I attended the bulk of last night's candidate forum at the community center. There was a decent crowd , around 200 which is good considering that game 3 of the World Series was starting (I made my wife text message me inning updates).
I got there right at 6 o'clock so I furiously scribbled some burning questions on note cards and handed them in at the last minute. It's a shame none of my questions were asked.
The crowd was full of recognizable faces that you see at all the city council meetings and community events. All the players, wannabees, pundits, hacks, and lobbyist...you know, nerds. I sat as far away from this "in" crowd as possible.
The forum moderator was a cute perky girl with a tinny microphone that kept giving off screechy feedback. Here is a tip, never point the mic at the amp.
Here is my 2 minute review and impressions of the candidates:
Doug Long: He seems like your typical old Encinitas beach dog complete with the old school mustache and a nice enough man. His appeal for me ended there. He seemed unprepared and lacked confidence in his opinions. He stammered a bit and had a deer in the headlights look in front of a crowd of people. Now, public speaking is one of the hardest things to do in the world so I have sympathy but I don't see him doing well in a council meeting that isn't as congenial as last night's forum. I came to the realization that Doug Long doesn't want to win and he is only running because somebody talked him into it. I relate to that one.
Dan Dalager: Dan's usual witty humor and charms were falling flat last night in a room full of pissed off taxpayers who have run out of patience. Dan easily switched back and forth from easy breezy "Hey, I'm just your local tool guy, you all know me." to the arrogant "I'm the smartest guy in this town and it's my way or the highway." Dalager and Long both came off like a couple of old stoner buddies trying to give a group report in the front of the class. I had to look away at the floor because it was a little hard to watch.
Thomas Brown: He was the most professional looking man up there which added to the goofy nature of Long and Dalager. Brown definitely has a corporate vibe to him and would probably be really good at getting stuff done. But what stuff would that be? I was unclear if he was for or against declaring Leucadia "blighted". This is my greatest concern. Brown obviously knows every developer in north county, is this an asset or does it compromise his position? In a lot of ways Brown struck me as more of a Carlsbad guy who somehow ended up living in Encinitas. Brown is clearly the superior candidate as far as the men go.
Teresa Barth: I had a letter published in the Coast News last week giving Teresa glowing support. After last night I feel so good about writing that letter. Teresa is clearly the most informed candidate on the real concrete issues that face our town. She is dignified and sharp as a tack. She has a very valuable asset, she has a keen radar for bullshit. Judging from the applause she received last night from the crowd this town is in a pressure cooker and Teresa could be the release valve. She is not only the obvious vote I think she has the potential to be the best city councilperson this town as ever seen.
Paul "Pablo" Martens: The mysterious "Pablo" was welcome comedy relief for the most part. At times his long winded babbling was painful and a women behind me kept letting our long frustrated sighs as Pablo obviously doesn't have a clue about our local issues or any real grasp of the political structure of this town. He did have some great one liners though. His "I drink the tap water." line made me laugh out loud and it also explained a lot. Pablo still thinks he is running for the 50th district and not for Encinitas city council.
My recommendation: If you want to try the bullet voting method then vote only for Teresa Barth with confidence, she is great.
If you must vote for 2 then add Thomas Brown because at least he seems responsible enough not to jack us out of our tax money. I also don't see Brown ever calling our city founder Bob Bonde a "whiner" like Dalager did.
I scrammed out there at 8 o'clock, did I miss anything good?
NCT.com piece on the forum: Encinitas candidates meet at final forum; 5 competing for two open seats