ENCINITAS — As the summer campaign season draws near, Councilwoman Teresa Barth is running for a second term in office.
While Barth was a familiar face at City Hall before her election in 2006, her activist role has taken on greater significance over the last three and a half years. Barth edged out three other competitors — receiving 7,214 votes — to join incumbent Dan Dalager, who is also up for re-election, as the winners of two available seats on the council.
Barth, 53, retired from a career with the Del Mar Fairgrounds in 2003 and is a longtime resident of Cardiff-by-the-Sea. She served as a board member on the community’s Chamber of Commerce since 1998, but resigned after her first election in order to avoid any possible conflicts of interest. Barth was president of the Friends of the Cardiff-by-the-Sea Library at the time of her election.
Barth said her first campaign was a grassroots effort that brought together a diverse group of residents. She said her victory was proof that a candidate could win a citywide election in Encinitas without spending huge amounts of money.
Barth estimated that her campaign spent approximately $15,000 to $20,000. Almost all of the donations came from Encinitas residents in increments of less than $100 according to records.
Barth’s platform encompasses the three criteria for every decision she makes —economy, environment and people.
Barth said fiscal responsibility is a priority while balancing the needs of the city. “It’s essential that we maintain our current level of services to the community and the broad base of services,” she said. “Everything from clean beaches to services for seniors makes this
community what it is.”
Barth considers herself an environmental steward.
“I believe in the triple bottom line approach where all decisions have to take in not only the economy but also the environment and the people who the decisions will affect.”
In her first election, Barth’s conservation message and thoughtful analysis of the city’s future growth won her the respect of a wide range of residents. “I voted for Teresa Barth because she seemed like the smartest candidate,” said Shelly Doggett, who owns several rental properties, after leaving the polls on Election Day. In a widely distributed e-mail, Leucadian resident, and now owner of Surfy Surfy, J.P. St. Pierre encouraged support for Barth among the surfing community. He continues to support Barth and her candidacy for another term.
Barth is a proponent of open government and public participation. “I want to continue to encourage the public to participate,” she said. “I consider our greatest resource the people who live in this community.”
Even though challenges lay ahead for the city, Barth said she is committed to continuing to represent the entire community in a way that is not business as usual. “I truly have an optimistic sense of our future. The current financial challenges have been a tremendous wake up call for all of us to take a look at our priorities,” she said. “I see that as a great opportunity to improve how we (city government) do business.”
Barth counts among the successes of her first term the creation of the Environmental Advisory Committee, placement of solar panels on City Hall, no spot zoning to benefit private development, beach and park smoking ban, televised Planning Commission meetings, real-time televised council meetings and fewer closed sessions of the council debate.
Most of all, Barth said she enjoys her time away from the dais interacting with the community. “I really enjoy supporting the community in all of its activities. It’s that part of the job that I absolutely love doing,” she said. Barth is a regular at the library lecture series, senior center bingo and luncheons and handing out medals to kids at the finish line of the city’s 5K/1K Annual Run.
“I look forward to continuing working with the community on the general plan update,” she said. The city’s blueprint is under a long revision process. “I want all five communities to ‘grow gracefully’ by maintaining their unique character,” Barth said. Barth said she is a proponent of at-grade pedestrian railroad crossings and quiet zones.
“I sincerely believe that every one of us has to give back in some fashion to our community,” Barth said. “That’s why I ran for office. I feel strongly that people appreciate what I’ve been doing for the last three and a half years based on the e-mails, letters, thank you cards and the total strangers coming up to me and saying ‘thank you.’”