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DP logoBy Steve Stewart, Dana Point

Craig Alexander’s letter in the May 6-12 issue of the Dana Point Times praising his friend Bill Brough’s role in Town Center is quite a version of selective memory.

Bill Brough was not on the City Council to spearhead adoption of the Town Center/Lantern District plan back in 2008.  He was elected to the Council in 2010. He did “spearhead” on the Council, as Craig likes to put it. Among the actions he spearheaded was the reckless vote in April 2014 to take all the available city funds not in protected reserves and invest them in reworking Del Prado. This was done despite the pleas of citizens and votes of outnumbered Council members who thought this expenditure premature, unnecessary and a bad investment. Time has shown it was everything its opponents said it would be.

The Town Center project was to be phased based on results from incremental improvements. Now we have, by Craig’s accounting, millions sunk into a very small part of Dana Point and no capital for development in other parts of the city, like Capo Beach. Craig bemoans the vacant lots and like so many others on his side of the issue, points at those empty lots as somehow being the future fruit of Measure H. Those lots have been vacant for 85 years and throwing $20 to $30 million at them while under the influence of Bill Brough hasn’t made much of an impact. A ballot measure that has not even been passed is not the problem and will not be a problem. Projects designed within the envelope that Measure H defines are already in the development pipeline and thus evidently quite workable.

Another vote that Brough spearheaded was the decision to overturn a Planning Commission decision and ignore the protests of hundreds of residents about a project that was too tall, too dense and not adequately parked. Brough’s “leadership” brought us the Majestic (now Raintree) project, with 109 apartment units on 2.2 acres. Intense residential development is not what the Town Center Plan envisioned. Majestic is precisely why the community had to put forward Measure H. Bill Brough didn’t care because he was moving on to the State Assembly, with campaign contributions from the local development community.

Nor apparently did he care if city resources were misused and major legal expense was incurred on his watch, as the city stepped into a private party’s contractual dispute and turned it into the Strands Gate lawsuit against the city. The city lost four times in court with an indefensible case and Brough was along for the ride on most of it. The Mayor and City Manager like to spin the $300,000 fine assessed against the city by the Coastal Commission as some kind of generous investment in marine education for underprivileged students. It really is a fine, a punitive sanction, and part of the $500,000 or even $1 million the city is on the line for as a result of this disastrous legal case. Brough was there for most of it.

Brough’s governing style fits well with the Measure I people, who want to excuse developers from providing adequate parking for their projects and push the burden on to taxpayers for the parking assets that will have to be bought or built. Although he claims to be a real conservative, he is great at spending other people’s money. The pattern he “spearheaded” is what we still see going on in Dana Point today. Some people call it crony capitalism. 

Contrary to Craig’s assertion, there is no “empty lots measure.” The people telling that story want to make more money on the backs of Dana Point taxpayers. They are the friends of Bill Brough. Vote yes on H to stop the exploitation of our city and its taxpayers.

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comments (3)

  • Bill Brough has never met a fight that he didn’t claim he spearheaded and, apparently, Craig Alexander is his most recent spokeshole. Brough is a man who condemns big government but has profited on it his entire professional life. His success comes by pushing development and legal fees through local coffers. He’s a local embarrassment who only gets elected and reelected due to the (R) next to his name and the Harkey coattails he so gloriously rides upon.

  • Bill Brough should be ashamed of his misleading behavior as our representative of the 73rd CA State Assembly. Dana Point deserves better. Vote YES on H!

  • Well said, Steve. Brough seems to be the mastermind behind the raiding of City coffers to the tune of $30million over 8 years. Now there’s no money left for Doheny Village, or any other infrastructure improvements, if any. And the ever-hungry Lantern District keeps demanding more money for ongoing leased parking, and perhaps even for a parking structure down the road. Will the rest of Dana Point ever get a penny? Not likely, because the Council continues to spend more than it takes in every year.

    Under Brough’s watch, this City moved from a well funded, fiscally conservative City with plenty of money to weather any storm. Now we’re down to emergency and cash flow reserves and little else. Nice going! And this comes from a guy who is rumored to have foreclosed on his Dana Point house. Hardly a fiscal conservative. Please stay in Sacramento, Mr. Brough and give us a chance to restore Dana Point to financial health. And by the way, we don’t appreciate your District chief of staff who doesn’t even live in Dana Point, interfering in City politics by running a ruthless campaign against Citizens Measure H. Try to remember who got you to Sacramento. People, not developers control the vote. Such a shame you’re running uncontested. I’d vote for anyone but you.

comments (3)

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