On October 1, 1986, the City of Encinitas officially opened its doors for business. About three months earlier, in the June '86 state primary election, citizens of five communities (Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Old Encinitas, New Encinitas, Leucadia, and Olivenhain) voted 68 percent in favor of incorporating.
On Saturday, October 1, hundreds of city residents celebrated with a 25th anniversary party at the San Dieguito Heritage Museum. Among other ceremonial activities, mayor James Bond welcomed to the stage the current city council and eight former mayors. A moment of silence was called for to honor councilwoman Maggie Houlihan, who passed away on September 16 after a long battle with cancer.
The loudest applause went to Bob Bonde, known as the “father of Encinitas.” In 1985, he and a small band of community activists began weekly meetings in his Cardiff home's basement to strategize how to get incorporation on the ballot and win the election. Three years earlier, in 1982, the incorporation question failed by a two-to-one margin at the ballot box.
Since Encinitas' incorporation in 1986 (and at the same time, the City of Solana Beach), no other San Diego County community has been successful in reaching cityhood due to a change in state law that now requires communities looking to incorporate to pay study fees to the state's Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO).
Prior to the change in the law, a county would have to pony up the fees — upwards of $50,000. Over the years, various levels of discussion toward incorporation have taken place in the communities of Alpine, Fallbrook, Lakeside, Ramona, Rancho Santa Fe, Spring Valley, and Valley Center. Only Fallbrook's plan made it to the ballot, and, in 1988, voters turned it down.
Image from directory.sandiego.com