The Race for City Council

Leading up to the Dana Point City Council election on Tuesday, Nov. 3, Dana Point Times will be publishing six questions, one each week, answered by the candidates qualified for the ballot. This year, the seats for Districts 4 and 5 are up for election.

Graphic: City of Dana Point

 

Question #1

Introduce yourself and list three issues you would prioritize as a Dana Point City Councilmember. Why are you the best representative for your district?

 

District 4

Mike Frost

Mike Frost, District 4

In 2009, my wife and I purchased our first home in the Lantern Village, a cottage built in 1949. Shortly thereafter, I was able to take time off from my corporate career, shifting from finance to the hands-on remodeling of our home. With our home fully restored, we enjoy raising our young children in the LV, walking distance to their schools and our favorite restaurants.

For 10 years, I have volunteered for the Lantern Village Association. As a board member, we work to improve the quality of life for our residents and local businesses. The LVA seeks to enhance city communication to residents, improve parking and traffic, as well as identify properties for “Pride” awards.

I’ve also been appointed to Dana Point’s Financial Review Committee, working alongside the City’s Finance Team. The position is critically important in developing a plan to manage the drop in tourism revenue due to COVID-19.  In the past, I have worked closely with the Community Development Department and been appointed to the Parking and Traffic Subcommittee.

I am running for city council,l because the last 10 years have provided tremendous insight and knowledge into the multiple functions of the city, and I have seen firsthand how good local public policy affects our everyday lives. I genuinely enjoy finding solutions to community issues

My priorities include crafting a vision for Dana Point and evolving our community into a coastal village that connects Lantern District with the Harbor and Doheny Village. Our vision will balance economic stability with residential concerns. It will be to continue to manage operations and balance our budget while prioritizing police and fire. My professional finance and accounting career provides excellent experience for this budgeting role.  And, finally, to enhance transparency and communication. I pledge to hold community meetings and share information across multiple platforms. For more information, visit mikefrostfordanapoint.com.

 

Gary Newkirk

Gary Newkirk, District 4

When we found our Lantern District home in 1997, we knew we were here to stay. I love this community and would be privileged to serve as your District 4 representative. My civic involvement began in 2005 with an appointment to the Residential Building Height Task Force, a diverse group that worked together to solve a longstanding problem by establishing equitable, common-sense zoning for development on lots that previously required variances. From 2009-2015, I served as a Planning Commissioner advocating for responsible development, zoning compliance and projects that reflect the character of our community. In Town Center, I held development interests accountable, casting dissenting votes against projects that didn’t comply while welcoming those that did.

Short-term rentals threaten the integrity of our residential neighborhoods. Residents must have a voice in the discussion, helping to establish regulations to protect against unchecked commercial businesses in residentially zoned neighborhoods.

Responsible, appropriate development is imperative in Town Center. Outside developers have demanded huge concessions for height, density and reduced parking. We need to stand up to development interests to ensure that Town Center is thriving and sustainable upon build-out.

It is critical that all developments have adequate on-site or nearby parking to keep overflow from crowding residential neighborhoods. City Council decisions have reduced parking plans contemplated in the Town Center Plan as concessions to developers. Each new development impacts the opportunity to solve this problem effectively. We must resolve this issue now before it’s too late.

I have a proven record of putting residents first. As your representative, I will continue to advocate for residents, ensuring your voices are respected in council deliberations. I can be trusted to work hard to preserve residential neighborhoods, ensure fiscal responsibility, increase transparency, and enhance public safety. Go to Newkirk4DP.com and like my Facebook page at facebook.com/Newkirk4DP.

 

District 5

Benjamin Bebee

Benjamin Bebee, District 5

Hello, I am Dana Point City Council candidate Benjamin Tyler Bebee.

Born and raised in Michigan, I started my professional career working seasonally as a laborer in the construction industry, and in restaurants during the winters. I relocated to Southern California over a decade ago. I feel a strong connection to the region and have chosen to raise my children and build my career here. Over the last two decades, I have climbed the ranks as a professional in the restaurant industry, advancing from busboy and dishwasher to General Manager. With the uncertainty created in the food and beverage industry as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, I have chosen to shift gears and change careers. This year, I obtained my California Resident Insurance Producer’s license, CA LIC# 4053570. I am excited for this next chapter of my life and hopeful that you will allow me to be a part of the next chapter of yours as well.

Three issues that I will prioritize if elected to represent Capistrano Beach:  beach restoration necessary to revitalize Capistrano Beach; homelessness and progressive solutions for complex social issues inherent therein; as well as economic recovery and fiscal responsibility through the coronavirus pandemic.

I am the ideal candidate to represent District Five during these tough economic times. I have no shortage of experience managing a budget through a decline in revenue, as it is a fundamental component of restaurant management.  Additionally, my platform is that of my constituents. I desire only to be the voice representing my constituency on the Dana Point City Council. I will strive to lead with humility, transparency, and to be a fair and balanced representative for Capistrano Beach on the Dana Point City Council.

 

Michael Villar

Michael Villar, District 5

Hello, Capo Beach friends and neighbors! I would be honored to be your representative on the Dana Point City Council. My family and I have loved living in Capistrano Beach for almost 20 years. I look forward to the opportunity to give back to this amazing community.

After graduating from UCLA, I served as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps for 20 years as a CH-53E helicopter pilot, earning a master’s degree in computer science. I currently work as the Lean Director for a commercial construction company. My wife, Denise, and I have been married for 25 years and are proud to have raised all three of our children here in our local public schools. During my leisure time, I coach baseball for DPYB, served as a board member for AYSO 87, volunteer at St. Edward’s church, surf Doheny, paddle-board in the harbor, or walk along Capo Beach with my dog, Max.

The three issues that are the highest priorities for my neighbors are economic recovery from the pandemic, short-term rentals, and homelessness. Effective solutions will require someone who listens to Capo Beach residents and has the leadership experience to work with other City Council members while fostering an environment of civility and respect. In my military and civilian careers, I have always been a pragmatic, resourceful leader and a collaborative team member.  Dana Point will face several tough decisions over the next four years. We need leaders who will put our city’s residents and businesses first, before partisanship, personal gain, or corporate influence.

I love this community and hope to live here for the rest of my life. My children grew up here, my closest friends live here, and we are active residents who respect the history of Capo Beach. I invite you to visit my website at villarfordanapoint.com.

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