For me Prop A is simple. Voting yes gives Encinitas citizens the right to vote on land use changes and holds the city council accountable. These are good things.
By opposing Prop A, the Encinitas City Council has shown it doesn’t trust citizens with the right to vote. Today council members are on mailers that appear to me funded by parties standing to profit by controlling land use.
The facts are, the council sided with the building industry to keep power out of the hands of the people and in the hands of special interests. Their vision is to up-zone commercial properties for residential use, give away local control and allow four to five stories throughout the city. If the council doesn’t trust you, should you trust them? History says no.
Consider having to trust in the incestuous relationships between elected officials and developers in our small town. In 2010 a mayor failed to disclose discounts and a $100,000 loan from people with land use issues and pled guilty to the district attorney. In 2012, a mayor that received 60 percent of his campaign contributions from developers was caught on video violating city election ordinances. If we couldn’t trust yesterday’s mayor how can we trust tomorrow’s?
In March the Council overturned the rulings of the Planning Commission and sided with the developer to increase densities in Olivenhain that residents say threaten safety. Ask these residents if they trust City Council — they filed a suit to protect themselves.
Should we ignore the relationship between Councilmember Kristin Gaspar’s husband and developer David Meyer? The two were involved with a group that sent mailers out during the last election period that favorably profiled pro-development candidates. Should insiders have power at City Hall when you don’t?
Then there is the issue of pensions and the question: If the city is sacrificing our small town character and quality of life to pay for pension debt?
We should question Deputy Mayor Lisa Shaffer’s claims that she wants to limit density. In his editorial, Councilmember Tony Kranz claimed Prop A would impact the 101 specific plan, ignoring that residents were prevented from voting on the 101 plan and failing to mention the up-zoning negatively changed the neighborhood with the proliferation of bars and crime. Do you think these residents wish they had a vote?
And what happened to the promise of transparency at City Hall? Under Mayor Teresa Barth, City Manager Gus Vina signed a contract with an Orange County developer law firm to review the initiative prior to being directed to do so by the Council. Now the special interests the Council has sided with are using the firm’s claims to defeat the right to vote. Just who’s running City Hall?
The Founding Fathers of America wanted the people to control the government. Please join me in voting yes on A and holding the Council accountable. It’s a matter of trust — We the people have earned it, City Hall hasn’t.
Andrew Audet is an Encinitas resident.
Filed Under: Community Commentary