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Serge Dedina to Run for Mayor of Imperial Beach

Serge Dedina surfing south of the Imperial Beach Pier in 2011. Photo credit: Jeff Wallis.
Serge Dedina surfing south of the Imperial Beach Pier in 2011. Photo credit: Jeff Wallis.

Serge Dedina of Imperial Beach announced plans to run for Mayor of Imperial Beach Wednesday. 

A Candidate Intention Statement was submitted to City Clerk Jacqueline Hald last week. No other candidates have filed paperwork to state their intention to run for mayor, Hald said.

The 49-year-old former lifeguard grew up surfing in Imperial Beach. In 2000 he co-founded conservation and environmental group WILDCOAST. As a teenager he was appointed to the Youth Advisory Committee by then Mayor Brian Bilbray.

"This is the city I grew up in and where I hope to retire and die someday," he said. 

He plans to run for mayor in November because he believes IB is "ripe for leadership change."

"I think there's a desire among people in the community to have someone be mayor that is passionate about living in Imperial Beach and transparency in local government," Dedina said.

”Under the leadership of Mayor Jim Janney, we have the lowest number of citizen advisory committees of any coastal city in San Diego County. This has resulted in a situation in which community residents have become increasingly isolated from the decisions made on our behalf, with little opportunity to weigh in on how we plan for and invest in the future of Imperial Beach," he said.

Dedina said his campaign will focus on open government, safety and restoring a sense that all IB neighborhoods matter, not just those along the beach.

"People care passionately about the community and making Imperial Beach better for kids and families especially in the last year with the Sports Park debacle," he said. "This is a campaign about getting everybody back on the Imperial Beach train. One family, one Imperial Beach. We need to bring that spirit of caring back to Imperial Beach."

Dedina said he did not intend for his announcement to coincide with the opening of IB's new 78-room hotel Pier South Resort but declared early in order to spend months leading up to Election Day listening to people who live in Imperial Beach.

He is author of the books Saving the Gray Whale: People, Politics and Conservation in Baja California and Wild Sea: Eco Wars and Surf Stories from the Coast of the Californias.

Janney has been mayor of Imperial Beach since 2006 and intends to run for a third term of office in November. IB Patch reached Janney by phone Wednesday on the roof of Pier South Resort, a project that received $7 million from the now defunct Imperial Beach Redevelopment Agency. 

If elected in November Janney will become the longest serving mayor in the history of a city established in 1956. 

Janney believes he has been a good leader for Imperial Beach. 

"I've always stressed that there is more to Imperial Beach than just the beach. There's a huge population on the east side of town that we have to consider all the time," Janney said.

An effort to make playgrounds at Central and Oneonta elementary schools public park space last year was led by Janney. Street improvements and private investment on 13th Street are further evidence the city tries to help more than shoreline citizens.

"I think there's always rook for improvement but we have to balance that concept of classic Southern California town. I think change is something we have to manage and we don't want a lot of change but we want to some for lifestyle, to improve the lives of people who live here," Janney said.

Would you like Serge Dedina to be Mayor of Imperial Beach? Why or why not? How do you think Jim Janney has done as Mayor of Imperial Beach? Share in comments.

Disclosure: Imperial Beach Patch paid Serge Dedina as a contributing writer from October 2010 to October 2013. His Southwest Surf column covered topics of environmentalism and surfing.

Kay Kardian-Porter February 05, 2014 at 03:25 PM
How can I make a contribution for Serge campaign?
Pop Quiz February 05, 2014 at 11:57 PM
Hey Gene (Real Name) Hillger, Thanks for the bags and i also support a dog park. From your descriptions, you are a civic minded person who puts his money where his mouth is. Very commendable. Your interpretation of some sort of personal attack is wrong. No public figure or politician gets a free ride from me. Every box of girl scout cookies helps pay many executive level salaries. Where we like it or not. The salaries are commensurate with the job level and the education (broad general statement). My point was simply being the head of any non profit is an honest way to make a buck. In another thread i had asked Serge if there had been a reduction in our closed beach pollution days since Wild coast has been involved. I have not seen an answer yet. On the blue bags and so many other good ideas, funny how this city never has money for residents, but can find money whenever they have a sceme. I agree. No free rides. I guess talking to Serge has me believing he is much more open and honest than our current Mayor....
Libi Uremovic February 06, 2014 at 12:32 AM
'...I stopped contributing to the Red Cross when I learned their San Diego President was earning $400,000.00 a year...' ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ my mother stopped giving to red cross when she found out they paid elizabeth dole $1/2 million year ....
Libi Uremovic February 06, 2014 at 12:33 AM
Serge Dedina January 17, 2014 at 11:46 am Thanks everyone for your comments and support!! It means a lot to me. For information on how to get involved and donate please check out my campaign Facebook page and contact me via FB or the contact info on the page. Thanks!! https://www.facebook.com/pages/Serge-Dedina/461680117271360

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