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Hrabik's Candidate Statement Challenged; Judge Agrees

A judge rules that a phrase in Kenney Hrabik's candidate statement for City Council in Rancho Santa Margarita was false. It's another tough moment for the aspiring businessman.

Kenney Hrabik's candidate statement will be a little shorter than he anticipated. That's because a judge in Orange County Superior Court on Tuesday ruled that he made a false claim in his 373-word submission to the Orange County Registrar of Voters in his for Rancho Santa Margarita City Council.

In a challenge mounted by RSM resident April Josephson, Judge Charles Margines ruled that Hrabik's candidate statement—which could be up to 400 words long—must omit a phrase that claims he moved to Rancho Santa Margarita after the recession started.

It was pointed out in court that Hrabik's business moved from Lake Forest to Rancho Santa Margarita in December, 2005, when he signed a long term lease for a location in Dove Canyon Plaza, and that he applied for a conditional use permit in September 2006.

"As a longtime community activist and local businessperson, I felt it was my responsibility to set the record straight," said Josephson, who made the challenge one day before the 10-day, Aug. 25 deadline to do so.

  • To read the original candidate statement, .
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It was argued by Josephson, citing the National Bureau of Economic Research, that the economic activity in the U.S. didn't peak until December 2007 and the recession did not begin until December 2008.

Included in the argument was a letter written by Hrabik in which he says he relocated his event planning company in RSM "to be closer to our home in Rancho Cielo..." and the certificate of occupancy issued by the City in 2006.

According to the Court, "the phrase 'When the recession started and I saw so many of Rancho families out of work' is false and/or misleading. ... the court orders that the words 'the recession started and' in the foregoing phrase be stricken."

All other challenges to Hrabik's candidate statement were denied. The Court said in its judgment:

"None constitutes a reference to other candidates for the same office. In essence, Petitioner takes the position that any pledge to improve the governance of the city necessarily implies a criticism of the current city council or at least a reference to its members. That is simply not the case. For example, Mr. Hrabik's assertion that his many years of business experience would be an asset to the current city council is not a denigration of the latter; it is a promise that, if he is elected, the city would benefit from his experience. Similarly, 'we can do better' does not imply that the current council members are doing a poor job. It means no more than: If elected, we can improve as a city."

The Court also indicated that a reference to city councilman Jesse Petrilla "currently fighting in Afghanistan" with the California National Guard, could also remain in the statement even though Petrilla has contacted city manager Jennifer Cervantez and indicated that his tour has been cut short and he will be in attendance at council meetings beginning on Sept. 26. 

Josephson argued that Petrilla would be back in the states when the candidate statements are mailed to voters. The judge ruled that "there is no certainty that Mr. Petrilla will return home before publication of the candidates' statements; his tour of duty may be extended voluntarily or by order of Mr. Petrilla's superiors."

On the whole, it's another setback for Hrabik, who argued earlier this year before the city council that a national survey showed Rancho Santa Margarita had a business climate that was worse than cities such as El Centro, Bakersfield, Philadelphia and New Orleans; in fact, the survey did not name RSM but greater Orange County, specifically naming Anaheim, Santa Ana and Irvine.

Hrabik also circulated an email campaign claiming that the cost of all salary and benefits to council members since the city incorporated in 2000 had cost the city $1 million— too much.

Donnamarie CarenzaKline September 13, 2012 at 07:40 PM
oops...typo "truck"
April Josephson September 14, 2012 at 06:27 AM
As a follow up to the discussion of city council compensation - the city survey results were presented at this week's council meeting. 72% of residents either approve or strongly approve of our city council's current compensation, with 9% having no opinion. See: http://ranchosantamargarita.patch.com/articles/survey-99-percent-of-residents-like-living-in-rancho-eebeb40b
Nancy Thompson September 15, 2012 at 12:43 AM
To keep the record straight that's 72% of 405 polled residents
April Josephson September 15, 2012 at 12:49 AM
That's correct. It is a statistically relevant random sampling with a 4.9% margin of error, to be more specific.
RSM01012000 September 15, 2012 at 07:58 PM
Kenny's complete disrespect was noticed by ALL THE VETERANS in attendance as commented by flannery4. It may not be offensive to you or the Rancho Santa Margarita Business Alliance. However, we will never forgot. It was NOT just a parked truck - it was a tactful speech by a candidate during a time of remembrance (and yes a speech does not have to be verbal). From what I have read in the last few days it appears the City has spent more money in controlling the rogue persons behavior through various code enforcement violations, legal challenges to loud noise, etc. Shows us that he has NO Concern for OUR Community but only to HIS own personal agenda.
glen p September 18, 2012 at 11:18 PM
oops you must have missed the speach Mr. Mgirr gave at the Honda dealership on 9/11?
Julie McGirr September 19, 2012 at 01:11 AM
I was there for Brad McGirr's speech on 9/11, and I thought it was very well done and quite appropriate.
Martin Henderson (Editor) September 19, 2012 at 02:14 AM
The event began with a moment of silence, FWIW. I think the gist of those offended by the truck sign is that it somehow impeded on a public event to recognize 9/11; the McGirr event was a private event that included 9/11. I suspect there would be less criticism if the candidate had also been in attendance.
glen p September 19, 2012 at 02:43 AM
Not saying mcgirr's was anything but appropriate Just questioning why Mr Hrabik's action was considered in bad taste and Mr Mcgirr's Wasn't And with all the people at the event how do you know he wasn't there Just asking
April Josephson September 19, 2012 at 05:54 PM
Comparing the two events is like comparing apples and oranges. The Patriot Day event was intended to be an apolitical remembrance/honoring event. IMO, placing a political sign with a flag nearby was in poor taste on such a solemn occasion. Mr. McGirr's event was specifically a political event that those in attendance chose to attend on 9/11. The moment of silence was appreciated.
glen p September 19, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Spin it anyway you want I have a different opinion of how it looks. Funny all the bashing trashing etc that's posted about this election, there doesn't seem to be any comments on what each persons canidate brings to the table. If you went back and looked at all council members, who had previous experience? We have business men, lawyers retired candidates who all have something to bring to the table, but instead of looking at them that way we have to bring up all the dirty laundry. Typical political bs IMO
April Josephson September 19, 2012 at 11:39 PM
Interesting comments Glen. I could call them "spin" as well. I do like your remarks regarding hearing what the candidates can bring to the table. That is important to me. I believe I asked something similar above. I don't recall ever hearing any substantive details from Kenney with regard to what he can do for the city that would improve RSM for our residents. IMO, removing council compensation and establishing term limits are bad ideas, and at least in the case of the compensation, the survey says most residents agree.
RSM01012000 September 21, 2012 at 04:38 PM
There are two candidates that are in your face at every public forum - Larry McCook and Kenney Hrabik. My only concern is with a speech (banner the size you would see at a campaign convention) being conducted at the event. Maybe Mr. Hrabik is sorry for the oversight and meant no offense by his actions. However, he has not issued such statement and for that we can only assume his actions were intentional and with complete disregard to ALL VETERANS and VICTIMS of 9/11.
Bailey Klein September 21, 2012 at 04:58 PM
The fact that Kenney's truck being parked near a memorial event means absolutely nothing. What are you people trying to say? If I understand you people correctly, you're saying that he was snubbing his nose at those who lost their lives on 9/11 by parking his truck near a memorial event... that displaying the American flag on his truck was somehow an insult to the Frost family and others, and how disgusting it was that Kenney wasn't there to support the event. Do you realize how idiotic that sounds? He is running for office, and he has the right to park his truck legally in RSM wherever he chooses. You're really stretching it to say the fact that he had an American flag on his truck was insulting ... how so Flannery4? I have personally known Mr. Hrabik for many years, and he is a good man. It's amazing how a few bad apples in a community can spread decay so quickly. Wake up people. I agree with Winston, you really need to get a life! Kenney for City Council!
April Josephson September 21, 2012 at 05:25 PM
Bailey, are you calling those of the opinion that it was disrespectful to intentionally place a large, moving 3-sided campaign sign with a flag on it at a solemn event designed to honor the victims of the biggest terrorist attack in U.S. history "bad apples?"
Bailey Klein September 22, 2012 at 06:21 AM
YES, a person who attempts to discredit another's reputation for something that was not intentionally done (you say offending veterans & victims of 9/11), well that equals a "bad apple" in my opinion! Why don't you just follow Kenney around every day? I'm sure if you look hard enough with your magnifying glass he just might do something unspeakably horrible again, something like, I don't know, picking his nose in public. Then, you could have him arrested for being a public nuisance!
glen p September 22, 2012 at 04:47 PM
well put Bailey
April Josephson September 22, 2012 at 06:26 PM
I don't buy it. First off, there was intent to place the campaign sign at the event. Being that thoughtless, regardless of intent is not okay in my book, especially when you look at this person's historic behavior towards other groups of people who have been either hurt or slighted by him. Whether there was intent this time or not, this is just another in a long list of undeserved slaps in the face towards others. Giving him a pass each time it happens and calling those of us who speak up names, is unacceptable in my book. This is his ongoing M.O. There is no consideration for others, and not even an apology for the offense, after the affected parties have publicly stated that he caused them harm. This repeated behavior is a great example of why Kenney should not be on our city council. He lied in his candidate statement. The judge ordered the offensive language removed. Offense after offense, and we are bad apples for not giving him another free pass when he does harm.
glen p September 22, 2012 at 09:07 PM
"The judge ordered the offensive language removed.." what "offensive " language are your talkiing about? Arent you a lawyer? Practicing? don't you have to prove intent? Whom has he harmed? again show me proof My goodness your making all these accusations on only your belief not proof it seems. No consideration for others , other than those who posted they were offended, who is he inconciderate to? The neighbors above who cost him money is paying for sound tests, which I might add he passes several times, I don't understand your total distane for this man, seems you are obsessed with his life, just my opinion :)
April Josephson September 23, 2012 at 09:50 AM
Glen P, sounds like you've been speaking with Kid Chicago—who posted nearly an identical comment on a Carol Gamble article. Are you all getting this statement from Kenney? Intent has nothing to do with the court ordering the removal of the illegal false statement from Kenney's candidate statement. The election code does not require it. IMO, those of you posting on behalf of Kenney who keep bringing up intent are trying to deflect the focus from the facts because facts show that Kenney has no consideration for the law, facts, decorum, or the feelings of others. Lack of intent is no excuse for his repeated behaviors. The facts are: - Kenney was ordered by the court to remove illegal false/misleading language from his candidate statement. - Kenney is in violation of the court order. He has the illegal language on his campaign website. - Kenney admitted to violations when Kenney signed a $50,000 settlement with the city. - Kenney is in the minority with regard to public opinion on council compensation. - Kenney parked his 3-sided mobile campaign sign at the Patriot Day event, which offended people. - Kenney has never apologized for any of his behavior. On the contrary, he has appeared at numerous public meetings angry, making accusations of others.
Kenney Hrabik September 23, 2012 at 02:42 PM
April, Your continual lies for political gain is disappointing. Do you thank you are helping Tony or Carol? Is this what you have to do to win? I have 21 years of relationships with many in this community that know who I am and what I stand for. If you don't know me, check out my website at www.RSM2012.com
Dawn September 23, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Will the real Kenny plea stand up......I live a few doors away and I can say I know him. He is the neighbor from hell and ten most selfish self centered person who does not care one bit for others . I for one am afraid of him and what he will do next . I can not think of a worse person to run this city and if he wins it just might be the single worse event in my life. Kenny we all fear you and feel so sorry for your wife, you are the biggest bully. Please people come talk to the ones who live next door, down the street , we know Kenny, words can not really express what a awful , self righteous , mean man he is.
Megan September 23, 2012 at 04:55 PM
Kenney will bring the changes we need! Stop greedy politicians on the gravy train. His website shows his neighbors that like him. http://www.RSM2012.com/who-is-supporting-kenney.html Spread the word. Megan
Dove Canyon Oldtimer September 23, 2012 at 08:41 PM
Hey Kenney, I don't see where April Josephson is lying. She has all of the facts correct and you may disagree with her on the sign truck at the 9/11 event, but too bad. You are one more time proving why you should not sit on the city council. And now I see one of your other neighbors has weighed in on who you really are as a person. I appear not to be alone. I would suggest you be concerned with which of those skeletons are about ready to come out of your closet. And by the way, that political stunt with your truck at the 9/11 event was disrespectful and just goes to show your insensitivity to those who died that day. You are truely a disgaceful figure.
April Josephson September 23, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Kenney, you continue to prove to me why you do not belong on our city council. Your accusations against me are false. You have no supporting facts. Your comment is highly offensive and shocking to me. On the other hand, I provide facts and my personal opinions—which are labeled as such—as a private citizen. I exercise my First Amendment rights with regard to your falsehoods and public behavior relating to your public candidacy. You chose to put yourself up for such scrutiny when you ran for council and began spreading false and misleading statements to the public. I suggest you be more careful with your words if you don't want them to paint you in a bad light.
glen p September 24, 2012 at 10:57 PM
First off, there was intent to place the campaign sign at the event this is what you said April not anyone else
April Josephson September 24, 2012 at 11:06 PM
Yes, Glen, what is your point? I did not make a judgment as to whether he intended to offend. However, Kenney is aware of the city event schedule and has parked his 3-sided mobile campaign sign adjacent to the edge of city events before. So, when the 3-sided mobile campaign sign, that is moved around town all of the time, appears adjacent to the Patriot Day event-with a flag on it that wasn't there before-I believe there was intent to place it at the event.
Martin Henderson (Editor) September 25, 2012 at 01:29 AM
For Kenney Hrabik: I realize there is a certain amount of political gamesmanship at play here, but as a candidate for city council who is calling a reader a perpetual liar ("Your continual lies for political gain is disappointing") I think it's important that you explain it with specifics or retract. As far as I can tell, April Josephson has not said/written anything that is untrue; some items, such as whether the sign at Patriot Day was in bad taste, is clearly an opinion. Please document which lies or mistruths you're referring; otherwise, it appears you're just trying to throw up a smokescreen to discredit her without any real facts. Again, for the benefit of readers and voters (and me) explain "your continual lies" so that we are aware of what she's saying that is not factual. Thanks. Martin Henderson
glen p September 26, 2012 at 04:17 PM
April earlier I asked what offensive language were you referring to in Mr. Hrabiks canadiate statement, and no I have not nor will I be attached to anyone else opinion as you seem to believe. I read, assess, and come to my own opinions thank you. I am confused, which is it? This is what you said above referring to the truck, language in his canidate statement, "I did not make a judgment as to whether he intended to offend" "I don't buy it. First off, there was intent to place the campaign sign at the event"
April Josephson September 26, 2012 at 08:22 PM
Glen, I'm not sure what you are asking. In reference to Kenney's candidate statement, I was using the term as a legal reference—he committed a legal offense. The false/misleading language (offensive language) that was ordered removed was in violation of the state elections code. I used a different definition of the term offensive in the instance of the campaign sign. Can you please explain your question? I am confused.

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