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DANA POINT : Coalition Fails to Force an Election

A grass-roots coalition failed Wednesday in its effort to put Dana Point’s recently approved General Plan to a citywide vote when the city clerk said the group’s petition was invalid for technical reasons.

City Clerk Mary A. Carlson invalidated the Dana Point Action Coalition’s petition demanding a referendum, saying it contained an outdated copy of the General Plan resolution and improper dates. The group also did not include a text of the actual General Plan with the petition, as required by law, she said.

Carlson’s decision Wednesday was the second time the city had informed the coalition that it was not following proper rules to circulate a petition. Three weeks ago coalition members had to cancel a petition with 600 signatures and start over because the clerk determined there were similar technical inadequacies.

“We felt when we entered into this program that this would probably be the tactic they used,” said Ernest A. Nelson, a local engineer. “We figured that they didn’t want to listen to the people.”

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The coalition submitted petitions to the clerk last week bearing an estimated 2,300 signatures. The coalition contends that the General Plan will promote more development, cause traffic and circulation problems and change the small-town character of Dana Point.

The state-mandated General Plan, which outlines plans for Dana Point for at least the next two decades, was unanimously approved by the City Council July 9. To force a referendum on the plan, the coalition needed to collect signatures from 10%, or 1,653, of the city’s registered voters.


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