ENCINITAS — The Encinitas City Council harmoniously approved two agenda items that proved to be divisive just a year ago.
The council voted Wednesday to endorse a proclamation requested by anti-gun activist Steve Bartram that declares June 2 National Gun Violence Awareness Day. Also approved was the upcoming year’s special events calendar.
Eighteen months ago, former Mayor Kristin Gaspar dismissed a similar proclamation request from Bartram as politically charged, and the council had a heated discussion over the special events and whether organizers were contributing their fair share of proceeds to community organizations.
This time around, there was no such debate on either front.
“I appreciate how little drama there is this year compared to last year,” Councilman Tony Kranz said.
Bartram’s proclamation is part of a broader nationwide effort to raise awareness of gun violence on what would have been the 20th birthday of Hadiya Pendleton, a teenager who was shot and killed in 2013, weeks after she marched in then-President Barack Obama’s second inaugural parade.
The campaign calls on individuals to “Wear Orange” and for buildings to be colored orange, which symbolizes the value of human life, on that day.
In Encinitas, the mayor decides the proclamations issued by the city. But Mayor Catherine Blakespear brought the request to the full council to seek its consensus.
Councilman Mark Muir, a Second Amendment advocate, said he could support the request. He felt it wasn’t driving an anti-gun agenda.
Amy Ramaker, a representative of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, said that wasn’t what the movement was about.
“We don’t want to take away people’s guns,” Ramaker said to the council. “We just want people to know there is a safe way and a right way to have guns.”
The council also heard from several speakers in favor of supporting the city’s slate of special events, including the 2018 installment of the Encinitas Half Marathon.
Encinitas annually approves the slate of events that take place during the fiscal year, which begins July 1, including approvals of street closures and other considerations for each event.
Last year’s discussion was not without debate, as some of the council questioned whether the organizers were contributing their fair share commensurate to the benefit they were receiving by way of public street closures and use of other public resources.
But city staff said the two primary race organizers — the Surfing Madonna Oceans Project and the organizers of the Cardiff Kook Run — lived up to their contributions as spelled out in a memorandum of understanding approved by the council last year.