Del Mar Update from Dwight Worden


Hello friends! Here is my third newsletter as your City Councilmember. I'll address a few topical issues for Del Mar in  each of these periodic newsletters, welcoming your feedback! Please feel free to share this with your Del Mar friends and neighbors.

~Dwight 
Dwight's April Office Hours--CANCELED 

I'm traveling back east this week to visit my sick 90 year old mother, so have CANCELED my last Friday of the month office hours for April 24. I'll be back at the Del Mar Commmunity Building for the last Friday in May, on May 29th--9:30 to 11:30. Please stop by! No appointment needed, just drop in. I am also happy to talk with you by phone or over a cup of coffee, so let me know if you'd like to schedule a meeting.


Police Services in Del Mar: Some not so good news and a correction

The Sheriff's office, which provides contract police services to Del Mar, after initially expressing some potential interest, has now made clear it is not interested in having Del Mar develop its own supplemental force of officers to be dispatched by the sheriff to handle lower priority calls. The sheriff contends there are too many operational difficulties in dispatching officers who are not theirs. Hmmm...wonder what those are, given they make things work already with our ranger, with school security officers and in other sharing contexts? Word is Del Mar will be receiving a written explanation from the sheriff. I'll be studying that!

The sheriff's position does mean that the policing model recommended by our Del Mar finance commiteee and preliminarily endorsed by your council is unlikey to proceed. That model would have had local Del Mar officers (Community Service or other) providing an added layer of police service on top of what the sheriff provides, and would have included a transfer of traffic enforcement from the sheriff to our local team. The Finance Committee, council liaisons Terry Sinnott and Mayor Al Corti, along with city staff, will be following up to see what our remaining options are and will bring forth a recommendation for next steps. 

Chalk this feedback from the sheriff up as a disappointment, but hey, we' re still in the game and have other options. The sheriff did express interest in providing additional services to Del Mar, so we still have that option, as well as the option to set up our own police department, to take another look at supplementing service with a private security firm, and other creative strategies. Stay tuned!

CORRECTION.  Last issue I noted that sheriff Captain Theresa Adams-Hydar had "...found a way to adjust her budget to provide one additional deputy to Del Mar and half of an additional traffic officer (shared with Solana Beach), without any increase in cost to Del Mar...This will double our patrol deputies from 1 to 2, and add signficantly to traffic enforcement." 

I need to cororect, or at least clarify: It takes something more that 5 full time positions to actually put one additional deputy on the streets in Del Mar 24/7. This is because deputies work in shifts to cover 24 hours per day seven days a week. So, what our good Captain was able to add at no cost was one additional shift at no cost, but that does not put another deputy on the streets 24/7.   

Goals for the next two years in Del Mar. Here are mine, what are yours?

I've read spreadsheets and goal listings from staff and every councilmember, and digested many emails and much verbal input from the community. Here's where I stand on goals for the next two years, acknowledging that we have limited staff and resources. And, we have some items that we don't control--where the feds, the state, grant funding, or other constraints dictate the schedule. With that in mind:

1. CITY HALL. My first priority is to finish the City Hall project. That is a MAJOR undertaking in terms of staff, council, and community commitment and a major demand on resources--but worth it to end up with a cool new community center featuring a new town hall for meetings, small performances and the like, a new city hall for staff, a public plaza to accommodate the farmers' market and other outdoor activities, along with parking, reserving for the future what to do with remaining land. We are underway, and with your continued input we can bring home a great project done the "Del Mar Way."

Dealing with the water issues of the day, the San Diego City Council visited the construction site of the Morena Dam in August 1897.
2. COMPLIANCE WITH MANDATES. A top priority has to be  compliance with schedule dictates placed on us by the federal and state government, or b y existing finance/grant constraints. For example, we HAVE to do a Climate Action Plan--no choi ce; we HAVE to spend certain TRANSNET funds on roadway projects, and we HAVE to comply with new state mandates for water conservation. Like it or not, these mandates (and others) take priority on our schedule and resources.


3. COMMUNITY CONCERNS. After the above two priority items, my highest ranking goes to those items of concern to our residents and community. Specifically:

(1) DESIGN REVIEW ORDINANCE AND DRB REVIEW. The Del Mar "community character" we all love, that is recognized in our Community Plan as our greatest asset, and which makes our village such a great place to live and visit, is at risk. There is great pressure for ever larger homes as prices escalate, for lot mergers and tear-downs of quaint cottages to be replaced with mansions, for pushing the bulk envelope to the max, and for gaming the current system. A community loses its character incrementally, one project at a time. That is happening in Del Mar NOW and we need to review our Design Review Ordinance and the DRB process, tune it up to meet current needs, and make sure that those implementing the process have the tools, training, and will, to do this key job right. I'll be supporting the recommendation received from many in the community that we create a citizen-driven task force, with DRB, staff, and community involvement to review these issues and make recommendations to council.

(2) STREET REPAIR. This topic rated high in our citizen survey, so it is a priority for me. I'll be supporting increasing our funding and work program to fix problem streets, especially in our residential areas. We're doing a good job on our main commerical streets, now it's time to up the ante in our neighborhoods.

(3) TRAFFIC CIRCULATION AT THE FAIRGROUNDS.  Traffic generated by activities at the fairgrounds is a perennial problem for Del Mar residents, and I hear much input on that topic. While Del Mar does not control much of what the fairgrounds does, we do own and control the streets. I'll be supporting study of what we can do as "street owners" to better manage the traffic impacts to Del Mar and its residents.

Beyond the above, there are many goals and objectives I support (the council has a list of 33 NEW projects under review--all with merit) but the above are the top of my list. What's on your list? I would love to hear from you.

THE SHORES: Here's a question I'm pondering. Should we slow down on the Shores Park Planning process until the City Hall process is further along? Are we doing too much at once? The Sandpiper editorialized that we are. I'd love to hear what you think. Here are the two sides of the issue I see:

Yes, slow down: We control the Shores Planning schedule--the only "urgency" is self imposed. We NEED community engagement to do it right, but we can't have two major projects going at the same time and expect the kind of community engagement we need on both. We have several community workshops planned for the City Hall Project, including one on May 4. We also have major workshops and community engagement planned on the Shores project during the same time period, including an event on May 2. We already had conflict between the City Hall poll and the Shores survey which were initally planned to occur at the same time (council ultimately delayed the Shores survey to avoid the conflict). We have the drought, street and sidewalk projects, and lots more underway. We can't expect citizens to stay on top of all of this at the same time. Council and staff maybe can't either, and mistakes will be made. Slow down the Shores until City Hall is under construction, then ramp it back up. We need to do City Hall and the Shores one at a time and at a pace the community can absorb.

No, keep going. We have already hired consultants, have a citizen committee hard at work, community outreach underway, and we have donors and others in the community anxious to see the Shores completed as soon as possible. Delay will only mean delay, it won't make anything easier or better. In fact, it may cause us to lose the momentum already built for the Shores.

Got Issues of Concern as Summer Approaches? 
Send me an email -- dwight@dwightworden.com -- and let me know. I'll see what I can do! 

Thanks for taking the time to read this update, and for sharing your thoughts with me.


~Dwight