Third time’s a charm

Mayor Crawford on serving her adopted city

This is the third time Crystal Crawford is serving as the mayor of Del Mar, and she couldn’t be more pleased.

Even though the rotational position comes with no extra powers, serving as mayor is always a special year for a councilperson, Crawford said.

And this is an extra special year.

“This is going to be really exciting year for the city with its 50th anniversary,” Crawford said.

While a relatively new member of the community - the native Louisianan moved to Del Mar in 1992 - Crawford has cherished becoming a part of such a passionate citizenry.

“I find our community to be remarkable,” she said. “We have residents who cared enough in 1957, 1958 to take steps to become a city, who said ‘enough of this, we don’t want to be subject to the whims of the county, we should have a voice to what happens to this special place.’”

As the city celebrates its past, like others, Crawford said this is also a key time to think about the next 50 years.

And boy, is there a lot to consider.

Multiple projects that will help shape the future of Del Mar are on the agenda in 2009, including downtown revitalization, master planning the Ninth Street Shores property, as well as possibly the City Hall site, upgrading the 21st Street pump station and keeping the Torrey Pines bridge retrofit on track.

Crawford said she looks forward to taking on these issues alongside the rest of the City Council and city staff.

“It’s forever interesting and challenging to be in a position to create solutions to challenges for the community,” she said. “It’s the best job in the world.”

Crawford, 51, is an attorney for Molsoft, a small biotechnology and software company. She first moved to California to attend law school at the University of San Diego, which she graduated from in 1986.

Crawford’s first experience with Del Mar government was in the early 1990s when she successfully defended the city in a lawsuit. After moving to the seaside town, former councilman Henry Abarbanel recruited her to sit on the Design Review Board, which she did from 1994 to 1998.

When the 1998 city council election rolled around, residents recommended she run and she did, planning to serve a maximum of two terms. But after eight years, there was still work to be done, especially with the San Dieguito Lagoon restoration project and the Torrey Pines Bridge retrofit. So Crawford signed on for one more round thanks to the will of the voters.

“I am grateful for the opportunity, that the community has trusted me all these years to be their representative,” she said. “It’s not that I know any more than anyone else ... often I know less, but it’s my responsibility to listen, gather information and then make the best decision for the community.”