Editorial: Leadership Lacking

There was a time when Del Mar gained regional respect for environmental policies, beginning with the adoption of our groundbreaking Community Plan in 1976 and the more recent unanimous passage of our Climate Action Plan in 2016. Unfortunately, implementation of both plans has slowed to a crawl, and Del Mar’s leadership has been ceded to other local coastal communities.


The city budget was cut back during the height of the COVID pandemic resulting in “temporary” pauses in many “non-essential” programs, but current city revenues are back to pre-pandemic levels, but the pauses remain. No action has been taken on needed updates to the Climate Action Plan, no new solar panels on municipal buildings despite the successful performance of the City Hall installation, one new electric vehicle (EV) in the city fleet, no upgrades to EV charging stations despite numerous funding options, and intentional sidelining of the Sustainability Advisory Committee, to name but a few of the pauses.


Councilmember attacks on the SANDAG Regional Transportation Plan ignore the importance of modifying the way we travel to reduce our high pollution levels, and they have once more placed Del Mar in opposition to our coastal neighbors to the north. We have not had a Del Mar representative on the SANDAG Energy Working Group, a place where long-term energy policy is developed, since 2016. More cars on wider freeways are not the answer to a better future.


The supreme irony is that we are so close to international leaders generating the knowledge to combat climate change, with many faculty of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography and UC San Diego living in Del Mar. We have the local knowledge to do better, but we have not heeded their expertise. As the advice from our many citizen committees has been ignored or dismissed, it has become more difficult to recruit or retain the experts we need.


It is time to refocus our efforts and stop the needless pauses in environmental programs. Del Mar needs to do better, and, maybe someday regain our regional prominence.