Mission Viejo Sued by Purveyors of Poverty
by Dale Tyler
On April 26, 2006, the citizens of Mission Viejo were attacked in Superior Court in case #06CC05478 brought by the Orange County Community Housing Corporation and Jose Gomez as a part of a strategy to force Mission Viejo to change its Master Plan to accommodate those who feel they have a right to live in Mission Viejo. The so-called injured persons are represented by a familiar face, Eileen McCarthy of the Public Law Center.
Ms. McCarthy has appeared on numerous occasions at Planning Commission and City Council meetings to demand that the city accommodate those who demand the right to live in our city at the expense of the rest of the people of Mission Viejo. They base these demands on a California law that attempts to ensure that cities contain housing for all levels of household incomes. While this seems like a noble goal, its implementation is faulty. Essentially, an unelected group, the Southern California association of Governments (SCAG), decides on the number of new low-income units that are needed in each city, called Regional Needs Assessment (RENA), based on dubious factors. New allocations are added every few years, so that a city that is built out, such as Mission Viejo, must tear down houses or businesses to build these new units. It appears that the view of SCAG and other advocates of this law, is that your private property rights are less important than the so-called right of low-income persons to live where they want.
There is no right in the U.S. Constitution nor in state law to live wherever you choose at the expense of others. Yet, the Public Law Center and other supporters of the RENA approach say that we, as citizens of Mission Viejo, must tear down our homes and businesses to build more and more high density housing for others. Each of us has worked hard and, in many cases sacrificed, to purchase a home in Mission Viejo. We welcome others who are willing to work hard and are able to afford the prices set by the free market for housing. If this temporarily excludes people who are not able to afford a house here, then that is the free market at work. This country was built on the foundation of hard work and self-reliance, but the purveyors of poverty want to change that and make us all dependent on government for our every need.
Our City Council has not shown leadership on this issue. Instead of taking a proactive approach and challenging the RENA system of extortion, our council has caved in to the demands of SCAG and others and allowed housing to be built in areas formerly zoned as commercial. This opened the door to allowing more and more property to be rezoned as high density residential which, of course, destroys the planned nature of Mission Viejo. Among others, Lance MacLean has been in the forefront of appeasing the Public Law Center. In a newspaper article, he says that he is disappointed in the lawsuit. However, it was very predictable that if Mission Viejo gave in to these bullies, that they would see weakness and be back for more. Such is the state of leadership in Mission Viejo.
We need to replace the weaklings on our city council with people who will fight the destruction of our planned community. Be sure to send this message in November.