Editorial: Conduct Unbecoming

It’s summertime and the living is easy (we wish). School is out, the fair has started, July 4th is just around the corner, it’s time to relax and enjoy the warm weather and sunshine. The election season in Del Mar doesn’t really start until September, right?


Wrong. It sounds like Dan Quirk is already campaigning for a second term, and he has begun by characterizing his censure by his four fellow council members as a political attack rather than a measured response to his misdeeds identified by an independent investigation. Moreover, he personally attacked fellow council member Tracy Martinez for her vote for censure and urged her not to run for re-election this fall (maybe to clear the path for his twin brother Steve Quirk to win the third available seat).


Quirk’s response to his censure has been remarkably similar to a certain former president who has attacked the legal process and all those involved (judge, jury and prosecutor). He has taken no responsibility for the actions that led to his censure, and his behavior continues to betray the standards of conduct expected of a Del Mar city council member.


Both Tracy Martinez and Mayor David Druker felt compelled to respond to Quirk’s distortions of recent history with detailed comments correcting the record. Their responses left no doubt that Quirk has a tenuous relationship with the truth.


The damage that Quirk’s behavior has caused has important regional implications. During his time on the North County Transit District board, he was twice warned of Brown Act violations and managed to offend elected representatives from other North County cities. His assertions that SANDAG is a fraudulent organization and his vocal stance that train service should be suspended may well alienate SANDAG board members whose vote will decide the alignment of the train tunnel under (or around) Del Mar. He has claimed that he is defending Del Mar’s interests. In fact, his behavior has had demonstrably detrimental impacts, and that is likely to only worsen.


It is outrageous that Quirk should urge another council member not to run for re-election. Maybe, given his isolation from the rest of the council, he should look in the mirror and consider the attractiveness of a second term for him.