Jody Robinson

Jody Robinson

Beauty has certainly changed a lot over the years. At the risk of dating myself, I’ve lived through trends like mini-buns, barrettes, chunky highlights in non-traditional hair colors. Blue eyeshadow. Half-hair up with cornrows. Thankfully, I’ve moved on (even though I was sadly unable to ever achieve “the Rachel”). I’m grateful for cutting-edge salons (pun intended) like Salon Capistrano where seasoned professionals keep up with the rapidly evolving trends to deliver world-class service to their customers.

Voted “Best of San Juan Capistrano” seven years in a row, Salon Capistrano is a full service salon that offers hair services, facials, chemical peels, waxing, nails and makeup/airbrush application. Since the salon opened its doors in 2012, Owner Paula Guerena and her team have strived to ensure that each of their clients “shine.”

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“We want to make the special events of your lives even better - from weddings and proms to class reunions, galas and teens/ladies/men’s night out,” says Paula, whose personal area of expertise since 1994 has been in anti-aging facials and chemical peels to help keep her clients’ skin youthful and healthy.

Paula and her team pride themselves on keeping up with the latest techniques and products in the industry through continuing education classes, and never let their standard of service falter. “Our clients continue to tell us how warmly received they feel the moment they walk in the door, and that the salon has a ‘great vibe.’” A fact that can surely be directly attributed to the kind and considerate group of independent contractors who truly work together here in harmony as a team. No egos ... just exceptional service.

“We all come from different backgrounds, but our passion for making people look and feel their best is what led each of us to the beauty and customer service industry,” says Paula.


imagejpeg950Disinfecting Surfaces Before and After Each Client
Six Feet Apart or Screens Between
Insisting Masks Be Worn
Hand Washing Upon Entering
Appointments Only
Staff Wearing Face Shields or Masks
Taking Only One Client at a Time
Can Send You a Text to Enter Salon

Salon Capistrano
32241 Camino Capistrano, Suite A103
San Juan Capistrano
(949) 212-6262

Defining Certainty in Uncertain Times

I’d love to see how many times the words mortgage forbearance has been looked up in the past three months, while the world has been on lockdown. It’s most certainly one of those I had to check with Mirriam-Webster for a sense of assurance on. Sure enough, it comes up with a great many results: “forbearance in loans,” “forbearance COVID-19 mortgage,” “forbearance vs. deferment.” More questions than answers come up and Google trends showed it was one of the top searches over the last few months. As we slowly emerge from our homes and return to work, the daily draw of our lives presents an alarming list of new challenges. Recovering financially is at the top of the list for most Americans.

A near 20% unemployment rate is nothing to shake a stick at, combined with the current climate of social unrest. Regal American Mortgage has the solution to at least one of the issues plaguing Americans at night, where Google just provides more questions: Your finances.

If you have served in the US military, you have even more benefits due to you for your service."

“Forbearance is not the answer,” says Daniel R. Lara, CEO/Broker. “Not paying your bills and losing your home is not the answer. If you have renters who are not making payments, the mortgage on the investment property is still your responsibility. Refinancing the property could be the option that makes more sense than putting your credit and investment at risk.”

If you are gainfully employed, or being pulled off furlough or have a fixed income, this qualifies you for payment relief through a Regal Refinance. “We are helping homeowners qualify at historically lower interest rates. Through the refi we are able to defer two monthly payments (July and August or August and September) and return the escrow balance. Lowering the rate adjusts the monthly payments over the long term. Saving upwards of sometimes hundreds of thousands over the life of the loan. We are literally putting thousands into the hands of homeowners during these financially difficult times – we are doing this in as quickly as two to three weeks!”

"Individuals and families finding their way out of the quarantine is a huge priority right now for the team at Regal American, and homeowners all over are qualifying for interest rates that are historically low,” says Dan. "Not only are rates low (2.879% APR 30 years fixed), but the costs to accomplish keeping one’s head above water, despite the crushing wave that has passed over us recently, are historically low, and 79% of the time we are not even requiring an appraisal. I think of mortgage lending like a game of chess. Strategy will ensure we execute as promised, unsurpassed attention to details and focus on our trade ensures we deliver on our word.” Consider it a stimulus check, without the paper notice in your mail to accompany it.

If you have served in the US military, you have even more benefits due to you for your service. No income documents, no appraisal, and usually two deferred payments to lock in a record low-rate loan. Regal American is holding a financial lifeline for many families during these turbulent times. That’s a concept I understand. And security, confidence, assurance? Those are words I know the definitions for.

ram logo23022 La Cadena Dr., Suite 206
Laguna Hills
(949) 480-1635
NMLS #1765337 • VA #9069650000

When I was younger, my Mom loved to read me the book “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie.” The plot essentially revolves around an ever-growing list of to-do’s that had to be accomplished, all set into motion by the simple act of giving a mouse a cookie. This tale came back to me recently when I purchased a new television at Best Buy.

What was a simple shopping trip ended up being an adult’s version of that circular tale. If you give a grownup a television, they’ll have to measure their wall. When they measure the wall, they’ll realize they may actually have room for a bigger television. When they buy the bigger television, they’ll find out they have no idea how to mount it to the wall. When they start mounting it to the wall, they’ll see that the power outlets are all in the wrong places. When they realize the outlets need to be moved, they’ll call an electrician. (This could go on forever.)

Luckily for clients who have been on the receiving end of ReelTime’s patient, intelligent, and personalized service, the rabbit hole of home automation doesn’t have to swallow you entirely. With the help of their independent certified Control4 dealer, it’s easy to update your home without upending your entire life. After all, the true luxury of an integrated entertainment system is really dependent on its ability to deliver seamless entertainment. By placing every control at your fingertips, the team at ReelTime helps homeowners manage everything from how brightly lit your family room is, to your streaming devices - all with a single remote. And best yet? You can control your whole home from the comfort of your couch- even seeing who is at the front door, without ever leaving your seat. Simple, clean, and uncluttered.


And on the home entertainment front … when you started planning for your ultimate home theater set-up and sound system, could you find the right media cabinetry for your particular space – cabinetry that wouldn’t catch on fire from the heat of the equipment, or that would simply look good in the room? Did you understand half of what the televisions, receivers and other devices could do, and did you have anyone to hold your hand to make sure you weren’t overspending for what you wanted?

Big box retailers, the professed champions of value, are happy to sell you any home theater and sound equipment you think you might like, and send you off to figure it out at home. That’s what they do. And that’s all they do.

If you want the home theater system that you envision, seek the services of Skip Myers and his team of experienced professionals at ReelTime to take you from start to finish for the home theater or sound system of your dreams.

“Usually there is a part of the job that you find you just can’t do by yourself,” says Skip, who has overseen the design and installation of thousands of home theater and sound systems over the course of 40-plus years in the business. “You get your brand new television home, you’re so excited, then you realize you need to move an outlet or none of the cabinets you can find will fit your space. We’re here to make sure you get the equipment that will give you what you want and the system that will work with that equipment, without leaving you to fend for yourself.”

Skip opened the doors at ReelTime in 1983. Today, the technicians and designers that Skip assigns to clients are all ReelTime employees, knowledgeable in all home theater and sound technologies. First, they work closely with you to determine what you’re looking for. Then they custom design every aspect of the project, from wiring to custom-built cabinets, frames, or built-in wall designs. Finally, licensed, in-house contractors install your entertainment system with care and precision.


There are a couple of things that people may not think about when they embark upon the road to their own home entertainment system.

“You need to think about your home theater goals,” says Skip. “You don’t have to do everything at once – you can do it bit by bit – but if you know where you’re going, you’ll save money and when it’s all said and done, you’ll have exactly what you want and what you will actually use. We’re here to help you determine your goals.”

We’re here to make sure you get the equipment that will give you what you want and the system that will work with that equipment, without leaving you to fend for yourself.

Skip is also an advocate for getting what you’ll use, which is part of the design and planning process.


“You can buy everything you want to, but if you can’t operate it, what’s the point?” he says. “There’s the television, DVD and Blue-ray; there’s the receiver, there’s Apple TV… it’s all great, but how do you get them to work together? We’re big advocates of the universal remote. Not everyone knows how to get the most out of their systems with one powerful remote – they’re not expensive, but the best ones are computer-based. We’ll set that up for you so you’re getting the most out of your custom system.”

It’s easy to assume that personal service is expensive, but a conversation with Skip and the experts at ReelTime is free. Ultimately, in planning your purchases for the right outcome, you’re likely to save money while avoiding chilling setbacks. The only chilling you want to be doing is in front of your fantasy home theater system.

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Connect with Skip Myers and ReelTime by calling (949) 240-0555, stop by their beautiful new showroom at 26381 Via De Anza in San Juan Capistrano or visit

It is rare to find someone who knew their path early - by divine intervention, fate or luck. Someone whom, through circumstances beyond their control, walked into their calling and have found great success. Providence. Serendipity. Whatever you might call it, Daniel Lara is one of those lucky few. A native Southern Californian, out for the day with some friends on the Huntington Beach Pier, Lara was a recent high school graduate when he struck up a conversation with “an interesting character” - a chance encounter that would change the trajectory of his life forever.

The Hollywood stunt man Lara met that day happened to have a side job as a real estate and mortgage broker. He shared with Lara how he’d recently sold an apartment complex for $8,000,000 to a connection he’d made through a movie he'd worked on. This initial meeting led to a fledgling friendship during which the then 19-year-old's initiative and ambition so impressed his friend that he offered Lara his first job in real estate. By 23, Daniel was leading a team of loan originators. By 30, he ran a mortgage company. “Unbelievable opportunity and a ton of really hard, honest work” ensured that his experience grew exponentially in a very short time.

Lara took a small mom-and-pop brokerage in Huntington Beach and "put them on the national stage by merging with an FDIC Mortgage Bank. Most companies dream of such an opportunity - in a few years I was able to make that happen for them.” Three years ago Lara opened his own company, Regal American Mortgage in Laguna Hills, a newly developed division that he and his team have expanded to five states thus far. "Our ambition is to create a national brand that exemplifies the pride a homeowner feels when all things are right. Finances play a huge role in making that American Dream come true."

Having a dream come to fruition at such a young age, having the right person come into your life at the most opportune of times – Lara was blessed with both. While in his early twenties, he found himself uniquely positioned and eager to learn all he could from experiences with every type of lending institution - banks, lenders, brokers. Experiences and expertise that would not only serve as the underpinnings to his operational philosophy and enable his company to truly help homeowners, but would prove instrumental in Lara’s own professional success.

Having independently produced $97 million in closed transactions in 2016, Lara earned the distinction of being named to the upper echelon in his industry – among the top 200 loan agents in the nation or … 1% of the 1%. His personal production is currently approaching $1 billion, Lara specializes in VA loans, the total of which account for 60% of his closings.

“Our ethos is ‘finance your legacy’ and I say that with extreme seriousness,” he says. "We’re not just making sure we are giving clients the best rates and lowest fees: that’s standard. We’re listening. We’re preparing our clients for a structure that they can build a life off of.”

Balancing his business on the pillars of honesty, integrity and American family values hasn’t been easy, especially in a rapidly changing environment fraught with an unforeseen pandemic and global financial crisis. “If we can set the stage for your finances to leave a legacy behind and help take care of your family, we’ve done our jobs, no matter the time it takes, or the state the world is in.” The opportunity to learn from all walks of life has given Lara and his team the ability to stay nimble, agile, especially in these trying times.

Having an old fashioned eye for customer service and hospitality helps as well. Lara can rely on his team to service their clients, and therefore, their community’s needs because he has surrounded himself with a core group of like-minded, proactive professionals. These individuals, who bring a wealth of experience to the organization - some with only three years and others 35 years’ with MS degrees in finance - “have a tremendous amount of enthusiasm for their work, and that has helped to develop momentum and unique programming over the last few years."

Lara adds that his administrative staff is "like none other I have ever worked with - because they are incredibly efficient and organized they help our clients navigate the hurdles to get a loan, very very quickly. We’re on pace to break all records I’ve set in the past as a top 1% producing agent in the nation.”

One of company’s more unique offerings assists seniors who may fear that they will not be able to age in place. Financing a new home purchase or refinancing your current loan is a common product Regal American is very familiar and extremely capable in handling, negotiating a reverse mortgage (HECM loan) is entirely another type of financing for elderly clients. “I want to be creative about the solutions we are able to offer our clients, and surprise folks with an opportunity that may have previously been viewed in a negative light.” Living Legacy loans, as they are referred to in the Regal American offices, allows clients to pursue their ideal lifestyle even if retirement income may not have kept up with costs of living. Allowing homeowners to turn a portion of their home equity into cash, and forego a monthly house payment takes the pressure off of individuals, and allows seniors to write their own legacy.

“There are so many nuances in every client’s financial life, and it takes a seasoned professional to navigate waters muddied by years of suspect business practices and preconceived notions.”

There are tens of thousands of mortgage companies in the US, and competition is no less fierce in Southern California. The impact of COVID-19 has stricken many, and shifted the way we look at global and local commerce, financing our goals, causing droves to scramble to maintain a standard of living to which we were accustomed just a few short months ago. In spite of those changes, Lara believes that Orange County has a unique ecosystem, and current predictions show only a small hiccup in housing trends before the market stabilizes. Fortunate: that the pride of homeownership, median income, and overall longevity of the OC all contribute to consistently positive growth. As homeowners are quick to take advantage of low rates and qualify for the mortgages they are receiving, we should step through these trying types relatively quickly.”

I never thought I would see rates at historic lows like they are today …”

“It is quite simply a perfect environment in our real estate economy,” says Dan. “Right now, we are experiencing the highest home values paired with the lowest rates in American history. Once things begin to normalize, rates will increase and lenders will very likely tighten loan restrictions. All of which makes this the ideal time to finance or refinance (whether you want to take cash out to keep on hand for a rainy day, pay off credit card debt, install solar or make other desired home improvements). Don’t sit on the sidelines while the opportunity passes. I never thought I would see rates at historic lows like they are today."

How many other companies are marching toward incoming changes instead of simply riding out the tide? With the patience to teach and the skills to execute, Regal American is a veteran at helping first-time home buyers, knowledgable refinancers or savvy investors. “When there is an opportunity to refinance and claim a better rate, we’re doing the hard work, staying ahead of the curve, and notifying our clients of market changes."

It could have been cloudy that fateful day, his friends deciding to stay indoors instead of venturing to the Pier. Lara could have still been living down the road in the city of his birth: San Clemente. But for whatever reason, that one move, one meeting, one conversation, changed Lara's trajectory by 1%, and eventually he found himself walking down a completely different path than on which he began. Regal American’s goal is to create a national brand that exemplifies the pride a homeowner feels when all cylinders are firing, when things are right, and as they should be. Finances play a huge role in making that American Dream come true.

Perhaps Regal is that one move, one meeting, one conversation for you.

ram logo
23022 La Cadena Dr., Suite 206
Laguna Hills
(888) 585-1590
NMLS #1765337

Creating Outdoor Living that Complement Your Family’s Lifestyle & Home’s Personality

Let’s talk about reasons to install a new pool or update a tired and outdated backyard. I don’t just mean how incredible swimming pools are for increasing the value of your home or in the case of updating your pool, for energy and cost savings … I’m talking about a certain kind of admiration from your kids, grandkids and loved ones. I’m talking about a vanity-free, personalized outdoor entertainment space everyone will enjoy. Think of the unlimited possibilities – all because you make the decision to turn your own backyard into the kind of relaxing resort that you may have only dreamed of.

The fantasy is easy enough - but where do you begin? How do you know where to start?

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That’s where Rich Tonti, owner and founder of Pacific Paradise Pools, comes in. He’s been transforming people’s lives and backyards for over 35 years, right here in Orange County. His team does every pool style: clean-lines mid-century, formal elegant designs, tropical rockscapes and any other at-home resort. It almost makes you want to charge admission for your own family and friends to take a dip.

Our mission is to help homeowners enjoy their pools, maximize their fun and create memories for a lifetime, while staying at home.

“Our mission is to help homeowners enjoy their pools, maximize their fun in their backyard and create memories for a lifetime all while staying at home,” says Rich. “I am very proud to say that we also have some of the most professional, talented, experienced and polite staff in the pool and spa industry.”

If you’ve got an existing swimming pool that has been neglected as much as our beach bodies seem to get, don’t worry, they also do major pool and spa renovations. Rich and the Pacific Paradise Pools Team strive very hard to go above and beyond to ensure their customers are satisfied at every turn. They have an in-house staff of designers and work with Interior Designers, Landscape Architects and other Trade Professionals to ensure you get the full HGTV effect.

“We aim to please and make sure that we develop an outdoor living space that will complement your family’s lifestyle and home’s personality as well as provide years of outdoor enjoyment,” says Rich. They’re not the bragging type, but the truth is this Huntington Beach-founded business is an award - winning company and has been honored on numerous occasions from industry associations and a variety of professional trade platforms. Pacific Paradise Pools won one of only four Pinnacle Awards from Luxury Pools and many other industry awards from their peers for design excellence.

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While they appreciate the accolades and feel the awards “validate our hard work and business strategy,” their team is even more grateful for “the referrals from loyal, happy customers that truly prove our clients endorse what we do.” The fact of the matter is, these projects don’t just provide you with beautiful backyard entertainment, they give you endless relaxing weekends and evenings after a long day at the office or after the kids and grandkids sports games.

Rich and their team may not be there to serve you drinks poolside, but then again, with their 5-star customer service, maybe you just need to ask(although, rumor has it they help you christen your pool with a bottle of Tonti Family Wine!). And, if you’re looking to sell soon, backyard entertainment areas are rated among the top requested home upgrades you can showcase.

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Pacific Paradise Pools works its magic quickly and efficiently when executing a project, just let their team know how they can help you during this exciting process.

We’d hate to make him blush, but we’ve got to get the word out about what Rich does when he isn’t creating backyard memories for his clients. Currently he volunteers an average of 10 or more hours a week on projects and spends a couple weeks every year volunteering overseas. Since 1994, he has been a part of “Men and Women of Action,” a volunteer construction and disaster relief organization. Traveling all over the world, he’s helped re-build homes, build schools, churches, orphanages and medical clinics on five of the seven continents. Hurricane relief in the South East, to Zambia, Brazil, Romania, Honduras, Nepal, Bulgaria, Ecuador, the Philippines, schools in Mozambique and homes in Mexico. A recent project in a in “The Bush,” outside Mozambique’s capitol city where “we are partnering to build a new community, with small homes, school classrooms and an afterschool mentor and feeding program, which ministers to 350 kids 5 days a week.” “This gives life meaning, and couples my skills as a builder and my passion to assist those in need of a helping hand,” says Rich, who recently completed a couple of projects a little closer to home: a multiple school building roof project in Fresno, a church hall in Bakersfield, a drywall project, in Simi Valley, for a senior citizen and a dozen homes in Tijuana, Mexico, with a Santa Ana based group named Corazon. There, the recipients of the homes are worthy candidates who have performed hundreds of hours community service and are nominated by their neighbors to receive, their first home, using funds generated through donations here in the states.


“Raised right here in Orange County, it’s always especially nice when we have the opportunity to give back in our own community as well.”

Rich TontiRich TontiLearn more about Men and Women of Action by visiting or Corazon at
Interested in their Pool Design and Construction Services? Read unedited testimonials and experience their unparalleled customer service by visiting: 
Or call Rich directly at
(714) 437-POOL (7665)
(949) 756-8442

May 12, 2020

Life. Organized.

Classy Closets’ unique, custom solutions for the home and office can instantly double or even triple your storage space.

Closet organization is something of an oxymoron at my house. Same goes for my home office. I actually do know where everything is in the stacks of paper that perpetually reside atop my desk, but good luck having anyone else make rhyme or reason of my filing “system.”

I’m clearly a candidate for the handiwork of a company like Classy Closets – if it’s a matter of function or simply a desire to have your mess aesthetically addressed, Classy Closets will customize your work/life space with made-toorder cabinetry and organization systems for your home office, garage, bedroom, laundry room, pantry, media centers, wallbeds and more.

Think you can’t afford to bring in the professionals? Classy Closets, which has served all of Orange County and San Diego since 2003, offers organization options for virtually every budget – from basic white melanine to solid wood cabinetry.

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“Nothing we do is cookie cutter,” says Company CFO Gary Pavitt. “Although Classy Closets is a franchise, we’re not governed by the rules that typically dictate processes of typical franchise operations – particularly with regard to the materials and mounting systems we use. What works in terms of style and function at a home in Tucson, for instance, wouldn’t necessarily translate to a house in Huntington Beach. So we have the freedom to customize our work to our client’s specific needs and desires.”

Another differentiator is that Gary and his team manufacture their products right here in Southern California, which affords them the ability to offer their clients a broader range of product options at a level of quality that is “second to none.” And because they are “hands-on” from design consultation to manufacture and installation, Gary and his staff pride themselves on providing unparalleled customer service.

“What’s really fun is having the ability to create the products in-house,” says Gary. “I really enjoy introducing new ways to make things better, bringing in new products and keeping up with the latest trends in the industry. We go out of our way to keep our customers satisfied … that’s what makes it all worthwhile. As in any business, your customers are golden and we’ve been very fortunate that a large percentage of our business is in referrals.”

Repeat customers Marta and Mike Fowler of San Diego say that Classy Closets is a “dream company - one that not only delivers beautiful craftsmanship, but also that elusive quality of excellent service. Every good cliché regarding their work applies.”

“This is our second home that Classy Closets has refined to meet all our storage needs, from closets to garage, from bathroom storage to entertainment center. And they never try to oversell, giving honest recommendations for products, charging fair prices within reach,” says Marta. “Their creative solutions and impeccable workmanship combine to make functional pieces we love living with. We have only one warning: Classy Closets is addictive, and you will find yourself wanting to spread the good news.”

In a letter to Gary’s business partner Kate Monaghan, Carlsbad-based Interior Designer Karen Wirrig echoes the Fowler’s sentiment and adds that “my new master closet is beautiful and your attention to detail is evident. I also want to commend your installation crew. They were on time, tidy, polite, and did excellent work … I will wholeheartedly recommend your company to all my clients. It has been a pleasure to work with you all.”

Classy Closets
23024 Lake Forest Drive, Suite K
Laguna Hills
(949) 249-5600

The average American household has 45 lights in it. Cup lighting, recessed, portraiture; indoor, outdoor. Incandescent, CFL, LED. There are likely as many types of fixtures and functions in the residential electrical world as years Steve Carter Electric has been in business.

A staple in south Orange County for the last thirty years, it isn’t hard to imagine why someone might call in the professionals at Steve Carter Electric for help wiring and all things electrical.

Dedicated to providing the best quality on every job, and investing in long-term service is the backbone of the business, and what Steve Carter himself carries into every job.

“We know that your home is more than a tangle of wires: its not the fixtures, its the connections made inside and out.” Specializing in whole house fans, lighting and electrical upgrades, repairs, back-up power, panel upgrades, landscape lighting, E.V charger installs and general troubleshooting, there isn’t a job too complex to take on.

One of the perks of publishing South County Magazine is being able to give testimonials for local businesses that our family has personally utilized. As a San Juan Capistrano resident blessed to live in coastal OC, I realize it’s ridiculous to refer to the unseasonable warm weather we experienced in September and October as uncomfortably “hot.” But warm air rises and our bedrooms are upstairs - where the temperature would get to the mid-80s, which would make it a little warmer than we’d like when trying to get to sleep at night.

My husband had been hankering to have a whole house fan installed after we experienced the benefits for ourselves while visiting family friends in Northern California. With 10 minutes of turning the whole house fan on, all of the warm air had been evacuated from the home, replaced with the cooler ambient air from outside - dropping the temperature in the house by 10 degrees! He was sold. In researching local companies, we came across the Yelp 5-Star rated San Clemente-based family-owned Steve Carter Electric. We couldn’t be happier with the QuietCool whole house fan we had installed - and equally importantly, the service provided by Steve and his team of professionals and are now all set to make quick work of the warm air during our next “hot” spell.

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“I knew back in high school that I wanted to learn the trade and become an electrician,” says Steve. “My Dad taught me to take pride in my workmanship, and I’ve carried that through until today. We don’t cut corners because we’d like to be your electricians for life.”

Steve Carter Electric (949) 481-4752

Colonel Gregory G. Raths Reports for Congressional Duty

McDonnell’s “masterpiece fighting jet,” the F-4 Phantom, rolled off the production line in December 1960, as a fleet defender built to intercept nuclear foes. Delivered to Miramar Naval Air Station, the jet was eventually bound for nearly four decades of service in the U.S. military.

For a rookie pilot, the F-4 could be a little hard to handle, its two-seater capacity requiring a little more of a team effort than fighter pilots were used to; and a nose that rose notoriously slowly off the deck of an aircraft carrier. For those of us who know nothing about planes, let alone what Mach 1 or 2 mean, a slow-going-nose doesn’t sound like much. But for Colonel Gregory G. Raths, USMC (RET) it was as much of a trial as any: with a bit of speed, that slow nose could over rotate to a stall. A rather rude initiation to the Marine Corps, if you ask me.

Luckily, meeting Col. Raths is nothing like stalling out over the deck of a 45,000 ton aircraft carrier, even though his sights are currently set on becoming a U.S. Congressman this year - perhaps a task equal to lifting off the deck in a multi-million dollar war machine.

greg headshot 2A charming, well-spoken man, the Colonel speaks lovingly of his parents, and the four brothers and three sisters he grew up with in Phoenix, Arizona. The fifth of eight children, Col. Raths had an early view into the life of a serviceman. His father served in the Army Air Corps from 1941-1945, as a bomber pilot during WWII, and flew combat in the European theatre in the A-20, a night fighter and adaptable light bomber mostly used by the Allied forces in World War II. His mother stayed home full time with the family, keeping the household running.

“As a kid, I mowed lawns, delivered handbills, went door to door selling anything from light bulbs to Christmas lights,” he says. Each step around the neighborhood was a step towards a life of service: to his community first as an Eagle Scout, class president, and multi-sport athlete, and eventually to his country - joining the Marine Corps Officer Candidate Program in 1972 after his freshman year at Arizona State University (ASU).

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Enduring summer training at Quantico during the summers of 1973 and 1974, Col. Raths also received his Bachelor’s Degree in Business in 1975. By the time he graduated flight school in Pensacola, FL, “Vietnam was over, and the military began drawing down its forces, and reducing its budgets. My first assignment was in Orange County, CA - at El Toro Marine Corps Air Station.”

Why am I running for Congress? The answer is quite simple … We have a Congress with a 6% approval rating from the American people. Congress members even now are receiving pay raises and huge benefits when Social Security recipients are only receiving a 1.6 percent increase in 2020. Hospital bills are rising. We need to make a decisive move. - Col. Gregory G. Raths

5738Closed now, El Toro was long part of the vision of a developing community - a vision that Col. Raths would like to see brought back to American towns. Dwight Whiting, Boston-born founder of the town of El Toro, helped establish the first church, negotiated the arrival of the Santa Fe railroad through the valley, and saw the future of the community in its gentleman farmers: working hard and living off the wealth and proceeds of their walnut and apricot groves. Replaced now by shopping malls and a new town moniker, the vision Whiting and Col. Raths share for the country is fading, and Col. Raths believes it is time for a change.

“The American people have had enough,” he says. “We have been deceived, betrayed by our elected officials. We need new leaders with honesty and integrity” - two traits Col. Raths learned en force through his tours aboard the USS Midway, and later as squadron commander off the carrier USS Abraham Lincoln. “Washington D.C. has proven its ineptitude, and we must not allow this dreadful sequence to continue.”

His new assignment is a personal one: One he believes must be based on solutions, not politics as usual. Courage, rather than the opinion of a special interest group, or the hope of reelection.

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Col. Raths has no aspirations to become a career politician - he’s already completed a 30 year military career and spent the past fifteen years in the private sector as a commercial airline pilot, president of an automobile parts distribution firm, and is currently an author and publisher. He is the current Mayor of Mission Viejo and volunteers within his community as a member of the Elks Lodge, president of the Mission Viejo Rotary Club, American Legion, VFW, St. Kilian Knights of Columbus and Vice-Chairman of the OC Board of Supervisors Veterans Advisory Council.

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He is running for office because he simply believes that “a drastically new course for this nation must be drafted” and is committed to leading that charge on behalf of his friends, neighbors and fellow citizens in California’s 45th Congressional District.


When asked what types of current policy he sees as going in the wrong direction that he would correct if elected to office, Col. Raths points to the “fiscal mismanagement of programs such as Medicare and Social Security.”

“Why are members of Congress receiving pay raises and huge benefits when Social Security recipients are only receiving a 1.6 percent cost-of-living adjustment in 2020?” he asks. “Medicare co-payments, prescriptions and hospital bills are skyrocketing. I will focus on our seniors and see that they are taken care of.

“Why am I running for Congress? The answer is quite simple. We have a Congress with a 6% approval rating from the American people. Six percent. We need new leaders who are not worried about the next election or pleasing special interests groups. We can’t count on the same politicians who got us into this mess to get us out. There is only one special interest group I am interested in serving: the people of the 45th Congressional District.”


Col. Raths brings a unique experience and perspective to negotiating Washington’s political scene. Previously having served as Chief of Staff of the White House Military Office taught Raths much about how career politicians function, and he’d like to be a force that changes those functions.

At Mach speeds, most modern aircraft must compromise in order to maintain handling ability. Supersonic speeds create shock waves, and the stronger the shock wave is, the greater the pressure difference, which causes a sonic boom. While those outside the cockpit are witness to the boom, those inside the aircraft cannot hear it. America is at the edge of Mach speed right now, cruising into the path of governmental dependence and the “damaging impact of complacency and apathy.” Col. Raths would like to take back the controls.

Overseeing military support from the White House is no small task, especially after serving in the military at such a volatile and unpopular time, and Raths is all too familiar with the stresses and victories surrounding military legislation coming from Congress. He would like to make it clear that his next battle is back in Washington, fighting for the people of the 45th Congressional District where he’d like to “fix the mess that has been created by politicians invested in maintaining their power, rather than doing what they know is right based on the principles that made this nation great to begin with.”

For our future and that of our children and grandchildren: the time to survey the scene has passed. Start those engines, ladies and gentlemen.

For more information on Col. Gregory Raths’ campaign or to contact him directly, visit, call (949) 292-2468 or write to: Col. Gregory G. Raths, 26551 Maside , Mission Viejo, CA. 92692.

Content approved by Supporters for Gregory G. Raths for Congress.

Studies have shown in recent years that multitasking, once held to be the epitome of a refined work ethic, may actually be detrimental to one’s productivity.

Apparently, trying to complete more than one task at one time interferes with specific forms of brain activity, mussing things up, instead of straightening them out. Dr. James Vartanian is in the business of straightening things out. Instead of multitasking, he much prefers being multi-specialty.

Convenience comes with efficiency, and at the Vartanian Dental Group, that means offering a full-team approach. Each member working within his or her own area of specialization, from start to finish. Oral examinations, teeth whitening, crowns and bridges, porcelain veneers, bonding, dental emergencies. The team offers full spectrum, comprehensive dentistry services that also includes sleep apnea, TMJ disorders, root canals and extractions and implants.

Convenience comes with efficiency, and at the Vartanian Dental Group, that means offering a full-team approach.

“I come from a family of physicians, and wanted that balance of healthcare and hands-on customer service,” says Dr. Vartanian. "I am able to offer that philosophy and culture here with quality dental care at affordable pricing. You don’t have to be referred out, you won’t feel as though we’re juggling a multitude of tasks behind the scenes. We’re here to help you create a beautiful smile - and that’s our entire focus.”

Having been in practice for over twenty years, Dr. Vartanian and his team provide the whole experience. State-of-the-art facilities, filled with welcoming and engaged staff. Ready to help dental professionals with financing options and easy-to-make appointment platforms. Multitasking might not be the key to feeling great at the end of the day. But a beautiful, healthy smile just might be.

imageVartanian Dental Group accepts Medicare Advantage Dental HMO Plans. The office is located at 26302 La Paz Road, Suite 203 in Mission Viejo. For more information, call (949) 586-5669 or visit

The Wine Spectator “Best of Award of Excellence” is bestowed upon restaurants that take its commitment to its wine program “a step further,” displaying excellent breadth across multiple regions and/or significant depth of top wines, along with superior presentation. As an aspiring oenophile, I learned the above while swimming around online in search of a special “date night” dining destination.

My husband has a deeper knowledge and appreciation for fine wine, so I was determined to find an establishment that would provide the “wow” factor - in its wine selection, culinary offerings, ambiance and service. Housed in a gorgeous, historic 1934 home along the Pacific Coast Highway, Selanne Steak Tavern delivered on all counts.

SST Wagyu Beef Tartare

The award, I learned, is typically given to restaurants that offer upwards of 350 wine selections, and exude a deep commitment to the craft behind a good pairing, or a vintage itself. Selanne Steak Tavern received the honor based on its intensely impressive selection of 2,750-bottle wine list, with origins spanning the planet. Designed to appeal to locals and visitors alike, the cellar boasts flavors from all over our fair state - including California cult wines - as well as other highly rated, world class wines from 435 additional worldwide locales stretching from New Zealand to Spain, Portugal to Peru.

SST Filet Mignon

Brick pathways and wooden doors open to an ambiance that successfully transports the spirit of classic American steakhouses and taverns to Southern California’s iconic Laguna Beach. With a robust menu of succulent steaks and chops, superb poultry, game and seafood straight from the inspiration of its co-owners: Six-time Olympian Teemu Selanne and local businessman Kevin Pratt, the steakhouse features a comfortable and classic environment for all. Enjoy any of the five distinct dining settings on site: bistro-style Wine Library, the handsome Tavern, outdoor, relaxing Veranda or Sunset Terrace, or the elegant upstairs Loft.

SST Pacific Diver Scallops 2

“Food should support the community it comes from and tempt the palate of those around it,” and tempt it does. Tender prime meats and Chef Vincent Terusa’s favorite farm-to-table ingredients and creative presentations are showcased in a warm, inviting ambiance characterized by wide planked oak floors, a whitewashed fireplace original to the building, and abstract pieces by local Laguna Beach artist Nick Gaetano.

SST Scarlet Beet Ravioli

Popular starters include the Pacific Diver Scallops (enhanced with cauliflower and pickled shimeji mushroom) and the the Wagyu beef tartare (paired with fingerling chips, wild rocket and quail egg). Although I’m generally more of a seafood aficionado while my husband is the resident meat-and-potato man, I changed my mind three times as I watched as aromatic dishes were delivered to guests around us. I finally settled on the abundantly flavorful grilled-to-perfection ribeye served with Chef’s truffle butter and bordelaise. The broccolini (with garlic chili oil/lemon) and butternut squash (maple bourbon tonic/sage) were the ideal accompaniments both in flavor and texture to the melt-in-your-mouth prime meat.

Earlier this fall, Selanne and Pratt opened their latest collaboration: The Penalty Box - a counter service casual eatery - in Garden Grove. “A salute to creative casual food and, of course, hockey,” the original, all-American comfort menu cleverly and whimsically refers to Selanne’s love of the NHL. PUCKS are burgers made with the eatery’s signature blend of sirloin, short rib and wagyu beef; STICKS are four different temptations of hot dogs; WHIPPED ICE are tantalizing ice cream shakes.

Selanne Steak Tavern
1464 South Coast Highway
Laguna Beach
(949) 715-9881