Letters to the Editor: Express your views immediately, residents
By Jim Donovan
There is probably no more enviable residential location in this country than the Del Mar beach, on it or overlooking it, yet I have increasingly experienced a downside that one must live here to be aware of and understand.
Namely, a top-down power system that has perpetually threatened our cherished image as it applies to us, the residents, that sometimes includes our City Council as an accomplice that may or may not be aware of the consequences. The biggest threat in terms of origin, however, is the combination of the railroad and North Coast Transit District (NCTD) that has the power, partly real, partly assumed, to do anything that is in its self-interest.
If you didn’t know, the Del Mar depot was closed for lack of parking capacity in favor of Solana Beach where the ever-increasing demands of space are sufficient for far into the future. The Del Mar property was later leased to private interests for 25 years by the owners of the railroad.
But now the NCTD has become interested in using the Del Mar depot for shuttling purposes during weekends and special events at the Fairgrounds, and guess to whose advantage and disadvantage?
First, imagine the impact of more trains added to the day and night stream of them that is the major downside to living on or close to the Del Mar beach, plus the additional impact of stopping and unloading and loading again (with accompanying fumes, bells ringing and horns blowing) would have on surrounding residents and their property values. If you are a nearby resident, you better pay attention to this development and express your views to the Del Mar City Council immediately.
As a resident of Del Mar, you of course assume that your City Council will be unhesitatingly supportive of your best interests. But that is not what I read in the page 1 story in last week’s Del Mar Times. To quote Councilman Don Mosier: “It’s more green and eco-friendly than having cars come into town and sitting idle at our stop signs.” (Eco- friendly? Don’t be misled, more vehicles than the shuttles will be brought to the privately occupied depot). And from the usually straight-thinking Carl Hilliard: “I’m inclined to give it a shot.”
You have to wonder, who votes for our City Council? The interests at the Fairgrounds, the railroad, the NCTD?
Why is saving a small and highly debatable amount of public fuel more important to a council member than the best interests of his constituents, especially when beach traffic on weekends is turning people away from the area because parking has been beyond capacity for years? To get a few more people to the Fairgrounds, when an all-time record number of people made it to the Fair last year? As for the races, this lifelong racetracker submits that attendance there is far more dependent upon younger than older demographics, and that few of those younger people will give up their cars when going to the races for the afternoon or evening.
And then there is the still-alive unloading and reloading platform very close to the track that residents in that area have been unanimously against, or is this latest development just another fishing expedition? I say, assume nothing and express your views immediately.
Add up the pros and the cons and you’ll see that we, the residents of Del Mar, are on the receiving end of a con job. And if “betrayal” is too strong a term for our sincere but often myopic City Council, then it is “lack of commitment to their No. 1 responsibility.”
I say it’s time to start asserting ourselves more forcefully as voting/tax-paying residents and property owners, lest we become increasingly subordinated (and there is more coming) to a top-down system driven by profit and other motives contrary to our best interests, which are residential.
And before we become another Pottersville, as in “It’s a Wonderful Life.”