The article you’re about to read is from our reporters doing their important work — investigating, researching, and writing their stories. We want to provide informative and inspirational stories that connect you to the people, issues and opportunities within our community. Journalism requires lots of resources. Today, our business model has been interrupted by the pandemic; the vast majority of our advertisers’ businesses have been impacted. That’s why the SC Times is now turning to you for financial support. Learn more about our new Insider’s program here. Thank you.

Cord Bauer, San Clemente

The first political “hate mailer” of the season arrived at my door this week. It falsely claims Steve Swartz and Dan Bane as pro-sober-home and wanting to pave over all our open space so they could put up jumbo mall signs. If Gandhi and Mother Teresa were on the ballot, they’d get the same treatment. It’s complete nonsense, of course, and I expect more nonsense to come.

Why more? Because it happened the last election cycle. And the one before that. Actually, this
“slash-and-burn” policy comes from one family: Charles and Jeri Mann and their group, “Watchdog for San Clemente.”

A quick search of old San Clemente Times stories and letters give headlines like “Mann Defends Anti-Dahl Mailers,” “Mann Apologizes to SC Chamber: Statements in campaign mailers acknowledged as false,” and “Applauding Those Who Stand Up to Bullies,” Mann being the bully.

The fallout from Mann’s tactics are twofold. First, good citizens in San Clemente don’t want to run for City Council simply because they don’t want their names dragged through the mud. Half-truths and outright lies hurt families. Secondly, Charles and Jeri Mann simply outspend the competition by tens of thousands of dollars, all for a job that pays $400 per month.

In other words, San Clemente ends up getting the best City Council that Mann can buy.

Trustworthy, accurate and reliable local news stories are more important now than ever. Support our newsroom by making a contribution and becoming a subscribing member today.

About The Author Staff

comments (13)

  • Steve Schwartz wife, at a meet and greet told me directly when asked “what are the big topics in town your husband feels strongly about?, She replied they were” pro business”, I said so am I give me an example and she went on to say Freeway signs were important to them. She went on to argue that people find gas stations and such by signage. I disagreed and said people’s smart phone can do all of that now to which she replied “well I don’t want people on their phones driving through my town. I said “good luck with that”. She further reputed that “older people don’t use their phones that way”. So what? We should have freeway signs so older people know where gas stations are? I told her that freeway sign are archaic, analog and out dated. Once we exhausted that topic I asked her about the Toll Road to which she said they were indeed PRO TOLL ROAD, so long as it runs at the south end of town. I replied “you mean behind my house? That’s right folks they think the Toll Road should terminate at Trestles. I asked Mrs. Schwartz where she lived and she replied “MARBLEHEAD, THE POOR PART OF TOWN”. Seruiously I was aghast. Shocked I told her she must be wrong that San Clemente is a beautiful mix of people of all walks of life throughout town, and basically told her to have some pride once she told me she had raised her family in that home for 23 years. All in all I was totally in shock and disappointed beyond belief to think there are people so passionate about Freeway Signs and Toll Roads in SC it drivers them to run for Council.. I didn’t see this flyer I can only go from my personal experience at a meet and greet. I’m not voting for them that’s for sure. Vote Schwartz if you want to go back to DOS. Do they think Asbestos is a good idea too?

    • Ms. Hanson clearly has a biased and selective memory. First, my last name is Swartz, not Schwartz. She would know this if she actually read any of Steve’s position papers or checked out his website. Steve’s primary topics are public safety, transients, fighting sober living homes and supporting local businesses. He supports businesses having reasonable signs identifying their business. I can only assume Ms. Hanson does not have a brick and mortar business as she would understand this. Additionally, I find it disturbing that she apparently supports using ones phone while driving, and on the freeway no less, which is clearly dangerous and against the law. Steve is, and has been for years, on record as opposing any toll road through San Clemente or that dumps any traffic onto our streets. Ms. Hanson did get one thing right, we have lived and raised our family in San Clemente for 23 years. However, I think I know that I live in FORSTER RANCH, not Marblehead. By the way Ms. Hanson, is there something wrong with the people who live in Marblehead. Sounds a bit prejudiced to me. I distinctly remember Ms. Hanson from that evening. She is a big Hamm supporter and came with an agenda and an attitude.

  • Of all the nonsense being circulated this election cycle, this one really goes over the top. Swartz and Bane have accepted tens of thousands of dollars from special interests groups to ensure special interest has a seat on our council dias. Why would companies from Newport Beach invest thousands of dollars in a San Clemente council race? Why would Bane and Swartz hire a professional political hit team at a cost of thousands of dollars? What do you suppose they want in return?

    Baker and Ham receive very small donations from citizens who wish to keep the charm of San Clemente. This notion that Charles Mann has any political clout in our city other than a vision of San Clemente that is shared with an overwhelming majority of San Clemente residents.

    Do you think Mr. Bauer knows this? Of couse he does yet he thinks these old ridiculous and tired claims of some dark – well funded agents of doom operate in our city is simply dumb and it’s the reason that election after election, the voters of San Clemente always get it right.

    Baker and Ham have done a phenomenal job and deserve to win showing once again, the people of San Clemente want reasonable growth and exceptional leadership to guide the city forward.

  • Larry Corwin, there’s a difference between PAC money and donations. You must know this, right? The Mann PAC does not give money to Baker and Hamm, but spends it on their own mailers. In fact, their very first mailer this election season is under investigation for campaign violations. Several. Your note falls squarely in the “half truths and outright lies” category. Nice try.

    • Sorry Cord, your defense of PAC monies does not pass the smell test either. PAC monies raised by Swartz and Bane surpass the totals raised by Ham and Baker by a riduclously wide margin.

      Humor me Cord and venture a guess as to Mann’s motivation. What is his cause? Where is his gain? He worked to stop the taking of open space and a city giveaway of beach front property and that benefits him how?

      Taking your side of the argument let me venture what developers in Newport Beach want from Bane and Swartz is the ability to put lucrative signage along Interstate 5 to advertise the outlet mall. Why would they donate otherwise? Your argument is so thinly vailed it’s laughable..

      We have a sign ordinance in San Clemente that restricts size and quantity of advertising signs that are visible from the Interstate. Ham and Baker want to enforce this sign ordinance while Swartz and Bane will surely look to offer variances as payback to their large contributors. Absolutely no doubt about it. Is that what we want from our city councilmen?

  • Cord, let’s talk about PAC money. Residents for Reform also put out as you put it a “hate mailer.” In it, the claim was made that forcible rape in San Clemente was up 58%. I have checked all statistics and cannot find that at all. In fact, it would appear that rape is actually down in San Clemente YOY. Please provide actual 2016 data that shows that rape is up 58%.

    Did some more research on Residents for Reform. They have a website. The face of that site is your co-admin on the closed Facebook page you run.

    I checked on donations to that PAC (Residents for Reform – who by the way have a Santa Ana address) and as of 6/30/16, there have been significant contributions made. Very few with a San Clemente address.

    Let me list those and you can help me understand if this is either a “half truth” or a “lie”
    • California Homeowners Association (in Willow, California) $15,000
    • Fieldsted & Co. (in Irvine, California) $5,000
    • John Saunders (Newport Beach, California) $7,500
    • Villa San Clemente – AKA the Outlets (address in Newport Beach) $7,500

  • But Cord, that doesn’t account for the expenditures to political hitmen.

  • Hi Everyone, to me these all seem like small little issues.
    The real scary issue is truly life and death. The new road being built between North Beach and Poche Beach. Basicly they are removing the safety devider consisting of 2 double yellow lines and plastic poles. Replacing it with 1 double yellow line. On top of this, the lanes will be less wide. This is being done to scare you into slowing down. Wait! they are willing to place you in mortal danger to slow down trafic, maybe.
    Go to the facebook site
    ( San Clemente’s new Head On Highway) the whole story is there as well as the plans for downdoading. Now take a look at the information and guess for yourself who will be the ones to die.

  • Okay let me correct myself, your last name is spelled Swartz. A pretty giant mistake, I was wrong and you live in Forester Ranch not Marblehead. The rest you said. I wish I could go back an edit it so my message was not muddied.

    I walked into the event happy as a clam seriously interested in your husband’s position. I truly wish I had not misspelled your name or mixed up your neighborhood because you know full well you said the rest. It was YOU that called your neighborhood the “poor side of town”. My mood declined greatly with each answer you gave. You were combative and agitated every time I asked a simple question. I should have asked your husband my questions but he was too busy. Maybe that was also a mistake on my part. But I stood there for nearly 20 minutes and he never once took notice even standing with in a foot of the guy.

    You are correct I do not own a brick an mortar store, my business is run virtually. As for phone usage my phone runs hands free in my car with Bluetooth technology=the future. Get on board it’s quite helpful. There is NO reason to go back in time and change signage rules to care for those that won’t adapt.

    The message via your rebuttal here is loud and clear, YOU SUPPORT THE TOLL ROAD and WANT MORE FREEWAY SIGNS. You can dress it however you like but the truth stands. I’m sure you guys are nice folks but lets be clear YOU WANT THE TOLL ROAD AND FREEWAY SIGNS in addition to regulations on sober living homes etc.

    My only agenda for the night was to get to meet the candidate and support my friend’s neighbor, the host. True I like Chris Hamm as a human and he’s done a pretty nice job on council. What’s the point? Do you not like him? What are you suggesting?

    I did read the above letter calling good San Clemente people crazy and felt since I had heard it from your mouth directly it was my duty as a citizen to bring it to the public. YOU do want to pave over all our open space (TOLL ROAD through sacred Native land dumping into Trestles) so they could put up jumbo mall signs (FREEWAY SIGNS).

    • Well said, Lindsey. Fellow voters appreciate your honesty on what you have experienced. It shows the candidates true colors.

      For the new candidates or their spouses, to attack constituents for anything is not cool. Doing it for trivial things such as spelling typos comes off as pretty harsh.

      As for the rhetoric on Freeway Signs that the adjacent residents do not want. The point being made is that there is no amount of signage that will help seriously flawed business decisions that ignore hard trends.

      Hard trends like locals cannot support the outlets on their own and people from the south are not going to visit our outlets more than once when the already established Carlsbad outlets have much more to offer. The same is true for people from the north, they will not choose our outlets over the Mission Viejo mall. We simply do not have anything new to offer them which they cannot get north or south of us. Then consider how much smarter shoppers are today thanks to technology. Shoppers are purchasing online at a rate that is growing exponentially.

      Yes, people do buy groceries and clothing online. Retailers offer free returns so they can build a direct rapport with their customer base at a lower cost. The ones which must have brick and mortar offer incentives for customers to return items in the store to generate foot traffic they would otherwise not have.

      As for food, gas, and lodging signage. The freeways already have blue or sometimes green signs that indicate what is available at the next off ramp. They have had them for years across the country. Ours won’t go up again until after all the construction is completed.

      San Clementians do not want a toll road bisecting our town and adding more traffic and noise. The only way a toll road is going to happen is if they bypass San Clemente and go through Camp Pendleton like the 5 Fwy does today.

  • Yes, you are correct, I misread your sentence about the poor side of town reference. It was a JOKE. I t was in reference / relative to the very nice area / location we were in that night. I do not know why this bothers you so much. If you came in happy that night, you certainly became antagonistic with me. Any agitation on my part was in response to your behavior. The positions you assign to me are factually incorrect. Addressing city issues is never black and white. The goal is find solutions where everyone feels they have won something and to make the city better. I have told you my husband’s positions, and to confirm he does not support a toll road in San Clemente nor any more freeway signs. You keep saying “you”, but I am not the one running for city council. As far as phone usage, I was not referring to you, I was referring to all those that do not have the Bluetooth technology yet. Not everyone is as fortunate as you and I. I do not know you, so I do not dislike you. Unfortunately this discourse has become much to personal, childish and frankly embarrassing so I will not be responding further, Please, in all sincerity, have a wonderful day.

    • I fail to see how holding people accountable is childish. Embarrassing for who? I’m not embarrassed. I’m a concerned citizen.

  • Hi Nikki and thank you for engaging the discussion. Personally I appreciate anyone who has dedicated themselves to city service and your husband’s record of service on planning and other committees is indisputable. I must however drill down a little deeper on a few issues of importance to which I think your husband and Dan Bane are out of step with.

    We understand the significant revenue at stake with freeway facing signs the outlets developer needs. They attempted to purchase two council seats last election and went o-2. Like it or not, if your husband and Dan Bane accept money from the developer, it must be for something. When it comes time to vote, I just don’t believe your husband will have the fortitude to say no to the people who gave him thousands of dollars. This to me is the definition of corruption. If your husband wants to really make his case as a candidate for the people, let him return the $$$$$’s. (five digits) to these developers.

    Secondly you have posted contradictory remarks. In your first writing you said your husband supports the toll road connecting at the south side of town. In your second writing, you said he was against the toll road. Which is it? According to the TCA, the south side alignment was identified as “impossible”. This leaves one route remaining that includes a direct connection to Interstate 5 at Pico. Impossible you say? they just filed their papers for a study on the Pico alignment. The sitting San Clemente City Council has voted NO to the toll road as they understand the significant horror that is a Pico alignment. May I suggest your husband do his homework on the topic? Contrary to what you have stated, these issues are black and white.

    This is the type of deep and thoughtful thinking we have been getting with Baker and Ham as part of the City Council and I sincerely hope they retain their seats. The people behind your husband’s candidacy with their crank charges of crime run amuck or boogie men PACs buying city elections is pathetic. Is that who he and you are? Corruption ok with you two? I hope not.

    If your husband wants to be taken seriously as a candidate by next election cycle, let me see him return monies to outside special interests and let me hear a more informed candidate speak to the important issues of this city. Lori Donchak’s seat becomes open in two years and I sincerely hope she is voted out.

    Thanks for the dialogue.

comments (13)

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>