By Julie Thunder
Two controversial members of the Encinitas Traffic Commission have recently resigned. Darius Degher (musician and poet) and Christina Simokat (lecturer at Cal State San Marcos) were each appointed to the Commission by Mayor Blakespear and gained notoriety early last year when they refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of meetings.
Their actions made headlines in news articles and TV news broadcasts from Chicago to Los Angeles. While Simokat declined to state her reasons for sitting during the Pledge, Degher was clear and open about protesting “nationalist policies”.
Mayor Blakespear supported their choices stating in 2018, “Choosing to not stand is a peaceful form of protest, I see no problem with it.”
Their resignations are for different reasons. Simokat’s teaching schedule made meeting times difficult. Degher says he wants to spend more time writing music and poetry. One of his published songs is titled, “Pledge of Allegiance (to the Earth)”, which features Mayor Blakespear’s daughter.
Their seats on the commission have been filled by Mary Schultz of Leucadia, and Michael von Neumann of New Encinitas. Traffic commissioners serve a three-year term, with a two-term maximum.