If you have gone to or participated in any events around Silverado Canyon in Orange, then you probably saw Chay Peterson. She's the petite blonde woman bouncing around, probably wearing fairy wings and a whimsical dress. She's involved in organizing countless community events like the Silverado Fair and fundraising events like the Tree Hugger's Ball. She's also the co-founder of the Canyon Land Conservation Fund, and now the target of perhaps the most pathetic political mailer EVER, even by Orange County's pathetic standards.
OC's canyons have been the subject of mucho controversy this year over the area's perpetual Octopus: developers. The first is the Norbertine monastery on Holtz Ranch; the second, which recently received approval, is the Saddle Crest development that plans to build 65 homes in a gated community on approximately 113 acres, and could be the first step in turning the canyon into another East Yale Loop.
Peterson is running to be a board member on the Silverado-Modjeska Parks and Recreation
committee, and is currently in the lead. Although the Parks Board does
not have jurisdiction where Saddle Crest will be built, they have the
power to give recommendations on projects in the area.
Which explains the mailers. They arrived at P.O. Boxes and at Peterson's house across the canyons around Nov. 2nd. Peterson said that the area was flooded with opposing candidates' signs and literature like never before. She had been planning to make painted signs out of reclaimed wood in her backyard, but since the campaign heated up, her friends bought her professional signs to compete.
Either way, the distasteful attack on Peterson is doing nothing but making whomever created it look bad. “It really is a brilliant piece of literature,” Peterson said with a laugh. It claims that she depressed home values and polarized the canyon communities. Singlehandedly? It also says she destroyed relationships with governmental agencies. Oh, you mean the agencies that voted against decades old policies created to preserve the canyon?
She has also been accused of shutting down the Silverado Elementary School. Yet Peterson avidly expressed that she was one of the people advocating to keep the school open. The mailer also has photos that Peterson said were taken off her Facebook.
This story is far from over, and although residents of the canyon stand on both sides of its development, this mailer is only making Peterson look better. “If we win this, we'll attribute it to that…all press is good press,” she said.