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By Breeana Greenberg

With three City Council seats open this November, only three candidates—one in each district—have qualified for the upcoming November election. Incumbent Councilmember Jamey Federico, John Gabbard and Matthew Pagano are set to run unopposed on Nov. 8.

Gabbard, a city planning commissioner, qualified to run for the District 1 seat on Aug. 9. Gabbard has been on the Planning Commission since March 2021 and was appointed as its chair in April 2022.

Gabbard has worked in home building for 26 years and served as an enlisted Marine and Combat Engineering Officer. In Gabbard’s candidate statement, he vowed to be the city’s “fiscal conservative, taxpayer and budget watchdog,” and support “prudent, managed development and traffic programs that favor our residents.”

Federico’s hopes for a reelection to the City Council are all but certain, as he, too, is the only candidate qualified to run for his seat in District 3. Federico, who served as Dana Point’s mayor in 2021, was first elected to office in 2018.

Looking toward his likely second term in office, Federico wrote in his candidate statement that he plans to invest in infrastructure improvements, improve public safety and city services, and rewrite the city’s General Plan.

“When reelected, I will continue working with you and my fellow councilmembers to find long-lasting solutions to our city’s most challenging issues,” Federico wrote in his candidate statement.

Pagano, the chief financial officer for Pan-Pacific Mechanical, qualified for a ballot placement for the District 2 seat on Aug. 10. He has served as a member of one of Forbes’ professional and business councils since 2020.

In his candidate statement, Pagano pointed to three goals for the position: maintaining quality of life, being fiscally responsible and supporting local law enforcement.

“I commit to rational and pragmatic problem-solving for residents of District 2,” Pagano wrote in his candidate statement. “I commit to listening to you with an open mind. I commit to leading District 2 with integrity and for the benefit of all our citizens.”

Breeana Greenberg

Breeana Greenberg is the city reporter for the Dana Point Times. She graduated from Chapman University with a bachelor of arts degree in English. Before joining Picket Fence Media, she worked as a freelance reporter with the Laguna Beach Independent. Breeana can be reached by email at

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