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“Special interest groups” and the San Clemente City Council seem to be in lockstep, and I believe not always to the betterment of the community. “Derail the Rail, Stop the Toll Road, Save Trestles,” running the Rib Trader out of town, reducing Ralphs to a postage-stamp size, North Beach non-redevelopment, Poche Beach water recycle system, Ban the Bag (failed, thankfully), fragmented signage policy and, most critically, sponsoring and supporting propaganda attacks on SONGS, backing a no-compromise position on MemorialCare Hospital closing and, way back when, discouraging building of the Nixon Presidential Library on the site now covered by yet another outlet mall.
Each of these issues were fervently backed by a well-meaning and generally misinformed core of citizens fed propaganda by groups with their own agenda, and often found a willing ally in the City Council. The feds, state and/or county have been embroiled in several of these issues with the direct involvement and often encouragement of the City Council.
Meanwhile, weekend traffic on I-5 is at a standstill for hours, rail ridership is a small percentage of what it could be, and Trestles is still the private domain of the privileged few surfers living in the area. MemorialCare shutters its doors, eliminating a couple hundred more jobs and leaving San Clemente empty-handed for any level of medical services, a fluid signage policy has merchants scratching their heads and North Beach non-development has left the area in shambles for decades.
Sometimes, it’s in the best interest of San Clemente for the City Council to simply say, “We hear you, we understand your position, but we represent the entire community.” Responding to the loudest voices often leaves the rest of San Clemente behind.