In Encinitas major decisions impacting the city’s 60,000 residents need to be placed on the ballot for a public vote. Certain actions like buying and selling real estate, public debt, zoning changes and major capital projects need to be approved by the people, not a three-person council majority.
For the past decade, Encinitas Mayor Jerome Stocks, council member James Bond and various city councils have shut voters out by avoiding public votes on public debt, capital projects and liquidating assets. The results are increased debt we owe, parks that don’t get built and money-losing real estate deals. Consider Pacific View as an example.
Years ago people donated 2.8-acres of bluff property to residents. They entrusted city leaders to make sure the community used the land. A school was built. The Encinitas Unified School District (EUSD) claims to own it. The way I see it, the EUSD Trustees work for us. The land is our asset.
EUSD superintendent Tim Baird has proposed selling our land.
EUSD also filed a lawsuit against the city and its taxpayers, you and I, to force a change in our zoning, giving them higher density. School district money that could be going to our kids is going to lawyers.
Residents have asked the city to perform an appraisal as currently zoned. Mayor Stocks and Bond have refused. An appraisal benefits the public by letting residents know the true value of their asset.
EUSD requested proposals for the site. Among those responding was the development group City Ventures. When City Ventures came before the council on a project last year, Stocks had to recuse himself citing a conflict. Also responding with a proposal was a group formed by residents and DEMA called “Envision the View.” Their proposal allows the land to be owned and served by the community. It should be made a priority.
EUSD Trustees need to move the Envision The View proposal to the top. Mayor Stocks needs to order an appraisal immediately. If a decision is made to sell Pacific View it needs to be placed on the ballot for voter approval. The land was donated to us all.
Today only 10 of the city’s 60,000 residents have a vote on land that was given to us all. The Muir’s have two of the 10 votes. Un-elected Mark Muir, and EUSD Trustee President Maureen Muir, own 20 percent of a decision affecting our future. The rest of us don’t have a vote. We’re shut out. As my dad Hank would ask, “How do you like them apples?”