The Encinitas city council super-majority recently appointed council member Jerome Stocks mayor. Some 75 percent of the residents in attendance stood in silence and turned their backs to Mr. Stocks when he was selected. It was a powerful community commentary, but not surprising, as Stocks and the council super-majority have had a history of seemingly turning their backs to the needs of residents.
For instance residents asked the council to release a roads report, then-Mayor James Bond, Deputy Mayor Stocks and council member Kristin Gaspar refused. A resident filed suit and a judge ordered the council to release the report.
When residents asked the council to perform an appraisal at the Pacific View site that would have benefitted taxpayers Stocks and Bond said, “No,” while Gaspar recused herself.
Last year residents asked the council to avoid the appearance of cronyism by appointing 1 of 13 city council applicants who had not violated city policy to replace the late Maggie Houlihan. Stocks, Bond and Gaspar looked the other way and appointed Mark Muir, the only applicant who had violated policy.
It is a political tool to try and paint those with opposing views negatively. Stocks tried to spin the public protest of his appointment by telling the press it was part of the “the annual food fight.” Nobody was buying it. Encinitas resident Bernard Minster set the record straight at a subsequent council meeting informing Mayor Stocks that food fights are sophomoric resulting in a mess requiring a trip to the dry cleaners, whereas the protest of Mr. Stocks appointment was in response to the mess created by Stocks and his failed leadership.
Stocks wrote online that his appointment was not “cronyism.” That Stocks himself refers to the word in describing his appointment implies if may just be that. The motion to appoint Stocks was seconded by un-elected council member Mark Muir. As Fire Chief Muir violated city policies and directed campaign efforts to elect Stocks. Stocks appointed Muir to the council over qualified applicants who had not violated city policies. Just four weeks after being appointed to the council by Stocks, Muir voted to appoint Stocks to the mayoral position. Should we be surprised?
Political incumbents seeking re-election remind me of the Wizard of Oz. When it comes to their records of bad decision-making they say don’t look this way. The not so yellow brick road to Encinitas city hall is littered with buried road reports and potholes of poor decisions. 10 years ago Stocks and Bond committed $46 million of taxpayer money for the Hall Park that remains unusable. Now they don’t have the money to build the park they promised. Today they blame everyone but themselves for their inability to create anything other than a 44-acre $46 million eyesore.
Mr. Stocks wrote an editorial six months ago saying that “the park can and will be used.” When? 10 years has passed. The city has had approval to build the park for two years. Nobody can use the park today. Mr. Stocks is out of touch with reality and in denial. Whether it’s failing roads, high-density development or voting to increase city pensions it is undeniable that Encinitas taxpayers have footed the bill for a decade of mismanagement.
When questioned about his failure to deliver on expectations the Wizard of Oz told Dorothy “Don’t mind that man behind the curtain.” He was counting on the Scarecrow’s lack of brains. It seems the Mayor of Encinitas is telling the public the same thing. The question is: Is anyone in town buying it?