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Has Councilman Bass Gone Fishin?

Dr. Jim Gardner
Dr. Jim Gardner

It’s been more than 2 months since the City Council selected Dave Bass to fill the seat vacated by Peter Herzog. The Council didn’t have a good record of making selections. In less than a year, they managed to fill the Planning Commission (PC) and the Parks and Recreation Commission (PRC) with people who, for whatever the multiple reasons, caused both Commissions to stop working effectively. Just to review –

  • In less than a year, the PC had more appeals and more decisions overturned than in their previous 20 year history.

  • For the first time ever, a sitting chairperson of the PC resigned, citing the conduct of the new appointees as a reason.

  • Then, within a few months, his replacement as chairman, another veteran, resigned.

  • Meeting cancellations at the PC exceeded more than 20% and in addition absences were high.

  • The PRC spent more than a year looking for a location for a dog park and came up empty handed.

  • Then the PRC spent more than half a year trying to come up with a plan to solve the problems at Village Pond Park, and again, came up empty handed, managing to violate the Brown Act in the process.

Not exactly a stellar record for showcasing the selection skills of the Council members. Of course, talent selection is not a kid’s game – it’s a serious business, and it takes years to develop and maintain the skills to do a good job. Not only do all the Council members lack sufficient skills in selecting talent, there were many other issues that reared their ugly heads in the selection process, not the least of which was the trail of money and influence that led from the doors of the “Trumark Twins” (Scott Voigts and Dwight Robinson) to the doors of most of the people who were selected.

Hence, one might not have expected their selection of a new council member to be effective. Some of you will recall that I also applied for that position, so my opinions may not be entirely neutral no matter how hard I try. However, I’m far more interested in seeing the new Council member succeed because with his success the City succeeds.

Dave Bass didn’t promise much when he applied. He admitted that his sole reason for applying was to save the City the costs of having a special election, and he had no particular interests and no particular projects he wanted to push. He further admitted that he hadn’t been involved much in any activities in the City, nor was he familiar with any of the current issues facing the Council. He did have the benefit of having worked for the City a few years ago, however many of us wondered if decades of working as a municipal employee was the kind of experience that would make for a good Council member.

Tomorrow we'll take a look at Bass' record. Is he still standing at the dock or has he gone fishing, and if he has, what exactly did he catch?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Tom Cagley February 26, 2014 at 05:05 PM
A few things here, Sonny. First, the city fathers, elected, appointed or hired, should never have allowed the buildings or developers to deal with the SVUSD apart from them. As Dr. Gardner noted, of the school board members only one is from Lake Forest. We need to get a larger representation. There is a lot about the location of the El Toro stadium that 'smells' to say the least. Before my time living here, but I've seen enough smoke to know there is something smoldering there. However, I still would be hesitant at creating another USD, as there is tremendous expense in creating these, and, as I said above, it means more elected officials and more bureaucracy. Further, the way the wheels move, it would be a long time materializing. SVUSD is facing declining enrollment, so they should be amendable to re-visiting adding schools to this area.
Sonny Morper February 26, 2014 at 07:49 PM
Tom, our personal conversation would be better to be done in person or by phone. If you agree, feel free to call. I'm listed. Thx, Sonny
Bob Holtzclaw February 26, 2014 at 11:02 PM
As a resident of Lake Forest it appears we pay more attention to the City Council then the SVUSD. However, the SVUSD also received money from the developers for not building and I wonder if any of the board members received campaign donations that may have helped in their decision. I wonder if the people buying these new homes realize there is no local school that can take their child.
Jim Gardner February 27, 2014 at 10:15 AM
Hi Bob - the literature that Baker Ranch is passing out makes it look like there are "local" schools. No mention of the drive to the schools. No mention of the Jail.
Sonny Morper February 27, 2014 at 11:55 AM
Jim, you might add: The literature also does not include info on The school buses, or chauffeuring to schools they will have forever, in spite of the fact they have indirectly paid the school district up to 10,000 dollars. Their "thanks" can be given also to the city council who required the "mitigation" school (tax) dollars in order to get the building permit authorized, for each home. How will those dollars be used? About a million dollars estimated to have been collected thus far via builders to the district. Citizens can thank the school district and the city council for the extra school related traffic we are about to absorb. Nevertheless, Welcome to Lake Forest and to the SVUSD.

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