 6 hours of testimony, this entire fight could have been averted. In city attorney Curley’s Feb 15th Power Point presentation he even stated that the proposed Initiative Ordinance removes barriers with regard to State Law and that it is “spot on.”

In his impartial analysis of Measure D attorney Curley writes: “The Ordinance will NOT be applied to preclude City compliance with housing regulations under State law. This means all housing laws, including affordable and market rate housing, as subject to State laws, will not be controlled or subject to this ordinance.”

At the April 5th council meeting I questioned Mayor Kelley as follows: “Did you challenge councilman Ury’s argument against the RTV initiative before he submitted it to our City Clerk?”  She did not respond. I than said “his lies just cost us around $15,000 at a time when you are proposing library services cuts tonight.”
Again no response.

For starters. The Ordinance proponents gave notice to the council that they were going to circulate petitions which they did. Those signatures were certified by the ROV. Last night the city clerk estimated that cost at around $38,000.
At that time we could have mitigated the total cost by simply approving an Ordinance as requested by Council Member Schlicht. However, she was unable to get a second to her Motion. At that point the only taxpayer cost was signature verifications.

Later in last night’s meeting the City Attorney was asked by Mayor Kelley for an estimate of his firms legal charges for the Measure D ballot argument trial. Mr. Curley said that while he does not have the final RW&G tab, it is around $40,000. This almost knocked Trish out of her chair. This waste of funds could all have been avoided if she had taken the council suggestion of Cathy Schlicht to work together with Frank in drafting the opposing text. Trish should have challenged him, prior to the Writ of Mandate, as to his back up support for his text regarding the Casta Del Sol Golf Course where he wrote: “Under State Law, it CAN NEVER be developed with housing. EVER!”

In her closing remarks last night Cathy Schlicht said that she tried to avoid filing the Writ but her challenge to Frank’s text was denied by our City Clerk.

Our city clerk quoted an estimated election cost from the County at $147,516.

Let me advise the mayor and Mr. Ury that “respondent has a duty under California Election Code to assure that material which is false, misleading or inconsistent with the requirements of the Election Code be removed before official election materials are mailed to voters.”

Did council member Trish Kelley ever question Frank? I don’t think so.

Mayor Trish Kelley’s failure to show leadership in this costly case should not be swept under a rug. In watching her reaction last evening she was placing the blame on Cathy Schlicht rather than looking in the mirror and accepting responsibility for giving Frank Ury carte blanche.

Note: You can now watch and listen to the April 5th city council meeting which is now on line at our Mission Viejo city website.

While I have not been there, I am told that the editor of the www.missionviejodispatch.com just posted their latest account of this ballot fight.

About Larry Gilbert