No drama found in Del Mar City Council race


It’s an enviable position to be in. Simply one vote from yourself or a supporter guarantees you a victory in the Nov. 4 election.

That’s the unique circumstance three candidates for the Del Mar City Council find themselves in with three open seats available and only their names appearing on the ballot. Barring some unforeseen event or unlikely write-in campaign, incumbent Carl Hilliard, Mark Filanc and Donald Mosier will take their place on the council in December. David Druker and Henry Abarbanel will depart the council after 12-year stints.

Hilliard says he wasn’t especially surprised that more candidates didn’t file considering some contentious previous elections.

Mosier said he was more surprised at the size of the field, expressing some disappointment that his first run for elected office would not involve the “fun” of campaigning.

“But it does take the politics out of it,” said Mosier.

‘Break needed’

Filanc said he was initially surprised by a lack of candidates, but thought that perhaps there was a general mood among residents that a break from Del Mar “politics as usual” was needed.

He says he was approached by community

members asking him to run for the council and, after considering time constraints with his work and after discussion with his wife, decided now was a good time to seek office.

“It was a joint decision,” he said. “We are both happy and excited about it.”

Mosier said the departure of Druker and Abarbanel prompted his run, along with his interest in city codes honed during his time on the Design Review Board.

All three candidates have similar takes on the challenges facing Del Mar. Each mentioned the current financial crisis gripping the economy and its possible effect on the city, along with another weighty topic, that of downtown revitalization.

Facing the future

“We have challenges,” said Hilliard, “but we will meet them. The city is financially sound. An AA bond-rating is the best you can get.”

Hilliard says new form-based codes designed to address design issues on particular blocks in the city should assist greatly with revitalization.

“We are working with zoning codes from the 1920s,” he said. “We will provide a lot of visualizations and work with light, shadows and design instead of just floor area ratio. We’ll end up with the look and feel of a walkable community.”

Filanc says traffic and parking issues have to be addressed in any revitalization plan, along with making the city more pedestrian-friendly. He also says businesses that serve both residents and visitors alike are needed.

Get involved

All say intensive community involvement is essential to accomplish the goal of a more vibrant city.

“We have to hear from the community,” said Filanc, “but I think they are liking the idea more and more.”

Mosier says the economic downturn could actually provide a chance for comprehensive discussion and drafting of a revitalization plan with positive results coming when the economy eventually improves.

“We have a window of opportunity,” he said.

Mosier says his experience as a scientist will be beneficial to the issue and other council assignments.

“It’s almost like running a small business,” he said of his private sector career. “We have five-year plans, peer reviews and I’ve already served on boards and commissions.”

Working together

Filanc points to his business acumen as a plus in his new role.

“I’ll bring an engineering perspective,” he said. “I have a lot of experience reviewing documents, I’ve managed finances and I have an understanding of business. I’m by nature a problem-solver.”

Hilliard says he wants to continue to be a part of an effective and cooperative council; something he says has been evident during his last term.

“Compromise doesn’t always make for good politics,” he said. “But it makes for good governance.

“We will continue with a diversity of backgrounds and be enriched by each other’s talents,” added Hilliard. “I think this will be a really good council for the times.”

Fast Facts

Carl Hilliard:
  • Del Mar City Council member for the past four years
  • Retired law professor, former Navy officer and president of a consumer organization dealing with the wireless industry
  • J.D. from the University of Southern California School of Law
Donald Mosier:
  • Del Mar Design Review Board member for the past five years
  • Professor of immunology at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, specializing in AIDS research
  • M.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago
Mark Filanc:
  • Del Mar Planning Commission member for the past 12 years
  • Chief executive officer of J. R. Filanc Construction, a general engineering firm that specializes in wastewater treatment facilities
  • B.S. in Environmental Engineering/Water, from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and an MS degree in Civil Engineering/ Construction Management from Stanford University