Encinitas council members sworn in

Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear

Committee assignments reworked for coming year


The city’s re-elected mayor and two council members were sworn into office Tuesday, Dec. 8. during a virtual ceremony where watchers gained an on-screen peek into their homes.

During her virtual swearing-in ceremony, Mayor Catherine Blakespear, who was re-elected Nov. 3 to her third two-year term, stood next to her Christmas tree with her son, daughter, husband and mother beside her. Councilman Tony Kranz, who has served on the council since 2012, also conducted his swearing near his family’s tree. His wife stood near by, but his young granddaughter, who wore a sparkly princess dress with a blue cape, stole the show.

Councilwoman Kellie Shay Hinze, who was elected to her first full four-year term after being appointed to the council in January 2019, went third in the line-up and apologized for not being as festive as the other two because she didn’t have a holiday tree.

City Clerk Kathy Hollywood said the swearing-in ceremony, which is traditionally held at City Hall and attended by crowds of candidate supporters, friends and family, was far different this year because of the health restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic.

“First time ever that I’ve done a virtual swearing-in ceremony,” she said.

In addition to conducting the ceremony, Hollywood reported on the passage of Measure H, the Cannabis Activity Zoning Ordinance initiative. It will allow up to four cannabis retail sales businesses to open in Encinitas, permits cannabis cultivation in greenhouses in the city’s agricultural zones and allows cannabis product manufacturing in business park, light industrial and agricultural zones.

Hollywood said city employees are now reviewing what city regulations will need to change to accommodate the passage of the initiative and said some items also will need Coastal Commission approval because the state agency has regulatory authority over coastal regions of the city.

In other action during the Dec. 8 special meeting, council members reworked some council committee assignments and regional board appointments. Most of the changes were requested by Councilwoman Jody Hubbard, who announced in August that she had been diagnosed with advanced, non-smokers lung cancer.

“Given my current health situation ... I think it’s better if I hand them off to someone else,” she said Dec. 8, mentioning that morning meetings are difficult for her to attend these days due to doctors’ appointments and chemotherapy treatments.

Later, she added, “The next couple months, I know, are going to be rough for me.”

Hinze agreed to take many of Hubbard’s posts as either the primary or alternate representative for various regional boards, including several League of California Cities committees as well as the San Elijo Joint Powers Authority and the County Service Area-17 ambulance board. Hubbard said she would forward some suggested changes on ambulance operations to Hinze, saying she had recent first-hand experience using the service and “there were some hiccups.”

Council members also unanimously voted to select Kranz as deputy mayor in the coming year to fill in at times when Blakespear is not available.

“It’s amazing how fun and simple this is because we all get along so well,” Blakespear said as the meeting concluded quicker than she had expected.

— Barbara Henry is a reporter for The San Diego Union-Tribune