The article you’re about to read is from our reporters doing their important work — investigating, researching, and writing their stories. We want to provide informative and inspirational stories that connect you to the people, issues and opportunities within our community. Journalism requires lots of resources. Today, our business model has been interrupted by the pandemic; the vast majority of our advertisers’ businesses have been impacted. That’s why the DP Times is now turning to you for financial support. Learn more about our new Insider’s program here. Thank you.

DP logoSteve Stewart, Dana Point

A mailer* supporting Michelle Brough for Dana Point City Council arrived at our home on Oct. 17. The sender was a Sacramento-based political action committee (PAC), “Taxpayers for Ethical Government.” In the ad header there was a disclaimer that neither the candidate nor their campaign committee was involved in funding this mailing. When my question about the mailer was asked to Michelle Brough at the Niguel Shores Men’s Club forum on Oct. 18, she claimed not to know a thing about it, even though a photo of her family was prominently featured in the ad. Taxpayers for Ethical Government is a dark money PAC injecting money and influence into Dana Point politics. I wonder what they want.

The same mailer touts the endorsements for Michelle Brough’s campaign from prominent former Dana Point City Council members Harold Kaufman, Steve Weinberg and Diane Harkey, along with current Council members Carlos Olvera, Joe Mueller, Richard Viczorek and Mayor John Tomlinson.

Consider the outside funding in support of Brough’s campaign and her list of supporters. Some of those supporters share a track record that includes funding the multimillion dollar Strands gate litigation debacle against the Coastal Commission on behalf of Sanford Edward and the Strand; spending tens of millions of dollars on the Town Center/Lantern District improvement program; and what appears to be seven years of operating with multimillion dollars of city budget deficits. We also don’t want to forget their Measure I, a parking giveaway program that 59 percent of the voters voted down last June.

These politicians pose as fiscally conservative public servants, but in Dana Point, their accomplishments have drained our treasury on behalf of special interests and generated a downtown district that will never recover the public investment made in it. Don’t be fooled by the mailers in support of Michelle Brough. She is only running to bring us more of the same.

I urge you to support and vote for Debra Lewis and Paul Wyatt. Electing them to the City Council is the only way we will ever get our town back.

*Mr. Stewart provided Dana Point Times with a copy of the mailer.

To submit a letter to the editor, email

Trustworthy, accurate and reliable local news stories are more important now than ever. Support our newsroom by making a contribution and becoming a subscribing member today.

About The Author Dana Point Times

comments (5)

  • Further proof of the influence of big money and outside interests on Ms. Brough is evident in her campaign’s financial statements. Among those who’ve donated to Brough are: Bill Brough’s campaign, CA Real Estate PAC, Harkey for Board of Equalization PAC, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC, Metro RCT Inc., Michael Grant Capital Inc., South Orange County Economic Coalition PAC, and Sempra Energy. Oh, and current City Council member Carlos Olvera.

    Brough will be beholden to outside politicians, developers and other outside corporate interests who will want something from her. She will have to place their wants above the interests of the citizens of Dana Point. She will give us more of the same “leadership” that Olvera and the current council have — deficit spending, giveaways to developers, and endless and expensive litigation.

    Also, voters should know that Penny Maynard donated to Brough’s campaign, so now we know where her loyalties lie.

    It’s time to take back our city from these outside interests.

    • Like Jay Sowell pointed out in his comment, “Brough will be beholden to outside politicians, developers and other outside corporate interests who will want something from her.” Her husband Bill Brough is a prime example of doing this after accepting campaign donations from Majestic Development since he was one of three votes that overturned the Planning Commission denial and gave Majestic their illegal variances to build 109 condos which have now turned into 109 apartments. Out of that action was born the citizen’s initiative Measure H which walloped Brough and his cronies in the primary election and passed Measure H overwhelmingly so that guys like him can’t mess with our Town Center Master Plan in the future. If Michelle is elected she and the rest of the bunch on the council that are supporting her (Tomlinson, Viscorek and Mueller) will find a way to overturn Measure H and all the giveaways will go to their developers that supported them too.

  • Paul Wyatt and Debra Lewis are endorsed by the residents of Dana Point. Residents have been putting signs in their yards, making personal donations to fund this grass roots effort and even standing on street corners. We need new and independent leadership in our city government, free from the special interests represented by many politicians. Please vote for Paul Wyatt and Debra Lewis for Dana Point City Council.

  • The influence of PACs, developers and groups of insiders with monetary interests in elections at all levels has got to stop. Can’t we at least keep non-partisan City elections free of outside influences?

    Those who run for Council seats should be representing “we, the people”. and no one else. They should be making decisions that are the best decisions for the majority of residents — period. When they accept money from real estate groups, developers, or anyone who does business with the City they risk the appearance of corruption, even if it doesn’t factually exist.

    When a Council member grants contracts, variances, or any favor of any kind to a company or individual who has donated to their campaign, it creates a perception that just looks bad and creates mistrust of our public officials — even if there is no actual corruption occuring..

    Future candidates, do yourselves a favor and follow Lewis and Wyatt’s lead — accept donations only from individuals or entities that have no potential for financial gain from Council decisions. They were completely open and upfront about this from the beginning and that was the first of many things I respect about them.

  • Awesome results. We the people (residents) have loudly spoken for Ms. Lewis & Mr. Wyatt. And good riddance to candidates and former council members beholdened to special interests.

comments (5)

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>