Jewel Edson becomes new Solana Beach mayor

Jewel Edson
( / Courtesy)

Solana Beach City Councilwoman Jewel Edson became the city’s new mayor Dec. 11, during the annual rotation of the five council members.

City Councilwoman Judy Hegenauer is the new deputy mayor.

Most of the reorganization ceremony was devoted to honoring City Councilman David Zito, whose term as mayor came to an end. Zito had been holding the post since mid 2018, following Ginger Marshall’s unexpected resignation. He was also mayor from Dec. 2015 through 2016.

“Being mayor has been very interesting and challenging at times, but it’s also been very rewarding,” said Zito, whose current term on the City Council runs through 2020. “We have a wonderful city.”

Zito mentioned improvements on Glenmont Drive, the skate park opening, restrictions on single-use plastics, safe-storage requirements for firearms and an art installation at the fire station as a few of the city’s achievements over his past year as mayor.

City Manager Greg Wade also mentioned Zito’s role in advocating for a Community Choice Energy program to offer residents a cleaner energy alternative to San Diego Gas & Electric. Solana Beach launched its own CCE before partnering with Del Mar and Carlsbad this year to form the Clean Energy Alliance.

“Having a mayor as knowledgeable as Dave to help go out to the community, meet with [homeowners associations] and meet with the community and advocate for that effort was very helpful to say the least,” said Wade, who presented Zito with a plaque of recognition for his year as mayor.

Zito also received a gift and card from the other four council members.

“You have been an amazing mayor, colleague, role model and friend,” City Councilwoman Kelly Harless said.

The city of Solana Beach will transition away from its longtime model of electing five at-large council members starting in November 2020.

The city has been divided into four districts, and residents from each one will elect a representative on the council. For the first time since the city’s founding in 1986, the mayor will be a separately elected position by all Solana Beach voters.

The change was made last year in response to a letter to the city by attorney Kevin Shenkman, who claimed the at-large City Council elections were in violation of the California Voting Rights Act. City staff members said they did not believe there was a violation, but made the change anyway to avoid incurring the cost of the legal challenge.