Julie Thunder is running for mayor against Catherine Blakespear.
We should all take a hard look at Thunder, because she's not being straight with us.
She claims to be an "independent", taking pains to say that she has no partisan affiliation. This is what she posted on her campaign website:
In a number of online posts, Julie Thunder pushes this theme even farther:
Don't be deceived. The truth is that Julie Thunder is a long-time Republican with strong partisan beliefs and deep party connections, and she's been working to conceal this from Encinitas voters.
Here are the facts:
If all that wasn't enough, Thunder was also endorsed by the Trump-supporting, right-wing Executive Director of the San Diego Gun Owners PAC, who said that the election in Encinitas was "one of the most important races in the county". He also called our current council "ridiculous":
And here is a Facebook post showing Thunder hanging out with Curtis and Morris, the two right-wing activists, at a gathering for the Republican Women of Del Mar (with no masks, apparently):
Julie Thunder is not an independent. She's a hardcore partisan Republican. And that means she's a wolf in sheep's clothing.
Encinitas voters deserve to know where Julie Thunder's loyalties lie. 75% of Encinitas residents care about the partisan affiliation of their candidates for Encinitas Mayor and City Council. Julie should be straight with us.
She should not pretend to be something that she's not.
It makes you wonder what else she's hiding from us.
In sharp contrast to Julie Thunder, Mayor Catherine Blakespear was endorsed by the Democratic Party in the last two election cycles and openly supports other Democratic candidates and causes. She is completely transparent about her partisan affiliation and her actions and her words reflect her values.
Like Julie's political affiliation, this "newsletter" pretends to be one thing while being something else entirely
Julie Thunder and scandal-ridden former City Council member Mark Muir are co-publishers of a newsletter called "The Encintas Current". It is ostensibly a non-partisan source of community news but in truth, it's a platform for partisan politics.
Check out the front page for July, 2020:
All of the features circled in red are political in nature, and specifically emphasize themes of Julie Thunder's campaign for mayor.
She's featured under "Campaign 2020" (yep, that's the co-publisher herself in the upper right).
The article with the innocuous sounding "Downtown 101 lane closures" headline is actually a hatchet job on the current City Council.
The article on bike crashes is a hit piece on the bike lane improvements along Coast Highway south of Cardiff.
And we round out the top features with Alex Riley's announcement for his City Council campaign (he's part of a slate with Julie Thunder and Susan Turney challenging the current mayor and Council).
It's really not cool to pretend to be a community newsletter when the real objective is to score political points and advance the interests of the co-publisher's mayoral campaign. Wow, how cynical!
If all this weren't bad enough, Julie usurped the "Current" name from a legitimate community paper that's been around for years: The "North Coast Current". Once again, designed to deceive.
The editor of the "North Coast Current" is clearly not amused and had this pointed response to Julie's political rag in the form of an editorial in his own paper (excerpt below, full article at the link).
Excerpt from "North Coast Current" editorial about the deliberate confusion between the "North Coast Current" and "The Encinitas Current":
EDITORIAL: Which Current are you reading? Encinitas site stirs election season confusion
Are you reading the North Coast Current or Encinitas Current? Look carefully. Not just at the nameplate, but at the web address. If you thought you were reading one and not the other, beware. It might be by design in this era of murky news outlets, leading to confusion stoked by political parties, bureaucracies, candidates and special interests.
The North Coast Current, an award-winning Encinitas-based news outlet founded 18 years ago, has battled misperceptions about its purpose and content since mayoral candidate Julie Thunder and former Encinitas Councilman Mark Muir founded the Cardiff Current in early 2018.
Given the years it’s taken to build the North Coast Current’s brand, it has every right to defend itself against this potential confusion.
Had Thunder and Muir named their sites “Cardiff Coast News” and “Encinitas Coast News,” would the ownership of the long-established Coast News accept it?
“Our original goal, conceptually, was just to have a community newspaper online and just focus on issues that were important to Cardiff,” Muir told the North Coast Current in 2018.
Thunder said in the same article that she had never heard of the North Coast Current. That claim is inconsistent with her outlet’s statement on the site: “Both Mark and Julie would be the first to say ‘We’re not journalists!’” Why would such a statement be necessary unless they already knew a journalistic enterprise with the Current name already existed, covering the same communities?
Neither explained to the reporter why there was such a similarity in name to the North Coast Current.
What happened, however, was that the Cardiff Current website disappeared not long after Muir’s run for City Council as Cardiff’s representative, a race he lost to Jody Hubbard. Then, in a quick turnaround, the Encinitas Current website appeared, incorporating the content from its earlier version. Within a year, on Jan. 31, Thunder announced her candidacy for Encinitas mayor on the site.
Without more transparency from Thunder or Muir in 2018, when the Cardiff Current first appeared, and the behavior of the sites leading up to election seasons 2018 and 2020, the North Coast Current is left with this impression — that the Cardiff and Encinitas “Currents” are designed to mislead residents into reading political sites as news sites.
Since Thunder announced her candidacy for mayor, the North Coast Current has received notes of congratulations and offers of campaign assistance meant for her.
The [North Coast] Current has been derided for supporting a candidate it has nothing to do with.
Thunder supporters have attempted to post free political advertising on the North Coast Current’s social media sites.
Thunder’s Encinitas Current posted an almost exact screen capture from a City Council meeting — labeled “Campaign 2020” — included in a Jan. 23 North Coast Current news story about her candidacy.
The Cardiff School District incorrectly referred to a North Coast Current news report as one from the Encinitas Current.
The [North Coast] Current would prefer to give Thunder and Muir the benefit of the doubt, but a recent trend in politics makes that more challenging.
This is a pretty scathing editorial. And just to rub it in, "The North Coast Current" put their front page side right next to "The Encinitas Current" front page (below). Ummm... yeah. It's confusing. And that's no accident... it appears to be quite deliberate.
The link to the full "North Coast Current" editorial is below:
The Mayor recently updated her website to include a great summary of her record and her positions on the issues.
She's running on a strong record of leadership - with several notable accomplishments. In her words:
The City of Encinitas is financially stable, one of the safest places to live in the county and deeply committed to environmental stewardship. In the four years that I’ve been your mayor, we’ve made substantial investments in our community’s public spaces, including the creation of a Coastal Rail Trail, a quiet railroad crossing, more sand and dunes on the beaches, and road connectivity improvements throughout the city.
Follow the link below to see the whole thing:
Some of you may have seen a few of these signs around Encinitas:
Who wants their mayor and city council to sue them? Especially to overturn their vote!
Seems bad, right? Well, don't be deceived!
Go up to one of the folks who put out one of these signs and ask if they were specifically named in a lawsuit and served by the city.
Well, were they notified of an impending lawsuit that named them?
So, what's up with the sign?
If they were straight with you, they might tell you a long, long story, about the city being out of compliance with state law for years and years because special interest groups thwarted the city's multiple attempts to pass a compliant housing plan, of the city finally being sued to comply, of a judge forcing the city to get declaratory relief to establish that local law doesn't pre-empt state law, of a group that volunteered to be on the other side of the argument and then promptly turned tail and ran, of abstract legal constructs, of twists and turns, and of the final form of a lawsuit to protect Proposition A, which is the ostensible "vote" that is supposedly being overturned in the slogan on this ridiculous sign.
It's not a simple tale, but one thing is for damned sure: The city is NOT suing you to overturn your vote.
Mayor Catherine Blakespear explains what really happened:
"The City of Encinitas sued the State of California, not our residents, and we did it to protect, not overturn, our citizens’ right to vote.
"I believe what’s motivating this sign is a twisted version of the following saga. As part of the city’s housing litigation, we invited a group called 'Preserve Prop. A' to participate as a party because we’d understood that they wanted to make their case. After filing a motion asking to be a part of earlier litigation, with their attorney communicating that they wanted a seat at the table, they made a politically motivated about-face and accused the city of 'suing our residents'. Nothing could be further from the truth.
"Given their changed position, the city dismissed the group 'Preserve Prop. A' from the city’s motion for declaratory relief. They have not been a party to the legal process for more than four months, since March. Instead, the city named the State of California.
"Now, the city is the party standing up for the right to vote under Prop. A, given that 'Preserve Prop. A' didn’t want to participate.
We are not suing our residents. We are protecting our residents’ right to vote."
Seems like a more accurate version of the sign would look like this:
Those goofy "My Mayor and Council Sued Me" signs were made by a group that believes the city should have defied the judge in the lawsuit forcing the city into compliance with state law. That would have meant declaring a full scale legal war on the State of California.
This trigger-happy group seems eager to plunge Encinitas into a long term, ultimately hopeless fight with the state, potentially costing us millions of dollars in legal fees, penalties, administrative fees, and foregone grants. Why would we lose out on grants? Because we don't get certain types of state grants - for example, money to build pedestrian rail crossings - when we're out of compliance with state law.
The state is very serious about its housing laws. The laws exist to promote affordable housing to relieve California's dire housing shortage. The Governor and the legislature are committed to solving the housing crisis. We may disagree with their methods, but we don't question their resolve.
The people who are itching for a fight shouldn't take our word for this. They can call Governor Gavin Newsom's office directly and ask him how serious he is about this issue. He did threaten to "make an example" out of cities that refused to come into compliance... a list that Encinitas was on for a long time. He seems pretty serious to us, but shucks, if he can be talked off his position, please let us know immediately!
Here's his number: 916-445-2841
Oh, wait. There's still the State Assembly and the State Senate, where majorities also support state housing laws. After all, they made those laws. They'll need to be convinced that they're wrong as well. Their phone numbers are... well, never mind.
The point is that fighting the state over housing law can sound like a noble cause - but it's really just a path into a hopeless quagmire that will cost all of us dearly.
Julie Thunder, the die-hard Republican candidate for mayor (who is trying to oust current Mayor Blakespear), seems like she's eager for a fight with the state based on what she's said online and on her website. She doesn't talk at all about the millions of dollars this bad decision will cost residents. Funny, that.
Here's the sign that should really be popping up around town:
...even when surveyed by an opposition group that framed the question as negatively as possible!
An opposition group calling themselves "Concerned Citizens of Encinitas" surveyed 4,000 residents and one of the questions was about the Leucadia Streetscape improvements along Coast Highway. The question in the survey was framed in a very negative way (emphasizing the lane reductions and ignoring all of the improvements to pedestrian safety, the new parking, and the multiple benefits to local businesses).
And yet... a solid majority of residents expressed support for Streetscape. Well, that must have been a surprise to those "Concerned Citizens".
Here are some visualizations of this long-overdue improvement to Leucadia:
Don't believe the heated rhetoric from the narrowly focused opposition groups. This is a wonderful project for Leucadia and will benefit the entire City of Encinitas.
JULIE THUNDER'S POLITICAL ALLY AND "ENCINITAS CURRENT" CO-PUBLISHER MARK MUIR IS ENGULFED IN SCANDAL
It turns out that Julie Thunder's close partner Mark Muir was behind the illegal and dirty robo-calling campaign that took down Republican Assembly candidate Phil Graham in the 2018 primary campaign for the 76th District.
Mark Muir and an unspecified, younger Muir family member hired Ken Moser, a political consultant, to run the robo-calling campaign smearing Phil Graham by amplifying false accusations against him (Phil had just been exonerated of an alleged charge of battery against a young woman in a local bar). Mark's wife, Maureen Muir, was running against Graham, and would presumably benefit from these robo-calls.
Moser made 47,000 "spoofed" robo-calls on behalf of the Muirs, masking the identity of the caller with the phone number of a business rival to hide what he was doing. (Who does this?)
The Federal Communications Commission investigated the robo-calling campaign and has accused Moser of spreading false information about Graham just days before the primary election. The FCC also frowns on "spoofing" calls. The FCC has proposed a $10 million fine against Moser. Yikes!
Moser recently identified the Muirs as his clients, saying that Mark Muir specifically gave him the messaging and the targeting for the robo-calls. Mark Muir was an Encinitas City Council member at the time. A younger female Muir family member signed the paperwork, which means that Mark encouraged a young relative to step into deep doodoo, landing right in the middle of a major scandal. (I'll bet Mark and his ambitious wife, "Mo" are no longer this young family member's favorite relatives).
The California Fair Political Practices Commission, California's political watchdog agency, has also opened an investigation.
This is the company that Julie Thunder keeps.
The full "Voice of San Diego" article about this can be found at the link below.
According to a survey of 4,000 residents conducted in the spring of this year, people who live in Encinitas think our mayor and City Council are doing a good job. Residents approve of the mayor and City Council's performance by a 3:1 margin. The survey was run by a group that doesn't like the mayor or the City Council at all (the so-called "Concerned Citizens of Encinitas"). We suspect they thought the survey would confirm that residents all secretly felt the same way they did. Not so much. They surveyed enough people (4,000 out of a population of 60,000+) that the truth shined right through.
This survey confirms our own internal data - but we used their results because nobody can accuse us of gaming the survey if we're reporting out conclusions from research conducted by our opposition.
We have the best mayor and City Council in many years. They are doing a great job for us. Encinitas is running a budget surplus, moving improvement projects forward, and helping our most vulnerable residents. We're in compliance with state law for housing for the first time in the city's history. Residents approve of the job our leaders are doing - and 70% also feel like our quality of life here in paradise is stable or improving.