DEL MAR — After more than 24 combined years on City Council, Dave Druker and Henry Abarbanel retired Dec. 2, but not without plenty of presents, proclamations and praise.
Sworn in April 16, 1996, Druker has been a council member for 151 consecutive months, making him the longest continuously serving elected official in city history. He served as mayor three times, including this past year.
Abarbanel began his first four-year term April 21, 1992. He served as mayor in 1996, and was re-elected in 2000 and 2004.
Representatives from the Del Mar Fairgrounds and state Sen. Christine Kehoe’s office thanked both men for their years of service. Pat Vergne, community services director, named them honorary lifeguards and presented each with rescue tubes autographed by city lifeguards.
On behalf of the Public Works Department, City Engineer Carmen Kasner maintained tradition by presenting them with personalized street signs — Druker Drive and Abarbanel Avenue. Brian Mooney, interim planning director, issued a stop-work order from the Planning and Community Development Department. Druker and Abarbanel were cited for completing their City Council commitment “with integrity, insight and vision.” Mooney ordered them to “immediately halt all work and apply to obtain the necessary permits to enjoy the fruits of their labor on the City Council.”
Residents Lynn Gaylord and Claire McGreal, who were recruited as volunteers by Druker and Abarbanel, appointed them ambassadors for the Del Mar Foundation’s Hospitality Committee.
“Yes, the tables have turned,” Gaylord said. “It feels so good.”
“We really will miss you,” McGreal said. “We are not letting you go.”
Resident Bud Emerson, who sits on several ad hoc committees, was unable to attend the Dec. 2 meeting, so he addressed council the previous night.
“I can’t miss the opportunity to give public thanks to two of the finest leaders I know,” Emerson said. “They’re very different in many ways but I think they have a common commitment to finding what’s best for our community.
“We’ve always been well-served by these two guys,” he said. “We and future generations will see your fingerprints for a long time.”
Carl Hilliard, Mark Filanc and Don Mosier were sworn in at the end of the meeting. Hilliard is serving his second four-year term. Filanc and Mosier were elected to their first council terms in November. In his first action, Mosier seconded the motion to appoint Crystal Crawford mayor, a position that rotates annually in Del Mar. Richard Earnest was named deputy mayor.