The Coast News Group
News Old - DO NOT USE - The Coast News Rancho Santa Fe

Citizens voice outrage at mayoral selection

ENCINITAS — While the City Council voted 3-2 to appoint Councilman James Bond the new mayor and Councilman Jerome Stocks deputy mayor, the move outraged the majority of the crowd in the packed chambers on Dec. 15.
This is the second time Councilwoman Teresa Barth was not chosen for either post. The atmosphere in the chambers became tumultuous as someone yelled, “It’s a bunch of bulls—,” and several people stormed out.
Several speakers addressed the issue of the mayor and deputy mayor selection after Barth and newly elected Councilwoman Kristen Gaspar were sworn in and departing Mayor Dan Dalager bid the council farewell. Dalager lost his re-election bid.
Lisa Shaffer, an Encinitas resident, said the process of selecting a mayor is arbitrary and needs to be revised. “It seems like a popularity contest,” she told the council.
The city code only requires a majority vote of the council to select the two posts. However, precedent in choosing the mayor and deputy mayor has historically been a rotation of the members or a move in seats to the left on the dais.
Carolyn Cope called out the proverbial elephant in the room and said the crowd was waiting to see who would be chosen to serve as mayor. “A lot of time ya’ll don’t do the right thing,” she told the council. “It’s Teresa’s turn.”
Dadla Ponizil told the council about his experience being skipped while waiting patiently as a child for a ride on the merry go-round. “I hope you guys will be smarter than the kids in that kindergarten class who skipped me on the merry go round,” he said.
Bruce Ehlers showed a clip from a council meeting last year when Barth was passed over. Bond, speaking via teleconference at the meeting, said that he wanted to make sure that electing then-Mayor Maggie Houlihan as deputy mayor wouldn’t get the normal rotation off track for the following year. “Teresa would become the mayor then for 2011,” he said, adding, “we want to make sure that we don’t want to do something that is purposefully leaving out Teresa.”
“I think it’s kind of a benign act, I don’t think she’s (Barth) going to burn the building down,” Ehlers remarked after the brief clip was shown.
Another speaker implored the council to elect Barth as Mayor. “I think four years apprenticeship is pretty good,” Delores Welty said.
Houlihan motioned that Barth be appointed mayor and Bond deputy mayor. “Moving one seat to the left to become mayor should be easy,” she said. The motion was seconded by Barth who said she looked forward to having a positive year on council regardless of what happens with the mayoral selection.
The audience was not as understanding when Gaspar made a substitute motion to appoint Bond, who has served several terms as mayor during his 18-year tenure on the council, mayor and Stocks deputy mayor.
In fact, Gaspar was booed and jeered as people yelled out “you’re a puppet,” among other things. Gaspar proceeded to read the city ordinance for selecting the posts to the obvious disgust of some in the audience. “She’s never been to a council meeting but now she wants to tell us what the code says,” one man yelled. “You have chosen to start out the year in a real bad way,” another person shouted at the council.
The tension became more palpable as accusations flew regarding Brown Act violations and “petty politics.”
The motion brought an accusation that the state’s open government law had been violated. Houlihan said that she was told the decision had already been made ahead of time to pass Barth over. “I just find it disconcerting,” Houlihan said.
Stocks responded in a raised voice that the accusations were baseless. Gaspar said she was doing what was “in the best interest of the city of Encinitas.”
Bond responded that if the people are so passionate about the process, they should elect their own mayor. He promised to put on one of his first agendas to have the council vote whether to put a mayoral election on the 2012 ballot.
“We do not have a rotational system in Encinitas, we have a whoever gets three votes policy,” Stocks said.
Barth handed out a prepared statement in the wake of the vote. “While many of my supporters and I are disappointed that a majority of my colleagues did not select me for wither the Mayor or Deputy Mayor positions this year, I still hold my seat on this council for another four years,” it read in part.


Respectful Gent December 20, 2010 at 4:15 pm

It just screams of favoritism. These three have questionable reputations at best and they flaunt it in our faces, citing the ‘system’ instead of making the slightest attempt to build goodwill. It’s freaking shameful. The council exists to serve the people, not themselves!

RealEncinitas December 20, 2010 at 9:55 pm

This is a terrible way for the new council to start out. Jim Bond will always be defined by the moment that he broke his word in front of hundreds of Encintias residents and the local press. People who grew up here were even in shock by this action!

It was also a terrible way for Kristin Gaspar to start out her 1st day on the job.

The council has functioned in the same way for 30 years, and now that it was Teresa’s turn to take a leadership role, they pull out a new system so as to deprive her a turn yet again.

Colin F. December 22, 2010 at 7:04 am

What short memories everyone has.
Last year when Barth, in a fit of pique at not receiving the appointment to Vice Mayor, knowingly and strategically attempted to completely destroy Jerome Stocks career/life by making false statements against him in her formal "Harassment Complaint". Had the City not sought outside help in adjudicating the complaint, it is quite possible that the Encinitas Councilman might have completely lost his political career, because of an incapable spiteful peer who clearly cannot govern, who has NEVER been able to get along with her peers, or make policy with her peers and understandably to many, has now received the "reaction" to her "action" of falsely making claims about someone who publicly chastised her for mistreating staff during the Orpheus tree mini-crisis; that we all must remember, began when Barth’s ally, Houlhan had a private meeting with the condo owners that resulted in the trees being cut down.
Barth brought this on herself and now continues to whine and prevaricate through her few supporters.
Not the most balanced reportage.

watchdog5 December 22, 2010 at 10:46 am

It is amazing how a little untruth can grind on and on. Teresa files a claim which having watched Jerome Stocks and Dan Dalager in action, i think was completely believable. Instead of actually looking into the claim the city attorney hired an outside firm who opined that a City Council member was not am employee. Thusly invalidated her claim. It was never and I repeat never disallowed because her cause was not valid. This claim was not aired to the public until Jerome Stocks made an issue of it. He must be laughing as this lie keeps coming up over and over. He continues to "punish" Teresa Barth for doing this to him despite the fact that he did it to himself. Wise up Encinitas we are approaching a dictatorship here. He has marginalized Teresa Barth and Maggie Houlihan, placed his puppet on the council and arranged for her to be appointed to important committees despite her inexperience, arranged a lame duck Mayor and himself as Deputy Mayor. He now controls what can be put on the agenda, controls the city staff. What do you think are the chances of getting the three vote rule changed back to two votes? Try Snowball chance in hell…despite what Kristin Gaspar said before the election…we know how much that means.

concerned citizen December 22, 2010 at 11:03 am

Considering recent actions by Jerome Stocks, I would have to say that Teresa probably hit it right on the head. He was very active in the nasty campaign against Teresa Barth’s re-election and has continued his "punishment" of her. What was at stake here was complete control of Encinitas City Council. He now has made sure that she cannot have anything put on the agenda without his approval. This she could have done as mayor. She and Maggie Houlihan have championed many issues which have died on the vine because of the benign veto of not being able to get it on the agenda. He has also made sure that she has been replaced by a 30 old inexperienced novice on committees that she has served for years. How anyone could look at these actions and think that "poor Jerome" almost had his life ruined by Teresa’s claim is grossly misinformed. Wonder why He and his puppets are so scared of Teresa Barth??? Maybe it is because she actually works for the citizens of Encinita and not some future political ambitions

anonymous December 25, 2010 at 8:00 am

Anyone who has never been to a meeting should tune in and watch from home and observe Mr. Stocks in action!

Considering how he acts in a formal public situation, among citizens who he works for, I have no doubt that he would abuse a city employee when he was alone and thought that he could get away with it.

It is not a very big leap to make!

Comments are closed.