DEL MAR — Lee Haydu, a former Del Mar City Council member who served one year as mayor, was one of two people appointed on Feb. 27 by Gov. Jerry Brown to the 22nd District Agricultural Association board of directors, which governs the Del Mar Fairgrounds.
Haydu and Pierre Sleiman, of San Diego, fill vacancies left by David Lizerbram and Adam Day, who recently left the board to better focus on other commitments.
“I was very pleased and excited and honored that the governor appointed me,” Haydu said.
Del Mar has been trying for what seems like forever to get a resident appointed to the board, especially since the state-owned fairgrounds sits on about 20 percent of the city’s property.
Haydu has lived in Del Mar for 34 years, but recently sold her house there and is moving to adjacent Solana Beach this month.
“I can see the fairgrounds and Del Mar from my new kitchen window,” she said.
Haydu was an administrator at her husband’s medical office from 1986 to 2014, about a year after his passing.
She was elected to the City Council in 2010, and in 2014 served as mayor, a position that is rotated annually.
During her tenure on the council she sat on a variety of regional and local boards and commissions, including the fair board’s Community Relations Committee.
She said her role on that committee is one reason she decided to seek an appointment to the 22nd DAA. Current board President Fred Schenk, in an online comment last September, stated that Haydu “would be a wonderful addition to the 22nd DAA board.”
“I helped make great strides to create a better working relationship with the (22nd DAA) board and I’d like to continue that,” she said, adding that she also developed a better rapport with the Solana Beach City Council.
“Hopefully I can keep us all working together,” she said. “I understand the mission of the fairgrounds, but I also know the mission of Del Mar and Solana Beach.”
Sleiman, 28, becomes the youngest director on the nine-member board. He is the founder and chief executive officer of Encinitas-based Go Green Agriculture Inc., a national network of small farms that grow and sell produce locally using sustainable methods.
Sleiman, who is also a member of the San Diego County Farm Bureau board of directors, was honored at the White House this past July, receiving President Barack Obama’s Champions of Change award.
Day was first appointed to the 22nd DAA in 2008 by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and served as president for about two years, beginning in mid-2011.
Brown reappointed him in 2012. When the governor last year named him to the California State University board of trustees, Day asked to be replaced on the 22nd DAA board. He said Brown asked him at the time to continue to serve until a replacement was selected.
In his letter of resignation submitted to the governor’s office on Feb. 27, Day said it has been an “honor and a privilege” to serve Brown, the state and the citizens of San Diego County “in such a worthwhile volunteer capacity.”
“Now is the time for someone new to offer their talents to this incredible organization,” he wrote.
Day thanked the fairgrounds staff, “from the front line ambassadors … to the CEO— for their dedication and hard work, day in and day out.”
“They are the ones who have made the San Diego County Fair the envy of the industry, and have allowed a state asset with no tax dollars involved to become wildly successful with positive impacts throughout the region — not just from an economic perspective, but in preserving horse racing, offering world class entertainment, and promoting the agricultural industry,” Day wrote.
He was also recently named by San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer as chairman of a task force charged with recommending a location and funding options for a new stadium for the San Diego Chargers, a decision they said would be made in a few months.
“I am sad to lose him as a colleague, but cannot blame him for having to choose where to best use his volunteer efforts and skills,” Schenk said.
Lizerbram in December informed the governor’s office he did not want to be reappointed when his first term on the fair board expired in January because of his professional and charitable commitments as an attorney, member of the San Diego Music Foundation board of directors and co-founder of the Craft Beer Association of San Diego.
Fair board members receive no pay but are allowed perks that include free parking and admission to fairgrounds events. The board meets the second Tuesday of each month.
This story has been updated since its original posting.