Mission Viejo Mayor Pro Tem Lance MacLean sent out a press release a little more than an hour ago responding to the recall petition presented to him two Mondays ago. Here is the 200-word statement to voters that he's legally asked to issue:
"I have been honored to represent you since 2002 and I am proud of my verifiable accomplishments. In conjunction with ALL my City of Mission Viejo council colleagues Kelley, Ury, Ledesma and Schlicht, I have delivered on my promise to improve our quality of life: safest city in the nation, balanced budget with $28,000,000 reserves, expanded Murray senior/community center, improved traffic with signal coordination and street widening, renovated recreation centers, parks and medians.
The proponents of this recall want to GUT our quality of life. They have no problem frivolously spending $250,000 taxpayer dollars for this special election. Led by five failed council candidates, this petition is a cruel personalized character assassination using fabrications to attempt a political coup to promote their previous unsuccessful agendas: firing city staff, establishing business license taxes, destroying cell phone coverage by removing antennae's, closing the Animal Shelter and choking traffic with unworkable roundabouts on major arterials.
Despite these unwarranted personal attacks, I have been a consistent advocate for residents resulting in lower taxes, safer neighborhoods, schools and parks. Send a message to reject their dirty political change by voting NO RECALL and return hope for our city's future. For more information go to www.lancemaclean.org"
After the jump: He refutes specific charges against him...
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As examples of the blatant disregard for the facts, the proponents falsely claim the following:
1) $11.8 million in deficit spending last year: The fact is that $11.8 million in revenue was realized in the prior fiscal year for the capital improvement projects that expanded the Murray Senior and Community center and the Crown Valley street widening project. The net effect on our city reserves was zero with over $28 million still in our reserves.
2) Doubled Council salary: The fact is Council salary was established in 1988 at $500 per month and had not been adjusted for cost of living and inflation. On a 4 - 1 Council vote we approved raising our compensation to $1,000 per month for a total budgetary impact of $30,000 to our $60 million annual balanced budget.
3) Voted to increase housing density: The fact is the Council rejected higher housing density causing the city housing element to not comply with state law. A lawsuit against the city required us to conform to state housing laws. Since 1998, no new housing has been constructed in Mission Viejo.
4) Authored a tax increase: The fact is the council on a 4 - 1 vote placed an initiative on the ballot to ask residents if they wanted to increase from 6% to 8% (the county average) the tax to non-residents staying in city hotels. Residents did not approve and no tax increase occurred.
Omitted from that list was any response to the more personality-driven complaints. The original petition listed MacLean's physical altercation with a UCI coworker in 2007, an incident where he told councilwoman Gail Reavis to "shut the hell up" in closed session, and the fact that he told the LA Times that some residents had made borderline-racist comments when opposing a housing development in Mission Viejo. To both myself and the OC Register, MacLean has taken issue with the petition's remark that he had been "arrested" for the UCI incident: While police handcuffed him and the DA heard assault and battery charges against him, he wasn't technically arrested.
MacLean has a lot more to say to all of these charges, as do the activists who want him out of office. MacLean told me last week that he wasn't very optimistic about beating the recall and keeping his council position, but said he certainly wasn't going to quit.