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SOUTH BEACH: LAKE FOREST

Friendly Council Race Reflects Satisfaction

October 21, 1998|CHRIS CEBALLOS

With only one challenger to the three council members seeking reelection, Lake Forest is having one of the friendliest races in Orange County.

Each candidate ranks as priorities fighting an airport at El Toro and expansion of the James A. Musick Branch Jail, and revitalizing the El Toro Road commercial area.

The incumbents point to a recent survey conducted by the city showing a 90% approval rating of the council to show that people there are happy with their elected officials.

"It makes a big statement that the city is happy with the council," said Councilwoman Kathryn McCullough. "The five of us work well together and each of us has our expertise."

Challenger David L. Carter, a Lake Forest planning commissioner, has no criticism of the current council.

"All of [the candidates] are very well-qualified," he said. "But my emphasis is going to be the El Toro Road commercial corridor."

Carter said his experience as a planning commissioner will help with the revitalization of the troubled commercial area along El Toro Road between Muirlands Boulevard and Interstate 5.

Councilman Richard Dixon agreed.

"Our planning commission works equally as hard as our council does," Dixon said.

Dixon emphasized his work on the El Toro Reuse Planning Authority, the coalition of seven south Orange County cities that developed the Millennium Plan for the Marine Base.

"It's extremely important for the residents of Lake Forest to know that airport is not a done deal."

Lake Forest would be especially affected because of the runway pattern, which prevents residential development at the north end of the city.

"It doesn't take a scientist to see what kind of impact having a plane fly overhead every three minutes, every day, 365 days a year would have," said Mayor Peter Herzog.

The city recently received approval to annex the revenue-rich Foothill Ranch Towne Centre, a part of the city's planned expansion that lies directly under potential flight patterns.

The annexation of the shopping center snuffed out any hopes of Foothill Ranch and Portola Hills becoming a city, and many residents there have sworn that they will fight any attempts by the city to annex their communities.

Herzog said the annexation will improve the quality of life for every resident within the city's sphere of influence.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Lake Forest Candidates

Here are the candidates seeking three seats Nov. 3 on the Lake Forest City Council:

David L. Carter

Age: 50

Occupation: Systems consultant

Background: Lake Forest Planning Commissioner; president of C.P. Systems, under contract for city of Fountain Valley; member, Lake Forest Community Development Committee; San Rita Ridge Homeowners Association, past president

Issues: Opposes an airport at El Toro; opposes expansion of Musick jail; seeks revitalization of El Toro Road commercial area

****

Richard T. Dixon

Age: 50

Occupation: Businessman, incumbent

Background: City Councilman; El Toro Reuse Planning Authority, chair

Issues: Opposes an airport at El Toro; opposes jail expansion at Musick; seeks to maintain city reserves

****

Peter Herzog

Age: 43

Occupation: Attorney, incumbent

Background: Mayor; El Toro Reuse Planning Authority, member; Economic Subcommittee for Millennium Plan, chair; Local Agency Formation Commissioner

Issues: Opposes an airport at El Toro; opposes jail expansion at Musick; seeks revitalization of El Toro Road commercial area

****

Kathryn McCullough

Age: 55

Occupation: Executive director of nonprofit organization, incumbent

Background: City councilwoman; founder and president of Adopt-a-Neighbor; Heritage Hill docent; president, Lake Forest Lions

Issues: Opposes an airport at El Toro; opposes jail expansion at Musick; seeks revitalization of El Toro Road commercial area

Source: Individual candidates

Researched by CHRIS CEBALLOS / For The Times

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