The Faux Life in Dana Point Today

(Cross-posted at JOMO Blog)  

Have you read “Dana Point Today” lately? This newsletter bills itself as a publication that’s “keeping the residents of Dana Point informed on issues affecting our beautiful coastal community”. How nice. So where’s the news on the issues affecting this beautiful coastal community? This seems like an innocent public interest newsletter, but something just doesn’t seem right about it. I wonder why I have this uneasy feeling about “Dana Point Today”.

So please do follow me after the flip for more… We need to talk…

Where’s the news on whatever is being done on affordable housing? Where’s some real news on the Headlands? Where’s some real news on improving the nasty water quality at Doheny? I guess there’s a little blurb about Doheny in there, but there doesn’t seem to be much discussion on the real issues affecting Dana Point. All this newsletter seems to be is happy talk on city projects. There’s even a letter on the city budget from Mayor Diane Harkey. Oh wait, that must be because this is from the City of Dana Point! After all, this does have the official city seal.

Oh wait, but this can’t be a city publication. This is not from the city. So where is this thing coming from? Maybe this can help us find the answer. Dana Point Today’s headquarters happens to be conveniently located right next to Harkey for Assembly headquarters on Del Prado. And while Harkey penned a nice, long letter about the city budget for this publication, there’s nothing official from the city in this publication… Not even the seal.

And speaking of the city seal, whatever happened to Dana Point Policy #102?

The use of the City Seal/Logo or facsimile or reproduction of, or make or use of any seal/logo or any design which is an imitation of said seal/logo or which may be mistaken for said seal/logo, for any purpose other than official business of the City, its City Council, City Advisory Boards, Commissions, Task Forces and Staff, shall be prohibited unless otherwise approved by the City Manager and/or City Council. In addition, the use of the City Seal/Logo for any political campaign materials or literature shall be prohibited. (Refer to Ordinance No. 92-14 for specific regulations.)

Oops. I guess whoever did this newsletter for the Harkey for Assembly Campaign forgot about that. So did the Harkey Campaign (or whoever did this for them) receive approval from the city to use the deal in this publication? This may not seem like a major issue, except that this may coax unsuspecting Dana Point residents into believing this is some type of community interest newsletter or some city related publication, when this appears to be something connected to Harkey’s partisan campaign for State Assembly. If this is actually the case, then this is not something that the campaign should be engaging in.

Even if we forget the whole specific issue of a possible violation over the use of a city seal, this is still wrong. People are being duped into thinking that this is nonpartisan information when this may actually be tied to a partisan campaign. At best, this is playing fast and loose with basic ethics. I don’t even want to talk about the possible worst-case scenario here.

So if people connected to the Harkey for Assembly Campaign are publishing this “newsletter“, then they need to cut it out. This just isn’t right. And yes, the people of this truly beautiful coastal community deserve better than this.

  7 comments for “The Faux Life in Dana Point Today

  1. Jerry Grunor
    August 8, 2007 at 1:55 pm

    I find this entire thing most discouraging and unethical. I say unethical because you do not desecrate a City Seal that was designed by artist Rick Morgan back in 1989 and use it for your own personal gain since you, the mayor is running for a seat on the state assembly. How could anyone in his/her right mind even consider supporting someone who would try to connive the residents into thinking that the letter she sent out was an official one, when the CIty Seal was changed to fit her needs?

    I am appalled that very few people have risen off their seats to complain about this incident. The artist, Mr. Morgan even told me that he was totally distrubed that someone, whether it is a political official or just a resident, would even stoop so low as to destroy the artwork that he worked so hard on and was paid by the CIty as being the original CIty Seal. That is an honor to him. Then to see it changed by the arrogance of a mayor who is seeking higher office, is shameful and may very well invite a law suit.

    One must consider the source…and the culprit is arrogant and would not think twice about using her millions to step on the toes of others and do things that are unethical, as long as she gets her way.

    All you have to do is go to the web site and see for yourself.

    Jerry A. Grunor

  2. Andrew Davey
    August 8, 2007 at 2:12 pm

    Thanks for more of the backstory on this, Jerry. This really should be disturbing to all of us here. Why are the Harkey people trying to deceive people with this phony newsletter? And why do they even feel the need to deceive people? What, are they afraid of the truth?

    And I’m sorry to hear about the artist. I don’t think he designed the city seal so that one overly ambitious politician could deface it and misuse it for partisan campaigning. Sad.

  3. Jim Lacy
    August 8, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    Hey, I’m a conservative Republican and I just read your blog because I love political science and enjoy your posts about Harkey, whom I personally know is no good. But I want to say something. You are right to raise affordable housing as an issue. Doing something about affordable housing is a state mandate — it is not Democrat, Republican, liberal or conservative. Cities are supposed to at least “try” to do something about it. We might disagree on approaches: I favor giving tax concessions and regulatory concessions to get affordable housing done with a relaxed regulatory approach to encourage a market, rather than subsidized response. But at least I have an idea about it. Dana Point has done absolutely nothing meaningful about affordable housing and people have really gotten screwed over by Harkey and her crew on that front, she has been most unethical with dozens of residents who were turned out of their homes in the mobile home park fiasco that ended up benefitting the owners of a luxury hotel in Dana Point.

    Thanks for what you are doing.

  4. Andrew Davey
    August 8, 2007 at 3:10 pm

    Mr. Lacy-

    Thanks for dropping by! As an obviously liberal Democrat, I very much respect you and admire your efforts to bring a sense of ethical behavior back to local government in Dana Point.

    And yes, you’re totally correct on affordable housing! It’s not exactlya liberal or conservative issue. It’s an Orange County issue that every city in Orange County must work on. So wht can we do about it? What can Dana Point do about it? There are multiple approaches. One of them is NOT forcing out mobile home residents to make way for a luxury hotel that would likely have no affordable housing units included in the plan. Too bad that Mayor Harkey doesn’t get that.

    Still, thank you for what you’re doing in Dana Point. Hopefully if Harkey can be held accountable for this and other failures that she’s been a part of, maybe things can start to change for the better in Dana Point. The people of this good community truly deserve better.

  5. robert traphagen
    August 8, 2007 at 3:49 pm

    Good reporting Andrew. Also: From April O`Connor who was dismissed by Harkey and company from the planning commission , April writes: Michael Dec was appointed as an alternate to the Planning Commission by the Harkey regime. He was employed with Lennar Homes and is a developer. I am assuming that his wife is Debra Dec who contributed $150.00 to Harkey`s campaign. It is listed on her latest campaign contributions disclosure. Another fact to show THE UNETHICAL HARKEY AT WORK. Follow the money and we probably can flush out the “RATS”. Keep up your excellent Andrew and THANKS, Robert Traphagen

  6. Andrew Davey
    August 8, 2007 at 4:19 pm

    Thanks, Robert! Oh, and interesting find on Michael & Debra Dec. Cheese louise, when will Harkey learn? I guess we’ll have to keep following the money, as that truly reveals where Diane Harkey’s loyalty lies.

  7. November 4, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    I just read about April O’Connor being dismissed by Diane Harkey….Hooray!! I dont care what the reason was,Mrs. O’Connor deserved to be dismissed. I am laughing my ass off. I hope she and her crooked,Humpty Dumpty husband liked that slice of humble pie too!!! Awesome, could’nt be better!

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