Letters to the Editor: Oct. 24, 2008


Enough with the Del Mar negativity

Over the last 25 years that I’ve been in Del Mar I’ve been amazed and puzzled by the group that has opposed virtually everything that has meant an improvement to our downtown village. The Plaza was opposed preferring to keep the run-down strip center that stood on the spot. The Inn L’Auberge was opposed, in fact taking two elections to get passed, in favor of keeping the vacant weed-covered lot that was the corner of 15th and Camino Del Mar. Our firm stand to not increase the parking and our opposition to added traffic at the train station led to Amtrak stopping service to Del Mar and moving to Solana Beach. We’ve even had a previous City Council person take a firm stand that the fairgrounds should move out of Del Mar to somewhere else that would want them.

So here we are again in 2008. This time our retailers and hotels struggle in tough economic times and the city is looking for additional sources of revenues to continue the same level of services the residents have come to expect, demand, and enjoy. Yet rather than help find those sources, many of the vocal few continue to oppose anything that might help vitalize the village with new construction or new businesses.

A while ago the gas station at 10th and Camino del Mar was purchased and razed by a new owner wanting to develop the property into something that would be more vitalizing to the community than the old gas station. Obviously they weren’t told about what it would be like attempting this project in Del Mar, or they didn’t believe it, or chose to not pay attention to it. Or the only other explanation is a Don Quixote complex fighting the vast Del Mar “windmill” group. I’m still amazed that these folks would be willing to open up their project to public input and design and did so with over 40 meetings. There was even a task force created to tell these owners what they could do with their own property. And they still stayed and participated. They deserve some award simply for being willing to participate in such a process. And out of all that came Proposition G on the upcoming ballot.

Recently as I drove to the office, I became very disappointed as I saw what some person or group of persons has done to show their opposition to “G” by spray-painting graffiti on the “Yes on G” signs. Del Mar prides itself on being a well educated, sophisticated community yet this behavior reflects the mean spiritedness that permeates the anti-growth, anti-development, anti-revitalization, anti-business, anti-everything that isn’t what they want group in our community.

Enough please. Stop showing what the worst of Del Mar has to offer.

I choose to keep holding the belief and opinion that Del Mar is the best place on earth to live and work and no matter how much the negative, anti-everything, childish folks try to change that belief - it won’t happen. I’ll choose to keep working for the benefit of my community as I’ve found it’s a lot more fun to work for something than against anything.

Jim Coleman, Del Mar

Clearing the air on Prop H

Let’s clear the air of any confusion about what Proposition H is asking of Del Mar voters: It is not asking for an increase in occupancy taxes on hotel guests at this time.

Prop H seeks to give Del Mar City Council the discretion, the option, the flexibility to decide if, when and exactly how much to increase Del Mar’s Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT). And there’s a limit on how much it can be raised - no more than 13 percent. Which just happens to be what Solana Beach will be increasing its TOT to at the beginning of the year.

Right now, Del Mar’s TOT is 10.5 percent, the same as San Diego’s. But unlike San Diego, where 4 percent of the TOT goes toward tourism, all TOT funds in Del Mar go into the general fund. Only a very small amount is used to support tourism.

Tourism dollars support a lot we can do for our city. So it’s up to the voters: Continue to complain that the city isn’t doing enough for infrastructure or necessary improvements or vote in Prop H to give the city the discretion, the option, the flexibility to increase the TOT if it’s absolutely required - and only if that’s the case.

Carl Hilliard, Del Mar City Council Member