ENCINITAS — The Encinitas City Council unanimously approved a review of traffic solutions in North Leucadia, a temporary suspension of alcohol permit restrictions due to COVID-19, and expressed opposition to a citizen initiative legalizing marijuana sales during its June 17 meeting.
Additionally, City Manager Jennifer Campbell announced her office, in conjunction with Capt. Herbert Taft of the San Diego County Sheriff Department’s North Coastal Station, will organize a community forum to publicly address questions and concerns with racial inequality, which were raised in recent protests organized by local civil rights activists and residents.
“The Sheriff’s Department will be able to respond to [any questions], educate the public on their policies and procedures, as well as let them know… any type of reforms they might be looking at,” Campbell said.
Deputy Mayor Kelli Shay Hinze, who co-organized recent peaceful protests at the Cardiff Kook, spoke on the importance of giving residents a place to express their opinions.
“My hope is that we can formalize … relationships with organizations that represent marginalized communities and really give stakeholders the opportunity to be here and speak,” Hinze said.
Councilmembers Tony Kranz and Joe Mosca agreed with Hinze, Mosca supporting a “dialogue where members of the community that really want to be heard on issues to have a chance for us to listen to what they’re saying.”
“We can help move the dial on this issue,” Mosca said. “We can bring about reforms that are necessary within our Sheriff’s Department and be a part of that discussion.”
The time and date of the public forum have yet to be announced.
The City Council also heard testimony from Councilmember Mosca on the San Diego Community Power’s Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) Program, which allows cities to purchase and generate electricity for their residents and businesses.
Mosca also discussed the upcoming ballot initiative on the sale of marijuana.
On November 3, a citizen initiative to expand the growth, manufacture, and sale of marijuana will appear on ballots. The initiative garnered the necessary number of signatures two years ago, setting it up to appear on Encinitas ballots in 2020.
If passed, it will allow for up to four retail storefronts as well as “cannabis kitchens” where marijuana edibles are created.
In a newsletter addressed to constituents on June 21, Mayor Catherine Blakespear expands on the highly charged issue, pointing out inconsistencies in Encinitas’s collective opinion on marijuana.
“In 2014, Encinitas voters rejected a ballot initiative that would have allowed marijuana businesses here,” Blakespear said. “But in 2016, local voters chose to legalize marijuana for recreational use – with the highest percentage in all of San Diego County.”
Kranz expressed his personal opposition to the initiative, noting possible negative consequences surrounding land use issues that may arise.
“I’m going to oppose this measure if anybody asks me about it,” Kranz said. “There’s a lot of opposition to this and that’s why it lost in 2014.”
After hearing public comments both vehemently opposing and supporting the measure to legalize the sale of marijuana in Encinitas, all councilmembers present voted unanimously authorizing the San Dieguito Alliance for Drug-Free Youth to pen a formal opposition against the November 3 citizen initiative.
The council also voted unanimously in favor of temporarily expanding the areas of alcohol service in permitted establishments, allowing for bars, tasting rooms, and other establishments without kitchen facilities to deliver to customers, indicating they would continue the discussion on further expanding alcohol services to include certain public right-of-ways, such as sidewalk dining.
Additionally, the council voted to review traffic control devices at the following intersections- La Costa Ave and Vulcan Ave, La Costa Ave and Sheridan Rd, Vulcan Ave and Sanford St, Vulcan Ave and Glaucus, Vulcan Ave and Sunset Ave, as well as the Target exit on Via Cantebria.
The council closed its meeting by reviewing the City of Encinitas Community Grant Program applicants, a list of whom can be found here.
Councilwoman Jody Hubbard was not present at the June 17 meeting.