Mosca to fill Encinitas council seat

Parks commissioner is former Sierra Madre councilman

North Coast Current

Encinitas Parks and Recreation Commission member Joe Mosca will fill a vacant seat on the Encinitas City Council after the council voted 3-1 on Jan. 11 in favor of his appointment.

Mosca, a relatively new resident of Encinitas, fills a seat left by new Mayor Catherine Blakespear, who was elected to that office in November. Mosca will serve the remaining two years of the seat. The council voted Dec. 13 to appoint a replacement rather than hold a new election.

The council heard from 12 of 13 applicants during its Jan. 11 meeting. Sixteen residents originally applied for the seat, City Clerk Kathy Hollywood said at the meeting, but three dropped out by the time public statements took place.

Joe Mosca

“First and foremost, I’m passionate about our wonderful community and protecting it,” Mosca told the council during applicant comments. “Second, with my experience I have the ability to hit the ground running. Third, I listen. I will listen to all residents so we can best protect our wonderful community.”

Mosca cited his experience serving two terms on the City Council of Sierra Madre, a city near Los Angeles, and experience with the Encinitas Parks and Recreation Commission since 2015.

His appointment to the council did not come without controversy, however.

Deputy Mayor Tony Kranz questioned Mosca’s ability to be objective on energy issues given his employment with San Diego Gas & Electric. Kranz discussed the city’s consideration of community choice energy, which could allow more choices in energy providers.

“We’re all employed. We all have jobs. And I’m not here to represent my company,” Mosca said. “I’m here to represent the residents and my neighbors and my friends, and work hard for our city.”

Mosca said he would recuse himself from conflicts of interest and explore those concerns as they come up.

Councilman Mark Muir raised concerns about Mosca’s lack of time living in Encinitas and discussions in the community about Mosca’s temperament while on the Sierra Madre City Council. Blakespear also brought up the notion of “playing well with others” and working together as a team.

Critics of Mosca from Sierra Madre and Encinitas have circulated videos of council meetings aimed at criticizing his leadership and temperament, including a video that appears to show Mosca arguing with residents and council members during open-session public comments.

“When you sit up here, there’s a lot of criticism that comes your way; there’s a lot of negative politics that comes your way,” Mosca told the council Jan. 11. “My approach in terms of negative of politics, I’ve always tried to go above, rise above, and focus on the goals at hand, and I think I’ve been successful in the past in doing that.”

Mosca said the fact he was elected twice to the Sierra Madre City Council was testament to his support and successful work in the community.

“This is the poster child for negative politics,” Mosca said of the videos.

Muir, the lone vote against Mosca, put forth a motion to vote on appointing longtime Encinitas resident Tony Brandenburg to the seat, citing Brandenburg’s 55 years in the community, and his participation on elected boards and city commissions.

The motion did not carry, and the council moved forward to appoint Mosca.