DEBRA LEWIS, Dana Point

On Feb. 20, 2018, the action by Councilmembers Joe Muller, Richard Viczorek and John Tomlinson effectively prevented any Financial Review Committee (FRC) member from discussing what is really important in this election. Regardless of whether the citizen-run FRC was suspended, frozen, disbanded, fired, dissolved, closed down or any other semantics you want to argue, the reality is the FRC has not been allowed to meet for the past eight months. The assertion of a future FRC is disingenuous at best given Tomlinson, Muller or Viczorek have not put the FRC charter on the Council agenda since Feb. 20. The memo from an attorney in the District Attorney’s office Tomlinson refers to simply addresses general law, not Dana Point FRC fact-specific instances. The City Council needs to take better care of the people’s money. The following show a lack of responsible oversight of the city’s finances from 2008 until 2018:

  • Spending exceeding income (deficits) for nine of 10 years (2017 CAFR, p. 82);
  • Drop in spendable cash from $55 million in 2008 to about $24 million in 2018;
  • Wasting nearly $800,000 on Doheny Village consultants and plans that have been scrapped;
  • Unsuccessfully suing California Coastal Commission for six years costing the city $1.6 million in legal fees and penalties;
  • Proposing a 50% reduction in parking requirements for developers in Town Center transferring the cost of providing needed parking to taxpayers;
  • Silencing citizen-run, financial watchdogs by shutting down the Financial Review Committee that was making cost saving suggestions;
  • Refusing to competitively rebid the city attorney’s 15-year-old contract, which has been costing $1.2 million yearly;
  • Refusing to recoup planning fees forcing Dana Point taxpayers to subsidize developers; and
  • Replacing paid for, very low mileage city owned vehicles with leased vehicles replaced every 5 years, regardless of mileage or vehicle condition.

About The Author Dana Point Times

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  • Page 82 of the 2017 CAFR (pdf page 99) that Ms. Lewis refers to includes spending for capital improvements that benefited residents and visitors, such as the approximately $20 million spent on the Lantern District (LD) upgrade. Obviously such spending will reduce “spendable cash”, but she’s making it sound like this investment was a bad thing.

    To put it in terms that that are easily understood, she could consider the purchase of her and her spouse’s residence for $1.5 million in 2011. Did that purchase reduce their net spendable cash (cash less new loan(s))? And if it did, was that transaction an overall negative? Of course not, since they now have a nice house to live in.

    To top it off, Mayor Viczorek and Council members Muller and Tomlinson weren’t even council members when the LD spending was approved. It seems like Ms Lewis is willing to say just about anything in order to get her cronies elected and take over the city government.

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