Looking to alter the dynamic of the current City Council, Tony Kranz (left) and Lisa Shaffer both turned in their paperwork for city council at the same time. Photo by Jared Whitlock

Two Encinitas candidates enter City Council race together

ENCINITAS — After completing a three-block walk from the old schoolhouse on the Pacific View site to City Hall, Tony Kranz and Lisa Shaffer submitted their paperwork yesterday for November’s election. 

Outside of City Hall, the Council candidates spoke briefly to about two-dozen supporters holding flowers, a gesture meant to honor the late Maggie Houlihan and pay tribute to the city’s history as “The Flower Capital of the World.” Before she died of cancer last year, Houlihan, who served on Council for three terms, endorsed both Kranz and Shaffer as Council candidates.

“Looking forward, we have an opportunity to make certain that as our city grows, we’re getting community input and making sure we listen to that input,” Kranz said.

Kranz has made transparent government central to his platform. As one example of what he sees as an opaque government, Kranz’s website cites a case of a citizen having to sue the city to obtain a draft document.

“Thousands of dollars were spent by the city on their own legal defense, and having lost in court, the city had to pay for the other guy’s attorney,” according to Kranz’s website.

After turning in his campaign paperwork, Kranz said he’s also concerned about local traffic and the city’s General Plan Update, which will guide development in Encinitas through 2035.

Related to the General Plan Update, Kranz said he supports the Encinitas Right to Vote Initiative, a petition that would make some “up-zoning” projects — increasing building heights and density — subject to voter approval. Currently, certain up-zoning increases require support from four of five council members.

A San Dieguito High School graduate and currently an account representative for an international printing company, Kranz ran for Council in 2010.

Kranz said he’d work with the city’s traffic commission for “creative solutions” to reduce car gridlock. He also said he supports more public transportation.

“I would like to see it become much more feasible to bike or walk,” Kranz said.

Like Kranz, Shaffer said she’s an open government advocate, especially as it relates to financial matters. She argued the public hasn’t been given enough information about issues like pensions, borrowing money to fund a 44-acre park and road maintenance costs.

“There’s a whole slew of issues, and we don’t really know how sound our city’s finances are,” Shaffer said.

Shaffer’s resume includes teaching business ethics at UC San Diego’s Rady School of Management and owning a consulting business.

Because Council meetings can be static, Shaffer said, the city should hold more public workshops for “back and forth conversation.”

Another important topic, Shaffer believes, is having an open dialogue on environmental issues, particularly contaminated soil at the Encinitas Community Park. Construction is scheduled to begin on the park later this month.

“I would like to have, for instance, a panel of experts come in on the contaminated soil,” she said. “So we can ask questions. Maybe what the city is doing is fine, maybe it’s not.”

Encinitas voters will pick three new council members in November. Of the three incumbents, Councilman James Bond will be retiring; Mayor Jerome Stocks has not announced if he is running; and Councilman Mark Muir has picked up his campaign papers.

Even though they filed together, Shaffer said that she and Kranz are not running as a slate.

“Tony’s views and mine are compatible,” Shaffer said. “We don’t see everything the same way. But we really need to get two new people on the Council.”

If both elected, the dynamic of the five-person Council would change, Shaffer said.

Kranz and Shaffer are ideologically similar to Councilwoman Teresa Barth, who has supported both candidates.

So far, at least eight others have announced their intentions to run for Council.