With five candidates vying for the three Encinitas City Council seats needing to be filled with the Nov. 8 election, it can sometimes be hard to find an issue where one of them stands apart from the other four.
But there is certainly one such instance as candidate Tony Brandenburg is against Measure T — the Housing Element Update that is also on the Nov. 8 ballot. The other four candidates — incumbents Tony Kranz and Mark Muir, and challengers Tasha Boerner Horvath and Phil Graham — all support the measure, with varying degrees of enthusiasm.
“Measure T is probably our most important issue. We need a better plan that guarantees low cost, affordable houses will be built,” Brandenburg, a former Superior Court Commissioner and a retired Chief Judge from the Intertribal Court of Southern California, which serves the federally recognized Indian tribes, said in an email to the Encinitas Advocate.
So who is this candidate who stands apart from the crowd?
Other than spending his high school years in Boston, Brandenburg has lived in Encinitas for more than 50 years. After graduating from Palomar College, he earned a master’s degree from the University of Connecticut and a Juris Doctorate from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law. The former United States Marine has also had a Doctorate awarded to him by Connecticut State University.
Brandenburg has served as President of the Encinitas Facilities Foundation, the Olivenhain Town Council and the San Diego County Judges Association, and is currently the Secretary for the Palomar College Foundation and Vice Chair of the Encinitas Planning Commission.
“I believe my experiences both on and off the bench (where he served for 30 years), along with my record of successful public service, qualifies me to be on the City Council,” Brandenburg said. “I am skilled at mediation and familiar with the law.
“As a very long-term resident, I know our city and its history, and I feel I would serve it well and honorably. I am a plain-talking individual who strongly believes in transparent and open government and have the experience to support this.”
In addition to Measure T, Brandenburg mentioned two other issues — homelessness and public safety — that would earn his top focus if elected.
“Homelessness in Encinitas has to be dealt with by the city working with the various social service and charity agencies,” Brandenburg said. “Law enforcement (also) needs our attention in that we should add more deputies in the downtown areas, particularly during the summer months.”
With his wife Cynthia — born and raised in Solana Beach and a club leader for Olivenhain Valley 4-H, the biggest 4-H club in the country — Brandenburg has four children. Two are grown, living in Cardiff-by-the-Sea and South Dakota, and youngest son Everett is an Eagle Scout, attends Cal State San Marcos and recently became the youngest person elected to the Olivenhain Town Council.
Youngest daughter Samantha, a MiraCosta College student, has followed in her mom’s footsteps as she is the President of her 4-H club.