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DP logoBy Rick Morgan

This may be too little too late, but with the June elections upon us in California, I must comment on the volatile Measure H/Measure I debate dividing Dana Point. I’ve carefully read the letters over the past few weeks in The DP Times by the likes of Carey Reynolds, Annette McGinn, Steve Stewart, Craig Alexander, Debra Lewis, Marv Sherrill, et al, as well as the “impartial” analysis (on Ballotpedia) by the Dana Point city attorney, and I don’t find much confusion at all.

First, I’d like to get one thing out of the way up front: Any Measure H supporter who has resorted to vandalism or bullying or the so-called “Hitler video” is an idiot and should stay out of the debate. You’re not helping. I shouldn’t be surprised, of course, since such tactics are commonplace from Washington DC on down.

That said, as I see it, the City Council, in a 4-member majority, as well as businesses and developers, are doing their best to confuse the issue and cater to said developers. The previous City Council, that of Bill Brough and his 3-2 pro-developer cabal, and now the current council, have been running roughshod over what I’ve seen to be a majority of residents who are trying to maintain the small town atmosphere that has drawn thousands of visitors and new residents to Dana Point over the years. Only Scott Schoeffel has the integrity to take a stand.

Further proof of a pro-developer atmosphere is the slick, full-color “Yes On I” mailers showing up this week. I’m sick of my country having been “fundamentally changed” over the last eight years. I don’t need my hometown to be fundamentally changed as well. The cost is simply too high.

In seems that in nearly every major developer debate, for example the proposed five-story hotel that was intended for the SW corner of PCH and Harbor Drive, as well as the more recent so-called Majestic pile that’s slated to be dumped smack in the middle of Town Center, these two city councils have voted, often over the recommendations of the Planning Commission, against a majority of speakers at council meetings who are only asking for sensible development according to agreed-upon city plans.

With all due respect to the office itself, Bill Brough’s time on the council was one of the worst things to happen to this city. He may have done a decent job on the small stuff, but I have no doubt he makes it clear in the California Assembly about what he’s done for Dana Point. I view it as what he’s done to Dana Point.

The complaint heard ever since the city was incorporated in 1989 was that Dana Point is just a city that tourists drive through on the way to somewhere else. I strongly disagree with this assessment. That may have been the case in the very early days, but no more. We now have a few world-class hotels, a charming harbor, restaurants and shopping galore, the annual Grand Prix Bicycle Race, Festival of Whales, Doheny Blues Festival and nearly countless other events that draw people from around the world.

I hear people say that “we don’t want to be like Laguna Beach or San Clemente.” On the contrary, we would do well to take a page or two out of those cities’ play books. Laguna Beach has done an admirable job of maintaining its own small-town atmosphere with careful, sensible development under decent height restrictions.

The Majestic condo project–now apparently to be over 100 apartments–has no business being built at all. And it’s being done in a typically sneaky developer fashion. They don’t have to live here. It’s almost like dropping the St. Regis into Town Center. I shake my head when I see such projects blotting out the sky in Irvine on Jamboree or out on Crown Valley near Forbes Road. I’ve always been thankful that nothing like that could be built in Dana Point. Yet, here it is, and in a time when we’ll probably never be out of a state of drought.

If we’d given up on the Headlands years ago, we’d have ended up with hundreds of homes and two 400-room hotels.

Wake up, Dana Point. It’s time to take a stand against runaway development. Again.

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comments (4)

  • THANK YOU Rick – well written and on POINT!

  • There’s a video that’s referred to using the name Hitler? Really? What’s going on here is not passion, it’s lunacy. I moved here less than 2 years ago and love it, but now I find I have moved to a Political Peyton Place. This is a small city. If something is adopted or enacted, how hard can it be to be to adjust the plan or do a course correction? As someone that has not been involved since day 1, I openly admit I don’t know how we got to this point but I can tell you that also allows me the perspective to say none of the cross allegations of corruption have enlightened me a bit. I read the voetr’s guide as best I could and voted by mail. I’m not going to lose sleep over this. I hope the town can move on.

  • Let’s not get too scandalized by Dana Point politics, Rudy. We’re hardly Ferguson, or even a Trump rally, in terms of contention. It was a campaign tactic by Measure I to get outraged over one or two over zealous supporters, of which there are some on both sides, as you’d expect. I don’t know who did the Hitler video but I know it wasn’t generated or endorsed by Measure H leaders. It was a parody of an old black and white movie with Hitler getting angry at his men and speaking loudly In German. There were subtitles underneath saying things like, ” what? Those uppity citizens got their initiative certified? This is outrageous! We must launch a counter attack! Bring out the troops and prepare our own measure!” Or something to that effect. It was light hearted political parody and quite hilarious, really. If you’ve ever watched Saturday night live, this was pretty mild by comparison. What wasn’t mild, but did not get reported in the press, were things like a car with a measure H sign being keyed on both sides, a Measure H campaign table being defaced, and perhaps the worst offense of the campaign, Bill Brough producing a glossy two sided campaign mailer suggesting that Measure H would bring in more “tattoo parlors, bead shops and sober living homes”. I find that quite offensive and clearly, blatantly untrue. You can imagine how the lady who owns the sole bead shop in town, a successful, legitimate business, feels about her Assemblyman denigrating her livelihood. Do you think it had anything to do with the fact that she had Measure H signs posted on her property?

  • I am voting Yes for measure H and No for Measure I. The city is going to allow all these condos and only ONE parking space per condo?? Then there is a business under it? The developers should have been made to do underground parking! I believe they should get no discount on the parking fee they must pay to the city by not providing enough parking!!! I live in Lantern District and can see a parking nightmare in its infancy. The city is trying to cater to developers and not citizens. Empty lots is the big scare tactic. If we don’t give these developers a break on the parking requirements no one will want to build in Dana Point. Give me a break! These condos are going to be a nightmare. I don’t see them making Dana Point more charming. Does anyone think the Del Prado ones across from post office look charming? Make your vote count!

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