Del Mar Mayor Crystal Crawford passed the gavel to Richard Earnest on Monday night, as her one-year term as mayor expired.
Crawford was lauded with flowers, cake and a city commendation that praised her perfect attendance, her Louisiana gumbo and her enthusiasm, which a city proclamation said "if properly harnessed would light up the city, saving thousands on our electric bill and totally offset or carbon footprint."
The council took the time to compliment Crawford on her "professional polish," "keen intellect" and "unflagging optimism."
Councilman Carl Hilliard said she set a record for presentations at council meetings, helping to educate the council on a variety of topics — jokingly calling it the Crawford Lecture Series.
Crawford has served on City Council for 11 years and as mayor for three terms.
"The city is very fortunate to have had you serve as many years as you have," Earnest said.
Crawford said she has enjoyed her time as mayor but is happy to step aside and let Earnest run the show. She'll be busy launching her campaign for the 74th district seat against incumbent Martin Garrick, who will be up for reelection in November 2010.
The 74th district includes Del Mar, Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe, Encinitas, Carlsbad, San Marcos, Vista and parts of Escondido and Oceanside.
Crawford, a registered Democrat, told the Times last May, when she announced her candidacy, that her 11 years of experience as a working nonpartisan councilwoman puts her in good stead to reach across the aisle in Sacramento. Also, she said coming from local government means she understands how much decisions in the state's capital impact cities.
Crawford said she is looking forward to the campaign and talking with people from all over the 74th district, which includes Del Mar, Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe, Encinitas, Carlsbad, San Marcos, Vista and parts of Escondido and Oceanside.
"We are very fortunate in this community to have such a talented City Council," Crawford said, before listing accomplishments in the last few years such as adopting their first-ever two-year budget.
She said she was most proud of that two-year budget because the city found a way to maintain all its service levels and still cut 9 percent of costs in the first year. Expenditures will go down an additional 8 percent in the second year, again without losses to city services and without any staff layoffs.
She said challenges still remain with retiring the Shores debt by November 2011, revamping the beach safety center on 17th Street and continuing to revitalize the downtown area.
As Earnest was selected mayor, Don Mosier became the city's deputy mayor.