Name: Tony Brandenburg
Occupation: Retired Chief Judge/Superior Court Commissioner
Previous governmental experience: includes 30 years as a judicial officer, president of the Encinitas Union School District, president of the Encinitas Facilities Foundation, Vice Chairperson of the Encinitas Planning Commission, past president of the Olivenhain Town Council, United States Marine Corps veteran.
Family: Family includes 4 children, two of whom are married, and 8 grandchildren. My wife Cindy and 2 children presently in college, Everett and Samantha (“Sammi”).
1. What prompted you to run for Encinitas City Council: I believe the City is at a crossroads and that my proven skills and leadership ability can point the City in the correct direction. In a sincere effort to preserve and protect our individual communities’ character and our City as a whole, I believe honest, open, and transparent government is a critical factor. I intend to work for all of Encinitas, not just a specific group or set of individuals.
2. 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? The first of the priorities I see facing our next City Council is Measure T. Assuming it does not pass, the City must come up with an alternative plan which our community will support. Following that, the next priority is growth and how we will manage it. Finally, my third priority would be to act in a manner that respects the dignity and character of our neighborhoods and City. To do this, a strong and coherent Council who listens to the desires and wishes of all citizens is necessary. I feel my proven mediation and judicial skills can keep all factions on target in accomplishing this.
3. 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. I DO NOT support Measure T. Measure T does not guarantee that one, single low cost/affordable home will be built. It reverses our General Plan for the downtown area and increases height limits and traffic by up to 12 percent. Further, density bonuses could be increased to 41 units per acre. I don’t believe the State HCD will sue the City. Per the Deputy Director of Housing and Community Development, “the State Planning Division has never initiated a lawsuit where a housing element… has not been approved.” We must take a long hard look at AB1069. It can work and with a minimum of impact on traffic. It may not be the only answer, but it will, if worked out properly, relieve pressure on the needs of the City’s low cost housing requirement.
4. Outside of the housing element, what can the city do to promote the creation of actual affordable units throughout the city? As I said, look to ASB 1069. It eases requirements, cost, and regulations for building additional units on new homes. With some minor adjustments, it can also be used to include existing units not counted toward our low cost housing needs. While some would argue this presents a “traffic issue” this is definitely not true. There is, first off, a requirement for parking if the new unit is more than 880 yards from public transportation and any existing unit already has parking in place.
5. What are the biggest issues facing the city’s rail corridor? What approach, if elected, what steps would you take towards addressing those issues? Residents have made it clear, they do not want to alter the main route between Cardiff and City Hall. The Council action was not well thought out. I believe almost 1,500 Cardiff residents signed a petition against this.
6. 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? (Please note, I am not asking you to debate the merits of the purchase, please refrain from doing so). Now that the City has purchased the property, we must cooperate and attempt to stimulate or move forward the plan to transform this land to an “arts center,” first by placing a time limit on the development process of the arts center. However, the City should be, at best, only indirectly involved in the building process, etc. The center needs funding badly, even though the City paid $10 million and leased it for $1.00 per year. Money is the key issue in moving forward. The group should seek both private and government funding beyond what the City has done for them and, again, a time limit (perhaps the 10 years it has been given) to complete it.
7. 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? The plan regarding Leucadia streetscapes has languished for years. I feel much more could be done if the City was not already $800,000.00 (eight hundred thousand dollars) annually in debt service for the Pacific View site. The project is essentially a good one, but funding is lacking, even with the grants we’ve gotten.
8. 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? There is some debate over how the City should implement the complete streets mandate. First, the City is not required to implement complete streets until a new circulation element is undertaken. If one were to speak with our traffic engineering department, one would see that much of it has been done and/or is being done. The Council must be careful in its further implementation of this not to undertake the obstruction of traffic, as the City is part of an overall regional circulation plan. If not very careful, we may be making streets unsafe to further increase bike lanes and limit traffic flow. Remember, Encinitas is a bedroom community and our citizens need direct and unimpeded access to the freeways.
9. What should the city be doing to address the rise of homelessness within the community? The homeless in Encinitas are made up of differing groups, such as: veterans, youth, the poor, and those in need of medical and/or mental health care. Our City must find ways to work with various social agencies in addressing these groups on an individual basis.
10. Why should Encinitas voters vote for you? I hope and believe the Voters of Encinitas should vote for me, based upon my proven leadership skills. I worked in government for a very long time and with some time out in serving as a United States Marine and going to graduate school, I have been in Encinitas for over 50 years. I know and love our community, and feel I have a lot to give back in preserving and protecting what we all treasure so much about Our Encinitas.
11. Do you support County Measure A? Why or why not? While I’ve read it, I don’t believe it (150 pages) will do much for Encinitas. Most of what is going to happen is south of Highway 8. I do not support a further tax increase based on what little I feel it will do for our community.