Encinitas mayor running for county supervisor seat


Encinitas Mayor Kristin Gaspar announced Aug. 31 she’s vying for the San Diego County Board of Supervisors seat held by Dave Roberts.

“I have a lot to offer the county and the communities in the district,” Gaspar said, citing her time as an elected official in Encinitas and her business background.

She is the chief financial officer of Gaspar Doctors Physical Therapy, a company she runs with her husband. Gaspar said as county supervisor she’d focus on roads, infrastructure and core services, echoing a pitch during her successful 2014 Encinitas mayoral campaign.

Shortly after Gaspar threw her hat in the ring for the 2016 supervisor election, Roberts’ camp issued a press release criticizing her for seeking office nine months after Encinitas voters chose her as mayor.

“This kind of political opportunism from yet another career politician is just what voters are tired of,” said Roberts’ spokesman, Gary Gartner.

Gaspar countered that she will have finished her two-year mayoral term by the time the supervisor role would start. She added that the “career politician” label doesn’t fit, because she has spent so much of her adult life working on expanding Gaspar Doctors Physical Therapy and volunteering for local groups.

She and Councilman Mark Muir make up a conservative-leaning council minority, with Lisa Shaffer, Catherine Blakespear and Tony Kranz part of a more liberal council majority. Gaspar was elected in 2010, and council observers saw her as being among a pro-business, conservative majority that lasted until 2012.

When asked what her decision to run for supervisor might mean for the Encinitas council race in 2016, Gaspar said it’s too early to tell.

“It will be an interesting election to watch, because there are four seats up,” Gaspar said of the five-member council.

Last year, Gaspar was a vocal critic of the city buying the $10 million Pacific View property from the Encinitas Union School District for a community gathering space. She said that council vote came at the expense of funding for roads and public safety. Kranz, who came in second in the Encinitas mayoral race, argued that the purchase was fiscally sound and saved the legacy property.

Gaspar is the second North County Republican mayor running for the supervisor position. Escondido Mayor Sam Abed announced in June that he was running.

To distinguish herself from Abed, Gaspar said serving as the Encinitas mayor has given her a strong understanding of coastal issues, adding that’s key for the Third District seat, which covers much of North County and the northern part of the city of San Diego.

As mayor, she has pushed for federal approval and funding for a 50-year sand replenishment project designed to battle beach erosion in Encinitas and Solana Beach.

Gartner, Roberts’ spokesman, sought to highlight Roberts’ record in the press release. For one, he said, Roberts secured $2.1 million for major enhancements at the San Diego Botanic Garden.

“Supervisor Dave Roberts has a record working collaboratively and with innovation to create new jobs, enhance and protect our environment, and improve public safety,” Gartner wrote.

Roberts, the lone Democrat on the five-member Board of Supervisors, has faced controversy in recent months. Three employees who resigned filed claims alleging an abuse of power, including that Roberts instructed county employees to do re-election work on county time. Roberts has denied all accusations.

The Board of Supervisors oversees a more than $5 billion budget.