Betty Hill, Dana Point
Town Center interests including the Dana Point Taxpayers Association (DPTA) have held influence over Dana Point city councils for years, promoting development that is changing Dana Point’s character and endangering the quality of living that its residents value. The 2018 city council election posed a danger to their influence when pro-resident candidates were running.
The DPTA tainted the election by conducting a malicious and unprecedented smear campaign against the opponents of Joe Muller, Richard Viczorek and Jamey Federico to help these candidates be elected. The DPTA also conducted a campaign in 2016 promoting councilmembers Muller, Viczorek and John Tomlinson’s pro-developer Measure I and opposing Measure H, the residents’ Town Center initiative. Measure H was overwhelmingly passed by the voters while they also overwhelmingly rejected Measure I.
FPPC filings show that the major contributors to the DPTA have not been Dana Point residents but other PACs and special interests. Donations of $10,000 have been made by Raintree Evergreen LLC, the major Town Center developer, Majestic Housing and Development, the California Real Estate PAC, Excel Property Management and G&H Holdings. Raintree also donated directly to Muller’s reelection campaign. In one FPPC report, Michael Powers, a Town Center businessman, was listed as the principal officer. Other DPTA members remain undisclosed.
About $70,000 of PAC and special interest money including that of the DPTA was spent to help Councilmen Muller, Viczorek and Federico be elected. The goals and connections they have with the DPTA, Raintree and other special interest groups make it questionable whether they will faithfully represent the interests of Dana Point’s residents.