The Coast News Group
Community Commentary Opinion

Commentary: A sad day for Encinitas community character and public safety

By Mark Muir

I was saddened to see an overall lack of leadership by our Mayor and City Council members last week regarding funding for public safety and marijuana sales in Encinitas.

Selling and cultivating marijuana in Encinitas

As a former City of Encinitas Fire Chief, I spent my entire 35-year career evaluating risks vs. benefits before taking necessary actions.

The use of any drug, be it medical or recreational, involves risk. Marijuana is not automatically safe just because a state declares it to be legal. In California, the line between safety and risk became instantly blurred.

I can unequivocally offer my professional experience in sharing the many personal and community risks of allowing marijuana businesses: impaired driving, fatal crashes, addiction, schizophrenia, psychosis, cognitive impairment, lower IQ, normalization to our youth, and reduced home values.

These risks strongly outweigh the benefits of a small sales tax increase, which will quickly evaporate with the costly rise in both law and code enforcement.

The Mayor and City Council (with the exception of Councilmember Kranz), were unwilling to oppose the upcoming Encinitas ballot measure on legalizing cultivation and distribution of Marijuana within our City.

In addition, the Mayor failed to publicly disclose that she has accepted money from the Marijuana ballot initiative organizers. These actions represent a catastrophic failure in leadership to protect our community.

If you want marijuana, order it online, if you want to live in a marijuana free city, get in line and vote against this initiative!

Defunding the Sheriff’s Department

Our Encinitas leadership should continue to support a department with a stellar professional reputation and history of dedicated service. This diverse group of professionals is committed to working with the community to make Encinitas a safe place to live, work, and play.

Our City has the lowest crime rate in the entire county, at the helm of a Captain who is professional, innovative, and community oriented. The department’s commitment to continuous improvement has shaped policies and practices to enhance service to all residents while adhering to the highest principles of justice and equality.

I was shocked to learn that Mayor Blakespear and Deputy Mayor Hinze had initiated a countywide conversation on defunding or restructuring the Sheriff’s Department. I continue to support our deputies, and ask that the community join me in doing so.

Encinitans should immediately hold our community leaders accountable for their actions and operate with the baseline expectation that they take official positions that will enhance overall community character, public safety and quality of life.

Mark Muir is a former Encinitas City Councilman and fire chief.

9 comments

Leo July 4, 2020 at 7:40 am

Encinitas would have a far better future if it would listen to the advice of Mark over the current Cabal of liberal dunces. Encinitas defunding Police is ridiculous.

Folks who disagree with Mark or either clueless or lack of any meaningful experience to understand the complex issue facing, and about to ruin Encinitas.

More Mark. Less Blakespear

SINDI July 3, 2020 at 6:24 pm

The marijuana question is complicated because the initiative doesn’t just include pot shops, but growing, distributing, manufacturing etc. I disagree with some of the outcomes stated for marijuana, when alcohol, perfectly legal, has a track record for breaking up homes, addiction, violence and fatal car wrecks among others. I’ve personally never known a violent or crazy pothead…put it to the people and we’ll decide.

It seems the Mayor has jumped on board with another knee jerk reaction to the defund the police train. We are a safer city today, but more density housing, more homeless, more bars and overall growth will bring crime and criminals. We’re already underserved and law enforcement helps maintain the critical balance of law and order. That being said, I’d like to see more outreach to the homeless and mentally ill.

Since our local CRC does a poor job of outreach, how about considering some privately funded organizations who aspire to solutions through accountability. Our current crop of non profits who rake in hundreds of thousands of dollars don’t seem to be up to the task of helping our homeless off the streets – in fact, what do they actually do to help those in need?

I guess I’m endlessly frustrated with the absence of leadership from Mayor Blakespear, her made in a vacuum, behind the curtain decisions and most importantly the poorly thought outcomes. I’ve lost all faith in local government.

Bob Van Epps July 3, 2020 at 3:55 pm

It is out-of-touch views such as this that drove Encinitas citizens to vote this guy out of office. This op ed is simply a way to get attention. It worked! I have been reminded what a terrible city council member Mr. Muir was back in the day. With losers like Mr. Muir and that carpetbagger former mayor Gaspar gone, the Encinitas City Council is finally becoming a body that actually represents its citizens.

LG July 2, 2020 at 6:36 pm

I think all the police officers should be licensed MFTs as well as have graduate degrees in a field of non-combat related field work, such as sociology, psychology, family and youth counseling. We expect those roles to be filled by the police, why not hold them to the same educational standards as we hold our primary school teachers.

As a side note…they didn’t do too well against that dude with the stepladder and the baseball bat. He’s in prison and the deputy had some broken bones that probably qualify him for long term disability. On the plus side, totally unrelated, the red light cameras are gone.

Pot and Beer Ban July 2, 2020 at 2:59 pm

Marijuana, Beer and Wine are the leading causes of health and safety problems in Encinitas. It is our duty to begin voter intiatives to ban pot and alcohol from our beautiful community. WE THE PEOPLE will join you in voting for the “Pot and Beer Ban” and seek to prevent sales of carcinogenic ethanol products violating “Proposition 65” labeling laws. Thank you.

zachary July 3, 2020 at 10:58 am

Im sorry, but where do i begin. first of all Marijuana, beer and wine are not the leading causes of health and safety issues in encinitas. 2, Any local law banning sale of alcohol would be unconstitutional. 3, prop 65 is a labeling law and cannot be used to restrict the sale of anything.

What next ban driving because cars release a toxic gas that is considered by the state of california to be carcinogenic under proposition 65?

WE THE PEOPLE, the majority of encinitas will soundly reject any attempt to ban the sale of alcohol as it is an infringement on personal rights. Move to the middle of nowhere and isolate yourself if you can’t handle other people living in this Free society of the USA. We do not need more undue regulations on the citizens of this country.

zachary s July 2, 2020 at 1:53 pm

What a sad excuse for a former council member who thinks his opinion is more important than the majority of encinitas residents. Resorting to fear mongering and outright falsehoods about marijuana is not an opinion. His professional experience on the subject is not supported by facts or studies. Does he want to shut down liquor stores and bars? Does he think because he doesn’t like it no one should be allowed to use it? Or how about the fact that he wants to stop flower growers from growing a flower in order to stay afloat. Should we just let all of our agricultural business and history be bulldozed for more development because Some are afraid of change. No one is out here trying to encourage the use of weed for minors or say its safe for developing minds, but it is no different than alcohol and tobacco and should be treated as such. The more something is regulated and accessible to adults that are old enough to consume it, the harder it is for minors to get there hands on it.

Lisa Shaffer July 2, 2020 at 9:07 am

Are we really afraid of dialog on public safety? If we are afraid to examine how we preserve and enhance our community, how will we ever have true accountability? We have an obligation to all our taxpayers to ask tough questions and to consider alternatives. Just as the Fire Department primarily serves as first responders to medical calls, the Sheriff’s Department often is called to situations that don’t require armed law enforcement officers. I definitely want to have well-trained and equipped law enforcement available when needed. But taking a hard look at what services are really needed and how best to provide those services is essential. I applaud the City Council for joining that discussion. Mr. Muir’s closing paragraph actually supports the idea of a community forum – hold our law enforcement officials accountable and ensure that their work enhances community character, public safety, and quality of life. Don’t pre-judge the outcome of such a discussion. We should have nothing to fear from engaging in honest dialog.

Sheila July 1, 2020 at 11:11 pm

Very nicely said. Thank you for that comment full of common sense and sound advice.

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