By Julie Thunder
Today I am announcing my candidacy for the District 3 seat on Encinitas City Council as an independent, non-partisan candidate, or NPP.
Although the Council typically decides issues that apply across the city, I am confident I will be a strong advocate for my district, which encompasses Cardiff-by-the-Sea and parts of New Encinitas. It would be a special honor to represent Cardiff, the historic community my family has called home for 37 years.
Two years ago, entering politics for the first time, I campaigned to become the mayor of Encinitas. I did not win that race, but I did gather more than 17,000 votes (45%) — I am proud to have earned each person’s support.
The message I take away from that result is that many others felt, as I do, that the city is on the wrong track and it’s time for a change in Encinitas leadership.
Instead of running again for mayor, I am seeking election to City Council. That option wasn’t available to me in 2020. Today it seems like the sensible choice.
There are several reasons for that decision. The term of office for a district seat is four years, while the mayor is only two years. The costs of running an election, both financial and practical, are high, with a district race being less costly than the city-wide mayoral race.
Aside from the costs, a campaign imposes a burden on family members. My daughters and husband have made clear their support for my efforts, but a four-year term will be less disruptive to our family.
There is not much to be gained by being elected mayor — the vote of each council member carries equal weight to that of the mayor.
I don’t have political ambitions beyond Encinitas (I wouldn’t be using the mayoralty as a launching pad to higher office) so the increased visibility is not important to me.
The high profile of our current mayor is not due to the power of her vote but is the result of how she has played her hand in Encinitas and in the region.
I’ve long been involved in the affairs of my community. Most recently, I’ve been gathering signatures for a statewide initiative to restore local control to city governments, as I believe Sacramento’s overreach is the biggest threat facing Encinitas. I’ve also advocated for preserving Cardiff and Olivenhain voting districts (yes, others sought to combine them).
I was a visible supporter of the effort to stop the Regional Homeless Parking Lot from being placed near several children’s programs, including Oakcrest Middle School. And, I even got involved in reversing the cancellation of our Holiday Parade.
Our city faces some difficult times ahead. There is great pressure to become a densely packed coastal town, similar to what you see in Orange and LA Counties.
While I recognize the need for change, I also believe we need to do our best to preserve the elements of Encinitas that originally attracted us.
The first change we should undertake is to change our leadership so that the interests of the residents of Encinitas become the foremost policy concern. This is one change that needs to happen now — time is running out.
Why would I take on the task of serving in office, and expose myself to the scrutiny candidates must endure? For me, the answer is simple — I cannot sit and do nothing while our city leaders promote policies that are recklessly accelerating our growth, reducing public safety, and failing to act in the interests of our residents.
It’s time for a shift to an “Encinitas First” mentality.
In this effort, I ask for your support. Please consider voting for change in November and let’s protect the Encinitas we all know and love.
Julie Thunder is a resident of Cardiff-by-the-Sea.