Advertisement
Share

Meet the Candidates 2022: Encinitas City Council, District 4

file photo
(La Jolla Light file photo)

Name: Stacie Davis

Stacie Davis
Stacie Davis
(Copyright of StacieDavis@4Encinintas.com)

Occupation: Small business owner

Education: School of Hard Knocks, Since: 1962

Community Service: Former vice chairman Encinitas senior citizen commission

1. What do you think are the biggest issues facing Encinitas, and how do you plan to address them?

Encinitas’s biggest issues are everyday issues. Economy, inflation, utility prices, crime, speeding, bicyclist and e-bike safety, the elderly, schools, educators. I’m assisting consumers and local businesses in my district with mail-out coupons to support local businesses and consumers.

Educate consumers on inflation. Check circulars weekly and when the stuff you need is on sale stock up! Freezers are great. Utility PG&E and water prices must be fought.

Crime is a growing issue. I will install surveillance cameras in key areas and adequate lighting along Hwy 101, El Camino Real, and Encinitas Blvd. Speeding, I will advocate for speed humps on Willowspring Drive for sure.

Ensure more guidance for our seniors rides to grocery shopping, prescription delivery, and educate them on scams. Schools, educators need more funding for supplies, like proposition 28. I will press for more bicyclist lanes, and e-bike safety education for riders and motorists.

2. What is your assessment of the housing challenges facing the city and, as mayor, how would you approach your relationship with the state, San Diego Association of Governments and residents when making housing policy decisions?

I do believe some of the biggest challenges have been the push backs between residents and City Council, has slowed progress in meeting regional housing goals. I want the residents of Encinitas to provide the mayor and council with leadership and accountability to align with transportation initiatives, improve regional competitiveness for state funds, and evaluate innovative solutions to the housing crisis. Create a Comprehensive Stakeholder Engagement Strategy, engage multiple public, private, and nonprofit stakeholders at various scales. If new projects include more low-income units, you need less projects, which means less traffic, less environmental impacts. Align housing and climate goals by promoting sustainable patterns of development. I believe encouraging data driven policy decision-making, common sense, and feedback from residents when examining housing decisions is key. I’m a firm believer in more local control.

3. Are there any infrastructure projects you think are especially important for the city to prioritize?

Santa Fe Drive Corridor Improvements Project, long overdue plans for a busy corridor, with an enormous amount of youth foot traffic. Leucadia At-Grade Cyclist Pedestrian Rail Crossings, I think this is a very important project especially for the safety of the residents of that immediate area. I am very excited for the El Camino Real Specific Plan, with the proposed walking and bike paths. This will add beauty to this area and move traffic in a less hectic manner.

As long as the larger infrastructures do not exceed the height limitations, it will add natural beauty to this dense business district

4. How would you grade the city’s response to the climate crisis, and how much work still needs to be done to address rising sea level and other risks?

I would give Encinitas a B+ banning Styrofoam, straws use is big, however, there needs to be more plastic and aluminum recycling places. Vons, Ralphs and Rite Aid stores are supposed to accept these items, but Vons is the only store that happily takes your cans, and plastic bottles. This year oceanography researchers announced which bluffs all falling the fastest. Encinitas made the list. We need to take steps to fight against rising seas, armoring our coast and replenishing sand on our beaches. I agree with the soft shoreline stabilization method, this design incorporates natural materials in order to minimize any impact on the natural environment. With the predictions of a foot in sea level rise in the next 25 years, we need to move quickly.

Name: Bruce Ehlers

Bruce Ehlers
Bruce Ehlers
(Copyright of Bruce Ehlers)

Occupation: Senior VP of Product Development

Education: Master’s in electrical engineering from Purdue University

Community Service: Former Encinitas Planning Commissioner and Chairman (7 years), North County Advocates founding Board Member and Treasurer (17 years); Olivenhain Town Council Board Member, Vice President, Membership and City Task Force Chair (10 years); Encinitas Garden Festival & Tour Volunteer (10 years); and Author/Spokesperson for Proposition A, Encinitas Right To Vote Initiative, passed in 2013.

1. What do you think are the biggest issues facing Encinitas, and how do you plan to address them?

Public safety, transparency, environment and lack of listening are amongst the city’s top issues, but local control of our land use is our top issue. New state planning laws now permit 8 dwellings on most single-family lots, require inadequate parking, allow increased height and reduce setbacks to ridiculous minimums. Council must lobby and oppose these laws to restore local control.

Public safety is threatened by increases in crime and fire evacuation risks. Homelessness is not a crime, but homeless who refuse shelter should not be exempt from enforcement of laws. Offences such as assault, petty theft and defecating in public have become too common. Unfortunately, state and county prosecution policies limit our deputy’s enforcement options. These policies and laws must be changed.

Transparency equates to trust. I would modify the city’s email retention policy to keep all emails and make them available for public search except for legally protected emails.

2. What is your assessment of the housing challenges facing the city and, as council member, how would you approach your relationship with the state, San Diego Association of Governments and residents when making housing policy decisions?

Our challenges are largely state-mandated in the form of one-size-fits-all housing laws that are not suited for our suburban location, lower densities and existing infrastructure.

Encinitas is currently in compliance with a state-approved Housing Element (HE) but soon we will need to rezone for more lower income housing. The approved plan includes capacity for lower income housing with a buffer, but we are consuming the buffer quickly. New HE projects yield only a fraction of their projected lower income units reducing the buffer. Once exhausted, new state law requires more rezoning.

First, we need to join other cities in opposing the state’s usurping of local land-use control. Groups such as California Electeds (CALE) and LiveableCA are statewide groups opposing this overreach. Secondly, the city should support Our Neighborhood Voices (ONV) initiative. It would restore local control of our land-use decisions. The current council considered this and declined to support it.

3. Are there any infrastructure projects you think are especially important for the city to prioritize?

Funding should be immediately prioritized to mitigate the impact of the recent multi-story housing project approvals. These projects either bypassed environmental review using new state laws or fell under very general environmental mitigations. As a result, no significant traffic mitigations were included.

Northwest Leucadia and Olivenhain have been heavily impacted by these large projects. Leucadia needs immediate traffic mitigation measures along critical corridors such as Quail Gardens Dr, La Costa Avenue and other nearby roads. Capital improvements could include stop lights, traffic calming, roundabouts and similar improvements. Olivenhain needs traffic and wildfire evacuation mitigation due to increasing cut-through traffic and approval of the large Goodson project.

Many of these projects have been approved and are already under construction. Since developers were not obligated to make significant improvements during the environmental review process, it must therefore be the city’s responsibility to implement traffic improvements as soon as possible.

4. How would you grade the city’s response to the climate crisis, and how much work still needs to be done to address rising sea level and other risks?

The city’s response is embodied in its Climate Action Plan (CAP) which will likely fall short of its goal. CAP is comprised of 20 measures or programs. Some of these measures are easy, some difficult and others not fully defined.

Seven measures have been completed but they were largely within direct control of city staff. One example was planting new trees in the public right-of-way. Other completed measures were adopted by law but are not enforced. For instance, the current council recently admitted their gas leaf blower ordinance was not being enforced and that they “see gas leaf blowers all the time being used.” (CC meeting 9/21/2022)

The implementation road ahead is more difficult. Future CAP measures include mandating solar water heaters, solar power, and car charging stations for both residential and commercial. These must be popularly supported for the current CAP to be successful. This will be the challenge.

Name: Pam Redela

Pamela Redela
Pamela Redela
(Copyright of Pamela Redela)

Occupation: Professor

Education: BA, MA, PhD, Spanish Literature, emphasis in feminist theory and women’s writing

Community Service: Parkdale Lane PTA Green Team Lead 2008-2016

1. What do you think are the biggest issues facing Encinitas, and how do you plan to address them?

I see affordable housing, public safety, and increased civic engagement as top issues in our town. I believe we can preserve the unique character of our city while responding to housing needs through constituent engagement and education. I see the challenge before us as an opportunity for energy efficient redesign of outdated spaces that will ultimately be a bonus to our community.

The small-town ethos of Encinitas is reflected in the way folks watch out for each other. We have many efforts to extend a helping hand to the unhoused in our community to demonstrate this. My hope is that the city’s Homeless Action Plan can facilitate purposeful engagement with law enforcement and county social services to help reduce petty crime, encourage trust, and get folks the help they need and deserve.

I believe that the involvement of everyday people in local government is an important duty we must all take on. It is my intention to bring thoughtful, compassionate leadership to the council on all these matters and to encourage constituent participation in decision making.

2. What is your assessment of the housing challenges facing the city and, as council member, how would you approach your relationship with the state, San Diego Association of Governments and residents when making housing policy decisions?

As a council member representing District 4, I will work collaboratively with the council as a whole and the specific commissions that address housing to find the best solutions for Encinitas. No one council member or mayor can make a unilateral decision and “fix” the housing issue by themselves. We have a real problem to solve with affordable housing in our town and we must come to the table with a commitment to sharing responsibility and a willingness to see all aspects of the issue. I see our goal as making the most efficient and responsible use of both parcels and funds to meet affordable housing mandates. I believe we can do this and preserve the community character that is unique to Encinitas.

3. Are there any infrastructure projects you think are especially important for the city to prioritize?

In District 4, the El Camino Real corridor, traffic calming on Rancho Santa Fe Road, and fire safety services are infrastructure projects that I see as a priority. For Encinitas as a whole, assessing road improvements and traffic calming as well as continuing to explore ways to improve our energy efficiency are important to me and my neighbors.

4. How would you grade the city’s response to the climate crisis, and how much work still needs to be done to address rising sea level and other risks?

By creating a Climate Action Plan, Encinitas is showing a commitment to doing its fair share to engage issues created by climate change. We do not live in a bubble, so it is important to recognize climate change as a regional/global issue and allowing for both incremental and sweeping efforts at change is important. Doing so requires long-term vision that is also capable of identifying the interim steps to achieve that vision. As a council member I will work on this and all projects with empathy, fresh eyes, and fresh ideas. I want to partner with all of Encinitas to find creative solutions for some of our biggest challenges.

Name: Dan Vaughn

Dan Vaughn
Dan Vaughn
(Copyright of Dan Vaughn)

Occupation: Scientist, Biotechnology

Education: PhD in Biology from CalTech with Postdoctoral Training in Biochemistry at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories

Community Service: Currently serving my 3rd term as President and 6th as a Director of the Olivenhain Town Council; Co-founder, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Encinitas Residents for Responsible Development; Servant Leader St Andrew’s where I lead our participation in the Regional Task Force on Homelessness (RTFHSD.org), direct our Rotational Homeless Shelter, and am active in our Social Justice and Neighborhood services work.

1. What do you think are the biggest issues facing Encinitas, and how do you plan to address them?

In addition to the priorities addressed below: Homelessness, affordable housing, environmental stewardship and traffic/infrastructure, the top two are trust/transparency and local accountability.

Policy decisions are strongest when made in the public forum based on evidence that is shared and debated in public. As council member, I will only support closed sessions to hear the narrowest issues that must be conducted confidentially, and advocate for the quickest and most comprehensive disclosure practical.

The communities of Encinitas are unique; what works best for one part of the city doesn’t always work for another. The city needs to be flexible in policy development and implementation to prioritize public involvement and customize solutions to the needs of our different neighborhoods and communities. All city officials and employees need to be responsive and accountable to the citizens who elect them. Public officials spend the public’s money, they must be fiscally responsible stewards.

2. What is your assessment of the housing challenges facing the city, and as council member, how would you approach your relationship with the state, San Diego Association of Governments and residents when making housing policy decisions?

Leverage regional funds (and support SB1105) to build projects that the city wants and needs instead of relying on the building industry to provide the most profitable projects. Plan for necessary infrastructure and mitigate adverse public safety and environmental impacts before upzoning capacity and zone selectively for good projects instead of R-30 with its preposterous presumption of affordability. Prioritize home ownership projects for middle income and above to provide benefits of stable communities and buy-in.

We need projects that provide desperately needed affordable housing: especially starter homes for young families and any housing for folks living on fixed incomes (i.e., seniors and people with disabilities) that complies with state laws, satisfies SANDAG requirements, and are popular enough with residents to comply with Prop A.

We need to provide emergency shelter beds for our homeless to provide a path to permanent housing and preserve our parks and beaches for recreational use.

3. Are there any infrastructure projects you think are especially important for the city to prioritize?

Fire risk, especially wildfire, is a critical priority. Invest in smart signal technology to facilitate efficient evacuations (and expedite asymmetric commuter traffic on our major arterials like Olivenhain/Leucadia Blvd and El Camino Real/Manchester to keep this Waze-driven traffic out of our residential neighborhoods). Upgrade Station 6 to ISO standard and set and meet uniform fire response standards throughout the city with a focus on response time for an effective fire force rather than just first unit on site.

Use the circulation/mobility element currently in development to reduce traffic congestion and the resulting excess generation of Greenhouse gases. Prioritize safe routes to school for our children by closing gaps in pedestrian access as well as safe bicycle lanes and e-bike safety initiatives. Support active lifestyles with safe and attractive networks for hikers, bikers, and where appropriate equestrians. Fix the potholes: build and maintain needed infrastructure.

4. How would you grade the city’s response to the climate crisis, and how much work still needs to be done to address rising sea level and other risks?

Climate change is real, and human activity has been a primary cause of its rapid acceleration with dangerous consequences including rising sea levels and more frequent and extreme weather events. The city has done a good job of recognizing the problem and there is broad consensus on the need to be good stewards of our environment.

However, the city must do a better job of spending our limited financial and political capital on initiatives that provide the greatest reward for the costs. Rather than spending our limited bandwidth on show votes like an unenforced leaf-blower ban, our time is better spent reducing unnecessary traffic congestion. As described above, we need land-use planning that avoids adding car-centric projects to inappropriate locations, and to invest in technology and infrastructure to efficiently route commuters to I-5 south.


Advertisement