Who should run Encinitas – the voters, or the cronies on the Council? On Wednesday, March 28, the Council could vote for a change that would anoint Kristin Gaspar as mayor for the next two years, regardless of who the voters elect in November. Fearful of the growing anti-incumbent movement in our city, Stocks and Gaspar contrived a proposal that would make Ms. Gaspar the mayor for the next two years, based on the 2010 election. Under the current system, the mayor is elected by a majority vote of the Council. Without the proposed new change, when the voters elect new Council members in November, that new majority could elect someone else, such as Teresa Barth, who has never had the opportunity to serve. Under the proposed new ordinance, Ms. Gaspar would be anointed Mayor and could choose her own Deputy Mayor. In 2014, whoever got the most votes in 2012 would take over for two years.
The idea of a 2-year mayoral term is worth consideration. The idea of an elected mayor is worth consideration. Unfortunately, the Mayor has never put either topic on the agenda nor asked for a substantive staff report. No jurisdictions have been identified that use the proposed two-year, retroactive system. Our neighbors in Solana Beach and Del Mar rotate the mayoral position in a clearly defined process that could easily be implemented in Encinitas with an amendment to the municipal code. Instead, with no discussion, the current majority is trying to lock in their control before the next election, fearing, apparently, that they won’t have such tight control after November.
This Council can make changes if it decides to. Unfortunately, the public can’t stop them, at least until the November election. However, it seems only fair that any change voted now should only take effect after the next election, so the people know what their votes mean. Nobody knew in 2010 that their vote then would determine the mayor for the 2012-2014 period. Generally when incumbents change the rules, the change goes into effect after the next election, not retroactively.
The whole idea makes no sense. The person elected two years earlier might have shown him/herself to be undesirable as mayor. Why lock in the choice two years ahead of time? It makes no sense unless your sole objective is to lock in one current council member and lock out another.
Council leadership seems so indifferent to public input that they put the item on the “consent agenda” which means it would not get any discussion in the Council meeting, no staff report and no recorded Council vote. This is wrong! It is a very significant change to the way Encinitas operates and who holds power. It needs to be publicly debated.
Consent Agenda Item 9 deserves everyone’s attention. Contact the Council members and let them know what you think. Come to the meeting on Wednesday and speak to the item.
The proposed ordinance change is unfair, undemocratic, and poorly written. What do you think?
Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Patch. If you are interested in becoming a blogger for Patch, you can send an email to editor Marlena Medford at firstname.lastname@example.org.