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Fair Lee
Shirley King | Avenida Primavera

Lee Haydu next to Richard Valdez at her first 22nd DAA meeting on March 10, 2015. Photo Shirley King.

At its monthly meeting on March 10th, Fred Schenk, President of the Board of Directors of the 22nd Agricultural District (DAA) welcomed two new Directors, Lee Hadyu and Pierre Sleiman, Jr. President Schenk praised Lee Haydu for her generous commitment to the community as Del Mar’s former mayor in addition to a succession of her many public advisory roles. Recommended by Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins who represents the 78th District, four new DAA Directors were added by Governor Brown within this past year. At long last the State’s Governor has made a place for a Del Mar representative - especially one who comes with a keen understanding of the community’s values and the civic structures that preserve those values.

Director Haydu enters her new role having the insights from her experiences as one of two liaisons from the Del Mar City Council with the City Manager to the Fair Board’s Community Relations Committee. The membership of this Committee is shared with two Council members from the City of Solana Beach, the Solana Beach City Manager, a staff rep from the office of the 78th District and the General Manager of the Fairgrounds. Part of her three-year term on this Committee came after Del Mar’s attempt, though failed, to purchase the Fairgrounds, which led to severely fractured relationships amongst the participating entities. Going forward, then Council member Haydu’s priorities were building trust, a common sense of purpose and effective communication with the Committee’s Chair, David Watson. She sees the importance for Del Mar to have not only perfect attendance at the Community Relations Committee meetings but also an earnest, proactive exchange about the District’s ever-evolving calendar of large group events.

As a result of the Settlement Agreement of 2013 between the Cities of Del Mar and Solana Beach, the 22nd DAA, and the Joint Powers Authority, an Economic Impact Study of the Fairgrounds will be presented in November 2015 by the consulting group, Economic and Planning Systems. Director Haydu believes that this thorough study of the Fair’s operations and the demands placed upon the surrounding community infrastructure along with the local revenues and expenditures will answer many of the longstanding questions of the fiscal impact - both costs and benefits - upon the two cities. A new event, the 3-day music festival Kaaboo planned for September will be evaluated in this study given the prospect of its annual continuation. She anticipates that the report’s results will generate more productive discussions with the community - a role that she can step into with her fellow Directors.

Having been a long-time member of Del Mar’s San Dieguito Lagoon Committee, Director Haydu is encouraged with the progress of the South Lot Wetlands Restoration project under the supervision of the DAA’s Senior Environmental Planner, Dustin Fuller and a consulting team that includes a wetlands biologist. Director Haydu starts her term with another freshman Director, Pierre Sleiman, Jr. who breaks the mold of the former Board composition - as a 28-year-old farmer and owner of Go Green Agriculture - a national network of small hydroponic farms. Along those lines, Haydu advocates for more local agriculture to be showcased at Fairground events - most particularly at the Fair - perhaps more kale and fewer deep-fried twinkies.

Arguably no other DAA Director has walked in Lee’s shoes, which have trekked through all of Del Mar’s twisty streets while she campaigned in its neighborhoods. She knows the quality of life that Del Mar cherishes. As one member on a board of nine, Lee is very realistic about expectations in this new role and trusts that the public will not have unrealistic expectations of her. Lee’s style of leadership is consultative. She engages others, encourages open and frank communication, and builds trust so that others are willing to work with her in solving problems constructively. “I take seriously my responsibility to the mission of the Fair Board and I am equally determined to see that the ideas and concerns of nearby communities are factored into decision making. Sometimes there are legitimate differences that must be worked out but more often I believe there are ways that we can work respectfully together to achieve mutual objectives.”


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