LETTER: Hypocrisy on Encinitas City Council?

This is a tale of two projects approved by the Encinitas City Council. The first is the Coastal Rail Trail (CRT) approved on May 20, 2015, and eagerly championed by Deputy Mayor Lisa Shaffer. This approval was followed by an add-on project to construct an at-grade railroad crossing at Montgomery Avenue. The second project is the turf replacement for Leo Mullen Sports Park approved on Jan. 13, which it turns out was not so near and dear to the deputy mayor and for which she was the lone opposing vote. This was an unfortunate vote given that the majority of residents likely support sports facilities for children.

In approving the CRT and subsequent Montgomery crossing, Shaffer was seemingly unconcerned with repair and replacement costs. However, several months later, now citing lack of a plan for future replacement, the deputy mayor opposed turf for Leo Mullen Park. The inconsistency is striking between Shaffer’s $5.1 million CRT approval where there were no maintenance, repair, replacement, or liability costs identified, much less a plan to pay for them, and her opposition to Leo Mullen Park turf because there was no replacement plan.

Deputy Mayor Shaffer now appears to be the ranking fiscal conservative on the council, at least for projects not of her liking. Did Shaffer have a born-again conversion to fiscal prudence or is it just a fickle politician’s inconsistency? In any case, Deputy Mayor Shaffer is invited to apply her newly discovered fiscal conservatism to the Coastal Rail Trail Project. Hopefully, she will bring the item back to council, ask hard questions about future budget impacts and vote with a new council majority to move the CRT to Coast Highway 101, where the incremental repair and replacement costs will be significantly lower.

Ralph Thielicke

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