For Immediate Release
The Mission Viejo Committee for Integrity in Government has launched a web site to inform citizens and voters on proposed projects and city-sponsored initiatives within the city. The web site is (missionviejoca.org).
Committee members plan to promote the web site through fliers and picket signs as they challenge the city on an issue-by-issue basis. "We will connect directly with voters on the streets and in cyberspace," said Brad Morton, committee chairman. "We seek to counter the misinformation and 'spin' front all sources, especially the City Council, the committee states on the start page for the web site, features several timely updates and directs visitors to articles and letters on issues that are shaping the city of Mission Viejo, such as the proposed city hall construction project, and redevelopment subsidies such as the $1.3 million Vigilantes baseball fiasco, $85 million city debt to subsidize renovation of the Mission Viejo Mall, and $1.6 million in an "equity" deal to subsidize the Kaleidoscope entertainment center, which is on-third vacant after 18 months after opening. Other issues tracked include the efforts by the committee to have filters placed on computers used by children in the Mission Viejo Library.
The web site will be linked to the statewide web site (redevelopment.com) that provides background on redevelopment, which diverts property taxes from public to private use to subsidize commercial development. Three of every four cities in the state have redevelopment agencies. The committee was formed in 1997 to counter inflated attendance figures by the city and the Vigilantes' minor league baseball team to justify building a $6 million state-of-the-art, 4,000 seat stadium for a team drawing only 500 fans per game to $1 million temporary stadium built by the city at the Saddleback College field.
After a public outcry, the city backed down on the stadium plan and the team left town after two years. "The city's deception regarding the Vigilantes was repeated in the mall subsidy, which the city watered down in public dialogue after concerns about the size of the giveaway were aired," said Morton. With the city hall project, the city council majority corrupted the initiative process with a three-option ballot with skewed financial estimates which virtually assure voter approval of a lavish Taj Mahal city hall, he said.
"The web site will match the actions and statements of the city hall majority, City Manager Dan Joseph and department managers against public documents. The council majority previously failed to intimidate the committee by seeking a list of persons who make frequent requests through the California Public Records Act. The Mission Viejo Committee for Integrity in Government has evolved into one of the most dynamic community activist groups in the state. Several of its members who work with CURE and MORE on the redevelopment fight have volunteered to provide statewide redevelopment updates through a link between the www.missionviejoca.org and redevelopment websites.