RMV Riding Park update: San Juan Capistrano Council talks out both sides of its mouth.

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Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park Update:

THIS is how SJC Councilmembers
direct their City Manager and Assistant City Manager
to Conduct Business on Taxpayers’ behalf!

On 3/8 Kim McCarthy wrote our five elected Councilmembers asking: Why are you committing $2 million of OUR tax-payer dollars to pay for the damage that a private business, Blenheim Equisports created on our open space, and which THEY are contractually responsible for repairing?”

NOT ONE of the five elected councilmembers answered her letter.  Instead they had the Assistant City Manager, Charlie View, send an answer. Please see the letters below, first Kim’s:


Thank you, Councilmember Troy Bourne, for leading the way to open up the bidding at the Eastern Open Space. Finally a wise business decision made on behalf of the residents of San Juan regarding this property! Hopefully the open bidding will bring some great opportunities for families to begin to use this property as well as garner revenue for our city.

Bulldozer tracks on dirt by the creek bed.

Councilmembers, a recent Register article also states, “The city has committed to spend about $2 million to stabilize creek banks and complete the removal of an un-permitted crossing between the park and riding area.”

This is outrageous, to say the least! Blenheim Equisports’ actions destabilized the creek banks, and directly discharged horse waste and gray waste into San Juan Creek, all while operating without a permit. Why would you obligate us taxpayers to pay for what Blenheim did, and is contractually required to fix?

Councilmembers, think of it this way: would you continue to rent your family’s home to the very renters who severely damaged your property, and refused to make the repairs per their contract with you, culminating in a lawsuit which ultimately cost you millions?

Assuming the answer is NO, why are you considering making this decision on behalf of your constituents whom you took an oath to represent?

Furthermore, please detail for residents what is being done by the city to collect the millions of dollars The Riding Park / Blenheim owe to San Juan taxpayers?

In lieu of transparency, and checks and balances in fair governance, your answers will be published on the Orange Juice Blog.

Respectfully,

Kim McCarthy, 20-year resident and former publisher of Community Common Sense.


Assistant City Manager Charlie View’s March 10 response:

Dear Ms. McCarthy:
Thank you for your recent email regarding the City’s efforts to secure 
a long-term operator at the Riding Park.
As you know, the City Council entered into a consent decree with Orange 
County Coastkeeper as a means to resolve exposure to ongoing litigation 
and compensation costs.  As the property owner, the City is responsible 
for remediating the property-related water quality concerns included in 
the consent decree. With the assistance of our consultant team, the 
City is currently in the process of undertaking the permitting 
necessary for removal of the former Arizona Crossing and stabilizing 
the creek bank.

The review of available records did not provide any indication that 
Blenheim Facilities Management (BFM) or Blenheim Equisports (BES) 
employees were responsible for the unpermitted repair of the Arizona 
Crossing.  Further, while there is information that some creek bank 
work to avoid flooding was undertaken by BFM during the 2010 storm 
season, it was also determined that the creek bank had undergone 
modification over a much longer period. The City’s creek bank 
stabilization project will resolve a longstanding situation whereby the 
Eastern Open Space property is adversely impacted by scouring of the 
bank during heavy rain events, such as those that occurred in 2010 
and 2016.* [see below!]
With respect to City costs, the City Council authorized the filing of 
a lawsuit against both the City’s insurance carrier and BFM seeking to 
capture funds expended on both the Coastkeeper litigation as well as 
completion of the remediation projects referenced above. A trial date 
has not yet been set, but the parties expect that trial will occur in 
early 2022.  Presently, the parties are engaged in discovery and 
depositions involving both the insurer and BFM.  Once further discovery 
is completed, the parties may mediate the case or participate in a 
court-sponsored settlement conference.

Again, thank you for your message and your continued interest in the 
Riding Park.
Sincerely,
Charlie View
Assistant City Manager
City of San Juan Capistrano

Another view of Charlie View: This Assistant Manager has been the City’s go-to guy on Blenheim Equisports for years, or should we say the reverse.

*What Mr. View neglects to say in regards to the Arizona Crossing is troubling. Significant damage had been made to taxpayer-owned property, by WHOEVER tried to repair the crossing. Yet, according Mr. View’s own 2018 DEPOSITION, the City never filed a police report with the OCSD regarding the damage to taxpayer owned property or hired a private investigator to discover who did it. Who would have benefited from this crossing? This crossing allowed Blenheim easy access from Reata parking to the Riding Park. Who would have done this, Brad Gates Open Space Foundation, Blenheim, or the City?

What Mr. View does say about the Creek Bed is a well-orchestrated dance. In View’s deposition he stated “We had knowledge that there was earth movement along the creek edge.” And  answered “Blenheim Management” operated the heavy equipment at the Creek edge (29-36 view the dance)

Then, Mr. View goes on to explain, in his letter to Ms. McCarthy, that the City Council has authorized the filing of a lawsuit against both the City’s insurance carrier and Blenheim for Coastkeeper litigation as well as for the remediation projects referenced in the above paragraph.

YOU SIMPLY CANT MAKE THIS STUFF UP!

Nor this either:

This same guy, Assistant City Manager Charlie View, then wrote Agenda Item E8 for the 3/16 Council Meeting, recommending, along with City Manager Ben Siegel, that Council waive all the fees for Blenheim’s upcoming season, still on our property, while we are suing them, and rightfully so.

This Item provoked another McCarthy letter to Council, March 18:


To: City of San Juan Capistrano Councilmembers Bourne, Reeve, Farias, Taylor & Hart,

Per City Manager Ben Siegel and Assistant City Manager Charlie View, they are recommending that you vote in favor of the request by Blenheim Facility Management for use of Reata Park for Riding Park Equestrian Activity Parking and waiver of rental fees. (Agenda Item E8 3/16, 2021)

Please keep your oath to represent San Juan tax-payers and do not award more tax-payer dollars to the private business, Blenheim Facility Management. Ask yourself if you would make this decision for your own property and family.

As Charlie View stated to me in an email last week, yet chose not to include in this Agenda Report E8: 

“With respect to City costs, the City Council authorized the filing of a lawsuit against both the City’s insurance carrier and Blenheim Facility Management seeking to capture funds expended on both the Coastkeeper litigation as well as completion of the remediation projects referenced above.  A trial date has not yet been set, but the parties expect that trial will occur in early 2022.

“Presently, the parties are engaged in discovery and depositions involving both the insurer and Blenheim Facility Management.  Once further discovery is completed, the parties may mediate the case or participate in a court-sponsored settlement conference.”

More graded dirt at the creek bank.

Furthermore, why did City Manager Ben Siegel allow the above pertinent information to be left out of this agenda report?  Why would Siegel, knowing that the City Council authorized the filing of a lawsuit against Blenheim, recommend to waive fees for them?

It would be unconscionable to spend more of our tax dollars on Blenheim who actively polluted and destroyed our publicly owned open space property and then refused, per their contract, to remedy the damages.

In honor of your oath and full transparency in governance, please include Charlie View’s statement above, the Tour of the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park July 2016, and a complete summary of all of the tax-payer dollars that have already been spent on the private business Blenheim Facility Management, due to operating without a permit and violating the Federal Clean Water Act. The residents of SJC deserve to see the full picture on this matter.

Thank you for your consideration in this matter,
Kim McCarthy
SJC tax-payer for 20 years


Once again, NOT ONE of the five elected councilmen, nor staff, answered McCarthy.

What they did was to put the matter on a consent vote, bundled it up with a bunch of other items they did not want to discuss out loud and voted YES on all of them at once, on your behalf with your tax dollars.


About The Swallows

Concerned citizens of San Juan Capistrano who've been raising hell down there for decades.