We live in a time when key decisions affecting our quality of life in Del Mar are increasingly made not by our City Council, but by more distant state or regional entities: the State Legislature, State agencies (Housing and Community Development; CPUC, California Coastal Commission, 22nd DAA), or regional agencies (SANDAG, NCTD). Council members who want to work for the best outcomes for Del Mar often can’t achieve those outcomes by persuading a Council majority to support them. Instead, they have to succeed in affecting decisions in these state or regional entities where they either have no vote, or just one vote among many.
Alas for Del Mar, our clout in these larger forums is often forfeited by the propensity of too many of our Councilmembers to indulge in magical thinking – for example, a belief that an 11th hour, unsubstantiated claim will result in a decision that benefits Del Mar.
We’ve seen this approach too many times in recent years. Just a few examples:
Grandstanding is not leadership. Magical thinking generally does not produce desired outcomes. Real governing is building regional relationships based on earned trust, and forming effective alliances throughout the region and state.Perhaps the Council’s goal is not to actually affect outcomes, but simply to be able to say, “Hey, we fought for you, Del Mar residents.” Yes, North Bluff is at greater risk now than ever before for intensive development. Yes, we’ll have 50 rental units at Watermark (with 4-story elements) instead of 38 townhouses in a 2-story design. “But hey, we fought for you.” Del Mar deserves better.