May 25: letters to the editor

A new opportunity for public art

Del Mar is a community which admires and appreciates art. Since I have been on council I have heard from many residents a strong desire for some form of public art. But, unfortunately, Del Mar has never had a city policy that outlines how public art can be proposed, accepted, located in public spaces and managed over time.

With the pending completion of the Del Mar Civic Center, the possible developments of the Garden Project, the Watermark Project and the North Bluff Project, we have many opportunities to see public art placed in the community.

Over two years ago a committee of the Del Mar Village Association (DMVA) drafted a very comprehensive public art policy. In January of 2016, the Del Mar City Council asked a subcommittee of Sherryl Parks and myself to draft a scaled-down city policy for public art, based on the best recommendations of the DMVA report. A draft was reviewed by council in October 2016.

We then circulated the draft to all community organizations for review and comment. A final recommendation was presented to council last Monday, May 15.

I would say most of the council was very enthusiastic and supportive of the public art proposal.

After a good discussion, the council approved the Public Art Policy. Here are the highlights:

Goal:

The Del Mar Public Art Program seeks to ensure the highest quality of design, where public art has a constant presence in our community.

Program:

The program will include art on public and private property. It will be implemented as a five-year pilot program, with the first two years focusing on art donated to the city or purchased with donated funds. After two years, if the program is successful, the community can decide whether to expand the effort using other funding sources.

Art Advisory Committee (AAC):

A seven-member committee will be appointed to advise the City Council as the review committee for all public art projects. It will select and recommend projects to the City Council for installation in public spaces. The committee will include four residents (art backgrounds preferred), a Del Mar business owner (arts-related business preferred) , a representative from the Del Mar Village Association, a representative from the Del Mar Foundation, and an ex-officio member with art administration background.

Community Norms:

Public art must represent freedom of expression while at the same time not insulting or offending large portions of the community. For this reason, all art pieces being considered for public display will first be reviewed by the AAC based on contemporary, community standards. An art piece will not be accepted by the city if the AAC determines it conflicts with basic community standards.

Art Permanence:

All art owned by the city is considered temporary, and may be moved, removed or decommissioned at any time. Art located on a permanent structure may be removed when the structured is changed or demolished.

Now what I have outlined above is a brief description of the new policy. The actual policy has many fine points described in a detail that would make attorneys proud. You will be able to read the specifics on Del Mar’s website.

What is truly amazing to me is that after 58 years as a city, we have the initial agreement that the city will encourage and accommodate public art. I will keep my fingers crossed that many of our residents will step forward to make this a success.

I want to thank the Del Mar Village Association and the Del Mar Foundation for their long-time efforts to bring an art policy forward. I also want to recognize Sherryl Parks who put her energy into bringing this to life.

Terry Sinnott

Del Mar Mayor

I have the privilege of serving as Del Mar’s Mayor for one year.

These comments are my own perspective of the consensus of the Council.

Giving thanks

As the academic year comes to an end, I would like to thank the teachers and administrators in the Encinitas Union and San Dieguito Union school districts who took an extra effort to make the schools safer for students. It’s time to thank students and parents who reached out and helped someone who needed the extra support.

In the last few weeks, many of us have renewed our subscriptions to newspapers that have racked up nationwide popularity through their investigative reporting. At the local level, I strongly feel that we need to thank our local journalists who have continued to work hard to decode issues related to our schools. I rely on our local education reporter, Karen Billing, for providing an excellent summary of the educational issues that are most relevant to parents and concerned residents.

Initially, I used to rely on the minutes of the SDUHSD board meetings. However, after I had read how my urgent and detailed request to improve the data analysis of the Healthy Kids Survey was described in the board minutes, I grew more attached to the Encinitas Advocate for education-related news.

As a researcher, I admire investigative journalists. As for our district, Marsha Sutton, has made a mark. She pursues a topic with great tenacity even when she is aware that some will be very unhappy with her findings. Marsha works hard to seek the truth through research and analysis and keeps unraveling information that takes us by surprise. She is a great role model for aspiring investigative journalists, particularly for young women. Marsha is also shaping education activists who will make Equity in Education a reality in the North County Coastal schools. Have a great summer and be safe.

Sheila Mitra Sarkar,

Encinitas

Education column appreciated

The following letter was sent to Education Matters opinion columnist Marsha Sutton and to this newspaper for publication:

I’m writing this to let you know that I think your most recent Education Matters opinion column in the paper, “Betting on hope,” is really great. I love reading your education column. I agree with you that the recent salary raises are ridiculous. I was particularly impressed with the “Golden Fleece Award” part. Wow. It just goes to show you what is really going on. The “highest paid in the district” clause is also crazy.

Were it not for your columns, many parents locally would not know what is going on. Unfortunately, due to the Union’s extraordinary power in our state and the support they receive from California’s dominant political party, this issue is unlikely to be resolved anytime soon. I commend you, though, for bringing light on these issues to parents in the district. Perhaps next time the teachers in our district demand an unrealistic and undeserved salary increase, parents in the district will speak up and demand the money be used for a different purpose.

Matthew Clewley

Carmel Valley

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