An overflow crowd watched as Tony Kranz, Mark Muir and Lisa Shaffer took the oath of office as the city’s newly elected City Council members. The three broke with tradition and took the oath simultaneously.
A handful of attendees stood up and sang, “if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands,” as many responded by clapping loudly.
In his last act as Mayor, Jerome Stocks, who lost his bid for re-election, motioned to certify the results of the Nov. 6 election. In addition to the new council members, voters approved a proposition that will allow for a directly elected mayor to serve a two-year term beginning with the 2014 election. Councilman Jim Bond, who retired from the council after serving 20 years, cast his last vote in favor of the motion.
Retiring district three County Supervisor Pam Slater-Price and her newly elected replacement, Dave Roberts were two of the many familiar faces seated in the gallery.
Tom Frank, a Leucadia resident congratulated the new council. “That’s a great looking council,” he said. “Congratulations to the residents of Encinitas.”
Barb Yost, one of the nine candidates who ran for three spots on the council also addressed the new council. “It was a privilege running with you all,” she said. “Actually, it was a lot of fun. It’s a new day in Encinitas.”
Her reference to the shifting balance of power on the five-member council was a common refrain throughout the meeting. Councilwoman Teresa Barth supported Kranz and Shaffer, while Bond and Deputy Mayor Kristen Gaspar supported Muir and Stocks.
The most anticipated portion of the meeting was the selection of the mayor and deputy mayor. The mood was much more upbeat than last year’s selection meeting, when over three-fourths of those in attendance stood with their backs to the dais when Gaspar and Stocks were selected by a majority vote of the council.
The silent protest marked the third time Barth had been passed over for the leadership positions. Despite the rotational process of each council member moving to the next seat until they reach the Deputy Mayor and then Mayor’s spot, Barth, now in her second term in office, had yet to receive enough council votes to serve in either capacity.
During the previous year’s mayoral vote, Barth supporters shouted in outrage after Bond, Stocks and Gaspar voted for the 2011 leadership positions. Late Councilwoman Maggie Houlihan and Barth voted against Bond for Mayor and Stocks for Deputy Mayor, saying it did not follow the longstanding rotational history of selecting the two posts.
What came as a surprise to many in the audience was Gaspar’s announcement that she would not accept a nomination for a leadership post.
Barth responded that she believes in the rotational system and was prepared to follow it. However, as the most senior member on the council, with 6 years under her belt, she said she felt like “the last man standing.”
“I don’t want this evening to be about getting even,” she said. “Tonight we are turning a page.” Barth said the recent past of the council had been “marred by bullying and petty politics,” but added, “I see a brighter future.”
Kranz’s nomination for Barth to assume the mayor’s position and Shaffer the deputy mayor post passed unanimously.