Letters to the editor

Dear Editor:
In reading the April edition of the Foothills Sentry, I noticed that there is incorrect information in one of the articles.  On page 8, the article titled "Milan Capital tract map approvals extended” states "Milan capital also owns the 109-acre Sully Miller property across the street from the horse arena, and has promised to give the seven acres (arena) to the community if neighbors would support a proposed 128-unit project on the larger property.” 

This is completely untrue.  There is and never was such an offer on the table nor has it been requested from the community. The horse arena property is zoned for housing and there is no dispute from the community regarding this matter.

Since the larger project (The trails at Santiago Creek) will be on the November ballot for Orange residents to vote on, it is important that Orange residents have accurate information. This land investor has spread many untruths regarding this project.  This seven-acre horse arena property has nothing to do with the larger project (other than being owned by the same investor). 

I would kindly ask and appreciate if you could make this correction in the May edition. As always, I enjoy reading the Foothills Sentry and thank you for always getting the truth out.

Laurel Maldonado-Wykes

Dear Editor:
The eternal question used to be “What is the meaning of life?” It has been replaced recently with the far less interesting and oft asked question “What is wrong with negotiating with Milan?”

Like many questions, this one has several answers. Perhaps the best answer is the one that came recently from the Orange Park Association. Its Real Estate Committee voted to take the position that the Sully-Miller property should be made to conform to the Orange Park Acres Specific Plan and to the East Orange Greenbelt Plan. The unanimous vote of the committee was “we want open space.” This recommendation went to the OPA Board, which voted 5-2 with one abstention, in favor of the open space recommendation. So, Milan and the OP Association are far, far apart in their visions of what the property should become. It may be possible to negotiate from the vastly different positions if it were not for other considerations.

The Milan and OP Association relationship dates to almost 15 years ago when Milan wanted to build homes on the currently fallow Ridgeline Golf Course property. The negotiations began well, broke down during the economic crisis of 2008, continued through several years of legal disputes, ending in a precedent setting California Supreme Court land use decision against Milan Capital and the City of Orange. Since then, the relationship has been acrimonious at best. Tom Davidson, former president of the OP Association, knows this and continues to ask the now-eternal question. 

There is plenty of other reasons to sour any future negotiation. Currently, Milan is under investigation by the California Fair Political Practices Commission for illegal financing of its recent campaign against the referendum that gathered more than 13,000 signatures. This follows other FPPC judgments against Milan for its illegal practices in the earlier Ridgeline referendum. 

I’d like to go into the current illegal operations on the Sully-Miller site. Space does not allow me to do that. I can summarize this as a magical partnership between Milan and the Orange City Council, which allows Milan to dump construction waste and other unidentified material on the property against current municipal ordinances. City staff has been notified by a well-recognized legal firm that the operation is illegal. Milan has done nothing to come into compliance with ordinances. Its partner, the City of Orange, has done nothing to promote Millan into compliance.

And then, many of you may recall Milan’s tasteless and near-profane late 2019 mailer highlighting alleged Facebook profanities aimed at Milan by the loyal opposition to the Sully-Miller project. If you recall this ad, you must have wondered why anyone would want to expose children to it and why the United States Postal Service would allow it be mailed.

All in all, the eternal question should be “Why would anyone WANT to negotiate with Milan?” In many opinions Milan has proved to be unethical, unreliable, untrustworthy, dishonest, unlawful and generally unlikeable.

I think that reasonable people with good sense would make every effort to avoid close contact with the Milan crew and would not want them in our unique part of the world.

Peter Jacklin
Orange Park Acres

Note this does opinion does not reflect that of the OP Association of which Jacklin is currently a Director

May 2020