Five new Fair Board members took office in September, with four additional appointments by the Governor expected between now and January. Unfortunately, we’ve not seen an appointment drawn from Del Mar or Solana Beach, nor local involvement in the process. Local applicants are still in the pipeline, so hope remains for such crucial representation.
Our interviews with some of the new appointees gave the impression of open minds ready to take a fresh look at their relationship with local communities. We pressed them on local community friction points, asking them to take a serious look at how current and future development of the fairgrounds impact the lagoon, freeway congestion, traffic on local streets, as well as the creation of noise and light pollution.
We assured them that most local residents want a successful fairground operation, but not at the expense of the quality of life in surrounding communities and cities. We asked them to open channels of communication and provide opportunities for direct dialogue with Board members, not filtered through staff. In essence we requested the adoption of a “good neighbor” policy with demonstrated accountability shown to local residents.
Their responses were generally positive so we think they should be given an opportunity to walk their talk, specifically:
Have each of the Members study the Fairground Master Plan, and accompanying EIR, and respond to the concerns and alternatives enumerated in the document.
Review all Coastal Commission permit violations and direct staff to comply now and in the future.
Remove all offensive anti-Del Mar signs and materials recently generated to thwart Del Mar involvement in the planning and development of fairground property.
Initiate personal conversations and relationships with Del Mar City Council Members.
Sponsor a workshop for Board Members, local officials and citizens to discuss constructive ways to achieve better relationships and participation in future decisions.
We also feel it is imperative that Del Mar City Council members petition the Governor to insure local jurisdiction involvement in the appointment of the four remaining seats on the Fairground Board.
Over the years, we’ve learned through experience that the Fair Board’s priorities and agenda are too often directly at odds with the priorities of the fairground’s neighbors, including Del Mar. We have strengthened our resolve to be a watchdog to protect the Fairground’s wetlands and natural environment, and to mitigate traffic, noise, and other quality of life problems. We also will renew our efforts to persuade the Fair Board to consider Del Mar and Solana Beach as collaborative partners, rather than disregarded neighbors, as we work toward what should be shared goals.