I don’t often go to speak at Dana Point City Council meetings. When I do, it’s only if I think something is going to change the future of the entire town in a significant way.

I was a major force in the Save the Headlands movement when the town was new, and it resulted in a referendum that put the General Plan for the city and the Specific Plan for the Headlands to a vote that we won, forcing the city council back to the drawing board on both. I think about that when I walk the pathways with protected, endangered species at the Headlands today.

The only two recent events that got me to meetings this past year were the drawing of “voting districts” which has turned into “micro-gerrymandering”, and allowing the town to vote on any change to the status of short-term rentals (STRs) or vacation rentals—which has turned into re-zoning the entire city from areas that are residential only, to mixed use/business zoning.

I spoke at the city council meeting where the option of voting on the issue of changing our status of 30 days or more to allow STRs. People spoke for and against STRs but everyone I recall speaking wanted to let the town vote on this issue.

All we want is to put this on the November ballot, and avoid the expense and divisive fight for a referendum for a special election.

Do what the people want and avoid the nasty campaign in an election year. Whatever way the town votes, somebody won’t like it, but at least it will be the fair and democratic thing to do. Three people should never be allowed to change the zoning for an entire city without a vote.

Anything less could force a referendum, again, and it could get nasty enough for a recall or in an election year, or a campaign demanding an overhaul of the city council members who vote, to stop a vote. Don’t let it get to that point.

Put this back on the agenda in the next city council meeting and let the people vote in November with the general election.

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