Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Plot Sickens

Related North County Times story

Many of us have wondered why the city council would have chosen a costly and cumbersome mail-in-ballot for Proposition C. It would have certainly been more fiscally responsible, expeditious and fair to have waited one more month until the general election in April. Even the city’s own survey indicated that the number of voters that would respond to a mail-ballot process would be dismally low. So why use a mail- ballot?

Until this week, we thought that we were aware of most of the loopholes and dirty tricks that have been used by the city and, unlike the supporters of Proposition C; have not been afraid to detail our accusations. Monday we became aware of what may be the real reason that the city chose this type of process and it could be the dirtiest trick of them all.

Let me back up for just a minute and explain the financial disclosure aspects of a typical election, maybe even use Proposition A as an example. For a normal or general election, the city requires that groups working on either side of an argument or proposition (candidates too), file a periodic statement detailing the amounts and sources of any donations and expenditures to date. We all remember how the Yes on Proposition A folks outspent us by a few hundred thousand dollars and how the exact numbers were published regularly by all of the newspapers. We even knew who the donors to each cause were. It was fair and above board. It is how all elections should work.

On Monday of this week, the Encinitas Taxpayers Association was told by the City Clerk that it is the intent of our city to not require Mr. Aceti’s group, Encinitas Citizens For A Clean Ocean, to file any financial disclosures. According to the clerk, it is city attorney Glenn Sabine’s opinion that a financial disclosure is not required because this is a MAIL-IN-BALLOT. They have no intention of requiring any information as to the source of funds used by Encinitas Citizens For A Clean Ocean to produce and mail the three color post card that was sent to 22,000 property owners (estimated to cost $11,000). They have no intention of asking …… where the funds came from to manufacture the hundreds of signs that were placed in the public right of way (estimated at $3000).

Interestingly, the city does want a financial disclosure statement from the Encinitas Taxpayers Association and we will gladly comply. We have nothing to hide since we have been funded by citizen donations ranging from $5 to $250. We are a 100% volunteer organization, and we have not had the benefit of a city sourced professional consultant.

We should all demand that Encinitas Citizens For A Clean Ocean volunteer to submit a financial disclosure form detailing their source of funds and we should contact our city council to express our displeasure with this latest trick. Elections of any type should be fair so that the results can be respected by the citizens. Why would this election be any different?

Bill Rodewald

Encinitas Taxpayers Association


  1. encinitas citizens for a clean ocean sounds like a recent loser group called keep flowers in encinitas. funded by a single entity and for the purpose of deception.
    i thought that i knew this aceti character but he is showing us all what a con artist can look like.
    play fair, or play somewhere else!

  2. Notice how No on C signs can be found in front of people's houses.

    Never seen a Yes on C in someone's yard.

  3. Can't let this one go untouched. Despite what the clerk has said (and even the Fair Political Practices Commission doesn't know if a financial disclosure statement is required for a Prop 218 election), Encinitas Citizens for a Clean Ocean will be filing a disclosure statement and we have told the city that. We didn't receive any contributions during the last reporting period, so there was nothing to file by yesterday's deadline. The next deadline is July 31 and I'm sure that's the date the ETA will file its statement for the current reporting period. We'll file ours before that if the law permits.

    ECCO's campaign is transparent and we have nothing to hide (read today's NC Times). Here's what you would learn from a disclosure statement: The committee has collected roughly $6,000 since early January, all of it from local residents and small businesses - no money has been received from outside Encinitas. Can the ETA make that claim? The majority of checks we have received are for $100 or less. We have used that money for a mailer (the design was donated and we got a deal on the printing), a website (designed by a friend of mine at cut rates - no invoice yet) and signs (donated by a local printer). The committee owes me money for wooden stakes and staples purchased at Home Depot.

    Now you know the truth.

    Steve Aceti
    Encinitas Citizens for a Clean Ocean

  4. If Steve Aceti's group is so transparent, why doesn't he give, today, to the city clerk's office, the list of contributions, including the signs, website, mailer design, and any other contributions.

    Will Steve Aceti also list as a contribution the public funded office, telephone, and fax that are the same on the yesonpropc.org group and the California Coastal Coalition.

    Steve, are you going to give that disclosure information to the city clerk's office today?

  5. Steve, you are just too slick to be taken for anything but the New York attorney that you are. You say the majority of checks you received are for $100 or less. Without a financial statement made public I will assume that you got 5 checks for $5 and one for $5975.
    Bring your phoney organization out of the closet. Unless you have something to hide...

  6. Does anybody know if Steve's other group Calcoast.org is in any way funded by the city of Encinitas. What a perfect way for the city to funnel cash to his new gig.
    Please respond if you know because this could be important.

  7. "The truth shall set you free." Steve, Steve, Steve. Maggie, Maggie, Maggie, et al. Please, it isn't about Clean Water. I know of no one who wants to return to the days of yesteryear with 90+ days of closed beaches at moonlight and other outfall areas. Whether Prop C passes or fails the government mandates for clean water are not going to go away. The city will still fund the requirements regardless of the outcome. The sticking point is how to fund the program. Currently it is being paid for out of the general fund comprised of taxes paid by property owners. Those taxes are a percentage of the value of each property in the city. This means that a home that has seven bedrooms and five bathrooms, a garbage disposal, three cars in garage being washed in the driveway and 80% of the parcel impervious because of concrete, asphalt or massive use of the floor area ratio is going to pay more than the older smaller three bedroom home with two bathrooms, no garbage disposal,and older dense vegetation that has proven its toughness and drought tolerance through years of occasional neglect. This means that the commercial properties that are not protected under prop 13 and are increasing just as rapidly as residential real estate are paying for more of the clean water program and because sales taxes are increasing because of increased business the revenue collected by the city is increasing. It's about 1)equitable funding 2)unfunded government mandates 3)refund of previous illegal taxation 4)and future funding to support an ever escalating program.
    This is crux of the issues.

    As to reporting requirements: the law is very unclear about the reporting requirements under prop 218, this does not mean the funding should not be reported only that the requirements are unclear. The funding for ballot issues should be as clear as the waters we want in our city. This is just another reason why mail-in ballots for increased taxes(fees) are a poor substitute for a regular ballot initiative.

    ECCO is a good acronym although in this case it might also stand for Encinitas Committee for Community Obfuscation.

  8. Signs donated by a local printer is whats called a contribution. Who is the printer so we can avoid him ... the signs are fugly.

  9. Leave it to Gil to simplify the issue. You are a community treasure.

  10. I want Gil to run for city council.

  11. What's really sickening are the schoolboy antics the leaders of the ETA are engaging in. They would be funny if they weren't so pathetic. Here's the latest cute trick attempted by the ETA without success:

    The home page of the ETA's website used to have a banner-sized photo of Stone Steps, which was obtained from the city. That same photo was used in our recent mailer.

    The ETA pulled the photo from its website a couple of days ago, then called local reporters, trying to convince them that the presence of the city-produced photo in our mailer was proof of "city involvement" in our campaign. The reporters who called me today recall seeing the city's photo on the ETA site. Then they found out that the photo ECCO used was obtained from the city which ECCO received from the city pursuant to a public records request. No story there, but nice try.

    The ETA grossly underestimates the intelligence of its adversaries, the voters and the reporters in town. What's next - a whoopie cushion?

  12. Steve Aceti isn't talking about the public money being used for the yesonpropc campaign. How does he get away with using the California Coastal Coalition office, paid for with public money, for his yesonproc group? Steve won't answer that question. Did the cities that belong to the coalition approve of the public use of funds? Pull out the finance sheet on the coastal coalition, Steve, so everyone can see how honest you are. Let everyone know which cities contribute to the California Coastal Coalition.

  13. The surf photo in the mailer is not an Encinitas surf spot. What gives?

  14. johnny taco - the photo is of Beacon's.

  15. The photo of the guy getting barreled in front of those rocks is no way Beacons. It's not even Ca. I bet. Who took that surf photo?

  16. The photo is of Beacon's and it was taken by a local. I'll find out who took it - his name is in small print in the right corner.

  17. ECCO sounds like EDCOFebruary 06, 2006 11:42 PM

    Funny how Aceti's group is called ECCO. Pretty close to EDCO, which was illegally forced to collect our "fees" without our consent, and without the vote of the required supermajority of Council, either.

    Dalager voted on the dark side on this one, just like on the recent Barratt Nantucket fiasco.

    City Attorneys love litigation. The more hours at $150.00, the better. City Council relishes crying foul when City is sued for its wrongful actions. Poor us, they holler. We are being sued! That is our only recourse, it seems. That and kicking you out of office.

  18. "Hail the tax crusaders." Prop C will pass and this whole thing will have been a big waste of taxpayer money.

    Except for the Encinitas Taxpayers Association, which (as evidenced by the last posting)is using Prop C to launch one or more candidates for this fall's City Council election. By then, though, they will have turned off enough voters to not make a difference.

  19. Of course Steve Aceti will run. He has all the attributes of a small town politician, an Enron corporate mentality, a raspberry to the taxpayers, and an ego bigger than outer space.


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