By Patricia O’Keefe, Capistrano Beach
For the past two years, Capo Cares, a neighborhood advocacy group for Capistrano Beach with over 850 members, and of which I am a co-founder, has been attending City Council meetings, month after month, asking Council to put the Doheny Village Plan back on the agenda. Capo Cares members have advocated tirelessly for changes in Capo Beach. More importantly, they have advocated time and again for a reserve fund for Doheny Village and have worked tirelessly to organize residents and force Council to pay some attention to this long-neglected area.
So when Council and the Planning Commission asked for candidates for the Doheny Village Form Based Code Committee, Capo Cares members and residents eagerly and whole-heartedly applied for the role. Doheny Village has long been neglected, and we know that it could be the pride and joy of the neighborhood with proper planning. Capo Cares about Doheny Village!
Can you imagine that, with all the work Capo residents have put into making the Doheny Village Plan a reality, the four City Council and Planning Commission representatives chose a three-year resident of the Lantern District as the sole resident candidate? The Lantern District? Not a member of Capo Cares, nor even a resident of Capistrano Beach?
We can thank Councilman Rick Viczorek for suggesting—and successfully passing a resolution to the effect—that the sole resident on the committee should come from Dana Point at large, and not necessarily from Capistrano Beach, even though those residents are the most affected by and passionate about Doheny Village.
How would it have been received had the sole at-large resident on the Town Center Committee (actually, there were 13 resident participants) been selected not from the affected area, but from Capo Beach? Not well received, we’re sure. And Council wonders why the people of Capistrano Beach continue to feel like neglected “stepchildren?”
Shame on the four people charged with the selection process: Mayor John Tomlinson, a Capo Beach resident (who was elected partly by the efforts of a fledgling Capo Cares, whose members believed he would represent community interests); Councilman Joe Muller (who was demonstrably reluctant to serve on the committee); Planning Commissioner Danni Murphy, also of Capistrano Beach; and Planning Commissioner, Scott McKhann.
Capistrano Beach residents wonder if it reflects the true intentions of City Council—to continue spending money in the Lantern District while perpetuating the decades-long neglect of Doheny Village and Capistrano Beach.
Capo Cares is a grassroots organization of Capistrano Beach residents, businesses and agencies, devoted to enhancing our historic and beautiful little beach town. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.