SOLANA BEACH — Thomas Campbell, known in Solana Beach as a steadfast and devoted former councilman and mayor, died of lung cancer on Oct. 19. He was 69.
Campbell retired from City Council in December 2014 after serving 20 years as a city councilman and holding the rotational mayoral position five times — a length of service met by only one other city council member. He has been actively involved with the city since its origins, running for Solana Beach’s first City Council in 1986.
At the Oct. 24 council meeting, Mayor Dave Zito lauded his former colleague for his “tremendous service” to the community, adjourning the meeting in Campbell’s honor.
Zito said Campbell was instrumental in “turning a lot of the City Council back to a focus on the community and the residents.”
“Early in his term Tom was on the losing end of three 4-1 votes, where he was the sole person supporting the community,” Zito said, referring to various land-use and zoning decisions that were ultimately overturned by a public vote. “it goes to show how good he was at his message; how good he was at staying in tune with the community and representing local neighborhoods.”
Zito credited Campbell with contributing to some of the city’s more “innovative” decisions, such as paying off the city’s pension liability through its sanitation fund. Campbell’s commitment to the city extended far beyond city hall — in addition to running his CPA firm in town, he was a member of the city’s Chamber of Commerce, and served as president on both the Solana Beach Little League and Soccer League.
“He was hugely tied into this community,” Zito said.
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.