ENCINITAS — The Encinitas City Council appointed Joy Lyndes, a former city Environmental Commissioner and Cyclovia founder, to serve as District 3 representative for the remaining two years of former Councilwoman Jody Hubbard’s term.
Three council members voted in favor of Lyndes’ appointment, with Councilman Tony Kranz opposed.
On Jan. 13, Hubbard resigned from her role as District 3 representative to focus on her health. Subsequently, 16 people applied in hopes of filling Hubbard’s shoes. Three of the applicants were ineligible and two rescinded their applications.
The council had 11 candidates to choose from at last Wednesday’s meeting, but four candidates stood out from the rest: Inge Bisconer (city Environmental Commissioner), Julia Chun-Heer (policy manager for Surfrider Foundation), Brett Farrow (city Planning Commissioner) and Joy Lyndes.
Council members agreed that each of the top four candidates could serve the city well, but ultimately decided Lyndes was best suited for the position.
Councilmember Kellie Hinze said Lyndes has been working to move the city forward for years, including seeing projects through from conception to realization. Councilmember Joe Mosca agreed with Hinze, adding that she has a “public servant’s heart.”
Kranz said Lyndes was a competitive candidate, however, he believed Farrow would best represent the district. As a city Planning Commission member, Farrow has experience in land use and affordability in housing projects, but more importantly, Kranz said, he’s a Cardiff resident and was endorsed by Hubbard for her replacement.
“Brett is slightly ahead of the others and one of the things that help to put it over the edge for me is that the council member who resigned her position for health reasons came online tonight and endorsed Brett for the position,” Kranz said. “I think that speaks volumes and for that reason, I would support Brett for the appointment.”
According to Kranz, district lines make Lyndes an eligible candidate, but she’s not from Cardiff, a qualification he believes is important for any District 3 representative.
However, Mayor Catherine Blakespear said it wouldn’t be fair to disqualify or discount an applicant because they live in the appropriate district, but not in Cardiff.
One of the applicants was Julie Thunder, a Cardiff resident who ran for mayor against Blakespear last year.
Thunder believes Hubbard’s replacement shouldn’t have been appointed by the council but elected by the voters in a special election. She echoed what Kranz had said during the meeting: Lyndes doesn’t represent the district.
“What frustrated me was that during [Lyndes’] presentation and [council’s] discussion of her, there was no discussion of the needs and concerns about the people of [District 3],” Thunder said. “We’re our own zip code, our own school district, our own soccer club, we’re almost our own community over here.”
Additionally, Thunder said Lyndes’ husband, Robert Ashley, is a board member of the Encinitas Arts, Culture and Ecology Alliance — a local group that wants to develop the Pacific View Elementary School site — which poses a conflict of interest for Lyndes.
If Lyndes recuses herself from discussions about the city’s plans for the Pacific View property, Thunder said District 3 residents won’t be represented in those decisions.
Despite these concerns, Mosca said Lyndes’ bigger picture approach was what he was looking for in a candidate, specifically, someone who “would seek to represent the interests of District 3, but (also) think about the entire city.”
Lyndes’ said her background in landscape architecture has given her experience in clearly defining goals, identifying available tools and acknowledging project constraints before drafting a plan.
“You’ve got all these different inputs and you need to synthesize and present the best options. Sometimes there are one or two options, and you have to see what the public says,” Lyndes said.
Lyndes described herself as a collaborator that aims to help the city move forward with projects that benefit everyone and anyone that wants to call Encinitas home.
“We have such an awesome history here,” Lyndes said. “I look at where we live through the lens of who lived here before us and how their stories are tied to this land. We are all nostalgic about it and we all love it. Whether it’s our family who helped us make that history or we just moved here.”