Community Commentary: Council needs solutions

Community Commentary: Council needs solutions
Councilwoman Teresa Barth meets with a constituent following the city council meeting December 2011 that named Councilman Jerome Stocks mayor. File photo

(Editor’s Note: This is an opinion piece by Encinitas Councilwoman Teresa Barth following the Council’s controversial decision to appoint Jerome Stocks mayor instead of her. )

I have been passed over for the position of Deputy Mayor or Mayor for three years and been denied a position to affect change or implement any creative solutions unexplored by the majority. After more than four years the tactics used to stifle dissent are clear; like using a nugget of truth to misinform. It’s true, there are no formal criteria for the position of mayor or deputy.The past decades are filled with the ethical approach that each council member should be given the opportunity to serve in these positions. The criteria was simple — being elected to the council and sharing these roles. It was an expectation of professional courtesy and civil behavior.Yet this council majority had an “excuse” for breaking this tradition each year.In 2009, Dan Dalager nominated out-going Mayor Maggie Houlihan back to the position of Deputy Mayor claiming her chemo treatments meant she’d “missed out” on some of the mayoral activities. Yes, he used her cancer as an excuse.

However, Councilman Jerome Stocks was later quoted in The Coast News: “The bottom line is I wanted to send a message to Ms. Barth.” He went on to say . . . “Don’t be petty, don’t be rude and duck hard votes.” Yes, he spoke of petty, rude and ducking hard votes without a trace of irony.

Questioning the city’s open government policies (or lack of) is my job, it’s not petty.

Jerome Stocks is not allowed to define rudeness and expect to be taken seriously.

I have never ducked a vote but Kristin Gaspar can’t say the same.

Deputy Mayor Gaspar has recused herself repeatedly from votes on the Pacific View property because “she wasn’t on council when the issue began.” Using that reasoning she shouldn’t participate in discussions about the Hall property, the General Plan Update or numerous other issues. So who is ducking hard votes?
I am not alone in seeing the hypocrisy of their actions.

In 2010, the North County Times editorial board gave Bond, Stocks & Gaspar a “Reindeer Games Raspberry” for choosing petty politics over civility by failing to appoint me to mayor or deputy mayor.

U-T columnist and political writer Logan Jenkins gave Gaspar the “Bonehead First Play” award for “failing in dramatic fashion to live up to her campaign pledge to bridge, not widen, the bitterly personal schism on the council….She’s either naive or she’s secretly spoiling for a fight while pretending to be Ms. Sweetness and Light”

In 2011, the North County Times editorial board gave Gaspar a “Find a Better Excuse Raspberry” for her position on Pacific View.

North County Times columnist and political writer Tom Arnold made this “Christmas Wish” for me… “The ceremonial position of Mayor….I know they don’t like you, but hey, they need to take the high ground.”

Finally, I believe the North County Times Editorial Board summed it all up in the recent “So much for Democracy” raspberry they gave to the council majority… “the City Council majority devised a convoluted system that all but ensures Barth will not serve as mayor or vice mayor in upcoming years, either. The whole thing stinks.”

At last Wednesday’s council meeting my colleagues pretended that the process was “broken and needed to be fixed,” a bizarre statement considering they broke it. They have plans, I’m not included and neither is the public.

Teresa Barth is a two-term member of the Encinitas city council.

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  1. embarassed says:

    Mr Stocks does not agree with the evil Mrs Barth.
    I do not trust Mr Stocks.

    http://encinitas.patch.com/articles/letter-to-the-editor-a-response-to-commentary-on-the-selection-of-mayor-in-encinitas
    32 citizens offer comments to Mr Stocks’s spin.

  2. Nowoolovermyeyes says:

    I keep running into residents all over Encinitas who have had dealings with Jerome and the words pompous, arrogant, rude and demeaning are just some of the words used to describe his behavior. He is not only rude and condescending
    to Councilwoman Barth, he is often disrespectful to residents
    who are not aligned with his pro-development agenda. In mocking Teresa, he is insulting the large constituency that
    supported both Maggie and Teresa as they shared many of the
    same values. In this recent power grab to concentrate power
    into the hands of the pro-development super majority, he
    and his cohorts are fueling the firestorm of controversy
    that continue to swirl since Councilwoman Houlihan passed
    away. Many more residents than he thinks have noticed
    that there has been no city sanctioned honor or tribute to
    her and they are ready to pay him back in the ballot box.
    His mocking behavior of Teresa further strengthens their
    resolve to reclaim their city and their fair representation. 2012 is the time to vote out Stocks and his
    super majority buddies and vote in ethics and fair and open representation. Vote for Tony Kranz and Lisa Shaffer to regain your voice in our city governance.
    .

  3. Another Barth Fan says:

    It does not take much to make a person in a minority postition look bad.

    With control of the meeting agenda, the staff, the finances, the records, and with the influence and access to the mainstream press, Stocks and the Council Majority can create their own make-beleive story with themselves as heroes.

    They work as a unit, making closed-door decisions on behalf of their developer funders. The plan involves how to divert the contents of the City coffers back to donors pockets in exchange for campaign contributions to so that (Dalager), Stocks, Bond, Gaspar, and now Muir can have a job.

    They also use these funds to attack Teresa Barth, and before her Maggie Houlihan and Sheila Cameron!

    I had always imagined that City funds were used to distribute services for Encinitas residents, but now I am beginning to think they are largely directeted to sepcial interests, then circle back to Majority Council members in the form of illegal campaign contributions and kitchen appliances!

  4. Patrick O'Connor says:

    Unless you are in lockstep with Stocks & Co rule you’re toast. The insults to Teresa and Maggie are examples of high school level politics and insure leadership. The folks who voted for them are still waiting for a voice on the council. How long will it take Encinitas??

  5. Baby Bohol says:

    Barth is the biggest baby boohoo in the county!
    The Encinitas City Council finally adopted rules that says the VOTERS choose the mayor, and that’s as it should be and as it should have been!
    Bart’s whine party needs cheese and is just sad.

  6. embarassed says:

    Baby, yea that is one way to look at it. Most see it as a super majority putting in the fix so that the least experienced council member will serve two terms and then be allowed to appoint her successor and passover Barth for at least five years. The mayoral rotation has worked effectively since the city began, except when a majority votes to change the system for their political voting block’s benefit.
    The process is explained very clearly below.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JN68mn3CxQ&feature=player_embedded
    We need to vote in a open and fair council and stop the strangle hold that this majority council has welded on our city for the last decade.

  7. Jan says:

    Teresa, you just don’t have what it takes to be a leader. You do a good job as a Councilperson, but you lack what it takes to be a Mayor. Be happy with where you are. What does it matter, anyway? Just do what you think is right without bashing other people.

  8. To Jan says:

    Jan, I disagree that Teresa doesn’t have what it takes to be a leader. There is nobody that is more courageous than a soul voice against a super majority. Is this your definition of leadership–to meet and decide how the block will vote before a meeting so that they can ignore citizen input?

    The role of mayor is important because it used to be an oportunity for Council members to develop greater leadership skills and to give everyone a chance to represent their voters. It also created more of a team atmosphere and greater sympathy and respect for members when people took turns and worked in collaboration.

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