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Solana Beach reappoints citizen advisory commissioners

SOLANA BEACH — The Solana Beach City Council unanimously appointed 17 people, mostly incumbents, to the city government’s five citizen advisory commissions at its Jan. 27 meeting.

Councilmembers reassigned current members to all nine open positions between the Budget and Finance, Climate Action and View Assessment Commissions. Seven nonincumbents also applied.

Whereas the Climate Action Commission previously included two councilmember liaisons, the council reduced that number to one, making room to reappoint former Councilwoman Judy Hegenauer instead.

For seven open positions between the Public Arts and Parks and Recreation Commissions, councilmembers reappointed four current members.

All incumbent commissioners who applied were reappointed for new two-year terms.

Citizen commissions serve to “formulate recommendations and assist the city council in addressing community concerns and needs,” according to the city’s web site. Such commissions are a regular fixture of municipal governments. With the exception of planning commissions, which may have certain limited powers, such as to subdivide parcels, citizen commissions generally don’t exercise any policymaking or budgetary authority.

“This year was an odd year and people didn’t get much of a chance to be on the commission this year,” Mayor Lesa Heebner said.

“I do want to make sure we thank everybody for applying,” Councilwoman Kelly Harless said. “It’s always really, really hard when we have more qualified people then we have positions open. This was a weird year and I don’t want people to feel dissuaded from applying again.”

“I want to reiterate since we do have so many applicants and they’re all qualified, this year has thrown everything off,” Councilwoman Kristi Becker said. “The View Assessment [Commission] has not met, and I think [new] people have not gotten their full taste of the commission. I want to reappoint my current [nominee] … for that reason.”

“It would be to the benefit of the city … to reappoint those members whose terms are expiring,” Climate Action Commission Chair Jonathan Goodmacher told the Solana Beach City Council, pointing to the incumbents’ experience.

“They’re very involved in some of the subcommittees that were working closely with the staff on helping to move the Climate Action Plan for the city forward,” he said. “So, I think it’s really important, even though there are other qualified applicants, that we appoint these.”

“We have such a talented group … of people on the Climate Action Commission currently. It is my hope, as well, that you will keep our group intact,” Commissioner Shawna McGarry said.

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