JAY SOWELL, Dana Point

It can be hard to differentiate between city council candidates. Having become more active as an observer of the Dana Point council the last two years, I offer this summary comparison hoping it may help some voters. Full disclosure: I support Joe Jaeger. But I believe the following is an objective account. I am not active in party politics, do not own a business or have any other special interest in Dana Point. No one has viewed or edited this.

There are two slates of candidates: Muller/Viczorek/Federico vs. Jaeger/McGinn/Payne. I don’t know much about Foell and Schoeffel.

Comparing the two slates is pretty straightforward, because past city council deliberations and actions can be used to predict future actions. Muller/Viczorek/Federico includes two current councilmembers, and Jaeger/McGinn/Payne is aligned with current councilmembers Debra Lewis and Paul Wyatt. Smear campaigns and generic campaign statements can be ignored in lieu of evidence from the recent past.

Development projects: Evidence shows that the M/V/F slate will place fewer restrictions on developers, while J/M/P will place more. Muller and Viczorek opposed Measure H in 2016, while Lewis and Wyatt supported it.

Short term rentals: M/V/F will allow more STRs, while J/M/P will allow fewer.

Homelessness: The city’s task force was dormant until Wyatt revived it shortly after being elected in 2016, so it seems likely more attention would be paid by the J/M/P slate.

Finances: M/V/F says the city’s finances are in good shape. J/M/P says the city has been spending more than it should, and advocates for potential savings, including open bidding for attorney services, and considering changing from buying new cars for city employees to leasing and/or paying mileage.

Sober Living Homes: State and federal laws make it difficult for a city to do much. J/M/P campaigns say more than M/V/F about this issue, proposing a new city ordinance, for what that’s worth.

Because Muller and Viczorek are part of the current majority on the city council (with Tomlinson), generally speaking it’s reasonable to assume electing Muller, Viczorek, or Federico will lead to continuity, while electing Jaeger, McGinn or Payne will lead to change.

I hope this helps some voters make more informed choices.

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