We’re Committed to Bringing Greater Equity Into Encinitas Policies

Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope you take the time to give your loved ones an extra big kiss today!

The young man above in the purple shirt knows just how important the difference between equality and equity can be. This Mental Floss article, “What’s the Difference Between Equity and Equality?,” further explains. (Angus Maguire / Interaction Institute for Social Change)

If you’re paying attention to the language in our civic dialogue right now, you may have noticed the word “equity” appearing ever more frequently. What’s the difference between equity and equality, anyway?

“Equality has to do with giving everyone the exact same resources, whereas equity involves distributing resources based on the needs of the recipients.” 

Saying a city has a commitment to equity is more than a generalized statement of values. It can also be a lens through which we prioritize, manage, approach and ultimately invest in solving our most difficult problems.  

My Encinitas City Council colleagues joined me in expressing a desire to do more in our commitment to promote equity last week by forming an Equity Committee.

This committee was inspired by the voices of many Encinitas community members who want to see a focus on greater racial and social justice, a righting of historic wrongs, and a commitment to inclusivity. The dialogue on equity taking place at SANDAG in recent months has also influenced my thinking on this topic. 

An Encinitas Advocate article about the new committee is here, and the councilmember report that I drafted and was proposed together with Councilmember Kellie Hinze is here

This excellent column by Ezra Klein in the New York Times, “California is Making Liberals Squirm,” is a relevant read that I highly recommend, covering closed public schools, anti-racism and California’s politics. “There is a danger — not just in California, but everywhere — that politics becomes an aesthetic rather than a program… where the symbols of progressivism are often preferred to the sacrifices and risks those ideals demand.” 

In short, what’s important is that our Equity Committee walk the talk.

The Equity Committee’s goal is to be more than just an “aesthetic,” or gimmick, something that’s purely symbolic. The responsibility of the committee is to “create an annual work plan and may make suggestions about policies, priorities, hiring and contracting practices and other recommendations on issues that affect Encinitas, including transportation, access to housing, land use, infrastructure, public safety, broadband, and social, racial and environmental justice issues.”

Encinitas could do more to be more equitable, positioning the city to help those who have been historically disadvantaged, including seniors, those with lower incomes and people of color.

13 apply for District 3 City Council seat appointment…

The application period for the District 3 City Council, which includes Cardiff, has now closed. The 13 applicants who we will hear from and possibly chose to fill the seat on Feb. 24th are (in alphabetical order): 

Inge Bisconer
Michelle Gable Bilski
Julia Chun-Heer
Scott Defilippis
Tom Delaney
Brett Farrow
Gayle (Newhouse) Gladstone
Gregory Hay
Joy Lyndes
Kellie Myers
Greg Oswell
Thomas Staples
Julie Thunder

The seat was vacated by Jody Hubbard last month when she resigned because of the difficulties of her battle with cancer. In filling the remaining two years of her four-year term, I’m hoping we select someone who shares Jody’s values and her deep commitment to the community. Our appreciation goes out to each of these committed Encinitas citizens who want to represent our city.

…and 42 apply for city commissions!
 

The City Council was blessed with 42 strong applicants for our six city commissions, and after hearing from many of them at our last meeting, we filled the annual commission vacancies.

We appointed Irene Abraham, Kathleen Lees and Randall Sims to the Commission for the Arts; Christian Adams, Inge Bisconer, Katie Cramer, June Honsberger, and William Morrison to the Environmental Commission; Brad Hanson, Ross Ridder and Steven Winters to the Parks and Recreation Commission; Stephen Dalton to the Planning Commission; Mona Angel, Christie Kramer-LeVander and Maureen Lucewicz to the Senior Commission and Robert Prendergast to the Traffic and Public Safety Commission. Congratulations to all! We’re excited to work with you!

I’m always impressed with the outstanding calibre of candidates, and this group was no exception. To those who weren’t appointed last week, I enthusiastically suggest that you try again at the next opportunity.

The council also supported my suggestion that we task the Traffic & Public Safety Commission with proposing an updated name and mission statement to reflect the work it does at promoting all mobility options and active transportation choices.

New Coaster trains are here

In the top photo, NCTD Board Chair and Encinitas Deputy Mayor Tony Kranz (center), our U.S. Congressman Mike Levin (right) and I cut the ribbon on our impressive new Coaster trains. Below, we celebrate the sparkling new additions to the fleet.

As the Chair of SANDAG, I was honored to help unveil new cleaner and quieter locomotives and train cars for the North County Transit District. This was the first in-person press conference I’ve done in 11 months! It was beneficial to see the trains, talk with the train engineer and get a tour of the new locomotive. 

I’m glad that last year the SANDAG board allocated more than $50 million to new trains for NCTD, which will allow more frequent service. We should also be thanking the taxpayers in San Diego who pay the half-cent Transnet tax on goods bought in the county. Transnet pays for transportation projects throughout the county.

As we come out of the pandemic, the transit agency plans to increase train frequency to provide more ridership options. More information can be found in this Coast News article

More Encinitas news links:

• From the Coast NewsPlanning Commission to Review Latest Beacon’s Beach Restoration Plan

• From the San Diego Union-TribuneOpening Pacific View on City Priority List

• From the Encinitas AdvocateOn-Campus Plan in the Encinitas Union School District

• From Ranch and CoastNew Restaurants that Have Opened in Encinitas, Leucadia and Cardiff

• From CBS 8: Del Mar Fairgrounds site up and running despite vaccine shortage

Thank you to County Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer, Scripps Health and the Del Mar Fairgrounds for your efforts to get this nearby site operational!  

• From the San Diego Union-Tribune: San Diego County Forges Ahead with Vaccine Rollout Amid Uncertainty Around Supply and Funding

• From AP News: CDC says In-person Schooling Can Be Safe Even without Teacher Vaccinations

• From the Del Mar TimesEducation Matters by Marsha Sutton: Parents Rise Up in Defense of their Children This column includes a useful graph of all the North County School Districts and the remote vs. in-person learning by the numbers in our region.

Final thoughts

As we celebrate Valentine’s Day, President’s Day, the Lunar New Year and Black History Month, as well as witnessing the second impeachment trial and acquittal of our former President, I’ll end with a quote from our 44th President Barack Obama in his third book, A Promised Land, which I’m currently reading:

“I wanted to prove to Blacks, to whites – to Americans of all colors – that we could transcend the old logic, that we could rally a working majority around a progressive agenda, that we could place issues like inequality or lack of educational opportunity at the very center of the national debate and then actually deliver the goods… I had run to rebuild the American people’s trust – not just in the government but in one another.”

Let’s believe in one another!

In service,

P.S. I’ve recently read two very different and worthy books you might find interesting – The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander, a book that the New York Times said “struck the spark that would eventually light the fire of Black Lives Matter,” and Sing, Unburied, Sing, an acclaimed novel by Jesmyn Ward.