Sunday, July 31, 2005

56% of Population Wants to Split?

Great cover story on this week's Coast Newz.

link to Coast News Paradise Lost? story by Stephen Keller

In early summer of 2000 right before I got married my former roommates and I had a memorable discussion of what we thought Encinitas, North County, San Diego and even America would be like physically and culturally by 2010.

Our wannabee futurist panel was right about a lot things.

That mainstream media obsession with California would help empty out the Midwest.

That no self absorbed California politician would make any effort to ready our infrastructure for the giant wave of newbie’s.

That cities like Carlsbad would sell out to mega developers creating a generic yuppie trash wasteland of psuedo-east coast developments like, Nantucket John Kerry Loserville and Rancho Costa Hamptons.

Once the cities had quickly built out their open spaces they would start to eye the old Prop. 13 freeloader neighborhoods for redevelopment.

That cities would invest a lot of their tax revenue into grandiose golf courses.

One roommate wisely predicted mid-eastern terrorist attacks on US soil that result in wars and high gas prices.


That the economy would slow and golf interest would peak and cities would be left with white elephant courses.

That oversized fruity looking vehicles like the H2 would be a bizarre status symbol for yuppie nerds in the new era of high gas prices.

That the newbie yuppie families living in their giant McMansions with their 3-4 kids will be baffled that there are no places for their kids to rent after they graduate high school. You won't be able to find a house for under a million bucks, no more small humble cottages for young newlyweds so your kids and their kids are never moving out of your house.


That the south 5 morning commute will get worse and worse and worse. This leads to a general vibe of frustration in the air. Notice that people will become less and less friendly and patient at the market, in the parking lot, at the restaurants, etc.

That traffic will start to hurt the economy. Stop and go traffic leads to extremely poor fuel consumption. As we burn our precious fuel idling at traffic lights and inching along the freeway our gas bill goes up, leaving less disposable income.
Bad traffic means UPS delivers your important package late. (all the shipping companies we use at my family small business just raised their rates due to fuel prices).

As parents spend more time sitting in traffic the family unit will slowly break down. Kids will be more attached to their nannies than their parents. Spouses spend less time with each other. Divorces will again climb. Well to do men in their 40's and 50's who move to California seem to freak out, divorce their chubby wives and marry twenty something gold diggers with hot bodies. These girls want babies too so 28 year olds end up with baby siblings that are the same age as their own kids.

40+ year old chubby Midwest wives develop eating disorders trying to stay thin and competitive. Gyms and plastic surgery clinics thrive in the shaky economy.

Small city councils grow more powerful and retreat into backroom secrecy. This results in the breakdown of the charm and appeal of the small beach communities. Soon people realize that they destroyed the reason why they moved to the town in the first place and turned it into the town that they hated back home. However the damage is done. The local donut store is now a Krispy Kreme and life sucks.

Those neo-fascist communities with CCR's and Mello Roo's will start to wear down the will to live.

That children with no interesting place to go become depressed shut-ins playing video games, watching violent sexist films and growing fat off sugary foods.

That kids will have no idea how to get anywhere by the time they turn 16 because they grew up watcing t.v. in the back of the suv instead of looking out the window. Luckily gps units make being brain dead okay.

That everyone who moves here will complain about all the Mexicans, complain about illegal immigration, complain about the overcrowded schools with non-English speaking kids but will continue to hire illegal aliens because California worker's comp. insurance is out of control.

Cities will overdevelop an area, realize that they need a new school and bulldoze an old neighborhood to build one, displacing families that have lived there for generations.

New shopping centers mean new roads which means your old house is in the way sucker.

That maybe, just maybe, things will start to suck so bad that everyone will go back to where they came from.

56% claim they may leave. Quit talking the talk and walk the walk dweebs. Split!
(Sadly, I believe that the people talking about leaving are the people who grew up here).

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Slater Agrees, Leucadia NOT Blighted

County Supervisor Pam Slater said that Leucadia don't need no stinking redevelopement agency at a luncheon. (A luncheon is what important people call lunch).

NCT link



Other Slaters who agree that Leucadia is not blighted are:



Six time world surfing champ Kelly Slater who hangs out in Leucadia with local surf hero Rob Machado from time to time.



Slater from Saved by the Bell, top right. I used to see him at the Escape club in Tijuana in the early 90's. He said he loved Leucadia.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Leucadia, Stocks, Eminent Domain in SD Business Journal

Good piece with the usual cast of characters about Leucadia in the San Diego Business Journal click me

It's funny, some of the quotes out there from the developers. They always claim they don't use eminent domain, or want eminent domain, blah blah blah. Then there is the bold comments from a developer trying to take a 35 year old business in Littly Italy San Diego link

The final paragraph in the SD business journal piece is odd because it says Carslbad does not use eminent domain yet the whole Ponto project fiasco will result in the loss of private property.



From a purely business standpoint, said Andreen, the issue remains: Who is going to pay for improvements in aging neighborhoods?

“Leucadia’s infrastructure is in very bad shape,” he said. “The city, because it’s built out, doesn’t have a no-growth problem. The growth is here. Our city is like a living organism, as far as capital investment. The money can’t go into growth, so it has to go into regrowth, like the Gaslmap Quarter. So, too, can Leucadia address its flooding with or without redevelopment.”

Andreen said he knows investors in commercial real estate who believe the future of the city is in Leucadia and are willing to put money there.


Okay Andreen, who?

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

KLF Story in Union Tribune

LINK

Angela Lau, thanks for writing this story. The Keep Leucadia Funky stickers have been around for years but the RDA and "blighted" mess gave the KLF renewed popularity. Now it is trendy to have one. I saw one on a Lexus the other day.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Alternative Ideas for Ecke Property

A. Ever been to the stylish Living Desert Zoo in Palm Springs? Despite it's small size it is incredibly enjoyable and well designed. A small zoo would be great for Encinitas and it would compliment the botanical gardens. An Encinitas zoo could specialize in breeding programs and petting corrals for cute fuzzy animals. Good for the kids!

B. Instead of the Eckes just building a bunch of ugly generic homes they could sell the lots individually. Then people could build custom homes and we could end up with an interesting eclectic neighborhood that would be a benefit to the town instead of the eyesore it is sure to be.

C. Since the land is zoned agricultural the Eckes could just sell it to another farmer. Who knows, maybe someone would want to grow something there? Perhaps something edible for a change?

D. A winery is a no brainer. I can't belive the Eckes haven't jumped on that one already.

E. Your idea here...


A big garden maze would be sweet even if horror movies have taught us that they are a bad idea.

5 Bucks

The city of Encinitas has sent a loud and clear message that it doesn't think much of it's red headed step child, Leucadia and that if Leucadians want improvements then Leucadians need to take matters into their own hands. Never mind that the city has a surplus of funds and has pet projects all over town, if Leucadians want a nice Leucadia then it is up to us man.

The city still thinks we are blighted despite the happy talk damage control of late and after the mini revolt against the RDA we are pretty much cut off from daddy.

So some plucky citizens have taken matters into their own hands and have started a 5 dollar donation program to buy plants to beautify our center medians in Leucadia.

NCT story

sample:


By: PHIL DIEHL - Staff Writer

ENCINITAS ---- For five bucks, you can adopt a plant and contribute to the beautification of downtown Leucadia. The Leucadia-Encinitas Highway 101 MainStreet Association plans to put 1,500 plants in the medians of six blocks on North Coast Highway 101, on each side of Leucadia Boulevard between Glaucus and Cadmus streets.

For a minimum donation of $5, donors can sponsor one plant and receive a commemorative card. For $50, donors can buy 10 plants and get a commemorative sticker for their home or office. Encinitas will embed the plants and the irrigation needed to sustain them



To adopt a plant, call Kirpalani at (760) 436-2320 in the association's office at 216 N. Coast Highway, or visit the association's booth at the farmers market at Paul Ecke Central School, 185 Union St., between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on any Sunday

Throw down a Lincoln and plant a ceanothus

I wonder which nursery they are going to buy the plants from?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Streetlights

Streetlights in Encinitas is one of those things that confuse, baffle and fluster city leaders.
They constantly hear how people want streetlights but then it turns out people really don't want streetlights and especially if taxes are going to increase.

Let me lay it out for the council members and the city manager:

You don't put 30 ft. tall streetlights on small residential streets!

Why? Because as much as people enjoy a well lit street they don't want lights beaming into their bedrooms at night. That is horrible! That is a mood killer. That is BB gun time.


Honey, I think we need thicker curtains.

Residential streets can be lit just fine with porch lights. There are lots of groovy porch lights for sale at the sprawling Home Expo off Leucadia Blvd.

Yes, the coast highway business district needs streetlights. But once again, not 30 ft. tall lights like look like something out of an H.G. Well's novel.

Smaller human sized street lights are best. 8-10 feet with softer bulbs. You want the streets to have a warm welcoming quality, not a blinding prison camp vibe.

Street lights in southern California should be solar powered and should push the light down to the street and not out to the sides. I think most of us have visited the Palomar observatory and know how light pollution is destroying that local institution.

Also, you don't try to sneak in a new tax for streetlights, especially in a city prospering like this one. People are not stupid, they see how many pet projects this city has. Now the this council can look forward to liteature in their mail box next election that reads, your name here supported a tax increase in 2005...

Here is a letter that ran in the July 14 San Diego Union Tribune. I noticed it was written by the same guy that did a presentation at the last council meeting about eminent domain.

Flush Encinitas should cut, not raise taxes

The Encinitas City Council repeatedly proclaims that it has done a wonderful job with the city's budget. The city has plenty of money, enough to absorb citywide pay and pension raises and increases in staffing. If things are so great, why does the council proceed so frantically when it comes to obtaining more taxes?

Consider the recent clean-water tax. It was illegally enacted. Then the city spent money to defend it in court even though the obvious outcome would be a legal defeat. Recently, the city sent ballots to city landowners in the hope that we would elect to send the city more money for its streetlight assessment. The city manager sent residents an accompanying letter filled with confusing and scary propaganda that the city would cut services if revenue did not increase. Fortunately, residents voted against increased taxes.

Unfortunately, the council has wasted tens of thousands of dollars on it is failed efforts to raise our taxes. If we trust the city's rosy predictions, the city's income should be increasing in the next few years. Instead of increasing the size of government, let's give tax money back to the residents. Let's use those future revenue increases to eliminate the lighting assessment that the council was trying to increase.

KEVIN CUMMINS
Leucadia

There is also a letter from Surf City Times editor Mike Andreen praising Jerome Stocks in the same issue. click me

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Mo' Money for Leucadia 101 Mainstreet Assoc.

NCT link

I like the facade improvement program the group has. It's an example of how Leucadia is improving itself naturally without having to tear the whole thing apart.

If you have a business on coastal Leucadia click this.

"The $20,000 from the city would more than double the association's $19,500 in yearly revenue. It would pay rent for office space and to increase the hours of a part-time staffer, program director Paula Kirpalani said Monday.

Under the proposed contract, the organization would receive $1,666 per month for one year to provide management services within the district."


Monday, July 18, 2005

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Brake Lights in Coastal Leucadia

DSC01751

The southbound traffic has been backing up to Grandview more than ever lately. Now that people are finally moved into the major sprawl developments in Carlsbad we are feeling the real effects. Get used to it people, the coast highway logjams are no longer flukes. I'm sure once the new mega sprawl that is San Elijo Hills is finished that the traffic will back up to La Costa Ave or even all the way to the Ponto jetties.

Welcome to our new way of life. I'm getting a horse.

*check out the delusional back patting on the San Elijo Hills website. It's hilarious!
Here is a sample:

Diversity is designed into the neighborhoods of San Elijo Hills. By offering a wide variety of housing options, the neighborhoods of San Elijo Hills can accommodate different family sizes, income levels and lifestyles. San Elijo Hills attracts a wide variety of homebuyers, from young professionals to families, from emptynesters to grandparents. Our town planners were inspired by time-proven, classic neighborhoods such as Mission Hills, Coronado, Del Mar and Carlsbad, which accommodate all types of people and lifestyles. The result is a healthy community that avoids cookie-cutter stereotypes.

The architectural themes in San Elijo Hills are based on traditional American and European styles. Each neighborhood is distinctive, yet together they form a unified overall community. Walk the neighborhoods and you will see attention in the details. A window on a house inspired by a 1930's Spanish stucco classic in Kensington. Towncenter streets that are reminiscent of the friendly environment of downtown Carlsbad. A swing chaise on a front porch, just like a Cape Cod house in Coronado. All these elements, both functional and decorative, are designed to capture the feeling that is found in established older, Coastal California neighborhoods.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

City Council Meeting Re-Cap

I pulled into the city hall parking lot with minutes to spare. K-uuuuuuuuuu-SI news was there. I tried to get in the background shot doing a mime routine but they had just wrapped up.

DSC01725

Lots of people showed up at the meeting. I like to sit up front. Quite a few people were hanging out in the "special room" behind the glass.

First up, a rousing music video dedicated to all the super duper neat-o park events we have. There are many, many, many group events to be involved in. July is parks and recreation month. If you are going to do any recreating this is the time do it (unless you are an angry loner or a hermit). The song for the video was "shake it like a polaroid" by Outkast.

*I may have to get involved with adult co-ed kickball (135 participants!)

Then we had a nice tribute to Ida Lou Coley, a lovely civic minded lady who passed away recently.

After the tribute I realize that everyone but me has yellow sheets of paper. This must be tonight's agenda. Shoots, I forgot to pick one up. Now if I stand up and leave the room everyone will stare because I am sitting in the front. This pretty much sums up my high school experience.

Now a man gets up to speak about cops and civil rights. He runs a site called Cop Watch. He says Encinitas cop cars should be equipped with video surveillance. That is a good idea. Did you know that our cops don't communicate with radios? They use cell phones!

Then we had a presentation about the Rancho Humane society re-zone dealywig. Puppies and kitties! It passed.

Then we had a presentation about a strange little rezone on El Camino Real. Say goodbye to that pretty little hill by Frog's. It passed. (Jim Bond commented about something I am always ranting about. That El Camino Real is totally FUBAR. It is so dang hard to run errands out there. None of the shopping centers connect and you have to make a million u-turns. I hate that whole corridor).

By the way, local city watcher Donna Westbrook got up to speak several times during the evening. She asked a lot of intriguing questions and all of them were ignored.

I learned one thing last night, this town has feaking bocce ball fever! I had no idea! I personally love any sport that you can do with a beer in your hand. Horseshoes is still a bit more manly but with bocce you can pretend you have class.


Bocce ball truly is a pulse pounding sport. But I'm confused, I always played it on the beach where it is free range. These small courts seem kinda fascist to me.

There are going to be two bocce ball courts built at Oak Crest park with private donations. Mo Ecke was there advocating for it and shoots man, that gave me an idea today. I wish I thought of it last night because I would have stood up and screamed "Eureka!"

The "useless" land owned by the Eckes that they want rezoned to build ugly houses (I assume) should be used to make the Ultimate Bocce Ball Fields of Encinitas. We could have international tournaments. I'm talking ESPN. There could be a snack stand that sells booze and saucy t-shirts that say things like, Encinitas Has Balls and Got Balls?

North County Times story online

Interesting NCT column that compares Stocks to founding fathers(?!?)

How to play bocce ball

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Big Night for Small Town

DSC01729

An interesting evening at the city council meeting tonight. The above photo shows the unanimous vote towards creating an anti-eminent domain ordinance, the first city in the US to do so. Jerome Stocks, as you probably know by now, is the man behind the idea. It's kind of amazing really. This sort of idea is starting to spread across the country. Stocks even beat San Diego's Donna Frye to the punch.

Stock's has really thrown the usual city watchers for a loop. He is widely regarded as very pro developer. Many people are still skeptical and some of the praise was tepid but for the most part people are very appreciative and I think Stocks scored some style points. The actual language of the ordinance will be important. The 2/3rds vote idea sounds solid but it scares me a bit personally. For example I could easily see the majority of our new population voting in a Wal*Mart in the old neighborhood I grew up in.

Classic Headline in NCT

Sting ray attacks plague Encinitas beaches

Okay, look man...stingrays don't "attack" people. This isn't a Hitchcock film. The rays are not banding together to take out humanity. Stingrays cruise along the sandy bottom looking for stuff to eat. They have a stinger on their tail and if you step on them the stinger might go in your foot and...well, sting you.

click if you want to read the article


Yet another private Kahuna Bob surf lesson goes wrong.

Hey LA, stop blighting up our town with your dead bodies!

coast news story

Sheriff’s deputies found a dead body in the trunk of a car parked in Leucadia July 1 after finding the wallet of a missing Los Angeles resident nearby.

Great, that is just great. Thank you vile murderer for casting a creepy shadow over the town. Ugh.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Big Meeting Wed. July 13 6:00 pm

DSC01636

You probably noticed these official looking signs posted all over Leucadia lately.
There is a lot on the agenda for tomorrow night. I'm sure the council will be in fine form and drag the meeting past 9:00 pm before they get to any of the juicy stuff. Bring a snack.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

BREAKING NEWS! LEUCADIANS NOT OUT OF FIREWORKS YET!

Okay kids, you had your fun.

Seriously, that is enough.

I want to go to sleep now.

Please stop.

You are freaking out my cat.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Logan Jenkins Keeps Tabs on Leucadia

Union Tribune columnist Logan Jenkins often writes about Leucadia with style and wit. Thanks bro!

click me

From the signonsandiego website:

Logan Jenkins has been a San Diego Union-Tribune columnist since 1996. On Thursday and Saturday, his column runs in the North County edition. His Monday column appears in every U-T edition.

A native San Diegan, Jenkins is a third-generation newspaperman with more than 20 years of experience.


Thursday, July 07, 2005

The Orpheus Saga

Link to NCT article

excerpt:

The developer, Robert Barelmann, has scrapped his Orpheus Avenue plans even though, in May, three of five planning commissioners endorsed his application to rezone the site from open space to commercial, and his plans to build an office building there.

Dozens of opponents objected to the plans ---- controversy that Barelmann noted in his letter of withdrawal submitted late last month to the Planning and Building Department.


"For my wife and I, there has been no experience more humbling and challenging than the process to rezone the Orpheus (property)," he wrote. "Land is a precious asset for the city, community and landowner, and for that reason we certainly attracted quite a bit of attention."

I attended the big meeting about this rezone last month, just about every person who lives on Orpheus showed up and packed the council chambers. The casual observer might wonder what the fuss was about. After all, are we not for private property rights?

Here is how I see it, for starters that property should have never been sold to a private party. Some of the planning commissioners said that fact was neither here nor there but I disagree. The land was willed to the county by the widow that owned it. She wanted it to become permanent public open space. Apparently the odd shape of the land baffled our city, they can't make a park out of anything but nice flat land or something (my award winning architect wifey had a good laugh at this).

The city sold it to Mr.
Barelmann (part of a strange land swap deal that I don't even want to get into). Mr. Barelmann proposed a medical/dental building of all things. Now, this was his big mistake. That little section of Leucadia, despite it being next to the freeway and a gas station, is basically a slice of country. It's a little two lane road that weaves down into greenhouses and a quaint neighborhood. A busy medical office building would be a poor fit. I would think that the street improvements he would have to pay would have been a deterrent but I guess not.

The issue here of course is not a dental building, it is rezoning. This project would open Pandora's box. I suggested to some Orpheus residents that if this rezone went through then they should all petition to have their land rezoned for commercial use. Why shouldn't every Orpheus land owner become the proud owner of an office building?

Do we want to start cherry picking rezones in this city? Are we really going to start nibbling at all our Leucadia neighborhoods?

If we look past the fact that it was completely immoral to violate a dead woman's last dying wish I would probably would have supported Mr. Barelmann if he wanted to build some small, interesting studio apartments for students or young couples to rent out. A small humble project probably wouldn't have attracted so much resistance. But nooooo, every developer in the area just has to push their luck. I call this the Southern California Wannabee Rockstar Syndrome. The Eckes are currently suffering a bad case of SCWRS.

Conclusion? For one thing, DO NOT will your land to the government. They will not respect your wishes.

The next move? The city should refund Barelmann's money, get the land back and build a dog park. Arf.

edit-This comment sums up what I meant in my last sentence:

Anonymous said...

Square one would mean that the taxpayers get back the million or so dollars that barelmann got for the unusable land, on top of the Orpheus land

Now please stop sending me angry e-mails, ha-ha!

Friday, July 01, 2005

Jerome Stocks Makes a Statement

NCT Article

Jerome Stocks made the front page of the North County Times yesterday. His proposal didn't come as a surprise to me because he had mentioned such a thing several times in e-mail exchanges. This should mitigate a lot of damage his reputation has suffered over the Hall/park property thing.

I'm glad Stocks made this proposal, I believe the council when they say they don't want to become landsnatchers (who wants that label to follow you in life?). If the council went ahead with redevelopment the citizens were going to force a ballot measure anyway so in a way this is a time saver.

Here is my prediction, the council will now push ahead with forming an RDA for Leucadia. Those redevelopment plans will call for bulldozing many existing buildings (remember, the city needs to find 30 million in new taxes so all you coastal Prop. 13 freeloaders watch out).

The plan will go to the voters. The plan will pass because all the newbies in "new" Encinitas will only take 3 seconds to consider what blight really means. The "new" Encinitas voters will surely vote for redevelopment because this will be their chance to finally get rid of all the icky Mexicans on Vulcan Ave. That sounds harsh but we know this to be true.

However, I'm not a total pessimist. A 2/3rds vote is in Leucadia's favor. I would like to think that the majority of red blooded Americans wouldn't vote to take another person's private property. That would be mob mentality.

This was a smart move by Stocks, and I think it was the correct move. Jerome knows the Supreme Court decision was wack and this is a great way to go on public record against it. Does this mean that your property in Leucadia is safe? No, but at least we have a chance to protect it.

stocks_j
Captain Blighty?

Is this a Smoke Screen?

(from the comment page)

Don't be fooled again.!

Jerome Stocks is creating a smoke screen with this ordinance so that redevelopment can be brought in. From what I have read the Redevelopment Agency follows state statute (all 340 pages worth) not city ordinances. I think we need to have our own workshop with a land use attorney present to give an opinion as to what can really happen under the present Supreme Court decision. Does anyone know an attorney who deals with this?

I heard that anyone who reads all 304 pages on the state statute gets a free small soda with their lunch at Jaunita's!