Growth Is Main Issue in Genteel Campaign for Dana Point Council : Election: Candidates disagree--but politely--on whether or not the city should be developed as a tourist destination.
A growing dispute over the direction this small South County beach community should be taking as it moves into the 21st Century is perhaps best summed up by a campaign slogan.
“Do you want a destination point or a Dana Point?” City Council candidate Thomas B. Moy asked during a recent speech to local business owners who had gathered to hear the seven candidates pitch their political wares.
For the record:
12:00 AM, May. 30, 1990 For the Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday May 30, 1990 Orange County Edition Metro Part B Page 3 Column 6 Metro Desk 2 inches; 39 words Type of Material: Correction
Dana Point--A story Tuesday incorrectly identified endorsements of Dana Point City Council candidates Mike Eggers, Karen Lloreda and Eileen Krause. They have been endorsed by the Coastal Taxpayers and the South Orange County Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee.
With a week left before voters go to the polls in the first City Council election since Dana Point was formed 17 months ago, the issue over whether the city should remain a bedroom community or become a world-class tourist resort has emerged as the major campaign topic.
And, as the city is poised to begin drafting its general plan--the blueprint for future development--three of four challengers are hoping there is enough dissatisfaction over the city’s growth to unseat at least one of the three incumbents.
“Dana Point is going to look, I’m afraid, like Long Beach if we don’t watch out,” said optometrist William L. Petersen. “We moved here because we liked the small beach town atmosphere. The powers that be don’t seem to be looking at it that way.”
Incumbents Mike Eggers, Eileen Krause and Ingrid McGuire face their first opposition since the city was incorporated in January, 1989. In addition to Moy and Petersen, they are being challenged by Harold Kaufman and Karen Lloreda.
Although no one publicly acknowledges that some candidates are running as a slate, Eggers, Krause and Lloreda have received endorsements from the Coastal Taxpayers and the Dana Point Chamber of Commerce. Eggers and Krause are the only two to be endorsed by the South County Republican Assembly.
“I’m not running with anybody,” Eggers said. “The slate is created by the (endorsing agencies) and not created by the candidates.”
Eggers, Orange County chief of staff for Rep. Ron Packard (R-Carlsbad), is the only candidate to stress fiscal responsibility as the most important issue in the campaign.
As such, he calls himself a “destination resort booster,” saying that an increased emphasis on high-end tourism would bring much-needed tax dollars into the city coffers.
“Out-of-town visitors are the cleanest industry we can have,” said Eggers, who headed formation of an economic development commission early in his term as councilman. “When somebody comes here for a vacation, they are, in essence, paying for police protection, helping to pay for street maintenance. And yet they don’t live here.”
McGuire is the only incumbent to call for strict limits on growth and tourism in the city.
“I think it’s important for someone on the council to represent the majority of citizens,” said McGuire, who has led efforts to increase the use of drought-resistant landscaping in the city as a way to conserve water.
Other than the issue of growth and tourism, however, the campaign leading up to next Tuesday’s election has been notable for its lack of major controversy.
The candidates have remained unusually cordial throughout the campaign, which has included three public forums sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and the League of Women Voters.
Even the challengers, who admit to an uphill battle for a council seat, say that they are proud to be running what can best be described as genteel campaigns.
“We’ve always gone about our business in a very professional manner,” said Kaufman, who lost his bid for a seat on the charter council in June, 1988, and now serves as chairman of the city’s Planning Commission. “That attitude has been carried forward.”
Like Moy and Petersen, Kaufman said he believes the city has developed too fast. The council, he said, should have taken action, despite the fact that most development agreements were approved before the council members took office.
Kaufman, who directs out-of-court settlements for a living, said that as a council member he would be able to act as a mediator between various interests.
But, he said, he would fight to keep large-scale development out of the city.
“Our density ought to be reduced,” Kaufman said, adding that the city should allow only limited development on the Headlands, one of the last large, undeveloped coastal areas in the city, where several hotel complexes have been proposed in recent years.
City officials have supported turning the 115-acre parcel into a billion-dollar resort as a way to help finance city services, including increased police protection, road improvements and a future City Hall.
Lloreda, president of the Capistrano Beach Community Assn. and the only candidate to live in that section of the city, has joined incumbent Krause in urging stronger anti-drug and anti-gang programs.
Many residents in the Capistrano Beach business district, where Lloreda enjoys her strongest support, have complained that police have been unable to stem crime in their neighborhood.
They have complained that drugs are sold openly in alleyways, frightening potential customers and threatening the quality of life in Capistrano Beach.
“These people feel that the problems have gone too far,” Lloreda said. “Some of them are ready to close up shop.”
Lloreda, a supporter of revitalization in the aging business district, said that the council needs a Capistrano Beach representative to ensure that future redevelopment projects benefit the community.
“Capistrano Beach can offer the city of Dana Point a lot, but it has to be carefully done,” Lloreda said.
Krause, the city’s current mayor, said that besides developing the general plan, establishing a workable redevelopment project and controlling traffic, one of the most important issues facing voters in this election is stemming drug and gang activity in Dana Point.
She said that the current council has been facing all those issues and will continue to do so if left intact.
“We’ve set the tone of (the city’s future) as a council,” Krause said. “We have set the tone of professionalism. Everyone is comfortable with the way things are going. Even the ones that disagree with us are supportive.”
Krause said that the lack of a more vocal campaign is proof that the honeymoon period with the current council is continuing. Even the challengers, she said, have not come up with any strong criticisms of the present council.
“I think we all want the same thing,” Krause said. “We want the city to be the best city it can be.”
DANA POINT CITY COUNCIL
Incumbents: Mike Eggers
Home: Dana Point
Occupation: Congressional aide
Background: Eggers has served as the Orange County chief of staff for Rep. Ron Packard (R-Carlsbad) since 1982. Before that, he spent 16 years in the newspaper industry as both a writer and an editor. He is a member of the Dana Point Chamber of Commerce and the Dana Point Civic Assn. and was one of the first petitioners for Dana Point cityhood.
Issues: Economic vitality through conservative fiscal policy and turning the city into a resort-style destination point for upscale tourists.
Home: Monarch Bay
Occupation: Owns Santa Ana company that services air pollution control equipment
Background: The city’s current mayor. Krause campaigned for inclusion of Monarch Bay in Dana Point. She is a member of the San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor Commission, the Dana Point Chamber of Commerce and the South County Gang Prevention Committee.
Issues: Keeping drugs and gangs out of Dana Point, balancing residents’ concerns with the city’s strong tourist appeal.
Home: Monarch Bay Terrace
Occupation: Homemaker, former chemist for Monsanto
Background: Born in Austria, McGuire came to the United States in 1955 as a Fulbright exchange student. Her background in chemistry has helped her interest in the environment while on the City Council. She is a member of the Orange County Vector Control District and chairwoman for the Task Force on Water Conservation.
Issues: Xeriscaping and other water conservation issues, preserving open space, increasing police protection and solving traffic problems.
Challengers: Harold Kaufman
Home: Dana Point
Background: Kaufman, chairman of the city Planning Commission, is attempting his second try for the City Council. He hopes to use his expertise as a negotiator for out-of-court settlements to become a consensus-maker on the council. He has been president of the Dana Point Civic Assn., a member of the Airport Site Selection Committee and the Dana Point and Capistrano Beach chambers of commerce.
Issues: Developing a general plan that will limit density and retain the “village-like” atmosphere of Dana Point. He believes in limited development of the Headlands, the last large undeveloped parcel in the city.
Home: Capistrano Beach
Background: As president of the Capistrano Beach Community Assn., Lloreda believes that her community needs better representation in city government. She is a member of the Airport Site Coalition and joins other local community leaders in opposing an airport in South County. She supports redevelopment in the Capistrano Beach business district.
Issues: Capistrano Beach representation, stemming drugs and crime in the city and developing a general plan that includes plans for building a tourism industry.
Thomas B. Moy
Home: Dana Point
Occupation: Teacher for California Department of Corrections
Background: Moy moved to Dana Point in 1988. He is an instructor at the California Rehabilitation Center in Norco, teaching inmates job-finding skills. Born in Japan, Moy has lived around the world. This is Moy’s first attempt at elected office, but he is a member of the Riverside Park and Recreation Ad Hoc Committee.
Issues: A building moratorium and strict limits on expansion of the tourism industry to control growth in the city.
William L. Petersen
Home: Dana Point
Background: An avowed surfer, Petersen moved to Dana Point 10 years ago to be a part of the local beach scene. As owner of a Dana Point optometry business, Petersen has campaigned on supporting small businesses and rejecting the concept of Dana Point as a tourist destination. Petersen has no prior experience in local government.
Issues: Strictly limiting growth and tourism in Dana Point, controlling traffic.