Letter to the Editor: Commentary on the Selection of Mayor in Encinitas

Encinitas Councilwoman Teresa Barth weighs in on the issue.

Editor’s Note: The following is Letter to the Editor written by Encinitas City Councilwoman Teresa Barth.

I have been passed over for the position of Deputy Mayor or Mayor for three years and been denied a position to affect change or implement any creative solutions unexplored by the majority. I have been put into an unwholesome place, marginalized and disrespected. It poisons all discussions.

After more than four years the tactics used to stifle dissent are clear; like using a nugget of truth to misinform.  It’s true; there are no formal criteria for the position of mayor or deputy.  The past decades are filled with the ethical approach that each council member should be given the opportunity to serve in these positions.  The criteria was simple - being elected to the council and sharing these roles. It was an expectation of professional courtesy and civil behavior.

Yet this council majority had an "excuse" for breaking this tradition each year:

In 2009, Dan Dalager nominated out-going Mayor Maggie Houlihan back to the position of Deputy Mayor claiming her chemo treatments meant she’d "missed out" on some of the mayoral activities. Yes, he used her cancer as an excuse.

However, Councilman Jerome Stocks was later quoted in the Coast News. “The bottom line is I wanted to send a message to Ms. Barth."  He went on to say . . . "Don't be petty, don't be rude and duck hard votes."  Yes, he spoke of petty, rude and ducking hard votes without a trace of irony.

  • Questioning the city's open government policies (or lack of) is my job, it’s not petty. 
  • Jerome Stocks is not allowed to define rudeness and expect to be taken seriously.
  • I have never ducked a vote but Kristin Gaspar can’t say the same.

Deputy Mayor Gaspar has recused herself repeatedly from votes on the Pacific View property because "she wasn't on council when the issue began." Using that reasoning she shouldn't participate in discussions about the Hall property, the General Plan Update or numerous other issues.  So who is ducking hard votes?  

I am not alone in seeing the hypocrisy of their actions.

In 2010, the North County Times editorial board gave Bond, Stocks & Gaspar a "Reindeer Games Raspberry" for choosing petty politics over civility by failing to appoint me to mayor or deputy mayor.

UT columnist and political writer Logan Jenkins gave Gaspar the “Bonehead First Play” award for "failing in dramatic fashion to live up to her campaign pledge to bridge, not widen, the bitterly personal schism on the council....She's either naive or she's secretly spoiling for a fight while pretending to be Ms. Sweetness and Light"

In 2011 the North County Times editorial board gave Gaspar a “Find a Better Excuse Raspberry” for her position on Pacific View.

North County Times columnist and political writer Tom Arnold made this "Christmas Wish" for me..."The ceremonial position of Mayor....I know they don't like you, but hey, they need to take the high ground."

Yet at last Wednesday's council meeting my colleagues pretended that the process was "broken & needed to be fixed" a bizarre statement considering they broke it.  They have plans, I’m not included and neither is the public.

If you have a Letter to the Editor that you would like to submit, please email it to Marlena.Medford@Patch.com.


Bruce Stephens February 19, 2012 at 03:24 PM
The best solution is to get Encinitas out of the Stocks and Bonds business next November. Jerome Stocks should be banished from public office by fiat of the voters. When we have a plurality of progressives on the Encinitas City Council, we can be proud of our city government once again.
C.J. Minster February 19, 2012 at 04:29 PM
A bully by any other name is still a bully. Those of us who have attended Council meetings over the years have observed the disdain, condescension, and disrespect with which Jerome Stocks treats those who disagree with him. When one sees how he publicly treats people, one can only imagine how he must treat people he sees as foes when he is out of the public view.
William February 19, 2012 at 08:50 PM
If you were appointed mayor, you'd be in a position of power relative to the others, therefore you would be unable to acuse them of harassment and bullying as you would be on top of the proverbial mountain. The issue isn't the breaking of tradition, it is the process itself. Either we have an elected mayor or we don't. Nothing illegal has been done, and furthermore, it is transparent. You were not selected, and it was done in the light of day. If I was in your shoes, I wouldn't like it either, but that's the breaks. If you don't like the process, then work to change it. As a citizen, I'm just happy there was no vote rigging, union quid prop quo, etc... associated with the appointment. We already have enough issues with the firefighters and public employee pensions. You getting passed over for mayor is just a distraction.
Barth Fan February 21, 2012 at 12:25 AM
Thank you Teresa! The only way to fight a bully is to push back! And thank you for displaying the sign on the dias that we crafted for you entitled "Don't let the ba***ds get you down." We need someone on our side who says what they really think and is willing to get their hands dirty, just like the Council Majority. You truly make us proud! Should we occupy City Hall again, bang on the council chamber doors, and get thrown out, just like we did during Mark Muir's appointment to the Council? Anyone up for next week?
Barth Fan February 21, 2012 at 12:44 AM
That is besides the point Jeff, as is discussing the sexual harassment complaint against Dalager. It did not matter if the woman Dalager communicated with did not feel she was harassed since Teresa, as a bystander, felt that she should have been personally insulted by Dalager. Teresa's complaint was definitely legit. Remember, this is America, where our 1st amendment rights protect our ability to complain and to be transparent.


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