Questions are being raised about two groups eager for a say in the future of the Pacific View Elementary School site, which the city of Encinitas last year agreed to purchase for $10 million.Our first reaction to this was that it was a big nothingburger, that Encinitas Friends of the Arts just wanted to help out and provide volunteers. In that case, this looked like a pretty weak anti-Barth shot from Tom Arnold and the Seaside Courier, both known for their opposition to the Barthist faction on the city council.
The two groups are Engage Encinitas and Friends of the Arts. Former Encinitas City Councilwoman Teresa Barth, who while on the council pushed for the city to buy the 2.8-acre site for a future arts center, is involved with both groups — and other organizations that would like to run the arts center question whether this involvement gives her an unfair advantage once the city council decides to choose an operator.
But then on the other hand, it would be highly problematic to give any group control of a $10 million public asset based solely on the group's political connections to council members. Encinitas Friends of the Arts is a small organization with extremely limited financial resources, unable to contribute meaningfully to the expenses of rehabilitating the old buildings and running a museum. Giving EFA or any private organization anything more than an advisory role in the management of an eventually revenue-producing operation would be at serious risk for conflicts of interest.
What do you think?