Keep Leucadia Funky.
This phrase is giving certain people the fits. Those who didn't grow up in Leucadia are in a state baffled disbelief. No Starbucks? No Krispy Kreme? How could this be?
The yuppie establishment calls Leucadia blighted. If anything Leucadia is slighted. When Encinitas became a city in 1986 Leucadia was immediately put on the back burner. No landscaping, no infrastructure improvements, a half assed attempt at drainage, a huge missed opportunity to improve the vital intersection at Leucadia Blvd and Hwy 101, the list goes on.
But Leucadians rolled with it. Leucadia is an eclectic family oriented community that has shunned the one size fits all strip mall mentality that is rapidly consuming America's small towns. The vapid Wal*Mart movement of sameness. The false sense of security that blandness and repetition provides has no place in Leucadia. We don't need the pseudo soul of McDonald's owned Chipotle when we have Karina's.
Leucadia is an oasis of sincerity in our paranoid 21st century. When Leucadians pass each other on our cracked and chipped sidewalks we smile and say hello instead of shoving our hands into our coat pockets and staring at the ground.
Leucadia is about the mellow beaches of Stone Steps, Beacon's and Grandview. It is a haven for authentic surf culture. Home to many influential surfers and the scene of historic surf events. Some of the finest surfboard builders in the world reside in Leucadia, bucking the sterilization of the surf industry by refusing to outsource to communist China and keeping the cottage industry alive and providing local jobs.
The Leucadian surf community balks at the mainstream media's stereotype of surfers. Leucadian surfing is cross generational. The lineup is shared by surfers age 6 to 60 (and up, Kit Horn is Leucadia's oldest active surfer at 77).
Leucadia is home to authors, artist and musicians who are attracted to the open mindness and low key atmosphere. Leucadians have published dozens of books and released dozens of albums.
Leucadia's beauty is in the details. "You need to absorb Leucadia and feel it to understand it." Tom owner of Leucadia Donuts once told me. "If you just drive through without stopping you won't understand it."
As the north county suburbs expand and I-5 slows to a crawl more and more commuters are passing through coastal Leucadia. It's hard for the good natured lifetime residents of Leucadia to understand this but many of these commuters loathe Leucadia. In fact they fear it! Where is the McDonald's? Sub Palace? Is that like Subway? Where is Jerred and that giant pair of pants? Where am I??? Is that a mobile home park, like the ones on COPS? HOLY CRAP ARE THOSE MEXICANS???
Fear turns to hate and hate turns to shady real estate deals. THEY want Leucadia bulldozed. They don't care that Leucadians have been patiently waiting for some crosswalks while downtown Encinitas and Santa Fe Dr. get to try on new clothes. Leucadia is blighted because some of the buildings are due for a fresh coat of paint? Too bad the Leucadia101 facade grant doesn't apply north of Leucadia Blvd eh?
You live in a blighted neighborhood! That's right, you Proposition 13 freeloaders! Your house is worth $700,000 even though you bought it for $20,000 in 1970. Twenty grand won't even get you an H2 these days. Why don't you sell your house that you have lived in and raised your family in for the past 35 years? The city needs the new tax revenue. Did I already call you a Prop 13 Freeloader? Well that's what you are.
Leucadia is improving organically on it's own. Two new local mom&pop markets have opened, El Torito and Just Peachy. These two markets are a welcome addition and serve the community well. Just Peachy's attractive display of fresh fruit and flowers brightens up those overcast mornings. El Torito's excellent fresh meats and homemade tacos and tamales can make your whole weekend.
Leucadia is home to many long running family business like La Especial Norte which opened in 1977. They are famous for their incredible soups and when you go there you see familiar faces. Yet, there are some people out there who would quickly replace La Especial with a wretched Applebee's if they could. The horror.
The yuppie establishment doesn't want us buying subversive music at world famous Lou's Records, but we do anyway. They don't want you to view the alternative art at Ducky Waddles, they want a Kinkade gallery.
Leucadians continue to frustrate the yuppie establishment. Leucadians were written off as apathetic hippie stoners. The powers that be did not realize that the majority of Leucadians have college degrees. Leucadians don't take their civic duties lightly, they are old school. Some of them fought in a war against fascism, some of those Leucadians children fought in a war against communist and some of those Leucadians children fought in a war against a dictatorship.
Leucadians talk to each other, Leucadians like each other, Leucadians meet, fall in love and marry each other. Leucadians beget more Leucadians.
Leucadians vote. I repeat, Leucadians vote.
Leucadia is blighted? Who us? Our homes, our families, our friends, our community, our slice of the American pie?
The new pride and joy of north county, San Elijo Hills is big and shiny and equal in it's opulence. Perhaps it has the potential to become the nice small town it markets itself as, time will tell. Perhaps in 35 years someone will slap a bumper sticker on their car that reads Keep San Elijo Hills Funky, but I doubt it.