By Linda Durham
With State Senate stakes high for Encinitas Mayor Blakespear, she cannot rely on her actual record to get elected and instead has resorted to creating an alternate history to bolster her image.
Her revision of history started with the Cardiff Rail Trail and her flip-flop of its location on the east or west side of the tracks, and the embarrassment of having both SANDAG and the Coastal Commission disagree with her.
Last year’s loss in court when she sued Encinitas residents over Prop A further prompted her to begin changing the actual history of events to create a false and distorted record of her performance as mayor.
A review of “Catherine’s Top 10 of 2021” exposes her revisionist history on every single one of her “accomplishments.” Let’s take a look:
10. ‘Started out innovative organics recycling program’
Revision: “Encinitas embraced this program from the start, offering kitchen caddies and free compostable green waste bags to help with immediate adoption.”
Reality: This is a state-mandated program through local EDCO, not something she can take credit for — unlike her agreement to increase fees for the same level of service as EDCO provided previously.
9. ‘Adopted stronger short-term rental regulations’
Revision: “We also strengthened the regulations to make it clearer how to enforce consequences when there are problem STVRs.”
Reality: STVR regulations were adopted only after extreme, years-long public pressure to do something about repeat offender rentals.
8. ‘Switched to renewable, cleaner energy for all’
Revision: “Encinitas adopted 100% renewable energy as the default electricity source for all customers … to wean our future buildings off their dependence on fossil fuels.”
Reality: The program still goes through SDG&E, so adding a middleman means effective rates will be higher.
7. Created new, safer ways to walk and bike
Revision: “This continues our commitment to reconsider how public space is used to make it easier, safer and more pleasant to choose to go somewhere without a car.”
Reality: More than two dozen accidents on her “improved” Cardiff Cycle Track occurred after its installation on a formerly safe road. The mayor calls serious injuries that required hospitalization “anecdotes.” Last year’s cyclist death on Leucadia Blvd. from dangerously placed bollards that have since been removed. Nothing “safer and more pleasant” about either.
6. Reopened businesses and public places
Revision: “As rapidly and safely as possible, we reopened our city’s businesses, schools, beaches and parks…restored important community events like the Holiday Parade.”
Reality: Reopening was controlled by the state and again, not something the mayor can take credit for. The mayor herself canceled the parade in the first place, reinstating it only after residents revolted.
5. Memorialized Hubbard, welcomed Lyndes
Revision: “Jody’s seat on the Encinitas City Council for the district that includes Cardiff was filled by the capable landscape architect Joy Lyndes.”
Reality: Mayor Blakespear refused to honor Jody’s request for her replacement on the council, instead appointing Lyndes for another guaranteed Yes vote.
4. Opened Olympus Park, our new Encinitas gem
Revision: “New parks don’t happen very often, and this is a wonderful and imaginative addition….”
Reality: Features not found elsewhere in the city created a regional, not neighborhood park. Neighbors face blocked driveways and bad behavior exhibited by some park goers. At one point a security guard was considered.
3. Relocated our successful Safe Parking Program
Revision: “I’m proud that we’ve done the right thing, and have the political courage to host it at a city-owned site.”
Reality: Decided in secret with neighbors, area schools and churches in the dark, the mayor repeated her Saxony lot backroom deal, inviting more backlash and a lawsuit.
2. Crafted inventive housing plan, ‘agrihood’
Revision: “For the first time in our city’s history, the Encinitas City Council approved an on-time Housing Plan that encourages the building of affordable homes for those who make lower incomes.”
Reality: This developer’s dream plan was forced over public opposition and includes pathetically low amounts of affordable housing. The “agrihood” falls a whopping 207 affordable units short vs. the mayor’s promises. If by “inventive” the mayor means skirting the intent of affordable housing law to disadvantage lower-income earners, then the word fits.
1. Reinvented Highway 101 with Leucadia Streetscape
Revision: “Allocating the money, settling open questions about design and scope of the project, and actually starting construction was a very big deal.”
Reality: The plan’s own environmental review predicts worsened emergency response times. Experienced cyclists predict the worst, the project was financed with a loan intended specifically to avoid a public vote, and, contrary to the mayor’s claims, the majority of Leucadians oppose Streetscape.
You run on revisions when you can’t run on your record. Don’t take Catherine Blakespear’s word for it. Check her revisions against reality.
Linda Durham is a former longtime Encinitas resident and currently lives in San Marcos.