Serge Dedina, the Mayor of Imperial Beach, was very upbeat for IB's Future in his "State of the City Address" last Monday Night!
Feb 12, 2015 05:18PM
By Paul Spear
Mayor, Serge Dedina, started off by describing a perfect morning in Imperial Beach. He had gone to the beach and paddled out at the pier. Spending a couple of hours out in the water with friends and fellow citizens in our beautiful ocean and watching a beautiful sunrise in the east coast. He then went by the estuary with all the open space and abundance of wildlife that makes IB one of the best places for nature-based tourism in San Diego County if not Southern California. Reminding us how lucky we are to have all of that here in Imperial Beach.
Per Serge on the Sate of IB, “my message today is that--the state of our city is great—but that if we work together as a team to meaningfully engage our community in improving the quality of life for all-it will get even better.”
He then talked of achievements this last year. “So here are some of the achievements of 2014 thanks to the leadership of my colleagues on the City Council and City Manager Andy Hall and his team of dedicated employees. For Public Works, thanks to Director Hank Levien and his staff, more than 1.2 lane miles of streets were paved and 1006 feet of sidewalks were installed and or replaced.”
The mayor then thanked “the experienced oversight of Public Safety Director Tom Clark and his staff— our fire department responded to more than 2,543 calls for service—a 9.8% increase over 2013. Our Lifeguards performed more than 1006 aquatic rescues in 2014.” And he told a story about driving to work and seeing Lifeguard Art Ayala, who got called on a rescue right before 7am as he was arriving to work and saved the life of a surfer who was out of his element in large and very cold surf.
He went on to talk about the growth of the city with the opening of Pier South Hotel, Seacoast 180 and the Colorado Brewing company and all the growth they see or the city moving forward. In particular the Breakwater Town Center, Bike paths, and The Palm Avenue Master Plan.
He went on to say “With the proposed naval campus and an estimated 8,000 additional daily car trips on Palm Avenue as a result, it is critical that we work with the Navy, Caltrans, SANDAG, and the City of San Diego to improve traffic flow and air quality on Highway 75, increase safety and access for pedestrians and bicyclists and make this highway more business friendly. This is a project that is absolutely vital for the future of IB and our region. I’m a big supporter of the proposed new hotel on Seacoast Drive at Imperial Beach Boulevard and I look forward to Imperial Beach Resorts developing a first-class project on our beachfront. I’m also looking forward to future development of the Bikeway Village project at the north end of 13th Street along our magnificent bayfront. The economic opportunities provided by these projects will be great. But supporting the development and prospering of small business in Imperial Beach will help create good jobs. So we need to make IB more business friendly and make it easier for people to work out of their homes and even develop cottage industries. So in the next few months I hope to work with our Chamber of Commerce and BID to organize a small business summit to develop input on how we can all do more to make IB the most small business friendly city in San Diego County. One of the easiest ways to improve economic value in Imperial Beach is by providing incentives to residents to invest in their homes. So I propose that we have a one-year moratorium on permit fees for simple home improvements such as replacing windows and roofs and repainting. Any small cost we incur by a loss of fees will be made up by the long-term increase in property taxes from residents who improve the value, livability, safety and security of their homes and our neighborhoods. So if things are great—why should we try any harder to do better? Because this is IB's time. This is our moment to shine. Our region now recognizes the value of the stunning open space that surrounds us, the beauty of our beaches, and the character and warmth of our very diverse and very friendly community. We are a city and community that is on the rise. And if there is a gold medal for being a beautiful, friendly, and authentic beach city—we should aspire to win it. So I look forward to working to make Imperial Beach an even better place to live and raise a family and a gold-medal example of a transparent, well managed, participatory and inclusive local government.”
He thanked all the appropriate people, proposed a 2 term limit for mayor and talked about another hotel being built on the beach across from the IB Forum. He stressed the importance of getting the east side of the city and other parts of the city caught up with the rest of the town and doing a lot more for the east end of the city. Getting all the alleyways paved there, building a new park there and in general, doing away with the inequity in treatment given the beach area versus the east end of town. He wants to “improve pedestrian safety and install more street lights throughout our city and identify locations for neighborhood parks on the east side of town”.
Just some of the people in attendance included: San Diego County Supervisor Greg Cox, Assembly Woman Toni Atkins, City Council members Ed Spriggs, Lorie Bragg, Robert Patton and Brian Pat Bilbray (Mayor Pro Tem). Also from the City of IB were Don Hall, City Manager and Assistant City Manager, Greg Wade.
Other notable people were Esteen from Sudberry Development and the Breakwater Town Center, Gary Brown, President of the Kiwanis and of course, all the award winners: Bill Grove, Don Spicer, Sha-Ron Cobb, the IB Posse, and the IB Woman’s Club. And, of course, the meeting was well attended by the Imperial Beach Community. My apologies if I missed anyone or ran out of space and time.
Although this doesn’t cover everything the Mayor, Serge Dedina, talked about, I hope it gives you the direction of the city moving forward.
Paul Spear, Editor of DigImperialBeach.com