September 1, 2020

By Bonnie Robinson

Get ready. Milan, the landowner of the former Sully-Miller gravel site, is going to spend a fortune trying to convince you to vote for its bogus open space scheme. Your mailbox will be stuffed with fancy mailers with glossy photos. Milan is desperate to get the zone change for its Santiago
Creek development.

Beware and read the fine print! These mailers will come from Milan and will say, “Yes to Open Space, committee funding by Milan Capital Management.” The law requires this disclaimer.

Milan is the developer trying to squeeze 128 homes near the congested intersection of Santiago Canyon Road and Cannon Street. Milan uses a slick company in Newport Beach, Hart and Associates, to orchestrate all its propaganda mail pieces. Vertical Marketing in Tustin will be posting
ads for them on social media.

By law, their ads must include the “funding by Milan Capital Management” disclaimer.

And then there are “slate mailers.” These are cleverly disguised as “voter guides” that are nothing more than paid advertisements. Look closely, because these, as well, must disclose they are paid endorsements. Most voters ignore them and just throw them away.

During the referendum, Milan spent nearly $100,000 to try to stop Orange residents from signing the petition. Its mail pieces featured blocked-out expletives and insulted residents, calling them “Orange elitists.” Their campaign failed. We needed 7,200 signatures and got more than 13,300 in 27 days.

Maybe other cities fall for these tactics, but not Orange voters.

Milan is big on promises, but small on substance. This out-of-town developer is promising the Santiago Creek development will replace the former Sully-Miller quarry with open space.

The reality is: this will be a large housing development on a very busy and dangerous thoroughfare. The so-called “open space” consists of a walking trail around the homes and unusable slope area along the Santiago Creek.

Furthermore, this trail won’t happen unless an agency comes forward to manage it. The City of Orange does not have the resources, and OC Parks said, “No thanks.”

As for the quarry, the county has issued an immediate cease and desist order because Milan misrepresented operations on the site. Fines could be $5,000 per day if it doesn’t comply.

Milan promises to fix traffic by adding lanes. The only lane being added is a very short merging lane so the new homeowners can
enter onto busy Santiago Canyon Road. Restriping on Cannon may actually make traffic worse, with narrower lanes and/or less shoulder. Milan does not have the right to build on the majority of this 109-acre parcel.

Three city-approved plans designate it as open space, which results in far more usable open space than touted by Milan’s development.

Don’t be deceived. Fewer than 15 acres are zoned residential. Milan knows the ballot measure is a losing proposition. That’s why it has quietly submitted an application to the city to build on the only acres it can legally build on.

This plan is nothing more than empty and misleading promises. Don’t be fooled by a slick marketing campaign.

On the November ballot, AA stands for “Another Attempt” to mislead the public.

Vote “NO” on measure AA.

Bonnie Robinson is an Orange resident who has lived in the city since 1973.

Guest Commentary:

Read the fine print - big money to be dropped

in Orange