Keeping Encinitas the same a priority for Graboi


Editor’s note: This is the second in a series profiling all council candidates

Perhaps the central theme of Julie Graboi’s campaign for Encinitas City Council is that folks in this seaside community love their town, whether they live in Leucadia, Cardiff, Olivenhain, or New or Old Encinitas.

“Overwhelmingly, people who live here don’t want to change anything. The people who live here like the way it is,” said Graboi, a 25-year Olivenhain resident.

Preservation is what got Graboi, 55, a community college English instructor and business consultant, into politics in the first place. She helped rally her neighbors when developer sought to build 16 homes at the site of a former horse boarding facility on Desert Rose Way.

The neighbors challenged the project in court, resulting in a ruling that required the developer to complete a full environmental impact report.

After that battle, Graboi worked to support Proposition A, a measure that passed last summer and requires a public vote on proposed zoning changes that would result in increased density or height for development projects.

While Graboi opposes increases in residential density — or increasing the number of homes permitted on a given property — because she contends such development adds to traffic, parking, public safety and environmental problems, she doesn’t consider herself a slow-growth candidate.

Rather, she said, “I want to uphold the original vision of Encinitas.”

She also said she doesn’t consider herself to be anti-development.

“If a developer wants to come to Encinitas and work within the parameters of the General Plan, I will be helpful, I will not raise any objections,” she said. “I want to be true to the reason we became a city, to protect the quality of life and the beauty and individuality of each of our communities.”

Graboi is one of four candidates for one open seat on the council. Her opponents are Catherine Blakespear, an attorney in private practice; Alan Lerchbacker, a businessman/educator; and Bryan Ziegler, an attorney with the San Diego County government.

Five candidates, including incumbent Mayor Kristin Gaspar and Councilman Tony Kranz, are running for mayor.

Along with voting for the mayor and council seats, Encinitas voters will decide in November on Proposition F, a measure that would allow and regulate medical marijuana dispensaries in the city.

Graboi said she supports the right of sick people to have access to medical marijuana, but she opposes Proposition F because it would allow dispensaries near schools.

“I oppose it because I think that it’s bad for kids,” she said. The law as written would allow six or seven dispensaries in Encinitas, which she said is too many. Rather than get their pot from a dispensary, she said, patients can have it delivered to their homes by courier service.

If elected, Graboi said she would direct the city’s Sacramento lobbyist to pursue changes to the state’s density bonus housing law, which allows developers to build more homes on a property if they include affordable housing for low-income residents.

She also said she would advocate hiring a full-time city attorney, instead of the city’s arrangement of having a part-time attorney who works for a local law firm. While the attorney’s base compensation would be higher, she said, the city would save money on litigation costs by having more of its legal work performed in-house.

As of June 30, the most recent reporting period for campaign contributions, Graboi had raised $3,148, according to a disclosure statement filed with the city clerk’s office. The next report is due Oct. 6.

Regarding her political alliances, she has been endorsed by Sheila Cameron, a former Encinitas mayor who is running for mayor in the upcoming election, and by former county Supervisor Pam Slater-Price.

Council members Kranz, Lisa Shaffer and Teresa Barth have endorsed Graboi’s opponent, Catherine Blakespear, even though Graboi worked to elect Kranz and Shaffer.

Graboi became disillusioned with Kranz and Shaffer when they joined the council in unanimously opposing Proposition A last year.

“I would say it was disingenuous of them to basically allow us to campaign for them and support them,” she said. “I think it’s better if people are forthright about what they feel.”

Graboi said she agrees with some positions held by council members and would work with her council colleagues, but she is running to represent the interests of city residents.

“My main alliance is with Encinitas citizens. It’s Encinitas residents first,” she said.