Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Group Proposes to Build Hotel on Justice Souter's House Property

This is so punk rock, I love it:

Group proposes to build hotel on Justice Souter's house property

Following the Supreme Court ruling allowing private companies to seize people's houses and develop the land for business purposes, a private developer has asked the code enforcement officer of the Towne of Weare, New Hampshire "to start the application process to build a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road." That's the address of Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter's home.
The proposed development, called "The Lost Liberty Hotel" will feature the "Just Desserts Café" and include a museum, open to the public, featuring a permanent exhibit on the loss of freedom in America. Instead of a Gideon's Bible each guest will receive a free copy of Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged."


Clements indicated that the hotel must be built on this particular piece of land because it is a unique site being the home of someone largely responsible for destroying property rights for all Americans.


"This is not a prank" said Clements, "The Towne of Weare has five people on the Board of Selectmen. If three of them vote to use the power of eminent domain to take this land from Mr. Souter we can begin our hotel development."

link

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Jerome Stocks/Hall Property/Park. It's Gone Wacky

NCT Online Article by Adam Kaye

This is one of those stories that shouldn't be a story. The city bought the Hall property (visible from I-5, it used to be greenhouses, then it looked like a tornado hit it and now it is cleared and ready) and has sold $22 million bucks in bonds to build a neat-o park for all us to enjoy.

$22 million bucks is an insane amount of money, man we are high rollers! Heck, that kind of cash could almost solve the much ballyhooed flooding problem, but I digress.

The Hall/Park property is 43 acres. The city bought it for $400,000 an acre. So that comes out to what, $17 million?

Of course in the last few years land values have really shot up around here, even in the gnarly "blighted" areas. Now that land is probably worth around $900,000 an acre. Aye caramba! Who knew that land right next to a noisy freeway was so desirable? (but the hell do I know?)

So esteemed council man Jerome Stocks, apparently committing political suicide, wants to sell some of that property. We are talking equity bro.

Problem is the bonds have already been sold. If you purchased bonds in the interest of getting a park built for your kids you are probably feeling a little rat finked right now.

From the NCT article:

Revenue from a land sale could bring a completed park to the community sooner and all at once, rather than in phases, he [Stocks] said.

Stocks and a colleague, Councilwoman Christy Guerin, comprise a subcommittee exploring how to pay for a park on the property that would include sports fields, an outdoor amphitheatre, swimming pool, teen center, skate park, playground and off-leash dog park.

A cost estimate does not exist, but the price of construction would exceed "by millions" the $12.1 million set aside for the job, City Manager Kerry Miller said Monday.

I don't want to lose my cool here but, when does it take over 12 million to build a freaking park!?!

The problem is this the most over designed park in the history of parks. This thing is really fancy schmancy.

Realistically, we don't need anything more than a grassy field and some benches to sit on. We could get everything we need at Home Depot.

The best park around here is the old Glen Park in Cardiff. I know that thing didn't cost no 12 million plus to build. I've been going to that park since I was a little kid. Heck, I had my wedding reception there.

Another thing, the city shouldn't spend a bunch of dough on a skate park when the wealthiest skateboarder in the universe, Tony Hawk is from Encinitas. Ask him and his mega sponsors to donate one (or just leave the skating to the YMCA).

This is what we do, just give the kids a big pile of dirt and let them build their own dirt bike track. This is what kids do naturally and would be doing if there was any open spaces left around here. My friends and I had lots of little dirt bike tracks carved out where Target is now.

We adults need to stop micro-managing things so much. The kids just need a place to run around so they will get tired and go to bed early.

AND NO GAZEBOS! WE WANT PALAPAS!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Dark Day in America

Friends,

This is without the darkest day in America that I have ever personally witnessed in my life.
What about September 11th you may ask? Well, in my opinion today's Supreme Court ruling has knocked that horrifying day into 2nd place. It is one thing to be attacked by foreign terrorist, we can retaliate against them with force, but it is another thing all together for your own government to sell you, your family and your property out to corporate or private developers.

If you haven't heard by now click this link to yahoo news story

This ruling is so depressing, so discouraging, so outrageous that we should be rioting in the streets. Your private property, your home or business, is no longer safe no matter who you are or where you live.

Everything you have worked for in your life can be taken from you by private wealthy developers with the government's blessing.

Hell, you could be a multi-millionaire and own a multi-million dollar complex and a multi-billionaire could come along and force you out.

There is always a bigger fish.

Why are we fighting to install a democracy in Iraq when we are eroding our own?

Did you know that a corporation has the rights of an actual person? It sounds crazy but it's true.
So basically what is happening is that the big bully from down the street can take your lunch money and you can't complain to a cop or a teacher.

The foundation of America has been swept away, the right to own your little slice of the pie. Well it's over. The entire pie belongs to them now.

The intro to O'Connor's dissent sums it up nicely:



Today the Court abandons this long-held, basic limitation on government power. Under the banner of economic development, all private property is now vulnerable to being taken and transferred to another private owner, so long as it might be upgraded -- i.e., given to an owner who will use it in a way that the legislature deems more beneficial to the public -- in the process. To reason, as the Court does, that the incidental public benefits resulting from the subsequent ordinary use of private property render economic development takings "for public use" is to wash out any distinction between private and public use of property -- and thereby effectively to delete the words "for public use" from the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment. Accordingly I respectfully dissent.


And some more:

In moving away from our decisions sanctioning the condemnation of harmful property use, the Court today significantly expands the meaning of public use. It holds that the sovereign may take private property currently put to ordinary private use, and give it over for new, ordinary private use, so long as the new use is predicted to generate some secondary benefit for the public -- such as increased tax revenue, more jobs, maybe even aesthetic pleasure. But nearly any lawful use of real private property can be said to generate some incidental benefit to the public. Thus, if predicted (or even guaranteed) positive side-effects are enough to render transfer from one private party to another constitutional, then the words "for public use" do not realistically exclude any takings, and thus do not exert any constraint on the eminent domain power.

From Thomas's dissent:

[The Court holds], against all common sense, that a costly urban-renewal project whose stated purpose is a vague promise of new jobs and increased tax revenue, but which is also suspiciously agreeable to the Pfizer Corporation, is for a "public use."

I cannot agree. If such "economic development" takings are for a "public use," any taking is, and the Court has erased the Public Use Clause from our Constitution, as JUSTICE O'CONNOR powerfully argues in dissent. Ante, at 1-2, 8-13. I do not believe that this Court can eliminate liberties expressly enumerated in the Constitution and therefore join her dissenting opinion. Regrettably, however, the Court's error runs deeper than this. Today's decision is simply the latest in a string of our cases construing the Public Use Clause to be a virtual nullity, without the slightest nod to its original meaning. In my view, the Public Use Clause, originally understood, is a meaningful limit on the government's eminent domain power.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Let's Talk Flooding...



Even though the city council is backing away from redevelopment this whole flooding thing is really sticking in my craw. Let's break it down:

The only rational reason for declaring Leucadia blighted is our flooding problem.

Flood = Blight

If it only rains on average 2 weeks of the year, are we blighted a full 52 weeks a year?

Since it was the city that made the flooding worse than ever...well, I just don't know what to say. This is something that nobody wants to touch with a ten foot pole, the fact that our 4.8 million drainage system makes the flooding worse and nobody is holding the contractor accountable. I mean, shucks.

The big Catch-22 at the Monday night meeting was that the council didn't want to talk about flooding, but flooding is the only thing that could possibly make Leucadia blighted. I confess, that made me a little crazy.



30 million bucks is the figure we hear the most often about how much it will take to fix the flooding once and for all (yeah right). By now we've all heard Mr. Caldwell's excellent question, "Why does San Diego pay 1 million per mile when we have to pay 25 million per mile? What is the extra 24 million for?"
No-one has an answer to this. At the Monday night meeting after this question was poised the city council asked the city manager and then the city manager fingered the city engineer lurking in the back and the color in the city engineer's face drained and turned white and he pretty much got the hell out of there.

About the flooding. Man, are we all just being big wusses about this? I think Jim Bond pointed our that maybe the citizens of Leucadia might be happier just trying to deal with it.

Is it cheaper in the long run just to pay a crew to show up when it rains and pump the water away? How much did we spend last winter, the rainiest winter in 100 years? (20 inches, whew!) Assuming it won't rain that hard again for another 100 years, is cherry picking the rainy days more cost effective than installing the 30 million drainage? Which by the way, will really tie up traffic on the coast highway for weeks, maybe months?

Flooding is not a unique problem.


Are we Leucadians whining about the flooding too much? It's not like people's homes and cars are washing down the coast highway. Nobody has drowned. Maybe we can just take it on the chin once and awhile?
Maybe the city could just pay Carpet Bob to replace everyone's carpet every spring, that would probably be cheaper.


Should all future structures be built on stilts?

I should note that my home does not get flooded out (but my roof leaks).

Someone left a comment on an earlier post that it would be cheaper to hire the illegal aliens from Encinitas Blvd. to form a bucket brigade whenever it rains. I have to admit that really slayed me.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Wanna Buy Part of a Park?

Link to Adam Kaye's NCT article

Burning question: why is the Encinitas city council acting so money hungry? Between the park sale, the Ecke re-zone, the Orpheus re-zone and trying to declare Leucadia blighted you would think that they are hurting for cash or something.

Last night's quote from a member of the redevelopment committee was horrifying, "SHOW ME THE MONEY!"

Barf.

Why Leucadia Blvd./Vulcan Ave. Still Sucks

Below is an excerpt from a community forum letter in TCN from years ago. Sol Beach got something out of their DBL tracking... we didn't.

Encinitas citizens supported their Council when it sued NCTD over plans to add a passing track through Cardiff. But now residents feel betrayed by their delegates to the transit board, Mayor Guerin in 2002 and Mayor Stocks in 2003. Both voted for the passing track without negotiating acceptable concessions for our community. Are political favors worth more than community values and safety?

We got no comprehensive EIR for the entire rail corridor, no grade separation between major street crossings and the tracks, and no pedestrian crossings, only vague promises that the NCTD would not oppose the latter. The city is now taking $1.2 million of your tax money to "analyze" three prospective pedestrian crossings, plus an estimated $5 million to design and build them. With no specific time table, they may never be built.

The new passing track will be just 2 miles from a similar one in Solana Beach and will not improve our commuter service. With proper scheduling, Coaster and Amtrak trains run fine on existing tracks. Contrary to NCTD claims, no time is lost for lack of an Encinitas passing track. Presently scheduled commuter trips are below capacity. Everyone knows, effective mass transportation will require double tracks along the entire corridor from Oceanside to San Diego, so that trains could run every 15 minutes. But piecemeal addition of passing tracks at this stage is unnecessary, undesirable and destructive to our communities.

It is also a waste of money - unless you consider NCTD's hidden agenda. In their January 2000 "Fast Forward Strategic Business Plan" they stated that the Burlington North Santa Fe Railroad desires to increase freight traffic from 4 to 84 trains per day. Freight traffic has already doubled since then. NCTD is "railroading" a passing track through our community to accommodate more unscheduled freight trains. Leasing the rail corridor to BNSF for freight traffic adds the most money to NCTD coffers. The resulting damage to our community is unconscionable. Hello, coastal city delegates! Have you been sleeping?

Heavy rail transportation relies on antiquated technology and cannot safely meet modern demands. Each year, over a thousand train derailments and collisions occur worldwide. Most troublesome are the frequent derailments of freight trains, associated with toxic spills and explosions, resulting in severe environmental damage and mass evacuations of residents. Freight trains regularly carry lines of tank cars filled with highly toxic and flammable chemicals. Passing thousands of tons of dangerous chemicals through densely populated communities, often only yards from people's bedrooms, is a crime against local residents.


Dietmar Rothe, Ph.D.
Professional Engineer and Research Scientist
Cardiff
October 2003

Monday, June 20, 2005

Christy Guerin, "Not feeling the blight"

Well, I just got back from the 4 hour Redevelopment Workshop and boy am I tired.

There is a lot to discuss but the biggest impression I am walking away with is Christy Guerin's comment, "I am not feeling the blight".

This statement received a nice round of applause and I think it was symbolic of the tone of the evening.

Channel 8 news was there and I gave a brief interview. Hopefully they won't use it because one of my life's goals is not to be another a-hole on television.

The turnout for the meeting was fairly good. At least a dozen people called me today to apologize for not being able to attend but I got the impression that everyone who was there was representing all their neighbors. Three generations of Leucadians showed up to hear the what what from the redevelopment boosters.

It's looking like the only reason to declare Leucadia blighted is our flooding problem. Of course the flooding is pretty much the cities fault at this point soooooooo...

Roundup:

The scum sucking bond sales guy really hates Prop. 13 and would probably declare the entire world blighted if he could.

The mild mannered redevelopment guy gave a dreadfully boring power point presentation, ugh.

Two nice ladies from Poway and La Mesa told their redevelopment stories and boy, their blight actually did look like blight in some places but looked nothing at all like Leucadia in any shape or form.

The best part of the evening was waiting for local aggronaunt Gary Murphy to flip his lid. He is half the reason anyone shows up to council meetings in the first place. "I AM THE BLIGHT!" he exclaimed. (Gary lives by the Leucadia park which floods when in heavy rain). Man, that was sweet.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Keeping it Funky



The Keep Leucadia Funky stickers have been around for years and years.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Annabell's Burning Questions

Here is civic leader Annabell Janssen's e-mail to the city manager:

Dear City Manager Miller,

In the North County Times yesterday, June 9, 2005, Leucadia residents read that a council public hearing/workshop will be held on June 20, 2005. I would like a copy of the speakers you have invited please. The same article tells us that all city dept. heads will attend and provide a list of problems in Leucadia. I would like a copy of their reports---with budget numbers.

Also, I would like a copy of the 2004 consult report that concluded the "ultimate" drainage cost-fix for Leucadia at $31 million.

1) a copy of the RFP and Bid Award that the city approved.
2) final document and $$$$ amounts you are using.
3) was Rick Eng. the only consultant that bid for the project? What other contractors bid on the drainage project---please provide list.

I would like to review please:
1) RFP, Bid Award and city contract approved for Wayne Pasco Eng. and the "un-successful" drainage fix.
2) Why was no legal recourse sought by the city for our $4.8 million loss with this project?
3) Why was Pasco Eng. not held responsible for fixing the glaring deficiencies? Why was the firm paid in full?
4) Was Pasco Eng. the only consult/contractor bidding on the Leucadia drainage project?

Please provide a list of other bidders.

Once copies are made --please advise me of the cost.

Thank you,
Annabell Janssen
Leucadia, CA

Leucadia blight posters appearing all over town.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Examples of Blight in Leucadia






Above are some examples of a "blighted" property in Leucadia. Note the weeds, old chain link fence, rusted out truck, illegal structure and dead tree (if only someone had some sharp tools to cut it down). Is this property owner the kind of person we want residing in Leucadia?

Please attend the next meeting about redevelopment Monday evening. Let's pack the house and find out what these "devil in the details" really are.

Encinitas City Hall
Council Chambers
505 South Vulcan Avenue
Encinitas, Ca 92024

Call the City Mananger's Office for more info
760-633-2610

www.ci.encinitas.ca.us

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Burning Questions

A. Why was the city able to revamp downtown coastal Encinitas without declaring it blighted? Why the double standard with Leucadia?

B. Who stands to profit from this redevelopment the most? Let's follow the money.

C. Should a town where every third house is a remodel, where more and more small business open every month, where the median price for a home is $500,000 and the average income is $56,000, where the quality of life is one of the highest in the world, be declared blighted?

D. Why does San Diego pay only $1 mil per mile for storm drain installation but our latest engineer figures it'll cost Leucadia $25 mil per mile? What is the extra $24 mil per mile for? Why isn't the engineer who took our $4 mil for the last storm drain system, leaving us with much worse flooding, and is not responsible for correcting the problem he created?

E. Exactly which properties will be seized via eminent domain?

Thursday, June 09, 2005

This Blog was mentioned in the North County Times newspaper

Blogger and town council president uneasy over Leucadia redevelopment

Excerpt:

Meanwhile, anxiety over a redevelopment agency ---- and the increased right it would have to seize private property under eminent domain ---- appears to be mounting.

"The threat of eminent domain is a really scary prospect," said Jean Paul St. Pierre, a lifelong resident who has launched an Internet blog on which he posts his and other residents' concerns and criticisms.

To form a redevelopment agency, the city must establish that a neighborhood is run-down, unsafe or economically depressed.

Among council members, Jerome Stocks has been the most outspoken in favor of exploring redevelopment in Leucadia.

He said an agreement can address residents' concerns over eminent domain and neighborhood character before the agency is established.

"I would never vote to support (a redevelopment agency) that has any increased eminent domain powers over what the city already has," Stocks said. "The big fear is we're going to buy up a bunch of little lots, cobble them together and sell them to a big developer. I'm more than willing to establish an agreement that would prevent that."

Leucadia Town Council President Annabell Janssen remained skeptical.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Why Baby Boomers, Why?


The above photo is an example of a textbook McMansion. Salmon pink stucco, red Spanish tiles, decorative arches and columns that don't support a load (form follows function?) faux shutters and a small carport with an oversized latently gay vehicle.

I can't figure out some of these Baby Boomers. So many of them are tearing down the lives they spent decades building. They are now divorcing their wives, re-marrying home-wrecking-trophy-wives (who are the same age as their oldest kids) and starting brand new families. All the while polluting the landscape with these hideous McMansions.

Why Baby Boomers, Why?

(And yes, the above photo was taken in an old neighborhood in Encinitas).

Mayor Dalager's Home Safe! Devil in Details!

From: "Dan Dalager"
Subject: Re: Leucadia NOT blighted

JP, Take a deep breath. They aren't going to take my home either. Since we are trying to get funds to fix drainage, railroad crossings, etc., I have to admit, I like the idea of keeping an extra $1,000,000 a year of taxes that would be paid anyhow, here in Leucadia where we could use it. But, as we all know, the devil is in the details.-Dan

Dan Dalager
Mayor, City of Encinitas

Jerome Stocks Agrees, NOT Blighted!

Here is an e-mail I received from council member Jerome Stocks:

Subject: Re: Leucadia NOT blighted

Dear Mr. and Mrs. St.Pierre;

I view this as an opportunity to keep locally-paid property taxes local in order to help fix local problems with roads and flooding, etc. Many people have fears based on the bad old days, but we can, and should, set rules in place to eliminate the "land grab" power that some RDA's have.

This is not about condeming one private property owner to favor some other private property owner, its truly about keeping more of our locally paid taxes local, and there will need to be many more public meetings before any decision is reached or action is taken.

Hope this information is helpful.

Jerome Stocks
Council Member
City of Encinitas