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We Can Do Better

               I have a question. What is wrong with a good old-fashioned argument on the merits of a subject? When did it become necessary to villanize those we disagree with? Must every debate in our city devolve into a barrage of personal attacks?

               My questions are prompted by a recent mailer I received. “Mailer” is a polite word. This 4-page, 8.5 x 11 full color brochure is, in fact, a hit piece against the owner of the former Nissan site. I reviewed this brochure with pure disgust.

               Let me be clear – I believe our City Council acted with careful consideration when they voted to deny re-zoning of this site from an auto use to general retail. I stand behind their vote.        

               My support, however, stops at this smear campaign. This brochure is simply an inflammatory hit piece with few facts and a lot of emotion. Some questions:

·        What does the fact that Mr. Daichendt is wealthy and does not live in RSM have to do with anything? Do all of RSM’s business owners live in RSM? Does the In-N-Out Owner? Are the other business owners not wealthy?

·        Changing the RSM Master Plan would forever damage RSM? Haven’t we already done that multiple times in the past 14 years? Retail area around library? Residential area along Antonio? In-N-Out??

·        An empty auto dealership site is our #1 source of revenue? Really? What about Ford? Toyota? Honda? U-Haul is the #1 revenue source for the city?

·        If RSM loses one dealership, other auto dealers will sell? We’ve already lost one auto dealership (Nissan). The other auto dealers need to cluster in one location to generate the synergy needed? How does this affect Toyota, the dealership that stands alone a few blocks away??

·        If the city re-zones, “I will pay?” Really? Our city is so dependent upon this one site that re-zoning will cause the city to have to raise taxes to provide basic services? This does not say much for our city council’s money management especially when one considers that we are operating at a surplus now.

·        The mailer complains that Mr. Daichendt has threatened litigation. Well, instead, he has opted to avail himself of the referendum system. Isn’t that preferable? I would much rather he put this to a vote of the general public especially during an already-scheduled election than drag our city through litigation.

·        Who is Save RSM? The mailer provides no information about how it was paid for or by whom. Ironically, the address on it comes from Mission Viejo. Another “outside special interest?”

·        Why is Save RSM so afraid of a general vote by the residents of Rancho Santa Margarita? How much money are they willing to spend to prevent a vote of the general public?

As anyone who knows me is aware, I love a good debate. And the zoning of this property is a great subject for a good, substantive debate. But that is not what this is. This is a bullying tactic and does not represent our city well at all.  We can do better than this and we should. Ms. Gamble, Mr. McGirr, Mr. Beall should maybe step back and re-think their support of the Save RSM group.

As I stated, I support the city council’s vote on this subject. However, this hit piece and the recent signage littering my neighborhood have prompted me to decide to sign the petition if I am asked. And I’m signing it for no other reason than in the interest of fairness to Mr. Daichendt and the blatant attempt by Save RSM to bully him out of the neighborhood.

Shripathi Kamath March 20, 2014 at 06:10 PM
Curiosity kills, LeAna. One of the main reason activists put things like this on a petition (or organize recall elections) is because of the factor of apathy. It is easy to get enough votes to put this on a petition if people handed a "LOOK, OMG JUST LIKE BELL, CORRUPTION, SIGN THIS" signature sheet to shoppers as they waltz out of the local Walmart. Getting people to vote for it, is a bit more difficult. But once on the ballot, it at least forces the other side to spend money, just to be sure. To avoid spending that money and risking anything is always profitable.
LeAna Bui March 20, 2014 at 06:23 PM
I had never seen the OC Commentary before (do not subscribe to Register any longer) - thanks for sharing.
LeAna Bui March 20, 2014 at 06:46 PM
Shripathi - Theory R (or it's owner) is putting this on a petition in hopes of getting the voters to help him get his way on the re-zoning (no worries about voter apathy there). But what is the motive behind Save RSM stopping that? They are already spending the campaign money they would have to spend if this were on the ballot. The vehemence (do not sign the petition or RSM will be damaged) coming from the anti-re-zoning crowd leads me to wonder if there isn't more to the story than we are hearing.
Shripathi Kamath March 21, 2014 at 02:41 AM
LeAna Bui March 20, 2014 at 06:46 PM They are already spending the campaign money they would have to spend if this were on the ballot. The vehemence (do not sign the petition or RSM will be damaged) coming from the anti-re-zoning crowd leads me to wonder if there isn't more to the story than we are hearing. ___________________________________________________ There is less. This is garden variety politics between the in-tribe and the out-tribe. If a petition gets approved, then the side that had won (by denying the re-zoning) will have to spend a lot more money to defeat it than they would be spending now in mailers to discourage people from signing the petition and even having it get on the ballot. ___________________________________________________ Pay no heed to the hyperbole, and you'll sleep better.
LeAna Bui March 21, 2014 at 02:42 PM
Pay no heed to the hyperbole, and you'll sleep better._________________________________________ Good advice.....

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