ENCINITAS — As the tourists fill the local beaches and summer rolls by, November seems a long way away. Yet, at least four candidates plan to run for two seats on the City Council dais in this fall’s election.
However, as the deadline for candidacy filing was Aug. 5, someone may throw his or her hat into the race at the last minute.
While the council is in recess until Aug. 18, two current members, Mayor Dan Dalager and Councilwoman Teresa Barth, are already on the campaign trail.
Although, Dalager said most constituents don’t start paying attention to the contest until closer to November, he’s still making his candidacy known. “I’m running again because we’re opening the Hall Property Park in one and a half years,” he said. “We’ve come this close and I’m not going to stop now.”
Dalager concedes that while he may sound one dimensional, the completion of the Hall Property Park is an issue close to his heart. “I was the one who took Bob Hall into the city and introduced him in 1992,” he said.
The city purchased the 43-acre Hall property, located just west of I-5 and south of Santa Fe Drive, in 2001 for $17.2 million. After a public workshop in 2002, the council revised the initial $35 million design to include buffer areas between the site and residential neighborhoods to the west, a teen center and amphitheater.
Plans for the various phased project also include a dog park, baseball and multi-use sports fields, an aquatic center, a basketball court and a skate park. Passive uses would encompass a portion of the park with gardens, picnic areas, trails and a scenic overlook.
“We’re going to get kids out there playing,” Dalager said.
Barth, who is seeking a second term, said several issues facing the council are apparent, including the city’s blueprint for the next 20 years. “The general plan update is the most important thing that we’ve done since incorporation almost 25 years ago,” Barth said.
After attending several community participation meetings on the vision phase of the document, Barth said she was pleased with the level of participation. “I was really happy to hear that the community said ‘we love what we are now, we want to continue to be that in the future but only better,’” she said.
Barth said she continues to be responsive to the community while on the dais. “I’m out there listening to the public and wanting to be their voice at City Council,” she said.
Two challengers have appeared on the political scene in hopes of winning a seat on the five-member council. Leucadian Tony Kranz and Kristin Gaspar, a resident in Encinitas Ranch, both hope to cultivate enough support to overcome the incumbent advantage.
Kranz, a printing account representative, outlined a platform and put together a plan to gain support. Gaspar, the CFO and business manager of Gaspar Doctors of Physical Therapy, a business she helps her husband Paul run, also is the mother of three young children and an active community volunteer.
Gaspar, the latest to announce her candidacy, said her experience in bringing people with competing objectives together to reach a common goal will serve her well should she capture enough votes to win a seat on the council. “I think listening to people is very important,” she said. “I’m not an expert on everything but I do have a good listening ear and think it’s important to move forward collectively as Encinitas.