A lease for a city-owned building in San Juan Capistrano to a social services organization that provides application assistance for Medi-Cal and food stamps, as well as a mentoring program for new mothers, has been denied.

The denial of the lease was expected by members of a political action group known as SJC Americans. The group said it managed to “turn the tide” against the Community Health Enrichment Collaborative — also known as CHEC — by putting pressure on City Hall, and lobbying the neighborhood where CHEC’s offices are located through its writings in a newsletter called Capistrano Common Sense.

Last night, council members voted, 4-0, on a staff recommendation to deny the lease. Mayor Londres Uso was absent from the meeting, and the council signed off on the denial without comment.

As my story on Monday detailed, the hostile political climate towards the social services organization has been an indicator of SJC Americans’ influence in the city.

CHEC has been scrambling to find a new location in the city but has been unable to as of yet, prompting the request for a month-by-month lease extension in the meantime.

We’ll be following up with partners in the collaborative — including the Mission Hospital and the Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano — for a reaction. We’ll let you know what we find out.


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