A large sign with Tony Beall's name provided the backdrop in a backyard where Beall announced his candidacy for Rancho Santa Margarita City Council. To one side of Beall there was a 270-degree view of O'Neill Regional Park and the Santa Margarita Parkway Bridge.
Coupled with the words of a procession of supporters who spoke on Beall's behalf, the message was pretty clear.
Beall sees the big picture.
It's that message that Beall hopes carries him to victory in November. The sitting mayor, he seeks reelection to the city council, hopeful that voters will simply vote on his record.
"Results matter, and we have a proud record of accomplishment," Beall told Patch after he spoke to an enthusiastic group of supporters gathered in the back yard of Chip and Donna Furniss. "Look at what we've accomplished. While many other government agencies are drowning in debt and deficit, we've got a balanced budget, millions in reserve, we're ranked the No. 1 safest city in the state of California for two consecutive years by the FBI, our business community is thriving. ... That doesn't mean we're insulated or that we don't have the same kind of pressures other places do, but we've dealt with them better."
With the proposed Chiquita Ridge project looming, Beall also said that his experience as a real estate attorney would be beneficial, just as it was when he helped negotiate the deal that brought 92 acres of land to RSM that must, as a provision, include the largest regional sports park in south Orange County.
Several supporters, including councilwoman Carol Gamble and planning commissioner Brad McGirr, were among those who spoke. And in the end, they may have sold Beall harder to those in attendance than Beall did.
McGirr quoted H.L. Menken, who famously wrote that "I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office."
"Clearly, H.L. Menken never met Tony Beall," McGirr said, going on to point out the $19 million in the bank that the city can draw on, and recent claims against the city's "traffic congestion" and business environment that amounted to critics trying to create "a boogeyman."
"Let me tell you," McGirr said, "there ain't no boogeyman."
Gamble, an original council member when the city incorporated in 2000, had to give up her seat to tend to her ailing father in 2003. At the time, she didn't know Beall, but said that her decision to support Beall to take her place during the appointment process was one of the best decisions she has made.
Other speakers included Capistrano Unified School District trustee Ellen Addonizio, Chamber of Commerce president Suzanne Singh, and former city manager Steve Hayman.
Addonizio said she lived in Mission Viejo and that her city could use someone like Beall. Hayman, who essentially served as the CEO of Rancho Santa Margarita but operated at the discretion of the city council, praised Beall for his commitment to the city.
"Tony Beall cares a great deal about this community, and it has resonated with me more than anything else," Hayman said. "Tony has spent a great deal of time and effort for very little, and is very valuable.
"I told him when I announced my retirement, I'm at his disposal, I'll do what I can to help him be successful."
Beall, whose son played the National Anthem on an electric guitar at the event, introduced his family as well. With children ranging in age from 13 to 23 and his wife, Jennifer, at his side, Beall indicated that every decision he makes is based on whether it helps "to promote or enhance the original vision of this city."
"If we stick to that vision, this will always be the finest place to live and raise your family," Beall said. "That's one of the main reasons I'm involved. Selfishly, I'm involved because I do live here and my family lives here and I want to make this the finest place I can for all of them."
Beall also said he expects the election to be "hotly contested."
"My response to that is 'Bring it on,'" Beall said. "It's not about me if I win. Nothing is about the elected official, it's about you the people we are elected to serve. Look very hard at anyone running for office and see if they're running for you, or if they're running for themselves.
"I have complete faith in the electorate. We have a proud record on which to run upon, and I'll run on that record forever."