DEL MAR — Mayor Lee Haydu, who is not running for re-election in November, is seeking a seat on the 22nd District Agricultural Association board of directors, which oversees operations at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.
Most of the approximately 350-acre facility lies within Del Mar, however, the board rarely includes a resident from that city.
Haydu said she was asked by several people, including current 22nd DAA directors and state Assembly leader Toni Atkins, to consider adding her name to the list of potential appointees.
The relationship between fairgrounds officials and Del Mar residents and council members hasn’t always been amicable, especially when it comes to impacts activities at the state-owned facility have on surrounding cities.
But in recent years, with new fair board and Del Mar council members, the rapport between the two agencies has improved.
Haydu has been serving on the community relations committee that, along with representatives from Solana Beach, meets monthly with fairgrounds officials to discuss common issues.
Haydu said her role on that committee is one reason she decided to seek an appointment to the 22nd DAA board.
“Because of my first-hand experiences I have come to realize the importance of establishing a healthy working relationship between the fair board and local agencies,” Haydu said. “I have seen that essential relationship improve throughout the three years of my service on the committee.
“As a fair board member … I would continue my work and efforts to foster a productive relationship between the fair board and local agencies,” she added.
At the Sept. 3 meeting City Council authorized sending a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown’s deputy appointments secretary supporting Haydu’s appointment to the board.
“We believe the appointment of Mayor Lee Haydu would enhance the current Board and strengthen its working relationship with the local jurisdictions that are impacted by activities occurring on the Fairgrounds property,” the letter states.
“Mayor Haydu possesses the background, qualifications, and needed insight to represent the local communities and the broader San Diego region as a whole,” the letter continues, noting Haydu has been actively involved in local and regional issues as a 28-year Del Mar resident and council member since 2010.
“She understands the importance of effectively managing this important regional asset,” the letter also states. “Her breadth of experience in the City of Del Mar and working with regional partners would be extremely beneficial to the 22nd DAA Board.”
The letter is signed by Councilman Al Corti, who is slated to take over the rotating mayoral position in December.
The letter was to be authorized as part of the consent calendar, which includes items that are considered routine and acted on with one motion and no discussion.
“I think Lee’s name is absolutely one we should forward on,” said Councilman Terry Sinnott, who pulled the item from the consent calendar, in part to possibly add more names to the list of potential appointees, as the city has done in the past.
Councilman Don Mosier said it would be better “to get behind one candidate at a time,” especially one supported by the current board of directors.
Fair board members are appointed by the governor for four-year terms. The position has no pay but directors receive some perks, such as free admittance to fairgrounds events.
In June, Brown filled a long-vacant seat and reappointed two other directors to the nine-member board. Seven additional members are serving terms that have not yet expired.
The terms of Russ Penniman and Ruben Barrales expired in January 2010 and January 2012, respectively. Neither has been reappointed by Brown. Haydu could potentially be named to take one of those seats.