By Jim Evert
Wayne Eggleston recently penned a column in the San Clemente Times attacking Mike Mortenson. I ordinarily don’t respond to this type of campaign nonsense, but given Wayne’s past prominence I am compelled to do so. Make no mistake, Wayne’s “column” is not to inform. It is intended to smear Mike and divide our community.
Wayne asserts that as a past city councilman, he has a “perspective of what qualities make for a good and dedicated councilmember.” As Mayor I agree with him on this point.
Wayne endorses Chris Hamm and Bob Baker. Tim Brown also supports them and Lori Donchak endorses Hamm—giving Baker a total of two former or current councilmembers and Hamm three.
Mike Mortenson has seven. Seven former council members and mayors support Mike, including Lori Donchak, Jim Dahl, Joe Anderson, Candy Haggard, Susan Ritschel, Steve Knoblock and myself, along with many other city leaders, commissioners, business owners and activists. In addition, Mike is endorsed by the Orange County Republican Party, Orange County Register and Chamber of Commerce, among others. More important, Mike is endorsed by hundreds of San Clemente residents. So using Wayne’s logic, Mike is clearly the better candidate.
Mike Mortenson grew up on the beaches of Orange County. Wayne’s statement that Mike is “from the East Coast and Los Angeles” is completely false and he knows it. Mike paid his own way through college and law school. He lived briefly in Washington, D.C., while working for the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. He lived briefly in Redondo Beach while starting a successful small business. Neither Baker nor Hamm have ever started a business, worried about making payroll or created a single job. Because of Mike’s business experience he understands how important our local merchants and small businesses are to San Clemente.
Mike Mortenson wishes to represent all of San Clemente but believes it’s important to provide a representative voice from the northern parts of town, like Talega and Forster Ranch, because they currently don’t have a voice on Council. Mike never said “I wish to represent Talega” as Wayne falsely writes.
Mike Mortenson has been forthright and consistent in his positions. He promises he will thoughtfully consider each issue on its own merits. The OC Register endorsed Mortenson over Baker and Hamm for this reason while noting that Baker “equivocates” on issues. Mike does not “dance around” the issues as Wayne ridiculously claims.
As a successful attorney, Mike Mortenson is not a developer’s candidate. Mike hasn’t received a penny from a developer. Contrary to Wayne’s hysterical accusations, Mike is beholden to no one. But should Mike ever receive donations from a developer, he will not conceal it like Baker and Hamm. Ironically, these supposed “anti-developer” candidates have received thousands of dollars from an out-of-town developer’s PAC. See for yourself who paid for Hamm’s signs ($2,000) and those divisive, outrageous, false mailers ($15,000-plus).
Ask yourself, why would Wayne write an entire column attacking Mike Mortenson when he could have highlighted Baker and Hamm’s ideas? The fact is, Mike is running to unite our community, not divide it. This scares Wayne Eggleston, Bob Baker, Charles Mann and their divisive cohorts to death. Without a divided community they become irrelevant, which is why they lie and attack Mike Mortenson and Councilman Jim Dahl.
It’s time to stop the lies and petty nonsense. Let’s stop tearing San Clemente apart. Let’s focus on solutions—restoring North Beach, creating local jobs, addressing traffic and parking, preserving our village character and restoring our beaches. That is what Mike Mortenson is focused on. That is why I support Mike Mortenson and continue to support Jim Dahl.