Inside The March 2011 Sandpiper

pdf version of the Mar 2011 print issue

Extra copies of the Sandpiper are available at City Hall, the Chamber of Commerce, the TV Station, the Library and the Powerhouse.

City Works Leader Leaves  Henry Abarbanel

Editorial NO or NOT YET?

BigBellys Lead the Way  Dan Nore


Towerful Friends
Jon Edelbrock

Water Ways  Henry Abarbanel

Deep Six on 101  Terry Sinnott

Contract Smell  Ann Gardner

Trust the Fairgrounds
Sam Borgese

Does “No mean No”?
Jeff Weitzen

KindleNook  Virginia Lawrence

Citizen Revitalization
Ann Gardner

Olde Del Mar Revisited  Larry Brooks

We’re Number 1  Dave Druker

Del Mar Financial Prowess  Bud Emerson

Voter Voices  Dave Druker

Team Power  Don Mosier

EIR Showdown  Ann Gardner

Crow Food  Piper Underwood

Marine Life Lives  Ann Gardner


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Serving Del Mar
March print issue

David Scherer

City Works Leader Leaves  by Henry Abarbanel


Kathleen Garcia

Citizen Revitalization  by Ann Gardner

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NEW  posted 03/07/11


The San Dieguito Lagoon Preservation Committee of the City of Del Mar has organized a LAGOON DAY Celebration at the

Sunday, April 17

This celebration features a Photo Contest - beginners, juniors, and adults are invited to submit their entries.

Cartoon John Dempsey.  enlargement
March print issue

We’re Number 1 
Dave Druker

By most measures, Del Mar on a per capita basis usually ranks number 1 in the County. In reviewing a recent article in the Union-Tribune on property taxes and re-development taxes, Del Mar’s ranking in two measures outstrips the rest of the county – property taxes per capita and property taxes by square mile.


Bud Emerson

Del Mar’s excellent financial capability was affirmed at the February 7 City Council meeting by three sources.



March print issue

Contract Smell  Ann Gardner

Retroactive approval of two 22nd District Agricultural Association contracts related to the proposed sale of the Fairgrounds to the City of Del Mar seemed suspiciously “timed to evade the state’s mandatory budget and contract approval process,” Del Mar resident Laura DeMarco explained after raising the issue at the Fairgrounds Board meeting February 8.  more>>

Trust the Fairgrounds 
Sam Borgese

The Del Mar City Council found itself in a quandary at its February 7 meeting. Should it proceed “in principle” with a new governance model for operating the fairgrounds or should it first set up a process for citizen involvement?   more>>

March print issue



Del Mar City Council Special Meeting

Wednesday, March 9, 2011,
6 p.m.
Del Mar Communications Center, 240 10th Street

The purpose of the special meeting will be to provide information to the public regarding the City’s proposed purchase of the Fairgrounds and Race Track property and the proposed Governance Model, and to solicit public input regarding this proposal.

See a graphic of the proposed Governance Model here.

The “Special Meeting Agenda” will be posted at City Hall and on the City’s website no later than Friday, March 4, 2011.

Meanwhile, you can find out more information about the proposed Fairgrounds purchase by reading the City Council’s February 22, 2011 update report as posted on the City’s website, Item 4.


March print issue

Marine Life Lives  Ann Gardner

San Dieguito Lagoon lost its designation as a State Marine Park when the California Fish and Game Commission recently removed it as a protected area in new regulations adopted as part of the South Coast Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA). Nevertheless, San Dieguito River Park rangers will continue to patrol the area prohibiting the removal of any resources, including fishing, which was the basic protection afforded under the MLPA.   more>>

March print issue

Water for Sophie and Walter

The photo depicts the new fountain that was donated through the Del Mar Foundation by Richard and Sharon Bockoff in honor of their dogs, Walter and Sophie.
The fountain was completed last week adjacent to the new sidewalk at the north end of Dog Beach that is also the terminus of the Coast to Crest Trail.

Ribbon-cutting ceremony at the fountain
Sunday, March 13 at 10:00 am


March print issue

Water Ways
Henry Abarbanel

This is part of a series of Sandpiper items centered on infrastructure in Del Mar. As any municipality, some of Del Mar’s primary responsibilities encompass law enforcement, fire safety, and providing infrastructure for a community: water delivery, sewage removal, safe roads, and a few similar items. Some of the information discussed comes from David Scherer, soon to be Del Mar’s former Public Works Director.   more>>

Flower Hill Shopping Center. Photo panarama Art Olson


March print issue

Growing Flower Hill
Review of the Final Environmental Impact Report for the Flower Hill expansion project and preliminary approval for development is tentatively scheduled for the March 10th San Diego Planning Commission meeting in downtown San Diego. Pending Commission approval, the project will go to San Diego City Council for a final okay. Interested parties can confirm the agenda item at and check local libraries for copies of the Final EIR. The project replaces the current 14,000 sq. foot movie theatre with a two-story 65,000 square foot retail/office building and a four-level 94,000 square foot parking structure behind the new building.

March print issue

KindleNook  Virginia Lawrence

Last May a cloud of volcanic ash cast its shadow over European airspace. Having once spent 36 hours in Heathrow Airport, I could sympathize with the thousands of stranded travelers. In fact, fearing lest I, too, be subjected to a 72-hour “ash” layover, I decided to buy an Amazon Kindle - an alternative to reading the departures board for 3 days.  more>>

March print issue

Crow Food  Piper Underwood

This week I sat at an elementary school picnic table as a crow perched on a nearby fence greedily awaiting his allotment. A gust blew wrappers from the table. Little people called out for me to open their packages of foodstuffs.  The hot lunch kids approached the table precariously balancing their flimsy cardboard box lunches. I opened more packages, and it reminded me of what a pediatrician friend once told me – you don’t have to unwrap food.   more>>


Casa Del Mar. Courtesy DMVA History Committeeenlargement

March print issue

olde Del Mar Revisited
Larry Brooks

It was Monday morning, August 14, 1882. The California Southern Railroad steam engine chugged its way north through Soledad Valley to the Cordero stop. From there it turned west along the northern shore of Los Peñasquitos Creek and began a long, gradual climb, leaving behind farm and ranch land, to the top of the barren mesa, described as the home of only rattlesnakes, jackrabbits, and coyotes. Just before reaching the bluff, some 75 feet above the Pacific Ocean, the engine turned north and traversed this mesa until it began its descent to the San Dieguito River bridge.   more>>

March print issue

Donors Dig Deep
                                                      for Fourth Printing of Del Mar Looking Back

The DMVA History Committee would like to thank Darrese and Sam Borgese, Lynn and Charlie Gaylord and a very generous anonymous donor who have provided the funds for the fourth printing of Del Mar Looking Back by Nancy Hanks Ewing.

Your appreciation and support of Del Mar history are gratefully acknowledged.

This book is available at the third printing price of $35.00 for a limited time at

The fourth printing price will be $49.95.


March print issue

Pipe Up: Mislabeled Photo

Dear Editors:


Nice article in the Sandpiper about roofs. However, the photo shown is a composite roof that was installed a year ago or so - at great expense I’m sure. Was wondering if the Sandpiper might put some sort of notice in their next issue saying this is how great a composite roof can look - or at least apologize to the owners for mistakenly thinking this is a shingle roof. The house belongs to the Engels on 15th Street.

Jill Coughlin, Van Dyke Avenue

Mislabeled as a wood shake roof in the February issue. This is a composite roof. The Sandpiper regrets the error.
Photo Piper Underwood



posted March 9 

We urge all Sandpiper readers who care about the future of Del Mar and want to fix the disfunctional relationship we have with the Fair Board to participate in a workshop on this evening, March 9, at 6pm in the Council chambers. We can get a briefing on the proposed purchase AND we can have our voices heard. Bring your questions, your ideas, your advice. This may be the most important meeting ever for Del Mar citizen participation.

Click here to view the agenda and reports.


posted March 6, 2011

Martin Garrick released "survey results" from readers of his newsletter which purport to show little support for Del Mar's proposed acquisition of the fairgrounds, with governance by a board composed of representatives around the County.

An analysis of Garrick's poll  by a  renowned expert in survey research, Dr C. Richard Hofstetter, concluded that "professional probability sampling procedures" were not followed.  He states that Garrick used a "convenience sample...persons who are intensely involved are more likely to respond. In fact, the Fair Board did exactly that in this case, sending an eblast to 170,000 vendors, employees, exhibitors, and event attendees encouraging them to fill out the survey opposing the sale.  He says the results rarely provide accurate views of any population except the minority who choose to respond. 


CC to consider fewer Fairboard seats for DM on Monday, February 7 at 7pm.
posted February 6


City of Del Mar Press Release
posted by the Sandpiper January 13, 2011

Today, the City of Del Mar announced the retirement of David Scherer as its Public Works Director.     details>>


full archive going back to December 2007

readers' comments

03/06 ... It was noted in a recent news article that our new Planning Director was gearing up to proceed with the possible change to Form Based Code zoning for the revitalization of the Del Mar commercial district.   Ralph Peck   more>>

03/06 ... I wish she would buy a new iPad and continue writing about her e-reading experience.  Julia Ponomarenko  more>>

02/25 ...  Nice article in the Sandpiper about roofs. However, the photo shown is a composite roof that was installed a year ago or so?  Jill Coughlin  more>>

02/25 ...  I read your "Fair Market Value" article with interest. I wonder if you will have the editorial courage to publish a quick reply?  Preston Vorlicek  more>>

02/11 ...  The picture of the paper bin has “trash” underneath it.  Just to clarify, it is really a picture of our mixed paper collection bin we send to be recycled.  Nancy Strauss  more>>

01/29 ...   It was truly gratifying to have a Council member publicly recognize the value of and show appreciation for the work done by Del Mar volunteers.  Brooke Eisenberg-Pike  more>>

12/20 ...   I’m surprised that no one in the press or City Council has mentioned that the 22nd DAA (Fairgrounds) has been losing money for the past 3 years.
Preston Vorlicek.

full calendar of events for this month
Sun, Feb 27
1:00pm - 3:30pm
San Dieguito Lagoon
  Habitat Restoration
San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy
details>>   reservations required
Thur, Mar 10
Del Mar Library
  Robert Fulbright and Gail Meinhold, Fit in North County—make the most of the coast and get the beach body you’ve always wanted!
Sun. Mar 20
12 noon
Paradise Grill
Making Manners Memorable and Meaningful
Del Mar Foundation Children's Committee
details>>   reservations required
Thur, Apr 21
Del Mar Library
  Robert Kopfstein, History (and gossip!) of Ruth and Charles Laribee and the San Diego Botanic Garden (formerly Quail Botanical Gardens)


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