Men’s Club: February 2016 Update

Every discussion of our Men’s Club must start with accolades for all who work together to make the club such a pleasure. Everyone takes turns cooking great breakfasts and organizing fun and exciting programs. Thank you to all.
We started 2016 by learning about the potential changes coming to our beloved Dana Point with a presentation by Ursula Luna-Reynosa, the Director of Community Development and a native of Dana Point. She gave a very informative presentation on the development projects that are in the pipeline. The list included many that we have watched unfold such as the Blue Lantern Café and the Craft House Restaurant that are on opposite sides of PCH near the north intersection of PCH and Del Prado. Of course, there is the more controversial Majestic Project, a Mixed Use Project of 109 residential units and 32,500 sq. ft. of commercial space. This project seems to be an item of intense focus in the petition titled, The 2015 Town Center Initiative (aka Save Dana Point), which we get to vote on in the June 7, 2016 election. When asked about this controversy, Ms. Luna-Reynosa recommended that we all become informed and avoid decisions based on hearsay. There is so much information that I am forced to give a web site references for those who wish to dig deeper. (https://www.danapoint.org/modules/showdocument.aspx?documentid=16790)
Parking spaces are another area of disagreement. Ms. Luna- Reynosa pointed out that some development possibilities are not financially viable due to the cost of parking ($40K per space and $60K underground). She advocated a shared parking (Park Once) approach to relieve these
constraints and referred to a recent DP parking study. (see http://www.danapoint.org/index.aspx?page=695).
Concerning the Harbor renovations, she reminded us that this project is being addressed by Orange County and is in the process of finding finances. Many more were projects listed in the pipeline. (See https://www.danapoint.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=16502) On January 19, CW Gruenig introduced our guest speaker, Robert Ming, who gave us a fascinating insight into the political world of Orange County Development. Robert is the former Mayor and Councilman of Laguna Niguel and was a candidate for Orange County Supervisor and is now a partner with Quadrant Law Group.
He grabbed our attention immediately by promising to share what goes on behind- the- bulldozer between the developer and politician in the world of Orange County developments. He categorizes developers, based on how long they are committed to a community, as either transactional or relational. The first is in a community for one project and has actually budgeted for political support for the project, while the relational developer lives in the community, has multiple projects over a long time, and tries to
gain political support for the projects with each election.
Then, Robert gave us insight into campaign contribution limits. In practice, They do not matter. He points out that the big guys get around campaign contribution limits by moving money, a practice of having influence-money that they have stored with their subcontractors (moved to a candidate’s campaign or political support group). A public announcement like, I never took one dollar from XYZ, by a politician is a strong indicator that dollars have been moved. We should check for both direct money and influence money.
Fortunately, he gave us a quick way to analyze politicians. Instead of being made of snips, snails, and puppy dog tails, he uses POWER, PROFIT, and PRINCIPLES—that’s what politicians are made of. He recommends that we use these three P’s to try to understand the motivation of all politicians. Of course, most will be eager to claim that they are driven by principles.
He also urges us to get involved! When we really, strongly believe that a candidate is best for our\ country, county, or city, help them—form a support group, talk to friends and neighbors.
That way, people, not big money, can control our governmental groups. One final, key gem from Robert is Know the Why. He urges us to watch the decisions of our politicians, and, when something is out of character, ask WHY? Keeping asking until you get a satisfactory answer.
—Jerry Allen

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