City Council and 'the Winds of Changes'

Council decisions last night show that changes are in store for the city.


"May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift"

—Bob Dylan, "Forever Young"

The strong artic winds that have been pummeling Southern California swept into the council chambers last night and brought with them Dylan’s “winds of changes.” Two long time Planning Commission members were voted out of office and replaced by two relatively younger citizens with close ties to the new Mayor. In addition, the City Council voted unanimously to ask the Parks Commission to consider a dog park.

Swept out of office were Dave Carter, a 19 year commissioner, and Terry Anderson, a six year veteran. Both of them can be identified as Herzog appointments, and Anderson in particular, recently ran for City Council with the full support of Herzog and former council member Tettemer.

FWIW – Over the years I attended and presented before the Planning Commission and I thought that Carter and Anderson did an excellent job, not only in  setting a professional tone, but in asking probing questions and generally speaking, making good decisions.

Swept into office were Charles Brower, an attorney who campaigned and worked for Voigts , and Andrew Hamilton, a CPA who is running for a seat on the Irvine Water District in 2016. Hamilton served on the Tustin Planning Commission from 2001-2003. Brower unsuccessfully sought a seat on the Planning Commission in 2004 and 2006.

The winds of changes may disquiet some, and they may bring both good and bad results. In the coming years we’ll see the wisdom of making a radical change in the Planning Commission, and for now it’s sufficient to note the change. BTW – I’ve met both of the new appointees and I have no doubts about their sincerity and energy. I am a little apprehensive in losing the enormous experience that resided with Anderson and particularly Carter, but there are three experienced members remaining and I’m sure they will tutor the new members.

With regard to the dog park, it is long overdue. Readers of my previous articles on the subject will know that Lake Forest is one of the dog friendliest cities in the country, yet paradoxically doesn’t have a dog park. Kudos to Council member Dwight Robinson for his initiative in getting this started.

In the wake of the recent election, we have argued in these pages about whether or not the change in the council would mean changes in the city. I think it’s clear that the answer is “yes.” Put on your overcoats – the winds of changes have only started to blow.

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JustUs January 16, 2013 at 05:47 PM
So they replaced two old poltiical hacks with two new hacks? Why didn't anyone on the City Council object to the Planning Commission's approval of the video horse bet facility in Lake Forest. All it would take is ONE councilmember to object and it would force a full vote. But they didn't do that, did they? They claimed to be 'family values' cheerleaders by spending $2M to fight marijuana dispensaries yet are deafly silent on the horse bet facility where fathers will blow their entire paychecks and have nothing left to feed little Suzie or Johnny! Nice change, eh??? So they are going to throw you a little bone with the dog park to silence you? heh. The funding it would take to finance a dog park is miniscule compared to all the other shennanigans they're involved in. Be very careful what they do behind your back while they throw you the bone to distract you. Musick was a PERFECT example of that. Winds of change? heh. Sure. I'll believe it when I see it. Playing musical chairs with the planning commission is not change. It's more than likely more of the same. You aren't even finished yet with Chapter 1. You've got an entire book to read. Don't get too excited yet. You are likely setting yourself up for major disappointment.
JustUs January 16, 2013 at 06:26 PM
Btw, did Mr. Nick take a survey on the video horse bet facility like he did on the sex offender park ban? If not, why not? It is related to the safety of the children. Mr. Nick can still protest the approval of the video horse bet facility to 'save the children'. Where is he?
Jim Gardner January 16, 2013 at 08:48 PM
I agree that there is a disconnect between the preaching of "family values" and the fact that not a single person on the council objected to the gambling house being opened in Lake Forest. What's up with that?! As to the dog park, it is long overdue. If it's a bone, then let's enjoy it. I plan to work with the Parks Committee to develop a good proposal that hopefully will address all the major issues involved. When smaller and less endowed cities like RSM and LW can afford a dog park, and where we have more dog owners, it is simply ridiculous that we have gone this long without a park. Thanks to Council member Dwight Robinson we are finally moving forward. I don't believe that the change in the Planning Commission is merely "musical chairs". Only time will tell whether this change is good or bad for the city, but I believe it will represent a real change, although it might not manifest itself fully until the term of the other 3 veteran commissioners comes due in 2 years. Meantime, let's keep our minds open but not close out eyes. Let's continue to see what happens, and if I can borrow another line from Bob Dylan, let's "sleep with one eye open" (from "Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid")
Jim Gardner January 16, 2013 at 08:50 PM
As far as I know, no one from the council protested the gambling house. But I left the meeting at 9:45 pm so it's possible that it came up after that. BTW - nothing stops you (or anyone else) from talking during the Public Forum and specifically asking the council to review the proposal.
JustUs January 16, 2013 at 09:02 PM
"Only time will tell whether this change is good or bad for the city, but I believe it will represent a real change, although it might not manifest itself fully until the term of the other 3 veteran commissioners comes due in 2 years." And that's precisely the reason it's premature to applaud it. Change is not always good. It could be. But it could result in no real change. Or it could even make things worse. Replacing people on the Planning Commission in itself tells me nothing, other than people were rewarded or punished for their political connections. That's all. I will stick with the song "Lying Eyes" by the Eagles until I see some actual positive change that really makes a difference.
JustUs January 16, 2013 at 09:06 PM
My point is that if these folks are as 'family values' oriented as they claim to be then it shouldn't take someone else to tell them that putting a gambling house in Lake Forest is anti-family values that promotes gambling addiction and children who go without food, clothes, shelter and toys. This is common sense. And it would only take ONE councilperson to protest it which would require a full Council vote. They can sure connect medicinal marijuana or a park ban with family values - but they sure get stupid all the sudden when a gambling house in Lake Forest is approved, don't they, Jim. So please don't place the BURDEN OF ONUS on me. Put it where it belongs....ON THEM! Thank you.
Omolu January 17, 2013 at 12:29 AM
Thanks for a marvelously written article. It is an example of how the news can be reported and nonetheless be entertaining. I especially like the quote from Bob Dylan and how apt it is under the circumstances. If I understand you correctly, you see these changes as neutral and what you are highlighting is the fact of the change itself. Is that correct? Further, you seem to be saying that the political alliance between Voigts, Robinson, and Nick is now re-shaping the City after 20 years under the Herzog-Dixon-Tettemer regime. You used to refer to them as the "Gang of 3". Do we now have a new "Gang of 3" and is that a good thing?
JustUs January 17, 2013 at 04:36 AM
This has always been one of my favorites: "You can't hide your lyin' eyes And your smile is a thin disguise I thought by now you'd realize There ain't no way to hide your lyin' eyes" Eagles "Lyin' Eyes"
Jim Gardner January 17, 2013 at 03:21 PM
Hi JustUs, I agree that the burden is on them. They chose to get elected and accept the burden. That being said, overseeing the city is an enormous task and there are sooooo many things they must deal with. Thus, I think it's our duty as citizens, when we see something we care about that isn't being addressed, that we share the burden. Most of my attention is to areas that I feel are being ignored. I rarely chime in on issues that the city is dealing with adequately or well. Occasionally I do comment on exceptional achievements, but usually city staff and council members have already dealt with this so my voice is repetitive. Don't feel that you have to wait for them. A good push in the right direction will be appreciated by most.
Jim Gardner January 17, 2013 at 03:22 PM
JustUs, I confess that I prefer "The Eagles" to Bob Dylan, but I hope in this case that The Eagles don't apply.
Jim Gardner January 17, 2013 at 03:28 PM
Omolu, Thanks for the kind comment. "To the victors go the spoils" The new guys are in office and they are putting in "their people". This is how politics has always worked. This is how it worked before. Dave Carter and Terry Anderson were clearly supporters of Herzog and his "Gang of 3" so it's not surprising that the new guys are removing them and putting in their own people. In the case of Hamilton he had experience in the Tustin Planning Commission so he seems a natural. My only concern is that I thought Carter and Anderson did good jobs and we have yet to see what kind of job the new appointees do. While they were political appointments I don't think they were "political hacks" so I am disappointed to see them leave.
JustUs January 17, 2013 at 03:48 PM
Was there any mention at the meeting by any of the Council members to propose a resolution for all members to publicly disclose immediately prior to a vote at the meetings on any agenda item whether any or all members have taken money or other consideration from any individual, group (to include public unions) or corporation that may benefit by their vote? That could be proposed and passed immediately without much fanfare. And it makes perfect sense. The taxpayers should have a right to know whether the Council is helping those, via their votes, who provided them with some sort of consideration or benefit. If not a legal right, certainly a moral right. Why don't one of the 5 members step up to the plate and make the proposal? What exactly is holding them back? Why would they want to hide such information from the public? Winds of change? Ok. Let the 'winds of change' blow. I'm still waiting. The air is very still. Not even a slight breeze.
JustUs January 17, 2013 at 04:01 PM
"Thus, I think it's our duty as citizens, when we see something we care about that isn't being addressed, that we share the burden." Then why didn't you or anybody else show up to protest Musick when that went to vote, if we all need to share the burden? Doesn't anyone care enough to examine the agenda items in advance and make a concerted effort to appear on subject matters so important that have been kicked around in the media for years, and that some consider themselves to be experts on? It's easy to point fingers. Let's all take responsibility.
Jim Gardner January 17, 2013 at 04:08 PM
Hi JustUs, I think my record on Musick speaks for itself. I began protesting in 2010 and even went to the street with protest signs and a dozen friends. I spoke with the OC Supervisors office as well. In 2012 I did several articles on the subject for The Patch and posted on The OC Register as well. I went to every home within 2 miles of Musick and posted a flyer informing them of the plans to house maximum security inmates at Musick.
JustUs January 17, 2013 at 04:08 PM
"I confess that I prefer "The Eagles" to Bob Dylan, but I hope in this case that The Eagles don't apply." In my experience past behavior has always been the finest benchmark to predict future behavior. No longer do I give anyone the benefit of the doubt. I was not born in Missouri - but SHOW ME anyway. I don't expect 'winds of change' or even a slight cold breeze until the proof is in the pudding. The check is no good until it clears the bank and results in a deposit. Anything short of that is pure naivete IMO.
JustUs January 17, 2013 at 04:19 PM
Fine. And we appreciate your efforts. However, when the opposing team drives the ball down to the 10 yard line do we give up and walk away? You seemed to hold my feet to the fire for the 'family values' Council FAILING to address the video horse bet facility and for a Council member FAILING to protest the Planning Commission's approval of the facility, which would bring the matter to the Council for a full vote. I shouldn't have to point out to the Council that a gambling house in Lake Forest is not in the best interests of 'family values' or the safety of our children when they seem smart enought to connect park bans and medicinal marijuana dispensaries to 'family values' and the safety of our children. I can throw stones too when they're thrown in my direction.
Jim Gardner January 17, 2013 at 04:33 PM
Hi JustUs, You misinterpret what I said, or perhaps I didn't say it correctly. I wasn't pointing my finger at you or anyone when I said that citizens should assume some of the burden of government by bringing up subjects where they think the Council or the City has been slacking off. You've done more than your fair share here on the pages of The Patch, so I certainly wouldn't signal you out for any scolding.
JustUs January 17, 2013 at 04:45 PM
Like most people, I am just really tired of getting 'played' by these politicians whose words and actions fail to intersect. These people take sworn oaths when they take office and we do expect a semblance of integrity. Regardless of what they think, they are elected as representatives and not rulers given the leeway to fill their own pockets and abuse public trust. I am done giving any of them the 'benefit of the doubt' like I used to. I assume that they are scoundrels until they prove to me otherwise. Sorry. I am not a fool and I won't be 'played' any longer. When a dog is kicked enough times he just assumes another foot is just around the corner. And there is not that much of a difference between the DNA of a dog and a human being.
Terry Anderson January 18, 2013 at 03:42 AM
Thanks Jim. I really appreciate your complimentary assessment of my time on Planning.


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