GUEST OPINION: Community, Sustainability, Prosperity by Hoiyin Ip

Vision: A Vibrant, World-Class Place

By Hoiyin Ip

“Happiness may seem like a conceptual nicety for most political leaders, but it is a change in narrative that leaders sneer at to their peril. Populism plays to people’s emotions in a highly successful way; it’s time for the mainstream to find an emotional way of reconnecting with people who just want to be happy,” former Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen wrote in “I Led One of the Happiest Countries in the World. Here’s What Other Democracies Could Learn From Our Model,” for TIME magazine.

I was reminded of Dana Point Times’s first interview with then-Mayor Richard Viczorek in 2018, when he said it was a good thing that many people didn’t know their elected officials. “It is because one of the enumerated natural rights in the Declaration of Independence is the pursuit of happiness,” he said. “This means that these people are busy pursuing their happiness, and in a large way finding it, because of the freedoms they enjoy.” And in another 2018 DP Times excerpt: “Viczorek explained that the separation of political views, and character judgements, are important and that he believes everyone has Dana Point’s best interest at heart concerning often seemingly polarizing issues.”

Two years later, repeat: Mayor Viczorek tackles happiness and polarizing issues. I would add: Let’s dig the Strategic Plan that the city spent much time updating in 2018. It looks like a plan for happiness.

VISION: A Vibrant, World-Class Place

STRATEGIC GOAL 1: Livable Community & World-Class Place

STRATEGIC GOAL 2: Effective, Efficient & Innovative Government

STRATEGIC GOAL 3: Fiscally Responsible & Accountable

STRATEGIC GOAL 4: Preserve & Enhance Environmental Health & Sustainability

STRATEGIC GOAL 5: Foster Economic Health & Prosperity

VALUES: Fiscal Responsibility and Stewardship, Honesty and Integrity, Service Excellence, Forward Thinking and Innovative, Teamwork and Collaboration

I’ve been curious how Dana Point is progressing. The only update I can find is a presentation on code enforcement under Strategic Goal 1 at the city council meeting on Apr. 16, 2019. Perhaps each city council meeting should agendize an update of one Strategic Plan objective?

Start with the “safest,” such as Strategic Goal 4. The environmental issues are also becoming urgent because of the new cycle of Regional Housing Needs Assessment.

Under Strategic Goal 5, one of the projects is to complete General Plan update—a once-in-30-years project for Dana Point. “A general plan is the framework for decision-making about the management and growth of a city. It is an aspirational blueprint of a city that includes goals and policies to guide a city to achieve the community’s future vision,” explained by Newport Beach in its current process of the two-year project, emphasizing “transparency, inclusiveness and public engagement.” The budget is $2.5 million. In the consultant’s fee schedule, the cheapest activity is committee meetings at $5,000 each, which boils down to $42 a minute. Polarizing issues (or lack of trust) will cost money!

Talking about trust, I think the City of Dana Point deserves more credit. But some tweaking should be done in its practice.

Hoiyin Ip is often recognized on the street as the plastic lady for her cleanup work. But she likes to think of herself as a guardian of the ocean. She is often reminded of a quote by former California Coastal Commission Executive Director Peter Douglas: “The coast is never saved. It’s always being saved.”

About The Author Dana Point Times

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