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Vote for a regional environmental leadership team

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
October 28, 2004


Election 2004 Endorsements

  • Del Mar City Council
    • Michael Winn
  • Solana Beach City Council
    • Joe Killijian
    • Lesa Heebner
  • Oceanside City Council
    • John Hoffman
  • Encinitas City Council
    • James Bond
    • Jerome Stocks
    • Rob Wilder
  • Carlsbad City Council
    • Ann Kulchin

For more than a decade Observations from the Edge and the Coast News have demonstrated an intrinsic commitment to environment awareness in the public and political considerations of our readers. This year, for Election 2004, the Coast News has decided to offer an endorsement of sorts.

Instead of the usual dissection of municipal races, we offer readers a slate of regional candidates that offer the best opportunity for pragmatic environmental leadership. All candidates running for city council, and mayor, in the cities of Del Mar, Solana Beach, Encinitas, Carlsbad, and Oceanside were sent an environmental questionnaire by the editor of the Coast News, not all were returned.

Environmental leadership requires the ability to work with others, it also requires follow through, and doing your homework. Unfortunately certain candidates and incumbents decided this was not required of them. As a journalist I have to ask myself why. Why would certain candidates find it unnecessary to clarify the positions on environmental issues? Perhaps they believe environmental issues to be unimportant, unworthy of comment. Perhaps some were embarrassed by a lack of knowledge or resume. Some chose not to return their questionnaires due to politics and political paranoia.

One test of being an effective environmental advocate is the ability to work well with others, especially those who might not agree with you on numerous levels. Environmental leadership not only requires diplomacy, it also requires respect, and willingness to go on record for what you believe in. Four candidates expected to be included in our 2004 environmental endorsements, sadly are not.

Whatever their reasons, candidates that chose not to define their positions on regional environmental issues by answering twelve questions, demonstrated a lack of commitment to environmental leadership, thereby disqualifying themselves from serious consideration.

The issues addressed in the previously published questionnaire affect every coastal community in north San Diego County. Water resources, energy, population, transportation, conservation, and preservation are regional in nature, and must be confronted regionally. Environmental challenges are economic as well. This too was taken into consideration when deciding endorsements.

In Encinitas, two incumbents impressed with a display of critical thinking skills. Fiscal conservatives James Bond and Jerome Stocks should be returned to office. James Bond answered the sustainability questioned with "My vision of environmental sustainability is a system of reciprocal maintenance of a larger whole. By that I mean that each part of the system nourishes and/or "sustains" one or more other parts of system and in return, receives nourishment from other parts or system processes such that the overall system is self-renewing, self improving, self sustaining, etc."

Jerome Stocks sees sustainability as simultaneously meeting environmental, economic, and community needs while "protecting resources in a way, and at a rate that enables future generations to meet their own needs."

In Carlsbad, Ann Kulchin, has proven to be consistent voice for wildlife conservation and managed growth, and should be returned to office. Her wise council is much needed in Carlsbad. Joe Killijian of Solana Beach has championed a successful Jr. Naturalist program, fostering environmental awareness within the Parks and Recreation departments of a growing number of cities in San Diego County. Through his leadership, the redevelopment of the Cedros Design Center and the below grade expansion of the Solana Beach transportation hub has renovated the coastal corridor.

The people of Del Mar would do themselves proud by electing Michael Winn. So left he's right, Michael Winn can be expected to fight hard for environmental sustainability and quality of life issues. Rob Wilder of Encinitas has an impressive resume, and an equally impressive commitment to ecological innovation and technological advancement. Lesa Heebner of Solana Beach has an outstanding record of community activism. Her work on advancing the concept of walkable communities is reason enough to warrant a landslide of votes. Like Joe Killijian, Lesa Heebner would be a strong advocate of coastal and wetland restoration while encouraging the economic incentives associated with ecotourism.

Voters in Oceanside would be well served by John Hoffman. If elected Hoffman hopes "to introduce a new policy for the city to replace most of the city staff vehicles with hybrid and electric vehicles where possible." would encourage "a large percentage of city owned land be landscaped with California native plants." Untainted by the partisan politics of Oceanside, John Hoffman offers an independent perspective needed in Oceanside.

Thanks for reading, and please remember to vote

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