Opinion: Del Mar City Council, get rid of those wood shingles

By Jim Donovan/Del Mar resident

Re your story at top of page one on Dec. 18, "Del Mar closer to wood shake shingle roof ban": This is an issue that has been on the City Council's agenda for several years, most actively since the unforgettable (?) Witch fires of three years ago after which everyone around here was saying that drastic changes would have to be made now that we know Del Mar could become a pile of rubble and ash, if the wind just happens to blow our way.

Deputy Mayor Carl Hilliard said at a December council meeting that he "shudders as he drives around Del Mar and sees all the wood shingle roofs that are still on our buildings," like the condominium I live in and the L'Auberge hotel that is literally a spark away from it.

Yet Mayor Don Mosier thought that a wood shingle ban in 2013 should be reconsidered and perhaps extended.

How would he feel, to say nothing of our residents, if another Witch-scale fire burned Del Mar down, partially or otherwise, in 2011-12-13-or in whatever year he would feel comfortable with?

Is setting an enforcement date strictly a matter or individual or council opinion and political process? Isn't the first and foremost purpose of our City Council to protect us, the residents who vote for our Council members, to do just that? Or I am I being too simplistically naive because every issue, no matter how crucial and urgent, has to wend its way through repeated meetings, hearings and other red-tape necessities of the political protocol?

If your home is on fire, what is the first thing you do? You do anything, literally anything, at your disposal that has a chance to put it out, do you not? If a fire is approaching your home, wouldn't you do the same thing, and any and all other considerations be damned?

I submit that that is where we are. In perpetual danger of losing everything we have built and view as our irreplaceable Utopia, yet our mayor thinks we are trying to move too fast to protect ourselves from losing it all. What we face, it seems certain to me, is a process of compromise within the Council that will drag until who knows when, except that there is no one on the Council who can assure us that it won't be too late.

I therefore have to ask each of our Council members, how will you feel then about your political process and individual decision making? Will you run for re-election?

As for the decision to force compliance by (whenever), I quote Margaret Thatcher: "Compromise is the lack of leadership." As demonstrated in reverse by our President Reagan when he said, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall!"

Del Mar City Council, get rid of those wood shingles.

Before we are all among the homeless.



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