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Fields for Encinitas elections are set

ENCINITAS — The fields for the Nov. 4 Encinitas City Council and Mayor election are set, as five people will vie for the city’s first elected position, and four people will run for one vacant council seat.

City Clerk Kathy Hollywood announced the field on Wednesday after the filing period for the Council seat was extended five days because Councilwoman Teresa Barth did not file, following through on a pledge to not seek re-election.

The mayoral race, which was announced Friday, includes two current councilmembers and a former councilwoman who pulled and filed nomination paperwork on the final day.

Sheila Cameron served one term on the Council from 1996 to 2000 before losing her re-election bid. In 1999, her council colleagues voted to remove her as mayor halfway through her yearlong stint in the ceremonial post. She has remained active in city issues before her eleventh hour entry into the race, frequently speaking at council meetings and on key city issues.

Her entry into the race adds intrigue to a field that local political observers saw as having two prominent candidates, current council members Kristin Gaspar and Tony Kranz.

Gaspar, who was elected to the Council in 2010 and currently serves as the city’s appointed mayor, announced in July she would seek the elected mayor seat. She is the chief financial officer of Gaspar Doctors of Physical Therapy.

Kranz, elected in 2012, currently serves as the deputy mayor and composes one-third of the current council majority that includes Barth and Councilwoman Lisa Shaffer. Kranz is an account executive for a printing company.

The field’s other candidates are Munawer “Mike” Bawany, a local engineer, and Alex Fidel, a 22-year-old self-described peace activist and independent journalist who actively supports the Encinitas Medical Cannabis Initiative, which is also on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Tara Joanna Stafford and Al Rodbell, a prominent voice on a number of local topics, both pulled nomination paperwork but did not resubmit it to the City Clerk’s office before the Aug. 8 deadline.

The City Council field that was finalized Wednesday includes two candidates who have been actively campaigning for months, another who ran unsuccessfully in 2012 and another who sought appointment to the council seat of the late Maggie Houlihan.

Catherine Blakespear and Julie Graboi formalized their entry into the race with certification last week, though both are well-entrenched in the race. Blakespear is a local attorney and Graboi is an Olivenhain resident who teaches at Cuyamaca College and has been active in a number of grassroots campaigns, including the Save Desert Rose movement.

Joining the race in the waning days of the filing period are Bryan Ziegler, a deputy county counsel who ran unsuccessfully in 2012, and Alan Lerchbacker, who was one of 14 people to apply to fill Houlihan’s vacancy, which was ultimately filled by current councilman Mark Muir. Lerchbacker served in the U.S. Navy for 26 years and during his 2011 interview for the council vacancy touted his budget experience from running a global business firm.

William Morrison, a board member of the Leucadia 101 Main Street Association, pulled nomination paper work but did not return it before the deadline.


It was reported that former Encinitas Mayor and current mayor candidate Sheila Cameron was removed from the ceremonial position halfway through her yearlong stint. Cameron was removed with only days remaining in her position as then-mayor.