Election year is here, use your ballot

The 2012 Encinitas City Council race is underway. This week Encinitas Mayor Jerome Stocks sent an unsolicited email “newsletter” to residents. Stocks had previously never sent residents a newsletter. With his future at stake it appears he decided maybe he should. In doing so he may have shot himself in the foot.Some residents wondered how Stocks got their email addresses and why he was taking credit for an action he once opposed. In his email Stocks claims that 5.8 acres of lagoon land had been purchased as open space. Stocks failed to write that he had sided with the developer against the residents in voting to approve a housing development on the land that encroached on lagoon wetlands.The residents appealed to the Coastal Commission who ruled against Stocks — only then was the land purchased as open space. Stocks is trying to take credit when it is not deserved and he is counting on an uninformed public not noticing.When it comes to campaigns, Stocks has a history of making things look like what they aren’t when it benefits him.In a previous Stocks campaign, a photo of then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger presenting Stocks and others with a certificate was edited to make it appear Schwarzenegger was endorsing Stocks. The doctored photo was used on Stocks’ campaign flyers until the Governor’s staff asked him to stop. My dad Hank calls this a bait and switch. It looks to me like Stocks wants us to believe things that aren’t true.

Stocks isn’t alone in his use of questionable campaign material. Former fire chief and current un-elected Encinitas council member Mark Muir was chastised by the International Association for Fire Fighters after he set up a political action committee that used images of front line fire fighters in deceptive campaign mailers to elect Stocks.

Muir is a likely 2012 candidate. As fire chief, Muir violated city policy and codes of conduct by using city resources to direct Stocks’ campaign efforts. Muir was later appointed to the council by Stocks over 13 other qualified applicants who had not violated city policy. Rather than being reprimanded, I think Muir was rewarded.

The public should not be surprised that during elections public databases are mined to send unsolicited emails and calls. You may remember during the 2010 election then Encinitas Mayor Dan Dalager was under investigation by the DA for failing to disclose a $100,000 loan from a developer. Stocks made unsolicited “robo-calls” asking voters to set aside their moral compass and vote for Dalager. Dalager lost the election and soon after plead guilty for violating the public trust. It’s a good thing the public didn’t follow Stocks’ advice.

Encinitas council candidate Lisa Shaffer used Stocks’ newsletter to point out their differences in leadership. Shaffer wrote a commentary asking Stocks to use his “newsletter” to explain such things as his failure to build the Hall Park, his foolish decision to waste $100,000 on a lawsuit to keep a road report from the public and answer questions surrounding the budget and claims that the general plan is being written by insiders. Shaffer contends the process under Stocks has wasted close to $1 million and lacked leadership, vision and respect for community participation.

Encinitas council candidate Tony Kranz, who ran on a platform of “Trust and Transparency,” and has remained active, calling for open government and responsible spending, used an online commentary to sound the alarm that Mayor Stocks must move quickly to take advantage of state funds to improve Moonlight Beach.

In 2010 Stocks and the council failed to take advantage of state funds to improve Beacons. Stocks would be well served to follow Kranz’s lead on this issue. Stocks failed to follow Kranz’s position on the road report and taxpayers paid the price.

Election season is here. Candidates are showing us who they are. Check your inbox.

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