September 8, 2016 marked a huge win for Dana Point residents in their years’ long battle against special interests, big developer money and a political machine, which included Assemblyman Bill Brough.

With the California Coastal Commission’s (“CCC”) acceptance of Measure H as a Minor Amendment to the Dana Point Local Coastal Plan, Measure H now becomes part of the 2008 Town Center Plan, effective immediately.

However, even up to the last minute, special interests were trying to derail Measure H. Robert Theel and Mike Powers had filed written objections with the CCC and spoke in opposition at Thursday’s hearing. But based on their actions in the Coastal Commission hearing, this may not be the last attempt by the developers and special interests to impose their will on the development of Dana Point.

After Measure H’s passage, we did not sit idly.

Debra Lewis speaks at Coastal Commission hearing
Debra Lewis speaks at Coastal Commission hearing

We were proactive with the CCC, speaking to staff and sending detailed information cross-referencing the original Town Center Plan with the provisions of Measure H to prove our case that Measure H was a Minor Amendment rather than a Major Amendment.

We were pleased to see that the City of Dana Point did not object to the Executive Director’s recommendation to the Commissioners that Measure H be approved quickly as a Minor Amendment.

We were disappointed, although not totally surprised, by the Measure I backers’ unsuccessful attempt to persuade the CCC that Measure H constituted a Major Amendment to the Town Center Plan. Their strategy of delay, delay, delay, if successful, would have allowed developers to slip in nonconforming projects, extract their profits and leave before Measure H could take effect.

Yes, Thursday September 8 was a win for the residents of Dana Point but the battle is not over. Dana Point residents need to build on our success and elect two new council members who put residents first by refusing to accept special interests, developers and the political machine to fund their campaigns. The makeup of the Dana Point City Council after the November 8th election will determine how much the residents are listened to or ignored.

Debra Lewis and Paul Wyatt,  Candidates for Dana Point City Council to provide a voice for the residents of Dana Point

Opinions expressed in editorials belong to the authors and not Voice of OC.

 Voice of OC is interested in hearing different perspectives and voices. If you want to weigh in on this issue or others please contact Voice of OC Involvement Editor Theresa Sears at

Since you've made it this far,

You are obviously connected to your community and value good journalism. As an independent and local nonprofit, our news is accessible to all, regardless of what they can afford. Our newsroom centers on Orange County’s civic and cultural life, not ad-driven clickbait. Our reporters hold powerful interests accountable to protect your quality of life. But it’s not free to produce. It depends on donors like you.

Join the conversation: In lieu of comments, we encourage readers to engage with us across a variety of mediums. Join our Facebook discussion. Message us via our website or staff page. Send us a secure tip. Share your thoughts in a community opinion piece.