A columnist in our local paper recently published a quote from Woody Allen, “80% of success is showing up.”Jerome Stocks and Mark Muir have demonstrated that for them, the other 20 percent doesn’t involve playing by the rules.
On Oct. 5, at 10:25 pm, your mayor Stocks and your city councilman Mark Muir were caught red-handed violating Encinitas municipal code by placing signs at Encinitas Ford, well over a day before the legally permissible date.
In the video, they claim that the legal date is Oct. 6. Take out your calendars and count 30 days back from the date of the election on Nov. 6. That date is Oct. 7, 30 days prior to the election. They claim this was just a minor mistake, but it’s not. It not only looks bad, it is bad.
Placing your signs early puts all your opponents at a competitive disadvantage. The good spots may already be taken by the cheaters. When you see these signs, you should be offended.
Mr. Muir claims that this election is not about signs. I totally agree. It is about honest government and honest government officials. It is about accountability. It is about respect for citizens and civic engagement, and it is about respect for the guidelines of fairness set forth in the city code.
This may seem like just a sophomoric prank, but it goes deeper than this. It is part of a pattern of self-serving, one-for-you, two-for-me decisions. Where the rules are vague, or inconvenient — no problem; just reinterpret them to your advantage or ignore them entirely and keep the public in the dark.
Mayor Stocks, in typical derisive language, tried to dismiss the citizen brave enough to confront their wrongdoing as a “stalker.” Well, if he was stalking, he was stalking the truth, and Jerome Stocks and Mark Muir abused their positions as city officials by attempting intimidate him, demanding his name and photographing his license plate. For what purpose? Mayor Stocks claimed that the citizen was being aggressive. Watch the video for yourself. Do Mayor Stocks and councilman Muir look like they felt threatened? They look like they were caught. They knew exactly what they were doing; they knew that it was wrong; and they tried to intimidate the witness to their wrongdoing by implying that there could be retribution if he came forward.
In an absurd attempt to diffuse the situation, Mayor Stocks now claims that the violation was “only a code, not a law.” Mr. Mayor, should we feel free to ignore all the other municipal codes when they are inconvenient, or feel that we can gain some personal advantage by violating them? What sort of example does this set for people asked to place their trust in city officials?
There is no way to whitewash or spin-dry this incident.
It was a blatant attempt to circumvent the rules for competitive advantage, and should be called out by the citizens for what it is, a crime against the city.
Cyrus Kamada is an Encinitas resident.