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The new face of Encinitas politics

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Unpublished Draft
October 1, 2006


Encinitas- Tom Brown is not the typical Encinitas council candidate. Professional, poised, and with a disarming sense of accomplishment, Brown, a construction contractor, and owner of Sierra Pacific West, Brown is generating considerable talk in his first run for public office.

A California native, and a 4th generation resident of north San Diego County, Thomas L. Brown, recognized as Contractor of the year the Associated General Contractors of America San Diego chapter, in 2033 and 2005, hopes Encinitas voters will respond to his resume of community service and fiscal conservancy, and recognize his construction experience as a budgetary asset.

Adept at public forums, candidate Brown, "a builder of infrastructure" presents himself as principled and polished. In his opening statement at the Leucadia Town Council forum, calmly stated "My leadership skills are far above what is needed." His work as Chairman of the San Diego Family Justice Center Foundation Board of Trustees, and past tenure with the State of California's Contractors State License Board supports such statements.

Later, in a subsequent interview, when asked what he would bring to the council deliberations Brown said " I intend to bring my experience, which may sound selfish. But electing the best person for the job is also selfish… but smart. The current council doesn't get the impact of cost overruns or how to mitigate. I'll bring economic sense to the discussion."

Lynn Braun Marr, a tireless critic of city hall, said she was impressed with Brown. "He talks about trust and communication. That's good. He's talking about things of concern to Leucadians." Gary Murphy, a resident expert on Leucadia flooding problems, originally supported of another candidate, now campaigns for Brown, "He listens, Paul Martens lost me at everything's fine." Braun and Murphy plan to cast their other vote for Teresa Barth.

Seeking to define himself both fiscally and environmentally, Brown is advocating educated decision making based on experience and research, increased communication and protecting the environment and open space. Believing the power of the purse ultimately should rest with the voters; Brown is quick to abdicate council opinion in favor public will.

"At the end of the day, if you are going to spend tax dollars, then allow the people to have a voice. They have to make the decision. And if they decide they want to spend money on a park or program, so be it. And if you vote for someone to make those decisions, make sure they are good fiscal stewards."

Pro-growth and pro-environment, "in deed, not rhetoric" candidate Brown is making fiscal competence an issue. "I have the skills and experience to look beyond the book. I am better prepared to negotiate development contracts. I have built a lot of parks."

Fellow candidate, and Parks and Recreation commissioner Doug Long is taking issue with some of Browns claims of community service. In true Encinitas style, when asked to respond to Long's criticisms candidate Brown responded, "I have the best leadership skills. We are talking about a plumber and a lawnmower man."

A first time candidate for public office, Thomas Brown has placed himself in contention by listening and learning from the residents he is asking to represent. Voters will decide November 7,2006.

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