Many residents of Dana Point were frustrated by the process of introducing district elections in 2018. Ever since the process was triggered in February of 2018, the transition to by-district elections in Dana Point has been an highly charged issue, including public suspicion about who introduced it.
The regulation to enact by-district elections was passed in the spring of 2018 by the Dana Point City Council by a vote of 4 to 1 (Councilmember Debra Lewis dissenting).
While reporting on the topic for DanaPointer.com, our editorial staff requested comment from the current city attorney and from the city manager on May 18, 2018, prior to publishing an article about whether the 2018 election might have remained an at-large election — instead of by-district.
DanaPointer.com sought comment on the following questions:
Would Dana Point have qualified for the CVRA Safe Harbor even if the districting ordinance became law after the Orange County Registrar’s deadline for the 2018 election had passed?
To confirm: Given the date of Myrick’s letter, is there any scenario in which Dana Point could have qualified for the Safe Harbor but could have implemented the change to by-district elections in 2020 rather than in 2018?
Neither city official ever replied.
At the June 19, 2018 city council meeting the visibly upset current city attorney, Patrick Muñoz, emphasized that if the City of Dana Point decided to avail itself of the safe harbor protections of the California State law regarding the California Voting Rights Act of 2001 (CVRA), which the City Council did in fact vote to do, the 2018 election must be divided into districts.
The swift timeline for doing that caused a lot of public frustration and amplified pre-existing public distrust of city hall.
If the city attorney or city manager had replied to this publication’s request for comment on this topic, the following graphic would not have been published because the highlighted area turns out to be inaccurate.