Why I’m running for Encinitas City Council

I’m running for Encinitas City Council to preserve and enhance the essence of Encinitas.

We need the right leaders to create transparent, efficient and effective government, and we need council members who can work together to build consensus to solve the city’s thorniest problems.  As a fourth-generation Encinitas resident, I believe I’m uniquely capable of doing just that.

I’m a mom and an attorney who co-founded my own firm, so I’ll offer the perspective of a small business owner who makes the books balance. I’ll also bring a lawyer’s background and understanding when threats of litigation face the city, as well as during the interpretation of legally dense documents involving density bonus laws, contract negotiations, pensions and other city business.

I’ve been a reporter with the Los Angeles Times and the Associated Press, and am the past president of a large business-networking group.

My current membership on the city’s Traffic & Public Safety Commission shows me that managing the effects of growth is one of our greatest challenges. Developments that create a steady stream of new residents and more visitors mean opportunities for vibrancy and bustling commerce, but also increasing traffic and congestion.

There is no easy answer to figuring out the right balance.  We need to be in front of this wave and not allow piecemeal or crisis decision-making. We need to protect private property rights while standing up for the public interest to ensure that development enhances our communities.

I am thankful for the purchase of the Pacific View property, but did it have to happen at the eleventh hour, in a panicked rush? Pacific View had been for sale for years. Could other leaders have reached a compromise earlier in the process and under better terms?

Bottom line, I believe the city has the potential to live within its means, foster vibrant commerce and acquire historically important pieces of property.

I’d like to create ways for all sides to be proactively involved in solving the city’s most serious issues. City guidelines that interpret the state requirement allowing for density bonus upgrades need to be overhauled immediately to prevent the abuses that we’ve seen—pitfalls that other cities manage to avoid.

As a member of GPAC (General Plan Advisory Committee), I’m particularly concerned about the housing element in the General Plan update. We need meaningful ways to create affordable housing, such as counting accessory dwelling units, while also complying with state mandates. We have smart, engaged people in this city and I want to create an environment where they can help us solve these issues.

To avoid future mistakes, the city needs to examine recent projects that have created congestion problems, such as the traffic back-up near the recently built drive-through Starbucks on Leucadia Boulevard.  There has been no actual analysis of what created this headache, and what we can do to avoid that happening again. This lack of perspective is a citywide issue.

Let me tell you a little about my family background. I grew up in a multi-generational Encinitas household with a grandma who spent her youth growing flowers here. My grandma and I helped establish the garden program at the elementary school that my two children now attend, the school my grandpa’s construction company built in the 1950s.

It’s the same school my mother and her three siblings attended. Today, I’m proud to be the chair of the nonprofit that helps run the successful garden and fruit tree program where all 400 students enjoy growing their own food.

Our family lives, works and plays here. My husband works in the Emergency Department at Scripps Hospital in Encinitas.

We delight in Encinitas’ amazing recreational opportunities—we run the trails and along the beach, bike, swim and surf in the ocean and play field sports.

We live here for the same reason you live here, because we love Encinitas. I believe that I am an energized, professional leader who can help unite people in a common vision.

My job will be to leave a legacy of prudent financial decision-making that continues to provide residents with the very best quality of life. Protecting the essence of Encinitas is why I’m running for City Council.

Catherine S. Blakespear, Esq. is an  Encinitas resident.

 

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