If you invite them, they will come…maybe

Oct. 1 was the 25th anniversary of cityhood for Encinitas.
But did we celebrate it? Well, if you call wrapping it up as an adjunct with a Lima Bean festival, I guess we did, sort of.
Perhaps the city wasn’t given a proper celebration because there is no one on our City Council who participated in the incorporation of the city. There are few left in the bureaucracy that understands to whom they owe well paying jobs and benefits.
Prior to the anniversary, a few of us were asked by the city to generate a list of people who were active in the incorporation of Encinitas. We were told they would receive a formal invitation from the mayor as a gesture of recognition and thanks for their efforts.
Approximately 100 names and addresses were submitted of key movers and shakers in creating this city, only a fraction of those involved, but hopefully reaching most of the key participants. During the process of gathering addresses, volunteers were called and told to expect a formal invitation to the event and a schedule from the city. Not everyone was expected to come to the gathering as many have moved out of the city and even out of the state.
All deserved to receive an invitation in recognition of their
history in the struggle to launch our city.
At the “Lima Bean Festival and 25th Anniversary of the City” when asked to stand by the mayor, to our surprise only about half a dozen people stood. Why was that?
Where was everyone?
Ah, the disappointment of learning that a “sub-committee” made a decision to eliminate those lists. A sub-committee of two council members and bureaucrats. Only a few listed as the Steering Committee for Incorporation received an invitation. It seems those activists who built this city were not worth the printing of 100 form letters, affixing stamps, and the mayor’s signature, was too much trouble.
These volunteers were people who gave hundreds of hours of their time, their money, and walked miles to every home in the five communities of Leucadia, historic Encinitas, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, New Encinitas, and Olivenhain to educate citizens and gather signatures.
Henry Couglar and Walt Wallace gathered voter registrations far beyond state formulas and gave the city a major economic windfall. The Fire Department acted as the lead agency that allowed us to file to be a city.
Led by Chief Robert LaMarsh, and Board members Matt Reilly, and Tom Rouse, they put up the money for fees and hired attorneys to fight legal challenges.
Fred Nagy stepped forward and at no cost provided the extensive economic analysis required. He worked night and day, and died of a heart attack in the process. He was 35 years old.
The residents of these communities who built this town did not all give their lives, but they gave huge parts of themselves in time and Herculean effort. Marjorie Gaines, the first mayor of Encinitas, and Robert Bonde were the leaders of volunteers, strategy, and organization.
There were many heroes and heroines who risked careers, reputations, insults, and even greater sacrifices on this path to cityhood. Despite everything, they accomplished their goal, and citizens of this city today reap the benefits of their sacrifice. They deserve to be honored 25 years later for the monumental task of giving birth to a city. Not dismissed by a city sub-committee.
The question remains: why would the city hold a 25th city anniversary and not invite those who made it all possible?
As members of the Incorporation effort, we can only apologize to all the
people who should have received invitations, been recognized for your contributions, and had a chance to celebrate creating this city of Encinitas.


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