Diane Harkey Working for Dana Point… Or Diane Harkey?

“You know, I feel as if I’m talking to a wall. And I am tired of the apologists for unethical failings in our elected officials, who try to belittle and dismiss those who have had enough and are standing tall. If the majority on this council thinks this city is their personal property to do with as they please, and they’re there to rule and not to serve, they’d better think again.”

That was Dana Point resident Tony Cooke. Apparently, he’s getting frustrated over the Dana Point City Council’s habit of ignoring what’s really wrong with Dana Point. And you know what? He has reason to be frustrated.

At last night’s city council meeting, Mayor Diane Harkey stepped down from her “throne” to congratulate the city business of the month and to award certificates of recognition. She and the city manager waxed on about Dana Point’s rightful place in surfing history. She talked about how a new “tri-city trolley” would help move the happy tourists from their lovely hotel rooms in Dana Point to the San Juan Capistrano train station and all the nearby tourist destinations. Oh yes, and she smiled down upon everyone when public comments began, and a few residents arose to sing Mayor Harkey’s praises.

Judging by the first half of the council meeting, one would think everything was hunky-dory in happy Dana Point. But in reality, everything isn’t “hunky-dory” and happy. Real residents have real concerns. And at last night’s meeting, they had a chance to address them.

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“I feel democracy is at stake.”

That was Dr. Jim Seitz, another Dana Point resident who is frustrated with city government and its practice of ignoring the concerns of city residents. After all, the city has done nothing about Diane Harkey violating city policy to make campaign literature look like an official city newsletter. The city has done nothing to address the concerns of Dana Point residents over the “pay-to-play” corrupt politics that Diane Harkey has brought into the policy-making process. The city has done nothing to address the affordable housing crisis that is raising concerns at the state level. Basically, as city residents worry over these real problems, Diane Harkey and the council go on as if nothing’s wrong.

“It’s easy to call names… But let’s think of facts.”

That was Patrick Evans, an attorney working with mobile home residents on the outskirts of town who are simply looking for an affordable place to live. He noted that these people supported Diane Harkey because she promised to help them. But was she done since she was elected to city council? Nothing. These residents are still afraid of losing their homes, and what has Harkey done? Nothing. Apparently, Diane Harkey continues to act as if nothing is wrong.

And in the comments made by Harkey supporters, they angrily derided the recall supporters as rabble-rousers who are acting as a divisive force in the city. They called upon everyone to renew support for Harkey, and to rebuild a sense of unity in the city. But what facts did they have to show that Diane Harkey is doing a great job in Dana Point? None. They talked about how Diane Harkey was such a good friend to them, or about Diane Harkey answering their phone calls. But after all the happy talk, they didn’t really address how the city government under Diane Harkey’s leadership is doing anything to address all the concerns of local residents. So how exactly is Diane Harkey doing a great job for Dana Point?

Ultimately, our elected officials work for us. Their job is to serve us. We are the ones who hire them, and we are the ones who can fire them. So Diane Harkey and her supporters can talk all they want about the recall advocates “dividing” the city, but has Mayor Harkey given city residents a good reason to unite behind her? Is she working for Dana Point? Or is she just using her position to climb the political ladder? Dana Point voters hired Harkey to serve them. And if they don’t think she’s doing her job as mayor, they can choose to fire her.

Simple as that.