ENCINITAS — As the race for three seats on City Council enters its final month, both Harriet Seldin and Jerome Stocks hope to occupy a seat on the dais. The November election ballot will feature three sitting council members and seven challengers vying for three seats.
After eight years on City Council, Jerome Stocks says he still has more work to do. “I want to see the Hall park completed,” he said. Stocks, a self-employed insurance salesman, also said one of the motivating factors for another run at the council is to protect the city’s interests on SANDAG — the county’s regional planning agency.
“I’m poised to become the first vice-chairman of SANDAG,” he said. For four years, Stocks has been a voting member, representing the city in such things as funds for transportation initiatives. “With Encinitas scheduled for the (I-5) freeway widening in the next four to five years, I want to be able to make sure they know our needs as a community,” Stocks said.
He said his highest priority is ensuring public safety. While Stocks believes the city does a good job of keeping crime low, he said that continuing the status quo is important. “We’ve got to remain vigilant and be proactive with ways to maintain public safety,” he said. “It brings a good quality of life.”
Stocks also wants to maintain the city’s reserves and balanced budget. “Our region is going through some economic challenges right now,” he said. “We need to be aware of that in our planning and not overproject our incomes while underprojecting our expenses.” With an operating budget of approximately $53 million, Stocks said it is imperative to keep reserves stable in times of economic insecurity.
Finally, Stocks said he supports the conceptual plan for the Hall park adopted by the City Council in 2003. “It is a very balanced, mixed-use park for the amount of acreage,” he said. The 43-acre Cardiff-by-the-Sea site was purchased by the city for $17.2 million in 2001.
Although the Planning Commission recently certified the environmental impact report, it declined to approve the plan as submitted by the Parks and Recreation department. Instead, the planners made recommendations to the council that included less fields, decreased lighting and better street access to mitigate traffic.
Stocks said that while he has not made up his mind on specifics such as lighting, he does support the original conceptual plan. “I haven’t made a final decision,” he said. “This will be decided by the council during the appellate process.”
Seldin, a dentist who has lived in the city for 15 years, said she aims for a “healthy Encinitas.” Her impetus for running was based on balancing the City Council. “I was concerned that the council could go to either extreme,” she said. Seldin posits herself as a voice of moderation in a field of candidates that could put the council on either the “right-wing, overdevelopment” side versus those “not allowing palm trees in backyards.”
Seldin’s highest priorities include water, land use policy and beach preservation. She said she supports joining other municipalities in desalinating water to preserve a “safe, reliable water source.” City Council members also serve on the board of the San Dieguito Water District, which jointly owns and operates the R.E. Badger Filtration Plant with Santa Fe Irrigation District.
Seldin said she would base land use decisions on science rather than “environmental extremism.” She cited the city’s environmental commission report on invasive plants as cause for concern. Although Seldin said she hasn’t read the entire document, she said it was an example of government regulations infringing on private property rights. The committee made recommendations to exclude certain invasive and non-native plant species from future planting on public property and new private developments. Seldin said she also would not vote to ban single-use plastic bags.
The candidate said she would make beach preservation a priority. “I think maintaining beach access is important,” Seldin said. She supports regulating surf camps in order to ensure adequate access for all beachgoers. “We’ve got to work with regional, state and federal bodies to have better sand replenishment,” she urged.
As an appointee to several regional and state boards over the years, Seldin said she has developed the necessary skills to forge relationships with regulatory boards.
“My whole goal is a healthy Encinitas,” she said. “That extends to open governance, economy, community and climate.”
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