To: All Encinitas Concerned Citizens
Monday, November 7, 2011
CITY HALL CONTINUES TO IGNORE OUR VOICE
ENCINITAS CITIZENS PROTEST
Encinitas citizens gather to hold elected officials accountable for engaging in blatant cronyism, ignoring conflicts of interest, and condoning politically corrupt practices.
Concerned Encinitas citizens to hold press conference at City Hall, 505 S. Vulcan, Encinitas, CA 92024, Wednesday, November 9, 2011, at 5:15 p.m., before the regular City Council meeting.
On November 9, at 5:55 pm, the Encinitas City Council plans to swear in Mark Muir into the seat formerly occupied by Maggie Houlihan. The decision to appoint Mr. Muir was made by the Council majority —Bond, Stocks, Gaspar— in complete disregard for the concerns and wishes expressed by many of the citizens at the City Council meeting of November 2, 2011.
Earlier, at their September 26 (non-televised) Special Meeting, the Council had viewed an eloquent and hopeful videotape of Maggie Houlihan — taped in her last weeks. Her desire was to seek out someone to step into her shoes, to fulfill the last months of her term of office and to keep true to her campaign promises. She endorsed Lisa Shaffer. As a popular candidate who was the runner-up in the last election, Tony Kranz also had a justifiable claim to the seat. Either Lisa Shaffer or Tony Kranz should have been appointed to serve the remainder of councilperson Houlihan’s term of office. Instead, the majority appointed their employee, their election campaigner and sitting Encinitas Fire Chief, Mr. Muir.
Why was Mark Muir chosen? Could it be because each of the majority members owed him favors? Mr. Muir worked on several of their campaigns in the likely expectation of paybacks. This was not democracy in action, this was political quid pro quo. There is a word for this: Cronyism!
Mr. Muir funneled endorsements and support through Political Action Committees directly linked to him. Muir founded and led both ECHO (Encinitas Coalition of Home Owners) and Golden State Firefighters (GSF) which repeatedly endorsed campaigns of Stocks and Bond and paid for deceiving trash mailers. The International Association of Firefighters described GSF as a “San Diego-based political organization” that circulated “cynical and deceptive” slate mailers. One of these mailers endorsed Stocks and Bond and included a message and picture of the PAC’s leader, “Mark Muir, Fire Division Chief and Chairman of Golden State Firefighters.” He organized and established these PACs while employed by the City and benefitting from promotions culminating in his ascension to the well-paid post of Fire Chief for the City of Encinitas. The term for this is: Conflict of Interest!
Mr. Muir’s political activity of more than a decade was also a direct violation of City Policy. Egregiously, he campaigned using his city email address from the City Hall during normal business hours. This is a clear violation of City policy and common standards of ethics.
This was brought to the attention of the Council prior to the appointment. The Council majority proceeded with the appointment without asking Muir to confirm or deny the allegations. The accurate characterization of this conduct is: Corruption!
Mr. Muir’s new council vote delivers a 4-to-1 super-majority, and the pro-development majority can rest easy knowing that their developer-funded plans for Encinitas can avoid public vote. Our current General Plan requires “voter approval” for increases in zoning density unless the Council approves the change by a vote of 4 or more. With Mr. Muir’s vote replacing Maggie Houlihan’s, this 4-to-1 majority is all but assured.
The negative impacts on our community character and vision for Encinitas are numerous. Among these, we count:
- A super-majority will enable the Council to approve rezoning and up-zoning without voter approval (for example, reconsidering and approving the conversion of the Ecke property from agricultural-zoned —“in perpetuity”— to residential-zoned land).
- A super-majority would be able to push through the replacement of our well-written, original General Plan and approve the controversial redevelopment of the El Camino Real corridor without a vote of the residents. The proposed plan extends from the recently City-approved Walmart in the north to Encinitas Blvd in the south. Current proposals would allow four-story or higher multi-use buildings, causing increased traffic congestion, crowding, and a decrease in neighboring New Encinitas residential property values.
- A super-majority would allow immediate obliteration of sunsets by 90-foot tall field-lights for neighbors of the Hall Sports Park (aka Hall “Community” Park)
- A super-majority would effectively enable the Council to approve spot up-zoning of any parcel, irrespective of neighbors’ concerns, whenever a deep-pocket developer asks for it.
Mr. Muir’s appointment means that the 12,488 voters who elected Maggie Houlihan in 2008 will no longer be adequately represented on the Council. A chance to vote again in November 2012 is upcoming, but unless we show the council majority that we do not believe this appointment is fair, democratic, and morally supportable, they will be emboldened to further abuse our rights and continue to marginalize our participation in the democratic process. Don’t let them ignore you.
Please come to protest the swearing-in of Mark Muir on Nov 9.
Attend the public protest and press conference in front of City Hall at 5:15 pm, before the Council meeting, and attend the protest during the Council meeting thereafter, at 5:55 pm.
Don’t let them ignore you!