Letter to the Editor, Saddleback Valley News 2/16/99
by Bob Evans
A few years ago, I used to write letters to the editors that were very complimentary towards the Mission Viejo City Council, and against the positions of Larry Gilbert, a frequent critic of the council. I was considered a hero and was invited to lunch by a council member (I declined).
After being a close observer of council meetings (via TV), in the last few years, my opinion of their arrogant behavior towards the citizens of Mission Viejo who come before the council with views not shared by them, has changed my viewpoint. I subsequently started writing letters to the editor critical of their focus, actions, and block voting. As you can imagine, I am no longer a hero.
Larry Gilbert researches city records and finds questionable expenses and other actions, such as a Christmas party for council members and city staff (including spouses) that cost the city and citizens $6,500, or approximately $35 per person. I guess our highly paid city manager feels that type of per person expenditure is commendable.
Larry Gilbert and I are now regarded as "Enemies of the State" at the city council meeting (Jan 17), the main item on the agenda was to fill a council vacancy. As is customary, citizens were heard as part of the normal agenda item, many items brought forth and discussed. The last speaker was former Mayor Robert Breton, a close ally and friend of the majority of the council. In a rather self-serving speech, he announced he was withdrawing from being considered a candidate for the council vacancy and was giving his support to Mr. Faubel. Mr. Breton's decision was old news, it was announced to the press days before he spoke, while it was his right to speak, it seemed a little like last minute electioneering before a supposedly "impartial council." As a former mayor he should know better.
Alas, we should not have worried, only one person was nominated, as proposed by Councilman William Craycraft, quickly seconded and passed with a 3 to 1 vote. Councilman John Paul Ledesma, who voted no, could not even nominate another candidate.
Although Craycraft, Councilwomen Sherri Butterfield and Susan Withrow said they would vote independently, the press reported "There was no discussion as council members voted 3 to 1 for Faubel." The trio of Butterfield, Craycraft and Withrow once more demonstrated their own form of democracy in action.