RICK ERKENEFF, Dana Point

In 2016, I was active with Residents Who Care About Dana Point, also known as Save Dana Point (SDP). SDP started as a grassroots group with a single vision to protect Town Center by bringing an initiative (Measure H) before the City Council. I was paid for graphics and printed materials well below my normal rate. I was not paid to collect signatures, but my wife and I volunteered countless hours collecting close to 10 percent of the required signatures. As a lifelong resident, I am proud of that grassroots effort to protect our city.

After that, SDP changed. I learned SDP took large sums of money from Headlands Reserve LLC, the developer of the Strand at Headlands. SDP used this money to pay for outside-the-city signature gatherers to dismantle the City’s proposed short-term rental ordinance. They collected the signatures legally, but used extremely shady tactics, in my opinion. On multiple occasions, when I was approached to sign this anti-STR petition, the representatives had no clue what they were presenting and told lies about its purpose. Regardless, enough signatures were bought and the Council chose not to fund a special election. To this day we are left with no STR ordinance.

Now, DP’s social media outlets—namely DP Unplugged—have been festering over this year’s City Council race. About a month ago I received a long-threaded text message from a Save Dana Point insider, bashing me and my wife, calling us “really pathetic.” I asked why she would send such a disturbing message to me out of the blue after not speaking to us over our differing views on the ethics of SDP. She accused us of posting from fake Facebook accounts. She stated that we were behind a negative blog post “Three Blind Mice” and that it “had our fingerprints all over it.” Since then, Councilmember Debra Lewis, candidate Charles Payne and others have been echoing these false statements.

Before any person, court of law, or God for that matter, these claims against me and my wife are completely false. We do not have fake Facebook accounts, we did not create the “Three Blind Mice” cartoon and we have nothing to do with https://stopslicksanford.com/. Further, we did not take photos or videos of their candidates, we have no idea who is behind it, nor do we want to know. The negativity and suspicions are convenient campaign tactics, which have evolved into lies and personal attacks. It is irresponsible and sad for Debra Lewis, her candidate, and their backers to perpetuate these lies.

About The Author Dana Point Times

comments (2)

  • Hi Rick,
    In your letter you talk about the signature gatherers for the Referendum. The majority of signatures were obtained by residents who gave significant money and time to prepare all the printed materials and petitions and gather more than 2,100 signatures for submission to the Registrar of Voters. (Approximately 2,050 validated signatures would have been required to pass the Referendum.) That was done in about three weeks time.,with only 4 weeks allowed from the date the Ordinance was passed by the City Council. Signature gatherers were only used in the last few days,to collect additional signatures.

    I wanted to clear that up because residents are not being given any credit for accomplishing such a remarkable feat. Hopefully any future STR policy will be approved by a majority of residents or by voter approval, not just passed by a vote of three councilmen.

  • The City Council had the option of putting their Short Term Rental Ordinance to a vote of the people and it was the Council’s decision not to do so, probably knowing it would never pass. Hopefully any future Ordinance would need voter approval and not just 3 votes of the City Council.

    The residents of Dana Point collected and submitted the MAJORITY of signatures needed to qualify the Referendum. Over 2,100 signatures were collected in about 3 weeks; Only 4 weeks are allowed from the passage of the Ordinance to qualify the Referendum, MAKING IT EXTREMELY DIFFICULT IF NOT VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE.

    Residents donated their own money for all the legal work, petitions and signs needed and spent countless hours collecting signatures with 2.050 valid signatures needed. Signature gatherers collected more in the last few days thanks to Mr. Edward. His donation was used only for the gatherers, not for any of the materials used.

    Now that you have the facts, hopefully you will refrain from more misleading statements about the Referendum in the future.

comments (2)

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