Don Mosier | Mayor of Del Mar
When it became public knowledge last fall that the State was negotiating to sell the Fairgrounds to the City of Del Mar without consulting the 22nd DAA Board, their response was to go to full political attack mode. Vitriolic rhetoric and public disparagement of Del Mar’s elected officials became the rule. To make matters even worse, the Board adopted the ill-considered Master Plan despite thousands of pages of negative comments. The relationship between Del Mar and the Fairgrounds, never a particularly happy one, sank to a new low.
This June, just three days before the Fair began, Governor Brown appointed five new 22nd DAA Board Members: Lisa Barkett, Tom Chino, David Lizerbram, Fred Schenk and David Watson. Three Board members whose terms had expired were dismissed: Barry Nussbaum, Vivian Hardage, and Kelly Burt. Board member Michael Alpert* has since resigned.
Mark Filanc and I have met with each of the new 22nd DAA Board members. These meetings were cordial and productive. David Watson now serves as Chair of the Community Relationship subcommittee, and has been very helpful and attentive to concerns about local impacts on Del Mar and Solana Beach. Each new Board member has pledged to be more open and fair in dealing with concerns expressed by Del Mar, and Tom Chino has already had a major impact by exposing the financial deeds and misdeeds of the past Fair board. Real steps to address Del Mar’s concerns have been taken. The new Board approved a long deferred wetlands restoration of portions of the South Overflow Lot. The signs protesting Del Mar’s proposed purchase of the Fairgrounds have been removed. Mitigation efforts to offset the traffic impacts of two extra fair days next year are under serious consideration, with a target completion date of next June. Other issues important to Del Mar are under negotiation.
Governor Brown will have the opportunity to appoint four additional new 22nd DAA Board members in January. There has been a clear improvement in the ability to resolve issues that concern Del Mar since the five new members were seated, and having an entire new Board is likely to continue that improvement. There may be issues where the Fairgrounds and Del Mar continue to differ, but we can at least have a reasoned discussion about them. It’s not a perfect relationship, but it’s a lot better than just a few months ago.
*On page 12 of the December print issue in the article Fair to Good it was incorrectly reported that 22nd DAA Board member Ruben Barrales had resigned. Michael Alpert was the Board member who resigned, and Ruben Barrales remains on the board. The text above has been corrected.