By Natalie Settoon
Residents should be concerned that Mayor Catherine Blakespear, the Encinitas City Council and city staff appear to be working quietly on plans — behind the scenes — to establish a homeless shelter in Encinitas.
This was only recently publicly disclosed on May 25 in a last-minute staff update during a City Council meeting.
This is disturbing, especially considering that Councilman Tony Kranz, an elected official and mayoral candidate, was recently assaulted by a homeless individual in downtown.
And yet Mr. Kranz affirmed this summer when asked that he supports establishing a homeless shelter in Encinitas. After an overnight in a shelter, where will the homeless spend their time in the day?
Residents and local businesses are already highly impacted by the long-standing and expanding downtown Community Resource Center’s free and unlimited food distribution program for people without IDs.
Every day, more “homeless” transients arrive in Encinitas to live on our streets. And the controversial and unpopular Jewish Family Services overnight parking lot for homeless people living in cars operating at the flagship Senior and Community Center.
Crime is rising in Encinitas, tied to city homeless actions and inactions, the fentanyl crisis, California’s early prisoner release program, open borders, etc.
This is all evident in the weekly crime reports and resident messaging on Next Door.
The current City Council and Mayor’s naïve decision-making and enabling policies are fast-changing Encinitas. In the meantime, Encinitas is developing a reputation as a ‘homeless friendly’ beach town, contrary to residents’ wishes.
With liberal free food programs for the undocumented, allowing folks to live on our streets, in our parks, and at our beaches (both in violation of the municipal code, which is not being enforced), and being on a national map for free homeless parking, it’s no wonder more and more homeless are coming to Encinitas.
Who wouldn’t want to live in Encinitas?
The city of Encinitas should be working with the county of San Diego on an optimal location for a regional north county homeless shelter, where there are pre-existing service offerings that include drug and alcohol detox and addiction programs, self-care programs, counseling and work and life skill training programs, etc. Encinitas has none of these services, so it makes no sense to house the homeless here.
We are a residential community known for our beaches and family-friendly environment.
Most importantly, why are the residents not included in this discussion? Why is the mayor attempting to push this through with a secretly appointed working committee? It must be stopped now — unless Encinitans want their city to become another homeless-infested California beach town.
The Mayor and City Council are using the city’s recently drafted (during COVID) state-mandated “Homeless Action Plan” (HAP) as justification for the hazardous direction it is taking Encinitas without citizen oversight or approval.
The one size fits all plan was written by the local consulting firm with marital ties to State Sen. Toni Atkins, a progressive state senator and Sacramento’s most vocal supporter of homeless programming for every city in California. Atkins is the author of existing, failed state homeless legislation and policies costing taxpayers billions of dollars — without results.
The majority of Encinitas outright rejected the Homeless Action Plan assertions and recommendations. The plan made no sense for Encinitas and reported incorrect numbers, regional, not local numbers.
And yet today, thanks to the plan, the city now has more new staff focused on following the HAP Plan that promotes housing the homeless and affordable housing than they do in the mobility and traffic planning department.
What is going on here?
Residents and voters will want to take notice of the city council’s focus and actions before it is too late and ensure that the council members and mayor genuinely represent the interests of Encinitas and its residents, not outside interests, state interests, and the charitable groups who benefit from free state money being given to providing homeless service in Encinitas, a lucrative tax-payer financed business model in California. Shelter beds and pillows are not the solutions.
This failed policy approach will only invite more homeless transients to Encinitas, creating the need for more shelter beds and more homeless parking lots, an eternal and expanding cycle.
Our city needs real solutions and a mayor and city council that will make the tough decisions to protect Encinitas from the plague that has attacked other homeless enabling towns.
November is just around the corner. This is where voters will have the ultimate say about the direction of Encinitas.
Cardiff by the Sea