May 4 and May 11: Letters to the editor

‘A Breath of New Life’ to the Del Mar Plaza

Congratulations to Patricia and Marc Brutten for their wish to enliven our city center “ The Plaza.” Many times my husband and I would go on a Sunday afternoon to sit and enjoy the beauty of “The Plaza,” hopefully meet a neighbor or two and share a greeting. Very few neighbors could be found enjoying the day. It was very sad to experience the emptiness of what could have been the nerve center of Del Mar. Now with the vision and developer skills of this energetic couple we might see this vision come to fruition. Good luck with this project. We are with you.

Arline and David Paa

Del Mar

Cannabis festival should not be held at Del Mar Fairgrounds

Your article on May 2 regarding the cannabis festival coming to Del Mar Fairgrounds was upsetting to say the least. Not only are festivals like this rare, because cities around the state are understandably hesitant, but it’s as if the Del Mar Fairgrounds are hoping to be the pioneers. It is especially troubling that it is reported that attendees will be able to bring your own marijuana to consume. Recreational use is still unregulated and prohibited. They say no THC products will be allowed, but attendees can bring their own, uncontrolled substance?

One organizer’s quote was especially concerning, where the organizer said “After this it’s going to be so mainstream it’s not even funny.” This attitude is indicative of stereotypical marijuana use: In your face and challenging the current laws.

While proposition 64 has been passed, and certain regulations will be in place eventually, it should not be Del Mar who is hosting this controversial festival.

Damien Rapp

Del Mar

Police department advocacy op-ed ignores or misstates salient facts

In his op-ed piece in the April 13 issue of the Del Mar Times, Mayor Terry Sinnott attempts to make the case for the establishment by Del Mar of an independent police department (hereinafter DMPD).

Regretfully his advocacy article either ignores or misstates salient facts including the following:

(1) Mayor Sinnott claims that the city would save circa $300,000 per year by establishing a DMPD instead of contracting with SD County’s Sheriff office. Mr.Sinnott fails to acknowledge that the consultant’s cost estimates submitted to the City Council on April 18, 2016 are by now out of date. The cost projections of the report are based on 2015 data. These projections ignore the significant increases of police salaries, pension contributions and the inflation of building costs in the two years since the report was drafted. For instance, pension contributions alone from 2016 to 2017 are projected to increase by 20 percent. Thus, to compare DMPD 2015 cost estimates with current contract costs with the S.D. County Sheriff results in a highly distorted conclusion. (see, S.D. Police Officer Shortage Gets Worse, S.D. Union Tribune, April 28, 2017).

Further, neither the consultants report or the analysis prepared by the City Staff addresses the added administrative costs associated with the city manager and staff supervision of the DMPD that is implied by both the consultants report and the City Staff Report of April 18, 2016. Such supervision and back office operations for payroll and such would be for a department of 30 personnel or circa 40 percent additional personal from the city’s current roster of 55 FTEs.

(2) The Mayor’s op-ed article states: “The staffing increase (associated with a DMPD) would be from 15.8 FTE to 19.0 FTE, an addition of 4 people.” This statement is highly misleading. Moreover, the factual basis for this assertion is unclear since it is puzzling how the addition of 30 FTEs - 29 officers and one non-officer administrative assistant - would lead to a net gain of only 4 FTEs to the city payroll.

(3) The estimated annual savings claimed by Mayor Sinnott’s for the establishment of a DMPD totally ignores two major cost factors. The 2015 consultants report projects that a functional D.M. police department would need to be housed in a physical structure of circa 4,300 sq.ft. — roughly 50 percent of the space devoted to administrative services in the city hall currently under construction. The $2.2—$3.2 million 2015 consultant’s estimate would appear to be in need of updating and revision notwithstanding the City Manager’s 2017 report that more or less adopts the consultants 2115 low-end assessment of $2.4 million — without any backup data.

Aside from the Mayor’s failure to address the construction costs of a DMPD facility, his analysis does not deal with another major cost factor — namely, the land acquisition costs that a structure of 4,300 sq.ft. plus parking would require. While estimates of land costs at this point may be a futile exercise, it is certain that land acquisition in Del Mar would be a major hurdle both financially and even in terms of availability.

Many Del Mar residents, such as ourselves, would welcome a more forthright and accurate presentation of facts from our elected officials and less advocacy based on made-up or ignored facts.

Ralph Reisner

Del Mar

‘Widening Via de la Valle’

Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result?

More development = more traffic. More people = more traffic.

Widening and “improving” roads means that more vehicles will travel the roads. You cannot “build your way out of it.”

Widen Via de la Valle and you will have more traffic into Rancho Santa Fe, hence a lower quality of life.

When is enough, enough? Do we really want to be like L.A. and Orange Counties or do we want to put a stop to increased traffic ?

Rob Peterson

Twin Oaks Valley