Letter: Support is not Orchestrated but Earned

Betty Hill, Capistrano Beach

In response to the letter from Harold Kaufman (“Council Reorganization Proceedings were Shameful on All Accounts,” Dana Point Times, Dec. 27-Jan. 2, Vol. 5, Issue 52), although the mayor and mayor pro tem officiate at council meetings, the perception in the community is that these titles carry a greater responsibility.

During their terms, the mayor and mayor pro tem represent the character of Dana Point and are the public voice of the City Council. They are expected to participate in community events. Organizers of these events and Dana Point residents who attend are proud when they appear. So the community should and does care who is selected to be their mayor and mayor pro tem.

Responsible and responsive council members would encourage and welcome community interaction on all topics, including the selection of mayor. Community support for a council member is not orchestrated; it is earned by years of dedication to the city and their achievements.

Council members deserve recognition for outstanding service. They certainly do not deserve criticism for support they receive in return. Lisa Bartlett and Steven Weinberg were chosen as mayor and mayor pro tem at the last council meeting. They will do an outstanding job representing Dana Point. However, their selection did seem puzzling and somewhat contentious.

Perhaps this was indicative of the conflicting personalities and ideologies that are evident at many council meetings since the last election. Dana Point deserves better.

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2 Responses to “Letter: Support is not Orchestrated but Earned”

  1. Michael Frost
    January 5, 2014 at 10:20 am #

    Hi Lynn, Betty and Harold,

    After reading the last three DP Times letters, I was obviously interested how community members could walk away with such different opinions on the re-organization of the council. I had the opportunity to log on to danapoint.org and view the actual December 3rd Council Meeting via the video link. (For other community members, the direct link is http://danapoint.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=314)

    For the record, I like to think of myself as an impartial community member when it comes to politics, friends with Ross Teasley all the way to Carlos Olvera. Actually voted for all the current council members, understanding each brings something unique to the table, and each prioritizes the issues within the community differently. (Which is fine by me)

    Let me first say, Harold should have more clearly defined that his issue is not with community members addressing the council. I have met Harold a couple times through community events and can guarantee that his opinion isn’t one of unwelcoming public comment. Obviously, the public comments sections within each meeting is the conduit for neighbors to speak to our council. As a member of the community input is welcome, and recognizing council members for good work is important. Overall, lack of clarification on this was a mistake from Harold. (In my opinion)

    Lynn and Betty, if you objectively re-read Harold’s initial letter you can tell it was certainly more directed at the council members who (“initiated”, “planned”, “orchestrated”) the public comments for a specific item. Which again is certainly acceptable and well within their rights, and within your rights to participate. Although, even you would have to admit it’s pretty unique for the mayor and mayor pro-tem discussion to involve public comments in support of specific members. Why? Well, if each of the council members had their constituents comment, the meeting would last quite a long time and we would end up with another mini election. It is more common for this to be an internal council dialogue and discussion among whom they believe should lead the council. But who knows, perhaps this will instigate a change in the council re-organization process and in the future each council member will ask for a group of their strongest supporters to engage the council.

    I did want to also address the follow-up discussion regarding the Towncenter “aka Lantern District”. Four or five of the speakers (not Mrs. O’neil) brought up specific accomplishments and attributed them directly to Lisa and Scott. Almost all of those were right on, including environmental progress, arts and culture progress, quite zone setup and an overall pretty damn good job. With that said, attributing the recent tangible progress on Towncenter and commenting that Lisa and Scott were responsible for that progress was just inaccurate. (Again, Lynn and Betty- that was not from each of you)

    I personally have never seen Scott, Lisa or Steven be dismissive of Towncenter, purposefully delay or purposefully direct resources elsewhere; however, they have not also lead the progress to get it started. (Which is fine, I tend to think it’s not one of their main priorities- which is OK, not everyone can be everything!)

    Nevertheless, I can’t blame Carlos and Bill for following up on the public speakers who asserted quite the opposite. One year ago, the Towncenter was dead in the water, with a lack of ownership or prioritization at the council level. Staff had never been directed to perform due diligence around financing options, nobody was reaching out to the larger private development firms who own vacant lots, nobody was reaching out to the existing business owners. Generally, the lack of background due diligence work (which did not require any funding) was not being completed. Both Carlos and Bill have gotten this specific project moving, and while you may disagree with them on other issues in the community, its’ pretty unfair and inaccurate not to attribute that accomplishment to both of them.

    Michael Frost-
    (Lantern Village Association)

  2. Betty Hill
    January 12, 2014 at 5:13 pm #

    Thank you, Michael, for your response to my letter. Your opinions are important. They illustrate the value of community input to good governance. That is why I strongly believe that the city council should encourage community participation before worrying about crowd control. After all, you were interested enough to watch the council meeting and respond online.

    Your support for Town Center is also important. Please do not overlook the complexity of this project. Given more time the entire community may be able to share your enthusiasm.

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