Mayor, Councilman Ousted in Aliso Viejo

Mayor Donald Garcia and City Councilman Greg Ficke will be replaced by former AVCA president Ross Chun and mortgage broker Mike Munzing. Incumbent Bill Phillips hangs onto his seat in the tight race.

Mayor Donald Garcia and City Councilman Greg Ficke were given the heave-ho Tuesday night by Aliso Viejo voters.

The two incumbents will be replaced by former Aliso Viejo Community Association president Ross Chun and mortgage broker Mike Munzing. A third incumbent, William "Bill" Phillips, hung onto his council seat.

When final results were tallied, 632 votes were all that separated one of the losers from third-place winner Munzing, who was busy putting up more campaign signs Tuesday morning.

“I’ve put this into God’s hands,” Munzing told Patch as balloting began. “I am confident everything will work out.”

Democrat Chun, the founder and CEO of Eco-Stride, said he hoped to see "improved cooperation and collaboration between our city and the Aliso Viejo Community Association."

The other candidates declined to comment Tuesday night.

It was a close race. With all precincts reporting, Phillips led the field with 21.5 percent (5,602 votes), followed by Chun with 21.4 percent (5,590 votes), Munzing at 21 percent (5,486), Ficke with 18.6 percent (4,854) and Garcia with 17.4 percent (4,546).

In other local races...

Capistrano Unified School District: Incumbent Gary Pritchard defeated Bill Perkins for the school board seat representing Aliso Viejo. Click here for story.

73rd Assembly: Veteran state legislator Diane Harkey cruised to victory over James Corbett.

For more tallies, see our Live Aliso Viejo Election Results story.

15 year resident November 07, 2012 at 05:04 PM
You don't have to be so harsh with your wording. Mayor Garcia and Mr. Ficke are nice people with families and have done a lot for the city of Aliso Viejo. You could show them some respect. I'm disappointed in the Patchs' attitude in this news alert.
Capo Parent Too November 07, 2012 at 06:00 PM
It may seem harsh, but it's very unusual to have not just one, but TWO incumbents lose this badly, especially in Aliso Viejo.
Theresa Vinciguerra November 07, 2012 at 06:26 PM
I welcome our 2 new council members and wish the best of luck to Don Garcia and Greg Ficke. The people of Aliso Viejo have spoken with their votes.
unknownauthor November 07, 2012 at 07:05 PM
I wish Don Garcia good fortune and a good future. I also wish the winners of the council election good fortune and wish to remind them to not take lightly the responsibility given to them by the residents of Aliso Viejo. To the full council, I am sure you make every effort to work well for the good of all in our community. People expect collaboration and cooperation and I am sure that is what we will get - the best that they can do. They have the skills and talent. Go AV!!!!
Randy Crocker November 07, 2012 at 08:18 PM
I am not a resident of Aliso Viejo; but I know well the greats things that have been accomplished under the direction and leadership of Don Garcia and Greg Ficke. Balanced budgets, decreased crime, increased participation in community activities and a vision for bigger and greater things for this growing city. I, too, wish nothing but the best for Don and Greg and know their commitment to the City will continue and their desire to actively participate in civic government will not cease. They will extend their hands and roll up their sleeves to the new members of the City Council in their effort to make the City of Aliso Viejo an ever greater place to live, work and play. Randy Crocker Mission Viejo
Greg Gantman November 07, 2012 at 10:22 PM
I also wish Don Garcia and Greg Ficke the very best in their future endeavors. The residents have spoken clearly that cooperation and not conflict is in our future. That our parks are in great AVCA hands, school children are our greatest assets, and our City will indeed be represented by our elected representatives for all business, large and small. I
Matt Echols November 07, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Welcome Ross Chun as he is a wonderful person to know and will help the community out tremendously. We are sorry to see Don Garcia and especially Greg Ficke go. Greg has been a pillar of the community and his leadership and talents will be missed.
AVResident2 November 07, 2012 at 11:52 PM
Very well said! I am a longtime resident of Aliso Viejo and appreciate all that these men have given our city; it was no easy job. I wish them well and hope they continue to contribute in their capacity as private citizens. Our city would be the better for it. I also appreciate Ross Chun's years of hard work and commitment to Aliso, and welcome him.
AVResident2 November 08, 2012 at 01:21 AM
I find the lack of historical context in this article to be quite troubling. Yes, it’s factual, but it’s also, and probably unintentionally, very dismissive. What roles did these men play in Aliso Viejo’s history? Where are the interviews with them? Can we expect major changes? These are just a few of the questions that could have been addressed.
Capo Parent Too November 08, 2012 at 02:09 AM
Well, it's the Patch.
Jonathan Volzke November 08, 2012 at 02:44 AM
Congratulations Ross -- a good man for the job.
Lori Walker November 08, 2012 at 03:01 AM
I would also like to thank Don Garcia and Greg Ficke forvthei service to our community. Their efforts to maintain a balanced budget and keep our community safe and running smoothly have not gone unnoticed. They have done a good job! Congratulations to Ross Chun, Mike Munzing and Bill Phillips. We look forward to see some new voices for our city. I do not believe that Don & Greg were thrown out (or ousted). Perhaps the voters wre simply looking for a change. The timing was just right for something different!
Lori Walker November 08, 2012 at 03:03 AM
Sorry about the "typos". I was posting from my cel phone!!! :-)
AVResident2 November 08, 2012 at 03:48 AM
"Perhaps the voters wre simply looking for a change. The timing was just right for something different!" I hope you are wrong. It’s possible that, somewhere down the line, enough bored people could vote for poorly thought-out, or nonspecific “changes” and “alternatives,” to the point that we no longer have a beautiful and forward-looking city with good schools, clean parks, well-maintained streets, good recreational facilities, low crime and a balanced budget with a surplus. Hopefully, there is a logical, not impulsive, reason behind wanting "something different!"
Corrine K November 08, 2012 at 05:29 AM
Congratulations to Ross Chun, long-time volunteer and dedicated community builder. We will all benefit from his hard work, and his vision for our city. Let's all look to the future, and enjoy a positive change.
Roy Rivenburg November 08, 2012 at 08:30 AM
Except for Chun, the candidates declined to comment on election night.
MayMom November 08, 2012 at 06:40 PM
Public service is something that very few people take the time to pursue and yet so many are quick to criticize. These two men served their City. We need to thank them for the time that they have dedicated to Aliso Viejo and wish them well in their lives. The voters spoke. I welcome and congratulate Mr. Chun. He has shown his dedication for this community through the years he has already served. I don't know Mr. Munzing and haven't had the opportunity to question his motives for running and what his goals are. I have seen his website and some of his motives seem to be a conflict of interest with his business. I hope he is able to disconnect from that and serve this City for the best interest of Aliso Viejo and all it's residents. Mr. Phillips, we congratulate you as well.
Don James November 08, 2012 at 07:06 PM
"I have seen his website and some of his motives seem to be a conflict of interest with his business." How so? He is a mortgage broker. I didn't see anything that looked like a potential conflict. http://mikemunzingfor2012.com/
Green Mavin November 08, 2012 at 09:21 PM
Don't know anything about Munzing except what I read on his web site. I have never seen him around town, at events or at meetings. He lives in Aliso, right?
Don James November 08, 2012 at 09:54 PM
I hope your question was a little tongue in cheek. Of course he is an AV resident. The registrar of voters checks residencies before papers can be filed. As for being around town, he littered the town with his stuff, and I saw him walk the precincts and commercial areas a handful of times. He probably campainged harder than any of the other candidates. He probably assumed that incumbents are hard to turn out, so he had his work cut out for him. And Chun has good name recognition, so that was also to his disadvantage As CP2 mentioned earlier, who would have two incumbents would have been beaten?
AVResident2 November 09, 2012 at 03:49 AM
Munzing wants to attack Aliso's Green Initiative: “Mike said he is running because the current City Council has adopted and embraced liberal environmental ideologies and policies that have negatively impacted the city, and he wants to reverse that course. Mike believes that the current council has adopted radical green city initiatives that far exceed even the state requirement….” http://ocpolitical.com/2012/10/30/introducing-aliso-viejo-city-council-candidates-mike-munzing-and-greg-ficke/ The “sign man”/ mortgage broker who put his trashy signs all over Aliso Viejo, also wants, surprise of all surprises, to reverse AV regulations which limit the amount of time that realtors can post signs: “Mike also wants to address and correct the city’s restrictive signage policies for the real estate and business communities. Mike said that city staff takes Open House signs down soon after they are put up by realtors which restricts the ability of home owners to sell their homes.” http://ocpolitical.com/2012/10/30/introducing-aliso-viejo-city-council-candidates-mike-munzing-and-greg-ficke/
Kathi November 09, 2012 at 05:14 AM
Well, some of what I have read proposed w the green initiative needs to be re-thought & other things considered. I saw a proposal to cut parking at some of the shopping centers, supposedly to encourage people to walk or bike. That is a bad way to go about things. From where I live, the only shopping centers in easy walking distance are Costco & the Laguna Niguel Marketplace. Besides which, if I'm shopping, I typically want a car to haul things home. But 1 easy, non-coercive step they could take that is not in the pc green ideas would be to get rid of a lot of the red arrows. To make a left turn on Morningridge off Alicia I often have to wait 30 seconds to more than a minute before I get a green arrow. In the mean time my car at idle is of course putting out the products of combustion. & often when it does change, it will do it in time to stop a bunch of oncoming cars. You multiply all that extra exhaust from sitting at idle unneccesarily waiting for a green arrow, when there usually would have been several opportunities to safely turn left, it probably adds up to quite a bit. & this step is not coercive. A couple of other steps that could be taken would be to make it easier to dispose of batteries properly. They are hazardous waste & are supposed to be disposed of as such, but I would bet that many are just put in the trash since its hard to find places to easily dispose of them properly.
AVResident2 November 09, 2012 at 06:36 AM
Agree or disagree with individual aspects of the Green Initiative, I rather doubt that the proposals were made in order to be “pc.” What is apparent is that Munzing has no regard for the environment, and simply wants to further his own personal agenda for financial gain. I, for one, would rather see flowers, green slopes and trees, than signs and billboards advertising mortgage brokerage firms, open houses, car washes and nails. Aliso Viejo is a beautiful city and should not be trashed.
Don James November 09, 2012 at 06:08 PM
AVRes2: Instead of painting him as some right-wing idelogue with your assumptions, why don't you call him to discuss his ideas about signage? I am sure there is more to it than just a couple of sentences from an interview, agreed? I don't want signs all over the place, nor do I want limited parking. And while we are at it, I don't want a porn shop, a mosque, a McDonalds, or post office processing center in AV either.
Theresa Vinciguerra November 09, 2012 at 06:30 PM
You have to love this city we live in. The commentary has been so fun to follow. There are always winners and losers in every election. I think the message is that you don't own the chair and have to earn the vote of the people you represent and basically work for. As far a our new board members.. let's give them a chance. I have issues with strict sign policies put on Realtors ( because I am one) especially when it seems that most of the candidates who ran had little or no regard for the rules on sign placement. What's good for the goose, should be good for the gander. I think we can reach a happy medium if we all just calm down and work together. I heard something about taking away parking spaces to encourage walking which is a nice idea, but pretty sure that would outrage the people trying to do business in Town Center. People with jobs sometimes forget that people running businesses have to make their money by taking in more than they spend and watching expenses. That is a whole different ballgame than a paycheck that is earned weekly. Let's keep that in mind. Perhaps marking some parking spaces for Hybrid cars only would be a better solution. Just an idea.
Theresa Vinciguerra November 09, 2012 at 06:31 PM
and by the way.. some of the people who ran still have signs littering the city.
Fred Garvin November 09, 2012 at 07:44 PM
I didn't vote for Munzing but after reading AVResident2 commments and doing some research, I wish I did. So he wants to reverse regulations which limit the time realtors can post signs. And the problem with this is what? It seems that they are forbidden entirely under current regulations. Realtor signs increase the chance of homes being sold. Homes being sold ensures property taxes and an increase in home values. I don't want signs all over the city either but what's the problem with allowing them to post on the weekends only. Afterall, who really holds an open house during the weekday anyways. I'm also wondering how much money the city can save by not having someone come out every weekend just to take signs.


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