Name: Tasha Boerner Horvath
Occupation: Businesswoman, Planning Commissioner, Community Leader, Mother
Previous governmental experience: Planning Commissioner, Old Encinitas, June 2015-present, Encinitas community experience: VP Programs, Paul Ecke Central Elementary School PTA, August 2015-July 2016, Head of the Traffic & Safety Committee, Paul Ecke Central Elementary School PTA, August 2015-July 2016, Member, Paul Ecke Central Elementary School PTA, March 2015-present, Member of the Traffic & Safety Committee, Paul Ecke Central Elementary School PTA, January 2015-present
Family: Husband, Istvan (43) Two children, Máté (8) and Maya Kate (5)
- What prompted you to run for Encinitas City Council? My involvement in the city started with successfully advocating for a stop sign near my son’s school. My role quickly evolved into a community leader and Planning Commissioner, where I established a track record of fair and reasonable decisions and a reputation as a problem solver who gets things done. I decided to run for City Council because I care deeply about the past, present and future of our city. On the City Council, I will bring community concerns and my experience together to make sure that we balance growth, community character, environmental protection, and business prosperity. My professional experience has taught me that by listening to all sides and working together, we can craft creative solutions, and address our biggest issues.
- What do you feel are the three biggest priorities for the next city council, and how as a council member would you help the council achieve those objectives?
My top priorities are:
- GUIDING GROWTH: As a Planning Commissioner, I witness the impact of our outdated code — homeowners and businesses face complex regulations for minor improvements, residents fight to protect community character, and developers use state laws to avoid our local regulations. We must modernize our municipal code to better preserve our neighborhoods.
- ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: Encinitas lacks a cohesive approach to fostering economic growth that helps preserve the existing fabric of our city — that unique combination of creativity, passion, lifestyle and ambition. By engaging local business leaders through an economic development working group, we can support existing businesses and emerging start-up, local and for-benefit companies in Encinitas.
- TRAFFIC: North County development has turned neighborhood streets into main thoroughfares. We must make it easier to calm traffic in our neighborhoods; to walk and bike to schools and local businesses safely; and to address connectivity in the rail corridor through a community-centric approach.
- Do you support Measure T, Encinitas’ proposed housing element update? Please explain your position. If you do not support Measure T, please provide your alternative plan to address the state and regional housing needs allocation. I support Measure T because it represents our community’s best effort to comply with state housing law — our mandated units are distributed fairly among all five communities, affect less than 1% of our city and put density where it already exists. Most importantly, Measure T does not approve any projects; it simply allows for the planning of where new housing could be sited. All projects will still need to come before the Planning Commission and be subject to the same scrutiny and rigorous examination as any other project in our community. Additionally, we should collaborate with other cities to improve convoluted state law.
- Outside of the housing element, what can the city do to promote the creation of actual affordable units throughout the city? Cities can promote actual affordable housing through encouraging smaller units as well as through updating its inclusionary housing ordinance to draw on best practices. Small lot ordinances, reevaluating our accessory unit program and encouraging smaller unit development would incentivize the market to produce housing stock that is more affordable by design. Encinitas’ current inclusionary housing ordinance produces insufficient affordable housing. By updating it to include better use of developer fees to purchase existing older apartment units and lowering the threshold for triggering the inclusionary ordinance, the city can creatively promote more affordable housing options.
- What are the biggest issues facing the city’s rail corridor? What approach, if elected, what steps would you take towards addressing those issues? My family has lived near the rail corridor for more than 90 years, which brings respect for history as well as the reality of the division this corridor creates in our community. Connectivity in the rail corridor, noise and getting our infrastructure ahead of the increase in trains is vital for improving our quality of life in coastal Encinitas. I am one of the few non-sitting Council candidates who came out in May 2015 preferring the West side alignment in Cardiff based on my first-hand experience bike-commuting to Solana Beach. I was concerned that outreach only focused on Cardiff, rather than the entire corridor. The Coastal Mobility and Livability Working Group is a great way to ensure that the remaining segments will be evaluated holistically and will result in a community driven solution.
- The purchase of Pacific View was completed two years ago, but the process of transforming the property into an arts center has been slow. What, as a council member or mayor, would you do to stimulate or move the process forward? (Please note, I am not asking you to debate the merits of the purchase, please refrain from doing so). The Encinitas Arts, Culture and Ecology Alliance represents the best of Encinitas’ creative sector. By enabling a fair lease and providing best-in-class service to help the Alliance navigate the City’s often outdated and inadequate municipal code, the City can be a partner to tap the potential of Pacific View as a huge asset to the community and to drive business prosperity in downtown Encinitas.
- The city has had plans such as the North Coast Highway 101 Streetscape and the bicycle master plan that have languished for years after approval and community consensus. What would you do to move those plans forward? As the Paul Ecke Central Elementary School PTA Board Member who spearheaded the Vulcan Avenue traffic and pedestrian improvements, I know what it takes to achieve community consensus and make sure projects get completed on time. On the City Council, I will champion prioritizing projects, assigning ambitious, yet achievable, milestones, and not allowing timelines to slip by having clear accountability by staff. I would also advocate for only starting new master plan projects that have a clear implementation trajectory. Specifically with the North Coast Highway 101 Streetscape, I would champion planning the project as one phase as quickly as possible to reduce traffic congestion, increase parking for our businesses and improve safer access from our neighborhoods to north- and southbound Highway 101.
- There has been some debate over the concept of how the city should implement complete streets, a state mandate. How should the city satisfy its statutory requirements to accommodate multiple modes of transportation along its street network, and what would you do on the council or as mayor to accomplish this? I am a strong advocate of safely connecting people with places — like schools, local businesses, beaches, parks and trails — by car, bike and foot. Modern street engineering prescribes narrower traffic lanes to naturally reduce speeds to the publicized limit, decrease accidents and increase space for bike lanes and pedestrian paths. This means that there are better ways to accommodate all modes of travel on our roadways. On Council, I would re-evaluate our street striping standards to ensure compliance with state law and street design best practices. I would also look at our other mobility documents, like the circulation element, bike master plan and trails master plan, to prioritize connecting people with places.
- What should the city be doing to address the rise of homelessness within the community? Homelessness is an important, complex issue that can best be addressed when the city collaborates with key community organizations as well as with the county to provide the health services needed to holistically address the issue. Given that Encinitas has 93 homeless people, the current pilot collaboration with the Community Resource Center is a good effort to help those who want it to navigate into housing. The results of this pilot should be evaluated, improved where necessary and potentially rolled out to address the issue in the long term.
- Why should Encinitas voters vote for you?
Encinitas deserves experienced leaders who work hard for all of Encinitas. As a Planning Commissioner, businesswoman, community leader and third generation Encinitan, I have a proven track record of listening to all sides and crafting collaborative outcomes to balance important interests, like property rights, community character, thriving local businesses and residential needs for peace and quiet across all five communities. The endorsement of the Sierra Club and League of Conservation Voters demonstrates my commitment to clean and safe beaches, parks and trails. On City Council, I will collaborate to find creative solutions and get things done to preserve what is special about Encinitas and make it an even better place to live, work and play. I would be honored to have your vote for Tasha for Encinitas City Council.
- Do you support County Measure A? Why or why not?
The merits of pubic transit and the deficits of freeway widening and increased taxation aside, I do not support Measure A because of the impact it will have on our rail corridor. Measure A provides for doubling train frequency as early as January 2017. Given that sufficient pedestrian rail crossings and a quiet zone for the length of our city are years away, this increased frequency would significantly increase train noise and may lead to the failing of many of our existing street crossings. I absolutely support increased funding of transportation and decreasing traffic congestion, but as a representative of our community, I cannot support Measure A as written.