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City Officials Know What's Good for Them

April 14, 2002

Re "Capistrano to Pursue a Home Depot Deal," April 3:

The first two sentences of your article say it all: "Home Depot hopes to build a store in San Juan Capistrano, and to some officials that looks like a windfall: $9 million for the city-owned land that the company wants, and a sales tax bonanza in the future. But hundreds of residents say it would be a disaster."

Officials see a bonanza because they plan to spend most of the money on themselves in the form of an enlarged City Hall, snazzier furniture, more travel to conferences, more perks of every description, more city employees, etc. Just witness nearby Mission Viejo's new, $22-million City Hall, which was supposed to cost a mere $12 million. Or go look at Irvine's Taj Mahal-like City Hall, suitable for a city of 750,000.

Hundreds of residents say it would be a disaster since they know that very little of the windfall will be spent on services.

Residents say it would be a disaster because they know that Home Depot will bring crowds and traffic, the very thing that most local residents moved to San Juan to escape.

Douglas Dumhart, a city analyst, tells residents, "You may not like the taste of it, you may not like the smell of it, but it's good for you." Correction, it's good for him and other city officials, but it's not good for residents.

Rod Freed

Mission Viejo

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