TONE DEAF CITY COUNCIL
NANCY LEONARD, Dana Point
During its Oct. 1 meeting, the Dana Point City Council spent considerable time debating the merits of a sign-in “survey” they previously conducted on the issue of short-term vacation rentals (STRs). Clearly, the sign-in survey was flawed, as a sign-in survey does not represent a community’s demographics and anyone, including non-residents could respond, opening further the survey to respondents with special interests in promoting short-term vacation rentals.
At the Oct. 1 meeting, three councilmembers voted to create a new statistically valid survey, with Councilmember Richard Viczorek and Mayor Joe Muller voting no. The commentary that ensued showed a clear interest on the part of the council majority of Viczorek, Muller and Councilmember Jamey Federico to bring more short-term vacation rentals to our residential neighborhoods.
Setting a new valid survey aside, I question why a survey is needed at all? In 2016, 4,000 registered Dana Point voters (40% of the DP voters who voted in 2018) signed a referendum overturning the council’s attempt to foist STRs on the populace. The council, faced with a referendum, had two options: place a proposed STR ordinance on the ballot to a vote of the people, which they chose not to do, or do what they did instead: rescind the existing ordinance. Now, however, the council majority is moving in the direction of establishing another short-term vacation rental ordinance (STR).
Clearly, the Dana Point City Council knows where the voters stand. Have they become so tone deaf that they now believe we have changed our minds? We have not.