Encinitas will go before a judge on November 13 in a status hearing for lawsuits against the city related to our non-compliant Housing Element. These cases were delayed pending the outcome of Measure U, which if passed would have mooted the basis for the suits. Measure U was defeated, and so the cases will somehow proceed.
This is the second time voters have rejected a ballot measure. Judges are notoriously deferential to voters, and rarely issue sweeping rulings that invalidate the will of the electorate. I expect the judge to look for ways to avoid or minimize the scope of judicial intervention. I would expect the judge to ask our city leaders if they feel voter approval of a compliant housing element is impossible in Encinitas.
I think it’s important for our elected leaders to answer carefully. After watching voters reject months or years of work by our city council, there will be a temptation to say that council did everything possible, and that blame for the failure rests with voters—that there is no hope for a voter approved plan. This would be factually incorrect, and an insult to voters that we will never forget.
The difficult truth is that there is a voting bloc who will never vote yes on a compliant housing element, but they are a minority. There are others in the middle who voted no on this specific plan because of mistakes and poor decisions made by our leaders in the crafting of this plan. When the judge asks, we expect and deserve leadership that accepts responsibility for the flaws that caused Measure U to fail. I realize this is a difficult and painful thing to do, but it’s the truth, and it’s what is best for the City legally.
I ask each council member to spend real quiet think time over the next few days to write down a list of specific decisions and elements of the process and the plan that you think cost votes. Go to court prepared, and when asked by the judge, do the hard right thing.
Friday, November 9, 2018
Will the city be honest with the court about why Measure U failed?
Open letter from Luke Dion to the city council on Encinitas Votes: