Eva O’Keefe, San Clemente
Many constituents from San Clemente made the trip to Irvine on Dec. 14 to express their concerns about the proposed toll road and toll lanes in South Orange County.
Just like the June 5 forum, where gross violations of the First and Fourth amendment rights occurred in South Orange County, the violations to our rights continue.
The rules on how the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) joint board meetings are conducted changed without board vote as required by the Brown Act. Instead of being able to comment during public comments and every agenda item that one chooses, the TCA limited our participation to just once per meeting and divided the comment section into three when there were two before. One of our representatives, San Clemente Council member Kathy Ward, objected to this change. Her objections were dismissed. Director Todd Spitzer, who is running for Orange County District Attorney, generally votes in favor of advancing the toll road project, but he objected strongly as well. The ACLU has called this type of action illegal. Also, the TCA clerk allowed the mayor Mission Viejo, Wendy Bucknum—a staunch pro toll road supporter—to speak first, bypassing many of the San Clemente speakers who had been patiently waiting for hours to speak. Many of the San Clemente constituents asked if they could switch spots with others, and the TCA clerk said “no,” but that consideration was given to Mission Viejo.
The constituents of San Clemente have always been polite, very prepared and educated on the subjects presented. The same can’t be said about the TCA directors who get up in the middle of testimony, chat, eat, text while the speakers from San Clemente, San Juan and Rancho Mission Viejo are making impassioned pleas to hear their case. By the time open comments number three happened, most of the directors had left for the day. The San Clemente residents who waited over four hours to speak had a skeleton group of directors to listen to their grievances.
Next TCA meeting is scheduled to be Thursday, Feb. 8, at 125 Pacifica, Irvine. 9:30 a.m. Show up at 8:30 a.m. to get a card or speak during any agenda item.