ENCINITAS — A familiar face and a newcomer to the local political stage are both hoping voters will take notice of their long histories of community activism. Betsy Aceti and Doug Long are among the candidates in this year’s City Council race. The November election ballot will feature three sitting council members and seven challengers vying for three seats.
Doug Long, owner and operator of Bert’s Plumbing in Encinitas, has been a longtime fixture on various municipal committees and volunteer boards. In fact, Long boasts that he has only missed four City Council meetings in eight years. While the Parks and Recreation commissioner is not required to be present at the meetings, he said he likes to be informed about all aspects of city government.
This is Long’s second attempt at a seat on the council. “I came close last cycle (to winning),” he said. “I came in third in a two-horse race.” Councilman Dan Dalager and Councilwoman Teresa Barth both edged Long out of the two available seats in 2006.
Long said he was encouraged by Councilman James Bond to run again. “I wanted to keep the cohesiveness of the council together,” Long said. His plan to replace Bond hit a snag when the incumbent announced he would indeed seek another term on the council. Referring to Deputy Mayor Maggie Houlihan and Barth as the “minority” on the council, Long said he wanted to at least ensure a majority opinion. Houlihan and Mayor Jerome Stocks are also running for re-election. “It’s just some of the odd thinking (on the council) that I see that made me think I needed to run to keep things going,” he said.
Development of the Hall property park is a common theme in the campaign. The 43-acre parcel just west of I-5 and south of Santa Fe Drive in Cardiff-by-the-Sea has been mired in controversy since the city purchased it in 2001 for $17.2 million.
An avid backer of organized sports, Long said he supports five soccer fields. “I remember the days when there was only one baseball field here,” he said. While he is concerned about traffic, Long said the current plan mitigates the negative impacts of the park on the surrounding neighborhood. “The biggest hold-up is not knowing what the freeway will do as it relates to MacKinnon bridge,” Long said. “I don’t think there would be access from residential streets.”
Long suggested that at least some of the fields be covered with synthetic turf in order to cut maintenance costs and water usage.
In general, Long said he supports providing incentives rather than mandates on everything from business regulation to development. However, he said he supports regulation of commercial use on beaches as a means of maintaining the public’s access. “We have to respect the fact that the beach is for everyone,” he said.
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