2016 Encinitas election nets early interest


Potential candidates are showing an early interest in the 2016 Encinitas election.

Encinitas Deputy Mayor Catherine Blakespear is mulling over whether to run for mayor. And Tasha Boerner Horvath, an advocate of Paul Ecke Central Elementary safety improvements and a member of the Encinitas Planning Commission, has filed forms paving the way for an Encinitas City Council bid.

In an email this week, Blakespear confirmed she picked up paperwork for the mayoral spot in 2016. She’s part of a liberal-leaning council majority that also includes councilmembers Lisa Shaffer and Tony Kranz. Often disagreeing with them on major issues is a more conservative minority made up of Councilman Mark Muir and Mayor Kristin Gaspar, who recently announced her candidacy for a seat on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors in next year’s election.

“I’m considering running for mayor because the seat will be open with Kristin Gaspar running for supervisor,” Blakespear wrote. “I care deeply about the future of our city and the mayor defines the direction we are headed.”

Last year marked the first time Encinitas voters directly elected a two-year mayor. Prior to this, a council majority selected the position annually.

Blakespear won the four-year council seat in 2014 on a pro-environment platform. If she runs for mayor and fails, her council seat will still have two years left.

“I’m still trying to decide whether I should build upon the good work the current city council is already doing from my position as a member of the city council, and let someone else run for mayor, or whether I should run myself,” Blakespear said.

“I picked up the paperwork early because I’m a planner and don’t like doing things at the last minute or in an ill-considered rush.”

Claudia Bingham, the city’s deputy clerk, said candidates can’t officially submit paperwork to run until next summer. However, they can file form 501, a candidate intention statement, at any time, which is required to collect contributions.

Horvath is the only person so far to file form 501, stating she’s looking to run for council, according to Bingham.

Three of the four council seats will be up for election in November 2016. Because voters approved the elected mayor system, one of the three seats will be a two-year gig, rather than four years. The person who nets the fewest votes out of the three winning council candidates will be given the two-year term.