11/8/20: A New Chapter Begins

And so we begin a new chapter in American history.

I’m proud and relieved that the people of our nation have spoken, and that our precious democracy has risen to meet this moment.

It’s worth pausing to hear the sound of shattering glass – as Vice-President-Elect Kamala Harris, the multiracial daughter of immigrants, becomes the first woman Vice-President in our country’s 244 year history.

As a society, we must remain committed to a peaceful transition of power. Let’s each continue to do our part to ensure this – there’s nothing more imperative for our country’s stability.

Jill and Joe Biden posed Saturday with a hand-updated sign from his tenure as vice-president.

I was inspired by Joe Biden’s wise words about healing the divisiveness in our country. I think his remarks also apply to us locally in Encinitas, as we work to come together as friends and neighbors after a very contentious campaign. 

“Strong disagreements are inevitable in a democracy and strong disagreements are healthy, they’re a sign of a vigorous debate of deeply held views. But we have to remember the purpose of our politics isn’t total, unrelenting, unending warfare, no. The work of the nation isn’t to fan the flames of conflict, but to solve problems, to guarantee justice, to get to improve the lives of our people.

“We may be opponents but we’re not enemies, we’re Americans.

“…And I want you to know that I’ll work as hard for those who voted against me as those who voted for me, that’s the job, that’s the job, it’s called the duty of care for all Americans.”

I, too, pledge to work as hard for those who voted against me as those who voted for me. Additionally, I’ll strive to incorporate the concerns and perspectives of all Encinitans, no matter how they voted.

I aim to be the best mayor for all residents – hearing every voice, representing our diversity of opinions, moving our community forward together, and healing the wounds that have been exposed during this election process.

Each of you is invited to join me with an open hand and an open heart as we move forward together to make Encinitas the best city it can be. 

Local election update 

Here in San Diego County, results are updated from the Registrar of Voters shortly after 5 p.m. every day. Since the election night results, there haven’t been any upsets in Encinitas that I’m aware of. You can check out the results and filter the races that interest you here.

Here are our local results as of Saturday evening.

There are 135,000 votes still to be processed countywide. In the mayor’s race in Encinitas, a total of 37,756 ballots were cast. By my rough calculation, the number of Encinitas votes for mayor that remain to be counted by the Registrar of Voters as of today is about 1350.

I’d like to congratulate the following candidates who represent residents in Encinitas, whose preliminary vote totals indicate that they were successful in their runs for office:

  • Mike Levin for Congress
  • Tasha Boerner Horvath for State Assembly
  • Terra Lawson-Remer for San Diego Country Supervisor
  • Tony Kranz and Kellie Hinze for Encinitas City Council
  • Jacqueline Simon and George McNeil for Mira Costa Community College Board
  • Katrina Young and Michael Allman for San Dieguito Union School Board
  • Marlon Taylor and Jodie Williams for Encinitas Union School Board
  • Rhea Stewart and Nancy Orr for Cardiff School Board
  • Judy Hanson for Leucadia Wastewater District
  • Ed Sprague for Olivenhain Municipal Water District

Measure H, which authorizes commercial cannabis activities in Encinitas, is too close to call. The current vote total is 18,944 in favor and 18,293 opposed. This measure wasn’t put on the ballot by the City Council, but as an initiative after signatures were gathered to submit it to the voters.  

Beyond congratulating the winners, I offer sincere gratitude to all of those who didn’t win. Our democratic process, with its clash of values and personalities, depends upon residents putting themselves out there. Elections drive the debate about issues, and the issues raised during the election influence the approaches and perspectives of those who win.

Raising your hand and being willing to run is noble, and it’s certainly not for the faint of heart. I’m grateful for all who volunteer to be in the arena, regardless of the outcome. 

Recycle Catherine, Kellie and Tony yard signs Saturday

So the election’s over. What about those yard signs you displayed to support your candidates? Tony, Kellie and I will happily take ours back from you (along with Terra Lawson-Remer’s signs), in case you don’t want to store ’em until the next election.

We’ll be at Cottonwood Creek Park (95 N Vulcan Ave.) this Saturday from 1-3 p.m. to collect signs and stakes, and to meet you! Every sign we re-claim is a sign that won’t be landfilled or recycled. I will re-use them in my next campaign.

Please wear a mask and remember to maintain social distancing.

(I invited the opponents in my race and the two council races to join us in this sign return event, but they declined, indicating that they already have it handled.) 
 
Streetscape and El Portal undercrossing taking shape

The El Portal area as it is today is shown in the top photo, and a rendition of the finished project is seen below.
 
Would you like to know more details about the city’s largest infrastructure improvement project? Join the virtual open house on November 17 to learn more!

This new railroad pedestrian crossing will improve safe and legal access to beaches, schools, commercial areas, and residential neighborhoods across the North County Transit District (NCTD) railroad line.

The projects include the construction of a pedestrian undercrossing and rail bridges, landscape beautification, crosswalks, and other street crossing improvements on adjacent roadways. Utility relocations and environmental mitigation will also happen as needed.

The El Portal undercrossing and Leucadia Streetscape are scheduled to start construction before the end of the year. The regional transportation agency SANDAG, where I serve as the vice-chair, is managing the project.

SANDAG has expertise in the complexities of managing a major construction project in an operating rail corridor. (Think about how complicated it is to tear stuff down, rebuild it and keep the trains running at the same time!)

The virtual open house on Zoom Nov. 17 will include project background, project renderings, construction schedules and impacts, and how to stay in touch. Questions will be answered by both SANDAG and the City of Encinitas staff. More information is here, where it says that the Zoom link will be posted the day of the event.

The El Portal Undercrossing project is planned in coordination with the City of Encinitas’ Leucadia Streetscape project because of the two projects’ close proximity on Highway 101.

I’m sometimes asked why the city won’t build an at-grade crossing for substantially less money. Stated simply, the reason is that the city can’t get regulatory approval to do that. The CPUC, which oversees projects in the rail corridor, aims to reduce dangerous conflicts between speeding trains and people.

So in order to create a legal and safe railroad crossing, the crossing needs to either go over or under the railroad tracks. The city received a sizable state grant for this project, which will substantially improve quality of life for Encinitas residents.   

Thank you again for your outpouring of support in recent days!

I look forward to all we’ll accomplish – together!

Let’s jump right in…,

P.S. Proudly flying our flag!