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Commentary: Encinitas mayor passed the buck on flooding dangers

By Denise Martin

Last week’s videos and images of residents and business owners waist-deep in standing water, dealing with mud, and cleaning up debris that shocked many were nothing new for the area. These decades-old threats to public health, safety, and property that finally have the city’s attention have somehow escaped Mayor Tony Kranz’s attention.

Real leadership would have prioritized safeguarding homes, businesses, and personal possessions over vanity projects. Instead, we get apathy, passivity, and pass-the-buck indifference.

Before he was elected to the city council in 2012, Mayor Tony Kranz was in the audience and among those begging the city council for solutions to the extreme flooding dangers. However, once elected, he took a back seat to the issue and sat on his hands. Here’s just a smattering of Mayor Kranz’s non-responses to the dire situation:

  • “The cost to do something that would handle the bigger storms is just not a good use of money.” (2024, ABC 10)
  • Calling the situation “heartbreaking,” Mayor Kranz directs affected residents to fill out a form with the county. (2024, SD Tribune)
  • “Sandbags are available at the public works yard at Calle Magdalena.” (2024, The Coast News)
  • Kranz said that he hasn’t gotten a clear answer from the city as to what hydrology studies have been conducted. (2022, The Coast News)
  • “We recognize that addressing the flooding is very important, but it’s a question of how to pay for it; it’s going to be many millions of dollars and that’s tough.” (2022, The Coast News)
  • “It’s been frustrating for me because there have been things on the drawing board that have just disappeared and I’ve been told that they keep getting set aside for one bureaucratic reason or another,” Kranz said. (2022, The Coast News)
  • “There’s still a heck of a lot of flooding that goes on,” asks the 2012 Council for answers and transparency regarding flooding (2012, Kranz address to Council)

In addition to complaining about the flooding as a resident, Mayor Kranz has had more than 10 years on the council to champion solutions, during which time he seems to have been content to blame the county, allow city staff not to provide clear answers, and make it a budget afterthought.

One lawsuit was already filed in late 2023 after December 2022’s storm and associated damage.  After this past week’s damage, additional lawsuits are likely to be filed. The taxpayers will shoulder these legal costs for what appears to be long-term neglect from Mayor Kranz while he continues to tell us that fixing the problem “is just not a good use of our money.”

Mayor Tony Kranz appears to be grudgingly waking up to this extreme situation just in time to ask for your vote in November. Think carefully before giving it to him. Given his track record, we can only assume he will continue to do what he’s done in the past.

Denise Martin is a resident of Encinitas. 

1 comment

JB January 31, 2024 at 4:18 pm

The Tony Kranz who recently stated, “ The cost to do something that would handle the bigger storms is just not a good use of money”, is the same Tony Kranz who supported $65M for Streetscape and $10M for Pacific View, which also required another 5-7M in upgrades and repairs. In many peoples view, neither of these projects should have taken precedence over flooding, quiet train zones and infrastructure upgrades

Those are two of the most expensive of the many vanity projects the city has prioritized our tax dollars for in recent years. Also, it seems, lots of funds have been spent on lane diets, dangerously narrower roads, bike lane striping and the preponderance of street signs confusing drivers and cyclists, especially on our once beautiful 101.

I predict the next public crisis will be over the lack of available school space for our kids. Encinitas is building thousands of new units, but no new schools to support young and growing families.

Mr. Kranz needs to get busy serving his constituents instead of special interests. The city looks shabby and rundown, but instead of flood mitigation and safe and quiet zone crossings in Leucadia, we’ll have a beautiful new arts center and pretty green bike lanes.

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