In November 2014, after four years on the Encinitas Traffic & Public Safety Commission, she was elected to a four-year term on the Encinitas City Council. After two years that included a stint as Deputy Mayor, she ran a successful campaign to become the second elected Mayor of Encinitas, and was sworn in for a two-year term on December 13, 2016.
In addition to encouraging citizen participation in local government, Catherine is working to “Preserve our Paradise” by protecting Encinitas from overdevelopment, improving open space, trails, parks and beaches; making Encinitas safer for pedestrans, bicyclists and drivers; and keeping our city in excellent financial health. She is also deeply involved in helping Encinitas become more “green,” addressing homelessness, keeping residents safe, and encouraging the creation of more affordable housing without damaging Encinitas’ unique character.
Catherine grew up in Encinitas and moved with her husband and two children back to Encinitas after spending eight years in Salt Lake City. Catherine and Jeremy’s children attend Cardiff Elementary School, which was constructed by Catherine’s grandfather, Milton A. Smith, in 1950. At that time, Smith Construction Company was the largest employer in Cardiff. Catherine’s mother, Tricia A. Smith, and Tricia’s three siblings all attended Cardiff Elementary School in the 1950s.
Playing varsity basketball for four years and earning the MVP award for her last three years, Catherine graduated from Torrey Pines High School in 1994. She attended college at Northwestern University in Chicago, earning a bachelor’s and master’s degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism. Graduating during an expanding economy with a B.A. and M.A. in journalism, her first job out of college was as a reporter at the Los Angeles Times’ Ventura County bureau. Her beat was transportation, which sparked an interest in urban planning that still exists today.
Before the 2002 Winter Olympics, Catherine became a reporter with the Associated Press and moved to Utah to work in AP’s Salt Lake City bureau.
After five years in journalism, Catherine decided to follow the path of both of her parents and earn a law degree. Happily living in Salt Lake City surrounded by friends and community, she attended the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law, graduating in 2006. She served as editor-in-chief of one of the law school’s three law journals, the Journal of Law and Family Studies. She subsequently clerked for the Honorable Pamela Greenwood on the Utah Court of Appeals and worked for the highly regarded law firm of Ray, Quinney & Nebeker in Salt Lake City as a law clerk and subsequently as an associate attorney.
Catherine met her husband Jeremy on a competitive co-ed ultimate Frisbee team that traveled around the inter-mountain west for games on weekends. Jeremy is a Physician Assistant, now working at North County Health Services in primary care. He hails from Knoxville, TN, and has worked as a Park Ranger for the National Park Service in Yellowstone National Park, Joshua Tree National Park and other national parks before attending P.A. school in Salt Lake City.
Catherine and Jeremy merged their names when they married — her birth name was “Catherine Blake” and his birth name was “Jeremy Spearman”. Both of them and their two children, are now “Blakespear.” After marrying in 2006, having a baby in 2007 and another in 2008, Catherine and Jeremy moved to Encinitas because they wanted to live in the best city in America and raise their family closer to Catherine’s family. They settled across the street from Catherine’s mother Tricia A. Smith and Catherine’s aunt Rosemary KimBal. Catherine’s father, John Blake, lives in Solana Beach and owns and operates the Rancho Solana Pet Spa, a dog grooming business, with his wife Michele Blake. Catherine’s sister, Victoria Blake, lives in Portland with her husband.
Catherine co-founded her own law firm in 2009, and focuses on helping clients with all elements of transitioning their values and their assets from one generation to the next. She does estate planning, probates, trust administration and drafts family planning documents such as premarital agreements.
As the Cardiff representative on the City of Encinitas Traffic & Public Safety Commission for four years, she served as its chair for her final year. The commission hears from the public on transportation issues and advises the City Council. Catherine actively participated on two city subcommittees, one of which involved urban agriculture and the effort to make it easier for residents who grow their own food to sell the produce without costly and administratively burdensome permits. Without charge, she represented the owner of a small farm, Coral Tree Farm, to protect its historic right to farm on its property.
Catherine helped establish and raises money for the garden program at Cardiff School, and has served as the chair of the non-profit Scrumptious Schoolyards for several years. She is a past president of a 40-person business networking organization, which grew to its largest and most profitable size during her tenure. She loves to play ultimate Frisbee, grow organic vegetables and fruit trees in her yard, play with her family on the beach and in the ocean, follow city policy issues and mountain bike with her husband.