Wednesday, November 30, 2005

A Disconnect in the Brain

NCT link

This week's column by Barratt American CEO Michael D. Pattinson is about city fees and taxes associated with new development projects.

At first I thought Patty Boy and I were going to see eye to eye on this one but it didn't take long to realize that this man has a serious disconnect from reality.

Pattinson just can't grasp that if he comes into an old neighborhood and builds a bunch of new homes that the new people impact the area. He complains that Oceanside is helping itself to new traffic lights, well gee, why would they need those? Because everyone in the new houses drives cars.

Should all this come out of the general fund? Yes. But these developments are so big and happen so fast that if "improvements" (it's really hard to call a stoplight at the end of your street that used to be a quiet stop sign an improvement) aren't made then it leads to congestion, chaos and a lower quality of life for everyone.

In Riverside County, child care is the fourth largest industry, taking in $230 million per year. But even that is not enough to support the cost of their own facilities, supervisors say. That is why they are talking about forcing developers ---- I mean new home buyers ---- to foot the bill.

What they don't say is that excessive government fees have raised the cost of housing so much that most families need both parents working, hence the need for child care.

To hear Pattinson tell it the reason both parents have to work is because the fees are too high on new homes. Pattinson's company recently reported record revenue, $131.2 million for the quarter ended Sept. 30. This an all-time record for a fiscal quarter since the founding of the firm. All you Moms out there, are you swallowing this tripe?

Take a look at Barratt's website The gross over ornamentation of their homes is ridiculous. If Pattinson wants to cut cost on home building he could start by streamlining his projects. Construction cost are extremely high in California with labor, worker's comp. Insurance and materials. Imagine the extra hours and materials it takes to build pseudo-castles and faux shutters. Why all the widgets and gimmicks Mr. Pattinson? Do you like wasting money?

Pattinson says new homebuyers who are taxed have no say in where those taxes go. Taxation without representation? Time for another Boston Tea Party? Let's start by sending euro trash Pattinson back across the Atlantic.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Ecke Ranch Shopping Center Refinanced for $63.4 Million Smackers link

Taking advantage of the continuing low interest rates, a joint venture of Los Angeles-based Zelman Development Co. and Carlsbad-based the Carltas Co. has refinanced Encinitas Ranch Town Center. The JV refinanced the 503,000-sf property for $64.3 million.

Gee, that was easy. Didn't someone suggest like a year ago for Ecke to use his shopping center equity to modernize his greenhouses?

Monday, November 28, 2005

Jesus and Santa are American Citizens

Union Tribune columnist Logan Jenkins wrote a good piece on the parade name change. link.
He brings up an excellent point, the stores don't care what you call it:

In this mercantile context, Christmas could not be more inclusive. The more shopping the merrier. (And we don't care if you call them Hanukkah presents!)

On this plane, Christmas is a money-driven revelry that, long ago, exchanged the soulful Jesus, a spiritual prophet whose world view was something of a downer in the marketplace, for the materialistic Santa Claus, the emcee of plenty.

Jenkins also makes this wise obsevation: Dalager is right – and wrong.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Christian Values for City Council?

The prophet Isaiah said: "Woe to you legislators of infamous laws ... who refuse justice to the unfortunate, who cheat the poor among my people of their rights, who make widows their prey and rob the orphan."

I patiently await a press release from the Encinitas city council announcing an end to closed session meetings and cronyism with consultants and contractors.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Bernese Mountain Dog Club


Has the Leucadia Town Council Killed It's Momentum??

The Coast News wrote that the defeat of prop A signaled a new movement in Encinitas, one spearheaded by the politically active members of the Leucadia Town Council.

Well, the LTC has blown it's wad and picked a poor battle. By boycotting the parade they will now be forever filed into the PC liberal goofball category and no-one will pay attention to anything they say ever again.

They are making all of Leucadia look bad by acting on our behalf. Most Leucadians could probably care less what the parade is called.

Way to go hippies!

Parade History

What if they boycotted the parade by marching in it with signs saying boycott the parade? That would be sweet.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

It's a Christmas Parade Dude

Encinitas Mayor Dan Dalagher has used his extra special mayor powers to change the name of the city's annual "Holiday Parade" to "Christmas Parade."

KFMB website story

"I'm not terribly religious. I'm just sick and tired about everyone whining about things. You know ... there's an American holiday called Christmas, said Dalager.

Some people plan to boycott the parade.

What do think?

Bob Johnson, retired social worker

I support the city telling the Jews to go fuck themselves and banning them from the parade. I mean Hanukkah? What the hell is that anyway? And is it spelled with an H or a CH? Make up your minds already.

Harold Webster, systems analyst

I guess this means that the city council will adopt Christian morals and values and stop shafting us. No? Oh well.

Susan Goldstein, data entry

Mayor Dalagher should name the parade, "Seemingly Endless Amounts of Boy Scouts Marching For-Fucking-Ever While I Freeze My Ass Off On The Sidewalk Parade"

Rick Lemon, mechanic

I'm joining the boycott and by boycott I mean going to Hooter's with my buddy Earl and eating chicken wings and drinking beer.

Helen Frisket, retired school teacher

Mayor Dalagher said there is an American holiday called Christmas? Wow, does he know that Christmas is celebrated all around the world? I would like to hear from him about some more American holidays, like New Year's for example. This guy Dalagher isn't the sharpest tool in the shed is he? Get it? I said the sharpest tool in the shed because he owns a blade sharpening...oh, never mind.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Another Perfect Fall Day In Leucadia

Leucadians are pleased to announce that once again the weather is beyond perfect, people are out and about with smiling faces enjoying the best small town on Earth.

Yesterday evening as I ran down the Beacon's trail to surf the last dark lines of the day I passed two women in their late 50's. They held a steady stride and were chatting about their families. Classic Leucadians, they were dressed humble, no flash or glitter. They were healthy and enjoying life. They are archetypes of the Leucadia population.

Much to the chagrin of the interloper who wants to raze and change Leucadia, these women vote in numbers.

Developers from overseas may call these women grouchy, but they are not. They are savvy, educated and wise. They are enjoying every sunset and every lungful of air.

Leucadians are not grouchy, they just have their priorities straight. Here, family comes before corporate snake oil.

Leucadia "funky" stands for family and community.

Have a funky day.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Thursday, November 17, 2005

4th Crossing Added for N. Leucadia

Sometimes it takes a little nudging but the city council will oil our squeaky wheels from time to time.

I threw a fit when North Leucadia (the blighted part) was overlooked for pedestrian train track crossings.

Last night the council approved ordering plans for a 4th crossing.

Thanks gang, now the kids who live in that part of town can safely get to the beach (just a reminder, we will need a crosswalk at the same location so once people are across the tracks they can get to the other side of the coast highway).

The price tag freaks me out though, from the NCT "The city must set aside $203,500 to pay for the design work, said Richard Phillips, assistant to the city manager.

The crossings may cost up to $4 million each to build and the city has not identified a funding source for construction."

Here is my idea free of charge, don't over design it. All we need is a ramp like they have at the Coaster station. We don't need tunnels or bridges, just a ramp. Maybe add a crossing guard like the ones at the street crossings or just a warning light that flashes when the train is approaching.

Seriously guys, I'm thinking like 5,000-8,000 for each one if you do it this way.

In other newz:

The public works yard contract was put on hold (those squeaky wheels again).

Now, where do we put this thing? I was thinking the hall property as Gilbert Foerster suggested.

But that kinda sucks, you say, we want the park!

Yeah, but that park is so over the top we can't even come close to paying for it. The council already explored selling some of it for housing. I seriously think that might be the best place to store our city vehicles. What other open land do we have?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Rosa Parks & Grading Permits?

My all time favorite North County Times guest columnist is of course, Mr. Michael D. Pattinson, CEO of Barratt American. His newest column is his greatest yet.

NCT link

He compares some meatsack out in the sticks who was too dense to get a grading permit to iconic American hero Rosa Parks.

this is an audio post - click to play

Now, a grading permit IS a hassle, this is true. But what is a bigger hassle, getting a grading permit or going to court?

Pattinson refers to "college kids with earth shoes" (wtf?) as the main culprit here, but the fines were dished out by the San Diego Water Quality Office. Why do they care about grading permits? I'll tell you why:

A grading permit insures that your property doesn't drain into your neighbors yard. It insures that you contain as much excess water on your own property so it doesn't drain into the city stormdrain system (keep that illegal tax in mind people), but most importantly it insures that the site is compacted properly so that your future structure does not settle and your foundation cracks or worse, your structure sinks or collapses.

Mr. Pattinson and Barratt American seem to have issues with grading permits (see the drama at Sheridan and Andrew St). Yes, it's a hassle, especially when the Coastal Commission is involved, but man, if you just take it on the chin and wait you WILL get the permit in due time.

Bureaucracy is daunting but the seemingly endless codes and permits are there ultimately for safety. The irony is, if we didn't have building codes why would we need development companies like Barratt? We could just build everything willy nilly ourselves.

Rosa Parks dramatically changed the paradigm of America, to compare her to some guy playing around on a tractor is blasphemy.

The greatest American hero who ever lived, M.P.D.

Cart Before Horse? The Public Works Yard

On the city council's agenda for the Wed. 16th meeting is a council vote to approve a big contract (over $400,000) for the design of the public works yard.

Does it make sense that they are going to spend this money prior
to swapping the land or getting a rezone.

What did I miss?

Was the city so confident that Prop A would pass that they put this issue on the agenda and forgot to take it off?

Or, are they awarding contracts without a site?

Saturday, November 12, 2005

People, Please NO MORE TAXES

Friends and neighbors please, don't be get scammed into giving this city any more or your cash. Five bucks a month ($60 a year) doesn't sound like a lot to give, especially when it is for a worthy cause like clean storm water runoff, but please don't do this. story

This is a Jedi mind trick, A FEE IS A TAX.

Read the UT story, the city has been illegally collecting this tax for some time now.

This city spends a hell of a lot of your money, my money, our money. This city council is rabidly consultant happy. This city takes in a lot of revenue and it loves to spend it. This city has a lot of ambitious pet projects that cost millions of dollars. YOUR dollars.

Never, ever vote in a fee. A fee is a tax.

But comon' man, you say, it's just five bucks.

Yes, just another five bucks. Then it will be just another five bucks. And then just another five bucks. Just like the last streetlight fee/scam this city will continue to nickel and dime you until the end of days.

Force the city to use the overflowing general fund more wisely. Force them to put on their thinking caps, don't let them worm out of this by simply charging you another five bucks (sixty bucks a year).

It doesn't rain 12 months of the year here my friends, keep that in mind.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Experts Can't Believe It

Among the city's 35,957 registered voters, 13,223, or 36.8 percent, participated in Tuesday's election. A 42 percent turnout had been predicted.

edit-there seems to be a lot of misinformation on the voting results. I suppose we won't know until the election is certified sometime in Dec.

The experts at the North County Times just can't believe what has happened. They have been punked by the free weekly coastal paper down the road and it stings.

The NCT, has printed an ill conceived whiny editorial accusing anti-prop A folks of just exporting sprawl to the surrounding areas.


This editorial reads like a Dad scolding his teenage son, "Don't you see what you are doing to your mother?"

Everyone is feeling really bad for their golf buddy Paul right now but even worse they have to face the harsh fact that their horse not only lost the race but it went lame and was shot dead and sent to the glue factory*.

The major players in this town were popping the champagne corks just a wee bit early in this one. Their indignant attitudes haven't changed though. I guess they learned nothing. It's too bad that the NCT is out of touch with the vibe of the town. Of course, that is apparent when the daily newspaper in a beach town keep using lame headlines like, "Local Surfer is Riding a Wave of Success." whenever they write about some local guy who just opened another smoothie stand/yoga studio.

The NCT and other supporters never could quite explain how more traffic was less traffic and more sprawl was less sprawl and we just couldn't take their word for it.

*Apologies for the use of such an old cliche'.

Tough Love for Ecke

To Paul Ecke III,

I know you feel like you got punched in the gut and I'm not totally unsympathetic, but trust me when I say this is for the best. One of the main problems I had with this whole rezone issue is that it seemed very uncreative to me. Yeah, building big ugly stucco McMansions is the way to make money these days but it just wasn't the right solution to your problem.

High energy cost is something that affects everyone and not just you. All business owners must deal with this issue. Your quote about not selling your own assets to save the business angered many small business owners in the area who were originally inclined to support you.

Energy cost fluctuate but the rezone would have been forever. Once those homes were built you were never going to get to farm that land again. I know this seems like a defeat but it really is an opportunity for you to reach down deep into your farming roots.

Paul, you should know that the NO votes were against the Carltas Corp and not so much you personally (I hope). Carltas are developers, you are a farmer. It is time to farm something. I guarantee in the decades to come you and your children would have regretted developing that land.

Your dilemma is unique in that it your solution would have adversely affected all of us. I supported your golf course and shopping center because I figured it was better than a Wal*Mart and face it, people around here love golf. However, we made a deal and that deal was more than a reasonable and decent one. When you are the big chief wealthy landowner in a small community everything you do has a domino effect. Your neighbors just couldn't fill in that yes bubble, they have already given you enough.

(Classic quote overhead at Potato Shack-"My wife already buys his damn flowers every Christmas, what more does he want?")

Paul, you spent a lot of money on the campaign and got hammered. Why? Your tactics were all wrong. You can't bully people into voting for your cause. You can't hold your father's charitable contributions over our heads like that. Everyone donates time and money to charity, not just Eckes.

Barratt American CEO, Michael D. Pattinson did untold harm to your cause and was this year's scary clown. His drunken editorials in the North County Times alienated a lot your old school supporters. His tirade against the 8 acres of parkland "stolen" from you and then later using that 8 acres as a leverage for a YES vote was transparent and downright insulting. I am convinced that if not for Pattinson's editorials that the vote would have been much closer.

With friends like these who needs enemies?

I still say that owning farm land is a blessing and not a curse. Some people would give anything to own farm land on the coast of California, especially in Encinitas. What a unique privilege your father left you.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

What Is a Pasco Fiasco?

guest commentary by Kevin C.

It is Just an Extra $30 Million

The Encinitas City Council continues to bob around when it comes to Leucadia’s flooding. After decades of struggling with periodic flooding, residents along the 101 corridor were provided a $4+ million dollar solution in 2003. From several perspectives the project became a fiasco.

The system was either poorly designed or the City knew it was not up to the task from the outset (or, why are back at this so soon?). First consider that more competent engineering firms were available for the job. Unfortunately, other firms had fewer ties to politically connected insiders. The City’s current story is that the project did have a good design, but “we” didn’t ask for a system that meets our needs.

The first big storm to test the completed system occurred in 2003 and the flooding was terrible. Poor design coupled with poor execution and weak City oversight collided. The contractor did not install the backflow preventer valves and the City failed to ensure they were installed in time. The valves are necessary to ensure that the system does not cause a catastrophe.

Some credit the City Council for rushing in and hiring a new engineer. At great cost* to the City, the new engineer installed orifice plates at all the storm system’s intakes, which slow the entry of water into the system, which is evidence that the system was poorly conceived. Now we have well planned flooding.

Every time a storm hits Leucadia a small army of public servants shows up. Sheriff, public works, and fire departments block off streets and pump water away from the system (much of their work is overtime). Given the original project’s cost, perpetual storm event costs, and newly acquired political and legal liabilities to the City, it is not surprising that some Council Members were quick to put a spin on the failure.

The worst spin was the blame publicly proposed by Council Member Stocks (and others). During a Leucadia Town Council meeting, while Mayor Dalager was present, Stocks told the public that the original system did not live up to its sales pitch because the Coastal Commission had limited the size of the storm drain’s outfall into Batiquitos Lagoon. The Coastal Commission was to blame. But, it wasn’t long before that meeting that Mayor Dalager had told me that the City had gone to closed session regarding the project to discuss how to respond to the blunder. (Was the City liable for all the damage? How did they justify the closed session?) At that time, the Mayor did not mention the Coastal Commission as the problem.

Last December the Council moved to alleviate Leucadia’s flooding, again. At the cost of $290,000 the City hired a new engineering firm to design a $30 million storm drain system, with a bigger pipe. If the Coastal Commission squashed the first project, why should tax-payers spend money designing another that will be denied? The answer must be that the City Council is not worried about the Coastal Commission’s response. This is probably because it turns out that the Coastal Commission did not direct the City to install a small pipe. The response to my public records request provides evidence that the Coastal Commission did not limit the size of the pipe (although they did suggest we microtunnel and have outfalls at the beach, but we ignored that suggestion. We didn’t follow the real recommendations).

It is a brazen act that Council Member Stocks continues to take campaign contributions from the original engineering company’s employees even though they don’t report living in Encinitas. Maybe this helps explain why Stocks remains uninterested in explaining what really went wrong and why there appears to have been a blame-game cover-up.

The Council has failed to educate the public. We are left with a lot of concerns and questions. Why didn’t the City do the job right the first time? Why did the City pay the engineering contractor in full? How did the engineer get the contract in the first place (a touchy subject with some staff)? Why did the Council hire a new engineer? Why not tear out the current small pipe and replace it with a bigger one? How could the repair cost 6 times as much as the original project? Why can the City of San Diego lay storm drain for $1million a mile but it costs Encinitas $25 million a mile? When publicly and privately asked these questions, why won’t the Council answer? I hope they answer them tonight.

The details need to be understood by the public so that we can understand where all this tax money is going. This goal might be difficult to obtain because the Council is not publicly curious about what happened. So, the biggest question of all is, why doesn’t the Council act like they want to get to the bottom of this? Is it because they already know?

We shouldn’t have trusted this Council with the first project and we should not trust them with the newly proposed and overpriced $30 million dollar project, at least not until they are straight with the taxpayers. The first project was not promoted as a short-term fix. It now looks like we should call it “phase I” and the $30 million project “phase II.” Lets hope there is no phase III.

Kevin C.

I by no means wish to present myself as an expert on this blunder. I don’t think there is anyone outside the City that has much of a clue what went on, because the Council has not kept the public in the loop.

Holy Crap!

North County Times website reporting results: link


Precincts: 47
Counted: 47
Percentage: 100.0%

Vote for: 1







A total vote count of 18,361.

Sooooo, um...I guess people really did want to keep flowers in Encinitas?

*The Yes on A camp spent $187,000 and got 6,355 votes. That is $29.43 a vote.

The No on A camp spent $14,000 and got 12,006 votes. That is $1.17 a vote.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Flooding Back in Prime Time

Click the headline, it is a link that will take you to a new NCT Adam Kaye article on Leucadia flooding.

Attend the city council meeting Wed. Nov. 9th 6 pm.

I know, I know. The city council meetings are worse than boring. Yes, I feel like my soul is being sucked straight out of my body at those things. But, if you live in Leucadia you will want to check this out. Some residents will no doubt get up and speak.

The city is pursuing the big pipe. I keep talking to people in the know, retired water district workers and such, and everyone ask me the same thing, "Why doesn't the city of Encinitas just do micro-tunneling through the cliffs? It is cheaper and more efficient." they say.

I dunno, they are super gung-ho on this giant expensive pipe for some reason.

I predict that the flooding topic won't come up until very late because they know that people want to go home and watch Lost. Bad news, we got TIVO!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Gil Foerster Sticks His Neck Out

One of the most compelling things about this whole Prop A Ecke drama has been flower grower Gilbert Foerster's outspokenness.

He has really been sticking his neck out. He has taken out a series of full page No on A ads in the Coast News at his own expense. They are intelligent, well written and have been a breath of fresh air in this whole stinky mess.

The Wiegand family seems more upset with Mr. Foerster than the Eckes. I'm sure all these growers had personal friendships before Prop A. You have to hand it to Mr. Foerster for speaking the truth despite the future personal consequences.

I respect Mr. Foerster for taking issue and speaking out. His arguments have been the most logical and level headed. I highly suggest reading them before voting tomorrow.

Gil gets it.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Light Snack for Thought

Bianca Kaplanek writes an opinion column for the Coast News called Food for Thought.

Here is her recent piece that made me sarcastically roll my eyes so far back in my head that I went temporarily blind. link

Bianca seems like a nice enough person but her delicate yuppie sensibilities are hilarious. I get the impression that she would like all of north county to look like the Carlsbad outlet mall, probably the most sanitized environment in these parts.

She is okay with declaring the Ponto area "blighted" not understanding that she is endorsing the government seizing private property and selling it to corporate interest.

Sure, the big wood pile is unsightly and the "wood not for sale" spraypainted sign is a cryptic message to passing motorist.

(The wood is not for sale because it is drying out. Eventually it will be sold as firewood to tourist in the local campgrounds, duh).

For the love of god Firewood Man, build a giant fence or plant some trees or shrubs! Don't you see that the yuppies just can't deal with the big pile of wood? You are scaring the hell out of poor Bianca. She can't see past the big pile of wood and notice the really cool hotrods you are restoring this month. She can't possibly look the other way or keep her eyes on the road. Your big pile of wood is just too distracting. She and others are happy to strip you of your basic human rights just so the 3 seconds they spend driving past your property will be more pleasant.

quote from article: Greenhouses, like Mick Jagger and pit bulls, are not, by nature, pleasant to look at. But the products of greenhouses (and Jagger, some would argue) are so beautiful that we tolerate them. It's a perfect example of the end justifying the means. But when greenhouses, like those on Saxony, are abandoned and left in despair, they become unsightly and end up targets for vandalism and graffiti.

Bianca like many others are getting hoodwinked here. It is just like the recent situation in Leucadia. The city purposely let Leucadia get rundown while focusing all the tax money into the heart of Encinitas. Then, when it was shabby enough they tried to declare it blighted and seize it.

It didn't work.

So by her logic, instead of letting the Eckes develope the farm land the city should declare it blighted and seize it for themselves.

The Ecke camp don't like that idea so much eh?

Bianca says she grew up in the 60's and 70's. Her current attitude is similar to Union Tribune columnist Logan Jenkins. They both have this "I'm really tired and worn out and can no longer fight city hall because I smoked way too much dope back in college so yeah this sucks but what are ya gunna do about it so you might as well let the fat cats win. *shrug*" kind of demeanor.

People like Bianca Kalpanek need to be careful when they speak out publicly about what is unsightly and what is not. These are vapid times we live in. It is hard to tell from that postage stamp photo of her in the paper but those teeth look a little crooked to me.

Now, I think a slightly crooked smile can add character and charm to a person. But most folks in new millennium Encinitas might declare Bianca's mouth blighted and slap some braces on her grill.

Ty Paddington, know any good dentist?

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The Ecke Agreement page 3

AHHHHHHHH! This page has signatures! AHHHHHHHHHH!

click image to enlarge

The Ecke Agreement page 2

Oh no! Here is that pesky "perpetuity" word!

click image to enlarge

The Ecke Agreement page 1

click image to enlarge

$$$ vs. $

The Yes on A campaign has spent $186,000

The No on A campaign has spent $13,000

Seven more days until the election.


Voter Info Link