Name: Mark Muir
Occupation: Encinitas City Council Member
Previous governmental experience: Encinitas Fire Chief
Family: Mo – wife, Scotland – son
- What prompted you to run for Encinitas mayor? Not running for Mayor
- What do you feel are the three biggest priorities for the next city council, and how as mayor or council member would you help the council achieve those objectives? Maintain fiscal accountability (voted against raising taxes), eliminate wasteful spending and provide balanced budgets. Invest in core services (public safety, roads, infrastructure, etc.). Environmental stewardship by preserving and protecting our community character from inappropriate development (best voting record on council), protecting and acquiring more opens space and trails. I hope to provide common sense principles, a strong leadership style with real consensus building efforts at the public and city council level.
- Do you support Measure T, Encinitas’ proposed housing element update? Please explain your position. If you do not support Measure T, please provide your alternative plan to address the state and regional housing needs allocation. Yes, I support Measure T. It’s clearly required by law and we have three pending lawsuits and 1 recent threat (Coast Law Group) to demand that we have an approved state housing plan. Being the only city in the county not to have a housing element also prevents us from obtaining many available grants. Many months ago, I brought forward a council-initiated item to allow any person or group to come forward with a methodology or plan for establishing a housing element for the council to consider. Only one come forward and it was deemed an unlawful plan. We have hundreds of hours of outreach and public participation, which lead both the Planning Commission and City Council to unanimously approve the most environmental sensitive map of four available housing plans. The best part is that the voters are the final decision-makers. Read it, ask questions and most importantly — vote yes or no!
- Outside of the housing element, what can the city do to promote the creation of actual affordable units throughout the city? Measure T meets our state affordable housing requirements. We also have an inclusionary affordable housing policy which creates more affordable housing, but is not required. We could do more by increasing the number of houses in Measure T, create a special tax or business linkage tax — none of which I would support. The basis of this plan was developed with community input. My suggestion for actual affordable housing is for the city to consider upgrading some older apartment units for an affordable housing partnership project.
- What are the biggest issues facing the city’s rail corridor? What approach, if elected, what steps would you take towards addressing those issues? Noise, ticketing, fencing, parking, access to the beach are some of the many issues facing the rail corridor. The rail corridor is the last undeveloped piece of coastal habitat in the area. It is an open space that is used regularly by joggers, pedestrians, dog walkers, children and cyclists. The rail corridor also provides parking to countless Encinitas beachgoers and those who want to go to nearby restaurants. We shouldn’t fence off the corridor or increase ticketing as a reactionary solution. We need to explore options that include the community, subject matter experts and council to identify those projects that enhance local character, while reducing noise and enhancing public access. In order to address these many concerns the Rail Corridor Vision, along with the Coastal Mobility and Livability community adhoc committee was organized to review from lagoon to lagoon all options and cost in order to determine a short and long term vision for projects within the railroad corridor. These recommendations to council will serve as a guideline to improve and enhance the corridor by providing additional amenities, such as parking, trails, rail crossings, noise reduction, drainage facilities, etc. that meet the needs and character of each community.
- The purchase of Pacific View was completed two years ago, but the process of transforming the property into an arts center has been slow. What, as a council member or mayor, would you do to stimulate or move the process forward? I have also supported the vision and concept of a Community Arts Facility, just not at that purchase price. Now that the city has purchased this land, we need to clean it up and develop a shared community arts facility vision with a strong financial plan that matches the core goals and objectives of the work plan. A more aggressive marketing plan with the private sector, may be a way to identify additional funding opportunities.
- The city has had plans such as the Leucadia Streetscape and the bicycle master plan that have languished for years after approval and community consensus. What would you do to move those plans forward? We’re currently working on both of these projects. Phase 1 of the Leucadia Streetscape is fully funded and will soon be out for an Environmental Impact Report. We’ll hear back on our matching grant for Phase 2 at the end of this month. We have an Active Transportation Plan which contains the bicycle master plan. We’ll be updating this plan by engaging the public and involving the subject matter experts to design a plan that is community based and reflects the operational needs of a safe and reliable transportation network, in order to for people to have a positive experience, whether in the car, on your bike or walking down the road. The Coastal Mobility and Livability community adhoc committee will also be working on part of this transportation network.
- There has been some debate over the concept of how the city should implement complete streets, a state mandate. How should the city satisfy its statutory requirements to accommodate multiple modes of transportation along its street network, and what would you do on the council or as mayor to accomplish this? This state mandate requires that every new street consider complete street elements. This may work in some parts of our community and may not work for other parts of our community. I hope that each neighborhood actively participate in order to “consider” what works best for them and the connectivity of our circulation element. It should be called adaptive streets, since not all complete street elements work for every street.
- What should the city be doing to address the rise of homelessness within the community? Our current approach to the homeless has been identified, measured and responsive to the homeless needs within our city. This includes our non-profit groups as well.
- Why should Encinitas voters vote for you? I have the time and experience to continue to meet our community expectations. As a current city council member and past Fire Chief, I understand budgets and priorities with a keen sense and vision of community and neighborhood quality of life issues and needs. I represent the city on many regional boards, including being the Chairperson of the San Diego County Water Authority, which facilitated the grant money to the Leo Mullens Sports Park. As a long time Encinitas resident and native to this area, I treasure the natural resources and environment we’re lucky enough to enjoy. That’s why I’ve worked so hard to ensure our city dedicates resources to improving our environment, to protect our community from overbuilding, and recently requested that council to do more to acquire open space and recreational trails. My voting record is one that been TESTED, PROVEN and TRUSTED!