Name: Paul Gaspar
Occupation: Doctor of Physical Therapy
Previous governmental experience: Director California Physical Therapy Association, Government Affairs Leader, President Independent Physical Therapists of California, Director National Physical Therapy Business Alliance, Trustee American Physical Therapy Association Political Action Committee
Family:Kristin 36, Carson 11, Payton 8, Addie 6
- What prompted you to run for Encinitas mayor? Encinitas needs a mayor who is in touch with each unique community and is interested in what they want, as opposed to being mostly interested in a personal/partisan agenda or telling citizens how they should be living their lives. We also need a mayor committed to fiscal responsibility, open government, core services, and the protection of open space, like the Cardiff Natural Rail Trail. The Council needs to make smarter decisions than they have been making during the last several years. They can start by listening to the people and aligning their budget with the citizens’ priorities.
- 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? A. Development is always among the top concerns for Encinitas citizens. Following the election, we will need to deal with the results of Measure T because there are likely to be lawsuits regardless of the results. If it fails I will work with the opponents of Measure T to come up with a plan having broader support in order to bring the City into compliance with state law without making Encinitas an easy target for further lawsuits. If Measure T passes, I will continue to reach out to opponents of Measure T to better understand their perspective and determine what they believe can be done to best preserve our community character. B. Traffic will continue to be a concern, especially if Measure T passes. I believe the City should proceed cautiously with narrowing down car traffic lanes on arterial roads and already narrow streets in favor of enhanced bike lanes. I am supportive of plans to improve biking and walking in areas where citizens broadly support them, but would not support specific plans that frustrate vehicular traffic and/or plans that citizens clearly do not support. I do not believe it is the role of the Council to force and/or encourage people not to drive. We should be asking the citizens about enhanced options. C. Fiscal Responsibility has become a major concern during the last 3 years. When a Council pays 3 times the appraised value for Pacific View, wastes $750,000 on losing lawsuits, squanders up to $800,000 on the wrong rail trail, and plans to lease the 2.3 acre Pacific View School property for $1/year to their friends and campaign supporters, you’ve got a problem. These spending habits strip money away from priorities of all 63,000 citizens and that’s not fair.
- Do you support Measure T, Encinitas’ proposed housing element update? Please explain your position. If you do not support Measure T, please provide your alternative plan to address the state and regional housing needs allocation. Measure T is not perfect, but I believe that Council and Planning Commission did their due diligence by voting to place it on the ballot. I am not pleased that they had little discretion on the final product because they had no time to make final adjustments as a consequence of the terms of two lawsuit settlements which forced them to be place a measure on the ballot this November. I plan to vote for Measure T, but completely understand the frustration of its opponents. I will work with them to come up with an alternative plan if it is voted down.
- Outside of the housing element, what can the city do to promote the creation of actual affordable units throughout the city? The honest answer is that the City can do little outside the housing element to create affordable housing which will be supported by citizens. Encinitas is a desirable coastal community which is over 98% built out. Adding more units, modifying inclusionary housing rules, and using density bonus will not add an appreciable number of affordable units. I am the only one running with leadership experience in Sacramento who can help with our overall strategy regarding affordable housing so that we can get results that fit our communities.
- What are the biggest issues facing the city’s rail corridor? What approach, if elected, what steps would you take towards addressing those issues? The biggest issue during the last 1-2 years is that Council has moved forward without consulting the involved communities. Nevertheless, Council has budgeted millions for an at-grade crossing at Montgomery that the neighbors do not support and have spent thousands studying warning horns. I support moving forward with plans having broad consensus, like the crossing at El Portal. I would be open to other plans improving mobility, but they would have to have community support and would have to compete with other priorities in the Capital Improvement Budget, which is currently loaded with hundreds of millions in unfunded projects. Again, Council has suffered from a lack of outreach, planning, a clear strategy, and a budget aligned with community priorities.
- The purchase of Pacific View was completed two years ago, but the process of transforming the property into an arts center has been slow. What, as a council member or mayor, would you do to stimulate or move the process forward? (Please note, I am not asking you to debate the merits of the purchase, please refrain from doing so). I would encourage the development of a business plan and a detailed fundraising plan for the coalition or any other party wishing to lease the property for $1/year. This is standard and expected of anyone who wishes to start a business and secure a lease, loan, or a gift of public funds. As they say, if you don’t have a plan, then plan to fail.
- The city has had plans such as the Leucadia Streetscape and the bicycle master plan that have languished for years after approval and community consensus. What would you do to move those plans forward? The reason why these plans have languished is because they have not been prioritized at a high enough level to align them with the budget process and full funding. When the City stops squandering its money on bad investments and losing lawsuits, it may be able to start fully funding projects like these that have a much better return on investment.
- There has been some debate over the concept of how the city should implement complete streets, a state mandate. How should the city satisfy its statutory requirements to accommodate multiple modes of transportation along its street network, and what would you do on the council or as mayor to accomplish this? Planning should be done to reasonably accommodate all forms of transportation, but there should be focus on the community character and the relative frequency of use of the various modes. Council Members should not be planning 67 complete streets with staff in the back room without citizen input and subsequently sending out biased citizen surveys to ensure the result they want. We should take our time to get this right. A ‘cookie cutter’ approach will not do, especially because common sense dictates that Measure T and cut through car traffic from other communities will continue to worsen traffic gridlock.
- What should the city be doing to address the rise of homelessness within the community? Homelessness is a complex problem and requires strategic thinking. Mayor Kristin Gaspar initiated a specific homelessness program this year to connect our veterans with services that are already available. While we watch the impacts of this program, we should remain mindful that homelessness is a multi-factorial problem. Wider solutions will need to include factors such as mental health and cooperation work with the county, state, and federal government.
- Why should Encinitas voters vote for you? The record demonstrates I am the candidate most in touch with Cardiff, as well as all 5 unique communities in Encinitas. I do not bring any partisan agendas, will not tell people how they should be living their lives, and will not impose my own personal vision on the communities. I will listen to all 63,000 citizens (not just special interests or friends of the Council) and I will use good strategic and communication skills to see that the people’s becomes a reality.
- Do you support County Measure A? Why or why not? I do not support Measure A because I am not convinced that it does enough for Encinitas and surrounding communities to warrant a tax increase.