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Mayoral candidate Tony Kranz answers 10 questions

Editor’s note: Each of the candidates has received the same 10 questions. Their responses have been unedited and will be posted online as they are returned.

Name: Tony Kranz

Occupation: Graphic Arts consultant

Age: 55

Previous government experience: I’m currently serving on the Encinitas City Council and served 10 years in the Army National Guard.

1. What prompted you to run for council or mayor?

I would like to provide leadership for the city.

2. What do you feel are the three biggest priorities for the next city council, and how as mayor or council member would you help the council achieve those objectives?

The top three are: addressing the deferred maintenance backlogs, improving the transportation corridors in our community and having a state-approved Housing Element.

These issues will require a mayor who is prepared to effectively advocate for our community at the regional level and doing everything that can be done to obtain regional funding in order to offset the impacts on our roads from people commuting through our city. The 101, the railroad, the 5 and El Camino Real all have a significant impact on the quality of life and public safety in our city. I will continue to lead on efforts to improve transportation in our community. The Housing Element will require effect public outreach and creative problem solving, and I will ensure that we do both.

3. In 2016, the electorate will vote on the Housing Element Update, which is currently in its preliminary stages of public input. What do you think the housing element should reflect in terms of density, housing types and community character?

I think the Housing Element should reflect the desire of the community, which will be determined by the public vote. My expectation is that meets state requirements to plan for future housing needs for people of all income levels, and also addresses issues of traffic impacts by placing any density increases in areas that will have access to basic needs without driving, plus be close to transportation corridors.

4. City staff has contended that the housing element needs to include zoning to accomodate for the devlopment of more of 1000 “affordable” units to meet state affordable housing mandates. A number of residents feel the city could achieve it’s affordable housing mandates by providing amnesty for illegal dwelling units provided they be earmarked for a certain period of time for affordable housing. Where do you stand on this issue?

I agree we need to do all we can to encourage property owners with “illegal dwelling units” to go through the process of adding these units to the city’s affordable housing stock. Based upon past history, it is unlikely that the number of units that would become “legitimate” affordable units through an amnesty program would be anywhere near enough to comply with state law. But I want to do everything we can to reduce the amount of up zoning that would be necessary in order to meet state requirements to have an approved Housing Element.

5. The City Council recently received a report that showed that nuisance complaints stemming from the city’s downtown bar scene had decreased since increased enforcement began during the summer, but it also showed that two of the largest alcohol-serving establishments, Union and Shelter, consistently missed the mark during inspections. What do you feel needs to be done to continue to improve the downtown night scene and specifically what needs to be done in regards to the two bars that have been out of compliance?

We need to continue to enforce the nuisance and noise laws throughout downtown, and issue citations when violations occur. Unfortunately, for some businesses, compliance with the law will only happen when the consequences of violating the law have an impact on their bottom line.

6. The City is currently in the process of closing escrow on the purchase of the Pacific View Elementary School site for $10 million, which it will pay for with debt financing that will amount to $24.4 million (this includes the financing of the lifeguard tower) over the life of the bond repayment. Briefly state your position on the purchase, and, moving forward, what should the city’s next steps be with the site, and what priority should be giving to accomplishing those steps?

I fully support the acquisition of Pacific View School by the city and the costs, amortized over the next 100 years, will be a small price to pay for keeping the property public. Within the next month the deal will close and the city will take ownership. The site will be cleaned up and made safe for the public to gather there. At the same time, the city will be engaging the community in some long-term planning for the site and looking for opportunities to partner with organizations to obtain the funding that will be necessary to create an arts facility that the community will take pride in.

7. How would you rate the city’s efforts with road and infrastructure maintenance and how much of a priority would it be for you as mayor or council member?

We need to do more to improve the condition of the roads and I will place a high priority on increasing the funding for road maintenance.

8. What action should the city be taking to address the Leucadia rail crossing issue. Should the tracks be lowered similar to Solana Beach or should there be level crossings, and how much of a priority should this be for the council?

We need more safe ways to cross the railroad corridor, be it with at-grade or grade separated crossings. During Strategic Planning last year, the council agreed unanimously that we should organize a “rail summit” to consolidate all the previous railroad studies that have been written and lay out a plan for how to accomplish what we want done as a community. It is my hope that this will include a plan for grade separating the tracks through Leucadia.

9. For the mayoral candidates, what do you see the role of an elected mayor as being and how would you put your personal stamp on the position?

The role of the mayor will remain mostly the same, except the annual political drama around the appointment will be gone. The mayor will lead the city council and will be responsible for providing leadership to the community on decisions that the council has made. This might mean that in some cases the mayor has to advocate for something on which they didn’t agree with the majority on the council. Then, of course, there will be the duties of cutting ribbons for new business and promoting our city.

10. The performance of several high-ranking city staff members, namely the City Manager, City Attorney and high-ranking planning department officials, has been a steady talking point during the election. How would you rate the performance of these staff members, what can be done to improve their performance, or do you believe at this stage they are irredeemable?

I have been involved in evaluating the performance of the City Manager and City Attorney and feel that we’ve done a great job of providing them feedback for improving the way they do their jobs. I don’t think anyone is ever “irredeemable”, but if I think a change in either of these two positions is the right thing for the city, I will tell them before I tell the public.

11. Why should people vote for you?

Because I have leadership qualities that will keep our little slice of paradise a great place to live. Naturally, there have been many changes to our city since I moved here in 1960, but I will work hard to keep the small town atmosphere that we all love about Encinitas.