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LETTER TO THE EDITOR

By Sandie Iverson, Capistrano Beach

Once again, the Dana Point City Council purposely ignored the residents they should be representing. The councilmen and their backers fear passage of the grass roots “2015 Town Center Initiative” signed by over 4,000 Dana Point voters. That is why, over strenuous objection from the many speakers in the packed council chamber, the City Council decided to spend more of our tax money to put a competing initiative on the ballot. Let’s be clear. The council’s initiative has one purpose: To confuse voters and defeat the peoples’ initiative.

Don’t be fooled by misinformation. The “2015 Town Center Initiative” does not stop development, contrary to the council’s spin. What it stops is development contrary to the original intent of the original 2008 Town Center Plan approved by the Coastal Commission to provide a business district with shops, restaurants and convenient parking. Most importantly, the peoples’ initiative forces the council to bring any changes they want to make to the Town Center Plan to the voters for approval.

Stand with the thousands of Dana Point voters and take back control of our city. Help preserve the village atmosphere and quality of living we enjoy.  Vote for the 2015 Town Center Initiative on June 7.

The Town Center Initiative can be found online at http://2015towncenterinitiative.nationbuilder.com.

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comments (30)

  • The URL at the bottom of the page is incorrect. The server won’t respond unless the www is removed. Use http://2015towncenterinitiative.nationbuilder.com instead.

  • You say,

    ‘The “2015 Town Center Initiative” [TCI] does not stop development, contrary to the council’s spin.’

    And yet the Keyser Marston Associates (KMA) report on the TCI states,

    “The impacts created by the suburban-style parking requirements imposed by the Initiative effectively make high-quality mixed-use development in the Lantern District financially infeasible..”

    and,

    “If the Initiative is enacted it should be expected that development will stagnate in the Lantern District.”

    And then there’s the potential loss of approximately $673K/year in city revenue if the TCI is adopted.

    KMA reaches these conclusions with a detailed analysis. Can you back up your statement?

  • We need to recall the whole City Council . They work for the developers and the hotels . They spend, spend,spend and spend some more. They work against the citizens of Dana Point . They create traffic, they want less parking , they want taller buildings they want to restrict access to the beach. How is any of that good for the people that live here !! Every slimy one of them needs to go ! Worst city council in the history of our town!!! They do not listen to the people at all! They do their dirty dealing behind closed doors!
    IMPEACH CARLOS !!

    • Councilmember Carlos Olvera voted against the city-sponsored ballot measure.

      Also, Keyser Marston Associates estimates the city will lose $673K per year (at full build out) in lost revenue if the Town Center Initiative passes.

      • Long time Resident must have been asleep for a long time to miss that Carlos Olvera gave away his true intent by voting for the ridiculous renaming. If he didn’t like the measure, why would he vote for a name change? At least Schoeffel, the only one who shows any intelligence if you’ve been watching Council meetings for the past year, was consistently against this unethical subversion of voters rights. Put down the kool aid and wise up!

        What crystal ball does Keyser Marston base their projections on, by the way? How does having to have decent parking and keeping your buildings to 3 stories and 40 feet keep a developer from building in Dana Point. Get a grip. This Council is so developer friendly, nothing will stop them. And why worry about a mere $673K? These yahoos spent that much on that ridiculous arch. They waste enough on palm trees, ugly sidewalks, bocce ball courts and other nonsense (not to mention trumped up law suits for the Strands developer) – $673K is lunch money for these guys! That would be a good use of money if it keeps more of the ridiculous over development out of town. Just ask the good folks who can’t park in front of their own houses right now — BEFORE any of this new development shows up. Face it, LTR – you’re on the losing team. Wise up!

        • Robert Cahill,

          Here’s the link to a pdf document that contains Keyser Marston’s analysis of why passing the Town Center Initiative would stop most development in the Lantern District:

          https://www.danapoint.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=16790

          Here’s the video link to Keyser Marston’s 33 minute presentation to the City Council:

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdUwNwFCxD4

          Can you, or any of the others who support the Initiative, offer anything of substance to refute their conclusions? I’m waiting …

        • Robert Cahill,

          I tried to respond to your comment, but included 2 links that perhaps prevented my post from going through. So I’m going to try again without the links.

          You can search for the “ELECTION CODE SECTION 9212 REPORT” on the City’s website, and/or view the YouTube video by user “kathyPPT”, both of which present Keyser Marten’s analysis that if the Initiative passes, most development in the downtown will be uneconomic and not occur.

          I’d like to see one of you rebut their analysis, instead of making vacuous comments, and engaging in ad-hominem attacks. I’m waiting …

      • If Olvera voted ‘no’ to the city’s initiative, why did he then vote ‘yes’ to the name change? This was a joke since it was determined in advance that they had three votes so Olvera could look good when he runs for re-election this year and be able to tell the voters he didn’t vote for the confusing initiative. Don’t be fooled by this foolish man and council!

        • Claire Underwood,

          At the time of the 3-2 vote in favor of the City Council’s competing ballot measure, I thought Carlos Olvera actually pushed the wrong button, and meant to vote yes. That’s just speculation though, as is your statement that he voted no to look good in the upcoming Nov election. Your surmise doesn’t make a lot of sense though, because all of the candidates in the last election backed by the so-called DP Residents for Responsible Development ( Jody Payne, Chuck Rathbone and Nancy Jenkins) lost.

    • Recall all of them! The Three Blind Mice, Muller, Viscorek and Tomlinson are just dull tools for the city manager and city attorney to manipulate while Olvera acts like the Second Coming and Schoeffel has lost any ability to make sense They are also pawns of Harkey, Brough and Edwards who are still controlling what goes on here. Just follow the money and you’ll know why they are repeatedly turning this town into a developers paradise.

  • I don’t want to see parking lots everywhere. When 3rd party urban planning companies are saying the Initiative Plan will kill development, someones who’s done this hundreds of times before, I think that’s worth listening to. This city desperately needs development. And this is coming from a lifelong resident.

    Someone said impeach Carlos? He’s not even in office.

    • John, I dont know which Carlos you are thinking of in your last sentence. Carlos Olvera sat with our other esteemed councilmen and voted at last Tuesday nights city council meeting.
      I am pretty that means he is in office as a city councilman here in Dana Point. For now.

    • John, John, wake up. You “don’t want to see parking lots everywhere.” Do you see them ANYWHERE? Would you rather have an attractive multi level parking lot in a shopping area like a normal town, or would you prefer to ask people to park in the streets like they do now, taking up space for new customers for all those so called new developments, and making citizens crazy when they overflow into residential streets? Oh but oops! There’s no money left for parking lots. We spent it all on arches and unimaginative sidewalks and over landscaped medians.

      Third party urban planning companies are as unbiased as our developer funded Councilmen. Who do you think is paying Keyser Marston’s bills? Check out how much they were paid by taxpayers this year. Believe me, nothing is going to kill development in this town. It’s coming, and if we’re smart we’ll pick the ones that respect our citizens and our original Town Center Plan. You’re not seeing development in Town Center because there is NO PARKING! Keep applauding for this crew, but some of us have got to point out that the emperors are naked.

    • You missed that Carlos was Mayor last year? We wish we had missed it too. Alas, he’s still on Council until November when everyones’ hoping for a replacement that will represent the people instead of special interests and developers.

  • Every citizen in Dana Point should watch the video at danapoint.org showing the disgraceful behavior of their shameful Council members at last Tuesday’s meeting. I thought I was watching an episode of the Sopranos. So, 4,200 voters sign an initiative to stop the Council from giving away the store to developers and screwing up parking. That’s their right, and in a free society the initiative goes to the ballot box, and the voters decide on it with an up and down vote. Not so in the People’s Republic of Dana Point! No, your brilliant council decides that because of two unsubstantiated reports of voter “confusion” ( from completely biased sources — your thuggish City Manager and his friend, former Councilman Harold Kaufman who we’re hoping will never have the gall to run again) they will COMPLETELY CONFUSE the voter by creating a competing initiative of their own. And worse, under astute questioning from Schoeffel the city lawyer admitted that if their measure passes, there is absolutely no effect on current law. The 3 newbies apparently didn’t care that it was a useless measure and voted yes (doubt they came up with this sinister plan on their own) and our only conciliation is if they’re not recalled this can be the crowning achievement they can brag about in their reelection campaigns. “Yes, ladies and gentlemen, vote for us. We’re the ones who disgraced ourselves and our office by undermining voters rights.”

    If this isn’t illegal it should be. I’ve never seen such a disgusting and obvious attempt to mess with the election process. Olvera was smart enough to vote no since he’s up for reelection but we know where he really stands since he voted for the deliberately misleading title – “Town Center and Public Parking Improvement Measure”. Uh, guys. Did you notice that you actually don’t HAVE an approved parking plan? Did you notice that there are NO parking structures in the Lantern District and nothing about your plan is actually an “improvement”? Did you notice that half the area is up in arms already because parking sucks? Recall these imbeciles before they do more damage to a nice town.

    • The Council ballot measure is justified because the “DP Residents for Responsible Development” group, and the “Save Dana Point” slogan, are misleading. They should say something like “DP Residents to Stop Downtown Development” and use the slogan “Stop Development in the Lantern District”.

      I’m still waiting for one or more of you to show the error(s) in the Kaiser Marsten report, that concluded that if the initiative passes, most Lantern District development will be uneconomic.

      • LTR:
        DPRR is NOT misleading and certainly NOT against development. All their literature supports building to the 2008 Town Center Plan. The public has spoken up for a sensibly scaled commercial district and our city has invested (prematurely and unwisely) over $20 million to make that happen.

        Our city council and their developer financial supporters have hijacked the Lantern district and will turn it into a massive condo development with minimal onsite parking, if given a chance. Many are skeptical of Kayser Marsden because their commission came from THIS city council as arranged and directed by the current City manager. Any one who heard the concocted stories of confusion that Chotkevys and his chorus put forward last week would be suspicious of anything they put on the table, including Kayser Marsden,

        • Thanks for your response.

          In case anyone is interested in studying the analysis (link above), the way it works is the following:

          They estimate income for a case study, and assume an interest rate like 7% that an investor would require in order to proceed. So let’s say the yearly income is estimated to be $1 million. That means the investor could invest $14.3 million ($1m/0.07). Then they subtract construction and other costs from that figure to come up with a hypothetical land value. Let’s say those costs were $17 million. Then the land value would be -$2.3 million in that case, so the project wouldn’t go forward, because it would mean someone would have to be paid $2.3 million to buy the land (never going to happen), and only then could they achieve their 7% yield.

          Their published analysis was skimpy on details, but that’s the basic idea. What they found was that if the initiative passes, the mixed-use development envisioned in the LD plan would be uneconomic in all cases they proposed.

          It looks like the Majestic/Raintree project is going forward based on all of the moving signs on their property, as well as the Zephyr project behind Denny’s. So it’s possible rents and sales prices will increase to the point where development will go forward anyway. In that case the initiative would delay, but not stop development. That’s my speculation, Kaiser Marsten never published that.

          • LTR:
            KM also found the 2008 Town Center Plan parking standards and other limits in that plan uneconomic when applied to certain projects. Possibly the 2015 Initiative parking requirements are in some respects more restricting than the 2008 plan but KM found either set of standards uneconomic or not very attractive. The community found the new City proposed standards completely unacceptable and made their voices heard on 2-2-16. Two parking spaces per 1,000 sq feet of restaurant? One space per 600 sq foot condo? That is foolish.

            I am inclined to think we should accept and ratify the 2015 Plan and find community consensus on what to do after that. There is a strong lack of trust in current city management and the present city council. Exploiting their positions to deny 4200 voters a chance to express their vision for our community clearly shows why the lack of trust is justified.

  • Larry has summed up the problem. The present Council members consistently favor the interests of certain developers over voters and taxpayers. The last council meeting very clearly demonstrated that.

    Voters now know whats up and showed their dissatisfaction when 4200 of them signed the Town Center Initiative petition. The future electoral implications of that have not dawned on these guys, maybe not surprising considering the modest level of capability they usually demonstrate at council meetings. Everything they do seems to be orchestrated for them by Chotkevy and Munoz, who presumably work for them, although I suspect they work for someone else entirely.

    We will have the chance to elect better people this Fall. Carlos seems to know that because for once he voted no to one of their schemes. Is he learning or campaigning?

  • We won’t be ignored!!
    Stand with your neighbors and speak out;
    Vote YES on June 7th, 2016 to SAVE Dana Point!
    Let’s focus on what is important here and in the best interest of Dana Point residents!

  • Robert Cahill for Mayor ! I don’t know, you but I like you !!!
    Alas, if we only were able to vote for such an office! We have a collection of crooks that trade off choosing each other. This is a major flaw in the City Charter by the way.

    Longtime resident , really ? You hide behind your handle like our city council hides behind lawyers.
    You really think I am going to lose sleep if the developers can’t make enough money. And the city ,oh my, would not be able to afford a new welcome sign this year! Or a that new Tiddly Winks stadium!
    I like Dana Point just like it is , scratch that, was.
    Creating traffic is not the proper function of government. Try driving through Laguna on a Friday afternoon in the summer. “Forget about it !” Cars are already being forced onto residential streets. THIS IS ONLY THE BEGINNING!
    I hate the waste of our city funds so developers can cash in.
    $600k !, They just pissed that away on an elevator that wasn’t even broken! BTW, maintenance of which, should have negotiated as part of the responsibility to provide access for handicapped people to the beach; since all other roads are sealed.
    RECALL THEM ALL!!!!!

    • Larry Willett,

      Thanks for admitting that you want to see DP stay just the way it is. That’s what I was saying in one of my posts, that (at least some of you) want to stop development. At least you’re honest.

  • I’m voting these city council members out the next chance I get — and I bet I’m not the only one.. It seems they don’t represent the majority of Dana Point residents, who would like to preserve our somewhat ‘small town’ atmosphere.

  • Longer Resident than you Reply

    Thank God that ‘The Tavern’ at the Coast Marketplace’ is now gone under. When they first opened they were the worse parking abusers around Alcazar, Malaga and Copper lantern telling their employees to park in the residential areas rather than in their own parking lot. Soon it became clear that overpriced food and walking past employees and management smoking outside the entrance was part of their downfall. Anyone recall the valet parking they opened with? $10.00 to have a person park your car within ten feet of the entrance. Vegas style ignorance. What a joke until the cars were parked in front of private residences.
    Some years back we fought a car wash on this property, now the SUNDARA SALON brings in a private car wash service to wash cars in the parking lot. The only nights that the parking lot lights were off was on Tuesdays when at 10 o’clock PM the sprinklers would come on on flood the lot for over an hour sending gallons of water down the drain.
    It’s an example of what the past councils have allowed and we all can expect this same issues with this ‘New’ Dana Point. I’ve been here 60 years and I’m very disappointed on it’s direction.

  • To all Dana Point taxpayers: I have been told by neighbors/friends that Dana Point City had been operating with deficits..!.. Per the city’s own reports, there were deficits in 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013. For the six years starting in 2009 we have four years of deficits. We must not walk in the footsteps of corruption. Corruption takes different forms, different shapes, but at the end, same ultimate outcome: it has destroyed so many, including City of Bell and its citizens’ well-being.

    To Dana Point city governing body: your paychecks are hefty, and drawn from our tax money, our sweat and tears. Greed is a bag without bottom. If you individually still have integrity: separate yourself from each/all decisions/actions that are for special interest, and/or greed driven. Save yourself from shame. Have courage to be accountable, to do the best for our town, to achieve genuine accomplishments for yourself and our town, to bring it to the level of the well run cities, not mediocre, not superficial window dressing. Empty cans make loud noise!

    Being Dana Point tax payers for the last 30 years, I and my family have been very disappointed by you, our city governing body. You are, individually and jointly, liable for depleting our city’s money, for deliberately conducting business against our wishes/requests, for deviously maneuvering the political process, for destroying out trust vested in you. You owe us the fiduciary obligation, legally and morally.

    You have no shame; you have given a huge zero to our thousands of signatures. Do you realize how much time and effort your fellow citizens spent in collecting those signatures? You have no regard for their devotion to save our town, to right your wrong.

    If you want to disagree with me, prove by facts. If you choose to be bullying and insulting, I will not be carrying on conversation with you.

  • As another longtime dana point resident I’d like to help clarify the debate.
    Save Dana Point crowd stated it above, they want to stop development and keep downtown a big parking lot and full of vacant dirt lots.

    Save Dana Point crowd opposes walking/biking in addition to new develoment such as food trucks, outdoor patios etc due to their need to always drive and park in front of every destination.

    Please read high cost of free parking by Donald Shoup.

    I simply want nice, lively, walkable community, high costs of unnecessary mandtory parking is the main impediment, voting for “Save Dana Point” would increase parking costs even more and will stop new retail, book stores, restaurants and local jobs from coming into DP.

    Thanks for city council for trying to shine light on this dishonest campaign to “Save DP” and sticking to the vision for improving DP.

  • I’d like to encourage commenters to use their real names, so we don’t have to wonder if conflicts of interest color their views.

    I’ve been a resident of Dana Point since 2011, and from 1997 to 2004 before that. I have no commercial interests in the city.

    I’ve read the Kayser Marsden report. I don’t believe the TCI would stop all development in Town Center. However, if the TCI does stop development that only pencils out for the developers if parking requirements are too low, that’s okay.

    And if the cost of avoiding traffic jams, maintaining safe traffic flows on PCH and Del Prado, and limiting traffic through residential neighborhoods is only $673K/year, that seems like a good investment.

    I encourage all residents who care about the quality of life in Dana Point to vote for the TCI.

  • <<>>

    What’s a book store?

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