RICK ERKENEFF, Dana Point
In 2016, I was active with Residents Who Care About Dana Point, also known as Save Dana Point (SDP). SDP started as a grassroots group with a single vision to protect Town Center by bringing an initiative (Measure H) before the City Council. I was paid for graphics and printed materials well below my normal rate. I was not paid to collect signatures, but my wife and I volunteered countless hours collecting close to 10 percent of the required signatures. As a lifelong resident, I am proud of that grassroots effort to protect our city.
After that, SDP changed. I learned SDP took large sums of money from Headlands Reserve LLC, the developer of the Strand at Headlands. SDP used this money to pay for outside-the-city signature gatherers to dismantle the City’s proposed short-term rental ordinance. They collected the signatures legally, but used extremely shady tactics, in my opinion. On multiple occasions, when I was approached to sign this anti-STR petition, the representatives had no clue what they were presenting and told lies about its purpose. Regardless, enough signatures were bought and the Council chose not to fund a special election. To this day we are left with no STR ordinance.
Now, DP’s social media outlets—namely DP Unplugged—have been festering over this year’s City Council race. About a month ago I received a long-threaded text message from a Save Dana Point insider, bashing me and my wife, calling us “really pathetic.” I asked why she would send such a disturbing message to me out of the blue after not speaking to us over our differing views on the ethics of SDP. She accused us of posting from fake Facebook accounts. She stated that we were behind a negative blog post “Three Blind Mice” and that it “had our fingerprints all over it.” Since then, Councilmember Debra Lewis, candidate Charles Payne and others have been echoing these false statements.
Before any person, court of law, or God for that matter, these claims against me and my wife are completely false. We do not have fake Facebook accounts, we did not create the “Three Blind Mice” cartoon and we have nothing to do with https://stopslicksanford.com/. Further, we did not take photos or videos of their candidates, we have no idea who is behind it, nor do we want to know. The negativity and suspicions are convenient campaign tactics, which have evolved into lies and personal attacks. It is irresponsible and sad for Debra Lewis, her candidate, and their backers to perpetuate these lies.