ENCINITAS — While the nation turned out in unprecedented numbers to vote for the first black president-elect, change was not the tone of some local races. Local voters returned incumbents to three seats on the City Council.
Despite a large crowd of candidates, many of whom are well-known in the community, Encinitas stayed with the status quo.
“I think at the end of the day they (candidates) kind of all seemed the same to me,” Jill Einbauch said as she exited her polling location on El Camino Real. The 38-year-old mother of three said she was more focused on the national issues during the campaign season. “I knew who I was voting for president and Congress and felt strongly about some of the propositions, but I really didn’t pay a lot of attention to the council race,” she said.
Councilwoman Maggie Houlihan was returned by the voters to a third term on the City Council. Houlihan garnered the largest number of votes with 10,245. “I want to thank the voters for their support,” she said.
“I’m looking forward to a very productive year working with my fellow Encinitans on a number of important initiatives,” Houlihan said.
Among the upcoming issues is an update to the city’s general plan.
“Our residents need to be fully engaged in these efforts because it will determine if we retain the ambiance and charm of our really cool beachside community,” she said.
Mayor Jerome Stocks also won a third term. “It’s been an honor to serve the people of Encinitas for the past eight years,” he said. “I am truly privileged that the voters decided they liked what I’ve been doing and have asked me to continue to do it for the next four years. I look forward to serving the people of Encinitas to the best of my ability.”
Councilman James Bond said he was glad to have the campaign season behind him.
“I’m feeling a little tired as I’m sure a lot of the candidates are,” he said. “We had to stay up at the wee hours of the morning to get the results.”
“I feel fairly good considering I didn’t get into the race until the last minute,” Bond said. He said that his timing hampered his ability to fundraise early. “It was a difficult race for all involved.”
The overarching issue central in the race was the Hall park, according to many voters. “People felt very strongly one way or another about the park,” Michael Bell said. “I got two voicemails about the park telling me to support certain people,” he said.
Candidate Rachelle Collier, who came in fifth place, said she was disappointed but hopeful that residents would get more involved. “I’m a very optimistic person,” she said. “I have to thank all of the people in the community that tried to get me elected,” Collier said. “They want change in Encinitas and they are incredible people.”