Community Commentary Opinion

Constitutional crisis in Encinitas

Has anyone ever heard of city legislators suing their own constituents? Why would they do that? In Encinitas, it is because they do not like the way a majority of its citizens voted in two elections. Since when has it been legal for elected leaders to oppose the will of their people in an attempt to disenfranchise them?

On Sept. 19, 2019 the City of Encinitas filed a lawsuit against itself, using property owners’ money, while forgetting that the Residents in the city ARE the City of Encinitas.

Wake up, people! Your elected officials are not acting in your behalf. Instead, they yield to pressures from special interest groups like the Building Industry Association, and others.

On June 18, 2013, Encinitas voters approved the Right to Vote Amendment Initiative, which gives citizens the right to vote on any major land-use planning amendments in the city’s General Plan and in its Municipal Code. The initiative appeared on the ballot as Proposition A. It was again confirmed in 2016 when the people defeated a City sponsored Measure T. For six years, Proposition A has been part of our governing documents.

The City’s Measure T, about the City’s Housing Element update, was not accepted by the people, because it trashed the City’s General Plan (our city’s Constitution), thumbed its nose at Proposition A requirements, and provided insufficient, if any, affordable housing units to satisfy California State goals.

Truly, San Diego County’s arbitrary RHNA predictions for new affordable housing units could easily be met under the existing Municipal Code. It would only require that developers provide at least 25 percent new affordable housing units in each new subdivision. Let us put the burden on the housing industry and not on the heavily taxed local property owners. Instead of being civil servants of the people, our City officials appear to deem themselves absolute rulers, while considering the citizens as convenient money-trees to feed their agendas.

This lawsuit is not just an attack on the majority of citizens in Encinitas. It is an attack on the Democratic Process and on the US Constitution. It is hard to understand how the outgoing City attorney, Glenn Sabine, would have advised the Council to enter into this lawsuit.

The Council does not have the power, or the right, to oppose the will of the people. We hope that our new city attorney, Leslie Devaney will not only give better advice to the Council, but will also consider fundamental rights of citizens.

Dietmar Rothe, Ph.D., P.Eng.

Cardiff

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