The ROV updated the Encinitas election results last night. Their backlog has shrunk to 205,000 ballots, which means they've processed at least 165,000 ballots (and probably more given that mail-in ballots are trickling in day by day).
Catherine Blakespear, Tony Kranz, and Kellie Hinze continue to hold strong leads. Given that there are probably only another 4,200-4,300 Encinitas ballots in the ROV backlog, it's exceedingly unlikely that the dynamics of the race are going to change even as they count the remaining ballots. At this point we can safely call the election for the incumbents.
As of 6:11am on Wednesday, November 4, votes have been counted from 71.1% of registered voters in Encinitas. Catherine Blakespear, Tony Kranz, and Kellie Hinze all have strong leads.
Final turn-out will likely be around 90%. We believe what's been reported up to now includes all the mail ballots received before election day and the in-person vote on Tuesday - with mail ballots received on election day (and after) still to be counted. San Diego County is reporting 370,000 ballots still to be processed with somewhere between 8,000 and 12,000 votes likely to be outstanding in Encinitas.
Julie Thunder would have to win about two thirds of the outstanding vote to catch up to Catherine Blakespear, which seems unlikely. It's even more unlikely that Alex Riley or Susan Turney would mount a come-back.
So, it looks like Catherine Blakespear is headed for re-election, as are Tony Kranz and Kellie Hinze.
The laughably named "Ethics & Transparency in Government" PAC has filed paperwork with the city after sending out mailers attacking Catherine Blakespear and the other incumbents. If you look at their city filing, they got money from gun owners (the San Diego Gun Owners PAC), developers (the BIA), and Streetscape opponents (Leah Bissonette and Robert Hemphill).
Their Form 496 with call-outs is below:
(Two lies do not add up to the truth)
When confronted with Saturday's Coast News article calling her out for making a false claim about her opponent (and violating the Clean Campaign Pledge), Julie Thunder's defense is another mis-statement, a second false claim that is easily disproved.
Thunder's first false claim is that Mayor Blakespear didn't denounce the derogatory language in an inflammatory email from a supporter.
From The Coast News:
"Encinitas mayoral candidate Julie Thunder took to social media on October 8, sharing a screenshot of a harassing email she received in which a resident called her a 'human pig.' In her Facebook post, Thunder went on to falsely accuse The Coast News employees and incumbent Mayor Catherine Blakespear of not denouncing the content or responding to the email’s author.
" 'Not one of the 18 people copied on that message spoke out against his vile words. Not one. Including the mayor. This is where we are Encinitas — and these are the disgusting politics that have been ruling over our City,' Thunder wrote.
"However, Thunder’s claims ignore previous conversations about the email between Thunder, Blakespear and reporters during a podcast segment recorded last month discussing The Coast News’ Clean Campaign Pledge initiative."
Julie Thunder recently made a public statement in the form of a Facebook post defending herself against The Coast News article. She said:
"Caitlin [the Coast News reporter] texted me later to say she also allowed Blakespear to re-record her response to include comments about the letter, which I never heard, because those words were cut from the podcast, I did not know that Blakespear supposedly denounced the email. What I do know is that the mayor stayed silent, and has continued to do so. Also, the other 16 people copied on the email still remain silent to this day."
The screenshot of her full statement is below:
This defense has become the party line for her surrogates as well.
Basically, Julie Thunder is claiming that she didn't know that Blakespear denounced the derogatory language in the email from her supporter because the relevant audio was "cut from the podcast".
This isn't true. The words were not "cut from the podcast".
There is a long segment in the podcast that went public on September 18 which specifically addresses this email. Julie and Catherine both speak about the email in the segment. When asked about the email - this was the *topic* of the segment - Catherine denounced the use of derogatory language that is insulting, offensive, and disrespectful.
To introduce Catherine's remarks, Caitlan said she "reached out to her for a response" (to the email, the topic of the segment). I belabor the point because of Thunder's defense.
Catherine said (about the email), “I don’t support anybody using derogatory terms that are insulting and offensive and disrespectful to the core person.It’s important that you recognize where people are coming from and when there are disparaging terms like that used, it’s basically just meant to demean and belittle them, so I don’t support that.”
Caitlin subsequently says "The mayor doesn't condone that" (just in case it wasn't clear).
What was actually cut from the podcast was a snippet of audio that seems redundant given what Catherine said earlier, but that the Thunder camp seems to have seized on because it includes a reference to the individual who sent the email. The additional statement from Blakespear is this: “There’s just no question about it, it is abusive. I receive emails from [him] all the time, some of them being positive about the work that’s been done but most of them negative about the city.”
But let's be clear: In the podcast that was posted to the public on September 18, the topic of the segment in question was the email from the Blakespear supporter and Catherine strongly denounced the derogatory language in the email with framing that also sent a very clear message to all supporters.
It is not true that the relevant audio was "cut from the podcast".
This defense amounts to making a false claim to defend a false claim.
Here's the podcast link. The relevant segment starts at about 12:50. Listen for yourself.
Julie Thunder has worked hard to hide her partisan affiliaton.
Prop. A and Housing
Catherine Blakespear: Protecting your right to vote while also complying with state housing laws. Supports an inclusive and diverse community. Advocates for granny flats to diversify housing options.
Julie Thunder: Thunder would lead us into expensive lawsuits, fines, and regulatory problems. No plan for state compliance. Falsely accuses city of suing residents, when our lawsuit is with the state. Vague promises about “working with other cities.”
Catherine Blakespear: Helped create our “gold-standard” climate action plan. Recognized as a regional environmental leader. Supports increased biking and walking, a new park, reducing plastic waste, planting trees, and many green initiatives.
Julie Thunder: Actively opposes biking and walking projects. Falsely claims city is in violation of water management requirements. Fails to address climate change as a threat.
Catherine Blakespear: Committed to preventing homelessness and helping those who need it. Actively working with regional partners and other cities. Identifies homelessness as a top concern.
Julie Thunder: Lots of complaining, but no actual ideas on how to reduce homelessness. Opposed to the 25-spot parking lot that provides a safe place to stay and a self-betterment program for neighbors experiencing homelessness.
Catherine Blakespear: Committed to maintaining Encinitas as a fiscally sound city. Always monitoring the city’s bottom line. Supports pre-paying pension debt.
Julie Thunder: Doesn’t address fiscal solvency. No stated position. Criticizes infrastructure projects for their cost and then suggests impractical, costlier alternatives.
Catherine Blakespear: Supports and invests in fire fighters, lifeguards and the sheriff’s department to keep Encinitas among the safest cities in the county. Crime down 32% since becoming mayor in 2016. Endorsed by Encinitas Firefighter’s Association.
Julie Thunder: Vague and unclear promises. False, fear-mongering accusations about rising crime and “unsafe” city facilities.
Catherine Blakespear: Supports a diverse and inclusive city. Recognizes housing policy, transportation networks and climate change as social justice issues.
Julie Thunder: States that “diverse and inclusive” are empty words. No stated social justice goals.
Catherine Blakespear: Believes in working with residents to proactively solve problems and enhance Encinitas. Jumps in and gets results, with substantial meaningful improvements delivered. Advocated and facilitated our Coastal Rail Trail.
Julie Thunder: The candidate of “no.” Opposes many major city improvements, but rarely offers real alternatives. Founded “No Rail Trail” to fight against the creation of the popular Coastal Rail Trail. Believes in waiting for other cities to act first when problems arise.
Catherine Blakespear: Practicing attorney, former news reporter. Four years as Encinitas mayor, two years on Encinitas City Council, and over three years as a member of the city’s Traffic & Safety Commission.
Julie Thunder: Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics, Secondary teaching credential. Founder of “No Rail Trail” group.
From Catherine Blakespear's website. Full article linked here.
Attacks on Julie Thunder for deceptively changing her voter registration from "Republican" to "No Party Preference" right before announcing for mayor are resonating with voters. A more complete picture of Julie's Republican partisan affiliation emerges when the registration change is seen in context with her list of Republican donors, her campaign treasurer's co-founding of a Trump-supporting "Build the Wall" PAC, her close ties to Republican D3 Supervisor Kristin Gaspar, past endorsements of consistently Republican candidates, and recent endorsements by right-wing leaders.
A number of Thunder supporters insist that partisan affiliation doesn't matter. Their arguments go something like this: The Mayor of Encinitas is technically a non-partisan office, so why not elect the best person for the job regardless of political party? Why do political parties and partisan affiliation even enter into the picture?
The truth is that over 75% of Encinitas residents care about the partisan affiliation of their mayor and City Council members. There are some good reasons why:
1. In a highly polarized time, partisan affiliation tells you something about a candidate's values and political philosophy, which will guide their decisions while in office. Some issues are simultaneously local, regional, and national. Values that underpin partisan affiliation also inform key decisions about whether and how to mitigate climate change, what guidance to follow in re-opening businesses in the pandemic, how to deal with homelessness, how to reduce inequality, promotion of racial justice, support for mask wearing, and many others.
2. Your local leaders consult with, are supported by, and are influenced by regional leaders that are organized into networks based on partisan affiliation. Local decisions about policy fit into a framework of regional policy that is often guided by partisan values and political philosophy. Elect Mayor Blakespear and you get a regional political network that includes Congressman Mike Levin, Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, State Assemblywoman Tasha Boerner Horvath, and many other Democratic leaders. Elect Julie Thunder and she'll be consulting with Republican D3 Supervisor Kristin Gaspar and other regional Republican leaders.
3. Possibly most important of all, decisions you make about candidates for local offices have a profound effect on what happens later at the regional and even national level. Your local government is the entry point for candidates that will in many cases go on to higher office. Their service in our city becomes a key qualification for their next rung on the ladder. Your local candidates may go on to become governors, senators, members of Congress, state legislators, big city mayors, and the members of the Board of Supervisors.
Just to cite two specific examples for the third point above: If you elect Kristin Gaspar as a seemingly moderate Republican Encinitas Mayor in 2014, a few years later you have Kristin Gaspar, Republican District 3 Supervisor - and then hard-right Republican congressional candidate for the 49th district in 2018. Elect Tasha Boerner Horvath to City Council and a few years later you have a Democratic shut-out in the 76th district of the State Assembly (and Assemblywoman Tasha Boerner Horvath).
If you care about partisan affiliation regionally and nationally, you must pay attention locally. Elections have consequences that extend far beyond the term of office that you're voting for... and the immediate issues that may be driving campaigns.
So yes, partisan affiliation matters. Encinitas does not exist in a vacuum. Your candidates are not isolated from the tidal forces that are driving regional and national politics. Your decisions have ripple effects that will influence regional policy and decide who ascends to future regional, state, and even national offices.
Julie Thunder and Susan Turney have talked about their housing "plan" in debates, Zoom forums, Facebook posts, and emails. They have a miraculous prescription for Encinitas that will solve the most challenging issue facing our city.
It's also pure fantasy. If they actually do try to implement their radical ideas, Encinitas would quickly go out of compliance with state law and would be sued right and left.
As taxpayers, we would have to cough up many millions of dollars in legal fees fighting lawsuits that we'd inevitably lose. And even worse, while we're tangled up in litigation, the city will forego state grant money which we rely on to build improvements like pedestrian rail crossings.
Don't buy the magical thinking and easy answers. Julie Thunder and Susan Turney do NOT have a realistic housing plan. All they have is a recipe for lawsuits and legal fees.
Here's an explanation of their plan and why it's doomed.
Thunder and Turney say they can manifest a state-compliant housing plan that can survive a Prop A vote, which is the hat trick that has eluded the city for many years.
How would they do it? Simple. They would just increase the percentage of affordable housing mandated for each new housing project, which reduces the total number of housing units Encinitas is required to build under state law.
Voila! Wave a magic wand and the current 15% requirement becomes 25%. At 25%, Encinitas only needs to build 3,352 units of new housing over eight years instead of 5,587.
See, it's easy! Which begs the question: Why stop there? Why not mandate 30%? Or even 40%? At 40%, we don't have to build much new housing at all! Only 2,095 new housing units over eight years! Yay!
Actually, why don't we just make those nasty developers build 100% affordable housing? That way the city only needs to build 838 new housing units over eight years. We can minimize the population and traffic increases from new housing and keep things just like they are now.
In fact, Susan Turney wants to exclude developers from the planning process so they don't even have a voice in the proceedings. If they're not in the room, we can just make them eat the requirements for affordable housing and that's that.
You've probably figured out by now that the solution isn't this easy. There are two huge problems with this approach.
First of all, those much-maligned developers are usually just property owners. And property owners subject to the affordable housing mandate are essentially paying a form of tax to build housing. At some point it stops making sense for them to build anything on their land. An overly aggressive affordable housing mandate becomes a taking of their land by the city. But well before that point, the property owners are going to revolt.
Any Thunder-Turney housing plan with a high percentage of affordable housing will run into a buzz saw of opposition from property owners. They'll organize and spend money to defeat such a plan at the ballot box. When the Thunder-Turney plan comes up for a Prop A vote, there will be a flood of ads, signs, and mailers.
If the property owners weren't even consulted in the development of the plan - as Susan Turney proposes - then the level of opposition will be off the charts. And if all that isn't bad enough, the angry hornets nest of property owners will have plenty of allies in their battle against the offending housing plan. Which brings us to the second problem with the fantasy Thunder-Turney plan.
Most properties targeted for upzoning with high percentages of affordable housing are surrounded by neighbors. And those neighbors are often fiercely opposed to high density housing being built nearby. They don't want the added traffic and crowds. They don't want the character of their community to change. And they don't want their property values depressed by all that affordable housing. The word "density" is thrown around like a curse-word in the debate about Encinitas housing, but any increase in affordable housing percentages is going to result in more density for the parcels that are up-zoned.
Entire neighborhoods will organize and fight any housing plan with high affordable housing mandates. In any plan, some parcels have to be up-zoned somewhere - and in a Thunder-Turney plan, the resulting controversy will be acute. Neighbors will make common cause with property owners. The resulting coalition will be well organized, very well funded, sympathetic (to other voters), and very angry.
Who is supporting the Thunder-Turney plan against the mobs with the pitchforks and torches? Well, there's no natural constituency in favor of a housing plan. So likely nobody.
What is Susan Turney's well-thought out approach to dealing with the tidal wave of opposition that will roll over any plan incorporating these higher percentages of affordable housing? There isn't one. She basically assumes that residents will just pass her unrealistic plan.
How about Julie Thunder? Does she have any ideas for how to untangle this ugly dynamic that will pit residents against each other? Nope. She's silent on this point.
We've already seen what happens to housing plans that are opposed by motivated special interest groups and supported by nobody. That's pretty much the story of Measure T in 2016 and Measure U in 2018. Those housing plans were unpopular compromises that pleased no-one and were fought by several special interest groups. They failed at the ballot box.
Any Thunder-Turney plan with a high percentage of affordable housing will be destroyed at the ballot box. And that will happen again and again, which means that the city will be out of compliance with state law... and we'll be sued. We'll pay millions of dollars in legal fees. We'll lose out on grants. We'll ultimately inevitably lose the lawsuits and the state will dictate our housing plan.
Some people have insisted that we offer up city property like parcel L-7 to solve the first of the two problems mentioned above (property owner opposition). However, there is only so much city property. And even the parcels that we have don't solve the problem with energized neighbors and communities. In a perfect example of the neighborhood dynamic described above, parcel L-7 was proposed for Measure U and then removed because of a storm of opposition from neighbors who showed up to the City Council en masse and threatened to organize and defeat Measure U and then work to push the Council out of office.
The good news is that T and U didn't lose by much. So there is hope that we can still find a balance of all interests - with everyone at the table. We got close the last two times. Let's keep trying to work towards a plan that can pass a Prop A vote and serve all interests. And let's lean into smart, experienced, and pragmatic leadership while we solve this very complex problem.
Mayor Blakespear and the current Council are best positioned to finally untangle this knot for us.
TWO FINAL NOTES
First, Julie Thunder and Susan Turney are using fake statistics to support their unrealistic proposals.
Thunder and Turney keep quoting examples of high affordable housing requirements for other cities around California to give support to the idea that their radical approach to disenfranchising property owners can actually work. However, they're quoting fake statistics.
For example, they cite Los Gatos as having a 50% affordable housing requirement - which is just wildly wrong. Los Gatos has a sliding scale from 10% to 20% depending on project size... and averages out to a weighted 15% or so, which is what Encinitas is working towards in its current plans.
Their other examples include Capitola, cited at 25%. In reality, Capitola has a sliding scale from 0 to 15%.
Second, Thunder and Turney both continue to make the absurd claim that Encinitas sued its residents in connection with the Prop A litigation, which is also wildly misleading. It's just crazy to keep making that claim. Several weeks ago we offered $1,000 to any legitimate charity in the name of the first Encinitas resident who can prove they were sued by the city. We got no takers.
We're upping the charitable contribution to $2,500 for the first resident who can show they were named or served in connection with the supposed Prop A lawsuit against residents. We're confident there will be no takers this time either.
Thunder and Turney don't hesitate to cite fake statistics and make false claims. Why would you believe they can solve the most complex land use problem facing Encinitas? Actually, they can't. All they'll do is keep us in lawsuit hell.
Re-elect Mayor Catherine Blakespear, Council member Kellie Hinze, and Council member Tony Kranz.
A Coast News commentary makes it clear that Julie Thunder won't answer simple questions about her positions on key issues - because she is trying to have it both ways:
"Thunder struggled and resisted answering basic policy questions because she understands that one answer aligns with her minority base, and the other answer aligns with Mayor Blakespear and most Encinitas voters.
"On issue after issue–from safe storage of firearms ordinance (Blakespear voted yes), to climate mitigation efforts (Blakespear voted yes), to investing in improvements along the Leucadia 101 corridor (Blakespear voted yes), to concrete armoring of our natural beach bluffs (Thunder supports SB1090’s concrete seawalls)–on so many issues, core supporters of Julie Thunder generally line up one way, while most Encinitas voters generally come down on the other side.
"In order to win the election, candidate Thunder must convince people with heartfelt disagreements on both sides of important local policy matters to think she’s 'on their side.'
"Ultimately, she needs many of us to vote against our own policy preferences because we are confused about what the candidate really stands for. Being on everyone’s side sounds nice, but ultimately, it’s about confusion and misdirection.
"Is it a winning strategy? That is up to you."
Julie Thunder is a polarizing figure in the community. Her former political ally and a past candidate for state and local office had this to say about her:
"Julie Thunder is NOT on your side. Encinitas deserves a mayor with integrity, moral clarity and leadership skills. Julie Thunder lacks these qualities."
These words come from Phil Graham, a pillar of the community who ran for State Assembly in 2018 and Encinitas City Council in 2016. He was initially listed as an endorser on Julie Thunder's campaign website. No longer. Why? Because of Julie's tacit support of an illegal and dirty robo-calling campaign smearing him in the 2018 election, masterminded by her political mentor and partner Mark Muir. Julie didn't support Phil Graham when principle was at stake... she turned on him for the sake of political expediency.
Even more concerning is that Julie Thunder is trying to hide her true colors from Encinitas.
She touts her "independence" as a major asset on her campaign website and Facebook page:
But in truth, she has a well established partisan affiliation that she's working really hard to conceal, which gives the impression that she has a hidden agenda as well.
Julie Thunder changed her voter registration from "Republican" to “No Party Preference” just over a month before launching her mayoral campaign. Obviously this is an attempt to deceive and deflect scrutiny.
She has a long history of endorsing and working tirelessly to elect Republican candidates to political offices at all levels.
She was endorsed by Vote Conservative San Diego and by the Trump-supporting, right-wing Executive Director of the San Diego Gun Owners PAC, Michael Schwartz, who said that the election in Encinitas was "one of the most important races in the county". He also called our current council "ridiculous":
Her campaign treasurer is Briana Baleskie, co-founder of a Trump-supporting "Build the Wall" PAC and also treasurer for Republican Supervisor Kristin Gaspar (who voted proudly for Trump in 2016).
Julie Thunder associates with far-right activists like Crista Curtis (who led aggressive protests in favor of re-opening too early and harassed the mayor by leading a mob to her house) and Kim Spada Morris (who fought against the Safe Parking Lot for 25 cars for unsheltered residents). Below is a Facebook post thanking Julie for attending a Republican event, with a picture showing her hanging out with her Republican friends:
Thunder is also co-publisher of a so-called "community news" website which is actually a partisan political platform. She's partnered up with scandal-ridden Republican Mark Muir to publish "The Encinitas Current". Mark Muir and his family are embroiled in FCC and FPPC investigations into an illegal and deceptive robo-calling campaign during the 2018 State Assembly election.
On the merits, Julie Thunder's campaign is one of grievance. She's against a great many things, including long overdue improvements to Leucadia, projects to help our most vulnerable residents, and the certified housing plan getting the city out of a legal quagmire.
She led a divisive fight to stop the Cardiff segment of the Coastal Rail Trail (a battle which she fortunately lost - the Cardiff Rail Trail is now an enormously popular community gem). It's not entirely clear what she is actually *for* other than to try to take Encinitas back to the 1980s.
True leadership isn't about pointing out what's wrong and saying "NO" to everything - it's about having the political courage to find the path forward, to make hard decisions, and to take a stand on principles. Julie Thunder has shown no sign of these traits.
Finally, it's worth noting that Julie Thunder has no experience in government. She's never even served on a commission. She has decided that any office short of mayor is apparently beneath her.
Don't vote for Julie Thunder. She's a divisive force in our community, earning a public rebuke from a former political ally based on issues of character and integrity. She's the candidate of "NO". And she's hiding her true colors, masquerading as an independent while it's crystal clear that she's been a hard-right Republican for years. Over 75% of Encinitas voters care about the partisan affiliation of their officials and candidates, even for technically non-partisan offices such as Mayor and Council member.
So... know your candidates for mayor:
By Michael Verdu, Encinitas resident
Going deeper than sound bites and slogans, I thought I'd share some of my personal reasons for why I support our mayor and why I work so hard to get her re-elected. It's important to note that my wife and I have no financial interests in Encinitas beyond our home; there's nothing we want or need from our elected leaders except for them to do a good job, serve our community, and act with integrity. Here is my case for our mayor.
Competence: I personally value competence in our leaders - and Catherine has proven to be very competent. She understands the issues that we face in Encinitas and the entire region. She does her homework. She is careful to weigh all sides of an issue. Mike Levin recently said that she is one of the most knowledgeable local leaders, grasping the details and nuances of regional and local policy. Along with our City Council, she's competently steering our city through a pandemic, a crushing recession, an unprecedented level of polarization in the community, a global environmental crisis, a housing affordability crisis, a growing wave of homelessness, and the denouement of a years-long crisis around the city's housing plan. Through it all we've kept our AAA bond rating, we have one of the safest cities in the county (#1 in 2019, #2 this year), we are moving forward with community improvements including parks and pedestrian rail crossings and trails, we are protecting our environment and safeguarding our beaches, and our community has maintained its character, vibrancy, and soul.
Commitment: She works tirelessly on behalf of our community. Serving as mayor or Council member was originally supposed to be a part-time role, something a citizen does in addition to a day job. Catherine performs her role as a full time job. She's all-in for our city, and I am grateful for that.
Compassion: She cares about ALL of the people in our community, including our homeless residents. And she's willing to fight for us... ALL of us. She fearlessly fought to help the most vulnerable members of our community with the Safe Parking Lot for 25 cars for unsheltered residents. This was an important first step and it not only showed our city's compassion but also our willingness to lead the region in addressing one of our nation's deepest problems.
Leadership: Catherine understands that leadership is more than obstructing or pushing back or pointing out the negatives. A leader must find a path forward, balancing the interests of the community, obeying the law, and trying to do the most good for the largest number of residents while protecting the interests and rights of the minority. She does all of that... again and again.
Courage: Catherine has taken stands that are based on principle, even at risk of being unpopular. She acts locally while thinking globally with the Climate Action Plan, the shore restoration projects, bans on single use plastics, and the support for active transportation. She and the Council have been steadfast in support of the long-overdue improvements in Leucadia, which also have the support of the majority of residents but are opposed by an active minority. She strongly supported the Safe Parking Lot in the face of opposition from an angry minority of residents. These are just a few examples of leadership and political courage in the face of adversity.
Integrity and Values: Catharine's integrity is above reproach. And everything she does in office is guided by principles which ultimately flow from a wellspring of values. She is a true public servant and is devoted to democracy. Her emotional connections to the ideals of democracy shine through when she writes about elections, voting, and our country's history. Given the trying times that we live in, I am sometimes tempted to become cynical about our democracy. Catherine is NEVER cynical about our democracy. She believes in it with every fiber of her being... and she strives to act every day according to democratic ideals. Her faith reminds me to have faith. I am grateful for that.
Pragmatism: She understands that we can never win with extremes. For example, we can't tell the state to pound sand with regards to our housing plan. The Governor and the State Legislature are committed to solving a statewide housing affordability crisis and are requiring cities to create plans for new housing, including affordable housing. Encinitas was out of compliance for years due to the lack of a natural constituency to advocate in favor of housing plans that were difficult compromises. The Council attempted to pass compromise plans twice in the face of fierce opposition from special interest groups. We paid the price in lawsuits, legal bills, and lost state grants (which could have paid for more pedestrian rail crossings, among other projects). This housing issue is perhaps the most thorny and difficult problem facing our mayor and Council. It's very complicated... with a local law (Prop A) conflicting with state law. The conflict is incredibly hard to resolve because of the dynamics involved in passing a city-wide housing plan (by a vote) that can be certified by the state.
When we look forward, we need a housing plan that balances all interests. Those who believe that we can push back on the state and stop all new housing projects are misleading the public with simplistic messaging. In reality, local law does not pre-empt state law. A housing plan that is compliant with state law will be an uneasy compromise, no matter how it shakes out. Why? Because we can't force owners of private property to develop nothing but affordable housing (that would constitute taking their property). Instead, we have to incent landowners to develop the right kind of housing, and that's a frustrating and indirect mechanism. We must live in the real world and find compromises that work for all of us. That means the elements of any housing plan will be unpopular with some residents, no matter what is proposed.
I trust Catherine as well as the current Council to get this right. To thread this needle, to navigate us out of the current litigation and eventually find the practical and balanced path forward. I don't trust Julie Thunder, Susan Turney, and Alex to get this right. They betray a lack of experience, pragmatism, and common sense by taking a very complex issue and reducing it down to misleading slogans for campaign signs. To me, what they say sounds like pandering to residents, a highly unrealistic "have your cake and eat it too" approach. I believe they will plunge Encinitas back into a legal war with the state.
I trust Catherine to do the right thing for Encinitas. She's competent, compassionate, pragmatic, and courageous. I share and respect her values. Maybe she won't get it perfectly right every time... but she'll get it right most of the time. And that's all we can really ask of our leaders.
Julie Thunder, Susan Turney, and Alex Riley are spreading misinformation
The outrageous claims that the city sued its residents are false and we can prove it
The city did NOT sue its residents. Not a single resident was named. Nobody was served.
In fact, the Mayor and Council are fighting to *PROTECT* your vote.
We're so sure about this that we'll give $1,000 to a charity of your choice if you're the first person that can prove you were named or served in connection with the city's Prop A housing litigation. And we'll eat humble pie with a public apology in a post here and on our Faceboook page.
Now to the proof: We've provided a link to a court records search that will show you if you've been a party to any lawsuit. Enter your name as defendant in a civil suit at all court locations since 2017. If the city has sued you (even if you were later removed from the case), the search results will show it.
Or just take a phone snapshot of a court document that specifically names you and email it to us (or post it on our Facebook group if that makes you more comfortable. Feel free to black out any personal information other than your name. We're not picky.
We're quite sure that no such court documents exist. But if they do... we'll fess up.
Click below to see the messages of support coming directly from your Encinitas neighbors:
TRUMP-LOVING EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE SAN DIEGO GUN OWNERS PAC ENTHUSIASTICALLY ENDORSES JULIE THUNDER
Michael Schwartz is Executive Director of the San Diego County Gun Owners PAC. He loves Trump. He recently posted a link to an article about Trump defending the violent actions of his supporters in Portland and Kenosha - with the comment: "Love Trump. I just love the guy." (local Republican activist Crista Curtis chimes in "Yep! Me too." in the comment thread below).
Just above the adoring post about Trump is a glowing endorsement of Julie Thunder. Here's what this right-wing gun advocate says about Julie: "FINALLY! A good candidate in Encinitas... In my personal opinion, this is one of the most important races in the county. Getting some sanity back into those ridiculous coastal city councils is HUGE."
Even more confirmation that Julie Thunder remains an enthusiastic Republican even though she cynically switched her voter registration to "No Party Preference" right before announcing her candidacy for mayor. She is a long-time Republican. She worked to elect Republican candidates to office... partners with a Republican to put out her political newspaper ("The Encinitas Current")... hangs out with right-wing activists like Crista Curtis... and raised most of her money from Republicans.
Here are the posts from Schwartz's Facebook feed:
Phil Graham was a candidate for the California State Assembly in 2018. He made a recent post about Julie Thunder's character and suitability for office in a Facebook group focused on Encinitas politics.
The post content is below:
Julie Thunder is NOT on your side.
Encinitas deserves a mayor with integrity, moral clarity and leadership skills.
Julie Thunder lacks these qualities.
Last election cycle, I ran for the 76th Assembly seat. In July of this year, Mark and Mo Muir were exposed at the culprits who disparaged my good name and disenfranchised North County Voters by paying for 50,000 salacious robocalls saying I sexually assaulted a woman. The robocalls were sent by spoofing a phone number out of Mexico, disguising who paid for them. Read the story here.
This was done AFTER I was 100% exonerated, and led to 50,000 North County voters being misled by these smears. The woman who made the accusations pled guilty and went to jail. Read the story here.
I lost the race. Mark and Mo Muir didn't care, they only cared about their own power. They are responsible for Tasha being our Assemblywoman.
When told about the Muir's disgusting acts, Julie Thunder emailed me "Oh man, I wished it was Tasha - Ugh." When I explained the Muir's serious damage to the election process, disenfranchising 50,000 North County Voters, and serious damage to my reputation, Julie texted me "Wow, I completely understand. I'll stay on the sidelines and focus on my race for now. Hugs to you." Read the story here.
But Julie didn't stay on the sidelines. She didn't distance herself from the Muirs. She continues to partner with Mark Muir on her newsletter and her campaign. Read the story here.
Julie let me know that her friendship with the Muirs is more important than defending an innocent person from outrageous false charges, leadership, and integrity. The home that I've made for over 22 years deserves better.
Click below to see messages of support coming directly from your Encinitas neighbors:
Mayor Catherine Blakespear wrote a great little history of the city's troubled housing plan - which was recently certified by the California Department of Housing and Community Development.
Here's a quick summary with some added color:
After the voters passed Proposition A in 2013, which requires voter approval of any up-zoning, the city tried to pass long term housing plans that would comply with state law in two different elections (Measure T in 2016 and Measure U in 2018). A coalition of special interest groups fought against both plans, running online ads, placing signs around the city, and campaigning against the measures. There was no natural constituency in favor of the plans... and so there was no balancing force against the NIMBY groups. Both measures went down to defeat.
The city was sued because it was out of compliance with state law (which requires that cities create a path for building enough housing - including affordable housing - to provide for future population growth).
The court required the city to suspend Prop A and comply with state law by adopting a housing plan that could be certified by the state. Encinitas submitted Measure U (the second housing plan put in front of voters in 2018). As a condition of approval, the state required Encinitas to pursue city-initiated litigation to establish the limits of Prop A (formally resolving the issue of pre-emption, namely that this local law does not pre-empt state law).
Encinitas found a defendant willing to take the other side of the argument: A special interest group called "Preserve Prop A". This group initially signed up to be the defendant, hoping to make their case in court. However, the group turned tail before the lawsuit got off the ground... so the city dropped them as a defendant and sued the state instead. Preserve Prop A was never served.
The city never sued Preserve Prop A. The city sure as hell didn't sue any residents.
The coda to this whole mess is that Preserve Prop A decided to jump back into the lawsuit recently, making an about-face after their about-face. That little maneuver will simply cost us all more money... because ultimately we are on the hook for the costs.
Catherine Blakespear's much longer and more comprehensive story is at the link below: