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Council Endorsements 2020:
Phil Blair, Bob Gans, and Glenn Warren

The Sandpiper editors and writers tune in every month to what is going on in our community, informing and analyzing for our readers so you are in the know. Every two years at election time we look back on what we have observed and combine that with an analysis of what candidates are saying. That combination leads us to make judgments about who we think will be effective leaders for our future and we offer it for your consideration.

   
Phil Blair   Bob Gans   Glenn Warren

This year, our conclusion is that three candidates clearly stand out: Bob Gans, Phil Blair and Glenn Warren. Athough they bring quite different but complementary experiences and skill sets to the job, they are similar in respect to their positions on key strategic issues that clearly differentiate them from the other three candidates. And even more importantly they bring an upbeat, positive approach to addressing our issues in a way that could help us achieve unity of purpose that has been missing in recent times.

On key issues, we can expect these three to stand strong on our efforts to block the short term rental industry from overpowering our residential zones—they all support defending the very generous 7/28 compromise. We can expect them to protect local control over land use decisions by working with state housing requirements that are being imposed on all California cities. They have the skills and experience to be disciplined and careful in managing us through extremely difficult financial crises.

It is impressive to review how complementary their backgrounds are to form a dynamic leadership team. Bob Gans has earned a reputation as a unifying community leader, very importantly including his service on the Finance Committee guiding us to a very strong financial position. Phil Blair’s reputation as a top business leader in San Diego will strengthen our leverage in regional decision making on critical issues, not to mention his skillfull management of a big business surviving the great recession of 2008 without the loss of a single employee. Glenn Warren’s experience as a US diplomat can guide us through some tricky negotiation situations, not to mention having a champion from the beach community which is the site of so many neighborhood-disrupting situations.

Our take on the other three candidates:

   
Dave Druker   Tracy Martinez   Dan Quirk

Tracy Martinez is relatively new to civic involvement, and she’s proven herself to be an articulate advocate for her positions. But she has been very active in opposing any improvements in the Jimmy Durante entryway into Del Mar with its large dirt lot, semi-industrial section and run-down buildings. Of course, her house happens to be nearby. Before we consider her for Council leadership we should encourage her to get more involved in efforts that benefit the entire community, not just her back yard. Her opposition testimony before the Planning Commission urging that we renege on the Community Plan’s commitment to allow more residential in the North Commercial district illustrates her willingness to violate state law, put our Housing Element into noncompliance, and put local control at risk in pursuit of her narrow neighborhood interests.

It is time for Dave Druker’s 16-year run to end. We endorsed him in 2016 based on his long record of serving Del Mar well in past years, and Del Mar owes him gratitude for that past work. His history of saying “no” has sometimes served Del Mar well, but shockingly, he recently cast the deciding vote that put us into immediate violation of state law and our Community Plan, which includes our Housing Element (HE) and its commitment to rezone North Commercial to include residential use at the state-mandated density. This reckless action put us in the State’s cross-hairs, with potential penalties including decertification of our HE, fines of $100,000/month, loss of eligibility for state grants, and more. We are now vulnerable to both State and private lawsuits, and developers in some cases are likely eligible to development ”by right,” which bypasses DRB and other discretionary review. Ironically, Druker’s vote increases the likelihood we will be forced to upzone the north bluffs to 20 units/acre where voters recently rejected a hotel development proposal that included 22 affordable units.

Druker was the lone vote on Council against 941 Camino Del Mar, on the old gas station site; voters overwhelmingly approved it, with 79.95% voting “yes.” And though he takes credit for key projects now, Druker opposed Civic Center as it was built, wanting a smaller project with much less parking, and from 1996 to 2008, during the first 12 years Druker was on the Council, Streetscape did not move forward at all. He is associated with much of the negativity and personal unpleasantness that has invaded city hall in recent times.

Dan Quirk’s initial promise as a leader on Measure Q has been offset by his tendency to embrace unrealistic ideas (e.g., ending train service entirely between Del Mar and San Diego) that have zero chance of success and serve as barriers to progress.

One very vital line of differentiation among candidates concerns short term rental businesses (STRB) taking over our residential neighborhoods. Candidates Blair, Warren, and Gans are committed to strong support of the 7/28 compromise and no more. STRB support of Druker, Martinez, and Quirk signals their expectation of a more generous compromise from these three. Protecting our residential neighborhoods from these mini-hotels should be job 1 for our City Council.

It is very clear that today’s pandemic and financial health issues will require a resourceful leadership team that unites our community for tomorrow. This new team of Warren, Gans, and Blair will draw from all factions and shows real promise of moving us in a united way in the right direction.

New energy and fresh eyes to help shape Del Mar’s future as we dig out of these challenging times. Bob Gans, Phil Blair, Glenn Warren. It is way past time to bury old grudges and city hall negativity. Let’s get residents, businesses, and city hall united to write the next chapter for the special community we all love.

 

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