The second State of the City Address and Mayoral Community Award Celebration by Mayor Serge Dedina held Tuesday, Feb. 8, started with an invocation by Pastor Jody Crawford followed by the presentation of colors by the Mar Vista High School Junior ROTC. The event took place in the Boys & Girls Club’s gymnasium.

Port Commissioner and I.B. resident Dan Malcolm introduced Dedina saying he is the best dressed and coolest mayor but more than that he is a hard working mayor and a credible voice regionally and statewide. A Channel 10 video clip was shown of Dedina, City Manager Andy Hall and Assistant City Manager Steve Dush jumping the fence of a property on Seacoast Drive to clean up trash. 

During his address Dedina pointed out five major achievements in 2015:

Greater transparency and community involvement and more open and friendly participatory meetings;

Increased city’s fiscal responsibility with taxpayers’ dollars. On this issue he commented the city and its annual audit. Last year there were seven findings in the audit, this year the number was zero and he also pointed out $41,000 in savings and 763 business licenses issued;

Improving neighborhoods in the city. Some of the improvements included one mile of alleys paved, 36 new street lights installed, and the safety of 13th Street where most kids and families live;

Imperial Beach has the second lowest crime rate in the county thanks to the Sheriff’s Department. He also praised the Fire Department and Chief John French for El Niño preparedness, and the lifeguards who did 600 ocean rescues. Dedina also pointed out the city had a record 3.3 million visitors this past year;

Eliminating blight. “We are committed to remove all chain link fences, improve the bay front, have a more equitable code enforcement.. and a more fair approach to eliminate public and private blight,” he said.

Dedina talked about the new upcoming projects in the city which include the Bayshore Bikeway, Bernardo Shores, Breakwater Town Center, Citymark project, Seacoast Drive Hotel and the new library. He also said the city had to work with Coronado, the US Navy, Caltrans and San Diego to synchronize the traffic lights to improve traffic flow.

“Thanks to the Port of San Diego we are turning construction fences into art,” he said. He pointed out that the fence at the side of the proposed hotel on Seacoast Drive is one site where seventh graders, thanks to the newly formed Imperial Beach Arts Bureau, transformed the fence into a piece of art.

Dedina also spoke of the upcoming Fiesta del Mar which will be held in conjunction with the City of Rosarito, the MJ Race which will travel through Imperial Beach and the possibility of hosting an Iron Man competition and a Cross Fit competition. “We will continue to improve the quality of life in IB, continue to work as a team,” he said.

Chevelle Newell of the office of Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins presented the city a certificate in honor of the city’s 60th anniversary.

American Legion Post 820, Fleet Reserve Association Branch 289, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5477 received the Mayoral Community Service Awards. 

An award was also presented to Milena (Sellers) Philips of the Jonathan Sellers & Charlie Keever Foundation whose mission is “to promote the safety and well being of children through education in preventing abduction and exploitation, and provide support for families who‘ve lost a loved one at the hands of another.”

Ken Blinsman president/chief executive officer of The Boys and Girls Club of South County also received an award. Dedina spoke of the club fondly. He said as a child he spent many hours at the club and made his best childhood memories there. He praised Blinsman and his team for providing a safe and positive place for kids in Imperial Beach.

The evening ended with two performances by the Mar Vista High School Ballet Folkloric Nahuatlan.

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