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Commentary: Fairgrounds housing plan lacks dignity

By Ricardo Flores

As the city of Del Mar knows all too well, the state of California is mandating that each city do their part to allow for some level of affordable housing.

While Del Mar initially resisted, it is desperately trying to move forward with its plan to provide its share.

Unfortunately, the centerpiece of its plan is to put approximately 54 or more affordable units on the Del Mar Fairgrounds, about as far away from everyone else as possible. 

Putting this housing on the outskirts of town — in a floodplain no less — and treating the people who will live there like outcasts is unacceptable. This kind of out-of-sight, out-of-mind thinking by Del Mar is unfortunate.

We’re not talking about siting a new landfill or a jail; we’re talking about affordable housing. The people who will live there are not criminals or second-class citizens and shouldn’t be treated as such.

These are essential members of our community — the people who work at our restaurants, the people who clean, repair and renovate our homes, and others.  They deserve to be treated with dignity. 

Instead of dumping low-income housing at the fairgrounds, the city should come up with a plan to integrate this housing into its existing residential neighborhoods — not in the back 40 with horses in an area prone to flooding. 

Let the fairgrounds be a fairgrounds and not the city’s solution to everything it doesn’t want in town.

Ricardo Flores is executive director of Local Initiatives Support Coalition – San Diego

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