The following is from the January issue of Hoodlink
In the brief history of the City of Encinitas, 2006 is a year to remember: open and representative democracy made some headway here in our town. Congratulations to all of us!
In the past year Encinitas voters soundly defeated two ballot measures. Both were strongly supported, if not openly endorsed in violation of State law, by the majority of our City Council. The measures were promoted using large sums of money. They were spun as being fair and good for business, the City, as well as visitors and citizens alike. Supporting reasons were to the lowest common denominator: well-behaved civic-minded people will vote for them, bad people will not. Many proponents of the measures limited their efforts to making personal attacks against anyone who held a
different opinion on the issues. Our ex-mayor is one who questioned the integrity of all of the people who dared to offer a different opinion about the merits of the issues at Council meetings.
This characterization is neither a misrepresentation nor a personal attack against our former mayor: her actions should be accurately reflected in the minutes of the meetings. At issue are her tactics, as an elected representative, in support of her opinions. We were taught that people who focus their debate on attacking their opponents’ character or agenda rather than to debate the issues typically have poor reasons for supporting their position.
Perhaps our ex-mayor had good reasons to support the propositions. Perhaps her failure to garner support was due to her choice to use hoodwinking tactics and then to attempt to intimidate those who would not be hoodwinked. Regardless, the vast majority of the represented saw the empresses’ new clothes for what they were and both ballot measures were soundly defeated.
This progress here in our town will be short lived if we the represented believe that all the hoodwinking tacticians are gone from our Council. We need real progress, not just bad and/or expensive changes masqueraded in front of the public as progress. To achieve progress we need to reconfirm the civic and community goals rather than undermine them without regard for the represented. And regardless of one’s stance on an issue, or even the specifics of an issue, there is no good reason to accept the will of the represented being summarily dismissed, let alone openly or covertly thwarted, by our representatives.
But in Encinitas, that seems to be standard procedure.
We suggest that you go beyond reading their sanitized press releases of their varied accomplishments. Go further than listening to their offered public viewpoints which, when taken out of context, make it sound like these people are looking out for our best interests. Please check their voting record on projects which were opposed by
the represented but that have negatively impacted our services and infrastructure. After all that, go one step further and check the minutes of Council meetings for just how much respect our new mayor, Mr. Bond, along with Council members Dalager and Stocks have for the represented who hold differing views on issues. We believe you will find that the answer is “not much” to none at all.
According to statements made at his first Council meeting as mayor, Mr. Bond declared, in effect, that Council is only obliged to listen to the will of the people on election day. This from the man who will be leading the Council’s decisions to continue the acceleration of the overdevelopment of Encinitas. Overdevelopment which has been occurring for years without proper accounting of the impact the excess growth will have on the quality of life.
Again, we are not attacking our Council’s opinions, we are condemning their actions which are clearly intended to suspend examination of and feedback on Council’s actions except on election day. Governing is always easier for those who rule when their days are unencumbered by the trivial. No need for details such as understanding the basics of the U.S. Constitution or following State law which requires local governments to be quite forthcoming in matters of the public's rights to know and citizen interaction at times other than elections.
The five communities which make up the City of Encinitas have populations overflowing with smart, talented, creative, and busy people. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take an especially bright nor powerful political machine to take advantage of people’s busy lives in order to hoodwink them. And if the overwhelming results of the failed propositions, which were supported by our representatives, are any indication of shared goals, our City is being run by people who have hoodwinked the majority in order to get elected.
Encinitas’ short city history is filled with representatives who routinely and rudely dismiss the input of concerned citizens when said citizens offer reasoned and substantial opposing views on City staff’s negative impact declarations. In turn, Council minutes and voting records are filled with Council’s guided endorsement of overly dense development in areas already suffering from infrastructure issues. Staff’s recommendations are nearly always that, on whole, the specifics of an additional development will have no negative impact on existing services or infrastructure. Strange how all those projects, which were declared to have no negative impact by City staff and passed by our representatives, added up to a whole lot of trouble.
Some 8,500 voters in Encinitas, most who had never heard of her before the summer of 2006, elected Teresa Barth to a seat on the Council. We believe that Ms. Barth’s election was the third small step toward making Encinitas City government a more open and responsible representative democracy. She can not make the changes necessary for progress alone. She needs the help of every citizen who, regardless of viewpoint on a specific issue, wants an open and fair examination of all the issues that face our young City.
Together, let us make 2007 another year of real progress for the businesses, citizens, and visitors of our City. Tell our Council representatives their freewheeling hoodwinking days are over