Sunday, January 29, 2006

Their Eyes Bigger Than Our Wallets

Good Adam Kaye piece in the North County Times about the city finally sobering up to the fact that all the groovy capital projects they have planned are really, super duper expensive.


Nobody has asked what I think but here it is anyway (heh heh),

The Library $13.6 million

I agree with councilman Jim Bond when he says we can't eliminate the view deck. All architecture begins with the site and that site has one of the best views in this whole town. I like that he envisions intellectual conversations taking place on the deck of a fine library looking across our fine downtown. I can't promise anything intellectual coming out of my mouth but I do look forward to sitting on the deck with my wife while she does research and I can use some w-fi to blog with my laptop. That just sounds really great. It sounds like living in a real town even.

The library design is what you call non-threatening yuppie modernism. There are a lot of wacky angles and such that are driving up the cost. The city hired a value engineer for $150,000 but all they needed to do was give the plans back to the architect and ask him to streamline the design a bit.

My advice, take out the angles and just make a nice big deck. The curve with those jagged angles just don't work for me. Unless the architect can justify the existence of the curve and the angles we should axe them.

This is the University of North Florida's library. It's bigger than what we want and I couldn't find the cost but imagine something like this, only 2 stories and with a nice big deck. I think that is the direction our library should take.

The Hall Park $11.7 million

The Hall property park is way over the top. We don't need a giant sports complex that parodies the YMCA. I say plant some grass, put in some benches and try to seek private donations for the baseball diamonds. If they city really wants a skatepark then they need to get creative and approach the multi-billion dollar skate industry that exist right here in north county.

The city should design the park so that in the future some of the more expensive amenities and be easily added.

Downtown Encinitas StreetScape Program $3.1 million

Shelve it for now. The downtown area looks good, sure it needs some fine tuning but obviously the downtown is popular and thriving. Give the money to the library.

The street fair draws a crowd, no worries.

3 New Fire Stations
$7 million

Go ahead and build them, it's political suicide to deny firefighters anything. This city always gives the fire department whatever they want even if they can barely put out a fire. (I kid, I kid)

Remember when 4 downtown business 2 blocks away from the fire station burned down?

Leucadia Boulevard Improvements $2.8 million

This had better mean finally doing something about the FUBAR 101 intersection. Isn't there supposed to be an account hidden somewhere for this that was overlooked to make Leucadia seem more blighted? Do this.

Olivenhain Road Widening $925,000

This involves using eminent domain to take part of the horse farm. It is bizarre how clunky that road merges. I think some creative minds could figure out some creative line painting though. This widening is to serve the newbies of San Elijo Hill returning from Target.

Safe Routes to School
$3.8 million

I'm not really sure what this is but with a name like that the soccer moms are probably licking their chops. I always made it to school safely (unless Swami's was good). I say give this money to the library. Don't get mad, tell your kids to carry pepper spray and look both ways when they cross the street.

North Coast Highway 101 Improvements

Keep Leucadia funky? You guys want to take one for the team and send this 3.5 million to the library?

New Public Works Facility
$5.2 million

Jerome Stocks says we don't need one, good enough for me. Give that money to the library.

Moonlight Beach Master Plan $700,000

New megaphone for the lifeguards to yell at me when I accidentally surf 2 feet into the empty swimming area?

From the article:

Officials blame skyrocketing materials prices ---- for concrete, steel and asphalt, in particular ---- as the forces behind the higher-than-expected bids.

The rebuilding following Hurricane Katrina, an unprecedented demand for materials from Southeast Asia and ever-escalating petroleum prices are driving up the cost of the key ingredients for projects such as the library and the StreetScape Program, officials say.

The competition for materials from Asia is something that is putting a lot of pressure on my family business so it is close to my heart. I could easily write a 3,000 word rant about this subject but I will spare you.

Unfortunate quote from article,

What to do?

"Rob from Peter for Paul, borrow from Paul, or do a combination of the both," said Richard Phillips, assistant to the city manager.


  1. BKM (Before Kerry Miller) the city had a funded and unfunded list of capital projects. Neither list was long. Then, like Pinochio's nose, the list grew and grew. The council must have the projects now.

    Mayor Guerin says she likes debt. She loves to pay new taxes. The other members of the council love debt. Bond's not overjoyed about paying new taxes, but he'll vote for them on his constituents. Stocks votes no new taxes on developers, but votes to tax Encinitas property owners. Houlihan and Dalager like new taxes.

    Is the council ever going to vote for an outside, independent audit of all city funds?

  2. It actually goes "look at the funny pelican his beak holds more than his belly-can." Here's two more cents worth to go with JP's.

    The Library (18.6 million)I can't go along with sending it back for value engineering. The concensus is that for 150,000. in value engineering we MIGHT come in at $1.5 million less and it would only take 6 months to put it out to bid again. It is very possible that in six months the cost of fuel, lumber, steel, cement and who knows what else will have risen so that the re-bid is closer to the current high bid. Unlike Mr Dalager and Mr Bond I do not believe the written word is dead. There is nothing like a book, the feel, the smell of the paper, the ability to read and re-read, the magic of learning to enjoy reading would be a great loss. We need the library, we are a lessor city without it. It needs to be the big bit for the next two years as we scrape together the funding and perhaps temporarily scrap some visions and dreams. Libraries are the seed of dreams and their value priceless.

    The Hall Property (11.7mill) As long as we don't develop homes on the property it can only contribute to the richness of our city. I also support disc-ing and planting grass. As I said at the council meeting this would help knock out pesticide hotspots. The community will become involved in the gradual evolution of the park. It can be done reasonably, the tables could be cable spools from all the undergrounding of the utilities. The benches and car parking stops could be made of all the telephone poles we are removing as we underground. The paths and any parking area could use bark chips from a week-end program that would take in resident yard trimmings that would then be chipped. This would eliminate tons of yard waste going to the landfills and unlike asphalt, be easily worked into the soil at some future time for whatever evolves at the site. A backstop and dugout screens, a few moveable soccer nets,it doesn't take much to get a park started. Any rec. facility, ballparks, swin center, or other dreams might be funded by corporate sponsers involved in the respective sport. As I said at the council meeting get the grass in and then I quoted from Field of Dreams "If you build it they will come." We can easily bide our time on this project. Divert some of the park reserves into the library.

    Downtown Streetscape-The first phase is a great success. I try to place myself downtown in the evening two or three nights a week. My wife says I have elephant ears and those ears continually hear new visitors to our new downtown comment on how nice it is and how they look forward to returning. Phase II probably can wait. Hansen and SRF are redesigning from the far end on their own and the other merchants seem concerned that starting it this year will impact their summer business just as it did the businesses near Phase I. OK OK. It can be shelved for a year or two with no damage done except for the potential increase in the cost when we do get to it. And who knows, it might be possible that the ensueing new development in the phase II area will buy us a few more years. Give the money to the library.

    Fire Stations-We're trapped. Fire protection is one of the necessities of the city.

    Leucadia Blvd Improvements-We have to address the 101/Leucadia Blvd area, at least a little bit.

    Olivenhain Rd. Widening-Are we improving the road so that we can handle more development? If that is the case I would favor dragging our feet. It seems like the line from Field of Dreams could be used again here, If u build it they will come." I drive the road every day and it is annoying but lots of things in life are annoying. Lets wait and divert that money to the library.

    Safe Routes to Schools-Well we eliminated a lot of the school busing because of expenses, is this 3.8 mil the solution to pedestrian safety and getting the kids to school, keeping them from harms way? Unless this is the first phase of an underground school route system within the city perhaps with re-evaluation of speed limits and strict school hours traffic enforcement (we did just hire a new 100,000+ year motorcycle unit), we could spend less than the 3.8 million and accomplish tangible results. Some of that money can go to the library with the knowledge that the new library will provide safe haven for our kids when school is out.

    North Highway 101 Improvements-I like the idea of sending it to the library BUT not if it is going to exacerbate the attemps to call Leaucadia blighted and open the door for a Redevelopment District
    and RDA. Lets re-visit the small pipes versus the one monster pipe solution to the flooding and without that fear many establishments on the 101 corridor might make improvements on their own with a flavor that would still be Leucadian.

    New Public Works Facility-The city has been using satelite yards for years and in the short term we could rob peter to pay paul, but eventually we will have to address a vehicle storage and maintainence facility. My position on this and the proposed siteing are a matter of record.

    Moonlight Beach Master Plan $700,000-I am unfamiliar with this program but the I-5 to Moonlight beach corridor just got a new park and beach playpen. It seems that robbing that money for a few years won't cause much suffering. I too would give the bulk of it to the library.

    Guess we will all know what the powers that be want after the 4:30pm meeting at Quail Botanicall Gardens on Monday,January 30.

  3. We are paying for the Olivenhain road widening? Why don't we give that tiny piece of boarder property to Calrsbad so that they can widen it.

    Its Carlsbad’s development impacts we would be mitigating if we spend the $900,000 to widen. Seems like that property is all liablity to us. If we give it to them and Carslbad wants to fix it up they can.

    Or, maybe some of that SANDAG tax that the Council was so keen to have us pay (instead of developers) should be used for the widening.

    Don't think Carlsbad is going to reciprocate if we do widen. Carlsbad doesn't care about our travel patterns into their City. Ever tried to surf Ponto?

    Question: Why didn't the City make the traffic impacts an issue when the La Costa Canyon area and San Elijo Hills were in the planning stages? Those developments should have paid for the widening. Instead we are again subsidizing the developers.

    We need a Council that can see that development has impacts on public resources, and knows that growing pains should be partially shouldered by the people profiting from the development.

  4. Need money? Just hire Aceti and friends to raise our taxes $5 at a whack. With a consultants help, he could get the "fee" increases up to $10, maybe $20 a month per property per month. Thats big money over a short period of time!

    Stocks, Guerin and Dalager love new taxes. Houlihan can be convinced cause she is 'convinceable". If you assign a pretty name to the fee like "green grass" or "clean water" she will sell her neighbors down the river.

    What a plan!

  5. Comment on the fire stations rebuild:

    Rebuilding the fire stations wasn't a capital project until the current council people needed the firefighters union endorsement to get elected. Most of the calls (80-85%) are for a medical emergency, not for fires. Encinitas signed an agreement to also serve other cities, so the fire stations that will be rebuilt may soon become part of a regional fire department. Why is the council pushing for the rebuilts?

  6. Nice breakdown Gil. Your comments are always well thought out.

  7. Is 1.3 million too much for that funky lot across from the old arco on Birmingham? That is what the City just offerred to buy for the new fire station.

    The idea was Stocks', so you know the issue deserves a second look.

    Did anyone from the public review this purchase?

  8. Broken promises, broken toolsJanuary 30, 2006 3:50 PM

    Ms. Bossy Pants Guerin says, "for me, borrowing is a great tool."

    Takes one to know one, Christy. We still say, you're history.

    Good going, Gil!

  9. Yes, what are, what will be the consequences of borrowing? Did you check out all the "debt service" we are carrying, for each capital improvement project? Unbelievable!

    Christy, you can go get 4 mortgages if you want on your own home. Do not mortgage away our future. Will you and hubby move to Arizona to retire?

    We plan on staying put. We are worried about the future of what was once our chrarming communities. We are on a slippery slope, going down the road of SD.

    Why are so many Yes on C signs now in our rights of way, by the way? Why isn't city removing them? Maybe tomorrow, Tuesday?

    Our budget is not like that of the Federal. And we all know that is out of whack. What's your excuse Christy? Because you're a wartime mayor?

    Our budget, and it is ours, needs to be in balance. So does our City Council, City Attorneys and staff. They all should be in harmony with the citizens, as public servants, not control freaks and status hungry, big development friendly task masters, debt pilers.

    When you borrow, Christy, you must pay the piper his due. Yeah, Christy; you are history. Don't tread on us.

  10. We're watching this thing on the news, "Cop Watch." Started in Berkeley to cut down on corruption of authorities.

    This is Citycop Watch.

  11. JP ... You forgot to mention the Olivenhain house that burned down about 10 years ago because the fire fighters couldn't find it. It was the one with the tall column of smoke visible for miles ???

    Also don't forget the firefighters supported Prop A. With the support of the firefighters and several hundred thousand dollars in developer/Ecke money it still lost 2:1. Are they really invincible?

  12. The real estate negotiator for all real estate purchases in the city is Kerry Miller. Isn't that hysterical.


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