The Coast News Group

Council members’ husbands eye council run

ENCINITAS — With the nation’s electorate selecting the wife of a former U.S. President for the same seat, Encinitas residents could potentially do the same thing for the mayoral post in the fall — in reverse.

Three husbands of current and former council members have thrown their name in the mix for a run for the city’s top elected office.

Paul Gaspar announced last week that he would seek the position currently held by his wife, Kristin, who is running for county supervisor.

This week, Don Barth, husband for former City Councilwoman Teresa Barth, and Steve Bartram, husband of current Councilwoman Lisa Shaffer, also requested nomination paperwork from the city clerk’s office.

“This is just bizarre,” said City Councilwoman Catherine Blakespear, who is also running for the mayor post. “When Paul announced he was running, it was one thing, but to have three spouses running for the position has to be a first.”

Don Barth, a semi-retired administrator in the horse-racing industry, said Tuesday that he is serious about his run for office, and what sparked it was Paul Gaspar’s entry into the race.

“I wasn’t aware that Steve pulled papers, but this isn’t about Lisa and it isn’t about Catherine,” Don said. “This is really about what I believe is a lack of leadership at City Hall and the Gaspars.”

Bartram, a former Rancho Buena Vista High School teacher and career Marine aviator, could not be reached for comment.

Barth’s concerns mirror those of Blakespear, who questioned Paul Gaspar’s lack of civic involvement and experience, she said in a statement shortly after Gaspar announced his mayoral intentions.

“Paul Gaspar hasn’t been involved in any part of the civic fabric of Encinitas, except promotion of his wife’s political career,” Blakespear wrote. “It strikes me as political opportunism and the height of hubris to try and walk into the Mayor’s office based on name recognition alone, without any involvement in local issues, and without having sought or held any elected, appointed or volunteer role.”

Barth dismissed the notion that his and Bartram’s interest in the elected position was more of a cynical jab at Paul Gaspar than a serious run for office.

“I am very serious about this run,” Barth said. “I’ve had several people approach me about this and I will carefully weigh my options before the deadline.”

City Clerk Kathy Hollywood said that none of the people who have taken out nomination papers for either the mayor or city council elections have returned them.

The deadline to do so is Aug. 12, unless an incumbent opts not to run, at which point the deadline is extended to Aug. 17.

Encinitas is in the unique position of having four of its five council seats up for election Nov. 8.

The elected mayor position is up for re-election every two years as the result of the proposition that created the position.

Tony Kranz, Mark Muir and Lisa Shaffer’s seats are also up for re-election, and Shaffer has stated she would not seek re-election.