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Change is Seldom Comfortable
June 2008 | A Guest Editorial by Richard Earnest

 

It is that time of year again for the city as we take up the task of examining budget proposals and deciding how Del Mar will deliver services and capital improvements to the residents over the next two years.

We will be doing this in a very different environment than the last several. The economic environment is much more tenuous. The state budget has a massive potential deficit and the appetite to tap local governments to alleviate their problems. The projects and ideas related to improving the quality of life in Del Mar are impressive, costly and growing. In addition, unfunded mandates from Sacramento such as the Clean Water requirements are growing and place additional demand on general fund capacity. It is within this set of conditions that your city council and staff must prioritize as never before. With your input, I am certain that we will successfully grapple with these challenges but hard choices will have to be made. Thanks to a lively, engaged and intelligent community, we all have our favorite project or cause. Not everyone will get their way. Projects will move up and down the priority chain depending on what is best for the community as a whole. Some things will have to be delayed. Some may be cancelled outright in favor of more critical needs. I am sure that not everyone will be happy with the outcome.

New sources of revenue are going to be explored as well as additional ways to get more out of each dollar we collect. We are open to any suggestion or idea as to how to do things better. However, we can't have it all. At least we can't have it all right now. Del Mar is in better shape fiscally than many of our sister cities in the region. On the other hand we have some unique fiscal demands on our resources, such as our beaches, that don't exist elsewhere.

I think that this council is committed to protecting the quality of life in Del Mar for the long term, in spite of the challenges we face. This will require different thinking and new ways of problem solving than we are familiar with. It won't be comfortable for some but change is seldom comfortable. We have a choice: We can manage the changes going on around us and how they affect our quality of life or we can be managed by them. Ignoring them is not an option.

 

Richard Earnest is a city council member.

 

   
 

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