In June, the City Council appointed Ms. Caylin Frank to the open council seat created by Jim Cunningham’s retirement. For many this seemed like an odd selection because Caylin had only lived in Poway for a few months at the time and most of the other candidates were longtime residents of Poway with substantial community involvement.
Something didn’t seem right.
Many, including myself, think this was a political appointment. I also think the selection of Ms. Frank demonstrated extremely poor judgment on the part of Mayor Vaus. In fact, I viewed it as a ‘slap in the face’ to Poway residents who deserved an independent voice who was deeply familiar with Poway, rather than someone who just moved here. I doubt Ms. Frank knew the difference between Stoneridge and Starridge Park at the time she was appointed.
To understand why this was almost certainly a political appointment you need to look at Ms. Frank’s background and her connections to Mayor Vaus.
First, Ms. Frank is the daughter of former Encinitas Mayor Christy Guerin, who sits on SANDAG along with our Mayor. Our Mayor admits to meeting Ms. Frank at a SANDAG meeting.
Additionally, Ms. Frank was a longtime assistant for Republican country supervisor Bill Horn, who is being termed out. Our Mayor has been very active in Republican county politics including providing support for congressional candidate Kristin Gaspar, who was another former Mayor of Encinitas.
These connections between Ms. Franks, Mayor Vaus, SANDAG and County Republicans makes the appointment look like a back-room deal – the grant of a favor to political allies that will hopefully lead to good will in the future – not a selection that was made with the best interests of Poway in mind. Also, certain comments by Republican officials indicate the council seat is viewed as a stepping stone for Ms. Frank, who is expected to go on to greater things.
Poway should not be a stepping stone for politically connected candidates of either party.
On a more troubling note, others have suggested that this pick was made to give Mayor Vaus effective control of the city council as two of the four seats now contain people who he appointed (Frank, Leonard) giving him an effective majority on every vote (himself, and the two other seats). Again, we need independent voices on City Council who will make their own evaluation and decision when voting.
Regardless of the reasons, the Caylin Frank appointment was an objectively bad one for Poway. She did not have the Poway experience, background and community connections necessary to justify her appointment. The fault for this falls squarely on our City Council and in particular on our Mayor.
I would never appoint someone to an open council seat who was not deeply familiar with Poway and what makes it so special.
If you think the Caylin Frank appointment reeked of backroom politics, rather than the best interests of Poway, please send a message that this is unacceptable. A great way to do that that by supporting me and my campaign for Mayor.
Some have asked if I would consider eliminating the appointment process for open seats in Poway. I would have to strongly consider supporting this given the abuse (in my opinion) of the process that took place in this instance. We need to present voters with a clean slate when electing a council member to an open seat.