Solana Beach City Council debate still on, despite only half participation

By Claire Harlin

Three of six Solana Beach City Council candidates have confirmed participation in an upcoming debate to take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Oct. 8 at the Boys and Girls Club, located at 533 Lomas Santa Fe Dr.

Even with half participation — incumbent Lesa Heebner, David Zito and Peter Zahn — the event will still go on, said Jack Heganauer of the Solana Beach Clean & Green Committee, a primary organizer of the event. Candidates Vickie Driver, Paul Frankel and Daniel Powell submitted the following statement on Oct. 5:

“We have decided not to participate in the Oct. 8 candidate forum because the format of the event is not conducive to an informative and broad discussion of the issues most important to Solana Beach residents. Our efforts to work out a compromise with the debate organizers were rebuffed. We hope to have the opportunity to participate in a fair and informative forum with all six candidates before the election.”

Heganauer said those candidates may have reservations about the fact that the committee originally organized the debate to have a sole focus on environmental issues. He said the committee was under the impression that an additional debate covering a more conclusive, broad array of topics would be organized by the Solana Homeowners Group as it has in years past.

“As it turned out, nobody was stepping forward so we asked [the homeowners group] to be co-sponsors and we expanded the range of topics … to erase the stigma that it would be only environmental questions,” Heganauer said, adding that the three confirmed candidates are “better known for their positions” and “more civically involved” when it comes to environmental issues.

Three seats are available on the Solana Beach City Council.

In addition to inviting the homeowners group to co-sponsor the event, the committee has rallied the League of Women Voters to organize the event in an effort to be nonpartisan and objective. While Heganauer said topics will not be limited to environmental issues, he said the league’s policy is to not release questions or topics prior to the event due its non-predetermined nature.

“The format will be that the audience will ask the questions and a moderator will frame questions in a way that will roll up similar questions from the audience,” he said. “Questions will be taken as they come, no limitations.”

Ample parking is available at the Boys and Girls Club using the driveway leading to the Center for a Healthy Lifestyle.

Solana Beach Clean & Green Committee is an all-volunteer committee whose mission is to promote a sustainable community by encouraging municipal, commercial and residential practices that reduce energy consumption, minimize waste and promote water conservation.

For more information, contact event organizer Lisa Margolin-Feher at (619) 417-9242 or