For background: I certainly don’t like wasteful spending, whether at the federal, state, regional or city level. But it appears to me that Mr. Payne didn’t watch the April 2 city council meeting and doesn’t know the facts. The “City of Dana Point” contributes no taxes to the TCAs. Dana Point builders contribute development impact fees, which are only assessed on new development and essentially paid for by the development owners. In order to pull building permits, the owner must pay multiple outside agency fees, including school fees and TCA fees. The $6 million he mentions are development impact fees (from developers) that went only to the 73 Toll Road (otherwise known as the San Joaquin portion of the TCA).

The Los Angeles Times article that Mr. Payne references is really about San Clemente’s fight with the TCA over the 241 extension (otherwise known as the Foothills portion of the TCA). In over 20 years of the TCA’s existence, Dana Point builders have contributed roughly $50,000 in development impact fees to the 241 extension. I believe getting into San Clemente’s fight over the 241 extension is a distraction from the real issues and improvements right here in Dana Point.

In light of the fact that there is already proposed state legislation to stop the TCA from building new roads like the 241 extension (AB 1273), that the TCA boards had already placed the issue of audits on their agendas, and that Congressman Mike Levin had already sent a letter to Governor Newsom asking for oversight of the 241 extension, Councilmember Federico advocated for measured patience and moved to table Ms. Lewis’ resolution until we received the Governor’s response.  The fact that Councilember Lewis (and Councilmember Wyatt) voted against exercising patience proves that her resolution was more about good theater than it was about good policy.

Just like he did as a candidate for city council, Mr. Payne perpetuates Ms. Lewis’ talking points without researching the facts, or intentionally misleads readers for political gain; I am still not sure which it is.

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  • We can always depend on Mr Frost for sanctimony wrapped in condescension when responding to people he disagrees with. The DIF is a tax paid by residential and commercial builders and they pass it on to homeowners and tenants, thus increasing the cost of housing in Dana Point. What value do we get from this expenditure? The money goes to the TCA which burns it up in debt service, administrative costs and misappropriation as cited by the LA Times article and Congressman Levin. TCA pays for things like political consultants who monitor public response and resistance to TCA policies and bill their work to the TCA at rates up to $185 hour. Meanwhile the $760 million in DIF collected across south Orange County has done little to improve the appalling debt generated by TCA which has raised indebtedness from $2.7 billion in 1999 to the present level of $4.7 billion. Something is wrong and Charles Payne is right to raise the issue. Everyone should understand what the TCA’s growing debt means to south Orange County even if council members Viczorek, Muller and Federico dont get it.

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