Commentary: Inside Game

Members of the super majority on the Del Mar City Council cannot seem to get out of the campaign/outside organizer/protester mode. As office holders they are insiders now, so their job is not grandstanding on TV and petition gathering. They need to do the hard work of governing. So far they have squandered the regional credibility and trust our small city has earned over the years. 


Many of the decisions that affect us are made at the regional and state levels — we need knowledgeable, persuasive voices at those tables. Instead of working to build alliances, Council Member Gaasterland does things that undermine neighboring jurisdictions. She tried repeatedly to offload Del Mar’s share of affordable housing onto other cities. 


Acting on her own, she gave public testimony urging the County not to join the Community Energy Alliance that we were forming with neighboring cities. 


She supports Council Member Quirk, an avowed mass transit critic, as our representative on the North County Transit District (NCTD). 


While other cities are working constructively to shape new state housing laws to fit their community needs, she and Martinez are spending their time encouraging petition drives to overturn state legislation.


So it should not be surprising that neighboring city Council Members who sit on the NCTD Board vote against us on train track issues. It should not be surprising that state housing officials and legislators discount our views given our reputation for game-playing on housing issues. It should not be surprising that our influence with the Coastal Commission is waning after we withdrew our sea level adaptation plan.


They did a masterful job of organizing campaigns to get elected, but just getting into office is not enough to protect Del Mar’s interests. Once they get elected, we need Council Members who can work constructively on earning the trust of our neighbors, respecting regional and state priorities, strengthening regional relationships, and building political alliances with other cities, the county, and the state. They are outsiders no longer — they have the power and they need to use it to develop an inside game.