By Karen Billing/Staff Writer
All things considered, 2010 was a relatively good year for Carmel Valley. New homes continued to be built and new families moved into the neighborhood to take advantage of the excellent, top-rated schools. A proposition that voters approved this year will help one community grow, and plans were made and projects started to upgrade and build local shopping centers.
The economy, that nasty “E” word, factored into most every conversation, there was Twitter and “Twilight,” and moms and dads became familiar with a phenomenon named Justin Beiber. There were some tumultuous times for the Del Mar Union School District but toward the end of the year, a sense of calm.
Here’s a look back at some of the happenings of 2010:
• The long-awaited Ocean Air Recreation Center opened its doors to the public on Jan. 20, about three months after the new park. The entire recreation center was built with “green” thinking, designed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) qualifications. Rooftop solar collectors provide 10 percent of electricity needs, recycled glass created the flooring in the lobby and corridor, and 50 percent of the wood products used were from managed forests. The building's many windows allow for more than 75 percent of the building to be lit by natural light.
• Carmel Valley residents were moved to contribute to Haiti after a devastating earthquake struck on Jan. 12. Students at Ashley Falls held a spare change drive and students at Carmel Creek collected shoes. Several residents, such as Scripps Health CEO Dr. Chris Van Gorder and Canyon Crest Academy teacher Mark Raines, even contributed their time and traveled to Haiti to provide medical care. Solana Pacific students sold handmade friendship bracelets to buy a water filtration device for earthquake victims and Jimbo’s…Naturally customers raised $15,000 to support Doctors Without Borders.
• An eight-month-long 7-11 committee process wrapped up with a final meeting on Jan. 13 at Sage Canyon School. The report detailed its findings that none of its proposals to reconfigure a school to make room for the district office gained 80 percent consensus among the members. In February, the board took school closure officially off the table.
• Feedback was collected on plans to refresh and upgrade Carmel Valley’s Del Mar Highlands Town Center. General Manager Elizabeth Schreiber said they heard three things loud and clear: Improved gathering places, improved restaurant selection, and frustration with the jam-packed parking lot. The center update, on which phase one began in late August, includes more parking, an overhaul of the amphitheater, a covered outdoor escalator and more eateries, including Rimel’s Rotisserie, The Counter and Carmel Valley Swirls. The UltraStar Cinemas will also undergo a complete restoration and will close in January for five to six months.
• On March 30, the Del Mar Union School Board voted 3-1 to fire school district superintendent Sharon McClain. President Comischell Rodriguez was the sole “no” vote and Steven McDowell opted to abstain.
Rodriguez said the vote terminated McClain due to a material breach of contract and “serious performance violations.”
“I truly feel that I have done the best job I can do,” McClain said. “I feel that I wanted to stay, I would’ve stayed because I love this district.”
A lawsuit against the district, which was filed by McClain in October, is suing the district for breach of contract, breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing, failure to pay wages and violation of McClain’s due process rights.