City Council Candidate Statement: Dwight Robinson

Each City Council candidate's statement will appear on the November ballot.

Editor's note: Patch is publishing one candidate statement each day. This is the statement voters will see on the ballot in November. Order of publication is determined by the order in which candidate names will appear on the ballot.

City Council Candidate: Dwight Robinson

Years ago, my wife and I settled in Lake Forest to start our family.

I’ve made it a priority to be involved in our community, to make Lake Forest better for my kids.

I’ve coached Little League. Helped in our schools.

I’m a Charter Member of our Chamber of Commerce.

I’ve served as a Kiwanis Club Board Member, been a Church Elder and I teach Sunday School.

I’m a business owner here in town.

And that’s why I’m running for City Council ‐ to make sure the City works like a business.

When I first moved here, talks had been ongoing for ten years about completing Alton Parkway into Lake Forest. More than a decade later, it was just completed.

We all know the traffic here can be crippling, but not enough is done about it.

I want to create a Traffic Commission, solely focused on improving traffic congestion.

I will work with the School District to find ways to build more classrooms and reduce class sizes, even if it takes investment from the City.

For years, I’ve been working to make Lake Forest a better place to live.

With your vote, I will continue that work on the City Council.


Thank you.


Tomorrow: City Council candidate Marcia Rudolph

Lionel M. September 09, 2012 at 09:05 PM
Mr. Robinson, Looks like you have been active in our community. Kudos. I’m a little worried that you are BFF with City Council member Scott Voigts, and that if elected you guys will form a voting block. For years the city suffered because Dixon, Herzog, and Tettemer voted as a “block”. Personally I think the city is better served by 5 independent council members. I’m also worried that you don’t really have anything much to say about the major issues confronting Lake Forest. I looked at your website and your statement, and it looks like traffic is your major issue. You mention “build more classrooms and reduce class size” but this has nothing to do with the city. Can you tell us what you think the major issues facing the city are? Thanks. And again, thanks for your work in the community.
Dwight Robinson September 12, 2012 at 10:08 PM
Lionel, Thanks for your comments. I am glad we have this forum to discuss the issues that are of most importance to our city. Councilman Voigts is a good friend of mine. We will not be forming a voting block though. We agree on many things and disagree on others. We share a belief that government should spend less than it brings in, that the rules of the game should not be changed in the middle of the game (regulations that affect residents and businesses alike), and that government should provide basic services (infrastructure, safety, education, and parks & rec) and other than that, just leave us alone to live our lives. I will probably often vote similarly to other council members on a variety of issues as many votes are unanimous, but there are plenty of things outside these areas where I may differ with Scott and/or others. One key difference I believe Scott and I have is that I am a strong advocate of term limits and have committed that if elected, I will not serve more than two terms. If I can't accomplish my goals in 8 years, I'll consider my time to have been wasted. As a councilman, I assure you I will serve our city as an independent voice and will base each decision on my core philosophy. I ran out of space so will be responding to the second half of your post shortly. Sincerely, Dwight Robinson www.RobinsonForCityCouncil.com dwightrobinson@mail.com
Dwight Robinson September 12, 2012 at 10:20 PM
Lionel, Second half of my response. I've known Herzog, Tettemer, Rudolph, & McCullough since 2002. I supported Mark in his first Council race in 2004 but unfortunately it appears our relationship soured after I supported Councilman Voigts in 2010. I get along well with Mayor McCullough & Councilwoman Rudolph and discussed issues with them as recently as last week. I know I'll be able to get along with the entire council regardless of our policy differences. Regarding issues, consistently city surveys show traffic, education, and crime are the top three issues for residents. I have stated my position on traffic but let me know if you have any specific questions. Education is important to the residents. Educating our children is the responsibility of SVUSD but there are many things cities can do to assist our schools. The City of Irvine is constantly working with their school district to help provide funding for computer labs, supplies, equipment, and in some cases, classroom construction and portables. Irvine is constantly rated one of the top schools districts in the state and as their neighbor to the south, our children should have the same environment for learning that Irvine kids enjoy. Regarding crime, we have had numerous bank robberies, auto/home burglaries in Portola Hills have been rampant, and certain areas of town just aren't safe to walk through at night. We need a stronger police presence and I will work to put more boots on the ground. Dwight
Dwight Robinson September 12, 2012 at 10:49 PM
Lionel, Third "half"! :-) Regarding issues, transparency is a big one for me. I'm glad we're webcasting meetings. I want to see access to documents online as that is the way many of us research things today. I support term limits. I also want to eliminate benefits for council members (pensions, stipends, etc.) as the Councils have done in Orange, etc. I've also publicly stated I'll donate my pay to charity each month as I believe the City Council is basically a glorified Home Owners Association & I'd rather that a local charities get it until such time all my colleagues agree we should just eliminate the pay entirely. I support developing a dog park. Mr. Gardner has done a good job leading this initiative & at least two other candidates support it so I believe after this election, the votes will be there to make it happen. Finally, I want to reduce, revamp, & repeal a variety of city ordinances that make it hard for our local businesses to operate & create jobs. One example is our sign ordinance. In its' current form it's too restrictive. One business owner told me he received a code violation notice for putting flags from our armed services outside his store which is run & patronized by many veterans and active duty personnel. Others are cited for grand opening signs, etc. We need to allow our businesses to promote themselves, especially in today's economy. If there are other issues you would like me to address, let me know. Thanks, Dwight
Jim Richert September 13, 2012 at 10:41 PM
You are right about Bake and Trabuco, and how long it took to get Alton done. But Bake is going to be a nightmare from Trabucuo to Foothhill Ranch with all the new housing coming to the area. Bake needs to be widened to 3 lanes from the 2 current. Portola Parkway needs to be connected between Foothill Ranch and Irvine. And the City needs to have a plan and the resources dedicated to improving traffic light timing (such as Serrano and Lake Forest) and a capital improvement plan to add dedicated right turn lanes (Lake Forest and Trabuco near the Mobil station, for example). Without such efforts, all the talk about improving traffic congestion is just that - all talk.
Dwight Robinson September 13, 2012 at 11:47 PM
Hi Jim, I couldn't agree with you more. I've already been talking to two OCTA traffic engineers & doing my own research. I agree Bake needs to be widened & Portola needs to be completed (Council Members have been making campaign promises about this for at least 12 years). I live off Serrano between Lake Forest & El Toro so I know exactly what you're talking about regarding light timing & after traveling down Trabuco recently, hitting red light after red light w/ no traffic in sight, I definitely know that it's imperative we get all our lights synchronized. You're also correct that all of this requires capital. Until the dollars are there, it's just all talk. That's where I hope my business experience can be of benefit to the Council. None of the current council has significant business experience. They do have different backgrounds that have proven beneficial to the city but, right now, we need at least one council member who has had P&L responsibility & can help us make sure we manage our expenses and plan well for the future. I believe I can provide this type of leadership. I own & operate a few businesses, have about 100 employees, & have created a few dozen jobs in the last 5 years even in a recession. My combined corporate revenues are roughly the size of the city's budget & so I think I can hit the ground running on this. Let me know if you have any other questions or comments for me. Thanks, Dwight Robinson dwightrobinson@mail.com
Lionel M. September 14, 2012 at 05:40 PM
Mr. Robinson. Thanks for your response. Only Dr. Gardner and you had the courtesy of responding to my questions. I dont know how people who ask for my vote wont show the courtesy of a response to a legitimate question. If they wont do this as a candidate, imagine how they would be if elected. You offered many good ideas in your multipart response. Its good that you have specifics in mind. Zeichmeister just lists platitudes and campaign slogans with no real world solutions, as you propose (although I dont necessarily agree with each one). Perhaps its my paranoia grown out of decades of watching Lake Forest city council politics turn into a fight between voting blocks that makes me suspicious of supporting someone whose BFF is already on the council. If Scott Voigts was not on the council, you would be one of my top picks. I believe you when you say that you will be “independent”, but the same political machine that elected Scott is supporting you, and if you and Scott will not be a voting block, at least you will be “cut from the same cloth”. Personally, I have not been impressed by Scotts performance to date, although I acceprt that his job as the new kid in town was a difficult one. Once more, thank you for your detailed response.
LFh00fer September 17, 2012 at 02:10 AM
Lionel you are on the right tack but a little off target. Although Dwight Robinson may be Scott Voigt’s BFF, he is not going to be his “stooge”. Instead, IMO both men will be under the influence of Don Wagner. Don Wagner is trying to control the local city councils in his district. He used his political machine to get Voigts elected in 2010 and now he is pushing Robinson in Lake Forest and Bill Hunt in Laguna Hills. City council elections are specifically non-partisan which is why they are listed separately on the ballot just like judges. But Don Wagner is trying to change this and make the city councils an extension of his office. Like Mayor Daley in Chicago. So if you were worried about Robinson being influenced by Voigts, you should be even more worried about both of them being controlled by Don Wagner. Too much influence in too few hands is never a good thing.
Merijoe Axe September 18, 2012 at 07:00 AM
What is up with Lake Forest and this signage issue? I will make it my mission to find out what's going on. I first heard of it a couple years ago on the radio when they talked about a sign for Mr Pickles that someone was wearing, the LF lawmakers were giving that biz owner a hard time about that sign-fining etc.,not sure what the issue was.Then, at a council meeting a couple weeks ago some person got up during pub comments to discuss a sign that was up at home depot for 10 years, all of a sudden, according to the manager, had to come down, then I researched & found an article from april of this year about an appeal to the planning commish decision to deny a sizzler sign, I saw this sign and it looked fine, appeal was carried by mccollough,voight and rudolph and nayed by tetterman and herzog (hmm-interesting) then I see someone running for council, a former planning comish by the name terry anderson who is for banning this sizzler sign because of some political views that are strange - well here is his quote on Facebook regarding this-"this City Council has sent a clear message to all future development projects within our community. While past surveys and polls of community satisfaction continually show Lake Forest is a “business friendly” city, this City Council action throws open the door of “exceptions are fine”. My red flag just went up. Dwight, I would like to know what your stance is for e-verify.
Omolu September 18, 2012 at 08:45 PM
Mr Robinson please help end the confusion. You say you will be an "independent" council member Lionel says you are Voigts BFF and will be his "clone" or at the very least, "in his camp" Hofer says you and Voigts are the puppets of Don Wagner who is trying to extend his influence into local cities. So, which is it? Can you give me 3 (or more) votes by Voigts on major issues that you disagree with and why? Can you give me 3 (or more) major positions by Wagner that you disagree with and why? Thanks. It is important to me to know that my local councilman will be independent of other council members and especially to be independent of larger political influence. City council is supposed to be non-partisan and thats how I would like it to be.
Nick Wilson September 21, 2012 at 10:59 PM
As an active participant in local politics, I can tell you that the idea of our Assemblyman, Don Wagner, as some sort of Chicago-style plolitcal boss is absurd. Do Dwight, Scott & Don share political views? I'm sure that they do, on most issues, as do I. But this is not because Don Wagner says so; it is because we share principles. While city council races are "non-partisan," this does not mean that the candidates have no political affiliations.
Helen Wilson September 23, 2012 at 05:58 PM
Do you support widening Bake Parkway? What and how many City funds will you direct to your stated objective to "build more classrooms and reduce class size"?
Omolu September 23, 2012 at 06:24 PM
It’s one thing to share a political affiliation and quite another to be someone’s BFF and to owe one’s election to the support received from that person. The city has 5 council seats, but the reality for 20 years is that the “boys” voted against the “girls” on many issues. Voting blocks like Herzog-Dixon-Tettemer vs. Rudolph-McCullough restrict the creative process. Instead of 5 voices there are only 2. When Dixon got defeated this broke the old block. Now Herzog is trying to regain control by running Anderson and Zeichmeister, and Voigts is trying to block him by running Robinson. A voting block headed by Voigts (or even worse Wagner from afar) is no better as far as I am concerned than a voting block headed by Herzog. I want independent thinkers so I get 5 points of view and people who aren’t afraid of arguing with each other lest they lose that person’s support for re-election. The other 3 candidates (Carrell, Gardner, Nick) don’t have that baggage as far as I can tell. No one on the council is endorsing them.
Lionel M. September 29, 2012 at 08:49 PM
Excuse the personal nature of these quesions, but since you are running for public office I feel we are entitled to ask. Have you ever declared bankruptcy? Has a business you owned or managed ever declared bankruptcy? Have you ever been arrested? Have you ever been convicted of a crime? Are you currently involved in any lawsuit as a defendant or plaintiff? If the answer is "yes" to any of these questions, could you please supply more information.
Greg C. September 29, 2012 at 09:12 PM
Hello Dwight, I am also a member of the Kiwanis Club of Lake Forest and have been since 2009. We had our annual installation dinner the other night but I didn't see you there. I inquired about you to some Kiwanis friends who are very active in the club but they didn't know who you are. Are you a current member? Also, you said you are a member of the Lake Forest Chamber of Commerce, as am I. How many people do you employ in your Lake Forest business? What kind of business do you have? Thanks.
Dwight Robinson September 29, 2012 at 09:27 PM
Hi Lionel, The answer is "no" to all of those questions. Dwight
Dwight Robinson September 29, 2012 at 09:40 PM
Hi Greg, Thanks for the questions. I was involved with Kiwanis from 2001-2003 & served on the board for one term during that time. We had some board meetings at Dave Carter's house, Pat Anderson (Terry's sister was President one of those years), & Elaine Pong was the Secretary. They all know me. From 2004-2008 I was an Elder at my church, a Sunday School teacher, & an AWANA teacher. 2009-Present, I became a Charter Member of the Chamber, coached Little League, have been an appointee to the State Republican Central Committee, & continue to teach Sunday School. My Lake Forest business exports products from the US to Asia. I have 3 partners & I'm the managing partner. In the last 3 years we've had a combined revenue of more than $5 million dollars so I'd say we have a fairly successful small business. In addition to my Lake Forest business, I own & operate a few other businesses in California which have a combined annual revenue approximately the same as Lake Forest's annual budget & I have roughly 100 employees which is actually more than Lake Forest employs. As such, I believe I will be able to bring some strong fiscal leadership to the council once I'm elected. There are a number of candidates this year that have business backgrounds. I believe it's important for us to elect business minded candidates this year as the current council doesn't have any members with significant business experience. Thanks again for your questions. Have a great weekend. Dwight
Debbie October 23, 2012 at 11:22 PM
Hi Dwight, I see in your statement that you wish to use city funds to help the schools (I suppose you are speaking of the stadium here) . Why would you want to do this? .$52 cents out of every dollar already goes to fund K-14 education and that doesn't even include the lottery money. As someone who fully understands school finance, this makes no sense to me. Please explain and substantiate your stand on this issue. Secondly, please be careful aligning yourself with Jim Gardner. He has unsuccessfully "managed" our homeowners association for a number of years and he doesn't have a lot of support here. We have half completed projects, increasing dues and less services..... Debbie
LakeForest Lifer October 27, 2012 at 04:52 PM
I was hoping Mr. Robinson would respond to your question, Debbie. He has been so attentive with replies in the past. Do I assume he hasn't seen the posting or he chooses not to respond?
Dwight Robinson October 27, 2012 at 05:44 PM
Hi Debbie, Sorry for not responding earlier. Things have been a little hectic in the final days and I haven't had much time to check in on the Patch. My focus on schools is for our children. I realize that we (taxpayers) pay a lot of money into public education. Unfortunately, that money usually doesn't go where it should (the classroom). Much of it is spent on administration, bureaucracy, and pensions. We need the money to go to the classrooms and for services that are being eliminated. My proposal is that we look at areas where we can support the Parent Teacher Organizations with things they have to raise money for (librarians, nurses, classroom supplies, etc). The state should be paying for these things but since they are not doing so, we need to make sure things essential things are provided for the children of Lake Forest to grow and flourish. Even if one doesn't have children, good schools keep property values strong and that benefits the entire community. I don't support using city funds to build a stadium. I have run out of space in this post so I will respond to the part about aligning with other candidates in my next post. Thanks for the questions. Sincerely, Dwight Robinson
Dwight Robinson October 27, 2012 at 05:53 PM
Hi Debbie, I have attended forums and meet and greets with a few of the candidates but I have not aligned myself with Mr. Gardner. I agree with him on some issues but not all of them. Mr. Gardner and I were both independently endorsed by the Orange County Register. Mr. Nick and I have both been individually endorsed by the Orange County Taxpayers Association and the Orange County Republican Party. Ms. Rudolph and I were both individually endorsed by Taxpayers for Local Control. Mr. Carrell and I have attended the same meet and greet. I have known Mr. Anderson for a little more than 10 years and we served on the Kiwanis Club Board of Directors together back in 2002. I only recently met Mrs. Zechmeister and from my brief interaction she seems to be a pleasant person who is seeking to do good for the community. There are two seats open this election. I hope you will consider voting for me as you make your decision. Thanks again for your questions and again, I apologize for not responding more quickly. Thanks and have a great weekend. Sincerely, Dwight Robinson www.RobinsonForCityCouncil.com dwightrobinson@mail.com
Jim Gardner October 27, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Debbie, 1. I do not "manage" LFCA1 HOA. I havce been on the Board for 5+ years and served twice as President. 2. During my term we never once raised the dues. 3. I have a lot of support at the HOA. I received the following unsolicited letter of support from our Board of Directors and from the heads of our various Board committees - "Dear Fellow HOA Members, Jim Gardner has worked long and hard on behalf of our HOA. He helped keep dues stable after years of increases, saw the greatest upgrade and renovation in our history, and fostered a sense of involvement for hundreds of people. Those of us who work with him on the Board and on various committees are impressed with his intelligence, his motivation, and his sincerity. Jim is just the kind of person we need in City Hall. We endorse his candidacy and we ask you to – VOTE FOR JIM GARDNER FOR CITY COUNCIL David Glick, HOA President, * Julia Lieberman, Treasurer of the Board, * Mike Glover, Board Secretary, * Laurie Smith, Chairperson Woods Committee, * Anne Breuer, Chairperson Lake Committee, * Heinz Roehler, Chairperson Landscaping Committee, * Caroline Getz, Chairperson Finance Committee, * Sherry Hoselton, Chairperson Hearings Committee, * Mary Raber, Architecture Committee, * Gordon Getz, Chairperson Lounge Committee, * Regina Faison, Biz Net Coordinator"
Lionel M. October 29, 2012 at 02:57 AM
Mr Robinson On September 29 you responded “no” to a series of questions I posed to all the candidates about their involvement in lawsuits and crimes. But I found a link to a story that says your company (Los Angeles Harbor Grain) was accused of deceptive business practices in a lawsuit brought by the US Government and you paid a $38,000 penalty to settle the case. Here’s the link http://www.gipsa.usda.gov/Newrelease/2012/9412LosAngelesHarborGrain.pdf Don’t you think this was worth mentioning?
Lionel M. October 30, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Mr. Robinson, I hate to be a pest and I know you must be busy, but you are running for City Council on the basis of your business experience and the link listed below suggests that the U.S. government sued you for deceptive practices and you settled by paying a $38,000 penalty. This hardly seems like the kind of experience we need in the City Council. Can you give us some details about this case? http://www.gipsa.usda.gov/Newrelease/2012/9412LosAngelesHarborGrain.pdf
Omolu October 31, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Come clean Dwight. Answer Lionel's questions. What's going on with the lawsuit. It looks like the US Government caught you trying to lie about shipment weights and you had to pay a $38,000 fine. For someone who talks about family values and business experience, this looks pretty bad. I hate to make a premature judgment, but your silence is damning. What can you tell us about this lawsuit. People criticize Nick for suing the City. I'm not sure which is worse. To sue the City, or to be sued by the US Government for lying.
LakeForest Lifer November 06, 2012 at 07:12 PM
Maybe this is answer enough... http://www.gazettes.com/news/crime/trucking-contractors-charged-for-overweight-vehicles/article_c3d2765c-2470-11e2-b736-0019bb2963f4.html or this... http://www.everythinglongbeach.com/charges-filed-against-los-angeles-harbor-grain-terminal-for-overweight-commercial-vehicles/
Lionel M. November 06, 2012 at 07:25 PM
Lifer, IOW - Robinson's company broke the law months ago, got caught, paid the penalty, and now they are up to their old tricks again? Or is this just the old case? To me it looks like a completely new case.
Andromeda November 06, 2012 at 07:40 PM
It appears that the ones who financed the hit piece that I received in the mail on Marcia Rudolph may have been a little overly selective in their criticisms. As a Council candidate Mr. Robinson really owes us an explanation, re: Los Angeles Harbor Grain. And there may be a perfectly rational explanation. But unless it's communicated to the electorate I have to assume the worst.
Lake Forest Citizen Paying Attention November 06, 2012 at 08:49 PM
Lifer, Lionel, & Omolu - Have any of you ever run a business that is big enough to be notice by the U.S. government? LA Harbor Grain Terminal is running trucks back and forth from the terminal to the harbor pretty much all day, every day. Thousands of trucks coming and going. The number of incidents of overweight trucks alleged in the articles you reference are minimal by comparison. If you have ever run a business that is big enough to be a target for no other reason than the presumed size of its bank accounts, then you might understand that quite often where the government regulators are involved it is simply cheaper and more cost effective to negotiate a settlement and move on than it is to fight to prove a point. When you run a business and have the livelihoods of your investors and employees to consider, you do what is best for the long term health of the business and you take care of your employees. I have been a truck scale operator in the past, and I am currently a licensed attorney who has had to deal with government regulations based litigation. I don't know the specifics of Mr. Robinson's situation, but I understand both the industry he is operating in and the mentality of government regulators. Things are likely not as black and white as you seem to think.
Andromeda November 06, 2012 at 09:05 PM
Your input is appreciated, Lake Forest Citizen. But we are waiting for a response directly from Mr. Robinson himself. He's the one running for office who owes us an explanation. If Mr. Robinson is a victim of the system - we need to hear it from him.


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