For the first time in Del Mar’s 60-year history, the city’s mayor and deputy mayor are both women.
City Councilwoman Ellie Haviland, who became mayor for the first time at the council’s annual reorganization Dec. 2, said it’s “a great milestone” for Del Mar. She succeeds City Councilman Dave Druker, who completed his fourth one-year term as mayor.
Council members elected City Councilwoman Terry Gaasterland the new deputy mayor, based on her first place finish in the 2018 City Council election. From being the only woman in the University of Chicago’s computer science department earlier in her career as a professor, Gaasterland said it’s a “wonderful feeling” to be part of the first pair of women to hold the top two spots on the council.
City communications consultant Adam Kaye said a review of city records confirmed it’s the first time women have held both posts in tandem.
One of the biggest challenges they both mentioned will be updating the city’s housing element to accommodate 163 more residential units across all income levels in Del Mar. The state is requiring San Diego County to add zoning for about 171,000 new units over the next decade, and each city received a share of that number based on a formula designed to place more housing near jobs and transit. Haviland represents Del Mar on the San Diego Association of Governments, the regional planning agency that determined each city’s share of the county’s 171,000-unit mandate. She voted in favor of Del Mar’s 163 assignment, in accordance with the Del Mar City Council’s support for a jobs- and transit-based rationale for distributing housing units. Some Del Mar residents wanted her to join Solana Beach Mayor David Zito, who sits on the SANDAG board, in an effort to fight for a reduction in the housing increases assigned to small cities. SANDAG officials have said the state would probably reject their plan for distributing housing units if it included a carve-out for small cities.
“We have to make progress on that, and it’s going to be difficult for our community,” she said in a phone interview, referring to the new housing element the council will have to develop.
Some of the other immediate challenges on the horizon for Del Mar include winning California Coastal Commission approval for its plan to manage sea level rise, hiring a new city manager, and a March ballot measure to determine the fate of the Marisol resort project, which would add 65 hotel rooms, 31 villas and 22 affordable housing units.
“Seeing the possibility of dense construction visible from afar is disturbing for many in Del Mar,” said Gaasterland, who unsuccessfully asked council members to instead call for a November election to give residents more time to study the project.
Del Mar resident and 22nd District Agricultural Association board member Don Mosier, a former councilman, praised Haviland’s work on clean energy. She is part of the three-member board of directors that oversees a newly launched Community Choice Energy program comprising Del Mar, Solana Beach and Carlsbad.
“You’ve come up to speed quite quickly on details of clean energy It’s a very important step in implementing our climate action plan, and I appreciate all the support that you’ve given to that,” he said during public comment.
Druker served on the council from 1996 to 2008 and declined to run for reelection until 2016, when he, Haviland and City Councilwoman Sherryl Parks were elected. The council’s accomplishments during his past year as mayor include a plastic straw ban designed to cut down on pollution from single-use plastics, and a safe-storage firearm law meant to reduce injuries and fatalities from illegal use of guns. The city also completed a streetscape project that rejuvenated the city’s business district with new sidewalks, landscaping, pavement and lane striping.
“It’s quite an honor to be mayor, and it’s also fun,” Druker said, adding that “we’ve had quite a year this year.”