Incorporation fever, generated in part by citizens who want to bring government to the local level, has spread throughout Orange County this year. As a member of the Local Agency Formation Commission, I, along with the other four members, have often found myself in the "eye of the storm."
Such would appear to be the case following the unanimous decision by Lafco--the state agency charged with overseeing incorporation applications--to place a coastal strip of land between South Laguna and Dana Point into the boundaries of the proposed new city of Dana Point/Capistrano Beach.
That decision, made during the commission's public hearing on Dec. 2, culminated an almost yearlong effort by Dana Point to incorporate. And, despite what those who did not agree with our decision have said, the vote to place the coastal zone with Dana Point was not made without considerable discussion, debate and even an advisory election!
In the months leading up to the election, I, as well as the other members of the commission, repeatedly stated that we would abide by the results of that advisory election. The election was a stunning success in terms of participation. Over 65% of the registered voters of the area went to the polls and by an overwhelming margin of 61% to 39% voted to join with Dana Point and Capistrano Beach.
My vote did not represent a change from Nov. 18. In the two weeks between the two public hearings, I extensively reviewed a wide variety of options that might benefit both communities. I feel Lafco has met its obligation of listening to the will of the people--not only those from inland Laguna Niguel, but also those living within the coastal strip, Capistrano Beach and Dana Point.
Hopefully, both communities can now move forward with their efforts to bring government home to the local level. I wish them well in their efforts and look forward to the day when they join with the other 27 cities in our county.