Editor’s note: Each of the candidates has received the same 10 questions. Their responses have been unedited and will be posted online as they are returned.
Name: Sheila S. Cameron
Occupation: Writer, Citizen Activist
Age – less!
Previous Government Experience: Worked on the incorporation effort to create our City;
former Mayor and City Council Member; VP of Leucadia Community Advisory Board
Professional Experience: Human Resources Manager for one of North County’s largest
employers – 1200 employees; 32 departments; 5 unions; President and Legislative Chair for the North County Personnel Association; many years of responsible positions in business. Law Clerk for San Diego firm researching and writing briefs, motions, answers.
- I am an advocate for citizens rights and felt voters needed an alternative to the two
incumbents who have through their votes represented big money and out of town developers pursuing zoning changes and pack and stack development. Unlike the incumbents, I supported Proposition A – the Right to Vote Initiative that empowers citizens to decide zoning changes, increases in density or building height – the future
landscape of our City.
I offer strong leadership for the citizens’ interests in this City. Together, let’s keep the soul of Encinitas!
- Two of the most important challenges facing our city’s future are: Excessive Development and the Drought – lack of water in the State of California and locally. These resulted in two conflicting State mandates – the Density Bonus Law and water conservation laws. The continued level of development that is exploiting our zoning code and our General Plan cannot be sustained, because it worsens the lack of available water.
The third important priority for the next council is solving problems related to the Housing Element Update (see answers to #3 and #4 below); the Leucadia Streetscape plan to put 5 roundabouts on Hwy 101 within 8/10 of a mile with one lane in each direction; rail crossings and trenching the tracks; the turmoil created by bars particularly along Hwy 101 in Downtown Encinitas (see #5); how to renovate and create a vibrant arts and cultural center at the Pacific View site, now that the City is purchasing it; increase and improve our road maintenance schedule; efficient, modern and practical public transportation within our own City as well as regionally; and a fund to conserve what is left of our open space.
You help the Council achieve these objectives by constructive conversation, listening and implementing ideas from our citizens as other cities do, and working as a team to recognize the concerns of the citizens of this city.
- I am reversing the order of questions 3 and 4, because to respond to question 3 without first considering question 4 is to put the cart before the horse.
Encouraging Amnesty for accessory and so called “illegal” units is the first step in adding to our affordable housing inventory. Why build more? We already have units that can be counted.
The best way to count accessory units is to activate an Amnesty program that reaches out to all residents of the city; that provides incentives and financial relief so that people are willing to list their units, come forward and become compliant. Low and medium income units actually allow for a reasonable level of rent and protection for both owners and renters. The City can set the length of time that units are affordable and this does not have to be an onerous period. We need to do away with the threat of punishment for non-compliance of a unit.
- The Housing Element Update – we don’t know what we’re getting. We are being asked to up zone as many as 95 parcels, with no visible evidence of what we are going to get. Before you assume the only way we are going to get affordable housing is to rezone and build, build, build – let’s look at Accessory units that we already have through the
Amnesty program (above), which will go along way to reducing this 1,000 housing number.
You can vote “No” to this Housing Update because you are not being fully informed.
It will be accompanied with threats of why you have to vote for it – but they are bogus.
This is an attempt to undermine Proposition A by rezoning, and pack and stack development. You can and need to vote “No”.
In fact, we’ve been told by the Director of Planning (in charge of the Housing Update)
that it makes no difference what we as a city do, because all units will end up at market rate. So, the answer is to make an honest effort to count nonconforming accessory units first and apply those against our State-mandated numbers.
- The proliferation of bars along Hwy 101 and particularly downtown Encinitas is hailed by some businesses as making the downtown “vibrant”, but for other residents who live within several streets of this blossoming vibrancy – it has become a noisy, obnoxious
undermining nuisance that is destroying their quality of life and changing the character of this community.
Alcohol and Beverage server training is needed in most of the bars, teaching them how to deal with customers before they drink too much – research has shown that a small percentage have this training. That is a good place to start.
Code Enforcement needs to have a greater presence downtown and the Sheriff’s and fire dept. need to start citing bar owners for violations of fire codes and city regulations.
This City Council needs to pass a Deemed Approved Ordinance (DAO) which I favor, because it is the only thing that will put some teeth into enforcement of the bars’ responsibilities.
- The City Council voted 3-2 to go forward with the final purchase of the 2.8 acres of the Pacific View school site in downtown Encinitas. Likewise they agreed to fund bonds for both this $10 million purchase and a new $3million lifeguard tower at Moonlight Beach. The two bonds will ultimately cost over $20 million by the time they are paid off
at a bond debt to the City of over $800,000.00 per year.
Mr. Bob Bonde has worked with the Arts community group and has submitted a proposal to the Mayor and City Council that will allow a living museum of art activities and galleries to be housed there. It makes it easy for the City to begin the first steps and move forward.
- Improved Road maintenance is a high priority for me. We are at least $40 million underfunded, according to a recent study, for needed road maintenance and improvements.
- There are three aspects to the Rail Road corridor issue. And the City Council needs to consider and take positive steps to all three of them.
The fastest, simplest, most immediate and least expensive solutions for the RailRoad crossings in Leucadia, are two things: (1) “At grade crossings” set at about every two blocks are an effective solution for allowing safe and easy accessibility to cross the railroad tracks. It will be important to establish activated pedestrian crossings with blinking lights across Highway 101 at these same intervals as well.
If you put low, wide speed tables at every crossing, the pedestrian crossings can be on top of those. This procedure has been implemented successfully in many other cities and states, and it eliminates the need for expensive roundabouts.
(2) Install “Wayside Horns” at Leucadia Blvd., D Street and E Street in downtown Encinitas, and Chesterfield Street in Cardiff. Del Mar has done this and it has proved to be 100 percent safe and effective. Eliminates the disruptive, long, loud, blowing of Train horns.
Trenching the Tracks has to be a consideration in the not too distant future, throughout the City. We can look to the City of Solana Beach as a model. Actually $6.5 billion has been allotted to SanDag for widening the freeways and Public Transit. The money is available over the next several years – let’s get our fair share. There are 60 trains a day now coming through our City – most of them freight trains. In the next several years that number is going to be 120 or more. Now is the time to pay to Trench the Tracks for an estimated $152 million – a fraction of that $6.5 billion, or it will cost so much more if we wait until 20 years from now.
- The role of an elected Mayor or any Mayor is to be a leader, a representative and an advocate for the citizens of our City. As Mayor, I will welcome and encourage participation by people to get involved in the City’s governance now and in the future, and promote true government transparency. I listen, I learn, I lead!
- I really think that the type of conduct and climate of low morale that is being spread by our current City Manager is very detrimental to our City – both within our city walls and without for both employees and citizens alike.
The City Attorney has charged the city $10million in the last 7 years alone, for his and his law firm’s work. Most cases defended unsuccessfully.
The City Council has allowed this conduct to go unchecked. A change needs to be made.
- Why should people vote for me?
My husband and I have lived here for 40 years. I helped Incorporate our City 30 years ago; I’ve been your public servant here, and have walked through and know and understand each community and our culture.
I am committed to the City and am not running for office for any personal gain, only to serve the citizens of this City, as I have been doing for many years.
Proposition A, the Right to Vote Initiative is the most important initiative to give protection to our City and empower the citizens since our Incorporation in 1986.
I do not want to see it corrupted or undermined and lose the essence of why we all chose to live here.
Let’s keep the soul of Encinitas – it is a rare gift.
Please vote for Sheila Cameron for Mayor