Del Mar councilman to forgo re-election bid

Terry Sinnott
Terry Sinnott Courtesy

Del Mar City Councilman Terry Sinnott will not run for a third-term in office in November’s election, he announced Sunday, July 1.

“Two terms are enough for any sane person,” Sinnott said in an email publicizing his decision.

He also cited the city’s contentious political atmosphere as a reason for ending his council career at this four-year term’s end in December.

Short-term residential rentals, the rising sea level, dogs on the beach and personnel issues at City Hall were among the concerns causing divisiveness, he said in an interview Monday, July 2.

“All kinds of things that have come before the council have been very controversial,” he said. “For whatever reason, the community has been very polarized and it’s been difficult.

“My approach has always been — if you identify a problem, you bring all the parties together and you stay until you reach a consensus or a compromise solution, and I don’t think that’s been taking place very much recently.”

Sinnott said, that to encourage participation in the upcoming election, he chose to make his announcement in advance of the upcoming period for candidacy nominations.

Elected to his first term in 2010, Sinnott served as mayor in 2013 and 2017 when he was selected for the post by fellow council members.

During his two terms, he, in conjunction with fellow council members, has notched numerous accomplishments, including the installation of a new, recently opened civic center, sidewalks throughout the city, the Jimmy Durante Boulevard roundabout, and a walking path to the Grand Avenue bridge.

Other achievements he listed were the connection of city sewers to the San Elijo Joint Powers Authority’s system to the north; the passage of a 1/2-cent fee to help pay for the placement of utilities underground; creation of a new master plan for the Shores Park; establishment of a public arts program; and the initiation of downtown streetscape improvements.

“I’m very proud of the civic center,” Sinnott said. “We worked really hard on that. ... That’s going to be a really great asset for the community.

He also said he found satisfaction from the effort put into strengthening the city’s finance committee and ensuring the municipal government’s fiscal health.

Among numerous duties during his tenure, Sinnott has served as the council’s representative on the San Diego Association of Governments’ Board of Directors. This year, Sinnott is chairman of the group, a coalition of representatives from the region’s 18 cities, the county and other government agencies.

“This last year as the chair has been very positive and it’s been a period when SANDAG has been going through change,” he said. “I’m proud of my representation on SANDAG and how I took a leadership role there.”

A native San Diegan, Sinnott attended San Diego High downtown and graduated from Pomona College in 1967.

He became a commissioned officer in the Navy and served one tour aboard the USS Bon Homme Richard in Vietnam and another as an instructor at the Fleet Training Center in San Diego.

In 1972, Sinnott began working for San Diego Gas & Electric, while earning a master’s degree in business administration from SDSU.

Sinnott left SDG&E in 1994 to form his own management consulting business. He moved to Del Mar in 1976 with his wife and they raised two children.

With six months left as a council representative, Sinnott still has more issues to tackle. He has not decided what other activities he might pursue when his council career is over, but is sure there will be plenty of opportunities.

“I think two terms for eight years is a good length of time to be doing this kind of work, so it’s probably time for me to do other things,” he said.