New mayor of Encinitas emphasizes collaboration in State of City address
If Encinitas is to solve its future problems as well as it has its past ones, then it needs to focus on collaboration over confrontation, Mayor Tony Kranz said as he gave his first State of the City address Thursday, April 27.
Look at the ongoing transformation of Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas, he said. That couldn’t have happened without devoted fundraisers, particularly the Ecke family members, working together. And, he added, that same spirit is going to be required as Encinitas struggles to cope with housing growth.
The city’s mid-section is expected to add about 1,000 housing units in the coming years and that region “will clearly need some improved infrastructure” to make conditions safer for pedestrians and cyclists, he said.
In keeping with the evening’s collaboration theme, Kranz said, he changed the standard format of the State of the City address. Instead of doing all the talking, the mayor gave a brief set of remarks at the beginning and end, but turned over the bulk of the time to the four City Council members, the head of the Encinitas Chamber of Commerce and the leaders of the city’s three 101 MainStreet organizations.
Each council member discussed recent accomplishments in his or her district and pending projects, while the business leaders described festivals and other special activities their organizations sponsor.
Encinitas Chamber of Commerce CEO Sherry Yardley mentioned some of her organization’s recent marketing efforts, including starting a Chamber Chat podcast, while Encinitas 101 MainStreet Association Executive Director Irene Pyun said her organization will be funding more starfish-shaped lights and art projects along Coast Highway.
Cardiff 101 Main Street board member and treasurer Jim O’Hara said his organization’s new Saturday farmers’ market on the MiraCosta College parking lot has been a “much-needed addition” and “a huge milestone.”
Leucadia 101 Executive Director Brittany Corrales took a different tack, saying she’d prepared a speech, but decided instead to show photographs of the many small business people who support her organization and make Leucadia such as special place.
Photographs were a common element throughout the evening. Kranz, a printing company employee who mentioned that he was a school yearbook photographer in junior high, said he wanted to include as many people pictures as possible. All four council members began their presentations with photos of their families.
Councilmember Kellie Hinze, who lives next door to her grandmother, said her connection to her community had only strengthened with the recent birth of her daughter. Her list of recent District 2 highlights included the conclusion of both the El Portal pedestrian undercrossing and the first phase of the Leucadia Streetscape project. She’s looking forward to the opening of the city’s new art center on the old Pacific View School property and the start of a massive beach sand replenishment project, she said.
Councilmember Joy Lyndes, a landscape design business owner, emphasized environmental improvements, including the restoration of three native habitat areas and the planting of 264 trees last year. Upcoming projects in her district include improvements to Santa Fe Drive — the city’s about to seek construction bids for that project, she said.
The city’s District 4 representative, Councilmember Bruce Ehlers, mentioned the completed Trail 95 construction project and finishing design work for a second trail that now needs construction funding. Ehlers said there were many things he’d like to see accomplished in the years to come, including wildfire safety planning, traffic improvements, and e-bike rider education programs.
Councilmember Allison Blackwell, who was appointed in January to represent District 1, said she has discovered that infrastructure improvements are by far her district residents’ top priority. She mentioned recent street paving projects and bike path improvements, and said that the next big goal will be relocating the small parking lot at Beacon’s Beach away from the bluff edge.
After all the other speakers concluded, Kranz said he hoped the audience came away with one key message.
“I think that what’s most important from tonight’s event is that you leave knowing that we live in a place that … is the greatest place on earth with some of the best people that … we can live with,” he said.
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