Three seek two seats for Solana Beach City Council

By Kristina Houck

At least one new person will be sitting at the Solana Beach City Council dais by the end of this year, as Mayor Thomas Campbell isn’t seeking re-election.

Campbell, having served on the council since 1994, said he would not seek a sixth term following his re-election in 2010. In the last two decades he has served as the city’s mayor five times — a position that is appointed rather than elected in Solana Beach.

Elected to the council in 2006, Councilman Mike Nichols is seeking a third term.

“I love being able to give back to the city,” said Nichols, who served as mayor in 2009 and 2013. “I’m honored to do it, and I’m happy that I’ve had the opportunity.”

A licensed landscape architect and business owner, Nichols has been an urban design and planning professional in the San Diego region for nearly 15 years. Nichols’ effort and expertise was instrumental in the renovation of Coast Highway 101, which he said is one of the city projects he is most proud of.

“There are several major projects coming forward,” said Nichols, a resident of Solana Beach since 2000. “I want to continue my service by offering my expertise and insight to ensure that our city’s community character is preserved and that projects are done right. I feel really strongly that we need somebody with that skill set on the council.”

If re-elected, Nichols said he would continue to support policies and projects that enhance the business districts and protect neighborhoods.

He would like to improve La Colonia Park and Community Center. He is also interested in creating a Coastal Rail Trail-like pedestrian and bicycle corridor from Highway 101 up to Highland Drive, so that the city has an east-west connection.

“These kinds of projects are things that I like to do, not only as a professional, but as a council member because you see an instant reward and it improves the quality of life for people,” Nichols said.

Ginger Marshall and Shannon Lerach are also running for election.

Marshall, a Solana Beach resident since 2004, is a realtor with Allison James Estates & Homes. While living in Colorado, Marshall served as chairwoman of the Eagle County Down Payment Assistance Fund and received an “Award for Housing Excellence” from Eagle County commissioners.

A La Jolla native, Marshall said she is running for election because she is “a concerned citizen.”

“I think that I can offer some common sense compromises to some difficult issues that they’ve been dealing with,” said Marshall, who pointed to both the special election regarding the use of Fletcher Cove Community Center, and the ongoing lawsuit against the city over the council’s approval of a mixed-use affordable housing development on a city-owned parking lot.

“I think they need a fresh face with good negotiating skills. I’m a real estate agent, and that’s what I do for a living.”

Marshall noted she is passionate about business, property rights and the “core issues” of health and safety, and police, fire and lifeguard services.

“We need to get back to basics,” she said.

A native San Diegan, Shannon Lerach has lived in Solana Beach for almost three years.

Lerach, a licensed clinical psychologist, opened her private practice in January in Solana Beach.

Throughout her career she has worked for a variety of county, nonprofit and charitable organizations, including Kearny Mesa Juvenile Hall, Juvenile Forensic Services, The Chadwick Center for Children and Families at Rady Children’s Hospital, and the Fred Finch Youth Center. She is seeking public office to further give back to the community.

“I believe very strongly in public responsibility and civic duty,” said Lerach, who was appointed to the San Diego County Mental Health Board in July. “I was raised to believe that your moral responsibility is to give back.”

Lerach said she is not a “single issue candidate.”

“I don’t have a personal agenda that I’m trying to execute by getting on the council,” Lerach said. “I’m trying to be a voice for my community and use my skill set as a professional listener, mediator and consensus builder — which is what I do in my practice — to try and be a problem solver and help build consensus in our community and on our council.”

Patrick Germon pulled nomination papers, but ultimately decided not to run.

“After further review and consideration, I do not have the bandwidth or time to run,” said Germon via email. “In fairness to my family, my community and myself, I do not want to run if I cannot give the community and my campaign 110 percent. So I will not be submitting my paperwork to file.”

The deadline to file nomination papers was Aug. 8, but was extended by five days because both incumbents did not file.

Nichols and Marshall had filed by Aug. 7.