Encinitas City Council discusses election reforms

ENCINITAS — Should future mayors earn more than councilmembers? 

That question was discussed during a special City Council meeting on Wednesday dedicated to all things election.

Other issues that were mulled over during the meeting included the 2014 Encinitas ballot initiative to allow medical marijuana dispensaries and the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling.

In regards to the mayor’s salary, councilmembers and the mayor take home the same amount — $1,186 — every month, according to the city’s staff report. Councilman Tony Kranz said that being mayor requires putting in more time than councilmembers. For that reason, he supports the mayor being paid more.

Deputy Mayor Lisa Shaffer said she’s not in favor of increasing the mayor’s salary. However, she noted that the mayor has to attend more events than councilmembers.

If councilmembers find that the mayor isn’t being adequately reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses associated with city business, then they should consider increasing compensation, Shaffer added.

In the end, council gave direction to bring back more information, including whether mayors of other cities make more money than councilmembers, for a potential vote.

Several public speakers advocated for the City Council to pass a non-binding resolution to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling.

Due to the ruling, Super PACS and their affiliated 501 (c) 4s can collect nearly unlimited contributions from corporations, unions and individuals.

As a result of a unanimous vote, the City Council will consider adopting the resolution next month.

Pam Page, representing the San Diego wing of Common Cause, an organization that promotes open government, said that the resolution is symbolic, but sends a message to legislators.

“When it comes time for our congressional representatives to vote on the issue, we want them to look to their constituents … and look to Encinitas,” Page said.

She noted that 50 California cities, including the city of San Diego, have passed a resolution to reverse Citizens United.

In response to councilmembers’ questions, Glenn Sabine, the city’s attorney, said he’ll need to research how Citizens United affects campaign disclosures for those running for Encinitas City Council.

The city will also look into a separate inquiry regarding whether it’s possible to cap campaign contributions for city council candidates.

In November 2014, Encinitas voters will decide if medical marijuana dispensaries should be permitted in certain parts of the city. Councilmembers declined to take a stance on that ballot measure.

Councilman Mark Muir proposed that councilmembers issue support or opposition to the initiative at a future council meeting. However, the other councilmembers didn’t back that plan.

A similar measure failed to pass in Solana Beach and Del Mar last year.

Heidi Whitman said that the City Council should support the measure. She noted that the federal government has recently said it won’t interfere with cities that closely regulate medical marijuana. Whitman added that she herself uses medical marijuana; otherwise, she wouldn’t be able to eat due to injuries sustained from a boating accident.

Nancy Logan opposes the measure, arguing it will make it easier for teenagers to obtain marijuana.

“It’s not the sick people going in and getting it — it’s the youth,” Logan said.


Log in with your credentials


Forgot your details?