New mayors take reins in area cities

COAST CITIES — The county’s two smallest cities had their annual change in leadership last week. Richard Earnest began his third term as mayor of Del Mar at the Dec. 7 meeting, taking over for Crystal Crawford, who was completing her third term in the position.
In Solana Beach, Tom Campbell began his fourth mayoral term on Dec. 9. He replaces Mike Nichols, who was serving as City Council leader for the first time. Ceremonies in both cities included cake, gifts and words of thanks and appreciation.
“It has been a pleasure, of course, to serve again as the mayor of the wonderful community of Del Mar,” said Crawford, who has served on the council for 11 years.
She used her time to make remarks as outgoing mayor to highlight the city’s accomplishments during the past year, including the creation of a two-year budget that cuts expenditures by nearly 10 percent without cutting services or staff. She also looked toward the future.
“We have to move forward with community revitalization,” Crawford said. “The investment in our downtown is critical to the long-term health and well-being of our community.
“We can’t do nothing,” she said. “Inaction is, of course, the enemy of our community’s long-term success.”
In a resolution of commendation, Earnest praised Crawford for her “indefatigable energy,” “limitless talents” and enthusiasm, which, “if properly harnessed would light up the city, saving thousands on our electric bill and totally offset our carbon footprint.”
Earnest, who was first elected to the council in 1996, is up for re-election in 2010. Crawford’s term is also up next year, but she said she will not seek re-election. A Democrat, she is running against Republican Martin Garrick for the 74th District seat in the state Assembly.
“You took the challenge and you’ve done an outstanding job,” Solana Beach City Manager David Ott told Nichols, who received a framed copy of the city’s new map signed by the artist, a jacket, an engraved letter opener and a skateboard with the city seal.
“You did an incredible job,” Councilwoman Lesa Heebner said. “You’re just a natural at this.”
“I do truly appreciate the honor of being the representative of the city,” Nichols said. “I really enjoyed the work.”
Campbell has served on the Solana Beach City Council since 1996. Nichols is currently serving his first term. Both are up for re-election next year.
Don Mosier and Heebner take over as deputy mayors in Del Mar and Solana Beach, respectively. As general law cities, Del Mar and Solana Beach appoint council members to serve as mayor on a one-year rotating basis.

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