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Trail to be named for former senator

DEL MAR — In recognition of Christine Kehoe’s longstanding efforts to protect the environment, coastal resources and, most notably, the San Dieguito River, the 22nd District Agricultural Association board of directors agreed at Dec. 17 meeting to name part of the Coast to Crest Trail after the former state senator.

Director Adam Day said he proposed the resolution because Kehoe introduced legislation in 2010 that would have required the 22nd DAA to develop and manage a 100-foot-wide greenbelt along the north bank of the river to provide a permanent buffer between the waterway and fairgrounds buildings.

The bill was approved by the Senate but not the Assembly and never made it to the governor’s desk.

Day said he had the “honor and privilege” to work with Kehoe during the past several years, “although I didn’t always agree with her.”

In fact, Day said perhaps the only time the two found themselves on the same side of an issue was when they opposed a 2009 bid to sell the state-owned Del Mar Fairgrounds, which is overseen by the 22nd DAA.

The resolution acknowledges Kehoe “has placed the protection of the environment and coastal resources as one of the most important priorities for her legislative agenda and annual funding proposals.”

It notes that she “provided critical leadership towards the establishment, development, growth and success of the San Dieguito River Park, and especially the Coast to Crest Trail.”

Director David Watson said he also worked with Kehoe, who had “always been a proactive advocate for the environment.”

“The fairgrounds held a special place in her heart,” Watson said. “I think this would be fitting.”

During a recent email exchange with Kehoe, Watson said she told him she usually doesn’t “buy into” such recognition but she was “deeply touched by this.”

“Her final sentence was, ‘I hope they approve it,’” Watson said. “I just think this is a very worthwhile recognition.”

When Kehoe introduced her bill, the board of directors at the time was staunchly opposed.

Only three of those members — Day, Russ Penniman and Ruben Barrales — still serve on the board.

Penniman was absent from the meeting and Barrales stepped out to participate in a previously scheduled conference call for the 6-0 vote. There is one vacancy on the nine-member board.

The entire west-to-east length of the trail on fairgrounds property will be named the Christine Kehoe Public Trail and Wetland Buffer.

Signage recognizing Kehoe’s contributions to the 22nd DAA and San Dieguito River and Lagoon will be installed.

Board President Fred Schnek said an event to properly recognize Kehoe will be held at a later date.

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