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.

Scott Taylor January 15, 2014 at 04:34 PM
Congratulations to Serge on a well-made and timely decision. He has my support as I am sure he will provide the excellent leadership needed in imperial Beach. My wife and I have said many times, "Serge should run for Mayor. He has the heart of the city." This is the change we've been waiting for.
Libi Uremovic January 15, 2014 at 06:27 PM
good for you serge - it's probably not something you ever wanted to do, but sometimes living in a democracy means that people have to put your civic duty before their own personal interest.... ======================================= three spots for council open in november..... two more decent people need to step to the plate.....
Matt Henry January 15, 2014 at 06:47 PM
I've always liked Serge and I do think we need more transparency, this could mean really great things for IB
Serge Dedina January 15, 2014 at 06:56 PM
Thanks everyone. Appreciate all the support. Means a lot to me. And as many of you know this will not be just about involving those who agree with me --but making sure that everyone has a chance to contribute to making our city a better place to live.
Edward Delos Reyes January 15, 2014 at 07:32 PM
I believe Serge will be a good mayor....he like myself have lived in I B all our lives.....Go for it Serge. New blood and hometown and family values
Shorebird January 15, 2014 at 07:36 PM
Best of Luck Serge, if I still lived in IB you would have my vote
Jay January 15, 2014 at 08:07 PM
Good news. You have my support.
R Keen January 15, 2014 at 08:50 PM
Excellent! Serge for mayor!
Evie Ramseier January 15, 2014 at 08:54 PM
Now we're talking!
Andy Arciga January 15, 2014 at 10:00 PM
Good news indeed. I believe Serge will make a great mayor. You have my full support.
Marcus Boyd January 15, 2014 at 10:54 PM
Great news! Real change in IB however will require Serge to run with two other candidates for council seats, as an All-or-Nothing ticket.
Kay Kardian-Porter January 16, 2014 at 12:33 AM
Get the sighs out citizens...I will take at least 20 for my yard...Finally someone who will step up and fight to get our city back. The old fashioned way of running this city has not worked with the growing that is happening all around us..We have to give a little of the new but keep some of the old. All of the citizens have to get out and vote we don't want what we have had folks. Lets give Serge our support.
Jack Fisher January 16, 2014 at 03:34 AM
I agree with Marcus on this one. The key is not that each one of us votes but we inform our neighbors and our neighbors- neighbors. They only way to win is to knock on doors, which is how a few on the current city council have won. Best bet is to only have two candidates for Mayor, that way the votes will not be split between multiple challengers and the incumbents. There are a couple of people who ran for City Council seats in the past two elections that I would really like to see voted in this November.
Dennis Lepak January 16, 2014 at 11:07 AM
How can I make a campaign contribution?
Ed Kravitz January 16, 2014 at 07:41 PM
You are right that it has to be two candidated squaring off. Multiple candidates only works in Mayor Janney's favor. He might even support a 3rd candidate to dillute the vote. It's your time Serge. Good Luck!
Marcus Boyd January 16, 2014 at 07:44 PM
"How can I make a campaign contribution?" *LIKE*
net91932 January 17, 2014 at 09:43 AM
YAY!! A refreshing change for our beautiful beach town!
Hazel F. Bailey January 17, 2014 at 11:21 AM
Hey Serge, Whatever I can do to help. You need to form a campaign committee soon. A Campaign Manager and Treasurer are vital and a sign crew. You have great name recognition throughout the city but I would still recommend walking precincts (I have a few pointers on that if you're interested). Hazel Bailey 395-2142 (cell)
Gene Hillger January 17, 2014 at 11:59 AM
Serge, What do you earn with Wildcoast? Where does the money come from and what does it accomplish other than throw a fundraiser now and then? Just wondering.
Kelly Tracy January 17, 2014 at 12:41 PM
Go for it Serge !! You have my support and yes you are more than welcome to place a sign in my yard. I agree it is Time For Change, Transparency and More Community involvement.
Patti Cooke January 17, 2014 at 01:16 PM
I would love to vote for serge we need someone new now bring back the sand castles and the Christmas Parade every year. I am for a new change in IB I have been here since july 1999 and love this little town called Imperial Beach.
Serge Dedina January 17, 2014 at 02:46 PM
For information on WILDCOAST accomplishments in 2013 please check out: http://thewildcoastblog.com/2013/12/18/2013-year-in-review/ for information on WILDCOAST financials please check out: http://www.wildcoast.net/who-we-are/financials Thanks!
Serge Dedina January 17, 2014 at 02:48 PM
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
Pop Quiz January 21, 2014 at 03:47 PM
Hey Serge free poster idea ! Hey, I'm not Janney!!! I think it will work wonders with anyone paying attention. Especially those not living on Seacoast
Pop Quiz January 30, 2014 at 07:23 PM
For those of you that don't know, all of your favorite nonprofits have paid employees; Boy scouts,Red Cross, Cancer Society, Boys and Girls Clubs, Susan G. Komen, Your local Church, All Political Parties. Wildcoast is no different. As long as the books are open and in order, it is the way that non-profits survive. It isn't like you throw some couch cushions together as a fort and start asking for money. There is a ton of paperwork and Government over sight. If your going to criticize Serge for running a non-profit it seems a bit goofy to me. Disagreeing with his politics, not donating to his cause,,I get it. But that (director of Wildcoast) is this guys job. If your a local, you know there is a director of the nonprofit Boys and Girls club. It is a job. Serge and I do not see Eye to eye on much politically. Where we come together, is open government and a love of IB. I had an Boss before, George Wycoff. I was griping about something one day. He told me, he thought it would be great, if everyone could do the guys job (that seemed so easy) for just one day. Funny how years later that is still relevant.
Gene Hillger February 05, 2014 at 11:49 AM
Pop Quiz, I assume your comment was directed at me. For 14 years my wife and I ran Ocean Blue Foundation a non-profit that supplied dog waste bags in Imperial Beach. So, yes, I do understand non-profits. The city recently took over this job that we started because the city originally said it did not have the money. Yes we received some grant and donation money but most of the money for this operation came out of our pockets. We never took a penny in salary but did this to better our city. I have a job too but I don't use it as a platform to run for political office. I don't know Serge's politics but would like to know more. I'm just not giving him a free pass for running Wildcoast when I haven't seen anything that this non-profit has done locally. Think globally and act locally. One thing I learned about running Ocean Blue is that there are a lot of people who like to talk but very few who will act. Now that we are wrapping up Ocean Blue I am looking for something else to do to make Imperial Beach a better city. Perhaps advocate for a dog park? By the way, I stopped contributing to the Red Cross when I learned their San Diego President was earning $400,000.00 a year. Pop Quiz, my real name is Gene Hillger
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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