IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. - Serge Dedina is a surfing Ph.D. environmentalist. Jim Janney is a popular incumbent two-term mayor. Both men want to lead Imperial Beach after the November election.
Dedina has been surfing in Imperial Beach for more than 40 years. It is his hometown. He founded WiLDCOAST, a nonprofit environmental group headquartered in Imperial Beach and was named a "Coastal Hero" by the California Coastal Commission. Dedina, who has a doctorate in geography, now wants to be mayor.
"We need a mayor who will actually care about the community, a mayor who will connect with the community," he said.
Mayor Jim Janney, who will be running for a third term, told 10News,"We're trying to make it better all over town." He would be the first three-term mayor in Imperial Beach history.
"We're still classic Southern California," Janney said. "We never want to change that."
He led the city through redevelopment, bringing in the new Pier South Hotel and cleaned up roadways.
"Imperial Beach is going through what we consider a little bit of a renaissance," Janney said.
Dedina, who has never run for public office, told 10News, "It's not about experience. It's about judgment."
He said Janney has forgotten about the people who live here.
"IB's just a real blue-collar beach town," said Dedina. "We need to have a mayor who represents the neighborhoods of Imperial Beach, the people of Imperial Beach, not just Seacoast Drive but from Seacoast Drive to 15th Street."
The mayor begged to differ.
"That's all we're trying to do, is make it better for the people that live here," said Janney.
In the last election, Janney received almost twice as many votes as the closest challenger.