We have obtained emails that were sent from the NoRailTrail leaders to members of the group confirming Paul Gaspar’s deep and “intimate” involvement with the group. We have no objection to the idea that Paul mentored the leadership of NoRailTrail on effective advocacy. However, it is absolutely not cool that the leaders of the group then hijacked the cause of the 1,000 people they represent to launch a strident, ugly, partisan campaign to elect a Republican mayor and two Republican council members.
The political endorsements, Facebook posts, letters, comments on various web sites, and other recent communications from NoRailTrail give the impression that all 1,000 members of the group stand behind the highly partisan positions of the small core leadership team. But we don’t think the people of Encinitas that signed the original petition about the rail trail alignment actually agreed to enthusiastically back a slate of Republicans for mayor and for City Council.
It seems clear in hindsight that Paul Gaspar has cynically used NoRailTrail as a pawn on the political chessboard.
Dear NoRailTrail: We have re-activated this web site in order to respond to recent attacks on City Council members and the spate of negativity around the composition of the new rail corridor working group (the Coastal Mobility and Livability Working Group). While we had empathy and respect for your fight to move the Cardiff Rail Trail to the west side of Highway 101 earlier this year, we feel like you've now gone off the tracks. Remember that you won the fight over the rail trail alignment. The City Council made that decision in March.
We're deeply troubled by the allegations you've hurled at Catherine Blakespear and other members of the City Council over the last few weeks about vague and unsubstantiated "shady dealings" related to the composition of the rail corridor working group. The kerfuffle over the composition of the group seems less about real issues and more about making trouble for Catherine Blakespear during election season and trying to get Paul Gaspar elected as Mayor. Did the broad group of people in Cardiff who rallied to your cause (the rail trail alignment) really sign up for a nasty and fiercely partisan campaign to elect a Republican Mayor? We feel like you've hijacked their cause in order to force a Republican majority on the Council. You've taken something pure and non-partisan and twisted it. This is very unfortunate.
Catherine gave you everything you wanted with her change of heart and change of vote in March. We would expect you to be grateful and gracious as a result. Instead, you are leveling serious accusations based on minor perceived slights. You are impugning the integrity of people who made a difficult decision to support you. Your "evidence" for any malfeasance is truly weak sauce.
The core of your main complaint is that the composition of the rail corridor working group was decided in "secret meetings" and somehow favors or benefits those of us who wanted an east-side alignment of the Cardiff Rail Trail. What's most ridiculous about these allegations is that the most active leaders on the "yes" side - who you would expect to be at the white hot center of this crazy paranoid conspiracy - didn't even bother to call or email the Council about the initial draft working group membership list that was subsequently modified by the Council.
We didn't have a huge charge on it because the Coastal Mobility and Livability Working Group is not a forum for re-litigating the alignment of the rail trail. We never saw it as such nor did we ever intend to try to use it that way. The group's mandate is much broader and deals with how the entire city interacts with the rail corridor in all parts of the community (including pedestrian crossings, road crossings, parking, and the use of land). Not only that, but the alignment issue has already been decided by the Council.
So... if the leaders of the "yes" side couldn't even get worked up enough to lobby the Council about membership, then how on earth could there be some grand conspiracy?
The answer is that there isn't a conspiracy. That's just patently silly. It's nonsense. Instead, there is a lot of noise being made by a very small group of people who are the unwitting tools of Kristin and Paul Gaspar in an attempt to flip the City Council majority from Democrat/progressive to Republican/conservative. That's it. That's all.
Encinitas, don't fall for it. Regardless of your political leanings, don't allow partisan politics to hijack and hide behind a non-partisan cause that started with pure motivations and a broad base of support.
Moderators and authors for the Cardiff Rail Trail page come from a group of dedicated volunteers.