Encinitas Advocate News

Meet the candidates: Encinitas City Council

Encinitas faces its first district elections Nov. 6, following threats last year from a Malibu-based lawyer who claimed racial discrimination in the city's former at-large election policy.

Three seats — District 3, District 4 and the mayor — will be up for grabs, with two candidates in each race. Only the residents living in Districts 3 and 4 will be able to vote for their respective representatives. All Encinitas residents will be able to vote for the mayor.

In District 3, which represents Cardiff, incumbent Mark Muir faces challenger Jody Hubbard.

In District 4, which represents Olivenhain and parts of New Encinitas, incumbent Joe Mosca runs against challenger Tony Brandenburg.

Mayor Catherine Blakespear will vye for a second term against challenger John Paul Elliott.

All Encinitas residents will additionally be asked to vote on Measure U, the city's latest attempt toward a state-mandated housing element. Encinitas has not updated its housing element — a document that spells out how a city proposes to rework its zoning to accommodate future housing, particularly for those of low and very-low incomes — since the 1990s.

The city is the subject of three lawsuits and pending litigation regarding the lack of a housing plan. Superior Court Judge Ronald Frazier granted Encinitas an extension until after the November election to rule on whether the city has failed to comply with state law and whether it should be forced to adopt a previously written plan.

Meet the candidates (in alphabetical order) in their own words:

Catherine Blakespear (incumbent)

Catherine Blakespear
Catherine Blakespear Catherine Blakespear

Position running for: Encinitas Mayor

Occupation: Mayor of Encinitas and attorney

Years in Encinitas: Nine years

Position on Measure U: For

What are your top 3 priorities for the City of Encinitas?

1. The city is facing multiple lawsuits over our failure to having a state-certified housing plan. As the mayor, I will continue working tirelessly to create a housing plan that the residents can support, which provides additional affordable housing in Encinitas and satisfies the state requirements.

2. Traffic congestion is a perennial problem. We need easier and safer ways to get around outside of our cars. Road improvements help drivers, as well as pedestrians and cyclists. I will continue to prioritize transportation improvements in my second term as mayor.

3. I’m proud that Encinitas certified one of the county’s only “Gold Standard Climate Action Plans” last year. We are always working to reduce our carbon emissions and implement policies and programs that will make Encinitas an even greener city. This remains a top priority.

As the city tackles homelessness, housing affordability, traffic congestion and the realities of climate change I will continue to be an energetic mayor who listens, learns and leads. I would be honored to have your vote to continue as Encinitas mayor.

Tony Brandenburg

Tony Brandenburg
Tony Brandenburg Courtesy

Position running for: District 4

Occupation: Retired judge

Years in Encinitas: 50+ years

Position on Measure U: Against

What are your top 3 priorities for the City of Encinitas?

1. My first priority is to be a mediating force on the City Council as in my judicial career, and achieve a checked-and-balanced Council, not one controlled by a pet agenda. Council’s decisions must be accountable to the wishes of the people as voted. I will expect and demand transparency and honesty in Council meetings. Citizens must trust their Councilpersons have not been colluding, creating, or steering toward a desired outcome. If the people pass a measure – honor it. It’s not a councilperson’s prerogative to oppose the majority’s wishes.

2. Second, create a compassionate, truly affordable housing plan, not a rezoning plan that appeases the State yet opens us to high-density living complexes. It must address permanent affordability without overloading our existing fragile infrastructure of roads and schools, and creatively meet State mandates without sacrificing quality of life or community character. We must ensure that families of modest means may live near where they work, and our maturing children and seniors can afford to continue to live here in their home community, near family.

3. Finally: Embrace Measured, Modest Progress without sacrificing community character or small business.

John Paul Elliott

John Paul Elliott
John Paul Elliott Courtesy

Position running for: Mayor

Occupation: Real estate broker

Years in Encinitas: Four months

Position on Measure U: Against

What are your top 3 priorities for the City of Encinitas?

1. As the new mayor, I will begin building Community Village Housing for our Encinitas “Working Core of Citizens”( School Teachers, City Employees, sheriffs, firemen, long-term families, locals,etc.). We plan to build 1,531 city-owned rental units. We can help the masses that need housing for generations. This can be done by eliminating greed, our City will be the owner, developer, builder and landlord providing housing for our children’s children “No On U”.

2. Streetscape will be stopped/reconfigured into better usage. No construction unless we have secured “Grant Money to adopt my new plan” City taxpayers should not have to pay.

3. Beacons Beach Day Use Park: Preserving Beacons means that we need to reinforce the Beacon Bluff to Bedrock and New Black -Top Beacons (Seal) to prevent the Bluffs failure. So let’s reinforce our Beacons Bluff and leave the Switch Back Trail to Beach & Vegetate Bluff with friendly plants so we can enjoy for years of enjoyment. I will stop the $3.5 million Staircase Project losing 6 parking spaces away from us. Without fixing the bluff the City will be liable when Bluff finally fails. City is not thinking on this one. I will fix this.

Jody Hubbard

Jody Hubbard
Jody Hubbard Courtesy

Position running for: District 3

Occupation: Encinitas Planning Commissioner, business owner

Years in Encinitas: 19 years

Position on Measure U: For

What are your top 3 priorities for the City of Encinitas?

1. While knocking on hundreds of doors, I heard the same repeating theme which is “we have more traffic and I do not feel safe walking or biking”. We need traffic calming on residential streets where appropriate. We also need to explore public transportation options for moving around our city. Finally, we need to address pedestrian railroad crossings as part of the Leucadia Streetscape project.

2. My 2nd priority is affordable housing. I want to change the conversation going forward and focus on good design and land use principles. We have ignored 3 demographics in our community for way too long. They are seniors, young people and local business employees. We need to build affordable housing for them near transit, retail services and job locations.

3. My 3rd priority is beach access. This starts with the Verdi railroad pedestrian undercrossing. Our biggest challenge is how quickly can we get the required funding. I will ask that this matter be put on the agenda for the first meeting I attend as a council member. In addition to the Verdi undercrossing we need more railroad crossings throughout our city sooner versus later.

Joe Mosca (incumbent)

Joe Mosca
Joe Mosca Courtesy

Position running for: District 4

Occupation: Encinitas Deputy Mayor, Manager at San Diego Gas & Electric

Years in Encinitas: 4

Position on Measure U: For

What are your top 3 priorities for the City of Encinitas?

It has been an honor and privilege to serve on the City Council for these past years, representing New Encinitas and Olivenhain. Together, we have accomplished so much for our communities, but we still have much more to do, and I am confident we can continue moving forward and preserve our beautiful communities. In addition to helping our City resolve our most pressing challenges, my areas of focus for the next four years include: maintaining a financially sound city into the future, keeping our city safe, and increasing citywide mobility while maintaining the safety of our roads. Our record of achievements proves we can accomplish more when we are unified and work together. I ask for your vote to continue representing you, my fellow neighbors in District 4, and working with everyone to improve the quality of life in Encinitas.

Mark Muir (incumbent)

Mark Muir
Mark Muir Courtesy

Position running for: District 3

Occupation: Encinitas council member, retired fire chief

Years in Encinitas: 40 years

Position on Measure U: For

What are your top 3 priorities for the City of Encinitas?

1. Approve a certified Housing Element that meets the City’s strategy to preserve and enhance the community’s character, and expands and preserves housing opportunities as required by the state and that meets community acceptance. This Housing Element should be a reflection of a community-based vision which includes homeowners, neighborhoods in a community participation process. We should preserve and protect our small beach town identity and charm.

2. Create a Traffic Circulation Element that provides for the safe and efficient movement of multi-mode transportation. This includes traffic synchronization, correcting existing network deficiencies, improving road maintenance. This means that every transportation project will make the street network better and safer for drivers, transit users, pedestrians, and bicyclists—making our town even a better place to live, work and play.

3. Open Space, Recreational Trails and Community Preservation are being threatened by urban expansion. I have brought the acquirement of open space and recreational trails up during our planning and budgetary meetings and recently had the council support a financial and operational action plan to preserve and increase the procurement of our open space and recreational trails within our communities. We need to follow-up on this new policy in order to pro-actively preserve and acquire open space, trails, and natural areas, by tasking our Parks and Recreation Commission to explore, identify, evaluate and prioritize the potential funding of open space and recreational trails sites.

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