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Meet the Candidates 2022: Encinitas Mayor

Voting
(La Jolla Light file photo)

On Nov. 8, Encinitas residents will make decisions on the mayor. Four candidates are vying to be the next mayor of Encinitas including Michael “Myekah” Blobe, Cindy Cremona, Jeff Morris and Tony Kranz. The winner will replace Catherine Blakespear, who is running for state Senate. In alphabetical order on this page and page 5, see their bio information and responses to four questions below.

Name: Michael “Myekah” Blobe

Michael Blobe
Michael Blobe
(Copyright of Michael Blobe)

Occupation: Musician, Entrepreneur, Retail Sales

Education: Computer software technician and retail/hospitality management

Community Service: VP for a civil rights nonprofit “Barefoot is Legal” working to educate the public and businesses on the law and to respect all human beings and to not discriminate. Organizing educational gatherings on the matter.

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

Cut needless spending, needs before aesthetics. Focus on spending for what we need. Focus on mental health and substance abuse care for the homeless, not handouts only. Increase funding to the sheriff’s department to stop rising crime.

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?

First and foremost I believe the community should have the first word before anyone. So I would fight entities that may have a different view than what the citizens want. They don’t live here, so their say is below the citizens. I would try to find any workarounds I could to accomplish this. Bottom line is we need to protect the affordable housing we have now, that is most important. No more landlords buying complexes and raising the rent 4x. No more major developments until the community gets to weigh in.

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

First our roads seem to be getting pretty rough. Let’s repave them. Leucadia desperately needs rail crossings now that the fence is in. That is my top priority, they’ve been requested for decades, let’s get that done. Curb and sidewalk at La Costa and Vulcan to make it safe and more road trails for Olivenhain, also to make it safe.

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 rate it poor in that we have a charade show off system. They ban natural gas, balloons, push riding bikes instead of cars. But at the same time they let every developer come in and tear up the land as much as they want and vote for it and against planning committees. If you want to protect the environment, start with the land. Not balloons that don’t even stay here or natural gas which is not much more damaging to the environment than electricity if it’s not solar based.

Name: Cindy Cremona

Cindy Cremona
Cindy Cremona
(Copyright of Cindy Cremona)

Occupation: Small business owner

Education: Parsons School of Design - The New School

Community Service: Organizer, Clark Development Action Group; Organizer, Livable California

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

Encinitas has a public participation problem, which ties directly to a like-minded city council on which three of four members were first seated by appointment. Their lockstep mutes the voices of residents and ensures members of their insider’s club get their way. We see that reflected with unpopular policies on housing and homelessness and questionable decisions on spending. This hurts all of Encinitas. In recent months, this power-hungry city council dismissed a popular Planning Commission member that displeased them and violated the municipal code when they installed his replacement. On the city council, vacancies should be filled by elections. Period. Meanwhile, the mayor and council need to listen to residents and quit approaching our business with their minds made up.

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?

Encinitas needs affordable housing. The city’s housing policy, however, allows developers to cram and jam projects into neighborhoods while setting aside only 20 percent of units for low-income families. That 20 percent affordability requirement should be closer to 50 percent. At the recently-approved Clark Avenue Apartments, for example, only one in five units is designated as affordable. That project will place huge demands on streets and services at the cost of everyone in Encinitas. I led the Clark Development Action Group in fighting the project. We scored a win at the Planning Commission but, not surprisingly, the decision was overturned on the developer’s appeal to the City Council. This has to stop. Our city’s zoning authority is the bedrock of local control. It’s the law of the land. It’s what makes a city a city. As a member of Livable California, I continue to fight for local control.

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

Addressing infrastructure should begin with reining in supersized development. While identifying 15 locations for mega projects, the City Council has done nothing to budget for increased demands on streets, sewers, potable water, parks and public safety services. As for existing infrastructure needs, priority should go to projects that improve public safety. For two decades, city leaders have promised four pedestrian crossings along the railroad tracks. To date, only two have been built. Long stretches in north Leucadia and Cardiff have no pedestrian crossings at all. We need those crossings, not excuses and not a fence. Also in Leucadia, flooding is a problem people tend to forget about during dry years. But the problem has not fixed itself. Encinitas must take responsibility and find a sustainable solution to Leucadia flooding.

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?

A 2020 update on the city’s Climate Action Plan was unable to conclude whether Encinitas had met its targets. I salute Encinitas for setting ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but some strategies are easier said than done. Reducing on-road fuel consumption is a fine goal — especially amid surging fuel prices — but more bike lanes won’t serve families shuttling kids and groceries. Realistically, how many vehicle trips can be replaced by a trip on a bike? Renewable electricity and building electrification have a nice ring but 10 straight days of flex alerts raise questions about supply meeting demand. All of us should recycle and conserve resources, but how will so many new residents in so many new homes located far from employment and transportation centers play into the calculus?

Name: Tony Kranz

Tony Kranz
Tony Kranz
(Mim Michelove)

Occupation: Printing Production Manager

Education: Associate of Arts Degree, Palomar College

Community Service: 10 years of service on the City Council; Board Member of the Encinitas Historical Society; Board Member of the Leucadia Town Council; Member of the San Dieguito Academy Foundation Athletic Council

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

Housing and homelessness—I will continue to work to mitigate for the traffic and other impacts that the new Housing Element projects will bring. Addressing issues of homelessness will require a partnership between the law enforcement community, the County Department of Health and Human Services and the new state CARE Courts. Legacy infrastructure challenges—I will continue with the efforts to improve our road network so it meets the Complete Streets model so biking and walking is safer. Meeting the city’s Climate Action Plan goals—The city is known to have a top-notch Climate Action Plan and I consider reducing our greenhouse gas emissions is a moral imperative. We need to leave a habitable earth for future generations, plus an Encinitas that has the natural beauty that we have been able to enjoy.

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?

The housing challenges in our community are huge. The city was incorporated in 1986 based upon an opposition to dense housing units and that opposition is still very strong. However, state laws are now making it difficult to avoid building more apartments and the mayor and city council will need to be creative with the next round of state requirements. My experience with what the city has been through previously will help to keep us from being back in legal jeopardy.

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

The railroad corridor has a huge impact on the quality of life west of the 5. We need more crossings and a citywide Quiet Zone. The process is underway, and we will keep these projects on track and get them completed as soon as possible. Building the northern section of the Leucadia 101 Streetscape is also important.

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 of Encinitas has one of the best Climate Action Plans in the county, as scored by the Climate Action Campaign organization. Our goals are aggressive, and we have a lot of work to do to meet them. My primary focus will be on incentivizing the installation of more photovoltaic panels on buildings throughout Encinitas. We need to create more “microgrids” with battery storage so we’re ready to be carbon neutral. Planning for sea level rise needs to begin in earnest.

Name: Jeff Morris

Jeff Morris
Jeff Morris
(Copyright of Jeff Morris)

Occupation: Finance

Education: Cal Poly SLO Ag Business

Community Service: Community activists

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

The biggest issue facing Encinitas right now is crime. Encinitas residents are experiencing a record-setting crime wave and I plan on fixing this. My first plans are to revoke our sanctuary city status. Encinitas has kind of become one the fastest growing crime towns in San Diego with criminals pouring in from all over. I will then request that our sheriffs begin enforcing all our laws on our books to protect citizens. I’ve spoken with our local sheriffs’ and they mentioned they could use some modern equipment which can help alert them when certain criminals enter Encinitas. I want Encinitas to be the safest town in San Diego, and I will work side by side with our sheriffs to try to make that happen.

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 want to see “real” affordable housing, not $2,000,000 affordable housing, that’s not affordable. When I am elected mayor I will go to Sacramento to argue for higher % affordable housing, a lower number of units being built, but also explore the idea of having much smaller units making the homes truly affordable. I’m not against growth and development but it needs to be “managed” growth and development.

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

The entire community of Encinitas doesn’t have the infrastructure to support these massive projects. If I’m elected, I will be in Sacramento working diligently to negotiate better terms so we can update our infrastructure. We don’t have enough schools, our drainage is archaic, we’re experiencing water issues, our streets are falling apart. It’s about time we address infrastructure to so we can accommodate meeting our housing needs.

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 main visuals that you can see directly are our eroding and deteriorating ocean cliffs. If we do not find a solution to shoring up these cliffs, more beachgoers are going to be harmed or killed. I’ll be looking into erodible support for the base of our cliffs so we can keep our beaches safe. I will also be looking into sand replenishment, so beachgoers do not have to snug up to our dangerous cliffs.


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