New Del Mar Mayor’s key goal is to ‘help the city move forward’


Although Al Corti is Del Mar’s new mayor, there’s only one thing on his agenda: Help the city move forward.

“I didn’t come into the council with an agenda,” said Corti, who was appointed the city’s new mayor in a unanimous vote of the council during the Dec. 2 meeting.

“I came on to find out the agenda of the city, what we’re trying to accomplish, and then help get us there.”

A Del Mar resident for more than two decades, Corti was first elected to the council in 2012. He served as deputy mayor throughout the last year, and replaces retiring Mayor Lee Haydu. This is his first term as mayor, a position that rotates among council members.

Reflecting on his first two years on the council, Corti said he is proud that Del Mar adopted and implemented a sidewalk improvement plan, developed a 30-year projection of the city’s financial health, and paid off a $3 million side fund pension liability using the city’s general fund and water fund reserves, among other accomplishments.

“I’m proud when Del Mar makes progress,” said Corti, who moved to Del Mar in 1990.

As the city’s new mayor, Corti hopes to help move along other pending projects, including plans for a new city hall.

The council on Dec. 15 unanimously agreed to hire a consultant to help the city hold an advisory vote. Hiring a consultant is the city’s latest step in the city hall planning process, which Del Mar initiated in June 2013. Since then, the council has discussed the project at a number of council meetings, issued a citywide survey and held three public workshops.

“We desperately need a new facility,” Corti said. “Our employees are working in deplorable conditions. I don’t think that’s right. I feel it’s an obligation we should fix that.”

Besides moving forward with plans for a new city hall, Corti also looks forward to collaborating on a master plan for Del Mar Shores Park and completing sidewalk improvements along Jimmy Durante Boulevard.

“In Del Mar, a lot of times, things don’t necessarily progress,” Corti said. “We study things, we evaluate them, we listen to everybody’s opinions, and then nothing gets done. We need to figure out what we really want to accomplish, how we get there and do it together. That’s my agenda.”

In addition, Corti wants to tackle other short-term objectives and long-term problems. From undergrounding utilities, to finding a permanent home for the Alvarado House, there are several issues that have gone without solutions for years, he said.

“I didn’t come here with an agenda, but let’s figure out what we want to do,” Corti said. “If we can get together and put our minds together, I’m sure we can come up with a solution. These decisions don’t have to be monumental.”

A New York native, Corti moved west to Los Angeles in 1977 and then to San Diego in 1982. His construction management background led him to a long executive career with the Hahn Company, a major developer of regional malls in the U.S. and Canada.

In 1995, Corti established his own development and consulting company specializing in the development and redevelopment of major retail projects in California.

With his background in development, Corti looked where he could use his skills to benefit the community after his semi-retirement in 2005. He became active in the community prior to the Del Mar Village Specific Plan vote.

“I wanted to bring a different perspective to the city in the decision-making process,” said Corti, who still works as a consultant.

Although voters rejected the revitalization plan in November 2012, getting involved in the effort prompted Corti to get even more involved in the city. Prior to running for council, he served as a member of the Design Review Board, Form Based Code Committee, and Traffic and Parking Advisory Committee.

“I continued to get more involved in the city,” Corti recalled. “I volunteered anywhere I thought I could lend my expertise to the community I lived in. The next thing you know, you’re running for election. And somehow, in Del Mar, you get elected.”

When not preparing for or attending council meetings, Corti is often spending time with his two grown children and three grandchildren, golfing, or otherwise enjoying the community.

“This is an exciting time in Del Mar,” Corti said. “I’m grateful for this opportunity to serve and give back to the city.”