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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 #4

Do you think Dana Point’s future is headed in the right direction? Why or why not?


District 4

Mike Frost

Mike Frost, District 4

The best days for Dana Point are ahead, and during the next four years, we have an amazing opportunity to continue to prioritize essential services and community needs, recognizing what we do well and modifying what we’d like to see improved. I am committed to working together with the other councilmembers to analyze future issues, determine costs associated with each issue, and make decisions based on what provides the community the most value.

Leadership as a city council member, strategy as an executive, or even volunteering as a community member consists of many qualities, but ultimately must include the belief and passion to improve every day.  As your District 4 Councilmember, I am committed to maintaining and improving the community through three perspectives:

  • First, preserving and promoting the long-term historic character of a laid-back beach town atmosphere and community. Working in conjunction with tourism leaders, business leaders, and residential stakeholders to position Dana Point as an arts, culture and music destination, anchored by our renowned resorts, restaurants and retailers.
  • Second, managing the operations of our community through a fiscally conservative mindset. Including maintaining public safety as a key priority within the budget, and improved decision making to minimize unnecessary litigation costs.  From a Lantern District development standpoint, I will ask the council to re-engage a town-center subcommittee and draft improvements to promote smaller structures, and a better walking/shopping/dining experience, while minimizing traffic on the adjacent residential streets.
  • Third, enhanced community engagement, and recognizing that districting has provided this unique opportunity for each Councilmember to have a very detailed understanding and closer relationship to the residents. For example, speeding and traffic safety throughout District 4 is a very critical issue, and must be addressed.

As your District 4 Councilmember, I am committed to working for incremental improvement each day.


Gary Newkirk

Gary Newkirk, District 4

I fell in love with Dana Point because it has all the ingredients of a great town—breathtaking natural beauty and views, world-class beaches, incredible weather and wonderful people. We have tremendous opportunity to build on what we already have, overcoming a few bumps in the road as we move to a brighter future and even better community.

We can enhance our offerings in all these areas:

  • Culture and entertainment—The best cities are the ones with lots of enjoyable things to do. That means interesting dining and shopping areas, outdoor and sporting activities, live music, public art, etc. We have an opportunity to expand offerings in all these areas.
  • Convenient amenities—Residents and tourists need easy access to all the conveniences and needs of daily living. There is an opportunity to improve amenities (and our sales-tax revenue) by making sure everyone can fulfill these in Dana Point.
  • Social gatherings—Post-pandemic, more walkable streets, patio dining and park enhancements will encourage community engagement.
  • Visual interest—Dana Point is always visually interesting, but we can do more—clean streets with good lighting, attractive landscaping, exciting storefronts, and general beautification will boost our appeal.
  • Accessibility—The best towns are easy to walk, bike or drive around. That means easy access to all the amenities. Our biggest challenge: convenient parking.
  • Memorable Character—Dana Point has no shortage of character, but there are always opportunities to create more hometown pride and a memorable experience that keeps people coming back.

Dana Point is heading in the right direction, but I’d like us to get further, faster. We have some fiscal and development challenges, but I have no doubt we can create an even better city by focusing on elements that enrich our costal culture and identity.

Please visit


District 5

Benjamin Bebee

Benjamin Bebee, District 5

I believe Dana Point’s future is very bright.

We have a vibrant business district with many excellent eateries and shops. If elected, I will work to revitalize Capistrano Beach and create similar commercial opportunities to Dana Point’s Lantern District.

We have a harbor and beaches to rival any, complete with world-class whale watching.  If elected, beach restoration for Capistrano Beach will be a top priority of mine. Giving Capistrano Beach that same appeal of Dana Point’s Harbor District and creating a tourism one-two punch for the city.

We have some of the most desirable residential spaces in the country surrounded by stunning scenic open spaces. If elected, I will work to find additional opportunities for entry level homeownership, missing middle housing, and affordable housing. We can give families the opportunities they need to succeed and be productive members in our community for generations to come.

We have a strong public education system. I know that we are moving through unprecedented territory within our education system, and I will listen to our educators and work with them to assist them in any way I can. I will advocate for our children. As someone who is passionate about education, I will seek out funding to ensure our future leaders get the great start they need to thrive and succeed.

Most of all, we have great people driving our community forward. I’m confident that if elected, I can provide the type of cooperative spirit and strong leadership we need to drive Dana Point forward as an example for the rest of Orange County. We can work together to create a bright future for Capistrano Beach, Dana Point, and all of South Orange County.

Orange County Professional Firefighters Association Local 3631 endorses Benjamin Bebee for Dana Point City Council.


Michael Villar

Michael Villar, District 5

I know it is common for candidates running for political office to tear down the current elected officials and diminish any accomplishments to better their own position in a race.  That is not my view at all.  We have so much to be thankful for, and I commend past council efforts and our outstanding city staff.

I have not always agreed with some of the views of all of our councilmembers, but I certainly appreciate their effort and decisions they have made in the best interests of our residents. My concern is that sometimes decisions have been made that may have been influenced by personal, political, or corporate influence.  When I see councilmembers forming a pact and voting together on almost every issue, I am concerned that they may not be listening to the voices of residents. Councilmembers have a special duty to represent their own districts while serving and being fair to all residents of Dana Point.

As a retired Marine, I understand what it means to take an oath of office and to serve the public.  I will never forget that I represent the voters of Capistrano Beach, and I will always represent them above anything else, while remembering that I have a duty to make decisions that are fair to all residents of our city.

This is local non-partisan government, which means it should remain non-political and respectful.  We do not have to follow the same path we see on the national political scene.  Whether you are Republican, Democrat, Independent or NPP, it should make no difference in our city chambers. If we remember who we serve and do our best to keep residents’ interests first, Dana Point will continue to move in the right direction.

Please visit my website at

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comments (1)

  • To think Dana Point is a five star destination is a fool’ errand. We have nothing more than a broken down harbor which won’t be renovated for at least 20 years and mediocre restaurants. I’ve lived here for 30 years so trust me.

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