The Laguna Hills Enigma: Unveiling their Curious Stance on District Voting and the CVRA.

Laguna Hills, nestled in the heart of South Orange County, has long been known for its picturesque landscapes and affluent neighborhoods. However, beneath its serene surface lies a perplexing paradox – the city’s reluctance to adopt California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) district voting despite a substantial Latino population.

The city’s resistance to change has raised eyebrows and sparked discussions, with some residents suggesting ulterior motives. The city is led by the allegedly God-Fearing Mayor Janine Heft and her Republican sidekick Don Caskey. One would think that a God-Fearing Janine  would embrace a voting system that allows the minority residents of their city actual representation in their local government.

Appointed Councilman Caskey, who contemplates city decisions from his throne – in a more-than 3000-square-foot home, on a lot over 15,000 sf, worth over $2 million, apparently feels he and the Mayor can relate to the Latino community.  They both believe they can represent the Latinos because they “know better.” 

This resistance to reform for the Latino residents seems to be more of a form of “veiled racism.” Here we shall delve into the multi-faceted dynamics behind Laguna Hills’ decision, examining potential reasons for their stance including political influence, as well as oversight concerns and the need for greater Latino representation.

Latino Population and Council Diversity

Laguna Hills boasts a significant Latino population, comprising over 20% of its residents. Yet, despite this demographic reality, the city has never seen a Latino council member or mayor. This discrepancy raises valid concerns about equitable representation and whether the city’s political landscape accurately reflects its diverse citizenry.

The contrast with neighboring cities like Dana Point, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, San Juan Capistrano, and Lake Forest, which have smoothly transitioned to district voting despite having fewer Latino voters, raises questions about Laguna Hills’ stance toward the CVRA (California Voting Rights Act.)

Opaque Oversight and Developer Influence

One intriguing theory that has emerged involves the city’s current council, which also doubles as the city planning commission. Critics argue that the lack of oversight over the planning commission’s decisions may have led to unchecked leniency towards developers. This alleged lack of transparency raises concerns about potential conflicts of interest that could influence the city’s political agenda. The notion of “opening Pandora’s box” by implementing district voting could be seen as an attempt to maintain the status quo and avoid scrutiny.

City Attorney and Developer Relations

Another layer of complexity surrounds the reported close relationship between the city attorney (Greg Simonian, also CA for Rancho Santa Margarita) and local developers. Speculation has arisen that this rapport may have resulted in “stealth” contributions to the city and council through unconventional means, such as luxurious helicopter rides for council members. This potential financial influence could offer an explanation for the city’s resistance to district voting, as it might disrupt existing networks and power dynamics.


The conundrum surrounding Laguna Hills’ refusal to adopt CVRA district voting while boasting a significant Latino population raises pertinent questions about equitable representation, transparency, and potential influences on local politics. As neighboring cities with less diverse demographics embrace district voting, the city’s stance becomes even more puzzling.

To truly address these concerns and foster a more inclusive political environment, it is imperative for the community to engage in open dialogue, demand transparency, and push for meaningful reforms that reflect the city’s diverse population. Only by unveiling the hidden layers of complexity can Laguna Hills hope to move towards a more equitable future.

About South OC Paine

South OC Payne, anonymous FOR NOW, is an anti-establishment, reformist Republican in southern Orange County who is currently on mission to bring more race diversity into the GOP.