ENCINITAS — Councilwoman Joy Lyndes will continue to serve as the District 3 representative on the Encinitas City Council after defeating challenger Julie Thunder by 180 votes.
With 100% of district precincts reporting on Nov. 18, Lyndes won 3,615 votes, or 51.28% of the electorate, while Thunder had 3,435 votes — approximately 48.72% of the electorate — per the San Diego County Registrar of Voters.
“It is with great honor and humility that I announce that we won,” Lyndes wrote in an email to supporters. “I’m proud that throughout my campaign, our positive message resonated with our voters and propelled us to victory.”
Thunder conceded the race in a statement issued Monday afternoon.
“It’s clear now that my opponent, Joy Lyndes, has won the election and will have the honor of serving the residents of Encinitas for the next four years,” Thunder said. “Today, I reached out to Councilwoman Lyndes to congratulate her on the win and to wish her good luck in the term ahead.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my supporters and voters for their efforts. This was a high-turnout race – more than 7,000 votes cast – with only 180 votes separating me from the winner. My campaign received financial support from nearly 500 individuals in Cardiff and Encinitas, had 250 signs placed in front yards, and had the active support of dozens of people who helped with the many tasks involved in a grass-roots election effort.”
As to speculation about her political future, Thunder said she will “continue to serve this community of which I have been a member for nearly 40 years.”
Some supporters of Thunder were disheartened over the election outcome.
“I’m really disappointed,” said Chris Swanner, a resident who worked for Thunder’s campaign. “Julie has no ulterior motives other than to make Encinitas a better place to live, and Cardiff especially. It’s a shame because Julie worked so hard; she’s always been such a huge neighborhood advocate. She’s been a voice to weigh a situation, back the right people and do what she could to help someone out. Those are the qualities I think are lacking right now in the current (government) — it just all seems so tribal. So I think myself and others were hoping for a voice of reason in all of this.”
Lyndes to serve a first full term
Lyndes will serve her first four-year term on the council after she was appointed to her seat in March 2021 to replace the late Jody Hubbard.
Lyndes is a former city Environmental Commissioner, a member of the Encinitas Historical Society and founder of the first Cyclovia Encinitas. She’s also the founder of an environmental and landscape architecture planning and design firm. She was recently inducted into the Council of Fellows for the American Society of Landscape Architects for her professional accomplishments.
Several city officials, including Lyndes’ colleagues on the council, reached out to offer their congratulations on her victory.
“Joy’s experience as a small business owner and community leader resonated with voters,” said Councilmember Kellie Hinze. “District 3 elected the best candidate for the job.”
Susan Sherod, a member of the city’s Planning Commission, also congratulated Lyndes on her victory.
“Constituents chose more Joy. Perhaps some of her particular City Council votes demonstrated her commitment to serving the community, which gave her more votes,” said Sherod, who supported Lyndes during the campaign. “I hope she will be helping to preserve Encinitas’ mature trees and our unique coastal environments.”
Councilman Tony Kranz, who recently won his mayoral bid, said he looked forward to continuing working with Lyndes on the council.
“I’ve enjoyed working with council member Lyndes since she was appointed to serve, and I’m looking forward to working with her now that she’s been elected by the District 3 voters,” Kranz said.
Kranz emphasized how close the race between Lyndes and Thunder had been and expressed that it was clear to him that the council also needed to consider the viewpoints of those voters who backed Thunder in its policy-making decisions.
“Given how close this was, clearly there is a chunk of the electorate that would rather we were doing things differently, so it will be important that we work to represent everyone in the community to the best of our ability,” said Kranz. “It’s not my intention to ignore anybody. I am looking forward to continuing to address the challenges of the current governing environment and to continue the progress that we’ve been making.”
Newly elected District 4 council representative Bruce Ehlers said in a statement to The Coast News that he congratulates Lyndes on her victory and looks forward to serving with her on the council.
In her upcoming term, Lyndes said that she plans to prioritize issues of affordable housing, environmental preservation, and homelessness.
On affordable housing, Lyndes said that she’s concerned that Encinitas is rapidly becoming unaffordable for middle and lower-income working-class families, a trend that she says threatens the “diversity and character” of the city.
“On the affordability of housing and workforce housing issue, we’ve begun the dialogue on that topic, but I’d like to move forward more quickly on this,” Lyndes said. “It’s a different challenge than housing in general. We need to focus on having different affordability levels for the people who work here. This is specific to our community and who we’ve been over time. We don’t want to become a city that’s not diverse. We value vibrancy and diversity, yet we’re losing people under forty, which is directly tied to the lack of affordability.”
On environmental conservation, Lyndes said local officials’ efforts to preserve community character must include a more robust set of policies protecting the city’s ecology, open spaces, native plants and historic properties.
“The preservation of our open spaces, our ecology, historic properties etc. is really important to me and the community,” Lyndes said. “We can improve on our current policies; we can all embrace the idea that we ought to preserve our special resources. It’s the other side of the conversation on development — that there are things that we love about ourselves, so we should make sure we prioritize these things. It gets at the heart of what everyone is saying when they talk about community character.”
Lyndes also talked about how she’ll focus on strengthening the city’s relationship with the Sheriff’s Department to address public safety issues and homelessness better.
“I’ll emphasize a focus on providing the sheriff with all the resources they need to protect us,” Lyndes said. “It’s one of the most important things in my mind that the city can do for all of us. A specific area that we can do better at addressing is homelessness. Honestly, we have the same challenges that everyone shares. We don’t always have the tools at hand, as some of the resources we need are regional, some are from the state, and some solutions are just outside our control. So what can we do to be better is connecting our people on the streets without housing to find the right solutions. We’re not alone in this, but we are obligated to figure this out better and be more open to see how we can solve it.”