Del Mar council scraps educational mailer, directs staff to send notices instead
By Claire Harlin
The Del Mar City Council on Sept. 24 put the breaks on a full-color, city-sponsored mailer containing the Village Specific Plan’s (VSP) executive summary, but opted instead to mail out two notices informing residents of upcoming question-and-answer sessions to take place on Oct. 1 and Oct. 15, from 6-7:30 p.m. in the Del Mar City Hall Annex.
The issue came before the council on Sept. 10 after some residents expressed concern that the city’s educational program was akin to lobbying for Proposition J, the ballot measure that, if approved, will set the city’s VSP in motion. The council at that time asked city staff to bring before them a prototype of the proposed brochure, to be sent to all residents.
Councilman Don Mosier pointed out a feature of the proposed brochure that was not in the original VSP, an artistic rendering of a revitalized Del Mar, paid for by and containing the logo of the Del Mar Village Association (DMVA). Mosier said it’s ambiguous whether the mailer is from the city or from the DMVA, which supports Prop J.
He said he has heard some unfactual information disseminated around he city and on Facebook, however, so he supports sending out the mailer.
Councilman Mark Filanc said he’s irritated at some mistruths about the VSP he has been hearing too, but the council needs to “stay above the fray.”
He said he thinks the mailer is legal, but “it can be construed and will be construed as advocacy, whether it’s legal or not,” possibly resulting in a negative impact.
“When I look at a picture like that that’s being proposed, it’s an artist rendering and it’s very attractive,” he said. “The executive summary is well-written and a great piece … but’s it’s not worth the controversy moving forward.”
The council heard voices from the public on both sides of the issue.
Proponent Al Corti said he supports an aggressive educational campaign, however, Prop J opponent Dave Druker said the council needs to stay out of the political realm during election season.
Mosier said the city has worked so long and so hard on the VSP, that he hopes scrapping the mailer doesn’t mean killing those efforts at the finish line.
The council will have a special meeting in ethics training (not a public meeting) on Oct. 1 from 6 to 9 p.m. at City Hall.
For more information on the VSP and upcoming meetings, visit www.delmar.ca.us. Email any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.