Will the council do the right thing?

Encinitas will soon have a new City Council member. This person will cast votes that will impact our quality of life and property values. The new council member will not be elected by the city’s 60,000 voters but be a political appointee chosen by four people.
I question if current council members have the judgment to appoint someone to City Council. The last time Mayor James Bond, Deputy Mayor Jerome Stocks and council member Kristin Gaspar recommended a City Council candidate they chose a person who would become the only individual in Encinitas history to plead guilty to the DA for violating the public trust.
During the election of 2010 then Encinitas Mayor Dan Dalager came under investigation by the District Attorney for ethics violations.
He failed to disclose receiving discounted appliances and then voting in that person’s favor on a land use issue.
A few weeks later came news that Dalager failed to disclose receiving a $100,000 loan from a man with real estate development interests and voting in that persons favor on a land use issue.
Residents thought Dalager’s special interest leadership and back room politics had to go.
More than 100 citizens went to a City Council meeting calling for Dalager to resign saying he could not be trusted on land use issues. Dalager was voted out of office. Encinitas voters thought they deserved better.
It appears Bond, Stocks and Gaspar thought otherwise.
It looks like they thought Dalager and his special interest style of politics was exactly what the city needed.
They looked the other way when news broke that Dalager had violated the public trust. They actively campaigned to get Dalager elected.
Bond referred to the 100 citizens who wanted to end special interests influencing city land use issues as a lynch mob.
Rather than stand with residents, Bond and Stocks stood with Dalager, making robo calls to elect a man who put his own interests before the interests of the public.
Because they were willing to look the other way, they thought we should set down our moral compass as well.
Meanwhile, Gaspar’s high-density supporters ran a campaign to elect Dalager featuring him with Gaspar on campaign mailers.
A few months later Dalager plead guilty to the DA and is barred from office.
Good thing we didn’t follow their recommendation.
All of this matters because in a city of 60,000, only four people will have a vote on who will be our next City Council member.
The City Council will vote on increased density in the General Plan update.
A few weeks ago residents packed city hall demanding the council appoint a person who would honor Houlihan’s positions. Will they be heard?
The council could appoint a person Houlihan endorsed in a move that would validate thousands of voters.
They could follow the directions of the League of Woman Voters and appoint a person who would honor Houlihan’s positions and agree not to run in 2012.
Or they could appoint someone who would put special interests before the community good.
We will know in a few weeks if the council has the judgment to appoint a person with the same values as the citizens they claim to represent.
Eleven short months ago Bond, Stocks and Gaspar did not.

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  1. Martha Cox says:

    Mr. Audet has misrepresented my remarks in his past two columns and I wish to correct them here. My name is Martha Cox, and I addressed the Encinitas City Council on Sept. 26th and October 6th regarding the issue of filing the vacancy on the council created by the passing of Councilwoman Maggie Houlihan.
    I spoke as a private citizen and 34-year resident of Cardiff by the Sea, not as a spokesperson for the League of Women Voters. The League has given no “direction” on this issue and it never would, as the League is a non-partisan organization, neither promoting any political party or candidate. Additionally, I did not indicate that the council should appoint a “person who would honor Houlihan’s positions” because that is an unrealistic expectation for anyone who has attended council meetings in the past. These are my remarks:
    “What matters to me and what should matter most to every citizen in this community, is process and the power of the ballot box.
    I suggest that the interim appointment for the duration of Councilwoman Houlihan’s term should be someone who would not run for council in November 2012. This suggestion seems to be the only impartial, reasonable and logical alternative to what is going to be a no-win situation for each one of you sitting on the council.
    Let’s the take the personalities and politics out of this decision, and do the right thing. Then let the voters decide who permanently gets the job in November 2012”.

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