The Coast News Group
From left: Councilman Mark Muir, Councilwoman Kristin Gaspar, Mayor Teresa Barth, Deputy Mayor Lisa Shaffer and Councilman Tony Kranz at the April 5 State of the City address. Photo by Jared Whitlock

Barth emphasizes ‘new energy’ in State of the City address

ENCINITAS — Mayor Teresa Barth highlighted construction projects and a process for growth in her State of the City address April 5 at the Encinitas Community Center. 

In a 20-minute speech with about 200 people in attendance, she said, “new energy at City Hall” can be attributed to recently hired directors of various city departments, as well as more cooperation between council members.

“There’s willingness to question how and why we do what we do,” Barth said.

Barth, who was elected to council in 2006 and voted in as mayor in November, said she’s striving to bring more transparency to the city since serving in her new role. As an example, she said recommendations for regional board appointments were made public before they were approved at a council meeting, rather than the “surprise” that it has been in the past.

Barth touted ongoing work on the 44-acre Encinitas Community Park and new facilities at Moonlight Beach, two projects that were approved last summer after years of delay.

The community park will feature a skatepark, dog park, soccer field and other multiuse sports fields when it opens summer 2014. A new restroom, concession building, public overlook and storage facility for lifeguard equipment are being built at Moonlight Beach and will debut in several months.

And she said that the Santa Fe pedestrian crossing that was unveiled to the public this past month has improved bicycle and pedestrian safety.

“This project represents the new approach that provides options for people — not just cars — to move about our city,” Barth said. She added that pedestrian crossings in Leucadia are in the works.

Barth noted council members just kicked off a series of strategic planning sessions, which will be held over the next two months, to settle on a larger vision for housing and land use. Simultaneously, the city is putting together a two-year financial plan so that initiatives identified during the planning sessions, “are funded and will be accomplished.”

On a related note, she said shifting demographics could affect the city’s tax base. Because more than 80 percent of the city’s general fund revenue comes from property and sales tax, Barth said that future housing development should be tailored to suit the millennial generation’s preference for walkable communities and smaller, intimate stores that promote interaction.

“Even in an era of Facebook and Twitter, people will continue to seek out places that provide opportunities to connect with friends, participate in local events and the larger community,” Barth said.

Barth added that future infrastructure spending to support development should be balanced with long-term costs like pensions obligations — a topic she didn’t go into detail with during the speech.

Additionally, she touched on the city’s growing demand for a community arts facility, citing the arts as an economic driver and the large number of artists in the area. She said the city should consider building an arts center at a vacant lot in Encinitas Ranch Town Center, or look at spots in downtown Encinitas.

Councilman Mark Muir called Barth’s speech “positive and productive.”

“I was inspired by her words, as I hope all of us were, to help us focus on working together in the coming year to build a better and safer community,” Muir said.

With well-known surf breaks and a great climate, Barth noted that Encinitas has attracted quite a few sports companies. She said these companies, dependent on clean water and air, illustrate how business and environmental stewardship can go hand in hand.

“Quality of life in Encinitas is cherished by its residents,” Barth said.



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Fred Caldwell April 16, 2013 at 3:23 pm

Shoulda gone, Lynn. And instead of “State of the City” it should have been called “Taste of the City” the food was SO good, with many local eateries showing off their culinary talents. Saw nothing wrong with businesses sponsoring event and like that better than taxpayers paying for it. (especially when a previous State of the City meeting had 99cent only cookies. Don’t think I didn’t complain about that!). It would have saved you time reviewing what was said. The piano player was awesome too. Didn’t catch his name. As far as the message went, it wasn’t that we’re going to hell in a handbasket, but what “state” address is?

Lynn Marr April 14, 2013 at 11:25 am

I am reposting this, as my previous comment continues to come up with “Your comment is awaiting moderation.” I’ve removed the Facebook page links I had previously posted. Sorry if this is a repetition.

We’re sad and disappointed that in Encinitas there’s currently an atmosphere of elitism and insider influence, discouraging public participation.

Strategic Planning sessions are now set up as “retreats for the electeds,” where the public isn’t allowed to be part of the process or the discussion, not allowed to ask questions or comment except for three minutes at the very beginning of each session, for which no “Agenda Report” is provided.

The public was marginalized at last Wednesday’s “Retreat” by Council held at the Encinitas Public Golf Course Clubhouse at 10 a.m when most people couldn’t attend. Council was seated in plush chairs around a wooden table where they were to work through lunch, after being served. Staff was at a second table, blocking the public, from Council’s backs. Members of the public were relegated to nine mostly folding chairs around the perimeter, at the “back of the bus.”

Last Friday, the State of the City Address was given by Mayor Teresa Barth, sponsored by newly “rebranded” Cardiff, Encinitas and Leucadia 101 Mainstreet Associations, which the City highly subsidizes, and the Encinitas Chamber of Commerce. The theme, “Five Unique Communities, One Great City,” was in direct contradiction to the business associations’ attempts at “rebranding” to attract redevelopment and expansionist interests. Tickets were $20 a pop.

Councilmember Tony Kranz had posted photos on his Facebook page of the State of the City Address event. I again commented (I had previously e-mailed Council) on Saturday:

Lynn Autumn [aka Lynn Marr] I hope you repeat the State of the City Address at the Council Meeting next Wednesday night. [It’s not on tonight’s Agenda.] People could then watch on TV, or attend the meeting “for free,” not being required to pay $20 per ticket. Thanks to Councilmembers Gaspar and Muir for both offering to give me a ticket, though.

I don’t see the President’s State of the Union Address sponsored by private business associations which the federal govt. subsidizes. So, I reluctantly boycotted. I also feel the “rebranding” of the Encinitas and Cardiff “101 Mainstreet Associations” runs counter to the theme of five unique communities. Residents in the communities do not want to rebrand in order to attract more development and to appease expansionist interests.

Tony Kranz “Hi Lynn. Sorry you felt the need to boycott. I’m going to work next year to change the name of the event so that it doesn’t have that air of officialness. It was a social event at which the mayor gave the keynote address.”

Teresa Arballo Barth “The presentations were recorded and will be on the city website in the near future . . .

Great idea Tony. It could be called the annual community mixer. My address was only 20 mins of the 2.5 hour event.”
We know our City, with intention, can balance the needs of the residents with those of commercial interests, not showing favoritism, not marginalizing members of the public who aren’t associated with various business associations, commercial interests, or the development industry by holding more meetings when the public is less likely to be able to attend, discouraging the public from participating in discussions and the process.

Part of the quality of life that we cherish is respect for our neighborhoods and the right that all citizens have to due process, to be considered equal under the law.

Gloria Easter April 12, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Looks like she has a great plan for the community which is very good. No wonder she was voted by the people because of her dedication to make a great change or development to the community that she dearly loves.

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