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Residents will vote on how to select Mayor

ENCINITAS — The City Council voted unanimously to let the public decide how it wants to select a mayor at the July 11 meeting. 

The council was previously split on whether to tweak it’s mayoral selection during a Feb. 15 meeting and directed staff to research additional options for putting the question to voters, a move longtime Councilman Jim Bond supported.

In February, the council majority chose a system in which the person receiving the highest number of votes would be appointed mayor for a two-year term. The mayor would in turn select the deputy mayor.

The current practice of rotating each year, with the mayor and deputy mayor selected by a majority vote of the council has become contentious. When Councilwoman Teresa Barth was not selected as mayor last December, a large crowd in the audience stood and turned their backs to the dais in silent protest.

The city could join 15 other municipalities that have elected mayors in San Diego County.

According to the city clerk, the cost to place a single question on the November 2012 ballot is between $17,000 and $20,000.

“I don’t like the annual rotation, I really don’t,” Mayor Jerome Stocks said in February. “Frankly it should be the voters that select us.”

The ballot measure will ask three questions as dictated by state law, according to assistant City Manager Richard Phillips. First, does the voter want an elected mayor? The next two questions ask whether the term of an elected mayor should be two years or four years.

Councilwoman Teresa Barth asked if the measure would address whether a mayor is paid more, or has more authority and other similar issues. The council decided not to include anything other than the three basic questions and work out any details at a later date, depending on the outcome of the vote.

Kathleen Lees, a Leucadia resident did not fully support an elected mayor position. “This is an issue because you as a group can’t work together,” she told the council. “Electing a mayor won’t change that.”

1 comment

Concerned Resident July 14, 2012 at 4:14 pm

In the interim between the voters getting to decide whether or not we want an elected mayor, and the NEXT general election, after this one, which won’t be until 2014, Councilmember Teresa Barth should finally have her turn to be the “rotated mayor.” The reason the selection process got contentious is because of the politics of our outgoing mayor, Jerome Stocks, and his also outgoing co-hort, Councilmember Jim Bond.

At three terms, we’ve had MORE than enough of Stocks. Don’t get me started on Bond, after nearly five terms now. Bond seems more and more distracted and confused. He doesn’t stand by his earlier record of being a fiscal conservative, or opposing a “lane diet” for a major artery, Historic North Hwy. 101. Stocks seems to always position himself as Mayor just before a General Election, as discredited Dan Dalager did, as well, before he was voted out of office, in disgrace, then was finally charged, by our “reluctant” DA, who would rather be Mayor of San Diego, with three counts of conflict of interest, accepting a plea bargain for one conviction.

Stocks and Bond made robo-calls during the 2010 to support Dalager, saying publicly, the accusations against Dalager were “just politics.” On the contrary, they were only the tip of the iceberg relative to probable kickbacks Dalager got for the Hall Property and Mossy Public Works Yard back room, never appraised deals. The City robbed the SDWD ratepayers of our headquarters, including the land, which was valued at only $1 million, while the city paid $8.5 million for the Mossy land, another million $ for the “improvements” on Mossy (SDWD’s improvements were declared “worthless” as was the beautiful existing adobe house on the Hall Property). Then an additional $3.5 million was spent to bring the supposed “turnkey” Mossy structure into ADA compliance.

The library is beautiful, but when we finally got to vote on its location NOT DISCLOSED was the additional cost of having to relocate our public works yard, and the cost to the ratepayers $3.5 million of our reserves, for USE only of the Mossy Property public works yard, when SDWD owned its land and structures outright and had been getting $10,000 per year in rent from the City for the SDWD public works yard! Also the library was pushed because its close to public transit, but believe me, that hill is a killer, and ended up costing $6-12 million dollar extra for THE GREAT WALL OF ENCINITAS to be built there, so people can sit out on the deck, do conference calls on their cell phones, and enjoy the ocean view, crowding the parking lot, when the real purpose of a library is to read and check out books, maybe use the computers, there. Had I understood the true cost, I would have much rather just expanded the library by adding a media room, and building another library on land the city already owned, on Quail Gardens Dr., at a much reduced price, and actually more accessible to pedestrians and bicyclists. The library was used as a supposed “revenue stream” for another bogus lease revenue bond to finance the Mossy Public Works Yard, the Fires Stations and the library itself, built, in part, on land owned by the County, NOT Encinitas. The only REAL revenue stream is the debt charged to the general fund, WITHOUT VOTER APPROVAL, which is contrary to the State Constitution.

Hindsight is always 20-20, but my point is Stocks and Bond have supported an environment of continued debt through escalating operating expenses, excessive raises, excessive permitting fees charged as the city’s”back up costs” increase, unfunded pension liabilities “locked in” except for new hires, and deceptive borrowing to artificially inflate our so-called “reserves.”

I support electing a mayor for ONLY a two -year term, for a maximum of 3 terms, that’s right a TOTAL of only 6 years. We don’t have and don’t need a “strong mayor” system. The old rotational system would have been fine, as Solana Beach practices, if our Council could GET ALONG, and show respect to one another.

I DON”T SUPPORT giving a potential future mayor any more money. Look, all of the people serving have other sources of income; they get generous car allowances and stipends through the SDWD and other agencies to supplement their compensation, including excellent retirement benefits after only 5 years in office! The prestige and influence of being mayor outweighs any financial compensation. These people are supposed to be public servants, not ego-maniacs as Mayor Stocks so often presents himself. If someone is doing it “for the money,” well, we don’t really need him or her serving as our mayor. Two years at a time is ENOUGH, so we can vote him or her out of office if things don’t improve. Right now our mayor, Jerome Stocks is often rude to the public, seldom, if EVER gives eye contact to public speakers, with whom he so often disagrees.

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