Teresa Barth will obviously be mayor. She has earned the traditionally rotational post with her years of service to the city, and now she will have enough support on the council to see that her repeatedly being passed over does not continue.
But when will she be mayor, and for how long?
This month, the voters chose to change the mayor position to a two-year elected post, rather than a one-year appointed post. Electoral politics could come into play in the order of the rotation. Encinitas political operatives believe that being mayor is an advantage going into an election. I dispute this view vehemently; ask Dalager and Stocks how that worked out for them. Nevertheless, Barth may want to wait to be appointed until 2014 when she would be up for either re-election to council or election to the new mayor position.
The new council could also presumably choose to start the two-year mayoralty now, and give Barth the two years leading up to the next election. After all, the voters want a two-year mayor; why make them wait? But this could be viewed as overreach, and a breach of the new spirit of cooperation promised by the newly elected council members.
In that spirit of cooperation, is it possible that the council would allow Kristin Gaspar to become mayor? As current deputy mayor, she would typically be next in line. But given Gaspar's history of both petty tantrums over not getting her way and staged outbursts over feigned outrage, as well as her connection to the sleazy We Love Encinitas election mailers, it would take the turn-the-other-cheekiness of Jesus for the new majority to appoint Gaspar mayor.
I wouldn't be surprised to see Barth appointed mayor this year, with Lisa Shaffer as deputy mayor, given Shaffer's having overwhelming public support as demonstrated by having received the most votes by far of any candidate in Encinitas history. Shaffer would then become mayor the following year so that if Gaspar and Barth wanted to go at each other in the elected mayor campaign, neither would have the "advantage" of incumbency.
More importantly, though, than who gets to be mayor for a year, is the substantive issue of how future council agendas are set. While the voters chose to elect a mayor, they didn't choose to change to a "strong mayor" form of government. Rules for how items get onto the city council agenda were not part of the ballot question, and remain within the purview of the city council. This city council should ensure that control of the council agenda remains in the hands of future council majorities and not in the hands of one (possibly capriciously) elected person. The mayor of a small city like Encinitas should be a ceremonial figurehead, not a Boss Hogg.