Why all residents’ voices must be heard

By Richard Earnest

Mayor, Del Mar

It is likely that two of the most contentious projects currently facing Del Mar residents are the North Hills and Sunset Utility undergrounding districts. On Feb. 2, the city held a Special Council Meeting to discuss the North Hills Preliminary Engineering Report. The council received oral comments from 46 residents, most of whom oppose the district, and received written statements from 66 residents, the majority of whom support the district.

The decision on how to proceed has been an agonizing one for council. For some of our residents, undergrounding could not have occurred at a worse time and will be a considerable financial hardship. While some financial assistance will be available through the program offered through Del Mar Community Connections, there is no guarantee of how much funding will be available and how many residents can be helped.

While I consider the financial difficulties that undergrounding will present for many of our residents, I must also weigh the countless hours that the volunteer resident steering committees have worked trying to move their districts forward, as well as the unrefundable monies that were provided in excess of $100,000 by the neighbors to support the undergrounding process.

In North Hills, 79 percent of the residents submitted petitions in favor of forming the district and residents raised $38,540 from their neighbors to see the district move forward.

In Sunset, 70 percent of the residents submitted petitions in favor and a total of $65,550 in funding was raised.

These funds have been completely spent for engineering costs and cannot be returned to the residents who expected the council to allow them to decide what was best for themselves. For this reason, if the council were to cancel the district before the vote it would squander the efforts and funds of the many residents that have contributed, and would run the risk of not seeing the democratic process through to the end.

At the same time, I recognize the amount of courage that it took for some of our residents to testify in public about their personal situation. We should do all we can to minimize the potential negative economic consequences for those affected.

The positive results of our efforts to underground utilities in Del Mar should not contribute to the economic hardship of our neighbors.

The only possible way to ensure a fair and democratic outcome is to allow the assessment ballot procedure to continue so that the voice of all citizens can be heard. If a majority favors formation of the districts, the City Council will still have a difficult decision before it when it considers those who cannot afford undergrounding and those who have worked so hard to make it a reality.

We recognize that undergrounding is a resident-led project and we should see the process through. I can assure you that I am listening to all voices in the community and know that we are faced with a very difficult decision, which will affect all of us.

Related posts:

  1. Estimates for utility project ‘floor’ Del Mar North Hills residents
  2. Council clears up utility project details
  3. Council OKs more funding for undergrounding projects
  4. Council ignored residents on undergrounding issue
  5. Del Mar utility line plan moves forward

Short URL: http://www.delmartimes.net/?p=7962

Posted by on Feb 25, 2010. Filed under Archives. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply

Archives

Facebook

Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6

LA JOLLA NEWS

RSS LA JOLLA NEWS

  • Look how you’ve grown! La Jolla Secret Garden tour celebrates 16 years
    The upcoming Secret Garden Tour of La Jolla, a fundraiser for the La Jolla Historical Society, has come a long way from its first venture in 1999. Event co-founder Linda Marrone said, over time, the committee came up with ways to change and improve the tour, creating the “successful” event it is today. […]
  • La Jolla Community Calendar April 17-24
    Bird Rock Elementary will hold new student registration for the 2014-2105 school year, 1:30-3:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 23 in the Bird Rock Elementary auditorium, 5371 La Jolla Hermosa Ave. An enrollment packet can be picked up in the office in advance to be completed before the registration date. (858) 488-0537. […]
  • Thanks for the non-memories
    When I considered whether to go to my 40th high school reunion — my first reunion ever — the first thing I thought about was whether I’d have to confront my high school nemesis, Medusa (not her real name). […]

RANCHO SANTA FE NEWS

RANCHO SANTA FE NEWS

RSS RANCHO SANTA FE NEWS