Letters to the Editor: Oct. 10, 2008


Yes on H

This November, Del Mar residents will vote on Proposition H - a measure that authorizes the City to raise the hotel room tax rate (TOT) up to 13 percent. Vote “Yes” on Proposition H. Here’s why.

Del Mar, a city of just over 4,500 residents, annually receives more than two million visitors to its fine attractions. These visitors regularly use and require city services, including fire and emergency medical, traffic and law enforcement, and lifeguards to name a few. All of these services are provided by the city from its general fund revenues.

How can Del Mar’s 4,500 residents and 1,800 property owners support the cost of these services to more than two million visitors? It is because the city relies on several sources of revenue to support its general fund programs.

The largest single revenue category is city property taxes - paid mainly by residents. Property taxes contribute nearly one-third of all general fund revenues.

The TOT is the next largest revenue category - paid mainly by visitors. The TOT contributes just over 16 percent of all general fund revenue. TOT and sales tax revenues combined about equal the property tax revenues.

Until recently, TOT alone contributed more than 20 percent of general fund revenue. But TOT revenues have not kept pace with the rising cost of general fund services. It’s time to adjust the TOT rates.

Because visitors, not residents, pay the TOT voter approval of a TOT rate increase normally would be a “no brainer.” But in this election strident opposition to Proposition H has arisen in the form of a ballot argument signed by a small group of former council members. Why would this group oppose increasing the TOT rate?

Their ballot argument accuses the City Council of “sleight of hand” and of not telling the “whole story” to the public. These charges stemmed from a City Council action last August that loosely related the TOT rate to a possible special assessment on hotel rooms, part of a tourism marketing district or TMD suggested by hotel owners last June.

The council wanted everyone to be aware of the hotel owners’ suggested TMD even though the owners haven’t decided whether to go forward with it. The council’s action clearly was premature. But the opponents were angered by the council’s action and they hastened to file their ballot argument in opposition.

The council members asserted the opponents were confused by the TMD proposal and misinterpreted the Council’s intentions. Such things do happen. To show their good faith, the council took the unusual step of rescinding the action they had not yet finally approved.

The opponents have claimed a victory in letters to editors and have withdrawn their opposition to Proposition H. Unfortunately; their opposition argument still appears in the voter information materials.

Don’t be confused by the argument opposing Proposition H. Vote “Yes” to ensure that visitors will continue paying a fair share of the cost of essential city services.

Wayne Dernitz

Del Mar

Support for Rotary

The Rotary Club of Del Mar was founded in 1954, and is one of over 2,000 clubs in the world. Our club has over 90 active members, and we boast an eclectic smorgasbord of professions; from hazelnut farming to nanotechnology.

We are open to membership to anyone with a passion for service and who can meet the criteria for being a great Rotarian-having the time, talent, and treasure to support the greatest service organization in the world.

Our projects range from the final push to eradicate Polio from the world to helping to organize beach clean-ups in Del Mar. We support open-heart surgeries for kids in China -and spend Saturdays with kids in orphanages in Tijuana. We have Interact clubs for students at Torrey Pines and Cathedral Catholic High Schools, teaching them leadership, ethics, community service and world peace and understanding.

Our local Rotarians share their talents both internationally and locally. We have dentists and doctors that visit Baja and perform miracles for children-and often the same folk work nights and weekends at St. Leo’s Community Health Care Clinic in Solana Beach. The boardwalk from the fairgrounds to the polo fields at San Dieguito River Park is being built by Rotarians and if you have ever admired the striking village clock at 15th Street in Del Mar, that’s us too.

Simply put if you are the type of person that enjoys networking and being involved in your community along with many talented individuals, then this is the club to join. We are always looking for motivated individuals who are willing to share a little bit of their time and talent to better serve our community and those within it. If you’re interested then please join us any Thursday at noon at St. Peter’s Church Hall, 14th Street, Del Mar.

I would be honored to have you as my guest.

Rob Mullally

President, Rotary Club of Del Mar

Opposition to Prop 2

I wish that people would read the small print. Proposition 2 is not just about egg-laying hens. It is also about veal calves and breeding pigs. These are warm-blooded mammals that are confined to tiny cages barely larger than their bodies for their entire lives. They are forced to lie in their own excrement and filth...how can this be good or healthy for us? This proposition will stop cruel and inhumane treatment of animals, ending the practice of cramming farm animals into cages so small, they can’t even turn around, lie down or extend their limbs.

You don’t have to be a vegetarian to realize that these animals deserve to be treated with compassion even though they are being raised for our consumption. We would not treat our pets this way. We have dominion over all animals - it’s the right thing to do.

Patty Schobelock

West Coast Escrow, Del Mar

Global warming and animals

Global warming is affecting our planet in many ways. It affects us economically and environmentally. Seeing it happen before our eyes should allow us to have a greater desire to take action, but some people don’t realize that it is actually happening quite yet, thinking it’s a phase or theories. Unfortunately it is all true.

Maybe the hardest hit is the life around us that we tend to forget as we go on with our daily schedule. Scientists have agreed that our endangered species list is growing rapidly. Extinction is forever; the life on this planet is irreplaceable. As we count the number of species that could soon be lost, we remember that we have caused most of the problems - deforestation, illegal hunting, over-fishing and global warming.

Global warming affects mostly the north, where 5 percent of the northern ice is melting each year. But if we watch closely we see it affecting animals in our state too. For example, the brown pelican that flies along our coast. The list has a saddening length. Each animal is an important part of the ecosystem. Our leaders and we should work together to lower greenhouse gases protect our irreplaceable wildlife.

Alyssa Herpergeer

Del Mar