The “Father of Encinitas”
By Julie Thunder
One of my neighbors who I’ve known for decades is Dr. Robert ‘Bob’ Bonde. He lives a few blocks over with his wife Joanne. Before retiring to Cardiff in 1981, Bob was a U.S. Marine who served in Korea, he earned a doctorate in education and he was the Executive Dean at Cal Poly, Pomona. Bob and Joanne are the sort of neighbors we all want to have: quiet, kind and generous and they are good resources for homeowner questions about gardening, woodworking, and fixing stuff. Turns out Bob is also good at taking on regional political issues like The Bullet Train, our current Coaster commuter train, and even the incorporation of our city.
THE BULLET TRAIN
In the early 80’s, Bob formed the United Citizens Coastal Protective League with a group of neighbors which led the effort to stop the Bullet Train, a high speed rail system from San Diego to Los Angeles, (1982 NYTimes article). This saved our beach access and prevented 114 trains per day racing through our rail corridor at speeds much faster than today. Cardiff would have been severely impacted by both the view-blocking structure required for the special track and the noise of trains going by every 13 minutes, day and night. He spent three years meeting with civic groups along our coast and educating people about the project, and was finally successful as the unpopular plan failed to raise the required funding.
After the Bullet Train victory, Bob saw room for improvement with our rail system. So he met with a state senator and convinced him to fund a study to learn what the people along our rail corridor really wanted and needed. The results of that study led to today’s Coaster commuter rail system.
Cardiff had always been under county rule and was not adequately serviced by the Board of Supervisors, but we didn’t have enough income to become a city on our own. In 1984 Bob learned that Solana Beach was pursuing cityhood. He asked them to include Cardiff, making us part of Solana Beach, but they rejected his idea. Then a group called Party for the Incorporation of Encinitas began an incorporation effort exclusively for Encinitas and Leucadia. Bob was outspoken about the need for Cardiff and Olivenhain to be included but they refused, so he formed the North Coast Incorporation Coalition. His insistence that all four communities be incorporated into one city resulted in voter approval of Proposition “K” on the 1986 ballot and the new City of Encinitas was formed. Bob is officially recognized by both the county and city as being the “Father of Encinitas” for his leadership and efforts with our city’s beginnings.
Bob still follows local issues and is quick to defend Cardiff’s unique community character (ask him how he saved our front yards and fought for our downtown). If you see Bob and Joanne out for their walk, stop and say thank you for making Cardiff-by-the-Sea the quaint little beach town that it is today!