ENCINITAS — Mayor Teresa Barth’s name won’t be on the ballot for mayor in November.
Barth, who was first elected to council in 2006 and reelected in 2010, said she’s long believed that two council terms is enough for local office. Her time on council will end when her current term expires in December.
“I certainly see the value of experience, but I also see the downside of getting too comfortable on the job,” Barth said on Apr. 7.
“It’s good to have fresh and new ideas come into play,” she added.
Last year, Barth ruled out campaigning for the open four-year council seat, but stated she’s interested in running for the two-year mayor role due to the shorter term.
“While many people have encouraged me to run for mayor, I stand by my original commitment to my family and the voters to only serve two terms,” Barth wrote in her weekly newsletter on Apr. 5.
Once her council term is over, Barth is looking to volunteer with the aim of stepping up civic engagement locally. She is in the early stages of discussion with an organization that does just that, but preferred not to disclose details at this time.
“I’m looking to find other ways to strengthen citizen participation and community involvement for a more meaningful dialogue than what currently exists right now,” Barth said.
“I would like people with different positions and opinions to have a willingness to sit down and talk with each other, and not just say, ‘I’m right and you’re wrong,’” she added.
And there’s a template for doing so: organizations have emerged in recent years to combat divisiveness in politics, she noted.
The San Diego Foundation, one of them, holds open meetings and forums to educate residents about issues and promote civil debate.
“I’m proud of my service to the city,” Barth said. “I’m looking forward to continuing to serve the city, but in a completely different capacity.”
Beyond civic engagement, Barth plans to stay active in local projects. She’s particularly interested in moving the Pacific View property along, whether through aiding fundraising or site development.
“It’s a crown jewel in the community,” Barth said.
Before her term is up, she hopes the council passes a plastic bag ban and directs the city to go out to bid for a new lifeguard tower at Moonlight Beach.
She’s also looking forward to the city expanding the Safe Routes to School program. That way, students will have an easier time biking and walking to school.
So far, 23-year-old Alex Fidel is the only person who’s confirmed plans to run for mayor.
Fidel has stated he’s in favor of limited government, taking stances against water fluoridation and what he sees as the militarization of the Sheriff’s Department.
Because it’s uncertain who’s running for council at this time, Barth said she couldn’t say whether she’ll support any candidates.
Prior to being a council member, Barth served on the Cardiff Chamber of Commerce board and Friends of Cardiff Library board.
An interest in local issues eventually led her to run for council, she said.
Although she’ll remain involved in the community, Barth said she looks forward to taking it easy on Wednesday nights, rather than attending council meetings.
“I want to try a different restaurant in Encinitas every Wednesday,” Barth said with a laugh.