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Meet the candidates for San Clemente City Council

San Clemente voters will select three city council members this November. File photo
San Clemente voters will select three city council members this November. File photo

By Jim Shilander

Seven candidates will vie for three spots on the San Clemente City Council Tuesday, Nov. 4.

Two incumbents, Mayor Tim Brown and Councilwoman Lori Donchak are among the final list of candidates, as are Planning Commissioner Kathleen Ward, former mayor Jim Dahl, Mikii Rathmann, Fred Olsen and Ricardo “Rick” Nicol.

All seven submitted 20 signatures of San Clemente voters to the City Clerk, which were authenticated by the Orange County Registrar of Voters. The final deadline for potential candidates to submit paperwork to get on the ballot passed Wednesday, Aug. 13, at 5:30 p.m.

Robert Drust and Jeremy Schwartz took out papers but did not submit signatures to the clerk’s office in time. Incumbent Councilman Jim Evert is not seeking reelection.

Olsen sent an email to the San Clemente Times Wednesday indicating he was withdrawing from the race. However, Clerk Joanne Baade said it was too late for Olsen’s name and statement to be removed from the ballot.

The San Clemente Times will be providing ongoing coverage of the election over the next several months. In the next several weeks, we will begin printing the candidates’ answers to questions about issues facing the city, culminating in our special election issue Thursday, Oct. 23. We welcome your letters in support of your favored candidates.

The California Secretary of State performed a random drawing to determine the candidate order for the ballot on Thursday, Aug. 14.

All seven candidates submitted ballot statements to the city, which are printed here verbatim. The order is the same as the names will appear on the ballot.

Mikii Rathmann, Local Business Owner: 

Mikii Rathmann
Mikii Rathmann

I want to serve on the San Clemente City Council to provide fresh ideas and effective solutions that ensure our city continues to support opportunities for businesses to flourish, residents to enjoy safe neighborhoods with high property values, and for children to attend award-winning schools.

We live in exciting times that require local leaders who make conscientious decisions for today as well as for future generations. It’s vital that we manage growth, while protecting the qualities that make San Clemente unique. I believe it is possible to foster progress, while protecting the village character that brought many of us here, and keeps visitors returning to support our local economy.

My husband and I chose to make this charming seaside village our home 15 years ago. After more than 20 years of working in the corporate world, I decided to open my business here because of our town’s ability to support a live-work-play lifestyle.

My steadfast commitment to serve the people of San Clemente makes me especially qualified to earn your vote. You will be pleased knowing that you’ve elected an eager and enthusiastic representative, your voice in the government of San Clemente. 

Fred Olsen, Retired Business Executive: 

Family, friends, church and civic duties are the key to preserving our quality of life in San Clemente. To insure our preservation, I would be dedicated to careful managed growth. Anticipating our future needs, while being fiscally responsible as paramount.

Fred Olsen
Fred Olsen

From becoming an Eagle Scout to graduating from Montclair State University with BA Degree was part of my early life. Rising through the ranks and becoming an executive of a Fortune 500 company, with an emphasis in operations, manufacturing, and marketing rounded out my understanding of most business aspects.

After retiring from 30 years in the apparel industry, I became a small business owner and Ca. Real Estate Broker. Adding to my resume, I managed two private golf courses, at the same time in N.Ca., before fully retiring to San Clemente 2011.

I completed the San Clemente Leadership course and it inspired me to step out further to volunteering in our community. I am a member of the Rotary Club of San Clemente and Chamber of Commerce and Board member of the Forester Ranch HOA. Helping out existing businesses and bringing in new business opportunities while maintaining fiscal responsibility to San Clemente accents my background. 

Ricardo “Rick” Nicol, Attorney: 

Thank you for considering my candidacy to serve San Clemente as a City Council Member. I became a San Clemente local at the age of three, in 1957.

Ricardo "Rick" Nicol
Ricardo “Rick” Nicol

I attended local schools, and graduated from San Clemente High School in 1972. I grew up swimming and surfing at San Onofre, Riviera, and T-street, and fishing on the pier.

I live with my wife, Sylvia, and our three sons near the old municipal golf course. My parents, Beverly and Ricardo Nicol, still live on Ola Vista near Riviera.

I have practiced law in Orange County since 1989. I spent 32 years in the Army, the Army Reserves, and the National Guard, retiring as a full Colonel in 2011. I have served in Afghanistan, Iraq, Ukraine, and Panama.

If you elect me, I will listen to and learn from all of you who love San Clemente. I will work hard to approach the challenges we face with wisdom and skill. Together, we will find sensible solutions to issues like beach erosion, traffic congestion, the toll road, San Onofre plant decommissioning, the Miramar theater, and most importantly, fiscal accountability.

Thank you again for participating in this important process.

Tim Brown, City of San Clemente Mayor/Executive: 

It has been a unique pleasure to serve San Clemente as a member of City Council and as Mayor, thanks for your confidence and vote. Truly, we are blessed to live in such a beautiful place surrounded by good people.

I value transparency and openness in leadership and have sought to represent the residents first as an elected official. I will continue to advocate for local businesses and ensure they have a city that supports their successes.

Tim Brown
Tim Brown

I serve as chairman of the ACCOC Technology and Infrastructure Committee, the Vice Chair of the Community Engagement Panel for the SONGS Decommissioning as well as liaison to the Marine Corps, and it is an honor to represent San Clemente’s interests on these regional bodies.

As a member of City Council, I extend my pledge to:

Support fiscally responsible and sustainable development

Value clean beaches, oceans and parks

Maintain the strong quality of life

Preserve our historical heritage

Improve our local traffic circulation and parking

Preserve open space

I am a husband, father, executive and resident who cares deeply about the future of San Clemente. To preserve what we love about our “Spanish Village by the Sea”, I ask for your vote. 

Lori Donchak, Councilmember/Retired Teacher: 

Hello San Clemente—and Thank You!

Lori Donchak
Lori Donchak

Together we as a city have accomplished a lot in my last term. We weathered the recession and preserved San Clemente’s AAA bond rating. We completed the Centennial General Plan, a road map for our city’s future. We’re voted one of the 100 safest U.S. cities. What a positive reflection on our values and community involvement.

With your support, I’m honored to represent you again. My priorities:

Traffic Safety: I’ll re-establish the Traffic Taskforce. The La Pata extension, freeway widening, and new Marblehead shops and homes create a need for traffic stewardship.

First-Rate Beaches. Sand nourishment, new restrooms and improved parking are at the top of my list.

AAA Financial Stability. Public safety budgets need a fresh look. We need a reserve fund to protect our pier and beach trail boardwalk.

Jobs. San Clemente residents want to work where we live. I’ll be an advocate for small business owners and others seeking to create jobs in our community.

Communication: I started the Mayor’s Blog and pride myself as being accessible and responsive.

I’ll continue to be a good communicator.

I enthusiastically ask for your vote.

Lori Donchak

Jim Dahl, Retired Fire Captain:

I have been a 49 year resident of San Clemente. With my wife Alice we have raised two children. Jim a Special Officer with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and daughter Ingrid who works for a management company and we have 5 grandchildren living in San Clemente.

Jim Dahl
Jim Dahl

I retired as a Fire Captain with San Clemente & OCFA after 38 years of service in 2009. From 1996 to 2012 I was on City Council serving as Mayor 4 terms.

During these years I have championed your causes with responsible determined leadership.

I share your concern for the issues that are shaping our future. I have worked to enhance Fire/Paramedic Service and Police Protection, Rail Safety Quiet Zone, Parks, Pools, Traffic Circulation & Code Enforcement, Historic and Coastal Preservation, Sand & Ocean Water Quality, Business opportunities, and affordable senior housing.

The General Plan, restoration of Ole Hanson Beach Club, Beach Restrooms and the completion of Marblehead Parks & Trails with a balanced budget are my top priorities.

I have placed a high priority on requiring high quality, sustainable development in our community. These issues will continue to guide us in the future and with your vote I will continue to “Move San Clemente Forward”. 

Kathleen Ward, Planning Commissioner, City of San Clemente:

Anyone that has ever spoken to me on the issues in San Clemente knows that I care very deeply about this city, our residents and our businesses. I will ensure the residents’ vision for this city is followed.

Kathleen Ward
Kathleen Ward

I am for fiscal responsibility and long-term financial stability in our city. I will support our extraordinary police and fire departments in order to maintain the best public safety for residents.

I want to see us all have quality public spaces that will support and encourage new businesses. Safe sidewalks, crosswalks, bike lanes, and landscaping encourage pedestrians and add quality of life. A more active public space with pedestrians helps small businesses.

The Marblehead Coastal property is under construction with 308 homes and a 580,000 square-foot outlet center. We need good, strong leadership that guides future changes in our city that will mitigate the impact from this development. I will keep the long-term vision that quality of life in our beach town is of the most importance and our village character remains intact.

I am married 25 years to my husband, Greg, who is a retired firefighter and now a teacher.

Questions regarding issues facing the city will be sent to candidates later this week. Their answers will begin running in early September. If you have suggestions on what topics should be covered, please email

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