Blakespear announces run for Encinitas mayor


With election season approaching, Encinitas has its first mayoral candidate.

Councilwoman Catherine Blakespear on Feb. 27 officially announced she’s vying for the two-year mayor spot during her 40th birthday party at her Cardiff house. A photo from the event shows an excited Blakespear, backed by family holding signs from her 2014 council campaign with the word “council” crossed out and “mayor” written below.

“The mayor sets the tone for the city, and I think I have the right combination of what Encinitas residents want in their mayor,” Blakespear said over the phone on Feb. 29.

Blakespear said her stances stress fiscal responsibility and environmental stewardship. When asked for an example of the former, Blakespear said she was a big part of the council’s decision to lease the vacant Cardiff fire station, rather than sell it.

“It gives us flexibility if we ever need property, and it gives us a store of wealth if we ever need to sell property,” Blakespear said.

Environmentally speaking, Blakespear said she wants to see more biking and walking projects that make it safer for kids and their parents to get to local schools. Blakespear also said during her time on the council she supported a pesticide-free pilot at Glen Park in Cardiff and cutting red tape for graywater systems in an attempt to boost water conservation.

Blakespear was elected to the council in 2014, and if her mayoral bid fails, her council seat will still have two years left. Current Mayor Kristin Gaspar is running to replace Dave Roberts on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.

Much is up in the air this election season. In addition to mayor, voters will select three of the four council seats come Election Day, Nov. 8.

Currently, there’s an environmentally focused, liberal-leaning council majority made up of Blakespear, Tony Kranz and Lisa Shaffer. Gaspar and Councilman Mark Muir are viewed as more conservative and tend to disagree with the other councilmembers on high-profile issues.

Kranz said over the phone this week said that he confirmed at Blakespear’s party that he’s vying for a council seat again. Elected in 2012, Kranz stated he’s seeking a second term to continue work on a number of important city projects, including the transformation of the Pacific View property into a community arts center.

He was a major proponent of the city buying the site from the Encinitas Union School District for $10 million. Kranz also said he’d like to play a role in the city’s circulation element, a blueprint for vehicle, bike and pedestrian travel.

“I would like to be a leader in that process,” Kranz said.

Blakespear and Kranz have endorsed each other, and Blakespear said she’s backing council candidate Tasha Boerner Horvath, who is currently on the Encinitas Planning Commission and announced her campaign last fall. Kranz said he’ll wait until the council candidate field is finalized before endorsing, but expects to support Horvath.

Horvath has advocated for safer streets to schools, as well as improved infrastructure and traffic flow.

Muir this week said he’s leaning toward running for a council seat, and that he’ll likely announce a decision sometime this month or in April. Muir said if he runs, he wants to focus on quality of life issues like infrastructure and improving downtown Encinitas.

“I want to maintain the quality of life we have in Encinitas,” said Muir, who was elected to the council in 2012.

He added that he enjoys working with Blakespear and Kranz, but has some fundamental differences with them on certain issues. He cited his opposition to the council majority recently moving forward with city initiatives aimed at embracing refugees and immigrants, stating the council should focus on local issues.

Muir said he’s considering a council seat instead of the mayor spot since he’s in line to already take on a major leadership position this year — chairman of the San Diego County Water Authority Board. Currently, he’s vice chairman of the board.

Shaffer has stated she won’t seek reelection.

Count on candidate profiles in the Encinitas Advocate closer to the election.