To the Coast News
Jerome Stocks, the current mayor of Encinitas, has decided to compete with The Grinch as the most despicable icon of the Christmas season. It’s one thing to steal Christmas from the children of Whoville. It’s a new holiday low to remove sketches of the late city councilwoman, Maggie Houlihan, from artistic banners produced by the 101 Artists’ Colony in Encinitas.
The banners paid tribute to Houlihan, who died recently after a five-year battle with cancer. Sale of these banners helps support the arts. The artists sought to honor Houlihan, a progressive and strong patron of the arts. With Grinch-like malevolence, Stocks misrepresented the municipal code when he demanded the removal of Houlihan’s likeness.
Stocks objected to Houlihan’s picture, arguing that “political imagery” cannot appear on city property. Councilwoman Houlihan is dead, Mr. Scrooge. She’s no more a political image than Washington or Lincoln.
Stocks’ dislike of Houlihan is well documented. Banning her likeness smacks of a totalitarian arrogance that even a Dr. Seuss character would be hard pressed to match.
Congratulations on your 15 minutes of fame, Mr. Mayor. The story of your smallness has received wide media attention. May you become more mocked than the Cardiff Kook.
David M. Dozier, Ph.D.
A lack of civility or an abuse of power
Watching Mayor Stocks respond to speakers during the public comment portions of the City Council meetings in Encinitas seem to reveal a drak side to Mayor Stocks that overwhelms his ability to follow the rules.
Whatever citizens say, there is not supposed to be a direct reply by council members, or actions taken directly on their comments. This “rule” has been loosely interpreted at best, but Mayor Stocks has consistently stepped over the line. On Dec. 12, Brad Roth accused Mayor Stocks of sending Bob Nanniga to threaten and intimidate him regarding Roth’s opinion of the Hall Park project. Mayor Stocks immediately responded that the statement was an “absolute lie,” and that “he never told Nanniga to do anything.” We will probably never know what actually happened, but is it fair to call someone a liar from the dais, with the color of authority knowing that the speaker cannot give a rebuttal? Would not a prudent person say: “I don’t know what happened between you and Nanniga, but I can assure you I never suggested any threat or intimidation or sent Nanniga to talk to you.”
This is not the first time that this has happened. On Aug. 8, Joanne Hoffman commented on Walmart and the attempted “addition” of a strip club on El Camino Real. Stocks immediately went into a rant about how he fought and defeated the strip club. When the City Staff presented the General Plan (Sept. 14), Stocks again vehemently voiced his displeasure to the Staff and demanded that the draft contain a “not approved by the City Council” proviso.
So, is Mayor Stocks’ behavior a lack of civility or an abuse of power? Watch the video on the City’s site and you decide. I think the rest of the council should suggest that Stocks take an anger management class.