The proponents of the recall against Mission Viejo Mayor Pro Tem Lance MacLean, understandably, weren't too happy with the story in this week's Weekly in which MacLean called them all liars. I received a polite but firm email from Connie Lee, one of the top members of the recall, presenting another side to some of the fact-checking I did against their arguments for kicking MacLean out of office. It also featured a gem from the front lines:
I'm not sending this email to debate Lance. He says our arguments are equal to claiming he clubs baby seals. Good grief. Today, a woman signed the petition, and she lives in his neighborhood. She said Lance got mad at her kids and "he chased them with a shovel." We don't need to make stuff up.
What's worse: allegedly choking a coworker or allegedly threatening children using a gardening implement? Keep in mind: allegedly.
A few things to clear up. Lee says that fliers depicting Cabrini Green were never circulated in response to a proposed affordable housing development. She's right. The Los Angeles Times article about the meeting said the building on the flier "looked like" Cabrini Green.
And Lee points out that the City Council, including Lance MacLean, have supported mixed-use projects in Mission Viejo before -- namely, a proposed development on Los Alisos and Jeronimo that they approved in 2006. It is, however, true that MacLean and others have said they don't support the recommendations from the Urban Land Institute to re-engineer a Mission Viejo shopping center to have apartments on top of shops, as was depicted on a flier that the recall has been using.
The rest of Lee's response -- and then some -- is posted in a comment on the article. Read it here. She suggests I fabricated an exchange with a woman who said the council was going to turn parts of Mission Viejo into a "ghetto." I didn't. I had to scribble her comments on the cover of my notebook because I didn't want to take the time to open the thing up and potentially miss anything she was saying.
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Many of the things she points out are factually true but don't contradict what was written in the story. Others are opinions. Read and decide. The gist, though, is this:
Lance has his "side" of the story, but the truth (whole truth -- integrity) is on our side, and it's not just an "interpretation" of the truth.
One could argue that "interpretation" is what allows MacLean and the recall to work from the same group of facts and end up calling each other dirty liars. The recall proponents take it as indisputable truth that a moratorium on land use is a sham; the council says it's a sincere, partly symbolic effort to protect Casta Del Sol golf course. The recall sees the council paying $30,000 for a study and takes that as evidence that they support the study's recommendations; MacLean says that opinion shows a misunderstanding of the role of a consultant.
Who's right? Voters will decide, though a few might -- allegedly! -- do so under the threat of shovel attacks.