Okay, the city is looking at an almost 70 million dollar budget including the $19.6 million in borrowing. The budget will pay for new fire stations, a public works center and a 43-acre park. What is missing from this picture?
I haven't heard one person mention the clean water program, or streetlights.
The city tried to raise fees/taxes on both these items. Now that you plucky homeowners rejected these fees they haven't surfaced again in any of the budget discussions. You knew from the get go that the clean water fee wasn't going to clean water, it was going to the park all along.
Also missing is any money for Leucadia, especially North Leucadia.
Coastal North Leucadia has dirt and weeds.
North Leucadia has been the red headed step child of the city of Encinitas for a long time now. You may have noticed that parts of North Leucadia has dirt and weeds.
Because North Leucadia has dirt and weeds some people call it "blighted". But who is responsible for North Leucadia's dirt and weeds?
Many people in and around the city of Encinitas like to mock the Leucadian homeowner, as if the coast highway landscaping is YOUR fault if you own a home on say, Hymettus or Hygeia.
Many people in and around the city of Encinitas like to mock the Leucadian homeowner because the Leucadia Blvd and HWY101 intersection is clusterfucked. As if it is YOUR fault that the intersection doesn't work well because you live on Neptune Ave. It's not your fault that the city extended Leucadia Blvd to El Camino Real without thinking that maybe people would drive west past the golf course and towards the beach.
This attitude is just absurd and this kind of thinking must come to an end.
Why are there dirt and weeds in Leucadia?
Well, the ugliest strip of Leucadia is the train tracks. The train track dirt doesn't belong to any of us, it belongs to the NCTD and there isn't a damn thing anyone can do about it. Downtown Encinitas lucked out on the ugly train tracks because it cuts behind the main downtown area. I remember when I was a kid before The Lumberyard shopping center was built, it looked just like Leucadia. In fact, downtown Encinitas wasn't much better than Leucadia until they did the big streetscape project. Everyone forgets that one eh?
At best maybe the city could plant a hedge along the coast highway obscuring the tracks from view.
What about the rest of the dirt and weeds? Well, some commercial property owners are to blame. It's kind of tough for a nice little restaurant like Wakei to make it when it is directly across from a chainlink fence lot covered in giant weeds. Thank goodness Rancho Santa Fe resident Doug Hardwood is finally selling his weed ridden lots. Hopefully someone keen will buy them and build some nice little business.
But you know, it's hard to sell your commercial property to anyone when there are fears that the property could very well be seized by the city via eminent domain in the next couple of years.
This is why throwing the blighted word around was a horrible thing. The city council has given North Leucadia the stigma of being "blighted" when the reality is North Leucadia has more potential than any other community in southern California.
Was the shabby downtown Encinitas area blighted? No, it just needed some love.
Was shabby Cedros in Solona Beach blighted? No, it just needed some love.
Was shabby Laguna Beach blighted? No, it just needed some love.
Is Leucadia blighted? No, it just needs some love.
The center medians in North Leucadia just need some light landscaping. It bothers me when people mock Leucadians about this. Hell, many Leucadians even donated money to a flower planting project because the city was never going to do it.
The reality is that the El Camino Real area of Encinitas is far uglier than Leucadia and always has been. The mismanaged chaos of the shopping centers and ugly signage, the ugly buildings, the hostile environment towards pedestrians, the horrible aggressive traffic, it's a joke. However, El Camino Real provides a lot of services we all use and lots and lots of tax revenue so we give it a free pass. (I really think that someday the El Camino Real corridor must be beautified and if history is any lesson, it will happen before Leucadia).
Please Encinitas city council, show some love and throw North Leucadia a million bucks or so a year in landscaping. Dirt and weeds is simple problem that is easily solved. If the coast highway portion of Leucadia looks pretty people will stop, visit the restaurants and business and stay in the little motels. It's so simple, yet for some reason it's been so hard.
I have to ask, what was the point of Mayor Guerin flying to Monterey to lobby the Coastal Commission on behalf of the new $15 million dollar hotel at the entryway of North Leucadia if those guest don't have any sidewalks to walk on or landscaping to enjoy? The guest of the hotel are not going to stay holed up, they are going to want to stretch their legs and explore Leucadia, which is a good thing.
The dirt and weeds of North Leucadia do not reflect poorly on the Leucadian homeowner, the dirt and weeds reflect poorly on the city council. Love Leucadia and Leucadia will love you back.
Contact the Encinitas city council, send them a brief polite e-mail or call and ask them not to leave Leucadia landscaping and repair out of this year's mega-budget:
Mayor Christy Guerin
Deputy Mayor James Bond
Council Member Jerome Stocks
Council Member Maggie Houlihan
Council Member Dan Dalager
City Manager Kerry L. Miller