Encinitas inks deals with Surfing Madonna, Cardiff runs


Three running events hosted by Surfing Madonna Oceans Project will provide at least $100,000 to Encinitas programs in the coming year, while two other runs will donate $4 on behalf of each participant, under new deals inked by the Encinitas City Council on Sept. 21.

The running events have hits some bumps at City Hall in the past, with some complaining they take more away from the city than they give back. In May, however, council members agreed to let the Surfing Madonna group start a new run and let the Cardiff Kook Run return — as long as organizers signed new contracts spelling out what they would contribute to community programs.

Those new agreements went before the council Sept. 21 for approval, and council members said they liked what they saw. Council member Catherine Blakespear praised their “incredible generosity” to the community, while Deputy Mayor Lisa Shaffer said the new agreements did a better job of spelling out what would happen if organizers balked on their commitments.

The new agreements state that if the promised money isn’t donated, organizers won’t be allowed to return the following year. Because of this, “I’m happy to support the agreements as they stand,” Shaffer said.

Under the terms of its new agreement, the Surfing Madonna Oceans Project will contribute a minimum of $100,000 in “community benefits.” Out of that money, at least $10,000 and perhaps as much as $45,000 will go to the city’s parks department or the state parks, the agreement states. At least $10,000 will go to nonprofit organizations in the city, at least $8,000 will go to lifeguard programs, and at least $5,000 will go to public art projects, it states.

The organization will host its annual beach run Oct. 15, 2016, and its new Encinitas Half Marathon event on March 26, 2017.

Cardiff Kook Run organizers, who recently have been embroiled in a conflict over their use of images of the copyrighted Cardiff “Kook” surfer statue, plan to host their next event Feb. 5, 2017.

That run and the Encinitas Turkey Trot will donate $4 to the city for every participating runner, their agreements state. Organizer Steve Lebherz told the council that the last Turkey Trot had 3,000 participants and the Cardiff Kook Run had 2,500.

“Both of them seem to be growing steadily,” so it’s likely next year’s figures will be “a little bit more than that,” he said.

Under the terms of its agreement, the Turkey Trot will donate up to $1,000 to the Encinitas 101 Main Street organizations for holiday decorations along Coast Highway 101. Money raised above the $1,000 figure will go to the Community Resource Center’s food pantry program.

The Cardiff Kook Run’s contribution will go to the city’s parks and recreation department for “park, beach or beautification projects.”

Council members postponed debate on another item on their Sept. 21 agenda — the discussion on what, if any, voter education materials the city ought to provide for Measure T, a proposed citywide housing plan on the Nov. 8 ballot.

The ballot measure, which spells out how Encinitas proposes to accommodate higher density housing in the coming decades, has been controversial and has faced opposition from people who helped pass Encinitas’ growth control initiative in 2013.

The council was scheduled to debate whether the city should distribute “educational information and materials” related to the ballot measure. Under state law, the city can’t use taxpayer money to fund voter materials that advocate taking a position on the ballot measure — it can only pay for what are deemed “educational” documents on the measure.

Mayor Kristin Gaspar recommended removing the item from the council agenda, saying she wanted to do so in response to legal advice the city had just received. Councilman Tony Kranz said he would support her request and others on the council agreed.

— Barbara Henry writes for The San Diego Union-Tribune