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Directions for Del Mar: Dwight Worden

See also: Terry Sinnott

By the time you read this I will be sworn in as a councilmember. I’ll be taking on committee assignments and diving in full blast. I will try my best to make a difference, and with your help I think I can. I hope the Sandpiper will let me update you occasionally. Here’s my current thinking on a few topical issues—I’d love to hear your feedback. You’ll find I really DO listen

City Hall Project: This is exciting! I think we have the opportunity to gain a great civic center project with solid facilities for staff, a cool town hall for meetings and cultural activities, a beautiful plaza for the farmers’ market and other community activities, all supported by parking per zoning AND with the option to add more parking, commercial, residential, or cultural uses in later phases if needed. All affordable, too, without new taxes on anyone. That sure looks to me like a win all around—phase in what we KNOW we need now holding the options open to add more if and when we need it. What are your thoughts? A community vote on the options? For sure, and I will follow direction from the community.

Police Services: The Finance Committee is doing a great job for us analyzing the options—stay with the sheriff contract (about $2 million per year-yikes!), set up our own police force, expand the ranger program, engage a private security service. I’ll look forward to their report and to engaging the community in discussion on the options.

Digesting the Complicated and Complex: Water and Power Rates. We are undergoing two complex fee restructuring proposals. One is for water rates and one is for power from SEMPRA/SDGE. I’ve studied both in some detail.

Water: It is unfortunate that we need to raise our water rates, but my conclusion is that the need is unavoidable. Water and its cost are driven by factors beyond our control. Harsh but true, and my take, after study, is that this issue is being handled as best it can by the city. Conservation, drip systems, native plantings, efficient fixtures, etc. need to be on all our agendas. Water promises to be a BIG issue for the future of Del Mar and for all of California. Even doing everything right we can still expect increasing costs, but we should feel good our city is handling the issue as well as can be.

Power: The proposed SEMPRA/SDGE rate restructuring is not so easy to swallow. Basically, the proposal is to change the way costs are distributed among different users. It looks to me like most Del Marians would end up paying more while inlanders would end up paying less. SDGE argues the change is needed to “equalize” the burden, e.g. now those who run a lot of air conditioning inland get kicked into a higher use tier with a higher rate. Not fair, they argue, for these folks to pay higher rates in a higher tier just because they live inland and need A.C.
I’m not buying that—there are consequences to every choice we make including our choice of where to live. Choose Del Mar and you need less power, but you get salt water corrosion and higher land prices. Choose inland and you need more power if you want A.C. and you get lower housing prices. No surprises in any of this. Seems fair to me that we each accept the consequences of our choice of location. You don’t hear me asking the folks in Santee to help subsidize my salt air corrosion problems, and I don’t see why we should subsidize their A.C. needs!



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