The Coast News Group
Community Commentary

A Plea to Sheila Cameron: Please withdraw, for the sake of Encinitas!

Encinitans: this is a dangerous moment in our city’s politics, and we have to be careful how we vote. As an Encinitas slow growth/“community character” advocate, I support Tony Kranz for Mayor and Catherine Blakespear for city council. Here’s why.

The City Council we’ve had for the last two years has been the sanest in the history of the city. Just cast your mind back two years and compare the current council to the previous one. That careless, pro-development council, led by Stocks and Bond, was both dysfunctional and wrongheaded. That council did almost nothing for the city, beyond selling bits of it out to developers. Kristin Gaspar and Mark Muir hold the same values as Stocks and Bond. If Gaspar were to be elected mayor and someone like Mr. Lerchbacher were elected to city council, we would find ourselves exactly where we were two years ago, with a pro-development council majority ready to sell out the last vestiges of the Encinitas we know and love. That would be heartbreaking.

This is why we must make sure the basic political dynamics of the current council do not change. While the council block of Kranz, Barth, and Shaffer may have made some mistakes, such as failing to support Prop A, they have done much more good (plastic bag ban, urban agriculture progress, purchase of Pacific View, and much more). The greatest problems the city faces are those involving traffic and development. These are the problems that, if left unchecked (or placed in the hands of the Gaspar-Stocks types), will undermine our quality of life and the character of our communities. You may or may not agree with the Pacific View purchase (though anyone who thinks we paid too much evidently has not looked at local property prices lately) or the lighting question at the new sports complex – but these issues are small potatoes! They don’t compare to the problems of traffic and development, which threaten to turn our beloved Encinitas into a clone of Orange County.

On the other hand, Tony Kranz is the most savvy transportation guy around. He’s passionate about rail corridor, walkability, and cycling issues, serves on the NCTD board and the regional transportation body, and has true vision when it comes to solving our traffic problems. Additionally, Blakespear promises to maintain the course already set by Barth, Shaffer, and Kranz. So, the choice between voting for Kranz and Blakespear instead of Gaspar and Lerchbacher is a no-brainer.

The far trickier problem is the presence of Sheila Cameron, which could divide the slow-growth contingency. Sheila entered the race on the final day of application, giving Kristin Gaspar the best birthday present she could imagine. And her presence threatens to throw a monkey wrench into the progress the city has been making. Not because her positions are faulty. On the contrary. I agree with most of them, and, in fact, they do not differ substantively from those of Kranz. Sheila is sharp and has been a dutiful public servant in the past. I hope she will run for mayor again in the future sometime.

The problem is that Sheila Cameron can’t win. She just doesn’t have broad enough support. What she can do, though, is draw votes from Tony Kranz and help elect Kristin Gaspar in the process.

Do you remember what happened in our 2000 presidential election? The presence of Ralph Nader is what drew votes from Al Gore, essentially giving the election to George W. Bush. Our local situation is almost identical. Sheila Cameron may well be the Ralph Nader to Kranz’s Gore and to Gaspar’s Bush. That Sheila did not take this into account when deciding to enter the race is cause for concern, as it shows a lack of good judgment. It also suggests that she’s in the race for more personal reasons. If she really cared about the future of Encinitas, she would never have decided to run this time.

And it may not be too late. If she really cared about Encinitas, she would withdraw from the race right now and publically throw her support to Tony Kranz, who would then have a chance of defeating Gaspar (and all of her contributions from developers who don’t even live in our city).

If you care about Encinitas continuing on its (moderately) progressive path, towards less traffic and a cleaner environment, you should support Tony Kranz for mayor and Catherine Blakespear for Encinitas City Council.

Darius Degher is a Leucadia resident.


Darius Degher November 3, 2014 at 11:27 pm

Saying that Tony Kranz is the same as Kristin Gaspar is absurd. They’ve been on opposing sides of nearly every council issue. She is a pro-development Republican; he is a slow-growth Democrat. It’s true that Tony backed away from Prop A, and I, too, feel that was a mistake, as I mentioned in my letter.

To blindly lump the two of them together reminds me of the way the Left has abandoned Obama because he was forced to leave the realm of the Ideal and move into the real world of politics and compromise. Sometimes reality just intervenes.

We’ve got the best city council we’ve had in ages. (Is it possible people have forgotten what Jerome Stocks was like, and also that he and Kristin Gaspar are like two peas in a pod?) And now our slow-growth contingency, in its hyper-idealism, is managing to shoot itself in the foot by not supporting its own incumbent. This is what’s at the heart of my concern! I’m arguing for a moment of clear-headed, practical realism here. I have friends who still defend voting for Ralph Nader in the 2000 presidential election, even though his presence elected George W. Bush, which cost us two wars, many lives and billions of dollars, including, arguably, the Great Recession. They are the true idealists, and in 2000 they helped to fuck things up in the real world very badly.

I’ve always liked Sheila Cameron and agree with her on most things (maybe more than I agree with Tony on), but she hopped into the campaign at the last minute, after Tony had already committed himself. This move is what has, essentially, screwed the pooch. If it’s correct that she has a better chance of defeating Gaspar than Tony does, then it’s true that my argument makes no sense. But my, albeit unscientific, impression is that she will get many fewer votes than Tony. Of course, I could be wrong. (If so, I will assume my position as the deacon in the Church of Moron.)

That my letter has generated so much passion proves its point. Personally, I am for as little and as “smart” growth as possible. Most Cameron supporters also are. Thus, our side is divided, and it will likely give the mayorship to Gaspar. If Sheila had never entered the race, or if she and Tony had somehow coordinated their efforts, this would be playing out very differently.

chris November 3, 2014 at 8:46 pm

Amen!!! Actions speak louder than words. We’d have a 30′ neighbor right now if it weren’t for prop A.

Tony (and the others) voted against Prop A. He says one thing then does the opposite.

I say throw’em all out & keep it fresh.

Sheila Cameron is the only non-incumbent with a chance. She’s got my vote!

Innovate somewhere else October 31, 2014 at 10:45 pm

Agriculture in the modern world is a business and does not belong into residentially zoned districts. We have zoning laws against this, regulations that have worked well for over three decades. Why redefine and subvert the entire concept of agriculture? Nobody is against backyard gardening, or kids setting up a lemonade stand. If you want to do more than that, we have minor use permits that might allow such activities under oversight by the city.

Calling dance studios, wedding chapels, jazz concerts, pottery classes, yoga training, lecture halls, kindergartens, retail markets, etc. “agri-connected” is insane. Any of these would produce MORE noise and traffic in an otherwise quiet residential neighborhood. Operating an opium den, a pet hospital, a beer brewery, or a tractor repair shop would be more closely related to agriculture than any of the above activities.

It seems that the whole Coral Tree Farm fiasco is just a test ground for the Leichtag Foundation, desiring to bring unrelated “innovative” ventures, such as convention centers and religious activities, onto land that has been designated “agricultural in perpetuity.” We wonder if Ms. Blakespear is working in their special interests

Mr. Smith January 25, 2015 at 4:56 pm

Agriculture belongs in the country

Eco-Enc October 31, 2014 at 7:57 pm

Dump Leichtag Tony and Veggie Blakespear! Dump ethically challenged Shaffer, and BIA friendly Gaspar.

Andrew Jones October 31, 2014 at 1:39 pm

Kranz is the same as Gaspar, cant be trusted to fight for the people. Look what he did with Prop A. Advocate until got on the council then voted AGAINST it. Vote for Cameron, you know what you are getting with her.

GetRealFolks October 31, 2014 at 7:45 am

Thank you, Darius. You are speaking the truth. We can’t afford two years of Kristin Gaspar, the “just say no” candidate with no track record of doing anything for the city. Sheila has no chance of winning and is spreading misinformation and fear. Her last time on City Council was highly divisive and she failed to win reelection. She would do the city a true service by stepping down now.

billy Bob October 31, 2014 at 8:58 am

If Tony Kranz wanted to throw his support to Cameron that would ensure that she might win mayor and he would still be on the Council. What a win that would be. How about it Tony?

Encinitas4Real October 31, 2014 at 1:48 pm

Thank you Lisa. We don’t need your fake hand picked Blakespear and CERTAINLY don’t need any more of Kranz. Hopefully he will be gone in 2016,

Tony180 October 30, 2014 at 10:53 pm

Four reasons I will not be voting for Tony:
-He did a complete 180 on Prop A. He was an earlier advocate but once on council, changed his mind.
-Desert Rose Density Bonus: He had a chance to redeem itself but decides to go along with approving this density bonus project against the will of the neighbors and the will of the city planning commission.
-Pushed for overspending on PV: Sure there was a lot of pressure to buy it, but at that price, and to just throw another $500K above the starting bid just to sweeten the deal?
-Did not do squat about bringing up a discussion about pension reform, a subject that was a hot button for him prior the 2012 election. The unions must have talked to him.

I will be casting my vote for Sheila Cameron. I can trust she will be true to herself and will not be sway by outside interest. She has been around the block and will tell it like it is. No sugar coating with Sheila, just the hones truth.

Ralph Wiley October 30, 2014 at 10:37 pm

Oh Darius, you have it backwards. It’s Kranz who should withdraw and throw his support to Cameron. As it is, the contest is between Cameron and Gaspar. Tony is in third place and rightly so because he’s been a disaster as a councilman. He voted the wrong way on almost every important issue. He has squandered his heritage and will continue to do that for two more years as a councilman. Kranz could ensure Cameron’s win and Gaspar’s loss by withdrawing now and endorsing Cameron.

Encinitas4Real October 30, 2014 at 6:30 pm

I don’t know who Darrius Degher is and never heard of him. But he must not have much knowledge of Kranz and Blakespear. They both support the pro development mantra as much as Muir and Gaspar! They both oppose prop A and support density stack and pack and are in lockstep with that hack attorney Marco Gonzales. He is the largest Density Bonus go to lawyer and his disciples are Kranz and Blakespear. If you TRULY value the unique city of Encinitas and don’t want it sold out lock stock and barrel to OC developers vote SHEILA CAMERON for Mayor and JULIE GRABOI for City Council! Otherwise just don’t vote at all. BTW Sierra Club has now been further disgraced (besides losing its chapter status) by selling out to the dense pack crowd and Marco and Duncan. If you see Sierra Club endorsement you may as well read it as BIA ENDORSED!

billy Bob October 30, 2014 at 1:15 pm

I have a real problem with this message.

1. I don’t like others to tell me how to vote, especially with a doom and gloom prediction. Did you tell others how to vote when Bob Nanninga ran?

2. Who says Tony Kranz is the BEST candidate? I am intending on voting for Cameron.

3. And, lastly, who are you to tell me how to vote. It’s insulting.

Encinitas4Real October 30, 2014 at 7:39 pm

This person has no connection with Encinitas or he’s a moron drinking buddy of Tony’s from San Dieguito High! Tony is slow growth in the same way that Gaspar and Lerch are. Not to mention the rest of the CC members! An the Sierra Clipub bogus endorsement is no different from the BIA!

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