Gary P. Mann, Monarch Beach
A guest visiting downtown Dana Point recently said it looks like “a beachside version of Detroit.” Fifteen years ago city leaders re-envisioned what we could be, it certainly wasn’t this. After a decade of work with the community, the Town Center Plan passed with wide support.
Recently Capo Cares and Save Dana Point groups loudly decried development and spending. People like Debra Lewis and Paul Wyatt convinced us that we’d soon look like Irvine and that city spending was rampant. Each had barely lived here, yet they were experts on all that was wrong. Ms. Lewis loves to bemoan the increased spending since 2007. Why is this surprising? 2007 was the Great Recession and tourism, our number one tax source, was dead. As the economy improved, City Council invested to capitalize on the economic boom. Unfortunately Lewis, Wyatt, Capo Cares and Save Dana Point then delivered Measure H. We are now stuck with ballot box zoning and a ghost town of empty lots. Yet, ironically they place blame, claiming our past Council spent “unwisely” on Town Center infrastructure. With no new revenue sources, they are cutting programs like the Symphony, the State BBQ Championship & the Grand Prix.** I’m certain that summer concerts and Whale Parade are next. Some are even calling for police cuts, while asking them to enforce a smoking ban. I have to wonder if this is what our citizens expected or do they feel, like me, bamboozled?
*Editor’s Note: The proposed budget has not been voted on by City Council, and therefore events could remain funded by the city. The City Council is scheduled to have a budget hearing on Tuesday, June 20.
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