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Founding Councilwoman Ousted By GOP-Backed Candidates

A five-term incumbent is unseated by two challengers who campaigned as pro-business Republicans for seats on the Lake Forest City Council.

While the president will keep his job, one of Lake Forest’s founding City Council members will lose hers.

Voters on Tuesday ousted incumbent Marcia Rudolph after 21 years on the council in favor of Adam Nick and Dwight Robinson, two newcomers who campaigned together as critics of the current council. (Incumbent Councilman Mark Tettemer chose not to run for a third term.)

A margin of 1,852 votes separated Robinson, the second highest vote-getter, from third place finisher Terry Anderson.

Here is the vote tally from Lake Forest's 55 precincts, according to numbers released by the Orange County Registrar of Voters shortly before 1 a.m.:

-Adam Nick: 8,087 (21.7 percent)

-Dwight Robinson: 7,500 (20.1 percent)

-Terry Anderson: 5,648 (15.2 percent)

-Jim Gardner: 4,685 (12.6 percent)

-Councilwoman Marcia Rudolph: 4,464 (12 percent)

-Kathy Zechmeister: 4,321 (11.6 percent)

-Ken Carrell: 2,549 (6.8 percent)

Nick and Robinson were both endorsed by the Orange County Republican Party, which  in support of the pair and in opposition of Rudolph and Anderson.

"I think the community was effectively blinded by the Orange County Republican Party," Anderson said after the county Registrar released the final tally. "Big politics wins."

Gardner, who has run for council twice before, called the results a "victory for the Tea Party."

Victors Nick and Robinson could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.

Robinson ran once previously for a council seat, in 2002. He landed fifth of seven candidates, garnering 6,035 votes. Nick has not previously run for office in Lake Forest.

Gardner has said previously he will not run for council again. During his second run, in 2010, he missed the third available seat by 540 votes. Voigts, now Lake Forest's mayor pro tem, was the race's top vote-getter that year with 11,332 votes.

In September, Voigts endorsed Robinson. Robinson and Nick have held at least one joint fundraiser; Nick donated $1,000 to Robinson's campaign in April.

During the last presidential election, Lake Forest voters returned incumbents Rudolph and Tettemer to their council seats with roughly 15,000 votes a piece.

More Lake Forest voters turned out that year than on Tuesday: 42,590 voters cast ballots in the Lake Forest council race in 2008. On Tuesday, 37,254 residents voted for one of seven council candidates.

Roger Barbosa November 07, 2012 at 09:27 PM
Nick is (unsurprisingly) a deceitful campaigner. I received at least two mailers touting him as supported by the democratic party, one prominently featuring Obama...
Lake Forest Citizen Paying Attention November 07, 2012 at 09:30 PM
And who might have paid for those mailers I wonder? Perhaps supporters of Anderson and Zechmeister? Of course, Gardner has not exactly shied away from going negative in past election cycles either.
Lake Forest Citizen Paying Attention November 07, 2012 at 09:41 PM
I curious if LakeForest Lifer is simply naive, or intentionally overlooks the influence of developer and big business money that existed in Lake Forest long before this election cycle. How do you think the 7-Eleven on Regency came to be? The developer that used to own that center is a client and financial supporter of Peter Herzog and Herzog knew that his buddy was going to be on the hook financially to pay lost rental revenue to the current owner pursuant to the terms of their sales contract if that space sat empty any longer than it already had. Suddenly, 7-Eleven was being offered a special exemption to the fact that the area was already saturated for liquor licenses under the Alcohol Board of California's statutory rules. As a result of the pass from the city, 7-Eleven got a liquor license that exceeds the statutorily allotted number of licenses for that area for a simple $100 filing fee. Other businesses in the area where denied permits based on the lack of need to exceed the statutory limits. But hey, you go right on with thinking that two newly elected members of the council are going to somehow corrupt things at City Hall. I, however, know the truth -- they are coming to clean out the corruption that has been going on for years as Mr. Herzog ran the city council, the planning commission, and his own "consulting" biz as if they were all one and the same.
LFCA Member November 07, 2012 at 10:08 PM
Lake Forest Comm. Assoc. Member Shelley, don't glorify what Mr Gardner might do or not do for Lake Forest because he picked up a couple signs. We have personally witnessed his ABSOLUTE LACK OF ANY ACTION to help improve injustices to members of the Lake Forest Community Association while he served as a board member. Even when personally approched to uphold the community's recorded CC & R's, he showed and took no action at all. He is another timid puppet of our property management company, PCM of California. We need to clean house of ineffective board members like Jim Gardner and certainly don't need a person like him to represent and do nothing for the people of Lake Forest. He is a status seeker with time on his hands...don't be fooled!!! Congradulations to Adam Nick and Dwight Robinson.
Shelley Logan November 07, 2012 at 10:48 PM
And Nick and Robinson aren't status seekers? Come on. They ALL are. However, In a world of all talk and generic claims, I view the small things like picking up your own garbage is impressive. As I drive home and see all the signs that will, inevitably, still be up, I'll think of those little things and how important they really are and will wonder if the new city council will be interested in the little things or not.
Jim Richert November 07, 2012 at 11:12 PM
I have known Marcia Rudloph for more than 20 years since I was on the original committee to bring a city to Lake Forest, and can assure you she certainly wasn't a puppet of Herzog - just the opposite. You can confirm this by having attended any city council meeting. Sorry to see Jim Gardner lose - he was not beholden to anyone and is a straight shooter. But the citizens have spoken and at least we have some new people on the city council - some fresh perspectives are always needed and I hope all will be OK as it takes 3 votes to make anything happen. ..
Dennis Fletcher November 07, 2012 at 11:13 PM
Shelley Logan has it right.....We lost the opportunity to have a really experiened management consultant with no ax to grind on our City Council rather than representatives of the wealthy developers and others we cant see our touch. Gardner's ideas on his website are the best published for our city. I hope he will be able to share his experience and ideas in some way. We need his kind of talent on the City Council to watch out for the little guys.....let the developers and outside political parties watch out for themselves.
Susan November 07, 2012 at 11:24 PM
I think there should be a term limit on council members just like the state and federal government. Rudolph was in way too long, sometimes you need change. For those who aren't happy about Adam Nick and Dwight Robinson being elected I feel you should give them a chance. They haven't even started and some of you are already attacking them. I wasn't happy about the way the presidential election turned out but we need to respect the office whether federal, state or local and that includes our city council. I believe if our President and Congress fail America fails. If our council members fail, Lake Forest fails. Let's just do what it right for our city and country. Respect goes a long way.
Jim Gardner November 07, 2012 at 11:44 PM
Hi Susan, I agree. Let's stop complaining about who won and who lost and think about how we can help Adam and Dwight do the kind of job they promised to do. We all want them to succeed and make our City a better place to live, so let's focus on what we can do to help them.
Shelley Logan November 07, 2012 at 11:46 PM
I'm not attacking them, just all their stupid signs! I don't know much about either one, to be honest. I hope they do good for the city - that's. all one can expect. New blood can be good, but only time will tell.
Andromeda November 08, 2012 at 01:07 AM
That fine. Be good sports and hope that it all works out of the best. But let's not fool ourselves. The election was all about the money. If you had the cash to buy a seat it was yours for the taking. The highest bidders won. Let's see the elections for what they are and be honest about it. Once we all agree on that fact we can move on and provide our support. How about that?
Jim Gardner November 08, 2012 at 02:46 PM
LFCA Member, Since you don't put your name it's hard to respond to your comment. With a community of nearly 5,000 people, from time to time someone is "at war" with the management company (and the Board). It usually arises because they receive some type of notice (violation letter, late notice, lien) and then escalates, usually as a result of the personality characteristics of the person, but sometimes because the management company (or the Board) drops the ball. There are many built-in checks to solve these issues but they don't always work. As far as being a "timid puppet of ...PCM", no one who has ever met me would call me "timid". As far as being a "puppet", in the 5 years I was on the Board, I was the harshest critic of PCM and voted twice to remove them as our management company. I was defeated 3-2 by the other Board members so PCM remains our management company.
cathy breese November 08, 2012 at 02:55 PM
I am happy for the new blood in the council. We need term limits and I certainly hope that the next ones out will be those who have served over their time limit (LOL). It is time to appreciate the service of Rudolph and anticipate the service of the newly elected two! PS Thanks Mark for your service as well, you were an honest and a bright light in the council. Good wishes on your continued educational pursuits.
Susan November 08, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Thanks Jim. Coming from you that means a lot as I know you have run twice for the council. I figure if those who didn't make the city council can have an attitude like Jim then the rest of us should too. Personally I feel if more of us got involved in our city, either by volunteering or participating more this city could even be better. We as a community should know what is going on just like in our country. You have to be involved, research things out and make a presence.
Gary Martin November 08, 2012 at 09:12 PM
Roger Barbosa and Dennis Fletcher I had the pleasure of meeting Adam Nick (as I did with all of the other candidates) and I can tell you that Mr. Nick is over-flowing with honesty, integrity and dedication to the future of Lake Forest and it's people. There is "no way" that he would have had anything to do with any deceitful or dishonest activities and would be the first in line to make sure that whoever did what you claim be punished. We are fortunate to have an experienced talent like him watching over our beautiful city. From the facts that I have researched and read, it was the injustice by the current Council delivered to Mr. Nick and other business owners that initiated his motivation to become a Councilman in order to help Lake Forest clean up the cronies that have been abusing their power for personal gain (Herzog is the head of the snake) Robinson is a good man, but I also agree that Jim Gardner would have been a stronger team with Mr. Nick going into developing the transparency we need at City Hall. Hopefully we can all encourage him to run again...we do need more people like him on the Council.
Robert Guzman November 08, 2012 at 09:31 PM
Shelly Logan I know it's hard to believe, but not all candidates are "status seekers"...we are lucky to have new, fresh, transparent and honest talent finally coming into City Hall. Just another quick note about the street signs, the city gives the candidates five days to pick up their signs and if they don't, the city picks them up at the expense of the candidate. You also need to lighten up on calling the street signs garbage...I don't like them either, but they're a necessary evil! Street signs are the least expensive form of branding your name or cause. It's a medium created for people that "don't" have deep pockets and can't afford TV, radio, newspaper or extensive mailings with costly postage. These signs are a true grassroots solution and alternative to expensive advertising. I can't believe that I'm actually defending street signs (my friends will laugh at me) Anyway, the candidates have to pick them up or be charged by the city.
Robert Guzman November 08, 2012 at 09:44 PM
Susan You should be given a "Certificate of Excellence" for your comment. We all really need to work together once an election is over and not do whatever we can to counter non-stop the candidate that was elected in order to hopefully win the next election - it's called shooting yourself in the foot! A lot of good that did the Republicans in Congress this year, which is one of the reasons our country is having a slower recovery. It's time to support the common good and punish the people that are dishonest and self motivated for personal gains. On term limits, at the City Council Forum, I believe both Robinson and Nick agreed that Lake Forest needs to have term limits (of course Rudolph didn't agree)....lets get it done City Council...NOW!
Dennis Fletcher November 08, 2012 at 09:50 PM
I don't think that anyone has been glorifying anyone here in this excellent discussion. But the fact that a man is seen picking up his fliers should not be discounted or criticized. I have been on the Architecture Committee at LFCA as a member and now emeritus member for almost two years. We work as closely with the Board that Mr. Gardner belongs to as any group in our highly active homeowners assn. I think that I can speak for the members of our committee that meets almost weekly now, working on improvement and clarifications to the Architectural Rules, that Mr. Gardner is the most active member of the Board, along with the Chairman, in supporting, reviewing and critiquing our efforts. I have never seen him avoid any of his duties and if you will attend our Board meetings you will see that he is one of the most active members during our monthly meetings. We need all the professionals like him on our Board that we can get. As for the PCM managers and staff at LFCA, they go our of their way to be proactive with our members. Our Community Spirit Team for assisting HOA members in need has been recognied in media coverage and stands as a model for other homeowner associations in California.
Andromeda November 08, 2012 at 10:29 PM
Susan, didn't you read Gardner's last article (Part 5, Cost per Vote)? He outlines a problem that shouldn't be ignored. The highest bidders were elected to the Council and this is a consistent occurrence. So after the elections we shouldn't just hold hands and sing 'Kumbaya'. We should point out the weaknesses and inequities in an electoral system that favors big money. That is not what elections are supposed to be about. We should elect the man - not his pocketbook. That's why I propose campaign spending limits on all offices. To level the playing field so that we elect excellence rather than wealth. Let's improve our way of life rather than acquiencently accepting with open arms a system that rewards values which are not always consistent with promoting our best interests. Someone who spends $40,000 on a political campaign for City Council has a MASSIVE advantage over a man who spends only $5,000. IMO that needs to be changed.
Robert Guzman November 08, 2012 at 11:16 PM
Andromeda Now this comment of yours is making more sense versus a total rant. But there are candidates that feel so strongly about making positive changes that they dip into their pockets or borrow money from family in order to honestly help clean things up and hopefully improve the future of our precious city...by the way, these people are hard to find. That being said, the entire country needs to clean up how campaigns are financed and how much and from who the money comes from...plus "truth" in all messages. "Corporations are NOT People"...sound familiar? The Citizens United (Super Pacs) is a disgrace to our country. So, yes, lets encourage our City Council to take the lead by initiating fair and honest ways of campaigning in Lake Forest. Wouldn't it be a kick to have other cities follow our lead across the country? Lets bring this subject up (along with term limits) when the first and much improved City Council meets?? In fact, lets form a committee to plan this out and other issues...if you're serious about making a change, email me at.... thinkguzman@yahoo.com and we'll hook up for some serious planning. Others that are interested email me too so we can eventually sing "Kumbaya"!!!
Andromeda November 08, 2012 at 11:28 PM
Robert, Your definition of a ' total rant' is probably a comment that does not align with your ideology. In kind, I have read what I consider a 'rant' or two from you as well. So tit for tat. Public unions also buy off politicians and their votes. Not just the corporations. The public unions need to be stopped too. But based on the outcome of Prop 32 people love to be gamed and swindled. And so it is.....we will just have to wait until the money runs out and all this nonsense comes to an end involuntarily. Why would the current city council change anything? They've benefited from what we're discussing here. Pay attention.
Merijoe Axe November 09, 2012 at 01:48 AM
All of you that do this, please stop listening to propaganda that you hear from relatives, friends, etc. do YOUR own reseach-things are not the way you think they are, all you have to do is get involved, get to know these people. I don't know why you all have a love fest for Rudolph, she is egotistical (5 terms proves that) and mean (I tried to ask her how she was at the forum and she about snapped my head off and yes, I was polite), good for you, knower of this lady for years, good for you! But Patch, calling her a "founding" anything of this city is insulting to me as a taxpayer, an Oathkeeper and to Samuel Adams-why are you thanking her for her service? What has she done so monumental for Lake Forest in 21 years? Good Lord, it's about time she is off, would you all like to have Obama for the next 21 years? (some of you would), and next to go is Peter Herzog, shame on you for sitting in that chair for 20 years or so, shame on you. And shame on everyone who keeps voting him back in because you know his name. Do some research, get involved, this is your city..I don't know about everyone else, but I want to see progression, not same old, same old, day in and day out, without any change of anything. This is 2012 not 1950
Shelley Logan November 09, 2012 at 03:43 AM
Time will tell if the "new blood" is in it for status or got the betterment of the community as a whole, Mr Guzman. We shall see. And, I'm sorry, but ten signs on a street corner, all for the same two candidates, IS garbage to me. I got grief from the city for posting a sign about little league sign-ups once, yet I wonder why political signs are okay. Especially so many of them. And for the record - Mr. Nick's signs were gone from my community on Wednesday afternoon. Mr. Robinson's were gone today. Thank you, boys.
Robert Guzman November 09, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Andromeda It's obvious what you and I have is passion and love for Lake Forest. We all have to work together (regardless of party) in order to truly make a difference...because our common passion needs to stay engaged on what we need to do to make our city (and country) great and how to keep it from hitting bottom. I pray that our two new Councilmen will be the beginning of a healthy and transparent change. I agree with your comment that Unions also need to be addressed and also bundled up together with the Super Pacs (Citizen United) and flushed down the toilet. Believe me when I say that I do "pay attention" and another thing I do is try to trust and hope that we all never lose our belief that we do live in a great city (country too) and with honesty and integrity nothing is too monumental to change for the good. In my last "rant", I offered to you to get in touch with me via my email to possibly discuss and plan how we can tackle some of the issues that the new City Council has to address...I haven't heard from you yet, but have from others...give it a shot, I promise not to "rant"...
Lancer November 10, 2012 at 12:13 AM
Sorry, but I think you have it wrong. I agree with Dennis Fletcher's comments about how Jim Gardner has been a valued member and Director of our homeowners association. Your comment's seem to indicate that you may some personal issue with him concerning a ruling made by the association's board that did not work out in your favor.
Susan November 17, 2012 at 04:39 PM
It is nice to see Lake Forest residents are passionate and care about Lake Forest. Some views are different from each other but better then just sitting back and being apathetic and not caring. Maybe if more residents came to the council meetings or even got involved in our city better things could happen for our city. I just hope we have more input and our council listens to what we want as citizens then our federal government does. I agree with Merijoe, do your own research and get to the truth and what is really going on. Not just in our city, but in our county and definitely in our nation. You can't rely on the liberal media to get the true facts or all the stories of what is going on. Lake Forest is our home and we all should take pride in that. And for those complaining about the signs (I agree too many) why not have candidates put down a deposit prior to the elections and if they don't clean up all their signs and the city has to do it then the city keeps the deposit. I still am seeing signs of Nick & Anderson so if you see signs left call the city and report it. :)
Adam Nick November 18, 2012 at 06:37 AM
Susan: My campaign signs that had been placed by my volunteers were removed before sunrise the very morning following the night of the Elections. Nonetheless, I apologize to you for that you have seen one or more inadvertently left behind. If you would be kind enough to let me know where you have seen them, I will personally remove them within hours of receiving your information as to the location(s). Depending on your preference, you can post a reply here, email me at adamnick1776@gmail.com, or call me on my cell phone at 949-812-0920. Gratefully, Adam Nick
Andromeda November 18, 2012 at 06:48 AM
Mr. Nick, This morning (11-17) I noticed one of your red signs on Rockfield just south of Bake on the east side of the street. Please contact your volunteers and tell them to remove it. Thanks
Greg December 03, 2012 at 06:45 PM
I love all these Monday morning quarterbacks who claim to know so much about the political system. If being a deep-pocketed business owner is the key to getting elected to the city council, how can you explain the make up of the current council that definitely has not skewed in that direction since Lake Forest was founded? Of course money matter in politics, but so does ideology. I have known Dwight Robinson for over ten years, and I can say with confidence that he is a principled conservative, strong husband and father, and a man of faith. He will be a great addition to the council, and all the sour grapes from Herzog supporters, Gardner supporters, etc. will not take away from that.
Lionel M. December 05, 2012 at 08:04 PM
Greg- If you’ve known Dwight Robinson for over 10 years you must know that his company was caught red handed twice this year by the federal government for lying about the weight of his shipments. That doesn’t sound like a “principled” person to me! When I and several others questioned him months ago about this he remained silent. How “principled” is that? And since you know him so well, you must also know that rather than being a “deep pockted business owner” most of Robinson’s money for his election came from other people’s deep pockets, not his own. Robinson follows exactly the pattern of the old city council members like Herzog and Dixon who took money from other people who did business with the city. Adam Nick is the person you want to look at who is a “deep pocked businessman” who used his own money to get elected. Robinson looks just like Herzog and Dixon to me.

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