ENCINITAS — This month, Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear officially began her three-year term on the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority.
Blakespear was appointed by the North County coastal area mayors to serve on the board representing North County coastal cities. She attended her first board meeting on Feb. 6.
“I hope to be able to continue the culture of teamwork and collaboration that the Airport Authority, SANDAG and other regional agencies have fostered to address some key transportation issues, including better connecting the airport to all communities through efficient and well-utilized transit,” Blakespear said in an email Feb. 11. “This board is a natural fit for me since I already serve in leadership on the SANDAG board and we are redefining the possibilities for moving around the county.”
She added that it takes her back to the days she spent covering transportation as a reporter for the L.A. Times.
The Airport Authority is governed by a nine-member board, with three additional members serving ex officio. Board members serve three-year terms and may be reappointed.
Blakespear replaces Michael Schumacher who ended his three-year term on the Authority Board as the North County coastal cities representative on Jan. 27.
She will serve on the Airport Authority Finance and Audit committees.
“Mayor Blakespear’s solutions-driven approach and depth of experience in the public sector will be a great asset to our board,” board Chairman April Boling said in a news release. “We look forward to working with her.”
Blakespear said her role on the Airport Authority Board is a great opportunity to do a deeper dive on so many of the issues that matter most to the residents she represents in Encinitas and the region as a whole. She said the Airport Authority is undertaking a $3 billion project to replace Terminal 1, and the challenge will be to accomplish that in a sustainable manner.
“I’m eager to find new ways to support the Airport Authority’s impressive environmental track record, which includes being one of only two carbon-neutral airports in North America,” Blakespear said. “They’re also doing things with stormwater capture and reuse that can be a model for the rest of the region.”
Blakespear said she wants to help ensure that customer-facing operations, for example, recycling and composting, and back-end operations, like sustainable fuel sources and electrification, are front and center.
She said she’s also eager to work on the ways we connect the airport to every community.
“I believe residents of every city should be able to get to the airport using transit that’s fast, reliable and efficient,” she said. “It’s also important that when visitors arrive in San Diego they have meaningful options besides taking a ride-share.”
Blakespear, a fourth-generation Encinitas resident, is currently serving her second term as mayor of Encinitas. She is also licensed to practice law in California.
In addition to her role on the Airport Authority Board, Blakespear serves as the vice-chair on SANDAG’s board of directors and holds positions on various regional water and wastewater district boards.
“I feel like my experience and interests align well with the Airport Authority and its mission,” Blakespear said. “I’m very much looking forward to it and am grateful for the support of the North County mayors who appointed me.”