Heebner sworn in as Solana Beach mayor

Solana Beach
Solana Beach showed recordings of Lesa Heebner, Jewel Edson and David Zito being sworn in to their new terms as mayor and council members, respectively.

Solana Beach council members recognized outgoing Mayor Jewel Edson and Deputy Mayor Judy Hegenauer during their Dec. 9 meeting, which also included the swearing in of new Mayor Lesa Heebner.

Heebner credited Edson, who will remain on the council, with aiding the city’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which included assistance for renters, businesses and other measures.

Solana Beach Mayor Lesa Heebner
(Courtesy of Lesa Heebner)

“As many have said, you had a really challenging [term as mayor] with COVID and you did a stellar job,” said Heebner, who served on the City Council for 12 years before stepping down in 2016.

City Councilwoman Kristi Becker was unanimously selected by the council to be deputy mayor, and Councilman David Zito was sworn in to another term following his reelection last month.

Hegenauer, who was first elected in 2016, did not run for reelection. She said she was “tremendously moved” by the words of gratitude from her council colleagues during the meeting.

“Her commitment to Solana Beach goes way back,” City Councilwoman Kelly Harless said, mentioning Hegenauer’s role in making Solana Beach a city more than 30 years ago. “Every resident has a lot to thank her for.”

Edson will continue serving on the council as a representative for the newly formed District 3, which covers the southwestern corner of the city. She was the only candidate for that position in the Nov. 3 election.

Edson mentioned the difficulties posed by COVID-19 over the last year, in addition to social justice protests, murder hornets and other issues that suddenly emerged.

“I never dreamed of adding any of those topics to the challenges we might face,” she said, reflecting on the priorities she had when taking the mayoral gavel in December 2019.

Zito ran unopposed to serve the newly formed District 1, which covers the city’s northwestern quadrant.

Solana Beach’s five council members have always rotated the positions of mayor and deputy mayor each year. But due to a lawsuit that affected many California cities, Solana Beach switched to district-based elections and a separately elected mayor.

In addition to the mayoral and council races, the city also formally announced the defeat of Measure S, which would have allowed cannabis businesses in Solana Beach. Nearly 62% of residents voted against it, and all five council members indicated their opposition in the months leading up to Election Day.

“This particular measure would have been bad for Solana Beach and I think it was a really good thing that it was defeated,” Zito said.