by Mark Muir, former Encinitas Councilmember, Fire Chief, and resident
I was saddened to see an overall lack of leadership by our Mayor and City Council members last week regarding funding for public safety and marijuana sales in Encinitas.
Selling and Cultivating Marijuana in Encinitas
As a former City of Encinitas Fire Chief, I spent my entire 35-year career evaluating risks vs. benefits before taking necessary actions. The use of any drug, be it medical or recreational, involves risk. Marijuana is not automatically safe just because a state declares it to be legal. In California, the line between safety and risk became instantly blurred. I can unequivocally offer my professional experience in sharing the many personal and community risks of allowing marijuana businesses: impaired driving, fatal crashes, addiction, schizophrenia, psychosis, cognitive impairment, lower IQ, normalization to our youth, and reduced home values. These risks strongly outweigh the benefits of a small sales tax increase, which will quickly evaporate with the costly rise in both law and code enforcement. The Mayor and City Council (with the exception of Councilmember Kranz), was unwilling to oppose the upcoming Encinitas ballot measure on legalizing the cultivation and distribution of Marijuana within our City. In addition, the Mayor failed to publicly disclose that she has accepted money from the Marijuana ballot initiative organizers. These actions represent a catastrophic failure in leadership to protect our community. If you want marijuana, order it online, if you want to live in a marijuana free city, get in line and vote against this initiative!
Defunding the Sheriff’s Department
Our Encinitas leadership should continue to support a department with a stellar professional reputation and a history of dedicated service. This diverse group of professionals is committed to working with the community to make Encinitas a safe place to live, work, and play. Our City has the lowest crime rate in the entire county, at the helm of a Captain who is professional, innovative, and community-oriented. The department’s commitment to continuous improvement has shaped policies and practices to enhance service to all residents while adhering to the highest principles of justice and equality. I was shocked to learn that Mayor Blakespear and Deputy Mayor Hinze had initiated a countywide conversation on defunding or restructuring the Sheriff Department. I continue to support our deputies and ask that the community join me in doing so.
Encinitans should immediately hold our community leaders accountable for their actions and operate with the baseline expectation that they take official positions that will enhance overall community character, public safety, and quality of life.