Sunday, February 19, 2006

Are You Among The Counted?

NCT story

This story in the North County Times about a San Francisco economist who is recommending that the city upgrade it's "people counters," the hidden devices that track visits to Encinitas beaches, caught my interest.

Besides the creepy Orwellian vibe, the counters seem a little overly anal to me. It's pretty obvious the beaches around here are popular, all it takes is a quick drive by once in awhile to see that the beaches are being used year round by locals and tourist.

So why try to figure out a head count? I think the city wants to know which beach access to surround with parking meters.

City staffers have estimated that each trip to city beaches by local residents produces an average of $8 of local spending. Out-of-town visitors spend an average of $22 per beach visit in Encinitas stores, restaurants and hotels.

Encinitas' official estimate for local spending tied to beach visits is $44 million per year.

Holy crap, where did all these people come from and did they bring any money?

I spend around $8 bucks locally every time I go surfing; coffee, scone and a juice. Lately I've been going to the E Street coffee shop (owned by wacky left wing Coast News columnist Robert Nanninga). The coffee is really good there.

It's surfers who carry the local downtown breakfast joints during spells of poor weather. It's not unusual to see nothing but surfers eating at Potato Shack on a chilly overcast December weekday morning.

The counters are for sure flawed. For example if you are going to surf Grandview you park, walk down the stairs to check the waves. Then you walk back up the stairs and if the waves are good you put on your wetsuit and walk all they way down the stairs to the beach. Then, after you surf you walk up the stairs back to your car. So if you surf Grandview you get counted 4 times.

However, if the waves at Grandview aren't that good I might drive to D-St and go down those stairs. So I get counted at two beaches in one morning.

A lot of athletes will run up and down the Swami's stairs all day long. What are they doing to the count? We all see these runners getting weatgrass shots at the local health food places so the city is getting their money, no worries.

A reasonable thing to do might be to have the lifeguards do occasional headcount, especially during the summer.

But really, does it matter if 115 people went up and down the D-St stairs as opposed to 125?

And what about people who are spending money at the local coffee shop or taking their Raul's burrito to eat on a bench at one of the viewpoints? They are enjoying the beach, even if it is from the cliff. The "people counters" are not logging this behavior at all.

The beach is one of the the last places in the world you can take your family to for free. We have to monitor the city and make sure that these counters are not laying the foundation for charging beach passes like they do on the east coast.

One thing not mentioned in the article, how much does this people counter program cost?

It's common sense that the beaches are an economic draw. Maybe if our city council was made up of people who actually went to the beach once and awhile they would know this.

One, two, three, four, five...shit, I think a family down there brought some food from home. Six, seven, eight...


  1. The execution of the counting is poor--Sweeeet use of tax money.

    The objective is lame--Cosmic us of tax money.

  2. The study is one of several that have been paid for with grants from the CA Department of Boating and Waterways, which manages the state's Public Beach Restoration Program created by a bill that was co-sponsored by the California Coastal Coalition in 1999(AB 64-Ducheny). For more information about the state's efforts to repair beach erosion, go to

    The purpose of the Encinitas study, and similar ones that have been conducted up and down the coast, is to help the state determine how much it should budget for beach restoration projects.

    The study has nothing to do with parking - it has a much broader purpose.

    The article about DEMA's efforts to deal with a shortage of parking downtown is more than a month old. Since that article was published, the surveys completed by downtown merchants and residents have been tabulated and a majority of the respondents said that enforcement of the two hour limit was a high priority. DEMA has given the survey results to the city and, before any actions are taken on downtown parking, the city and DEMA will hold a public workshop late next month.

    In the meantime, the city has complied with two DEMA requests that will ease the parking problem downtown: signs have been installed along Highway 101 and Encinitas Blvd. directing people to Moonlight Beach for free parking. Also, the city and NCTD have renewed negotiations to pave Lot B along Vulcan.

  3. who the hell is this steve aceti --
    he seems to have a comment for eveything and acts like he is the "man" for the enviroment.
    i have had it with his stuff -- while at one time i might have listened -- now i see him as a paid puppet of the stocks, guerin, ecke clan --- bye bye steve

  4. Question for Steve.

    You wrote, "The purpose is... to help the state determine how much it should budget for beach restoration projects. "

    How are they going to use the counts exactly? If lots of people go to the beach they say, "hey, no need to fund enhancements because people are using the beach as it is." Or, do they say, "Man, no one uses this beach, so lets enhance it." Is it something like one of those statements, or what?

    As for parking. Do the residents (hey Danny) really want to increase government regulation of our daily lives? Controlling how long we park IS an increase in government micromanagement of our lives (Danny will never go for that, right?). I thought we were against that.

    On the other hand, anyone ever try to go to lunch in La Jolla. Their density exceeds their auxiliary resources such as parking. Quality of life for people living there is not improving (that is why La Jollans have to hire a servant to run down to the sandwich shop to pick up lunch).

    So, instead of government micromanagement of our daily lives, lets start by building these considerations into the City's planning process (and then follow the rules). Well, only after we as a City decide whether our fate as a City is with increased government regulation on our daily lives or government constraints/required mitigations in the planning process. (If we continue to grow we will be forced to swallow one of these choices)…

    Residents don't want parking meters and we would rather not get parking tickets just because we ate lunch and then shopped for too long. So, I suspect residents are more inclined to go for thoughtful planning that considers impact on common resources.

  5. steve - as often as you chime in on this blog site it makes me wonder if the CalCoastCoalition site gets any hits at all. But that really has nothing to do with this most recent piece. It is difficult to control beach erosion and the real culprit is the railroad and our freeway system. True. When we closed off the mouths of all the rivers, lagoons, and other courses for natural sand transportation, and condoned the upstream mining of sand for commercial purposes, we dramatically constrained the amount of sand that reaches the beaches. It's done, so that's that. This lack of sand has allowed many of the bluffs to be attacked by cobbles, the palm to fist sized stones that are fired by the waves into the bluffs during high surf and storm conditions. It is difficult to successfully reverse this action unless you have a direct line to God as one of your other CalCoaCol. accomplishments. Hence we have the on-going sand replenishment programs and the call for sea walls along the coast. Neither of these acts is going to solve the continuing loss of sand problems. I hate seawalls and global warming and the rise of the ocean level will make their construction a lesson in futility. As far as beach sand replenishment is concerned, the choice for such replenishment must be chosen carefully so that the offshore reefs are not destroyed. The reefs not only provide homes for aquatic life but in many cases provide the basis for various surf breaks up and down the coast. Neither of these must be sacrificed in the name of beaches to bask on or the preservation of bluff-top homes.

    As to the shortage of parking, it appears now, in hindsight, that we did not extract enough from the rail users when we allowed double tracking and the construction of parking lots for coaster users. The two hour parking limit currently allowed is a joke. When the coaster lot is full the commuters just spill over onto the city streets and their cars are there for the entire workday. Parking meters hopefully are not the immediate solution. It is important that the employees of the downtown merchants make the effort to park away from the immediate downtown area. Parking meters should be a last resort, it impacts the ambiance of the community and puts another employee on the payroll. Personally, if the request of the employees and the construction of the B lot doesn't solve the problem in the short term, I would rather hire "crazy looie" to walk the downtown area with a blue chalk stick to chalk the tires and leave "You inconsiderate son-of-a-bitch" notes on the offenders cars for a few months, anything but parking meters.

  6. Call a spade a spadeFebruary 20, 2006 12:25 PM

    Yeah, I love Louie. Aceti is for micro-managing, bean counters taking over our very lives.

    Justaplumber, you rule! We don't need the likes of Aceti and empire building City Council cramming their policies, expensive busy work down our throats.

    Yes, the Planners actually planning, maybe the City buying more space for parking lots, sounds good to me. No, I don't want to become another La Jolla. And we say no to parking meters, period. Seems like the limit could be three hours, instead of two, too. That way if Soccer Mommy is getting her hair done, she can still grab a bite to eat, give some more money to City in form of sales taxes.

    Yes, the beach restoration projects are sure not restoring our faith in government.

    Hey, did anyone read about the letter Glenn Sabine, our city attorney, also the city attorney for other SD cities, including La Mesa, wrote Chris Tanner, a La Mesa engineer, threatening a lawsuit for defamation of character because Chris spoke at a City Council meeting, and answered questions from Council, whereby they felt he was suggesting a "cozy" relationship between developers and Council, city planners? This was front page news in Saturday's Union Tribune.

    Sabine can't even give cities decent advice about the 1st Amendment freedoms, guaranteed to each and all of us. And his deceitful firm Sabine & Morrison, just got a big fat raise from us overburdened taxpayers.

    They had a closed session there, too. But Sabine said, nothing was discussed. ha ha. Glenn Sabine should be run out of our town. You can't take away someone's rights of free speech. People sure have the right to call a spade a spade, a liar, a liar.

  7. Why would the city council put in three million dollars to improve the NCTD dirt lot? In the previous talks, NCTD wanted the city to install the storm drainage system for the lot.

    If the council does pay the bill for the lot improvements, what groups stand to benefit the most? Commuters would be given first priority in the parking. Downtown employees and vistors would be allowed to use it when space is available.

    The NCTD lot would serve another purpose for new development downtown. Higher density projects create problems such as insufficient parking spaces. The city could apply the NCTD parking lot as additional public parking spaces for the new projects.

  8. If Steve Aceti spent as much time studying for the Bar exam, as he does applying his pretzel logic to all things Encinitas, he would be more than a JD. Just for fun, do you suppose he is:

    A - bored out of his skull?

    B - loves the abuse?

    C - Trying for a record for the most posts to a blog in one month?

    D - All of the above.

  9. Aceti should hang with Crazy Louie for a week.

  10. i like to think looooie wouldn't let aceti hang with him. Loooie loves Encinitas, loves the downtown, and would see aceti for the crow that he is. An excess of crows is the sign of an eco system out of whack and the two legged ones are rapidly joining the thousands filling the skies over the last five years. Nope, he can't hang with loooie, although dawg, you're right it would do him a world of good.

  11. "Also up for approval Tuesday is a $10 co-payment to be paid by residents who call for pickup of hazardous waste."

    (Will Carlsbad get sued for imposing a cost-sharing fee or does that just happen in Encinitas? Also note the proposed raises for City Council members.)

    "Carlsbad City Council to consider raises"

    North County Times
    February 20, 2006

    CARLSBAD - City Council members will consider a 9.2 percent raise for themselves and a $10 fee for hazardous waste pickup during their meeting Tuesday.

    The board meets at 6 p.m. in council chambers at 1200 Carlsbad Village Drive in Carlsbad.

    If the council approves the raise, council members would make $1,329 per month, up from the current $1,206. The raise would take effect after the November 2006 election.

    City statutes allow a 5 percent raise for each year since the last raise. Council members last received a raise in November 2004, which entitles them to a raise of no more than 10 percent. The jump from $1,329 to $1,206 would represent a 9.2 percent bump.

    Also up for approval Tuesday is a $10 co-payment to be paid by residents who call for pickup of hazardous waste. The city authorized Clean Harbors Environmental Services on Feb. 7 to provide household pickup and a once-a-year special collection event.

    For those residents who cannot or do not want to transport hazardous household materials such as paint, batteries, old computers and televisions, they can call Clean Harbors for pickup. The company charges the city $80 for the service. The city is recommending the $10 co-payment by residents to ensure that the service is used responsibly.

    "This charge would not be high enough to be a disincentive for using the program, would help the city defray the costs of providing service, and would likely prevent calls for very small loads such as single batteries or one can of paint," stated the agenda bill.

    Residents now have three options for disposing of hazardous waste. Two options are free. Residents may take household waste to the once-a-year disposal event or residents may take waste to collection centers in Vista, Poway, or Oceanside without paying a fee.

  12. Some of you might be interested in two sand studies just completed at UCSD.



  13. The Emperor Wears No ClothesFebruary 20, 2006 9:18 PM

    Here goes Aceti, again, with his bogus distraction tactics. Oh, look at Carlsbad; don't focus on your own neighborhoods, our own beaches. And great link, Kevin. Most of the sand should come from the bluffs, not be imported, like the dark dirt recently spread at Stonesteps. Ugh! Studies have also shown that the majority of the pollution, right now, for people at the beach, is right in the wet sand.

    We are more comparable to Solana Beach, not Carlsbad, and incorporated around the same time. And the Carlsbad City Council's raises, and their yearly totals for Council Members are nothing compared to the to big fat raises and bennies just voted, after being placed on the consent calendar, twice in one year, for Encinitas City Manager and the hourly rates and hours billed for Sabine & Morrison, our bloated appointed officers. These guys, not elected, make more than our elected State Representatives, or our County Sheriff or District Attorney. Kerry Miller, our mannequin manager, with frozen smile, just keeps robbing Peter to pay Paul, but instead of Peter, he's robbing us taxpayers, just like what happened in South Lake Tahoe.

    Sabine & Morrison have a sleazy lawsuit factory that operates all over the County to squeeze the little guy for all he or she is worth, initiating frivolous actions against low income homeowners, without deep pockets for attorneys of their own. Not only that, they give such piss-poor advice, that lawsuits are inevitably filed against the cities they represent. Almost invariably, the cities lose, because Sabine & Morrison just don't have it together, and by it, we mean they are dishonest, not above board.

    Our City Council is so paranoid about their being sued for all their past wrongdoings, they are afraid to look at the complaints and charges against our City Manager and City Attorney. Our Keystone Council, stumbling and bumbling, think they need their sleazy trio of big wigs, at any cost, to cover their tracks, watch their backs...

    You've been exposed!

  14. I'm still skeptical of the sand/bluff report. 50% sounds insanely high. I still think that the vst majority of sand comes and goes with winter and summer swells.
    I would give bluff erosion 10% tops.

  15. the two new reports out of UCSD are bogus and go against decades of studies, by more respected scientists at UCSD, that show that beaches are eroding because sand is no longer coming from historical sources (rivers, streams, lagoons) and is being interrupted by jetties, especially the one at Oceanside, which causes sand to be haorded north of the jetty and directs sand offshore instead of downcoast to our fair city.

  16. Encinitas should put a five dollar bounty on crows. That would raise lots of money and maybe we would get a visit from Dick Cheney.

  17. I get it. Our tax money is spent on strange and inaccurate studies so that fat pigs like Cruz Bustamante have something to discuss at the 3rd lunch of the day.

  18. Taxes don't belong to the taxpayers. Taxes become the accumulated wealth of the politicians.

  19. Well, we appreciate justaplumber, and count on him to keep the stuff flowing, free, but we think comparing Aceti to a crow is insulting to crows.

    We don't see thousands of crows in our skies, either. Crows can be cool. They are smart, they don't kill, they only eat dead stuff, or eggs, too, I guess.

    All crows, human or otherwise, are two legged, too. The human crows are just wingless.

    Crows are quite adaptable. That's why they can survive, by adapting to disturbed habitats, which our cities are. I have heard it said that when you don't hear the crows anymore, that's when you have to really start worrying about West Nile Virus, and other dis-eases.

    Aceti is more comparable to a cockroach, to me. I guess all life has its place. Wish we could call pest control on Aceti. Scarecrows won't work.

  20. As of today, it will only cost $10 to have Aceti hauled off since he lives in Carlsbad. What a deal.

  21. where do I send my ten dollars to have him removed?

  22. I think there is some misunderstanding of the UCSD studies about sand erosion. It is true that before all the rivers were dammed and mined the major source of sand replenishment was river flow. This was especially true north of La Jolla, as sand drifts south and disappears forever when it reaches La Jolla Shores and slips into the very deep Scripps Canyon. The Oceanside jetty is the other obstacle that robs Encinitas beaches of sand replenishment, most of which used to come from the San Luis Rey river.

    Where does that leave us now? In the time frame of the UCSD study I believe that the results are valid. It is bluff erosion supplying a lot of the new sand. It is a worthwhile experience to walk the Encinitas beaches from Leucadia to Cardiff regularly. There is a major bluff failure at Cardiff State Park at the north end where the bathrooms are. It started last year, and it is not over yet. All along the bluffs there are small failures. At some point we will have to learn to live with this.

  23. sorry to burst yer bubble JP but Robert Nanninga has a "YES ON C" sign in the E Street Cafe, and by the way, he is not a part owner at all. He is also not the left winger everyone thinks he is.I have my doubts about anyone who has martinis on a regular basis with the likes of Jerome Stocks and Jack Orr.

  24. Nanninnainnigaa wrote a misguided column about his support for prop C a few weeks ago but that doesn't mean he doesn't brew a nice cup of coffee.

  25. New Statewide Poll Shows That Californians are Willing To Pay for Clean Ocean and Beaches

    A poll released last week by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) ( shows that
    Californians (Democrats 80%, independents 73%, Republicans 68%) place a high priority on reducing ocean and beach pollution, even if that means higher taxes and fees.

    The poll bodes well for Proposition C as the election comes
    to a close.

    According to the poll, nine in 10 Californians say the quality of the beach and ocean is just as important to them personally as well as for the overall quality of life and economy in the state. Residents say the condition of the
    coast is very important (61%) or somewhat important (30%) on a personal level, very important (24%) or somewhat important (30%) to the state’s quality of life, and very important (63%) or somewhat important (30%) to the
    economy. Coastal contamination from local street and storm drain pollution worries a majority of residents in the state’s South Coast (61%) areas.

    The poll is consistent with a similar poll conducted by the PPIC three years ago (, which found that
    large majorities of residents displayed a strong desire to protect the coast despite potential economic costs.

    The PPIC poll is also consistent with a survey conducted by the city of Encinitas last fall, which showed that 63 percent of property owners in town would support a $5 monthly fee to clean up the city's storm water if they were told the revenue would be used to protect the ocean and lagoons.

    Californians across the state have
    shown that they are willing to help pay the cost of protecting our ocean and beaches and, when the ballots are counted next Monday, a majority of Encinitas property owners will have cast "yes" votes on Prop C.

  26. Steve Aceti is shoveling it again.

    The election ends at 4:00 pm on Tuesday, not Monday. The votes will be counted starting on Wednesday, March 8.

    Other elections have a deadline of 8:00 pm.

    Why did the Encinitas city council decide to end the election 4 hours before the state mandated deadline?


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