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Letters: Del Mar Foundation responded to a community in crisis

To the editor:

We have donated many dollars to the Foundation over the years as have many of our friends.  We strongly support its decision to donate approximately $180,000 to our City to restore funding for priority items that had been included in our annual budget but were cut because of the pandemic – items like PPE for our firefighters, a much-needed replacement vehicle for our lifeguards, and funding for repairs to our beach safety center.

Contrary to the Frank Stonebanks allegations (“Pay to Play in Del Mar”), this grant did not “illegally override City Council and voter priorities.”  Instead, it funded items that the Council had already approved in adopting the original budget; and the Council unanimously accepted the gift, with each council member expressing his or her gratitude in open session.

It is unfortunate that he chose to slam some highly regarded volunteers and public servants in our community.  Specifically, the author fails to articulate any improper benefit obtained by Mayor Ellie Haviland (who is not running for re-election), or long-time Del Mar Foundation volunteer Betty Wheeler, by virtue of this donation to the City.

As for the author’s allegation that the entire gift was orchestrated by former DMF President Bob Gans to boost his chances of election to the City Council, a simple fact-check would have revealed that Mr. Gans resigned from the DMF Board in July before the organization’s decision to award this grant.

The Del Mar Foundation has been a positive presence in Del Mar since 1982, a nearly all-volunteer organization committed to no other purpose than benefiting the Del Mar community.

We are thrilled that our donor dollars have helped the Foundation to achieve its mission and respond to our community’s needs in a time of crisis.  It is because of actions like this that we will continue to donate to the Foundation in the future and hope others will as well.

Charles and Lynn Gaylord