7/12/20: Election Battle Lines are Forming, plus Housing Remains a Challenge

Well, it looks like campaign season is truly underway, with signs popping up in front yards and the campaign filing period opening on Monday. Another elected official I know refers to campaign signs in yards as the “wildflowers of democracy.”

By nearly any metric, the City of Encinitas is very well-run, and I hope we continue the elected leadership that supports our high-functioning city. 

We have low crime, high quality of life, great schools, high land values, and many community amenities, including top-notch parks, beaches and programming. We have the resources and the will to tackle the problems that confront many cities, such as the need for more affordable housing and solutions for the unhoused, climate change and wildfire risk, and road and infrastructure improvements. 

To advance our progress, I encourage voters to continue our current City Council team. Two incumbents in Encinitas are up for election this year – Councilmember Tony Kranz for re-election in District 1 and Deputy Mayor Kellie Shay Hinze for election in District 2.

While I strongly support these candidates, I know that democracy is not a spectator sport. There’s nothing more frustrating than hearing people complain but remain on the sidelines, unwilling to jump in and create the change they want.

I welcome a diversity of voices to the campaign stage to make sure that all different perspectives can be expressed and heard.

If you’re interested in running for local office, I encourage you to take the plunge. Campaigns drive change and create accountability; and they are the way we collectively decide our future.

The candidate filing period opens this Monday, July 13, and closes on Friday, Aug. 7. More information about running for Encinitas City Council or Encinitas Mayor can be found here.

To find out which election district you fall into, click here and enter your address.

If you’re not ready to run for office but would like to participate with a more active role, consider applying for a city commission when the annual recruitment begins in several months. On a commission you’ll learn the ropes about how our city government works, preparing you for possible elected office later.

 ‘My Mayor & Council Sued Me.’ Actually, they didn’t.

The sign pictured above is popping up around the city and I’d like to set the record straight. 

Here’s the bottom line: The City of Encinitas sued the State of California, not our residents, and we did it to protect, not overturn, our citizens’ right to vote.

I believe what’s motivating this sign is a twisted version of the following saga. As part of the city’s housing litigation, we invited a group called  “Preserve Prop. A” to participate as a party because we’d understood that they wanted to make their case. After filing a motion asking to be a part of earlier litigation, with their attorney communicating that they wanted a seat at the table, they made a politically motivated about-face and accused the city of “suing our residents.” Nothing could be further from the truth.

Given their changed position, the city dismissed the group “Preserve Prop. A” from the city’s motion for declaratory relief. They have not been a party to the legal process for more than four months, since March. Instead, the city named the State of California.

Now, the city is the party standing up for the right to vote under Prop. A, given that “Preserve Prop. A” didn’t want to participate. 

We are not suing our residents. We are protecting our residents’ right to vote.

This Encinitas Advocate article published in March provides more information.

Advocating justice in San Diego County housing

Speaking of housing… The blank spaces in the above photo show the 10 out of 21 elected officials at SANDAG who virtually “walked out” of our online board meeting Friday to try and prevent the group from having a quorum to take the final vote on housing numbers assigned to each city for the next eight-year period.

This gambit was unsuccessful, a quorum was maintained, and the vote passed. I think those who “walked out” abdicated their responsibility. As elected officials, it’s our job to vote even when we know we will lose. 

The chart above (from this document) shows the number of housing units in the far right column that some SANDAG city representatives were trying to avoid having to accommodate over the next multi-year housing cycle. Encinitas’ number of units, 1,554 homes, is a lower number than we had received in the previous cycle, which was 2,353, as seen in the far-left column of the chart below (from this document.) The city of Encinitas has about 25,000 homes total.

Some cities have explicitly and implicitly accused the City of Encinitas of not shouldering enough housing units in this upcoming cycle. 

While these housing number may seem smaller than some expected, it’s based exclusively on a formula that considers jobs and transit in each city. I don’t deserve any credit for Encinitas being assigned fewer housing units than anticipated. It was simply a matter of the formula that was applied equally to each city.

Housing is a basic human need. In our larger society, there’s a conversation about the need to correct systemic injustices, and it’s hard for me to hear the anti-housing rhetoric without questioning the injustices that result from zoning that only accommodates upper-income families. 

We choose our communities for a reason, and nobody wants to see their community changed for the worse. I believe that as a city we can be both – a welcoming city that provides a modicum of new housing, and a city committed to maintaining residents’ high quality of life.

Making space for residents of all income levels, backgrounds and races creates the charm, vibrancy and vitality that is Encinitas’ community character.

In ongoing service,