The Coast News Group

City council candidate Alan Lerchbacker answers 10 questions

Editor’s note: Each of the candidates has received the same 10 questions. Their responses have been unedited and will be posted online as they are returned.


Alan Lerchbacker

Managing Director, The Miller Group


30 years of Government experience,

26 years in the Navy in positions of increasing responsibility from supervising 168 military people, to leading over 3000 civilian employees at 3 different government positions, Ship Repair Facility Guam, Long Beach Naval Shipyard, and The Challenger Space Shuttle Recovery Operations where I was responsible for over 3000 civilian employees, 127 military and civilian divers, and 33 ships and craft.  I have been responsible for a $574M budget and capital asset responsibility for over $300M in government assets.  I have 3 years additional experience working in the State of California employment with Metropolitan Water District, where I was responsible for over 450 state employee men and women.

My Professional Experience, I have been President and CEO of 3 different companies, growing Austal USA from 66 people and their first CEO to over 1200 employees.


  1.  What prompted you to run for City Council?

I felt that my government and civilian leadership experience would allow me to help our city through fiscal responsibility and vision.  I have a passion for leadership and civic and patriotic commitment for service.


  1.  What are our 3 biggest priorities and how as a Council member can I help achieve these objectives.

I have always had the ability to reach out to the people I was representing, bring out their ideas and help these ideas and vision to become a reality.  Our three biggest priorities must be public safety, both fire and police, then protect and improve our beaches and parks, and then keep improving our infrastructure, roads, bike paths and bike lanes, and running paths.  In order to do this, we must ensure our priorities are in order, spending $13M on loans with nearly a million dollars in additional debt service each year for 30 years will significantly take away from our ability to budget for our top priorities.  We must look hard at what we can do with Pacific View now that we are the owner.


  1.  Housing Element, etown is up and running.  We have got to get our best a brightest to take the 10 minutes it takes to fill out this survey.  This will provide the Planning Department the keys they need to complete our housing element plan for our 2016 vote.  It has to be each community pulling together to help us make this a plan we are all proud of and ready to vote yes.


  1.  I have met with the Planning Department Director and Assistant Director.  This is not an option.  This is not a reality.  Even if the homes in amnesty come forward they will have to be brought up to code and this is no where near the number of homes we need.  This is a myth. Also, the state RHNA requires we show the capacity to build future units, it’s not about what’s on the ground now.


  1.  Again, another myth.  Both the Union and the Shelter and in compliance and are not our largest servers of alcohol.  Incidents are down.  Our bars are complying with our ordnances and are working with both our city departments and our police to make this a much better city, while providing us revenues for our city, county, and state operations.


  1.  Pacific View, as I have said many times, was an irresponsible purchase. None of us would have purchased this property for ourselves without some type of Environmental mitigation and other negotiating techniques that could have gotten us this property for much less than the $10M we paid for it.  Now that we own it, we are going to have to immediately come up with a plan (involving all our citizens) and then get that plan out to the people of Encinitias, so we can get it on the ballot for 2016 and have it become a valuable asset for the city rather than the stone around our neck it currently is. And our current city council majority has no idea what it will become, or how to pay for it. That’s not leadership, or responsible planning.


  1.  It takes $1.8M a year in order for us to maintain our roads and infrastructure in current conditions.  It would take $2.4M per year if we were to have any hope of improvement.  We are doing an excellent job maintaining what we have and now it is time to ensure going forward we budget for improvements.


  1.  A tunnel just like we have a Sante Fe should be budgeted for and completed. We really have no chance at successfully competing for the hundreds of millions of dollars grade-separation (track lowering) would cost, but pedestrian tunnels would increase the opportunity to legally and safely cross the tracks.



  1.  N/A


  1.  These are all government employees, but only some are “at-will”. The role of the City Council is to hire and fire the City Manager and City Attorney. The City Manager is responsible for hiring and firing all others in accordance with their employment agreement or bargaining unit contract.

It is sad that some people running for office do not understand the difference between policy making and administration. Not understanding one’s correct role creates chaos. Having said that, we as policy makers must establish a performance plan and require our direct reports do the same for their direct reports. Then all can be held accountable.  Again, it is irresponsible and misleading to tell the public you will fire employees you don’t have the authority to fire.


10 (number 2).  People should vote for me because I am the most qualified candidate and have a demonstrated passion for service which I have executed in numerous positions of responsibility both in the government and business.  I am the only fiscally responsible candidate to chose from and the only candidate that who has a proven track record of integrity and commitment.