ENCINITAS — Councilwoman Teresa Barth was stripped of her regional committee assignments by a council majority during a special meeting Dec. 20, after being passed over for mayor last week.
Deputy Mayor Jerome Stocks motioned to have first-time Councilwoman Kristin Gaspar replace Barth as alternate representative on the San Diego Association of Governments, or SANDAG, and North County Transit District, or NCTD.
Barth was demoted to SANDAG second alternate while Stocks remained as the city’s representative.
Barth said she did not support Stocks’ nomination to the NCTD and SANDAG boards because he did not represent the city in a manner that was transparent. Gaspar said the 19-0 vote to recently appoint Stocks the chairman of SANDAG showed he represented the city well on regional boards. He was the only name on the SANDAG ballot.
Mayor James Bond said he did not speak to anyone on the council prior to the meeting except Gaspar regarding his recommendations to the various regional boards. “I would have liked to talk to everyone but it’s not appropriate under the state’s Brown Act,” he said.
On Dec. 14, Councilwoman Maggie Houlihan accused Stocks, Bond and Gaspar of colluding to deny Barth a chance at mayor or deputy mayor post for the second year in a row. All three denied accusations that they violated California’s open government meeting law when they voted to appoint Bond mayor and Stocks deputy mayor.
Tony Kranz, who lost his bid for council in the last election, asked the council to remember their places on the regional boards. “Council members area appointed to represent the city,” Kranz said.
Last year, then-Mayor Dan Dalager reappointed each council member to their existing committees. However, this year’s appointments were greatly changed.
Gaspar expressed a desire to be on the NCTD board according to Bond. He said he gave Barth similar committee assignments four years ago in order to gain experience. “I’m not doing anything different than I did with Teresa,” Bond said. Barth was bumped to second alternate on the NCTD board.
He explained that his rationale was also a matter of political preferences. “For the most part, when we looked at it, we’ll call them philosophies and interfaces, it’s better to have a like-thinker as your second in command. He said Gaspar would be a better “match” for Stocks.
“In all fairness, I’ve never seen a problem between alternates and representatives,” Houlihan said. Barth said that she and Stocks are required to represent the city’s interests in service on regional boards rather than their own personal benefit.
Brewing conflict between Barth and Stocks became public several months ago when Stocks announced at a council meeting that Barth had filed a harassment complaint against him. A city-hired attorney advised that Barth’s claim did not have merit because she was not considered an employee.