published by Del Mar Community Alliance. Inc.

Inside the March 2021 Print Issue

Click on cover for the MARCH 2021 print issue in pdf format.

City Manager Termination
Don Mosier and Bud Emerson

EDITORIAL: Climate Change Reality

Electrified Homes?
Ann Feeney

Opt-In Energy

Roving Teen Reporter:
Back to School When?

Neha Pubbi

Gorillas Conquer COVID
Julie Maxey-Allison

Vaccines Yes/No?
Don Mosier, MD, PhD

Drink Up
Danica Edelbrock, M.S.

Is Recycling Important?
Amélie Roy (10 years old)

En Fuego Olé!
Julie Maxey-Allison

Takeout Solution: M’Porte
Valérie Dufort-Roy

Tax Time Looms
Recycled cartoons by John Dempsey

Sprouts to Share
Julie Maxey-Allison

Mask Modeling
Photos Bill Morris

Del Mar / Solana Beach Border Bluffs ...
Affordable Housing Shifts

Jill Gartman

DMF: March 2021
Del Mar’s True Loves

Betty Wheeler

Ashley Simpkins

Extra copies of print issue available at the Farmers Market.


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March 2021

Update 03/18/2021

of April Sandpiper
Click on cover for the APRIL 2021 print issue in pdf format.

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Update 03/06/2021
Lower costs and cleaner energy coming soon to Del Mar

Bill Comparison - Residential Rate
Carlsbad & Del Mar PCIA Vintage Customers
The Clean Energy Alliance voted on March 4 to adopt rates for electricity service. The chart below shows the rate savings for the 50% renewable energy product for customers in Del Mar and Carlsbad.

Bottom line: the average monthly bill for Del Mar residential customers opting for the 50% renewable plan will go down by about 1%, while the portion of their electricity from renewable sources will go up from 39% (SDG&E) to 50%.

Del Mar residents will also have the opportunity to go 100% green - with 100% renewable energy costing the average customer an extra $2.65/month. Thus, 100% renewable energy with CEA is only $1.69 higher, on average, than SDG&E's charge for 39% renewable energy.

The CEA will soon be bringing us, as individuals, and as a City, solid options for lower costs and cleaner energy. An important decision our City will make soon is whether the "default" plan for Del Mar should be 50% or 100% renewable energy. Anyone can opt for the non-default choice, but since many people stay with the default plan, the City Council's decision will have a big impact on how "green" we are, as individuals and as a city, as we work to implement our Climate Action Plan and to achieve cleaner air and better health.

The Power Charge Indifference Adjustment (PCIA) and Franchise Fee (FF) shown on the chart above are "exit" charges to CEA customers for long-term energy contracts that SDG&E purchased but will not now need with departing customers. Even with this charge, the average monthly bill from SDG&E will be lower for CEA customers than those who choose to remain with SDG&E. And these "exit" charges will go down over time, as they will not apply to any future SDG&E contracts.

The rates set by CEA will produce sufficient revenue to fund power supply, debt payments, administrative costs, and a 5% reserve.

Watch the Sandpiper for updates on CEA's launch of service, and City Council decisions on this important topic.


Update 03/03/2021
Six Month Financial Results Look Good
Tom McGreal | Stratford Court

Based upon the City’s financial results for the six-month period ended December 31, 2020, the budget for the Fiscal Year ending June 30, 2021 shows some good news compared to the Covid budget adopted last June. The Budget for General Fund Revenues was increased by $369,810 and Expenditures were increased by $105,940 leaving the Contingency reserve at $2,317,331 (or 58 days of Operating costs).

The Finance Committee unanimously recommended these Budget actions on February 23rd and the City Council approved the adjustments on February 27th at the Council workshop.

There is a healthy dose of conservatism built into the new budget. No adjustments were made to Property Tax or TOT (hotel tax), which are two of the largest revenue contributors. The biggest reduction in Revenues was a reduction of $200,000 to Sales Tax, which eliminated any reliance upon the Fairgrounds for Sales Tax revenues for the second six months of the fiscal year. The biggest contributors to the revenue increase were Parking meter and Parking violation revenues at $250,000 each and Planning Service revenues of $113,070.

The primary increase in Expenditures is the $83,620 cost of restoring the 3% Salary cuts. The Agreements with the Del Mar Fire Fighters Association and the Del Mar City Employees Association provided that salaries would be restored as of January 1, 2021 if the City Revenues hit certain benchmarks. The benchmarks were exceeded in the six-month results.

As a result, the General Fund Reserves will total $5.1 million including the Contingency Reserve of $2.3 million. This leaves the City with the task of replenishing Reserves totaling $2.1 million in order to get back to the pre-Covid Reserve targets. The Staff will be presenting a Reserve Balance Policy to the Finance Committee and the City Council as part of the Budget Workshop in May.

The Measure Q Reserves are projected to total $2.1 million as of June 30, 2021, which position the Council to consider the resumption of the Utility Undergrounding plan.

There are a few additional budget issues for the Council to consider:

* Do we need to budget for the cost of a Special Election related to the Referendum, which is projected to cost up to $175,000?

* How much will we need to budget for potential penalties and fines assessed by HCD related to the Housing element, if we miss the April 15th compliance deadline?

Can the organizational design of the City Staff be streamlined as decisions are made following the departure of the City Manager?

Stay tuned!

March Print Issue front page
City Manager Termination
Don Mosier and Bud Emerson
Former City Manager Christa (CJ) Johnson terminated without cause on February 16.
Photo source: the City of Del Mar's press release.

The City is now out more than $150,000 and down one senior management employee after its decision, announced at the Feb. 16 council meeting, to terminate city manager Christa “CJ” Johnson without cause, four days after her one-year anniversary. Personnel matters are legally shrouded in a fair amount of secrecy, but we can report key facts, based on the city attorney’s statements that brought the Council out of closed session on Feb. 16, and records the City provided to the Sandpiper.

The Council had previously conducted a performance evaluation of the city manager at the six-month mark. Indications are that it was a positive evaluation, since it was on the Council’s closed session agenda only once, and the city attorney announced “no reportable action” from that agenda item on Aug. 3, 2020.



Protect Yourself
Protect others

Barley Gaylord celebrating Valentine’s Day.
Courtesy Lynn Gaylord and the DMF
March Print Issue
Timing of the Zoning Referendum
City Council Vote Feb. 22nd Meeting

The City Council met on Feb. 22nd to consider the timing of the referendum election challenging the zoning decision of 20 units/acre for the North Commercial area. That decision was delayed by the 3 councilmembers considering the issue (Martinez and Quirk had recused themselves because they live too close to the area) due to a verbal report from Mayor Gaasterland.

She said that conversations with referendum proponent Arnold Wiesel had suggested that the referendum might be withdrawn if the city took a series of actions. The legality and the feasibility of the actions will be reviewed and reported to council on or before March 15th, providing a guide for further negotiations.

Click here for Jill Gartman's article

Cartoon John Dempsey.


March Print Issue
EDITORIAL: Climate Change Reality

As hope rises that we can see the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to be reminded that we have another challenge to deal with as soon as possible. As with the pandemic, changes in human behavior will be key to making progress.
It is getting hotter every year. Ice caps are melting, permafrost is thawing, extreme weather events are more frequent, wildfires are more persistent, intense and destructive. Human health is at risk, and we have wasted the last 4 years with regressive policies driven by climate change deniers. (See figure 1)

We in Del Mar should have heeded the early warnings generated by resident Dave Keeling who began measuring carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere in 1958. The “Keeling Curve” is the record of how rapidly we are generating carbon dioxide that traps heat in our atmosphere and, along with other gases like methane and refrigerants, cause the greenhouse effect. (See figure 2)

March Print Issue
Vaccines Yes/No?
Don Mosier, MD, PhD

ACOVID-19 vaccine site, the North County Coastal Vaccination Super Station, opened on Friday, Feb. 12 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. The site is open for both drive-thru and pedestrian vaccination. The vaccine administration is handled by Scripps Health personnel in coordination with the county health department. Appointments are available on the county’s vaccination website at Kudos to newly elected County Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer for her key role in locating this vaccine site in Del Mar. This will be a convenient site for all Del Mar residents to get vaccinated as the eligibility criteria expand and more vaccine doses are available. The sooner the better as more transmissible coronavirus variants are spreading, and vaccination will stop the spread if most of us get the vaccine.

We don’t know how many Del Mar residents have concerns that might prevent them from getting the COVID-19 vaccine, but we do know that 1/3 of Americans say they will not take the vaccine (reported in Los Angeles Times Feb. 11th edition). Concerns raised by those unwilling to be vaccinated are lack of efficacy, concern about side effects, distrust of government mandates, and dismissal that COVID-19 is a serious threat to them. Let’s address the concerns in order:


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