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7 to vie for 6 seats in Del Mar, Solana Beach

COAST CITIES — Six City Council seats in the county’s two smallest cities are up for grabs this fall, but only two incumbents are seeking re-election Nov. 6. 

Mayors Joe Kellejian of Solana Beach and Carl Hilliard of Del Mar, currently the most tenured legislators in their respective cities, are among those who will not return to the dais this fall.

Also stepping down are Dave Roberts, who was first elected in Solana Beach in 2004, and one-term Del Mar Councilman Mark Filanc.

Kellejian began his public service career in 1983, prior to cityhood in 1986, as a member of the Solana Beach Town Council. He has been a member of the City Council since 1992 and was appointed mayor five times.

“It was a hard decision not to run,” he said. “It’s with a heavy heart that I’m leaving. I’ve been there since the beginning. But it’s time. I’ve done a lot and others should have an opportunity to serve.”

Kellejian is active in several organizations, including the Solana Beach Civic & Historical Society, Friends of the Library and Chamber of Commerce, the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy, Del Sol Lions Club, Del Mar-Solana Beach Optimist Club and American Lung Association.

“A lot of opportunities have come up, both public and private, that I want to explore and I need time to do that,” Kellejian said. “I haven’t been able to put forth the time and effort for those groups. I don’t want to belong and not participate.

“I care deeply about this community and I will continue to serve when asked,” he said.

Hilliard said when he was first elected in 2004 Del Mar’s finances were “shaky.”

“I was devoted to turning things around,” he said. “It was a lot of hard work but now the city has a triple-A bond rating.

“I’m leaving with a lot undone but with the economic situation in the state and the propensity of Sacramento to take money out of our budget, it’s hard to plan,” Hilliard said. “You can’t live with that hanging over your head.”

Hilliard said he decided two years ago he wouldn’t seek re-election. “I’ve enjoyed my time on the council,” he said. “I’ve done my thing. It’s time for someone else to take over. I hate to give up my seniority on some of the regional boards but you need a fresh face every now and again.”

Although he is leaving the council, Roberts hopes to remain a public servant. He is seeking the District 3 seat on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.

“I’ve really enjoyed serving on the Solana Beach City Council,” he said. “I’m looking forward to taking that experience to the county level. It will be an extension of what I’ve been doing for the city and the region.”

Filanc said he opted not to run because he needed more time for his business and other interests.

“It was a great experience and the City Council members are outstanding to work with,” he said. “The city staff are incredible, intelligent, hard-working and caring people.”

Lesa Heebner and Don Mosier have qualified for re-election in Solana Beach and Del Mar, respectively.

“While I have accomplished a lot on the council, including full pension reform and numerous infrastructure projects such as the current Highway 101 renovation, there is much to be done that would benefit from my experience and proven community values, such as our general plan update, the train station project and significant developments on Highway 101,” said Heebner, who is running for her third term.

“I believe that there are several council high-priority tasks to be completed, and I would like to get the job done,” said Mosier, who is seeking a second term. At the top of that list is the village specific plan for downtown revitalization that residents will also be voting on in November.

The deadline to file nomination papers was 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 15. At that time, in addition to Heebner, Vickie Driver, David Zito and Peter Zahn had done so in Solana Beach.

Driver and Zito currently serve on citizen commissions within the city. Zahn, an attorney, is chairman of the U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce.

This will be the first time since 2006 that new members have joined the Solana Beach council.

Mosier, Al Corti and Sherryl Parks filed in Del Mar.

Corti, a developer, currently serves on two citizen advisory commissions. Parks, an educator, is a past member of the Design Review Board and is former president of the Del Mar Foundation.