The recent $20,000 taxpayer-funded citizen survey predictably showed that 98 percent of residents are happy with their lives in Encinitas.
I count myself as one of the 98 percent.
I love Encinitas, but I deeply resent the notion that my satisfaction suggests an endorsement of Stocks, Muir and the council majority, and I deeply resent the use of the survey results as a taxpayer-funded campaign ad.
Every four years, Stocks routinely manipulates the mayoral rotation to ensure that he is mayor in his reelection year, and commissions a survey, just before the election, to use as a taxpayer-funded campaign ad. This year, even his cohort on the council, Jim Bond, suggested that the survey be postponed until after the election. Stocks would have none of that.
The recent “sign-gate” fiasco may seem like a sophomoric prank, but it goes deeper than this. It is part of a pattern of self-serving, one-for-you, two-for-me decisions:
- The decision to “creatively” interpret city code as prohibiting the image of Maggie Houlihan on the back of the Arts Alive banners.
- The decision to abuse majority rule to repeatedly deny Councilwoman Teresa Barth her normal turn as mayor, and to use the same mechanism to ensure that Jerome Stocks is always the mayor during his reelection year.
- The decision to abuse majority rule to turn a 3-2 majority into a 4-1 super-majority by appointing political crony, Mark Muir on the tragic passing of Maggie Houlihan,.
- The abuse of majority rule to disproportionately stock the Element Review Advisory Committee with real estate interests resulting in the recommendation of building heights of four to five stories to accommodate future growth.
The list goes on and on.
Service on our city council should be a calling, not a career. Stocks has been there for 12 years. During that time, he has entrenched himself with development interests, both inside and outside the city, who fund his campaigns.
He has passed out and received favors in the form of lucrative appointments to various boards and committees, and in the case of councilman Muir, returned a political favor with a $170,000 pension and a seat on the city council.
My examination of Stocks’ 2008 460 forms shows roughly 2/3 of Stocks’ campaign contributions came from development and real estate interests, and roughly 2/3 came from outside Encinitas.
What interest does a builder in Poway or a land-use attorney in Vista have in Encinitas? Surely not the preservation of our open lands, transparency in government, or the civil conduct of city affairs. Their interests are purely financial — to mine the city for whatever profits they can through continued development, and city contracts.
It’s time for some fresh air in the council chambers. Sixteen years in office is an invitation to subterfuge and good ol’ boy insider money. Let’s not let money win again. To the 98 percent I say, vote like your wonderful life depends on it — because it does. I plan to vote for Lisa Shaffer and Tony Kranz for city council, and urge you to do the same.
Cyrus Kamada is an Encinitas resident.
Filed Under: Community Commentary