Dwight Worden becomes Del Mar mayor


Dwight Worden will serve as the mayor of Del Mar for the next year, following a City Council vote on Dec. 13. Tracy Martinez will be the new deputy mayor.

Mayor Dwight Worden

The city’s five council members rotate the mostly ceremonial positions of mayor and deputy mayor every year in December.

Worden, who served as city attorney from 1977-83, was appointed to the council in 2014. He and incumbent Terry Sinnott were the only two candidates in the two-person race, so council members at the time canceled the election and appointed them both.

Worden served as mayor once before, from 2017-18. He was elected by voters for the first time in 2018.

Martinez, a health care executive and registered nurse who was first elected in 2020, is in her first term on the council. Martinez was slotted into the city’s line of succession based on her first place finish in the 2020 City Council election, in which three at-large seats were filled.

Del Mar City Councilwoman Terry Gaasterland completed her first one-year term as mayor since joining the council in 2018. She served as deputy mayor the year prior while City Councilwoman Ellie Haviland, who did not seek reelection last year, was mayor.

“As we entered 2021, Del Mar faced challenges that seemed nearly insurmountable,” Gaasterland said after council members presented her with a resolution in commemoration of her first mayoral term. “But if we didn’t find solutions as a council, Del Mar was going to face fundamental, irreversible changes and perhaps some really major consequences from the state.”

The challenges she mentioned included the state housing mandates that the city has had to address, ongoing coordination with the county to stabilize the eroding bluffs, the long-awaited utility undergrounding project and navigating the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gaasterland, who became the first mayor in city history to serve her entire year with virtual meetings, added that it was a “productive year in the face of so many challenges.”