Opinion: Sad about Sunset Beach association vote

Diana Dodson

Where are the voices of Sunset Beach?

It was the saddest voter response.

The Sunset Beach Community Association ballots were sent to over 750 registered voters and only 171 people voted in an election of eight candidates for three seats.

A very small percentage of our community determined the new SBCA board. Re-elected were Mike Van Voorhis and Gretchen Hoad. Newly elected was Woman’s Club member Carol Woolf.

Many Sunset Beach registered voters threw out their ballots without opening them, disgusted after the efforts of three SBCA board members stopped the $100K check from being written to LAFCO last August.

The check was the next step with LAFCO to further examine financial viability of incorporation and could have warded off the Huntington Beach City Council vote of annexation.

Mike Van Voorhis, now the president of the SBCA, has repeatedly made statements to LAFCO, Huntington Beach City Council and to the press; that “Sunset Beach elected a pro Huntington Beach, pro-annexation Board.”

The election was not a referendum on annexation. September 2009 was the only survey of Sunset Beach registered voters and property owners as to their desires for the future direction of our community.

There was a strong response and only 14 percent said they wanted to be annexed to Huntington Beach.

Petition signatures were gathered to continue investigating incorporation and Sunset Beach’s future options.

The LAFCO requirement of petition signatures was met and surpassed with 32 percent of the registered voters’ signatures verified.

A second batch of 40 percent of the voter signatures was not submitted after the $100K in donations was returned to the donors.

Until a new survey is done to determine if the wishes and desires of the community have changed, it is unrealistic to think that such a low voter response is the voice of the community.

The fact that more than $160K was generously donated towards finding Sunset Beach’s future options reflects the community interest and support. Donations now to the SBCA are a crumb in comparison.

The next SBCA meeting will be held 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 6, at the Woman’s Club where they will be voting on the same Memorandum of Understanding with Huntington Beach that was voted down at the December SBCA meeting by the previous board.

A primary factor for voting the MOU down last month was Huntington Beach City Council’s announcement to impose taxes on Sunset Beach without a vote, including the additional property tax to cover the Huntington Beach pre-1978 retirement fund.

The assumption of silence being approval has to stop.

Please take the time to have the SBCA board hear your wishes, concerns and how you want them to represent you.

You can e-mail the Sunset Beach Community Association Board at www.SunsetBeachCA.org.

Diana Dodson is a longtime Sunset Beach resident. Sunset Beach resident Julie Lurie contributed to this article.

Opinion: Sad about Sunset Beach association vote