Alex Riley has announced that he is running for Encinitas City Council. He says he will focus on four main issues: public safety, housing (he supports local control in land-use decisions), Prop A (supports), and government transparency. He told us he is ready to serve again by representing District 1, which consists of the northern portion of Encinitas (map is below) and has about a fourth of its residents. He’s running against incumbent Tony Kranz.
Alex spent 19-years as a career lifeguard for the City of San Diego. He worked with a variety of local, state, and federal agencies protecting people, property, and the environment. In addition to ocean rescues, he was also trained in underwater and swift water rescues, medical response, and law enforcement.
“I’m running for City Council to maintain the character of our unique communities and preserve the quality of life that brought us here in the first place. My strengths are teamwork, collaboration, and forward-thinking.”Alex Riley
His lifeguard career ended when he suffered serious injuries while rescuing a UCSD student stuck on a bluff at Black’s Beach. While rappelling down to the student, activity from above caused a rock slide. A large rock smashed into Alex’s head and upper body giving him a concussion and causing injuries to his neck and back. Not realizing the extent of his injuries, he continued down to the victim. After reaching him, Alex had to work quickly because the sun was going down and the rescue helicopter was on its way. It wasn’t until after the rescue was completed that the adrenaline faded and he began to realize the full extent of his injuries.
It took more than two years of rehab before Alex could manage simple daily tasks. He attributes much of his recovery to “the healthy atmosphere of Encinitas and the wide variety of health and medical practitioners here”. Part of his healing process was taking small walks along the beach in the soft sand. The hardest part for him was not being able to surf.
Alex said it was difficult to accept that his days as a lifeguard were over, “I loved being a lifeguard, it combined my passion for the ocean with the opportunity to help others.”
When Alex and his wife purchased their house in Leucadia, they called it their “forever home”. Years later, they discovered that a developer wanted to overbuild a nearby lot. They were upset by this and knew it would drastically change their neighborhood. The proposal would have more than doubled the population of their block, without addressing the already known problems with the street (parking, potholes) and the drainage failures residents had been fighting for years.
Alex started speaking to neighbors and attending meetings at City Hall. Through this process, he learned about developer giveaways called ‘density bonus laws’, the importance of Prop A, and the negative impacts over-zealous developers can have on “un-suspecting family neighborhoods”.
Due to community pushback, the developer finally agreed to build a smaller project. Alex said, “When you live in a residential neighborhood, you don’t imagine someone could come in and build a high-density apartment complex in the middle of it.”
Though his rescue days are behind him, he hopes to continue serving the public. He said, “I understand bureaucracy and how to work within the system. And public safety and infrastructure should be important priorities. If we continue on this current growth trend, it’s going to impact emergency response times, traffic congestion, and our already failing floodwater management systems.”
When asked if he can surf again, he said “Yes! I’m back out in the water and enjoying both surfing and swimming.”
The council should meet more often and for a shorter duration. Meetings that go beyond midnight are a sign of leadership failure by the mayor and council.Alex Riley
His campaign website: www.alexriley4encinitas1.com
District 1: Includes the portion of Leucadia that is north of Leucadia Blvd. and then follows the northern boundary of Encinitas, extending back into part of Olivenhain.
The map below has an address finder that will help you find your voting district.