ENCINITAS — The filing deadline for candidates seeking a seat on the Encinitas City Council is drawing near, setting the stage for an election that could significantly shift local leadership.
The Nov. 8 general election ballot will include four mayoral candidates vying for a two-year term and three District 4 candidates and two District 3 candidates seeking four-year terms.
Residents will also see the Cannabis Business Tax ballot measure, which would be imposed on the gross income for retail cannabis businesses.
The filing period was from July 18 to Aug. 12, with a five-day extension for non-incumbent races.
After three terms, Mayor Catherine Blakespear will leave the council in her bid for the 38th State Senate District seat. The candidates seeking to become the next mayor of Encinitas are Michael Blobe, Cindy Cremona, Councilman Tony Kranz and Jeff Morris.
Blobe, a Leucadia resident, is the regional director for a nonprofit with a background in the entertainment and restaurant industries. Blobe’s campaign has focused on meeting residents’ needs, rather than fulfilling their desires.
Cremona, who has been a resident player in housing appeals in the city, is a certified personnel consultant and owner of The Hire Alternative executive recruiting practice. She is running her campaign on local control, housing, fiscal accountability and transparency in government.
Kranz hopes to become mayor after serving for 10 years on the Encinitas City Council. Kranz continues to work on city improvement projects and building up the quality of life through parks. For Kranz, the two biggest challenges facing Encinitas in the years to come are homelessness and the city’s dire infrastructure needs.
Morris came into the mayor race as a resident watchdog, keeping a particularly close eye on homelessness in the city. Morris, a controversial figure, is running on government transparency and hopes to bring a resident voice to the council.
Redela has taught at universities and has earned an outstanding lecturer award from California State University. She hopes to bring a collaborative effort to problem-solving as the District 4 representative.
Ehlers is stepping into the city race after his controversial ouster from the Planning Commission in April. Ehlers, a longtime Olivenhain resident and principal author of Proposition A, seeks to continue his fair housing efforts as a council member.
Vaughn is a biopharmaceutical consultant and acting president of Encinitas Residents for Responsible Development. Vaughn unsuccessfully sought to replace Ehlers’ spot on the Encinitas Planning Commission and 18 residents sent letters of support to the council requesting his nomination.
Davis is a former vice chairman of the city’s Senior Citizen Commission and a local business owner. She hopes to represent the community based on the needs of both residents in her district and the city as a whole.
Lyndes is the principal architect behind Coastal Sage Landscape Architecture, using her background to serve on several environmental initiatives, including a city advisory subcommittee.
A win for Lyndes, who was appointed to replace the late Jody Hubbard in 2021, would signify her first full term as an elected official.
Thunder is no stranger to elections. The Cardiff resident ran unsuccessfully for mayor against incumbent Mayor Catherine Blakespear in 2020, despite garnering 17,144 votes to become the second highest vote-getter in Encinitas since at least 2010.
Thunder has been vocal in the community on issues such as affordable housing, preserving open space and maintaining local control from state overreach. Thunder is the co-publisher of the Encinitas Current and worked as a software developer in the defense industry.
Cannabis Business Tax Measure
Aside from the Encinitas council seat races, the city’s Cannabis Business Tax Ballot measure asks residents to consider applying a cannabis sales tax to the general fund for general municipal expenses.
The rates would be between 4% and 7% for retail businesses, 1% to 4% for non-retail, and between $2 and $10 per canopy square foot for cultivators. According to city staff, these funds could generate between $800,000 and $1.4 million per year.