The Coast News Group
Clean Campaign Pledge
The Coast News has launched its Clean Campaign Pledge to promote civility and respectful discourse among political candidates. Graphic by Ryan Woldt
Cities Community Election 2020 Encinitas Encinitas Featured News

Blakespear, Thunder sign Clean Campaign Pledge

ENCINITAS — In an effort to stem the tide of election toxicity, both Encinitas’ mayoral candidates — Mayor Catherine Blakespear and challenger Julie Thunder — have committed to signing a pledge to run clean campaigns, taking an important step toward inspiring civility and honest discourse among candidates and residents.

The Clean Campaign Pledge, established by The Coast News, is a series of nonpartisan guideposts and practices for North County’s upcoming election season.

As discussed in a two-part podcast series on The Coast News’ North County Beat, this year’s election cycle has seen an increase in social and political conflicts among residents, through both in-person protests and social media confrontations.

According to Sheriff’s Capt. Herbert Taft, the increasing vitriol exists on a spectrum from simple disagreements to hate speech and violent threats, some of which are safeguarded by the First Amendment.

In episode one, released on September 4, North County Beat podcast host Kelli Kyle and reporter Caitlin Steinberg examined the ways residents are getting in confrontations, whether 2020 is as uniquely toxic as it feels, and discussed the devolving discourse on online spaces including Facebook.

For the second episode, released on Friday, September 18, the podcast examines the consequences of political mudslinging and possible solutions, featuring in-depth interviews with both Blakespear and Thunder and introducing The Coast News’ Clean Campaign pledge (see below).

Clean Campaign Pledge
Graphic by Ryan Woldt

Both Blakespear and Thunder shared their personal experiences with destructive and violent rhetoric, solutions for having hard conversations with people of differing opinions and enthusiastic support for the pledge itself.

“What [the Coast News] is doing is great,” Blakespear said.  “It’s forcing a reflection from each campaign and hopefully the supporters of those people asking, what am I contributing to this? And is it positive? Is it helpful? Is it allowing for a discussion that involves divergent thought? Or is it closing the door on people, demeaning them and diminishing their value?”

Previously, Blakespear had included “a Pledge from Catherine about Civility” on her campaign website.

Thunder also agreed, saying the pledge is needed to help re-focus the elections on the issues versus name-calling and ad hominem attacks.

“I hope that not just myself and my opponent adopt this but other candidates across North County will take a hard look at it and consider following these guidelines.”

All North County candidates will be afforded the opportunity to sign and display the Coast News’ Clean Campaign Pledge on their campaign websites and social media platforms.

The full North County Beat episode with Blakespear and Thunder’s interviews is available on all podcast platforms including Apple podcast, Spotify, and Stitcher.

Presented by The Coast News Group, the North County Beat podcast features in-depth analysis and incisive commentary on a wide range of topics including politics, housing, environmental and social that impact North County San Diego. Host Kelli Kyle digs into the issues impacting Coast News readers, interviewing influential local leaders while searching for the pulse of North County.

7 comments

Lea September 29, 2020 at 6:38 am

Wow, Bhavani doesn’t like Blakespear referring to her opponents as anti-homeless and anti-BLM. Yet look at the website they created, http://www.encinitaswatchdog.com. For a mayor, or anyone, to be on the receiving end of this online hate, I’d say the mayor has been kind in her responses.
Bhavani is a founding member of the NC3, Encinitas Watchdog group, a group that regularly posts hateful and cruel things in their Facebook group. The accompanying website is shameful, as you can see for yourself. Bhavani supports this, but attempts to shame the mayor’s characterization of it?

Jeremy K. September 21, 2020 at 9:59 pm

The Mayor has called me out for my “human pig” comment to Julie (episode two of podcast) and appropriately so. It was stripped of context, which was an email to a bunch of people in town on the Safe Parking Program and the anti-Semitic tropes, fear mongering and hatred stirred up by Julie and Kristin Gaspar against that program on Saxony, for use as a political weapon against Catherine and council, which MLS data and multiple police officers have reported has not resulted in an increase in crime or decrease in property values. No children accosted, no needles or broken bottles, no warrants served… all the stuff they wanted everyone to be afraid of.

My heart goes out to the men, women, and children of the program who were so wrongfully castigated, vilified, and demonized by Julie Thunder and her followers for political purposes… kicked while they were down. That angers me deeply, but I should contain my anger.

I crossed a line, reported that to the entire email list, and my comment to Julie should not reflect on Catherine’s campaign and should not be a part of the civil discourse so necessary now. I was dragged down into a place I should not go, and take full responsibility for that.

Jeff September 18, 2020 at 6:59 pm

You got to be kidding me. Just play reruns of Blakespears own contradictions and lies. First she colludes with local nonprofits behind the backs of the residents to make us a sanctuary city. She lies about the parking lot being Encinitas families. She stacks the city hall with opposition to the residents. She allowed 5 hotels at least to be filled with other town’s transients. She went from preserving Encinitas to wanting it to be high density. I can go on for hours and there’s not a person in this town who can debate me. What does she do during Covid? Fill Encinitas with HUNDREDS of transients. She has a video of her sayin she doesn’t believe residents should question her and other thought leaders, like the loser no profits who capitalize off the misery of others.

Blakespear deserves a ticket ket out of here. She is frothing to make the developers and nonprofits rich while burning our town down. I will fight this corruption to he end and “I” am playing Blakespear’s own videos so people can see her lie over and over and over.

Confused Bill September 18, 2020 at 4:06 pm

Color me confused.

Julie Thunder is a founding member of NC3 and their private Facebook hate group that ultimately renamed themselves as the Encinitas Watchdog.

Because she signed a pledge weeks before the election we should ignore her willing participation in nearly a year of anti-homeless, antisemitic, anti-BLM, anti-immigrant, bigotry and hatred?

The regular mocking of homeless residents and jokes at their expense. The rushing to the scene to exploit any homeless person in crisis and the occasional wish that the ambulance should just take their time getting there. The harassment of homeless residents in the newly formed Safe Parking lot, including video surveillance from the roof of nearby homes and drone footage?

The accusations of local “anti-gentile” Jewish organizations owning the Encinitas City Council and other local organizations as they try to “take over” the city? The labeling of the women who lead those organizations as roaches, maggots, whores and dirt people among others.

The instances of doxing of residents and the creation of “blacklists” for those with opposing views?

The numerous threats against other residents that they better not dare go out into their ocean or the veiled threat against others including reporters of this paper?

The self recorded and celebrated instigation of physical violence on multiple occasions and the premeditated verbal and physical assault of protesters at our local peaceful BLM rally? The defaming of George Floyd and the ridicule of our local BLM leaders?

The near daily hate filled caricatures and vile depictions of the Mayor and other local candidates?

This is just a small sampling but probably enough to paint the picture.

As of this writing, Julie Thunder for Mayor of Encinitas is still a member of the hate group she created. The group she nurtured with the trail of disinformation that her campaign was built upon. She can sign whatever last minute pledges she likes, a year of repulsive behavior intended to cater to her voting base isn’t going to be erased or forgotten.

David September 18, 2020 at 9:36 am

After all the ugly things I have witnessed Pam Slater Price and Julie Thunder say about the mayor and her family, I am glad to see Thunder has taken this pledge. She recently suggested a member of Encinitas Votes be removed from the group simply for asking about her husband’s BIA association and how this might effect future issues Julie would deal with as mayor. Welcome to public life. Julie Thunder, I wish you well and I truly hope you realize that as painful as it is to hear people comment on your family, you and your supporters have done this same hurtful thing towards our mayor for years. You have built a campaign and a reputation on ugliness and ad hominem attacks. You waited too long to distance yourself from the “Encinitas Watchdogs” and there’s a lot of screenshots to prove that.

Janine Clare September 18, 2020 at 9:32 am

I applaud them both for taking this pledge, both candidates seem to have a few supporters who can be quite rabid on social media. Most of their supporters are focused on issues, but they each have their factions of loud, negative proponents who, unfortunately, can drown out the calm, reasonable supporters. I have seen trolling, rude behavior on both sides. The commenter above me has frequently been trolling and aggressive, although I’m sure she does not see it that way. But, her comment is extremely negative behavior: to take a portion of a letter out of context, without discussing not only the entire letter, but who and what it was addressing, and what correspondence preceded that letter is the opponents way of creating a false narrative and then clinging to it with all her might.

Bhavani Kirnak September 17, 2020 at 2:36 pm

How interesting. I just saw a letter sent by Catherine Blakespear to constituent(s) saying “my opponents are anti-homeless, anti-immigrant, anti-BLM”. That is a direct quote. How is this not name-calling and an ad hominem attack?

Where do I report her?

More dishonest virtue-signaling by our unpopular Mayor.

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