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I am a current Dana Point City Councilmember, and former Mayor of our city.  Since I am not running for reelection, my time on the City Council will only last a few short weeks, but I feel it is necessary to address an issue that has become one of the key issues in our current election cycle.  As many of you may have noticed, my comments to the media to date have been far and few between, if not almost non-existent.  I prefer to voice my thoughts, feelings and comments about our City in a Public and open forum. Before my time on the Council is over, and notwithstanding my typical decision to avoid commenting in the media, I feel it is necessary to address the inaccurate facts and statements that have been circulating in connection with one of the key issues in our current election cycle.

Specifically, I want to set the record straight on what actually has occurred with the Financial Review Committee (FRC.) I became concerned about the committee when two members suggested that city was in dire financial straits for purely political motives. They spent enormous amounts of staff time trying to substantiate these assertions.  However, the remaining members of the FRC concluded these assertions were absolutely incorrect.  In short, the two members of the FRC who were politicizing the city’s financial situation with false information, were refuted in their own committee. Hence, their position was never formally reported to the Council.  Unfortunately, the fact their committee did not agree with them did not deter these two members from their political goal. True to form, they continued to politicize the issue by appearing at City Council meetings and making their inaccurate assertions during Public Comment.

Unfortunately, there was a quorum of the FRC committee at the Council meetings where this occurred. It was unclear to me if this would constitute a Brown Act violation. The City Attorney expressed concern over this issue, but Council allowed the public comment to be made after one FRC member left the room so a quorum would not be present.  The two members attempted this again at the very next meeting. I thereby exited the room, soon after to be followed by three other Council Members, so that I would not be party to the violation.

In light of this unusual circumstance, the City Attorney submitted a request to the Orange County District Attorney (DA) for an opinion regarding the possible Brown Act violation. Shortly thereafter the Council, on my motion, suspended the FRC meetings until a future date after its Charter was updated.  In addition, the Council directed that the FRC’s Charter be amended, since they had delivered nothing the Council had requested, including waste, fraud and abuse a watchdog committee is tasked with uncovering.

While working on revisions to the FRC’s charter and waiting for the DA opinion, two members were removed: Debra Lewis removed Joseph Jaeger and Paul Wyatt removed Buck Hill (the emails confirming their removal are a matter of public record and available upon request).  Mr. Hill and Mr. Jaeger now claim they were fired – they were, but by their appointing Councilmembers not the Council as a whole.  In the meantime, the DA opinion came in.

The DA determined the FRC member’s actions were a Brown Act violation. The DA didn’t stop there. He went on to suggest their actions may have been criminal, specifically stating “ if the members of the committee are attempting to circumvent the provisions of the Brown Act by intentionally depriving the public of notice that an issue is to be discussed and preventing interested members of the public from commenting on the matter being discussed. This could potentially subject the participants in such a scheme to criminal liability in accordance with the criminal provisions of the Brown Act.” ( The DA’s opinion is a matter of Public Record and available upon request.)

The Council is only interest in maintaining the city’s integrity.  I predict, that in the near future you will see the FRC back – but under a new charter, and with a clear direction to abstain from taking actions that violate the Brown Act.

This is all a matter of Public Record, but with all of the misinformation circulating on social media I thought it important to make sure the facts were presented so the public could form their own opinions with correct information.



DA Memo:



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comments (2)

  • Mr. Tomlinson’s letter distorts the record and ignores the facts. The FRC was suspended by Tomlinson, Muller, and Viczorek for daring to take on the private legal firm that runs the city attorney’s office. Rutan and Tucker has held that contract for 16 years without the contract ever being opened up for competitive bidding, a mind-boggling example of either financial mismanagement by the city council, or old fashioned corruption.

    When the FRC voted unanimously to recommend that the city council bid the contract out, Tomlinson, Muller, and VIczorek immediately suspended the FRC, followed immediately by Rutan and Tucker attacking the FRC for bogus Brown Act violations. The sequence of events makes the real motives of these councilmen clear.

    The real question here is why Tomlinson continues to carry water for Rutan and Tucker, instead of acting in the best interests of the residents of Dana Point?

    after it unanimously recommended that the city’s contract with Rutan and Tucker to serve as city attorney be opened up for bid. Rutan and Tucker has held that contract for 16 years without it ever having been competitively bid

  • You sound like a broken record Jay. Your talking points from the Hill’s, Debra Lewis and Capo Cares is old, used and full of baloney. Why would Tomlinson lie. He is the honest broker out of the 5 council members, you know the one who gave your cult leader a chance, and Debra blew it. Remember Jay. We use to have normal two hour council meetings, now they are 5-6 hours long, we use to not have all of these protest, then Debra came along, we use to collaborate together, then Debra came along, we use to grow, then Debra came along, we use to have a long fireworks show, then Debra came along. She has cost the city so much.

    This is just one issue that the DA has looked at, their are others. All on Debra Lewis, folks, the stuff is out there, just look. She is knee deep in corruption.

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