Houlihan replacement process has prospect of council super-majority

Encinitas residents who fear that a City Council super-majority could increase density without a vote of the people packed City Hall during a council meeting to discuss filling the vacant seat held by Maggie Houlihan, who passed away after battling cancer.
Houlihan was the top vote getter in 2004 and 2008. Whoever fills her seat will cast votes affecting the residents who voted for her.
In packed chambers, residents told the council that Houlihan’s seat should be filled by a person who will stand up for Houlihan’s positions to protect property rights, preserve community character and heed her warning against a council super-majority that could change zoning without a vote of the people.
Some suggested that Tony Kranz, who was the next top vote-getter in the last election, and who received the support of Houlihan would be a good choice.
In a video, Houlihan recommended Lisa Shaffer. Shaffer, who has an MBA and a Master’s in Public Policy and Environmental sustainability, recently got Houlihan’s vote to be appointed to the City Environmental Commission.
The council majority of Mayor Bond, Deputy Mayor Stocks and Councilwoman Kristin Gaspar instead appointed a former City Planning Commissioner, who some residents say had little environmental experience.
The process to fill Houlihan’s seat has gotten off to a rocky start. Prior to the meeting residents made requests to Mayor Bond and City Manager Gus Vina that the meeting be televised and video recorded for all to see. The mayor and city manager denied the request.
Why? Some say it is because a video of Houlihan was to be shown. A video of the meeting was made by residents and is posted for all to see at theleucadiablog.com.
In denying the request Bond sent residents a form e-mail saying “it is to be a meeting where no decision other than pursuing a legal process to fill the vacant seat will take place.” That is a big decision, filling a vacant seat, and is why the meeting needed to be televised.
Bond and Vina, turning a deaf ear to residents only validates the public’s fear that the selection process might not reflect the wishes of residents. Excuses by city staff that it is not protocol to televise or record special meetings ignores the fact that there is no protocol for a meeting to discuss filling a vacant council seat. It has never happened before.
The council appointed a sub-committee of councilmembers Teresa Barth and Gaspar to “study what steps” need to be taken. Deputy Mayor Stocks said that Barth and Gaspar would merely recommend a process and that the full council would ask people to submit applications and choose someone.
What recommendations can Barth and Gaspar offer if Stocks has already decided what the process will be? Why appoint a sub-committee if Stocks has determined the next steps? Encinitas residents need to be represented by the Encinitas City Council, not just Deputy Mayor Stocks.
While it’s early in the process, some residents speculate that a person who will give the council majority a super-majority has already been selected. Others remain hopeful a person honoring the views of Houlihan will be appointed. While they often vote as a bloc, the council majority of Bond, Stocks and Gaspar must put aside their own interests and select a person who represents the interests of the 13,000 residents who voted for Houlihan. Many think that Gaspar will be the swing vote.
At stake are property values, community character and quality of life. Residents are watching the process to fill Houlihan’s seat closely. Let’s hope it is televised for all to see. Residents deserve that.


Filed Under: Life, Liberty and Leadership


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  1. Riley Junior says:

    Add up the votes that Bond, Gaspar and Stocks received in their last elections.
    There’s a pretty good chance that theirs total more than Mrs. Houlihan’s votes.
    Yes, she WAS the top vote getter, but the democratic system requires that someone new replace her now that she is gone. Their is no video-birth-right to her seat, the seat belongs to the voters, not Mrs. Houlihan or her followers. The votes for Bond, Gaspar and Stocks outnumber the votes for Houlihan; that is ‘why’ she was in the minority.
    Tony Kranz isn’t in line for appointment because he didn’t run against Mrs. Houlihan, if you were to use that system, then Doug Long would be the appointee; but the council will most likely choose to have an ‘open’ process, where anyone and everyone that lives here and is over 21 years old can apply to finish the term. And that WILL be televised. Being upset because the world couldn’t share that creepy video because Bond chose to save money over hysteria is probably a good and appropriate call.
    By the way, potential seat-holders don’t have to promise not to run as an incumbent just as they don’t have to promise to run after fulfilling the term’ frankly what Mrs. Shaffer did with a sick and dying woman creeps a lot of people out. I’ve been looking for a community service resume for Lisa and so far, aside from her obvious ambition…..
    So, the council will abide by the law. If you don’t like it; run for council in 2012.
    It’s pretty simple.

  2. CDG anon says:

    "Being upset because the world couldn’t share that creepy video because Bond chose to save money over hysteria is probably a good and appropriate call." Yesss!!!
    Indeed, this is something to be upset about, and being upset is a good and appropriate reaction. Riley, you have it exactly right. the way this was handled most likely violated the Brown Act … And here I thought for a minute that you actually agreed with Bond’s clumsy call. Silly me! Thanks, Riley, you are a true supporter of democracy.
    Read more: Coast News Group – Houlihan replacement process has prospect of council super majority

  3. Who's behind Stocks? says:

    Doesn’t anyone else find it disturbing, worth investigating, even scary, that the two most vocal opponents of Stocks DIED in the last 2 years?
    Bob Nanninga was improving and set to be released when he "suddenly" died…
    Maggie’s cancer was in remission and "resurfaced" around the same time…
    Also, Stocks finds it worth his every effort to keep Theresa Barth powerless, so that the people who voted for her (and Houlihan) have NO voice. NONE. This is not the way representative government is supposed to work.
    Why isn’t anyone asking: Is there mafia or other corrupt money behind Stocks?

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