Art Olson | Avenida Primavera
|Kent Clarke of Lois Lane. Photo Art Olson.
Click on image to enlarge.
The Del Mar Ad Hoc Development Review Board Citizens’ Advisory Committee has been charged with identifying problems with the Design Review process and recommending solutions to the City Council. They have recommended one early solution to some of the conflicts that arise – the appointment of an Ombudsman to help applicants and neighbors navigate the process. The Sandpiper has found out that a candidate for that position has been identified. He is Mr. Kent Clarke; a well-known yachtsman and recently retired California Coastal Commissioner, who has voted to fire executive director Charles Lester. The Sandpiper sat down with Mr. Clarke at his Del Mar home on Lois Lane.
SP: Welcome to Del Mar Mr. Clarke. Can you tell our readers briefly what brought you to Del Mar, and how you would see your role as Ombudsman here?
KC: Well, as you can guess. I love the Pacific Ocean and coast, and actually I’ve had my place in Del Mar for a long time, but used it only as a vacation home. Now that I’m retired, I decided to move here full time. Del Mar is a very fantastic place, but I can see that it’s in terrible trouble right now over development. Neighbors fighting neighbors -- it’s a horrible situation. I see the role of Ombudsman as stopping this very alarming downward spiral. I understand that the term “Ombudsman” comes from the root word “omni” meaning “all,” as in omniscient or omnipotent. And, I would put my exceptional powers to work to make Del Mar great again.
SP: Can you tell us a bit about your experience as a Coastal Commissioner, and the recent struggle with Mr. Lester?
KC: Well, I can’t go into the details on that -- but let’s just say that the Executive Director was a real loser. I don’t think he appreciated the value of coastal property. I think we were right to fire him. On the bright side, in my role as Commissioner, I was able to raise a lot of money for important causes by holding events like extravagant galas and huge balls. Believe me, once you have big donors at the balls, you can squeeze a lot of cash out of them. That’s the art of the deal.
SP: I expect that as a Coastal Commissioner you have a lot of experience with development along the coast, can you give our readers a sense of how you view the development process here in Del Mar?
KC: As I mentioned, the process has been creating a lot of hostility. I know the people of Del Mar are angry, and I’ve heard that fights have broken out. I think there is a group of socialist agitators in town who want to disrupt development progress. It even makes me angry enough to want to punch them out myself. I think the whole development process is broken badly, and needs to be fixed.
SP: So what specifically would you do? What are your views on the Design Review Ordinances and the Design Review Board.
KC: First, I would deport all the agitators and get rid of the waste, fraud and abuse. The DROs are much too complicated. FAR, Bulk and Mass, Overlay zones, it’s enough to make your head spin. I think the whole development application should be made simple enough to fit on the back of a postcard – mind you, it might have to be written in very very small print. The DRB? They’re a bunch of losers and I would fire them all. I know that as Ombudsman, I could easily handle all new applications myself.
SP: So if you controlled Design Review, what would you like to see developed in Del Mar.
KC: Well, I like walls, very tall walls. You know what that American poet, Jack Frost, once wrote, “good fences make good neighbors.” Also I like columns on the front of houses, large impressive columns -- they give the neighborhoods a more manly appearance. Oh, and gold -- I think that gold is the best color for Del Mar houses.
SP: Do you see any threats of over-development in the city?
KC: Not really. On the whole I love development very, very much. Some of my best friends are developers. There is a problem, however, from foreigners taking development jobs away from Americans. The Chinese are buying up properties like you wouldn’t believe -- and shipping the profits back to China. There is one all powerful developer over there who consumes real estate websites for breakfast and preys upon unsuspecting homeowners of undervalued properties in order to build his monsterous mansions. They call him GodZillow, and he is now at our doorstep. I am ready and able to stand up to him to save Del Mar’s development for American values. I will fight for truth, justice and the Del Mar Way. We will make Del Mar Great again!
SP: Thank you Mr. Clarke. We know that the City Council won’t be approving the Ombudsman position until next April first, and you should know that the Sandpiper Editorial Board will not be endorsing you for it.
KC: Well, I’m not surprised that the liberal media is biased against me. Obviously the Sandpiper editors are a bunch of losers!