Serge Dedina is a longtime surfer from Imperial Beach, California, who is running for Mayor for the November 2014 election. Dedina started surfing in IB in 1977 when he was 13 on a 6'11 winger pintail he bought from Radical Roy for $13. Most mornings he can still be found surfing IB on his 6'4" squashtail quad shaped by Jay Novak.
Why are you running for mayor of /Imperial Beach. Is it one issue - water quality - or all encompassing?
I have lived in Imperial Beach since I was seven years old and love my hometown. I'm running to make sure that we invest in strong neighborhoods and ensure that kids and families have access to clean beaches.
What are your qualifications to be mayor?
I've lived in Imperial Beach for over forty years and have been involved in community and especially coastal issues since I was a kid. I worked as a beach lifeguard, have served on a variety of city commissions, and as a teenager played a major role in helping to preserve the Tijuana Sloughs from a marina project and our entire beachfront from a proposed breakwater. Through my work as the Executive Director of WILDCOAST, I have helped to improve infrastructure to treat Tijuana sewage.
Ultimately I'm running based on my passion for working to make Imperial Beach a better place for our entire community, especially kids and families, and my love for IB.
It is well known that Imperial Beach has cleanliness problems at sea - with runoff from the Tijuana River. But what about on shore? Does the City of Imperial Beach have problems that need fixing?
Imperial Beach has become a much safer and more attractive place to live. When I was a kid in the 70s, the pier - due to the presence of gnarly bikers and gangs - was a place to be avoided. Now the beachfront looks great and is safe. However, we have neighborhoods without sidewalks and alleys filled with broken chunks of concrete and asphalt. So we need to do more to make sure that every family benefits from city investment.
How long have you lived in Imperial Beach and what good and bad changes have you seen over the years? Do you see the city going in a direction you don't like?
Over the forty years that I've lived in Imperial Beach I've noticed that over time and especially under current Mayor Jim Janney, city government has become less transparent, less open, less efficient and completely disconnected from our very diverse, blue-collar community. So that decision-making represents special interests rather than the community. That has to change.
When I think of Imperial Beach, a couple of words come to mind: “border, mysterious, lonely, beautiful." Imperial Beach is on the cusp of the U.S. and Mexico, and that makes it an odd zone. What words would you use to describe Imperial Beach?
Imperial Beach is one of the most unique, coolest and friendliest blue-collar beach cities left in the U.S. And we are surrounded by beautiful open space--Tijuana Estuary, South San Diego Bay Wildlife Refuge, and the Pacific. On the days when the surf is firing and I’m surfing my favorite local spot with my two sons and longtime friends, I thank god I live in Imperial Beach