published by Del Mar Community Alliance. Inc.
Inside the February 2019 Print Issue

Click on cover for February print issue in pdf format.

Slip Sliding Away
Talking with Dr. Pat Abbott

Julie Maxey-Allison

Agenda 2019 !!!!

King Tide Cleanup
Tree House
Draft Undergrounding
Sea Level Delay
5/22 Steps
Dolphin Rescue
Gun Show Lawsuit
Carmel Valley Road Eats

Resort On Main Street
Ann Gardner

Roving Teen Reporter:
Senioritis Syndrome

Eve Gross

Big vote – November 2018
Dave Druker

Expense Control
Tom McGreal

A Bridge Too Far
Don Mosier

Captain Taft
Ira Sharp

How Big is Your Footprint?
Bertha Leone

Sunny Side Up
Don Mosier

Rachel’s 100!
Nancy Fisher

Neighborhood Business?

Joel Holliday

Market Scholars
Jeff Barnouw
Leslie Robson

Facial Grooming

Helping Hands
Jeff Barnouw

On the Wing:
San Dieguito Lagoon

Ed Mirsky

Julie Maxey-Allison

Art With a View
Jeff Barnouw

Sustain Yourself! -
Go Green and Recycle

Julie Maxey-Allison

Streetscape Emerging
Ann Gardner

DMF: February 2019
Bill Morris and
Sandra Hoyle

DMCC: February 2019
Ashley Simpkins

Extra copies of the Sandpiper are available at: City Hall; the Del Mar Community Building on 9th Street; the Library; the Powerhouse; the Farmers’ Market; the Carmel Valley Library;the Solana Beach Library and the Solana Beach Community Center.


DM Calendar

DMCC Calendar

DMF Calendar

DM Library Calendar

DM Village Association

Public Meetings

City Council

Design Review Board

Planning Commission

home | home page archives | FEBRUARY 2019 home page
Click to enlarge.

preview of the March Sandpiper
Click on cover for March print issue
in pdf format
Update 2/27/19

Support Us

Join our
email list

Your email address here

Contact us


Readers' page


Update 2/17/19

Bluff Collapse Near seagrove park
Friday, February 15, 2019
Click to play the video.

February Print Issue

Slip Sliding Away
Talking with Dr. Pat Abbott
Julie Maxey-Allison

Dr. Pat Abbott, Professor Emeritus, San Diego State University specializing in Sedimentology of Mesozoic and Cenozoic rocks, the correlation of tectonically displaced terrains and natural disasters, sees our bluffs in geological terms, looking at the big picture. Dr. Abbott points out that Del Mar’s bluffs are composed of two different materials. The base, the lower two-thirds of the bluffs with the greenish hues, is made up of old sandstone and mud stones that are 45 million years old. The upper third, the rusty red material, is younger, some thousands of years old, and weak. “One can crush the hunks of sandstone on the top by the handful into sand. It is loosely bonded; it disintegrates. And, this is where the train tracks and people are.” As to stability, Dr. Abbott made clear in an interview aired on TV after the October 2018 bluff collapse that the bluffs “in the area between 9th and 11th streets could go at any time”.

Given the geological setting, cliffs meet ocean, the work of mother nature is ongoing. With the emergent physics, the entirety of what is going on with the great variety of stresses on our cliffs, Dr. Abbott cites the inevitability of our ocean’s waves advancing east, moving inland, and eventually eroding the bluffs. “You can’t stop ocean waves or gravity. The cliffs are coming down. It can’t be stopped.” But, this is in geological terms. When? Engineering statistics, he says, are not able to be averaged.

He also sizes up the little daily impacts. Each rainfall erodes the sandstone. Year after year, decade after decade, it shapes the cliffs. “One can see how the cliffs are sculptured by rain” but daily landscape watering also invades and soaks the soil below ground. It moves through the cliffs, sapping away strength below the surface. This is a cause of the collapse at Anderson canyon, a cliff area that has small internal underground caves. As more water from rain and landscape water entered the caves they grew and grew larger, attracting more and more water. Thus, the collapse.

Add the human effect: people walk atop the cliffs and the train rolls over them. Each day an estimated 40 or so trains run through Del Mar. Multiplied by 365 days a year the total is 14,600, and for a decade, 146,000. Of course there is an effect on the cliffs. “In the longer term the train tracks will have to move or they will end up on the beach. Any armoring or supports of the cliffs delays the inevitable.”
Back to water: “If Del Mar were serious, and I wonder if the city is serious, the city would control all water erosion that works its way below the surface and undermines the cliffs. All sprinklers, all plant watering would cease. Native plants that don’t need much water and the Torrey Pines that belong here would replace the current vegetation.” Also, “The shallow rooted non-native ice plant that adds tremendous weight to the cliffs would be removed.”

Dr. Abbott has clearly explained the future of our cliffs. They are eroding from the ocean waves, rain and irrigation water seeping below the surface, and the vibrations from the train runs. Sandstone is fragile. Appreciate these realities as you plan your next cliff walk.


I just wanted to drop a note to say thanks and keep up the good work on the paper and your city.

My son works in Carlsbad and had lived in Pacific Beach for a couple of years before getting an apartment in Del Mar. We usually visit CA once a year.
The quality of life is so much higher in Del Mar.  Streets and houses are so much better maintained,  Evidence of planning between the 2 cities is amazing
I live a world away in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.  We were in Del Mar for the first time this last weekend.  We left the 60 degree weather there and came back to 26 degrees and a storm that will dump 12 inches of snow  today. We have a place on Lake Michigan and live in a very scenic, very touristy area called Door County.  Our road association puts out a newsletter a couple times a year that reminds me  of a little brother/sister to The Sandpiper.  I was struck by the similarities and common issues, and a few differences between us.

Del Mar seems to be doing so much right-- I hope you realize it and take a moment to congratulate yourselves:  public beach access and parking, dog-friendly beach areas, free wi-fi areas, 25 mph speed limits, pedestrian safety ( the flashing yellow lights)

Threats common to us both: short term rentals, development, erosion, lack of affordable and  low income housing.  Is  good labor for hotels and restaurants hard to find? Keeping small businesses in storefronts.

Threats where you are on your own: moving train tracks, giant trees falling on people

Possible suggestions:  love the beach access for dogs (we have one but left him at home) but a few idiots spoil it for everyone.  Not all owners clean up.  Others that do drop the bag in bushes, in yards or leave it on the beach.  You may have to step up enforcement, signs, and fines.  I know some places are putting in dog waste to energy biodigesters. Coming into town on Friday afternoon with everyone stopping at a 4 way stop was a slow process.  Not  sure  if the traffic engineers have any tricks up their sleeves to help short of a traffic light.

I hope we'll be back in a year or so

And I know Del Mar will be delightful, and different

We really enjoyed your town.

Jeff Feuerstein



Scorsese’s Lessons

Ben Nyce will give a talk on Martin Scorsese’s short film “Life Lessons” which shows an abstract expressionist painter (Nick Nolte) in action. Particular attention will be given to the film’s use of visual space.

Ben wrote film commentary for the Sandpiper for a number of years. He was professor of literature and film at University of San Diego and author of “Satyajit Ray’s Films” and “Scorsese Up Close.”

Ben’s talk will be on Thursday, February 14 at 6pm at the Del Mar Library and will last about an hour.


February Print Issue

EDITORIAL: Agenda 2019 !!!!

Del Mar’s agendas are always full, fleshing out the ambitious visionary goals of our Community Plan. We spend a lot of energy every year working to find consensus to guide us forward. The year 2019 will see us continuing to work on unresolved issues and beginning to address new challenges.

• How to reconcile short term rental businesses with preservation of neighborhood character. This issue is bedeviling communities all over the west coast and beyond. In Del Mar it is confounded by our small size and the growing number of absentee owners, leaving us with a dwindling number of citizens involved in civic affairs. Our proposed compromise is currently under judicial review.

• How to prepare sensible plans for the impacts of sea level rise without undermining property values.

• How to reconcile density concerns, public access goals, protection of the Scripps Preserve, fragile bluff setbacks, and traffic flow in reviewing the Del Mar Resort plans for the 16 acre bluff property on our northwestern border.

• How to coordinate development of our new Shores Park property with the Winston School development plans.

• Finishing the streetscape improvements to promote downtown commercial development, taming auto traffic, promoting pedestrian access and safety, assuring safe bicycle routes.

• Reviewing design and construction plans for a new 101 bridge over the lagoon.

• Reviewing and adopting a two year budget plan that keeps revenue and expenditures in balance.

• Taking concrete steps to implement our adopted Climate Action Plan.

• Improving the cost/effectiveness strategies for public safety.

• Implementing the 5/22 plan for meeting our housing goals and requirement as set forth in the state-certified Housing Element of our Community Plan.

• Addressing the dilemmas of bluff failures, pedestrian access, and railroad tracks.

• Working with the Fair Board to address problems associated with events that create traffic and noise impacts, as well as controversial events such as gun shows.

This list mentions only a few of the many challenges we have as a city. Several of them involve other jurisdictions, but we have a proud history of not waiting for others to act—our city is unique precisely because we have proceeded with intentionality over the decades to make our Community Plan a reality. We have a representative form of government currently led by five exceptional members we have elected. We expect them to be decisive as well as inclusive. As citizens we need to stay involved, encouraging the Council with good ideas and constructive feedback. We have accomplished much in our decades as a city and we have much more to do.

Let’s get at it.


February Print Issue

Streetscape Emerging
Ann Gardner

As the long awaited Downtown Streetscape emerges on the east side of Camino del Mar, the City and construction workers are making sure customers can get to where they want to go. Banners and window posters tell us that all businesses and restaurants are open during construction; side streets are kept open; entrances and parking are identified, and in some cases cones are set up in the closed lane with enough space in between for angled parking in front of a business. Community liaison Rachel Beld emphasized that the contractor is making every effort to keep access to businesses open while a lane may be closed for equipment and construction. She explained this might mean taking a different route but the goal is to get customers to wherever they want to be, and that the yellow vested contract workers are prepared to answer questions about access.
During construction traffic is reduced to one lane from generally 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. while old mismatched sidewalks are being dug up to make way for a continuous exposed aggregate concrete sidewalk with “bulb-out” corners and accent paving to promote a pedestrian friendly environment. The street will feature striped bike lanes and enhanced crosswalks with pavers, all interspersed with new trees, plants and street furniture. Three 15-ft. Magnolia trees will replace the three older Eucalyptus trees in front of the Library that were determined to be unhealthy. And, despite the recent rain or any future bad weather, construction is scheduled to be finished in late June.

The current work, starting at the north end of the Del Mar Plaza running south to 9th street on the east side, is expected to continue through March. This month, February, construction will begin on the west side. Beld holds biweekly public meeting at Town Hall to update interested persons on construction progress and to answer questions. The next dates and times are February 4 and 19 and March 4 at 9 a.m. The City also maintains a Downtown Streetscape website where you can find new updates posted every Friday as well as a graphic of the final design at the Downtown Streetscape Project link. You can also click on a link to receive excellent weekly updates with photos by email.

The $6.76 million renovation work is being carried out by San Diego-based Trip-Group Construction and Development Inc. The cost is funded through voter-approved Measure Q funds (3.9 million), the existing Streetscape budget ($1.4 million) and $1.5 million in financing.


February Print Issue

Search our website


website by virginia lawrence
© 2007-2019 Del Mar Community Alliance, Inc.  All rights reserved.












Tru Cou S