Favorite emerges for city commission seat

ENCINITAS —A favorite has emerged for the vacancy on the city’s traffic and public safety commission.

After last week’s interviews at the Dec. 10 City Council meeting, a majority of the council members signaled their support for Brian Grover, chairman of the Encinitas Bike and Pedestrian Committee, better known as Bike Walk Encinitas.

The committee is charged with improving biking and pedestrian corridors within the city to make the city more pedestrian and biker friendly.

Grover said his group has worked with the city and sheriff’s department to improve pedestrian safety, and that he believes that the planning for vehicles is just as important for planning for the other modes of transportation.

An avid cyclist who has biked to work over the past eight years, Grover said he believes he has a unique understanding of the local roads and would use that knowledge to help plan “more complete streets that cater to all modes of transportation.”

Grover was one of seven who applied to fill the seat left vacant when Al Rodbell abruptly resigned in October. Rodbell told readers of his blog that he resigned from the commission in protest of the city’s continued pursuit of the $10 million Pacific View purchase, which he said takes money out of the city’s budget it could use toward needed traffic management upgrades.

Of the seven applicants, five — Grover, former council candidate Alan Lerchbacker, former lifeguard Deputy Chief Joe Bunn, Scott Carter and Glen Johnson — attended the council meeting and gave a three-minute speech in which they detailed their credentials and their reasons for applying for the position.

Tony Kranz, Lisa Shaffer and new Deputy Mayor Catherine Blakespear recommended Grover, who articulated his vision for what he hopes to accomplish on the commission as it pertains improving bicycle and pedestrian safety.

Councilman Mark Muir recommended Bunn, who he said would provide a unique perspective to the commission, which is heavy on traffic experience, because of his public safety background.

Mayor Kristin Gaspar at Wednesday’s council meeting will make her recommendation for the position, which is a shift in city policy that now grants the elected mayor the power to make appointments with the council’s approval.

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