He’s melting … he’s melting
Staff editorial, March 21
“I don’t like bullies, and I don’t like liars,” were Councilman Frank Ury’s opening remarks at the Mar. 16 meeting of Saddleback Republican Assembly. During the hour-long session, he took aim at other council members. Two of them were in attendance, taken aback by remarks from Ury, the people’s choice for schoolyard bully.
One person in the audience said, “It was like watching the worst council brawl. Ury arrived with a bunch of folks who act like the Mission Viejo mafia.”
In an equal-opportunity smear, Ury called the council “junior-high kids” and criticized each one. He said Trish Kelley had asked for his endorsement for her November reelection campaign, and he refused to endorse her. Ury complained that Lance MacLean lacks a sense of direction, micromanages everything and focuses on inappropriate issues. Ury criticized John Paul Ledesma for a vote years ago “enriching” the pension and healthcare plans of city employees.
Observers noticed Ury’s attempt to elevate himself by denigrating everyone else. What about his own performance? Instead of promoting responsible, open government during his 16 months on the council, Ury has sought to increase bureaucracy and cater to special interest. Examples include his votes for a separate traffic commission and favors to developers.
As a humorous note at the SRA meeting, Ury apparently couldn’t round up a respectable number of Republicans to accompany him. The “Mission Viejo mafia” – none of whom are club members – included non-Republicans towed into a Republican meeting about Republican issues. At one point, Chaundra Krout, Ury’s Democrat-American Independent-decline-to-state planning commission appointee, said she isn’t running for city council. Her motive was apparently to deny such information coming from Ury’s own camp two months earlier.
What was Ury’s agenda at the SRA meeting? His outbursts during past weeks began when he was shot down at the Feb. 20 council meeting. He and MacLean failed in their attempt to provide a loophole for Steadfast to escape building any affordable units in the housing development the council approved next to Unisys. After Steadfast used the leverage of affordable housing to wedge its project into the city, Ury and MacLean wanted to dump the affordable requirement and move on to dismantle the next commercial zone. Their activities are attracting developers eying commercial parcels for affordable housing projects.
How much was riding on the escape hatch for Steadfast, which evidently angered Ury when it failed? For months, Ury has been meeting behind the scenes with Anaheim Mayor / lobbyist Curt Pringle, who represented UDR/Pacific in the former Kmart site housing development. If an in-lieu fee could be extracted from Steadfast, it would partially fund Ury’s dream complex of low-income apartments. At the Mar. 16 SRA meeting, Ury said such behind-the-scenes meetings (involving developers, lobbyists and council members who have accepted large sums of money as “campaign donations”) are nothing to be concerned about. He claimed, “We all do it.” Who is “we”?
Who are the bullies and liars Ury complains about? Unable to lead and failing to control other council members, he appears bent on destroying everyone who gets in his way. He’s the bully he complains about. As for liars, Ury’s whopper of being “an anti-airport fighter from the beginning” is the tip of the iceberg.