ENCINITAS — Kristin Gaspar will become Encinitas’ mayor June 11 — but not before a packed council chambers expressed disappointment that her upcoming appointment was even being discussed.
Supporters of Gaspar — including her 8-year-old son — flooded the meeting to urge the council to not renege on its compromise, which many hailed as a shift in the city’s rancorous political history.
“My teachers said you should always be honest, tell the truth, and always keep promises,” Carson Gaspar said. “I think you should too.”
The City Council unanimously voted to take no action on an agenda item initiated by Lisa Shaffer to discuss the December compromise, which calls for Teresa Barth to serve as mayor from December to June 11, and for Gaspar to assume the post from June to December.
In the days leading up to the discussion, critics have panned the item as “petty politics” and accused Lisa Shaffer and council ally Tony Kranz of trying to weaken Gaspar’s potential mayoral campaign.
Shaffer and Kranz on Wednesday repeated their insistence that the agenda item was not an attempt to renege on the compromise, but to review it prior to moving forward.
“I liken it to when you buy something online, before you buy you are given the option to review what is in your cart,” Shaffer said after the meeting. “If it wasn’t placed on the agenda, nobody would have a chance to say anything about it.”
Kranz echoed Shaffer’s comments.
“This is what I expected to happen tonight,” Kranz said referring to the Council taking no action. “There was no big concocted effort to change the decision from December.”
In a show of solidarity, supporters donned a Gaspar campaign sticker with a line through words “city council” scratched out and the word “mayor” scribbled underneath.
One by one, they approached the podium and panned the council for even having the item on the agenda.
“Why are we doing this? Why are we spending this type of time on this issue?” Carlsbad resident Mike Walsh said.
Gaspar’s mother, Jannae DeSiena, lashed out at the Council majority for what she called a “spiteful” move.
“This unethical bullying tactic is wrong and will do the city great injustice,” DeSiena, said to the Council, pointing her criticism to Shaffer, Kranz and Barth.
Former Assembly candidate Sherry Hodges, who lives in Olivenhain, said that many in the community saw the compromise as the city “turning over a new leaf.”
“I encourage you to stand by your agreement, because that is what you told voters and we were excited about that,” Hodges said.
Gaspar, who recited an oral history of how the Council forged a path of compromise and team building after the 2012 election, urged the Council to follow through on its word — no matter how inconvenient it might be.
“The cost of not doing so is more expensive, and could cost you your leadership,” she said.
Barth, who was shut out by the previous council when it was her turn to be mayor, said she made a promise not to do the same thing when she finally assumed the mayor’s seat in 2013. This included, she said, allowing council members to continue in appointments of their choosing and freedom to speak without interruption, something, she said, her predecessors didn’t allow.
“I was a whipping boy for previous council majority,” she said. “Those are facts. When I became mayor, I said I am going to turn other cheek.
“While I wouldn’t have preferred to have gone through it this evening, I sat there in that position and was treated and criticized verbally by my colleagues and accused of doing things I didn’t do and I know what that feels like,” Barth added. “With that, I would very much like to say this item is complete and take a 15-minute break.”
The council’s vote was met with the same reaction as the compromise in December — applause.