Council votes to use appointment to fill fifth seat

After themselves being sworn in at a Dec. 13 special meeting of the Encinitas City Council, new Mayor Catherine Blakespear, new Council member Tasha Boerner Horvath and re-elected Council members Tony Kranz and Mark Muir made unanimous decisions to name Kranz as Deputy Mayor and to fill Blakespear’s old Council seat by appointment.

Blakespear took over as Mayor from Kristin Gaspar — defeating her husband Paul Gaspar in the Nov. 8 election — which left open a Council seat with two years left in its term.

The new Council quartet each noted that the other option for filling the seat, a special election, would be too costly — at least $320,000 for a vote-by-mail election or a minimum of $460,000 for a polls election.

The new Mayor and Deputy Mayor both added that they felt the appointment route had worked out well in 2011, when Muir was selected following the death of Maggie Houlihan. The Council further agreed to use a similar application structure to what was used that year.

“It says ‘list your qualifications and vision for the city of Encinitas, and attach a resume with additional pages if needed,’ ” Blakespear explained.

Kranz added: “I would like to encourage everyone to take a look at it and to (apply) if they think they have something to offer … and I will give them serious consideration.”

During public comment, two local residents — co-chair of the Committee Opposed to Measure T Bruce Ehlers and former Mayor Sheila Cameron — spoke in favor of the Council appointing Planning Commissioner Tony Brandenburg, who ran for City Council but finished fifth. Brandenburg was the only candidate to oppose Measure T, the Housing Element Update that was voted down by a 56-44 percent vote.

The official decision to attempt appointment also included an announced schedule of events in the process. The deadline to apply is Jan. 4 at 5 p.m.

The application is posted on the city website at ci.encinitas.ca.us.

Depending on the number of applicants, a special meeting might be held or those interviews may be done at the Jan. 11 regular meeting.

Before the Council was sworn in at the Dec. 13 meeting, the two outgoing Council members — Mayor Kristin Gaspar and Deputy Mayor Lisa Shaffer — were showered with gifts from local organizations and residents, some of which also had presents for Blakespear, Muir and Kranz to celebrate their re-election.

Gaspar was elected to the County Board of Supervisors, unseating incumbent Dave Roberts, and will be sworn in Jan. 2.

Organizations bearing gifts on Dec. 13 included Cardiff 101 Main Street, the Encinitas 101 MainStreet Association, the Lecaudia 101 Main Street Association, the Encinitas Rotary Club, the Encinitas Chamber of Commerce, the Encinitas Historical Society and the Encinitas Arts, Culture and Ecology Alliance (EACEA), which is working toward a opening a facility at the old Pacific View School.

The 101 Artists’ Colony brought some levity to the proceedings when they presented Shaffer with a book titled “Pacific View Home Improvements” — poking fun at the fact that the Pacific View site still needs much work before the EACEA can move in — and then offered Gaspar the choice between a frying pan and some fire.

Roberts was also on hand and was a good sport in giving a proclamation to Gaspar on behalf of the Board of Supervisors and also reported that the Board of Supervisors had proclaimed Dec. 13 as “Lisa Shaffer Day in San Diego County” in honor of her achievements.

Shaffer finished a four-year term and decided not to run for re-election. She and Gaspar concluded their service with touching statements to the public.

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