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In his May 2016 “Guest Opinion,” Joe Muller, who has served as a Dana Point City Councilman just over 18 months now, offered voters his advice on Measures H and I. His misguided views are both annoying and amusing, but I would like to address a number of his particularly misleading comments (and omissions) here.
First, he notes that only 3,081 initiative petition signatures were verified by the county registrar of voters to quality Measure H for a special election. How is that relevant to anything, Mr. Muller? Only 3,081 petition signatures were verified because that was the number required to qualify the citizen’s initiative for a special election. It would have been an idle and expensive act at taxpayer cost to continue authenticating signatures once there were enough to merit a special election. When the special election requirement was satisfied, and the registrar stopped counting, I understand there were hundreds more signatures tendered to check.
Second, Mr. Muller contends that this City Council is not biased toward special interest developers because the Council denied the only variance application it has heard during his term as a Councilman. What he doesn’t mention is that the variance application did not involve a commercial developer like Majestic/Raintree seeking approval of a major project in the Lantern District or elsewhere in the city.
Finally, he suggests that if voters are unhappy with their city council their remedy is to “work hard” and change the council members when elections are held every two years. Not really, Councilman Muller. Since the early 20th century, California voters have had other choices to register their lack of confidence in elected officials and take direct, democratic action to correct perceived abuses of authority, namely the initiative, referendum and recall processes. Indeed, many Dana Point residents (none of whom was paid for his or her efforts) worked very hard over the past year to gain the signatures necessary to qualify Measure H for an up or down vote in a special election, only to see a fair electoral process spoiled by three City Councilmen who chose to put a competing initiative on the ballot as an “informational measure.”
Measure I is nothing more than a statement of existing city law pertaining to the Lantern District, including the drastic reduction in parking requirements for development projects within that area, which the City Council approved in September 2015. Since Measure H proposes certain changes to existing Lantern District law, especially the provisions concerning parking standards, an evaluation of, and comparison to, existing law is already built into a voter’s decision about Measure H. There was never any logical or valid reason for the city council to advance the sham Measure I as an “informational measure,” so it begs the question why the Council really placed it on the ballot in the first place?
Councilman Muller appears to have a lot to learn about government and his role as an elected official. If he continues to disrespect thousands of residents that he was narrowly elected by a slim margin of 61 votes to represent on an at-large basis, I suspect he will probably learn those lessons the hard way! Please support competent and fair government in Dana Point. We deserve much better in our city.
Vote Yes on Measure H and No on I.