By Mayor Debra Lewis

This city faces serious issues that cannot be allowed to become intractable problems. Our challenges are real. Together, we will be asked to make tough choices in the months and years ahead.

For instance, by 2020, operating expenses are projected to exceed operating revenue by $1,648,000.  Plugging this large structural budget hole merely allows the city to do little more than tread water, ending fiscal year 2020 with neither an operating deficit nor surplus. This means we will not accumulate savings for those projects we want to undertake. After 2020, many more hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual shortfalls are expected.

Another challenge we face is maintaining Dana Point’s superior quality of life. Many residents express anxiety about their neighborhoods. Safety is becoming an issue. Petty crime appears to be on the rise.

Growth is always tricky. We want to develop areas in the city such as the Lantern District and Doheny Village. How do we do that without losing our desirable small beach town identity? What development is right for Dana Point?

These are difficult issues. But we have weathered difficulties before and we will do so again.

However, if we are to successfully deal with the uncertainties that lie ahead, we must choose unity over conflict and discord. Every day, the Letters to the Editor and online comments in our local paper or posts on social media are filled with gratuitous personal swipes aimed at residents who have done nothing more than get involved in an effort to better their community. Whole neighborhoods are singled out for scorn.  Resident groups are targeted because their mission is to better their surroundings, which ultimately benefits the whole city.

Those who give their time to improve their neighborhoods or join committees to improve life in our city are to be commended, not attacked. Volunteers, who demonstrate their commitment and passion to work for the betterment of others, are an important resource to be encouraged, not vilified.

We must put an end to petty grievances, move beyond the injurious recriminations over past battles lost and reject the needless divisiveness that saps our collective strength. We all have far too much invested in the health and well-being of our city to allow those who hurl personal insults against residents and pit neighbor against neighbor to tear us apart.

To be sure, it is essential to be able to freely express diverse opinions and points of view. It is appropriate to hold elected officials accountable. What is equally important, however, is the manner in which our disagreements are communicated to one another. We must not lose sight of the fact that our collective goal is and always has been the betterment of Dana Point. We may have different ideas of what that means. We may have different approaches to solving problems. But what brings us together is so much stronger than our differences.

No matter where in this city we choose to live, no matter what our part of town is called, we are all one Dana Point. We are greater together than the sum of our parts. By working together, we will successfully meet any challenge.

About The Author DP Times

comments (9)

  • Mary Therese Spivey Reply

    Well said, looking forward to well done!

  • Thank you, Mayor Lewis, for this reminder that we are one city. Working together will allow us to keep Dana Point the great city we all love.

  • Mayor Lewis,

    You were the main voice behind Measure H and one of the largest donors for the Short Term Rental referendum. Each have had a significant negative impact on tax revenue. Hard to understand why the deficit we face surprises you. You have proven adept at cutting much loved city programs, but we have yet to hear any substantive ideas on how you think we can grow our tax revenue?

    It’s easy to understand why you object to the critical feedback Toni Nelson and the Hill family have received. They were core players in getting you and Wyatt elected. They have done a lot to divide our community, so I find it humorous that you are now asking that we unify around them. Capo Cares does some good things, but abuse of power should be called out when it happens. The facts are the facts, asking us to be quite is shameful.

    • The following sentences from John Kennedy’s post above are incoherent:
      “It’s easy to understand why you object to the critical feedback Toni Nelson and the Hill family have received. They were core players in getting you and Wyatt elected. They have done a lot to divide our community, so I find it humorous that you are now asking that we unify around them. ”

      The rest of his comments are similarly not factual or logical. But thanks for trying.

  • John,

    Thanks for having the courage to comment. If you read the Dana Point Times often you know that Strands Local likes to vilify those not inline with Debra Lewis and the Capistrano Beach Cares organization. Calling your letter incoherent and illogical without providing facts is itself an incoherent and illogical act. Your opinion is appreciated.

  • For at least a decade, anytime there’s a disagreement on any civic (civil?) Issue it’s always dumbed down to the argument that a group is executing a grand planned conspiracy to destroy and control with the most sinister evil intent. The evidence presented is always a stretch often rivaling the distance to Neptune (my favorite planet!) Personally I like seeing tables kicked over occasionally and various oxen gored. It makes great fun for we spectators! So many so angry!!!

  • It is hard for me to understand why some people in this beautiful city are so full of vinegar. anger and vehement towards our Mayor who has done everything to communicate facts. What is it about facts that make some of our citizens so angry? or do we have a group of angry people?

    What happened to “love thy neighbor?” As I recall it does not say except, ??? I understand people can disagree, but the current level is becoming frightening.

  • Connie and the Mayor – you two are the most abusive people out there – Connie, look at your post over the past 3 months, here and on the Monarch Beach NextDoor App. You rip the other council people, who are just working, for free, too make the city better for all. You rip everyone who is pro growth, etc… (who wouldn’t be for growth when half of the buildings in the city are old and need to be replaced, along with those empty lots filled).

    The Mayor ran Save DP, which was brutal, going after a council members son? Putting up childish posters, not having a game plan for when you did win, etc… The mayor sends in her Capo Care army every time their is a minor issue, Planning, FRC, Council meetings, etc…The city is at a stand still (oops the Tattoo Parlor opened), voting on the council has been 4-1 (guess who is losing?), And the Mayor wants to decrease our police services? As crime is going up (thanks Gov. Brown).

    The mirror reflects, and Connie and the Mayor you should look at one, it will show both of you as the leaders of the mean pack (and Ms. Nelson too, even though she does seem like a nice lady, and the mayor too) Too all, lighten up and reflect, because both of you need it. Yes, Measure H won but that doesn’t mean you rule the roost.

  • New in Dana Point. Are you are addressing me? If you are, please spell my name correctly.
    Why do you like trolling so much? I do not believe you live in Dana Point. I believe you are a paid troll.

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