Solana Beach’s Lesa Heebner reflects on third mayoral term

Members of the Solana Beach council, city staff and community honored Lesa Heebner as her third term as mayor came to a close last week.

“Lesa, it’s been a wonderful year,” said Deputy Mayor David Zito, who the council later appointed as the city’s new mayor.

“You’ve done a really good job as mayor,” Zito continued. “You’re going to be a lot to live up to.”

Recognizing her contributions to the city, San Diego County Supervisor Dave Roberts presented Heebner with a signed proclamation and declared Dec. 9 as “Mayor Lesa Heebner Day” throughout the county. He praised Heebner’s role in Solana Beach recently becoming an official partner in the county’s Live Well San Diego initiative to improve the health, safety and well being of residents.

“This has been another fabulous year for Solana Beach,” said Roberts, who previously served on the Solana Beach council. “I cannot tell you how proud I personally have been in your leadership abilities.”

A Solana Beach resident since 1976, Heebner was first elected to the council in 2004. She served as mayor in 2007 and 2011, a position that rotates annually among council members.

After former Mayor Thomas Campbell retired from the council last year, the council appointed Heebner, then deputy mayor, to a third mayoral term.

“While the tradition of thanking and recognizing the outgoing mayor is greatly appreciated, the fact of the matter is that the many accomplishments of each year are the result of teamwork,” Heebner said. “Council members present and past have played a role in what we get to take closer to the finish line or even over the finish line in that current year. 2015 was no different.”

With 2016 just weeks away, Heebner looked back at the past year and all the city has accomplished.

Under her leadership, the council selected Greg Wade as the new city manager. Solana Beach also became the first city in the county to ban disposable plastic food containers.

Among other highlighted accomplishments, the council also approved the environmental impact report for a 50-year sand replenishment project; awarded a construction contract for the Veterans Honor Courtyard at La Colonia Park; completed a Comprehensive Active Transportation Strategy program study; and created a Climate Action Commission to help develop the city’s Climate Action Plan. Solana Beach, along with Del Mar and Encinitas, also hosted Special Olympics athletes over the summer.

“We should all be proud of the work we’ve done this year,” Heebner said. “It’s been my pleasure and my honor to serve as your mayor.”

After honoring Heebner, the council unanimously appointed Zito as mayor and Councilman Peter Zahn as deputy mayor. Although Zahn was in Paris for the climate change conference, he thanked Heebner with a video message.

“Lesa, you’re completing another term as mayor, and your service to our city has been nothing less than extraordinary,” he said.

“You put an incredible amount of time into your work on the city’s behalf, Lesa,” he added. “You’re a great inspiration to me and to the other council members, I’m sure. Thanks very much for your service as mayor and everything else you do to make Solana Beach the wonderful place that it is.”