From left: Dave Zito, Jewel Edson and Judy Hegenauer are sworn into office Dec. 14. Photo by Bianca Kaplanek
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Heebner, Zahn honored; new council members sworn in

SOLANA BEACH — Outgoing council members Lesa Heebner and Peter Zahn were praised and presented with a variety of gifts from their colleagues and staff at the Dec. 14 meeting.

Dave Zito was also recognized for his year as mayor, a position that rotates annually in the county’s second smallest city.

Heebner was the top vote getter when she first ran in 2004 and served as mayor three times. During her tenure Solana Beach renovated Fletcher Cove Park and Community Center and a 1-mile stretch of Coast Highway 101.

The city was the first in the county to ban single-use plastic bags and polystyrene containers and has made the most progress in forming a Community Choice Aggregation program that will give residents a choice of energy suppliers.

But one of her proudest accomplishments is completion of the Coastal Rail Trail, a project that prompted her to run for City Council 12 years ago.

Unhappy at the time with a 3-2 council decision on its design, she rallied community members and convinced one member to change his vote.

During her tenure Heebner represented the city on a variety of regional committees, including 10 years with the San Diego Association of Governments.

“You’ve been very accessible to the residents (and) businesses,” Zito said. “You put on a very positive cheerful face for Solana Beach. You have incredible design taste and … if you look along (the Coastal Rail Trail) and Fletcher Cove Park you can see a lot of your little touches everywhere.

“You’ve also been one of the hardest working members of this governing body,” he added.

“You put an amazing amount of time — and not just time, but really yourself — into this position and it’s really rare to see that level of dedication,” Zahn said. “You’ve had tremendous impact on this city.”

“All the projects that have come through, you’ve left your signature in the city in terms of the aesthetic, keeping the community character intact,” Mike Nichols said.

“It’s been a pleasure serving with you, Lesa, and I really admire your dedication to service, all the years and your commitment,” Ginger Marshall said. “It’s really admirable.”

County Supervisor Dave Roberts, who served on the Solana Beach City Council with Heebner, presented her with a county resolution.

“I just want to commend you for the great work that you’ve done, not only inside our city, but throughout the county of San Diego. We will long remember your phenomenal service to this community.”

“Public service is not about one individual,” Heebner said. “It’s about a team (effort) that starts with the community. It always starts with the people who live here in Solana Beach.

“So the key message I want to convey tonight is one of gratitude,” she added. “Being a council member and a mayor of one city is an honor and an incredible privilege. …I’m thankful for the opportunity to represent you.”

“You always come with a good attitude … and you work hard toward the things you care about and are interested in a vigorous debate without being negative,” Zito said to Zahn. “That I really respect.

“You have been the environmental pillar on our council … and it was just awesome to have you representing Solana Beach at the climate action conference in Paris,” he added.

“It’s been a pleasure working with you,” Nichols said. “You’ve driven a lot of very passionate arguments through the council and driven us in a direction that I think you can leave us and the city in a better place. I’ve admired your intelligence and your integrity.”

Roberts also presented Zahn with a county resolution.

“You’ve been a true leader here,” Roberts said. “I have so enjoyed working with you. We have similar passions and that’s taking on the system.”

“I really am thankful to the residents of Solana Beach for allowing me to serve,” Zahn said. “I’m hoping that it came out well in terms of what the constituents were expecting of me.

“I really was striving to live up to their expectations,” he added. “We have such a great engaged citizenry here. It’s awesome working with you.”

Heebner and Zahn, who served one term on council, did not seek re-election in November. Zito was re-elected to his second term.

He and newly elected council members Jewel Edson and Judy Hegenauer were sworn into office. Nichols was selected as mayor for the third time since taking office in 2006 and Marshall was named deputy mayor.