ENCINITAS — Bob Bonde, a longtime activist with a penchant for speaking his mind, was honored in an informal ceremony May 2 for his service to the community.
County Supervisor Pam Slater-Price presented Bonde, 77, with a county proclamation declaring the Saturday as “Bob Bonde Day.
Commonly referred to as the “father of Cardiff,” Bonde was also recognized in the proclamation for his mentorship of a new generation of active citizens, the overall “betterment of Encinitas citizens” and his diligent efforts to incorporate the area as a city in 1986.
“It’s funny to receive a proclamation from the county for working against the county to incorporate Encinitas,” Bonde quipped to the crowd of friends and fellow activists after accepting the plaque.
Bonde’s book, “Independence Day,” which recounts the hard-fought battle to incorporate the city, was also presented in hard bound copy. “A lot of people wait until you die to do that,” Bonde said. “They got a jump on it in this case,” he laughed.
Bonde, along with his wife Joanne and their three children, moved to Cardiff in 1981. He quickly became instrumental in defeating a plan to raise the railroad tracks and run a high-speed “bullet” train from San Diego to Los Angeles.
While the retired university professor and administrator in planning and development is not without his detractors, none of them were present. Several speakers did, however, recall times when they disagreed with Bonde. Former Mayor Sheila Cameron differed with Bonde on some issues but said his involvement in the community was invaluable. “He is a constant advocate for the people, and a constant irritant to the bureaucracy,” she told the crowd.
Bonde’s reception was as much a commemoration of his efforts as a passing of the torch ceremony. He indicated it was time for the “grey hairs” to step aside and be of assistance to a younger generation when necessary. “The young people in the community have so much more than they’ve been asked to do in the past,” Bonde said afterward. “It’s wonderful that people are stepping up to assume responsibility.”
Bonde has been most notably associated with local grassroots organizations, including the Encinitas Taxpayers Association, Hometown Alliance and Encinitas Safety Alliance. Through his many campaigns, Bonde has won the respect of a broad base of the community. “You have such an impact on where we are today (as a community),” Andrew Audet said to Bonde.
Bonde said his role as a concerned citizen won’t diminish and said he had faith in the next generation of activists. “If you lose your vigilance you loose your community.”