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Betty Hill, Capistrano Beach

At the June 17 City Council meeting, a controversy erupted over an amendment to casually add $7.7 million to the city budget for Del Prado Avenue improvements in Town Center.

This amendment entails over a 60 percent reduction of the city’s cash and reserves to the lowest level in 15 years. I spoke at the meeting urging the council to first give residents the facts about the project.

A prudent plan for the development of Del Prado should be presented, including cost estimates, the expected rate of development and the effect that the third year of significant deficit spending would have on the financial strength of the city.

The council meeting showed that not only is there a controversy over the spending on Del Prado but that there is a crisis of leadership on the council.

The Town Center Committee is a special interest group composed of two city councilmen and property and business owners in Town Center, the primary beneficiaries of the improvements that will total approximately $20 million.

The amendment for the huge budget increase was passed with three affirmative votes, two councilmen on the Town Center Committee and a third councilman closely allied with the group. The committee seemed to have instigated the insertion of the spending amendment at the meeting, which was not on the published agenda.

Who is running our city? The hasty and suspicious vote at the meeting showed that either the three councilmen didn’t care what the residents thought, or worse, that the Town Center Committee and the council felt that the residents wouldn’t agree.

In both cases the residents of Dana Point were shown no respect or consideration.

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