DANA YARGER, Dana Point
Most residents of Dana Point remember the 10 weeks of fun and excitement generated by the Elephant Parade. Public art and cultural events like the Elephant Parade are not just good for our residents’ quality of life, they also create tourism, municipal reputation and revenue. Because of changes in the City Council and city staff in the past four years, the momentum behind these inspiring public art events has been lost. More than one million people visit Laguna Beach each summer, many of them attending that city’s traditional art exhibitions and festivals. We need to find a way to lure some of those tourists to Dana Point to spend their time and money.
How? Many do not know how Elephant Parade actually came to Dana Point. I was appointed ambassador for the Elephant Parade Foundation for the United States after supporting the project in Singapore. Laura Seeley and I had just moved from San Francisco to Dana Point while I was introducing Elephant Parade to major U.S. markets. I was introduced to Scott Schoeffel, then-Dana Point City Councilman. Less than one week after we first spoke, Schoeffel put together a committee of city staff and representatives from our four major resort hotels to explore the possibility of hosting Elephant Parade in Dana Point, its first stop in this country. Together, they convinced me that I should launch Elephant Parade in my newly adopted city. A number of the parade’s precious pachyderms can still be seen roaming our town and at our gallery.
Laura Seeley and I became residents on Del Prado, invested in our building on Del Prado and opened our business/art galleries. We are Ground Zero people for what has evolved in the Lantern District and are proud of that distinction. For many good reasons, we favor the highest quality development possible in our district. We are not looking for big boxes or a strip mall with no parking in what was intended to be the image center of this wonderful town. Dana Point is a much better city than that. We have only one chance to get it right.
I personally appreciate the efforts of all the dedicated people who have served on our City Council. But I believe we have lost our way of late. The insults, acrimony, and special interests seeking only financial gain that have sadly become common features of our city government have not been the best for Dana Point.
I particularly feel we all should be grateful for the innovative business, cultural and community leadership that Scott Schoeffel has provided our city for so many years in the past. If our city is to succeed in forming and implementing the best vision for Dana Point’s future, I believe it is critical to encourage Schoeffel and his district neighbors to return him to the City Council this Nov. 6.
Elephants symbolize family, loyalty, good fortune. Most important of all, elephants never forget.
If anyone would like more elephant information or to share your perspectives on our magnificent coastal village, please visit our galleries. You know where we are: 24682 Del Prado.