published by Del Mar Community Alliance. Inc.

Inside the DECEMBER 2020 Print Issue

Click on cover for the DECEMBER 2020 print issue in pdf format.

COVID-19 articles are marked by a red dot.

Del Mar Lights Up for the Holidays
Julie Maxey-Allison

EDITORIAL: Council-Manager Model

Vaccine View
Don Mosier, PhD, MD

Eco Holidays!
Valérie Dufort

NUKE Waste:
Too Close for Comfort

Don Mosier

Roving Teen Reporter:
Distance Learning ?

Neha Pubbi

Les Beaux Arts en Ville
Photos Julie Maxey-Allison

Housing Manoeuvres
Ann Gardner

Wrestling With The State
Betty Wheeler

Beach Bird
Julie Maxey-Allison

Gun Show Gone

Watermark Going Up

Fencing With the CCC
Don Mosier

City Financial Update
Tom McGreal

Fair Finance Fears:
Fairgrounds – Hanging On By a Thread

Jay Thomas & Jim Benedict

Welcome, Shawna!
Jeff Barnouw

An Open Invitation

Cecilia Rouse:
Home Town Pride

Penny Abell

Betty Wheeler

Ashley Simpkins

Extra copies of print issue available at the Farmers Market.


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Demember 2020
January 2021

Update 01/29/2021

Click on cover for the FEBRUARY 2021 print issue in pdf format.

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Update 01/28/2021
ALERT: San Diego Becomes Largest County in U.S. to Commit to Zero Carbon Emissions by 2035

Vote Led by Supervisors Lawson-Remer, Vargas Supports Movement to Create Green Jobs, Advance Social Justice and Environmental Equity

The vote comes after nearly 1,500 San Diego County residents signed a petition urging the County to take this action. “The fact is, climate crisis is an existential threat to our way of life in San Diego and around the globe,” the petition read. “We must face this historic challenge with historic ambitions to match. We must decarbonize San Diego County as quickly as possible.”

Introduced by Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer and Vice Chair Nora Vargas, two of the newest members of the Board, the vote directed staff to start creating a Regional Sustainability Plan that will guide the County toward the “zero carbon” goal. 

“Residents are demanding action to fight the climate crisis and decarbonize our region, and this is a new Board that is committed to listening to the public, and putting our children and planet first,” said Supervisor Lawson-Remer. “This is a collective endeavor, and I am proud to work with the community to build on the efforts of grassroots leaders. I thank the thousands across San Diego who have led the way, and this vote is proof that climate action, green jobs and social equity are now a priority for San Diego County.” 

Read full text in PDF format
Update 01/05/2021

These numbers are from the San Diego County Health Department. (Note that for the zip code 92014, the number as of 1/2/2021 is 271 positive cases.)

If the COVID vaccine shots were given today, it would take 6-8 weeks before a protective immune response would be generated. We urgently need to double down on protective measures until the vaccines are available. Wear your masks and stay at home if at all possible. Please!

I continue to see way too many mask deniers walking around Del Mar. With over 10% of COVID tests coming back positive and the more easily transmitted strain circulating here in San Diego, your chance of exposure is higher than ever. Please, please, please wear a mask and ask your friends and neighbors to join you.

Don Mosier, MD, PhD
December Print Issue
Del Mar Lights Up for the Holidays
Julie Maxey-Allison
Barton & Barton won a First Prize Blue
Ribbon for the Most Traditional display.
Photo Julie Maxey-Allison.
Take a walkabout. Our Village businesses brightened the city with white window lights and eye catching decorations for this subdued 2020 holiday season. The inspiration from local volunteers brings extra cheer for visitors and residents to enjoy.

The Del Mar Village Association, the Arts Advisory Committee and the Del Mar Foundation sponsored a juried competition for best decorated holiday windows in five categories. The winners: Most Traditional - Barton & Barton; Most Creative - Sandcastle Tales; Spirit of Del Mar - Berkshire Hathaway; Best Use of Merchandise - Frustrated Cowboy; Most Instagramable - Ranch & Coast Plastic Surgery Center; plus one extra - Judges’ Choice - Jolie Fleur. The prizes: First Prize Blue Ribbons presented by Mayor Haviland. The extra special windows showing colorful original art works on canvasses by local school children from Del Mar Hills depicting ocean scenes, Del Mar Heights depicting dolphins, and the Winston School depicting winter scenes all got an Honorable Mention Certificate.

Adding to the high spirits: Santa and reindeer riding high atop Stratford Square; the resplendent 15th Street community tree plus others in the Plaza and throughout the city; festively garlanded street lights; celebratory seasonal banners. Cheers!

more photos
December Print Issue
Vaccine View
Don Mosier, PhD, MD

The Best Vaccine is a Mask.
Photo Virginia Lawrence.
The bad news is that the COVID-19 epidemic is spreading rapidly here in San Diego as well as across the nation, with some local hospitals reaching capacity in their intensive care units. The good news is that two COVID-19 vaccines have shown very promising results as their large, phase 3 trials near completion, in part because the raging epidemic has allowed protection against symptomatic infection to be discerned more rapidly.

The two vaccines are both based on messenger RNA (mRNA) that codes for the viral spike protein required for the virus to enter human cells. The BNT162 vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech and the mRNA-1273 from Moderna both protected almost 95% of trial recipients against symptomatic virus infection (up to 50% of infections, particularly in younger subjects, are asymptomatic) and had no severe cases in any vaccine recipients. Both vaccines require two doses, and protection in the Pfizer/BioNTech trial was assessed 7 days after the second dose and 28 days after the first dose. The Moderna trial gave the second dose 29 days after the first and assessed protection 14 days later. Neither vaccine caused serious side effects, but both caused local soreness, some low-grade fever, headaches, and lethargy, much like other licensed vaccines. Both vaccine manufacturers have applied for emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration which, if approved, would result in front-line medical personnel receiving shots in December.

These are the first two mRNA vaccines to have advanced this close to clinical use. Because mRNA is both unstable and subject to degradation by the enzyme RNAse, the mRNA must be protected in propriety liposome formulations (essentially encapsulated in fatty bubbles). The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine needs to be stored in ultracold freezers (-94° F.) until just before administration. The Moderna vaccine is reported to be more stable at normal freezer temperatures and can even last a few days in a refrigerator. Scaling up vaccine production is a technical challenge, and widespread distribution of either vaccine is not expected until April or May of next year, assuming there are no delayed side effects or new evidence that immunity is short lasting. There are currently over 50 over COVID-19 vaccines in various stages of development, so it is extremely likely that other vaccine formulations will be available sometime in 2021. Astra-Zeneca reported promising results on November 23rd.

With so many of our citizens refusing to wear masks, is it probable that they may also refuse to take an effective vaccine? Current polling suggests, unfortunately, that the answer is yes. Vaccines and mask wearing have been politicized and trust in federal regulatory bodies is at an all-time low. While there now appears to be light at the end of the tunnel, it will be dim indeed unless we listen to public health professionals and trust their advice.

December Print Issue

EDITORIAL: Council-Manager Model

The governance system used by most California cities including Del Mar is known as the Council-Manager model. Governor Hiram Johnson and the early 20th century Progressive Movement encouraged California cities to resist the strong mayor model that was associated with the spoils system in many cities in the East. In essence it resembles the corporate model by the City Council hiring a professional manager to administer the vision, policies and budget adopted by the Council. The City Manager works for the Council and city employees work under the Manager. Put simply, the Council decides where to go, the Manager creates options for how to get there.

Over the years, Del Mar appears to have altered the model somewhat with more and more administrative decision making being escalated to the Council’s agenda. Some of this comes from our tradition of very active citizen participation, creating a push for more tactical items to be decided by our Council. This creates two problems: too little reliance on staff member expertise and too little time for the Council to deliberate on policy and strategy.

We encourage the Council and City Manager to discuss how to rebalance Council-Manager model.

Del Mar has always been fortunate to attract very talented staff members, partly because working in a small city gives them many opportunities to build their competencies working on a wide variety of issues instead of being “siloed” in narrow specialities. We could benefit more from staff capabilities by expecting them to carry out more functions without having to escalate operational matters to the Council agenda. Why use Council time on such items as replacing fire department radios, wordsmithing letters, dog park hours, tree maintenance, letter to state agency, temporary sign placement, contract for portable restroom services, accepting donations, public information contracts, etc. Of course staff could make such tactical decisions subject to oversight by the City Manager who is accountable to the Council. Council Members too often use meeting time to dig into details and complexities of governmental regulations that have already been thoroughly researched by staff members with expertise. More respect for staff competence would lead to more deliberation on policy and strategic direction.

Navigating Del Mar’s future progress could benefit from freeing up more time for the Council to engage in strategic planning about how to handle major challenges and finding creative opportunities. We face many daunting existential challenges involving our bluffs, sea level rise, climate change, fire exposure, dangerous train tracks, business health, affordable housing stock, and financial stability. Some of these are local issues but most involve gaining cooperation from public and private entities outside of our borders. Our Council Members need to have time and energy to exert our interests in these larger arenas.

This is a good time to think big about our future and how to get there.

December Print Issue
Cecilia Rouse: Home Town Pride
Penny Abell

Torrey Pines High School Graduate Cecilia Rouse nominated as Chair 0f the Council of Economic Advisors in the Biden administration.
President-elect Biden’s announcement that Cecilia Rouse will be nominated as Chair 0f the Council of Economic Advisors in the new administration sent currents of excitement, pride, and nostalgia among many of us in Del Mar. Ceci’s family was deeply embedded in the community for many years.

Her father, Carl Rouse, was the first African-American to earn a PhD in physics from Caltech. He worked for many years on various projects for General Atomics while devoting his nights to his first love, solar physics. Her mother, Lorraine Rouse, worked as a school psychologist, held at least three Master’s degrees and was engaged in numerous community building activities. These included sitting on the Design Review and Friends of the River Valley boards, getting DMCC’s social service programs started and co-founding the Del Mar Farmers Market.

The Rouse children Forrest, Carolyn and Cecilia grew up with their friends in Del Mar schools and graduated from Torrey Pines High School. Forrest, with his physics PhD went into industry, while the girls chose the academic life, Carolyn earning a Ph.D in Anthropology and Ceci a Ph.D in Economics. Eventually they became the first sisters tenured at Princeton University. It was painful for their many friends in Del Mar when the elder Rouses decided to relocate to Princeton to be close to their daughters and their families.

Carolyn and Cecilia have built distinguished academic careers. Carolyn is Chair of the Anthropology Department at Princeton and Cecilia is Dean of the Princeton School of Public and International Policy. In an earlier Princeton interview both talked about getting inspiration from their parents for researching difficult issues.

We’re just cheap knockoffs…” one said. We disagree and congratulate Cecilia and the whole family on her nomination and look forward to her putting her extensive research on labor economics with a focus on the economics of education, to work in her new position. From the White House website:

“The Council of Economic Advisers, an agency within the Executive Office of the President, is charged with offering the President objective economic advice on the formulation of both domestic and international economic policy. The Council bases its recommendation and analysis on economic research and empirical evidence, using the best data available to support the President in setting our nation’s economic policy.”


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