Commentary: Watermark Politics

Watermark: Approved for 50 Units. On April 19, Watermark received City approval of a Coastal Development Permit to construct a new 50-unit, 132,894 square-foot residential development with a 10-unit affordable housing component, on vacant property located near the Jimmy Durante traffic circle. The permit was issued

Rendering showing 50-unit plan. Courtesy City of Del Mar.

June primary endorsements

June Primary Endorsements

Although City Council elections will not occur until November, there are important races affecting Del Mar on the June 7 Primary Ballot.   The Sandpiper has studied the various races and calls out the following of special importance for endorsement.   Each of these candidates stands with Del Mar interests on issues vital to our community: climate action, responsible gun safety, protecting a woman’s right to choose, fiscal responsibility, supporting local land use control, addressing nuclear waste at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), addressing housing needs in a manner sensitive to local concerns, and a lot more that matters to


Broken Promises

Rental Assistance, March 7, 2022   Dear Mayor Worden and Councilors Gaasterland, Martinez, Druker and Quirk:   I am writing because I am concerned about circumstances


SCOUPing the Sand

Retaining sand on Del Mar beaches is a complicated process. Many agencies are involved. A sought after commodity internationally, disappearing sand will only get more valuable


Dog Mar!

Could there be any better place on earth to live as a dog than Del Mar?  I don’t think so and here is why:   I


Fighting Fencing

The California Coastal Commission filed a lawsuit against NCTD and Exbon Development, Inc. in Superior Court on April 19, asserting that NCTD improperly awarded a contract to Exbon to install fencing on the Del Mar upper bluffs without complying with California law, including the California Environmental Quality Act and the Coastal Act. This follows a lawsuit filed in late March by Friends of Del Mar Bluffs and Laura DeMarco challenging the fencing plan; NCTD removed that lawsuit to Federal Court on April 12. Both suits ask for a preliminary and permanent injunction to prevent NCTD from proceeding with its fencing plan, though as of press time, a court hearing has not been scheduled to consider an injunction in either of these cases.  Anders Aannestad, attorney for Friends and DeMarco, stated, in response to NCTD’s removal of their case to federal court, “We will address the proper forum for this litigation in court at the appropriate time.” The Sandpiper will post a News Update online if significant developments occur.

Electrifying Miscalculation

At the April 18th City Council meeting, Council Member Terry Gaasterland showed a slide during the discussion of a potential building electrification ordinance. Her slide showed the cost of an electric water heater was $1300 per year versus $300 per year for a gas hot water heater. 


Here are the annual cost figures for average use (64 gallons/day) from the US Department of Energy website (Electric-vs-Gas): gas = $349, conventional electric = $920, heat pump/electric hybrid = $110.


In her comments, Gaasterland referenced her own home with 11 solar panels. Electricity from the solar panels would reduce the cost of powering the electric or heat pump models by at least 50%. Solar panels are required on all new construction, and heat pump water heaters are highly recommended, so the annual cost of heating water with these options would be $55. So the $1300 estimate was only 24X too high.

Quotable Del Mar


“Del Mar’s really small. When you live in Del Mar, it’s a full-time job.”

— Del Mar Times interview (

Rosanne Holliday with her trademark “Love” necklace (photo RWB Multimedia), and below in 1975, with daughter Katherine, when her fight with Southwestern College was reported in the New York Times.

Rosanne’s quip captures a core truth about “the Del Mar way” of community activism, and her own example is formidable. She is a former president of DMF and Board member of DMCC; founding member, Del Mar Garden Club; past president of Del Mar Community Alliance (the publisher of the Sandpiper); and President of the Holliday Family Foundation, which made a leadership gift for Shores Park acquisition.


She was an activist in the 1970s-era efforts to preserve Crest Canyon as open space, and in the 1982-83 campaign for voter approval of Powerhouse acquisition. In 2008, she worked to support Crest Rim Park improvements and in 2014 spearheaded the Crest Rim Adopt-a-Spot program; she initiated a grass-roots campaign in 2013 to stop gun shows at the Del Mar Fairgrounds; and much more.

Long an advocate of early childhood development and reproductive health, she is a professor emerita at Southwestern College – where, in the 1970s, her fight to bring her baby on-campus earned her both a suspension and an article in the New York Times, “Teacher Fights to Breast-Feed on Campus.” Rosanne is a former Board Chair of Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest, and has served on the Scripps College Board of Trustees. 


As Rosanne said in her interview, “This is what you do. You work to make things better. It’s just what people do.”