Take the time to learn the facts before voting on Del Mar’s future

Over the past 29 years I’ve been in the heart of Del Mar there have been a few constants: terrific people; beautiful weather and beach; wonderful restaurants; world-class horse racing and events; increasing traffic; groups working to improve the village; and those who are opposed to virtually any changes or improvements. The Plaza was opposed preferring to keep the run-down strip center that stood on that spot; L’Auberge was opposed in favor of the weed covered vacant lot that was at the corner of 15th and Camino del Mar and it took two elections to get the hotel passed; the firm stand refusing to increase parking and risk added traffic at the train station led Amtrak to stop service to Del Mar and move the station to Solana Beach; formally complaining to the City Council because Robert Wyland’s whale painting at the fairgrounds exceeded the one year it was supposed to be up; and even notifying the City Code Enforcer because my temporary 40th anniversary banner exceeded the 30 days allowable. Virtually the same people were in each opposition group.

We now have the latest round of “us” and “them” with Prop J in Del Mar; the proposition to modify the Village Specific Plan to “revitalize” downtown. There has been a group of residents meeting, as directed by Council, for a couple years to look at form based code. Out of that, came proposed “Revitalization” and over 75 community meetings to get input with the entire timeline laid out. After all those meetings and input from the residents, property owners, and businesses, the Council then voted to put it on the ballot, Prop J, to let the voters decide. Pick a side: Be for the revitalization of downtown and look forward for the future of all those who come after us; or be for keeping Del Mar the quaint olde village that it is and allow the 20-year-old specific plan to be what guides the future? It’s so much more than taking Camino del Mar to one lane each way with roundabouts. So much more than changing height limits or floor area ratios. And so much more than about parking requirements. It really is about what our wonderful Olde Del Mar will look like and be like to live and work in 20 years from now when my grandkids have kids.

Of course the personalization and demonizing has begun that is required for an election in our village with opposite views. What used to be the “grays” vs. the “greens” have been replaced with modern day versions. How wonderful it would be to have intelligent, respectful discourse from our well educated, sophisticated Del Martians. That shouldn’t be that difficult, right?

I believe very few of us have actually read the 305-pound document being voted upon (that’s an exaggeration, it’s a few pounds less than that), and most folks are getting the facts of what’s included from a neighbor or friend. It does bother me when I hear someone who is against Prop J state that the City should have been more open about it (over 75 meetings); or that it’s being rushed through (over a year in Council); or that the village should stay just the way it is (shall we tell that to struggling retailers?). Find out for yourself. Go to one of the informational meetings at the City that are still being held; talk to the council members, after all you elected them; or talk to Kathy Garcia at City Hall with your specific questions. I don’t think there’s anyone who understands it more thoroughly and completely than she does. After you have the data then ask yourself: “What do I want our Del Mar to be like and feel like when this new baby born here today walks down the street 25 years from now?” That should lead you to your vote. Charles Darwin wrote: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one most adaptable to change.” Has anyone tried to find a typewriter repair shop lately?

Jim Coleman, Del Mar