Thursday, May 17, 2007


Smoke, mirrors and burning money in Encinitas

May 17, 2007

Blowing smoke

Let's take a long pause and rethink before we hand Jerome Stocks a
Cancer Fighter of the Year Award.

Stocks is an Encinitas City Council member, deputy mayor this year, who has long been part of a threesome blocking a smoking ban on Encinitas beaches. Encinitas is an environmentally conscious city, but with Stocks, James Bond and Dan Dalager in office it is in danger of winning the label Ash Tray of Coastal San Diego County. Every coastal city has acted or is considering a smoking ban on public beaches. Every city but Encinitas.

In a sudden jolt of public health consciousness, Stocks announced in an op-ed piece last week (“Let Encinitas citizens decide smoking ban”) that he is helping form SmokeoutEncinitas and will gather signatures to put an advisory measure on the ballot next year.

What's wrong with this picture, aside from Stocks listing half a dozen reasons he still doesn't think a smoking ban is a good idea?

For openers, is there any doubt how Encinitas residents feel? Eighty-six percent of Californians have made the decision not to smoke. Do they really want to inhale secondhand smoke at the beach?

But why go to the effort to gather signatures? The Encinitas City Council, by simple vote, can place a referendum on the ballot.

And why stop at making it advisory? If Stocks, Dalager and Bonds are afraid to make a decision, they should ask citizens to vote on a mandatory measure.

Del Mar and Solana Beach have beach smoking bans. So do San Diego, Coronado and Imperial Beach. National City and Chula Vista don't have ocean beaches, but they have seen the light. Oceanside just adopted a no-smoking ordinance and one is moving forward in Carlsbad.

Enforcement has not been difficult. Signs warn beach visitors, and beach-goers are quick to politely remind offenders.

If Stocks is sincere, and belatedly so, congratulations to him. But put the measure on a public ballot by council vote, not by gathering signatures and spending tax money to verify them. Make it a mandatory referendum, not an advisory measure. Oh yes, just one more thing. Not that we question the honorable councilman's intentions (we clearly do), but we think council members Maggie Houlihan and Teresa Barth should be the ones to write the proposed ordinance in consultation with City Attorney Glenn Sabine.

Horn of plenty

When is the last time you received a $33,000 pay raise, didn't have to go through a performance evaluation to get it, and the paperwork was slipped into a stack sent to the big boss to be signed without review?

That pretty much explains the situation in Encinitas where rookie City Manager Phil Cotton, on the job just seven months, received a 20 percent raise to $198,000 and an increase in retirement benefits.

The raise had been put on the consent calendar amid routine items to be approved en mass without discussion. Only after approval of the raise on a 3-2 vote did the council get around to discussing Cotton's performance in closed session.

The pay raise puts Cotton in pretty heady company, among longtime city managers of much larger cities.

This largesse is compliments of council members James Bond, Dan Dalager and Jerome Stocks.



  1. Thank you Union Tribune for your editorial exposing Jerome Stock's transparent attempt to reverse his beach smoking ban opposition and deceive the voters of his previous position by disingenuously calling for a petition campaign.

    Furthermore, the taxpayers of Encinitas thank you for exposing Jerome's part in the excessive midyear-raise for rookie City Manager, Phil Cotton. Your editorial chastised Stock, Bond and Dalager for their awarding a $33,000 raise after just 6 months of service. Your analysis omitted the extra $10,000 increase that Cotton was awarded as part of his increased deferred compensation package. Cotton's deferred compensation was increased from 5% to 9% which results in total compensation of $216,600 instead of the reported $198,000.

    I hope you will reread your own editorials before endorsing candidates in the 2008 Encinitas campaign. Your 2004 endorsement of Jerome helped propel him into office. Encinitas deserves better candidates who understand our citizen's needs and desires.

    Bruce Ehlers

  2. The worm is turning. Regardless of a UT endorsement, there is no way in hell Jerome Stocks will be reelected in Encinitas.

  3. The worm is indeed turning. I saw Jerome Stocks at the tree planting ceremony at Leucadia Roadside Park. He looked very out of place and appeared uncomfortable in being there. He knows he has blundered badly and is striving to recover. I say that it is time to turn up the heat even more and run him out of office.

  4. Jerome has blundered on some many things; it will be a sad joke if he can get re-elected. Lets see- He was the cause of Encinitas being the last ashtray along the coast.

    His is the best friend of the developer at all costs to the public.

    He is the biggest cause to more pollution and traffic in Encinitas.

    What has Jerome done that’s been good for Encinitas?

  5. Okay, I'm not a fan of many of Jerome's past actions. I do think that politicians can and do change their minds, for many reasons. One reason should be to support what the general public wants.

    Frankly, I think it would be nice to put the smoking issue on the ballot if enough people sign the petitions apparently now to be circulated.

    For most people I know, sidesmoke is not an issue outside. When walking along the beach, I do not see many butts. If litter is the problem, then strongly enforce the anti-litter laws; don't create new laws.

  6. I also did not understand why Phil Cotton got such a hefty raise, so quickly. This was set up from before Teresa's being seated, when Cotton was chosen at a closed session (when Bossypants Guerin was still in control). That closed session was improperly held on a day when no regular Council Meeting was scheduled, contrary to the law.

    This secretive, privileged, scenario does play into the have vs. have-not perspective that one gets re our local govt. workers. Go down to City Hall and see for yourselves. Oh wait, you can't; they're closed today. It seems like a country club over there, most of the time.

  7. Where did the UT find that picture of Stocks that they ran. It must be an old file photo. He now looks bloated and constipated, at least the last dozen times that I have run into him. If thats what politics does to you, its no wonder we cant find anyone besides Aceti to run.


  9. Do peolple actually buy insurance from this odd fellow Stocks? I certainly would not trust him in any business.

  10. Hey, why does this blog always get personal? Isn't the issue about smoking on the beach, not why I hate Jerome more than you do?

    I for one would love to vote on the issue and don't care about Jerome's motivations to put it on the ballot.

    Thanks Jerome and I plan to vote for no smoking on the beach.

  11. Thanks Jerome -

    For trying to turn our City into Carlsbad.



  12. anon 1019,

    For some reason I get the feeling you know Jerome.

    If you want smoking banned then why is it you don't find it odd that the proponent of the vote is against a ban? Why would you trust an opponent to spend a reasonable amount of effort trying to get enough signatures? This is where Jerome's character matters and for this exact type of situation everyone should continue to pay attention to the character of all our elected and appointed officials. Evaluate his characteristics through his public actions!

    Maybe Jerome will surprise us and get fully engulfed in a grassroots action, which would be a first for him. Jerome has his hands full already with the encinitas city council and a north county transit district that has been grossly mismanaged. Even roger hedgecock, jerome's buddy, has called Jerome out for NCTD's impersonation of a real life dark comedy. Jerome has more important things to cover up and fix than dealing with signature gathering for a cause he despises.

    So, if you truly want a smoking ban then why do you seem to give credit to Jerome for him AVOIDING VOTING A SMOKING BAN INTO PLACE.

    Not to mention the question about if you care that your vote won't matter if the vote is just advisory, just like in the deceptive Prop A Ecke Rezone? Two years ago you were tricked by Jerome Stocks during Prop A. It was a guarded fact that the Prop A vote was not binding. Jerome is using the same playbook. Why would he do that again, because he acts like a comic book politician. Character matters.

  13. Anon 9:20

    I am not sure about your point about Prop A. It was advisory, and after it lost, no development happened. So, I am not sure what you meant here?

  14. I can't say exactly what the poster meant. But what I understood is that Jerome Stocks is politically posturing and avoiding supporting or not supporting the issue. In other words he lacks the confidence and courage to state his opinion clearly. It's the old Stocks shuffle and jive. He wants majority support, but he wants to vote his agenda when he knows he doesn't have majority support.

    I think the Prop. A comparison is valid. It was only advisory, so what's the point of the vote? Paul Ecke said before the election that he would abide by the result, which he has done. But don't ever think that the development of the Ecke core property is off the table. It isn't. It will come back at a more propitious moment. That's the way the Eckes do business.

    Jerome Stocks is continually testing which way the wind is blowing. I don't think it is asking too much of him to give us a clear statement of his position on the smoking ban issue. He won't because he is deeply worried about his reelection prospects. That's why he was at the tree planting ceremony. He certainly doesn't care about two trees. Dalager is aligned with Stocks and didn't bother to show up for the tree ceremony, but then he's not up for reelection next year.

  15. Prop A was advisory so that the public would NOT know EXACTLY what they were voting on. The council and eckes wanted it that way.

    The council would be in charge of the specifics. Devil is in the detail as Dan always likes to say right before ignoring the details.

    Being advisory also allowed the Eckes to avoid disclosing a bunch of the impacts.

    In this case you should ask yourself why Jerome doesn't want it to be a real vote? The burden is on you to figure out why someone would propose a ballot measure that wasn't binding. Why? Does it make sense? I doesn't to me.


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