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Decision '92 : SPECIAL VOTERS' GUIDE TO STATE AND LOCAL ELECTIONS : THE LOCAL CONTESTS : Widespread Ire Over Encinitas Bureaucracy Draws Big Slate

October 25, 1992|LEE ROMNEY

Encinitas voters will be choosing three City Council members from a list of 14--only one an incumbent.

Six years after incorporation, some voters are wondering what has been gained by cityhood. Many are impatient with a bureaucracy they see as bloated and insensitive to the needs of the city's various communities.

Though residents demanded incorporation to gain greater control over the region's land use issues, now some complain that the city overlegislated, hampering local business.

Issues of development, preservation of wetlands and canyons, and a call for greater police protection in the midst of a nascent gang problem are woven through the election campaigning. Those issues, typical of many city council elections, are perceived by a critical core of voters against the backdrop of what they say is favoritism and overspending by some city staff members.

The charges stem in part from the purchase of a costly new City Hall, a council vote to spend more than $100,000 to furnish its new complex and an initial move by the city manager to allow several homeowners to build a boulder barrier on the beach to protect their cliff-top homes.

The riprap issue, which recently attracted hundreds of residents to council chambers, typifies an Encinitas mood of suspicion with the city's direction. Even though the unstable cliffs present a danger to homeowners and beach-goers alike, many perceived the city manager's move as an attempt to favor wealthy landowners over the masses of beach-goers, and threaten the character of the easygoing beach community.

The impatience with city government, which veteran City Council member and candidate Gail Hano characterizes as overblown, has drawn the host of candidates to the ballot, many of them with little or no political experience.

The city is made up of several diverse communities, with those by the beach characterized by a small-town easygoing ambience. Residents of all Encinitas communities are eager to maintain their own identity and control over their own destinies through neighborhood groups, candidate Adam Birnbaum said.

Environmentalists point to the plans by Home Depot to move onto 55 acres of rare habitat as the most divisive issue in the community--one that has pitted pro-development interests against environmentalists and proponents of small business.

ENCINITAS City Council

14 Candidates--Vote for Three

August Henderson, business consultant

Adam Birnbaum, land-use planner

James Bond, retired executive

Sheila S. Cameron, human resources specialist

Sally Corral Cowen, medical assistant, homemaker

Chuck du Vivier, planning commissioner/contractor

David Potter Duff, law professor

John George, grocery clerk

Gail Hand, incumbent

Roy W. Hewitt, deputy attorney general

Christopher Kirkorowicz, research scientist

Tom McCabe, architect

Brad Roth, engineer

Dane Stitts, teacher

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