Gaasterland becomes Del Mar mayor; new council members sworn in

Tracy Martinez, Dan Quirk and Dave Druker were sworn in to new City Council terms on Dec. 7.

Del Mar City Councilwoman Terry Gaasterland will serve as mayor for the next year, following the council’s annual rotation on Dec. 7, which also included the swearing in of two new council members.

Gaasterland, serving her first mayoral term after being elected in 2018, said she’s looking forward to having a “new dynamic” and “new blood” on the council.

New Del Mar Mayor Terry Gaasterland

“We have a fresh start and we have an opportunity to really work together as a team,” she added.

City Councilman Dwight Worden is the new deputy mayor, a title he last held in 2017.

The top three finishers in Del Mar’s three-seat, at-large council race last month were Tracy Martinez, Dan Quirk and incumbent Dave Druker.

“It’s a huge responsibility and you’ve elected me to be your voice and I take that very seriously,” Martinez said during the meeting.

Quirk added that he is “very excited to get to work with all of you and everyone in town.”

Druker, who served on the council from 1996 to 2008 and won reelection again in 2016, said it was “a very tough, disturbing election,” but said that he wants the new council to earn the trust of the community.

The most contentious issue of the election was the city’s approach to accommodating 175 new housing units, which have been mandated by the state’s Regional Housing Needs Allocation. Martinez, Quirk and Druker all campaigned in opposition to a series of zoning decisions that a majority of council members made in recent months to keep the city’s housing element in compliance with state law, and avoid litigation from the state or other potential consequences.

The three have said they want to try getting the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development to approve a smaller-scale approach to adding housing in Del Mar. Their position echoed longstanding concerns by local residents that the state is forcing Del Mar to compromise its village-like atmosphere with overly dense housing requirements.

The new council will discuss the new draft housing element, which requires state approval by April, during a Dec. 14 workshop.

Del Mar City Councilwomen Ellie Haviland, who served as mayor over the past year, and Sherryl Parks did not seek reelection.

A proclamation in honor of Parks highlighted the many roles she has served in the community before joining the council, including Design Review Board member and president of the nonprofit Del Mar Foundation. Parks, who was first elected in 2012 and served two terms, also helped the city adopt a civil discourse code.

“We are lucky in Del Mar to have the professionals we have all the way across the board,” she said.

Council members credited Haviland for navigating an unprecedented year as mayor that included many changes to city finances and priorities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all while weathering the occasional technical difficulties of holding council meetings online. In her lone term on the council, Haviland represented Del Mar on the San Diego Association of Governments board of directors and the newly formed Clean Energy Alliance’s board of directors.

“We have an amazing community,” Haviland said.