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Election season has officially begun in Dana Point. For the next 10 weeks, the Dana Point Times will run a different election story, starting with the candidates running for two seats on the Dana Point City Council. The Times asked each candidate to introduce themselves in less than 400 words. The candidates are ordered of how they will appear on the November ballot.
My name is Nadia Khalil, I was born in 1961 to my then young immigrant parents living in Capistrano Beach.
Dana Point is, and has, always been in my heart. When I was five, we moved north, but we continued to have family picnics at Doheny at my uncle’s in the Palisades every weekend.
At 30 years old, I began house hunting and purchased my current residence of 25 years in Capo Beach. I raised my four children in the Capo Unified School District. I was very much involved as PTA member, a school volunteer, a Girl Scout Leader, a soccer mom and coach at times. I volunteered for many organizations, including the Capo Beach Community association, the Pilgrim and many other non-profits that help our community. I’ve invented and marketed a baby product and have run my own business.
Volunteering is not new to me, it’s something if retired I would love doing for the rest of my life. But this arena is solely to get a resident like myself, not a developer or real estate investor, to be involved in our community. I am not a politician nor have I been in politics, and quite possibly the others may be better politicians, but I just feel that our close-knit community, if asked and informed to help preserve Dana Point’s charm, history and beauty, would.
When I saw BevMo! I said, ‘Well they voted out medical marijuana, but approved liquor stores and pawn shops.’ To me, I see our coastal community turning into a city like Anaheim but with a coast.
My other worry concerns short-term rentals, supported by many residents who only recently moved to Dana Point.
My responses to such beliefs are as follows:
- You moved here to get away from the place you lived not to turn Dana Point or the area into it.
- Short-term renters have caused neighbors to move, families to lose homes from fires started by negligence, crime begins to rise and communities fall apart leaving behind a city without charm. I don’t want to bolt down my lawn ornaments.
There you have it the answers to who am I and why I am running for city council.
I am running for Dana Point City Council to bring practical, common-sense leadership that keeps residents informed and involved, and unites our community.
My goal is to strengthen Dana Point economically and promote growth, while preserving the qualities that make Dana Point one of America’s best beach towns.
I am a recently retired engineering executive who has helped launch and grow several successful companies. My years in business operations and product engineering have proven that it is possible to find solutions that meet the needs of the disparate organizations that must all work together for success. I will work to make Dana Point a great place to live and a great place to run a business.
I will work to restore trust in our city government. For two years, residents implored Council members to follow the 2008 Town Center Plan and create a pedestrian-friendly village of restaurants, shops and small businesses. These citizens were scorned and ignored, left with no choice but to launch the Save Dana Point Measure H Initiative; to battle for the soul of Dana Point. I am proud to have been at the core of this movement.
My priorities are:
- Ensuring the city’s financial health; the past six-plus years of deficit spending threatens stability and has created an environment where big-developer money is too tempting.
- Developing the Town Center per the 2008 Town Center Plan and creating an implementable plan for Doheny Village by carefully managing growth and reaching out to the kinds of small businesses that will enhance our city without impacting nearby neighborhoods.
As we develop opportunities for improved vibrancy, increased revenue and updated infrastructure, I’m committed to protecting what we cherish—a community where children excel in a safe environment, businesses flourish and a beach-town character prevails. This will benefit both residents and visitors in all parts of our city while embracing our surfing heritage and protecting our ocean and beaches.
I’ll bring leadership, transparency and community outreach to the Council with the passion, tenacity and experience to get things done.
Dana Point deserves a fiscally responsible city government that puts its residents first. I am running for City Council to bring good governance back to Dana Point without the influence of special interests.
As a small business owner, an attorney with a Master’s degree in tax law from Georgetown Law Center, the first Mayor of Rancho Santa Margarita and a member of former Orange County Supervisor Tom Wilson’s “kitchen cabinet,” I have proven leadership skills and experience essential to making Dana Point once again work for its residents. My years working in a large accounting firm give me the experience necessary to read and understand the city’s financial documents.
Having been a mayor, I was dismayed at watching Dana Point’s City Council ignore numerous residents’ objections and brush aside their pleas to make developers follow the 2008 Town Center Plan. That is why I signed the ballot argument in favor of Measure H and strongly supported its passage. On June 7, Dana Point voters overwhelmingly agreed with the Measure H vision, in spite of both past and current City Council members, including State Assemblyman Bill Brough, using their names, enormous influence and resources to back the competing Measure I.
Voters have been told that past and present Council members are fiscally conservative, but a review of the City’s Comprehensive Audited Financial Reports (“CAFR”) since 2009 appears to tell a different story. Beginning in 2009, the city’s CAFRs show annual spending has exceeded revenue, except in 2014 when money from a one-time sale of property in Capo Beach was added to the revenue column on the CAFR. Over the same time period, the city’s payroll rose from approximately 47 to 67 people, more employees than many larger cities employ.
Measure H was a great first step to save Dana Point. As your City Council member, I will work to continue that positive momentum. I am committed to:
- Put residents first;
- Listen and respond to residents’ comments and concerns;
- Work for our community, not special interests;
- Manage city resources effectively and responsibly;
- Keep residents informed; and
- Engage in comprehensive planning before approving an action.
I’m running for an open seat on the Dana Point City Council. I’ve lived in DP for more than 20 years, and after a successful 11-year career as the executive of the Dana Point Chamber of Commerce, having been brought here when the Chamber was having financial challenges, to bring financial stability and professionalism to the organization, and I did that. Now, I want to give back to this beautiful community by utilizing my experience and knowledge of what has made this community such a wonderful place to live.
My background includes the fact that I have, during my 20 year residency, successfully promoted tourism, which provides more than 50 percent of the city’s revenue, the Dana Point Harbor and the Town Center/Lantern District. Living in this community provides me with a unique perspective on what is needed to maintain our quality of life.
My most significant accomplishment was growing the Turkey Trot from an event attracting participants from 40 states, although primarily a local community event, to the international event it is today. Revenue to the Dana Point Chamber’s Operating fund was (net) $35,000 when I arrived and approximately $145,000 (net) after my 11 years of management. Revenue to the Chamber continues to grow, utilizing the ground work I laid, including selecting the professional, experienced Race Management Company that runs the event today.
- Utilizing management experience and training and working with the members of the City Council, I plan to grow the Dana Point economy with an idea that has worked in other communities in California and around the country.
- Connect elected officials to the residents and perhaps avoid another challenging election. I have a plan for that.
My interests have been the Dana Point Harbor and tourism and Town Center/Lantern District for which I have worked for over 20 years.
I am running for City Council to ensure that our children and grandchildren experience the same yearning to return to our beautiful Dana Point as did I. For this reason, it is imperative that the unique Dana Point quality of life, which attracted my family, continues.
Although born and raised in Orange County, I left to pursue my degree and begin my career, knowing that I eventually would come back home. Earning my law degree at night, I worked two jobs, including clerking for a well known Orange County water rights attorney while interning for Congressman Christopher Cox. Subsequently, I earned a Masters in law from Georgetown University Law Center in Securities and Financial Regulation.
After completing my degree, I served as counsel to the U.S. Senate Banking Committee under Chairman Phil Gramm and then served as a Presidential appointee to the U.S. Department of the Treasury. After returning home to Orange County, I have worked as in-house counsel for a large investment firm for the past 11 years.
My strong community service record includes formerly serving our city as Vice Chair for the Dana Point Planning Commission and serving as a former Gubernatorial Appointee on the California Board of Accountancy. Currently, I serve as First Vice President of the Saddleback College Foundation Board and Chairperson of the Finance Committee, Board Member of Tilly’s Life Center and volunteer at a local school as a Model United Nations adviser.
If granted the privilege to serve as your advocate in our great city, I will work tirelessly to:
- Safeguard Dana Point’s charm
- Work with our State and Federal representatives to address the sober living issue
- Maintain financial security
- Ensure necessary revitalization and growth continues
Additionally, I will fight to assure security of:
- Property values
I am a fiscal conservative believing in strengthening individuals and limiting government.
I am honored to have support from our Congressman Darrell Issa, Senator Pat Bates, former Mayors Diane Harkey, Steven Weinberg, Carlos Olvera, Harold Kaufman, and other community leaders. I respectfully ask for your vote on November 8.
Have questions for the Dana Point City Council candidates? Submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, Sept. 12 at 5 p.m., and it could be asked at the Dana Point Civic Association candidate forum at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 16 at Coffee Importers.