REGION — In the county’s two smallest cities, the unofficial election results are in: Kristi Becker and Kelly Harless have won the two open City Council seats in Solana Beach, with candidates Terry Gaasterland and incumbent Mayor Dwight Worden winning the council seats in Del Mar.
With five candidates on the ballot, Becker and Harless secured a whopping majority of the vote. With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Becker won 2,523 votes — 35.23 percent of the total 7,161 votes — and Harless followed close behind with 2,346 votes, at 32.76 percent.
Becker, a former trial attorney and deputy county counsel, has served as a commissioner on the city’s Parks & Recreation Commission, as well as on the Climate Action Commission. Becker’s top priorities for the city include ensuring that major developments such as the Del Mar Resort and Solana Highlands fit the character of the community, finding funding to renovate La Colonia Community Center and bringing a fiscally conservative eye to city finances.
Harless is a medical researcher at the University of Southern California Alzheimer’s Therapeutic Research Institute, and has served as a commissioner on the city’s View Assessment and Parks & Recreation Commissions. Harless ran her campaign on a “Neighborhoods First” platform, and was forward about improving communication with residents and maintaining Solana Beach’s small-town character in the face of development interests.
The two candidates have expressed their mutual support of each other’s campaigns.
Craig Nelson garnered 1,195 votes, or 16.69 percent of the total. Nelson is a finance executive and former chairman of the city’s Budget & Finance Committee.
Shawn McClondon, a digital marketing expert who terminated his campaign in mid-October; and Valeri Paul, who has a background in education, both took 539 votes.
The election results will be certified at the city’s Dec. 12 City Council meeting.
Del Mar, the county’s smallest city, saw a slightly closer race than its neighbor to the north, with Gaasterland and Worden coming out ahead among four candidates.
Gaasterland, a professor of computational biology and genomics at the University of California, San Diego, won 779 votes, at 33.59 percent, with Worden coming in at 656 votes, or 28.49 percent of the total 2,319 votes cast.
Brian Fletcher stands less than 4 percentage points short of Worden at 568 votes. Daniel J. Quirk came in at 314 votes.
Del Mar Measures
Measure R — a measure that would have decreased the allowable size of development for beachfront homes — was overwhelmingly opposed, with 84.28 percent of over 1,300 Del Mar residents voting against it.
Measure T gained solid support from voters, with 79.86 percent voting yes. The Measure signifies voter approval of the Specific Plan of 941 Camino Del Mar, a mixed-use development slated for the city’s old gas station property on the south end of downtown. The approval falls just a few points short of the 84.53 percent support garnered by the Garden Del Mar Specific Plan in 2008 – the prior plan drafted for that property, which will now be replaced.
Measure P, which proposes a charter amendment that would give the city increased control of local land-use decisions, has been approved by 60.47 percent of voters. However, if Senate Bill 1333 goes into effect, the measure’s intent is likely to be nullified.
Measure MM, a general obligation bond measure approved for the ballot by the Del Mar Union School District’s Board of Trustees, was supported by 59.97 percent of the district’s voters — it required at least 55 percent approval to pass. The bond is anticipated to generate up to $186 million to fund infrastructure updates in neighborhood schools and the construction of a new school. The measure will cost property owners an estimated $29.25 per $100,000 of assessed value per year.
Lexy Brodt covers all things Del Mar and Solana Beach for The Coast News, with a primary interest in coastal development. A North County native turned UW-Madison alumna, she has produced for Wisconsin Public Radio and reported for The San Diego Union-Tribune and Wisconsin State Journal.