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KAREN EZELL, Capistrano Beach
I attended the City Council meeting on April 3 and spoke during the public comments on the by-district elections being considered, or pushed, on our city by an attorney due to the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA).
Many residents of Dana Point spoke, especially from my area, Capistrano Beach. It is very important that all residents speak up about the districts that are being mapped out. In one map, the demographer had split Capo along the bluffs which only made sense to conspiracy voting theories, which Councilman Muller denounced. At this point, I’m not trusting certain City Council members, my vote on that is still out.
I feel our city attorney has rushed through this process and we have actually lost days where we could have had time to review a strategy, met with the client who the other attorney is representing and determined if there was a case against us.
I thanked Mayor Viczorek for moving up agenda item 15 to go with item 11, which I told him should have been fixed by a simple text or email from the city manager to avoid conspiracy theories. Item 15 was brought to the agenda after the mayor had already signed off on it, should have been placed above 11, but the city manager placed it at the end. I question whether the city manager is in tune with his city?
My choices: I choose four districts with an at-large mayor with the Pine or Oak maps keeping Capistrano Beach as one district. If we have five districts I vote no on the “Green” map dividing Capistrano Beach. Keep Capistrano Beach one district.
I am happy that we citizens have the website Next Door, the group Capo Cares and the Facebook group Dana Point Unplugged to have our voices and opinions heard. I thanked The Dana Point Times and the OC Register for being there to hear our voices as well.
I am disappointed that only one of our City Council members that I know of has actually spent the time to answer questions and reach out to the public, to those they serve, and show that they are listening to our concerns. Where are the rest of you? Councilman Tomlinson, what have you done to reach out to the citizens? I live in Capistrano Beach and I never knew you were a part of my small community.
We the citizens, through these channels of groups and social media, will be better informed come next election-day. We will remember who listened to us, gave us information, answered questions when they could and showed they cared.
Many of us have voiced our concerns that a study was not being done which the demographer recommends to show if we do or don’t have polarized voting. During the council’s comments (which were moved to right after public comments) not one of the council members or city attorney told us some important news. Not until toward the end of the meeting when most people had left that agenda item 15.3 was brought up by Councilman Wyatt and it was disclosed that the study was in the works. The city attorney confirmed this. Debra Lewis stated that she didn’t know this. Why not? When did the approval of the study happen?
The City Council did approve holding public outreach meetings and I hope a lot of you turn out to voice your opinion.