Del Mar Days: Community Life and Civic Engagement in a Small American City: Book 2
- Land Use, Public Policy & Liberty
The three parts in Book 2 are unified by themes of individual and community rights, public policy, and constitutional liberties as they emerged in the course of local civic engagement.
When I first arrived in 1969 from New York City to the coast of North County San Diego, one could see mostly undeveloped chaparral-dotted mesas, sandstone canyons, and rural towns to the east. As late as the early 1970s they were on the drawing boards to become what is now a completely developed, landscaped, and paved over region, separated on the east from a Del Mar “eden” by 13 north-south lanes of Interstates 5 and 805.
In Part 3, 40 of my columns deal with the battles over property rights and environmental issues that eventually settled the city’s character through referendum and regulation. These contests arose between factions polarized on issues of land-use regulation and building design in the larger region as well as in its 1.8-square-mile jurisdiction.
Some of the global and national issues that filtered into Del Mar’s public life appear in Part 4. Its 35 columns span the era of the first Gulf War, flag-burning protests, removing Santa from the classroom, the fatwa against author Salman Rushdie, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and of Immigration Service sweeps of buses and businesses. Water use policy and waste disposal were also critical county-wide as well as being local concerns.
In the 42 columns of Part 5, I drew connections about the moral, ethical, legal, and social underpinnings of our society. I quoted from historic documents cited in the bibliography dealing with political factions, free speech, religious liberty, church and state, property rights, civic engagement, and local government.
Articulate and informed debate seemed to come naturally to our population. Sixty percent (according to the census) were employed in education, management, and the professions. The fundamentals of debate appear to me to be universal in the five exchanges (comprised of 15 columns and letters to the editor) voiced in local newspapers by myself and by others that I have selected for the Afterword.
My sponsoring newspapers, the Surfcomber and the Citizen, gave me a front-page send-off, reproduced here in the Epilogue, when I went east in 1992. My friends in Del Mar organized a farewell event in Seagrove Park. In 2012 I returned, resolving to complete this memoir.
Eugene G. Schwartz