San Clemente Times
Leading up to the San Clemente City Council election on Nov. 6, the San Clemente Times is publishing six questions, one each week, that we’ve asked each individual who qualified for the ballot. Be sure to look for next week’s edition when we publish the second list of question. The list of candidates is published according to the random alphabet the California Secretary of State recently drew.
Week 1: What is your stance on the proposed toll roads by the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) and, if elected, how would you approach the issues surrounding transportation in South Orange County?
Gene W. James
The TCA must be stopped from building a scar of concrete and steel through our city, creating tragic consequences for homeowners. Additionally, the TCA is stepping outside of its charter by considering widening the I-5. Both concepts are unacceptable. I question the need for the TCA. TCA justifies its existence by pushing the traffic issues in OC, but studies by the city don’t justify this investment. The future of our roadways lies with the rapidly developing technology of autonomous vehicles and this is what needs to be considered. Finally, to the TCA, pay off your bonds and go away!
I do not support a toll road that would split our community. The current City Council has adopted a no-toll-road resolution that as a new Council member I would continue to support. To help ease some of the traffic issues we face, I would encourage the TCA to build out arterial streets to extend Crown Valley Parkway to connect to the 241 toll road, and construct an East-West arterial to extend La Pata. Additionally, I support allocating resources to continue developing multimodal planning that considers various modes; walking, cycling, automobile, public transit, etc., and connections among those modes.
I believe that the toll roads proposed by the TCA wouldn’t just cut through our neighborhoods but cut through our pocketbooks. High tolls, development fees and loans from state and federal governments are some examples. Owing over $6 billion in debt and not building a new road since 1996, the TCA is not in a trustworthy position. If elected, I would fight to dissolve the TCA and I would actually work with OCTA to find a new, de-privatized solution that would address our growing community and never-ending traffic. Our community knows what is best, not a disconnected, bloated agency.
Tiffany Joy Robson Leet
I take the unwavering stance that a completed toll road would destroy our small town community and change everything we love about living here. It seems different groups and the city are scattered and often at odds with each other and their approaches; I hope to find one or more unifying means to defeat the proposed toll road. I believe we need to explore our historical relevance further and create and apply for more landmark and historic site designations, locations and status, thereby adding a different angle to our stance rather than fighting big corporate money and lobbyist actions alone.
I oppose a toll road extension through San Clemente, and though the TCA states it has eight ideas it is studying, the alternative 14 is the absolute worst for our town because it would have devastating effects on our community’s quality of life, including the environment, open space, wildlife, parkland, home values, not to mention the dangers associated with the toll road being so close to numerous schools. No other piece of the toll road that has been constructed so far has taken homes, and this final piece must not involve eminent domain of our established neighborhoods.
The havoc that this unnecessary toll road would wreak on our community would be devastating—the $2 billion toll road would actually worsen traffic on the I-5 and increase residents’ travel distance. It has become clear that the TCA’s motivation is not to “(enhance) mobility in Orange County and Southern California,” as per its mission statement, but to milk taxpayers for every ounce of profit they can muster. I will not only fight to dissolve the TCA, but also work with the OCTA and our residents to find modern, de-privatized solutions to streamline mobility for our growing community.
As your Councilwoman, I have fought tirelessly to stop the toll road. As a TCA director, I have consistently been the only voice of reason voting no on TCA’s plans that won’t create traffic relief. Orange County needs free roads, not toll roads. I commissioned a traffic study, which shows the traffic does not justify building a billion-dollar toll road through our city or on I-5. I will continue to represent the entire city and all of our interests. I will continue to fight as long as TCA tries to destroy our communities, schools and open space.
As a Councilmember, my opposition to the toll road will be unflinching and resolute. No study or analysis to date provides data or justification to support the toll road; it is simply not an effective solution to South County traffic. I do support other measures to alleviate traffic, including some planned by the OCTA. In addition, many residents may not know that the city commissioned a mobility study and was presented ideas that warrant further evaluation. I will make sure our residents are informed and will lead the charge against the toll road in San Clemente.
No toll road. Period. Not in, around or through San Clemente. As your Councilmember, I will protect and preserve our open space at all costs. We have to come together, all of South Orange County, to ensure our schools, parks, neighborhoods and open space are not compromised by a short-sighted and overpriced toll road. I support our SC Trolley service and its budgeted connection with Dana Point/Laguna Beach/San Juan Capistrano. The growth of this service is critical for transportation and parking. I will expand trolley service in all areas of San Clemente, including Talega, Shorecliffs, Rancho San Clemente and Forester Ranch.
The toll road is a very divisive issue. It destroys open space, homes, part of the high school. Additionally, there are potentially future plans to widen I-5 from Pico to the county line, also dividing/destroying homes and businesses. Best way to approach this issue is to work directly with our elected representatives in Sacramento. Working with county-appointed/elected representatives is useless. Many are pro-toll road and appear to support another divisive issue, which is district elections. They are trying their best to divide us in many ways. United, San Clemente is stronger, weaker divided. One team, one city.
I’ve actively led the fight to keep the toll road from bisecting San Clemente by litigating against the TCA’s proposals in court, helping to draft legislation to stop the toll road at Oso Parkway (A.B. 2796) and by going to Sacramento to testify in support of S.B. 382 (to stop the TCA extending the toll road and to make the toll roads free as long-promised). There will be no toll road through San Clemente (or through San Onofre State Park). I will hold the TCA to its promise to pay down its bonds, make the toll roads free and go out of business.
I am opposed to all toll road, managed-lane options proposed by the TCA. These routes would devastate our town! My approach would be multifaceted: support and maintain all current legal efforts, continue/increase opposition in the political arena and attack their proposals with data that shows a lack of need. OCTA studies show that one HOV lane in each direction from Pico to Cristianitos will meet all demand through 2050. Managed lanes (toll lanes) from the El Toro “Y” to Cristianitos for “incidental travel” (weekends only) are not needed. Spend a $1 billion dollars for weekend travel? Ludicrous!