“I’m very excited for 2019 and wish to headline this office with positivity, deepening community engagement and smart solutions that work for everybody,” said Matthew Gardner, new MBTC president and owner of Cheap Rentals at 3689 and 3136 Mission Blvd.
“There has been quite a bit of drama this past year, and I want to make things better. We have a great group of people on the board, and we are all looking forward to working together on a wide variety of hot issues.”
Gardner, who ran unopposed for MBTC president, replaces termed-out former council president Gary Wonacott.
“Money can't buy happiness, so come to Mission Beach and rent it,” is the business motto of Gardner. He is an Oregon native who moved to San Diego after high school to work for his uncle in the beach-rental business.
“Every dollar I make – somebody had fun,” noted Gardner of his occupation, pointing out tourism, a large part of his business, is the second-biggest revenue generator behind the military in San Diego. He added Mission Beach is also the second-biggest revenue maker, among tourist-oriented San Diego areas, behind only downtown.
“This is us sharing our neighborhood,” Gardner said. “Not a day goes by when someone from a different country doesn’t come in. That’s cool right here in our little neighborhood.”
Mission Beach has its own distinctive flair, said Gardner.
“You can’t walk down the street without saying ‘Hi’ to five different people,” he said. “You have this great neighborly vibe to each other. It’s been a magical attribute that I’ve always loved.”
From being an entrepreneur, Gardner said he’s learned how to “find things that can be done better and implement them.”
Gardner believes local government fares best when its leaders “have a business mind set.”
Looking ahead, Gardner said motorized scooters and their safety threat to pedestrians, as well as the competitive disadvantage they present to brick-and-mortar businesses, will have to be dealt with.
The new MBTC president also foresees another community battle looming over the controversial conversion of the long-abandoned Mission Beach Elementary School into condominiums. That project has survived a court challenge, and the old school buildings are likely to begin demolition soon.
Gardner is looking forward to the challenge of becoming a community leader and spokesperson.
“Mission Beach Town Council, the people are really strong on their principles, which I admire,” he said while adding, “I think there’s a time and place for principle, and a time and place for practical. It’s my job to try and motivate people away from that mind set. The biggest thing I want to change is the spirit of the town council.”
I want people to be welcoming. I want to get rid of the ‘my way or the highway’ mentality. I want people to know they’re going to be listened to, and there’s mutual respect. If I can do that, I’ve done my job.”