Interview with Del Mar Mayor Sherryl Parks

you’ve been a resident of Del Mar since 1974, what made you want to be Mayor?

Our City Hall is an embarrassment to Del Mar. I’ve lived here long enough to see a wonderful plan come before the voters in 1992 but the bond to support it was rejected. Other things got the attention of the previous Councils and once again the offices and town meeting spaces were overlooked and the working environment got worse.

Terry Sinnott, presently my Deputy Mayor, led community workshops to determine important issues the residents wanted to see addressed by 2020. A Vision Report was published way back in 2003 requesting our councils to develop new public facilities to better serve the residents and businesses. These facilities would differ from the present facility by being more functional for city business and better serving community needs.

Once again the City Hall came to the top of our Council’s priorities. As Mayor, I wanted to help design and build what the people asked various councils to do for them for 20 years. I also hoped to get something going for downtown Del Mar. After the rejection of Proposition J in 2012, Del Mar became known as a ‘do nothing’ town. That’s not a great reputation to have.

How do you hope to change Del Mar’s reputation as a “do nothing” town?

I want to see our City Hall/Town Hall under construction within this year while I’m Mayor. I hope we also will accept the Master Plan for our Shores Park which is right on Camino Del Mar and fully visible to all who drive through town. Additionally, I want our DRO Advisory committee to find specific ways to implement the DRO Ordinance to tighten the language to continue to help implement the goals of our community plan which created a ‘village’ of small scale homes with plenty of open landscaping. The process needs to be more predictable.

I’ve only lived in Del Mar for a little over 4 months. I love it here. There’s a purity here I’ve seldom seen in other places I’ve lived. We mentioned the potential plastic bag ban in last month’s issue. What are your thoughts on a proposed plastic bag ban?

Gosh, I’d rather talk about the ‘purity’ vibe you mentioned. There is something about living close to a beautiful, well-defined beach that motivates us to keep our village neat and tidy. Years ago Del Mar was one of the first towns to incorporate recycling into our regular weekly trash pick up services. We sought other ways to clean up after ourselves.

The plastic bag ban is a slam-dunk. We talked about this a couple of years ago and felt it would be fine to wait for the State’s mandate, but look what has happened there. Plastic bag businesses put a lot of money into blocking the legislation, to ban the plastic bag. I think eventually, the ban will be across California but now Del Mar needs to step up and put our own ban in place. We have residents asking us to do it soon.

You’ve served in and around Del Mar a few different ways even before you were elected Mayor; such as serving as President of the Del Mar Foundation (co-chairing the opening of the Del Mar Library) and serving on the Design Review Board for a term. Can you articulate for our readers how that experience will help you serve Del Mar and its residents?

People in town know me. I have served on many non-profits working on projects that have required me to roll up my sleeves and get the job done. Folks know to trust me to work hard for what I believe in.

Additionally I have a long history in Del Mar, over 40 years now. What that means is I can tell you why things are the way they are, what decisions were made then to mold Del Mar. However, knowing the history doesn’t mean that I worship the past. All that I know from our history is what we valued then. The present times may require a different track. The goal is to keep Del Mar a town that we want to live in and where businesses can thrive.

Finally the idea of service has always been important to me. Not for the recognition but because I value the friendships, standing alongside others who are willing to roll up their sleeves as well and to value what I value. It makes me feel alive and purposeful.

Del Mar’s newly elected Mayor, do you have anything you’d like to communicate to your residents?

2016 is an election year. Del Mar has not had competition for council seats for 3 cycles so it is likely that this year we will have folks who are eager to run for one of the 3 council seats. What I would like to tell my Del Mar friends is that serving on Council is not about one issue. Council members must look at the big picture and be willing to spend many hours reading and preparing for meetings that cover a wide variety of issues. The best councils are those that respect one another and work collaboratively to move Del Mar into the future. When you vote this year you need to ask, “Will this person be able to handle the workload?” “Will he/she work respectfully with the others on the Council?” These are the councils that can inspire both our community and our staff to make things better for Del Mar. DelMar.Ca.Us