Lillian Boyd, Dana Point Times
The last “new business” item on the Sept. 17 Dana Point City Council agenda was to receive and file an update on expense reports being posted to each councilmember’s webpage on the city website. However, a conservative blog post regarding Councilmember Debra Lewis’s spending sparked discussion on whether there should be a disclaimer to indicate the expenses are approved.
“I would like something to say that these expenses have been approved. I want some sort of indication that these are approved expenses, not expenses that I’m spending because we have this unlimited payroll now,” Lewis said during the meeting.
CA Political Review describes itself as California’s “leading conservative source for insightful and innovative political news and commentary.” In a Sept. 16 post, author Stephen Frank highlighted Lewis’s spending, which including a $380 invoice on Spanish lessons.
City staff confirmed the expenditure was not a violation of policy. Lewis had requested the lessons as a training expense.
“We have paid for training and/or educational materials for staff and city council in the past,” said Mark Denny, city manager.
Lewis read aloud portions of the blogpost during discussion to support her call for the disclaimer.
“You’re talking about people taking information and twisting politically for their purposes, and that’s just going to happen to us. It’s part of being in our position,” Mayor Joe Muller said.
Discussion concluded with Lewis stating she would work with the city to come up with language to indicate payments are approved per city policy.
On Lewis’s Facebook page, she issued the following statement:
“My district has highest concentration of Spanish speakers. To reach out to them, I am learning Spanish and volunteer at R.H. Dana Elementary kindergarten Spanish immersion class. . . . Evidently Spanish lessons to speak with my constituents has roiled the right wing, now calling me a radical leftist, POS megalomaniac politician out for myself. You know you’re a force when opposition is reduced to name calling and distortions. Hola!”
The next regularly scheduled city council meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 1 at Dana Point City Hall, Council Chambers, 33282 Golden Lantern, Dana Point. .