Carl Hilliard took over as mayor of Del Mar in December, and along with his City Council colleagues, faces a full agenda of issues in 2012, from streamlining council meetings to downtown revitalization.
The Del Mar Times interviewed Hilliard regarding the key issues facing the city over the next 12 months and accomplishments of the past year, as he begins his second one-year term as mayor. In Del Mar, members of the council take turns serving as mayor, rather than being directly elected by voters. The interview is presented in a Q & A format, and has been edited for brevity.
Hilliard was elected to the council for the first time in 2004, following a career in law and business. After serving in the Navy and graduating from the USC School of Law, he worked as a trial lawyer, then started a San Diego-based tech company with his wife. A skiing accident left him temporarily paralyzed, and after his recovery, he taught at local law schools, and represented clients in negotiations over satellite launch and positioning rights.
In November, Del Mar residents are expected to vote on a specific plan for the city’s downtown village, a plan that officials hope will spur revitalization of the central business district.
Question: What are your plans as you begin your term as mayor?
Answer: The mayor has the right to control the (City Council) agenda, the sequence of the agenda, not the items on the agenda. I’m going to try and change things. We have had two issues that have come up. I think we’ve had closed sessions at every meeting for the past couple of years.
So I’m going to propose to the council that we set aside the third or second Monday just for closed session and not try to get down here at 4:30 and go until 9 or 10 at night, not try to do it all in one. I’m one of five so we’ll see what the council thinks.
I just finished my term as chair of LAFCO (the Local Agency Formation Commission), I’m on the board at SANDAG (the San Diego Association of Governments) and I did my term at NCTD (North County Transit District), none of them read off the consent calendar, it’s done by motion. So I’m going to suggest that we put it on the screen so the people at home can see it.
The other thing is, community announcements. It used to be that a member of the council, if there was something in particular that should be brought to the attention of the community, would make the announcement and that’s morphed now so that the mayor has a long list of community announcements and I think it would be more productive to put that on the screen before the meeting starts, and if any council member wants to bring attention to something special, like the pink ribbon walk or things of that kind, then they’ll have that prerogative.