The Coast News Group
Community CommentaryOpinion

A vacuous vision

Mr. Degher’s Community Commentary (“Vision versus vacuum,” Oct. 14) illustrates the dismissive attitude that is Catherine Blakespear’s campaign for mayor.

Incredibly, Mr. Degher thinks Paul Gaspar is an outsider in Encinitas, even though he has lived here for 22 years, is raising a family here, started a thriving business that contributes to our tax base, and is involved in numerous local civic groups.  According to Mr. Degher no one can “possibly understand the soul connection we locals feel to this place,” presumably unless you have been here as long as Ms. Blakespear.  Fortunately Mr. Gaspar doesn’t dismiss 90 percent of our residents as outsiders.

On the subject of the rail trail, did anyone notice the blatant falsehood at the mayoral forum by Ms. Blakespear when challenged on her support for the railroad alignment?  She justified her vote change, “because we did not have any control over that project.  It was SANDAG’s project, a regional board outside of the city, and it was a concrete monolith that was being taken off the shelf of SANDAG and shoved into the Cardiff corridor.”

The attempt to blame the rail trail mess on SANDAG staff is jaw-dropping in its lack of integrity.  Check out the May 20, 2015 City Council meeting Agenda item #10C on the city’s web site to verify the facts.

The staff report for this item describes two optional alignments for the city to choose from; the Rail Corridor Alignment and the Highway 101 Reutilization Alternative.  The Rail Corridor Alternative describes 10-feet of concrete, 2-feet of DG and a 5-foot walking path.  Blakespear chose the railroad alignment over residents’ objections.

Mr. Degher dismisses Paul Gaspar’s commitment to fairness, transparency and fiscal responsibility as blah-blah.  Which, when you look at Blakespear’s actions in making partisan appointments to the Coastal Mobility and Livability Working Group, it is clear why the campaign might not want to discuss ethics.

Mr. Degher applauds Blakespear’s emphasis on “getting people out of their cars and into other modes of transit, such as biking and walking,” as the way to reduce traffic and fight climate change.  Cars are how 99 percent of us get around no matter how many bike paths are built.  Biking and walking are primarily a recreational activity that do not replace a significant number of vehicle trips and do not appreciably reduce our carbon footprint.

We are a low-density city and we don’t want to get denser, so we will remain by design car-oriented.  Blakespear’s lauded vision is more bromide than visionary.

The purchase price of the Pacific View property and the resulting embarrassing Golden Fleece award is another issue that the Blakespear campaign wishes would go away.

Mr. Degher is convinced that the $10 million price paid for the site is justified by checking the values on real estate websites, though it was professionally appraised much, much lower.  Unfortunately property valuation requires a certified appraiser rather than merely checking a website.

Mr. Degher is concerned about a potential conflict if both Gaspars win.  Sorry, but it’s not a problem in Chula Vista where the mayor is the wife of the local supervisor.

We recently had another burglary in Cardiff.  While Paul Gaspar supports the idea of adding a full time deputy, Ms. Blakespear decided that additional overtime for deputies to patrol downtown Encinitas was good enough.

Ralph Thielicke is a Cardiff-by-the-Sea resident.