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City Council Candidates Respond to Our Questions
October 2008 | by Wayne Dernetz

Don Mosier

For the first time in our City’s history, the biennial race for City Council seats is uncontested. Three candidates, including one returning incumbent, are running for three open seats. Even though each of the three candidates are certain victors (barring a successful write-in candidate), California’s election laws require the vote to be conducted on these three candidates because there are other city measures on the ballot.

The Sandpiper believes this year’s election offers the candidates – and the voters – a rare opportunity to focus attention on the issues facing the City without the distracting, sometimes misleading, competitive campaigning. It seems an unfortunate trend in our society that modern political campaigning at all levels of our government is becoming less focused on candidates’ views on issues and more focused on their personalities and their personal attacks on each other. 

At least for this election, we can all sit back, take a deep breath, and consider what the candidates really have to say about some of the important issues facing our community, and how they view their own responsibilities as future council members. Here is the first of a two-part series in which candidates respond to issues presented by the Sandpiper. 

The Sandpiper:  What goals and priorities will you have as a member of the City Council? 

Mark Filanc: 
My number one goal is to preserve the character of the Del Mar we all love and enjoy. That being said, I believe we have an opportunity to create a very special downtown that will meet the needs and desires of all the residents, property owners, and business owners. I also think we need to focus on the City’s finances and find creative ways (not taxation) to increase our revenue.

Carl Hilliard:  1

  • Work to preserve and enhance what we love about Del Mar through careful planning and open dialogue with the community.
  • Expand the pedestrian-friendly side of our city. Do that by minimizing traffic impacts, creating landscaped buffer zones and making our sidewalks safer.
  • Develop ways to get traffic moving through the village as smoothly and safely as possible.
  • Maintain our community's economic integrity and our cityʼs independence. Doing that will take creating new revenue streams, as well as instituting smarter approaches to expenditures. I'm for a balanced approach that will be fair for everyone.
  • Take the necessary steps to carrying our vision for a new civic center forward so that it is no longer a dream, but a reality.

Donald Mosier:
My first goal is to ensure long-term financial stability for Del Mar so that we have the resources needed to address traffic and parking problems, infrastructure replacement, and downtown revitalization. A top priority for me is to preserve the unique and pedestrian-friendly village character spelled out in Del Mar’s Community Plan.

Mark Filanc

The Sandpiper:  When making decisions as a councilmember, how do you view your responsibility in relation to the public's desires; is it to do what the public demands regardless of your own views, or is it to take public input into account, but make the decision you think is best?

Mark Filanc:
I believe that it is my obligation to solicit input from the entire community and weigh that input in formulating the decisions that I make. I certainly also believe that if there is consensus from the overwhelming majority on an issue, that will also be taken into account in my decision process. I will be a representative of the constituents and I will also exercise good judgment in making decisions.

Carl Hilliard:
I believe in public input and in public dialogue – both are vital to informed decisions. As a council member, I have been and will continue to be guided by the expressed desires of the majority of our community.

Donald Mosier:
I will listen carefully to community input and then work with my colleagues on the Council to implement creative, effective solutions to Del Mar's challenges. I will always try to reach a consensus on important issues but, as an elected representative, I will not shrink from making tough decisions.

The Sandpiper:  The City's financial condition is under a lot of stress right now. What ideas and suggestions do you have for improving the City's fiscal condition and its ability to provide quality services and to finance long-term capital needs?

Mark Filanc:
The only way for the City to maintain its current service level is to find more revenue. I am not a proponent of raising taxes to cover shortfalls. That being said, I am not opposed to looking at the TOT tax in comparison with what other Cities are doing. I also think we have an opportunity to increase revenue through our downtown revitalization efforts. Development of the current City Hall site should also be considered as well when considering the downtown revitalization. We also have to be vigilant with regard to expenses within the City budget and make sure our dollars are spent wisely.

Carl Hilliard:
I believe in a balanced approach – equal measures of developing smarter approaches to expenditures and creating new revenue streams, like transforming non-productive city assets into contributory revenue and moving forward with revitalization.

Donald Mosier:
Del Mar must be strategic and creative in identifying and maintaining sources of income. I’ll ensure that tax dollars are well spent and that Del Mar remains fiscally sound. We must also examine our implementation of parking fees, and more fully explore grant opportunities to improve the financial health of Del Mar.

The Sandpiper:  If the current fundraising efforts to finance the remaining $3.5 million debt for the purchase of the Shores Property fall short, what ideas and proposals do you offer for meeting the City's remaining debt obligation?

Mark Filanc:
The City has other real estate that might be used to leverage the debt. The City could float a bond to cover the debt. The City could consider other options as well. However, the City moved on this as an interim solution and I believe that private fundraising should continue and will ultimately secure the final deal.

Carl Hilliard:
I believe our fund-raising efforts will be successful in retiring the debt on the Shores property. If that is not the case, we should have a community conversation to explore alternatives.

Donald Mosier:
I fully expect citizen fundraising goals to be met. If efforts should fall short, however, I would examine the options advanced by the Finance Committee.

The Sandpiper:  Today, many large organizations develop a vision statement and/or a mission statement.  Should Del Mar develop a community vision statement and/or a community mission statement?  Would this help to unify and focus our efforts toward building a better community? 

Mark Filanc:
Keeping in mind that we currently have Vision 2020 to guide our actions, I believe that we should assess that vision on an annual basis to ensure compliance with the community plan and needs. Additionally, a well crafted mission statement would help to provide clarity as to our purpose.

Carl Hilliard:
We have one: The Kennedy Smith CLUE report reviewed all our prior reports and created a plan for action with outlined goals. Before we move ahead, we’ll solicit community input to decide block by block what we want our downtown to look like.

Donald Mosier:
Del Mar has engaged in several efforts to identify its community goals and vision for the future, including the Vision 2020 exercise in 2003. Most importantly, the Community Plan is a visionary document that needs to be updated and fully implemented.

Carl Hillard

The Sandpiper:  Do you believe the City should make efforts to improve its current relationship with the 22nd District Agricultural Association (the Fair Board)? Why?

Mark Filanc:
YES!  First of all, they are our neighbors and we all need to live together. Each of us impacts the other. I believe that we can achieve the best solutions to our needs and desires through productive communications. Communication is very difficult at best when there is friction between the parties.

Carl Hilliard:
During the past four years, I have been a council liaison to the Fair Board. What was a confrontational relationship is now a cooperative one. We need to continue to further that spirit of cooperation for the potential benefit of our city.

Donald Mosier:
Yes. We need to have a constructive working relationship with the Fair board to maintain lagoon improvements, improve revenue sharing from fairground events, and lessen impacts of planned development. To preserve our quality of life and ensure that external impacts are mitigated, we have to communicate with our neighbor to the north.

footnotes:

1) The answer given by Mr. Hilliard to the question about goals and priorities is more detailed here than the article which appeared in the print edition.    back

 

   
 

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