The Coast News Group

Letters: Dec. 25, 2009

In her own words
In response to the comments made by Councilman Stocks regarding my decision to recuse myself from voting, I must set the record straight.
The Political Reform Act is very clear on issues of conflict of interest, including issues concerning property ownership.
On a few occasions I felt I had a possible conflict of interest and consulted with the city attorney before deciding to participate or to recuse myself. On the more complicated issue concerning the Cardiff Specific Plan, I also contacted the Fair Political Practices Commission.
It was determined that a conflict existed because I owned property (my home) within the plan area.
I do not consider advocating for open government petty, nor do I consider holding the city accountable as being rude and I certainly have never ducked hard votes.
It is easy to make accusations but much harder to support it with facts.

Councilwoman Teresa Barth
City of Encinitas

Not a fan
Councilwoman Maggie Houlihan could have declined being deputy mayor. More than ceremonial, our mayor has the power to set the agenda. Also it’s political; Dan Dalager will be mayor when he comes up for re-election next November. I will vote against him and all not advocating the city do the most it can to be open and accountable.
The opinion Glenn Sabine used in his “analysis” is irrelevant to the issue of whether city gives 72-hour notice for closed sessions held before regular council meetings. It is legal to have a special meeting with 24-hour notice, but to label all closed sessions as special “stand alone” meetings only is disingenuous and an obvious “construct” to circumvent the law. All other Encinitas “special” open meetings routinely get 72-hour notice. Our city should maximize, not minimize, opportunity for public participation.
Also, Dalager was duplicitous in the Orpheus Park tree massacre incident. After an uproar from the public and widespread press coverage, staff was directed to come back with a report. Dalager then recused himself from discussion in public, although he had been eager to send out e-mails to council and the media, and also to go to Paul Ecke Central School, personally, to let teachers and administration know he was in favor of the trees being cut down and adamantly opposed to any protesting by school children.
I would never vote for Dalager again and I really pray that others do not, so that we can get fresh perspective on council. Dalager also violated the California Public Records Act and City policy by destroying his e-mails about the tree incident, refusing to provide them when CPRA requests were submitted. He seems to feel he has gotten away with his violations of the public trust for so long that he is immune.

Lynn Marr