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Encinitas resident and community activist, Donna Westbrook, referred to it as the "800 pound gorilla," the concern that the majority on Encinitas' city council will appoint a like-minded council member to fill the vacant seat left after Maggie Houlihan passed away.

"That super-majority could wreck the entire community," Westbrook warned the council during public comment. "Amendments could be passed. You all vote with like-minds and we will end up with the worst [general plan update] in the state."

To avoid running into the "800 pound gorilla," Westbrook and others asked that the council leave the vacant council seat vacant until the next general election.

City Attorney Glenn Sabine said that wouldn't be feasible and because the general election is more than a year away, an appointment or special election needs to happen.

The city council voted to appoint an interim council member.

The city is now accepting applications to fill the vacant seat. Those applications will be reviewed and interviews will be conducted at a October 26 council meeting.

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