Wednesday, June 21, 2006

$69.2 Million Operating Budget, What's Missing?

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
(760) 633-2620

Deputy Mayor James Bond
(760) 633-2623

Council Member Jerome Stocks
(760) 633-2622

Council Member Maggie Houlihan
(760) 633-2621

Council Member Dan Dalager
(760) 633-2624

City Manager Kerry L. Miller
(760) 633-2600


  1. nail on the headJune 21, 2006 9:28 AM

    Nice rant friend. You hit the nail on the head. Do you think it will work?

  2. Tally Hoo for you J.P.!!

    Well said and well written, now if the anti-Leucadians that live and work in Leucadia will only understand your message!!! Don't fear decent sidewalks and landscaping or infrastructure!!

  3. It seems like the only way you can get to even speak to this City Council and City Manager is to sue them. Sure is a sad day, that no one will even respond to e-mails, although I have tried. I really don't think they care about the average citizen. Unless you can line their pocetbooks, or are a developer with money to help with your reelection, you're screwed. I hate to sound so cynical, but that seems to be the way it is from my perspective. Think I will go join the RSPB for a few drinks!

  4. Don't forget that you can always go to a city council meeting and speak for a whole 3 minutes. Then you can watch Christy role her eyes, Dalager look confused, and the rest of them just uninterested. Forget Miller, he is only a pawn in their game.

  5. If I could speak tonight I would tell your coucil that they remind me of the politicos in my country. All of them promise to do what is right for the people when they try to get elected. As soon as they are in office they forget their promises and begin to give favors to the ones that support them with money or promises of future votes. You saw it with senor Ecke, again with senor Pattison and now the firemen get their reward for support.
    The people have to beg for what small favors they can get. Sidewalks and landscape may be less important to your council than the $900 toilets that senior Bonde uncovered in the plans for the fire mansions.
    Very sad but it makes me feel right at home in your country.

  6. Right now Leucadia is experiencing the Law of Dimishing returns. My theory is that whatever money the city spends on plants for the medians they would get back when people stop in this nice town called Leucadia and spend a little money at Papagayos and the Longboard Grotto, etc.

    If you live in a $700,000 house in Leucadia where does your property tax go? Not Leucadia!

  7. Somebody put in a good word for Cardiff too, those oozing alleyways need to get repaved asap.

  8. JP,

    The property tax money that the we pay goes to build the new fire mansions that Alejandro mentioned. I wonder what it feels like to use a 900 dollar toliet seat. I'll bet they have plasma screen tv's in there also. I wonder if they are low flow?

    What company lets their employees watch TV while they are at work except firepersons.

  9. Perfect WritingJune 21, 2006 9:35 PM

    JP and whoever wrote this if it wasn't you- I believe this the exact sentiment of the typical Leucadian. I hope several people email or present this exact message to council at a future council meeting. Better yet- get a petition started and get signatures at our beautiful beaches and popular restaurants and shops- present the petition to council- then they can never claim they do not know what leucadians want. The current perception is we like the dirt, poop, weeds and litter. I sure hope your writing will make a difference.

  10. Why is the FD running the City?June 21, 2006 9:48 PM

    No Tax Lady, you hit the nail on the head. Someone should suggest to council to form a citizen review committee to provide value engineering review of the rebuilt fire stations to reduce cost. Firefighters need decent beds and garages. Not luxuries of BBQ and widescreens- And what’s with a $50-70/Hr. (including benefits) firefighter polishing fire hydrants. The whole department reeks of wasted tax money. Cut the fire department budget in half and give it to the Sheriffs budget. More cops are needed in Encinitas and cops do not have a cake job like fire fighters. I remember when firefighting was a voluntary position. Those were the good old days.

  11. I know that some of the stuff the firefighters are getting does seem pricey. However, I also know that they don't sit around all day. Last year we had a home fire on our steet and a woman died inside the home. The fire fighters were called and were there ASAP. The neighbors and I used our own water hoses until they got there. We managed to save the family dog, who was barking on the patio. However, none of us were equiped to go inside a smokey, flaming building.

    It was hard work for these firefighters as they went into the home and found the charred body of the woman in her wheelchair. Every time they go into a burning building, they risk their lives.How many of us have jobs like that? I wonder what we would do without them. Volunteers were fine years ago, but with the high density that this City has allowed, one fire can affect many other homes. If our firefighters had not gotten their so quickly, the flames would have jumped to the next home etc.

    I think they deserve a few extras, although I do have to wonder about a $900.00 toilet.

  12. Dr. Lorri,

    Firemen work hard when they work. Last year the Encinitas FD responded to 9 structure fires. That is less than one a month. That is divided among five fire stations. The firemen are well compenstated (some making over 100,000 a year) and work only 8 hours out of their 24 hour shift. They spend another 8 hours lifting weights, etc. and spend the rest sleeping. They are on-call as are a lot of other people in their work during their 24 hour work period.

    We do not have to supply them fire mansions to work out of. We should demand that they work all the hours we pay them. Perhaps they should go on 8 hour shifts and work 40 hour weeks.

    Instead of sitting around they could patrol our neighborhoods looking for trouble. When they see something suspicious they could then report that to the sheriff's department. That would but five more sets of eyes and ears in our community protecting us. They could still respond to fires, aid calls, etc. when needed.

    You know that won't happen because they are "in-bed" with the city council. The fire fighters union have supported the city councilpersons in office today.

  13. Perhaps I am behind the times, as I am an old "hippie" and went to schoool at Berkeley in the 60's. Plus, to make matters worse I don't even live in Leucadia. I have lived in Cardiff for 20 years. J.P. may kick me off this blog,now that I have reveled I am not a Leucadian:)
    However, I still believe that people who put their lives on the line for others deserve to be compensated more than any bureaucrat at City Hall, including ( and especially) Kerry Miller, who in my, opinion, has gotten us into this finacial mess to begin with. And, no, it is not just because of high employee wages. In fact, I also believe teachers should make more money
    than bureaucrats; good staff of any city or company should get paid more than most of the people higher than they are. I think you get my drift.If that makes me stupid or ignorent, so be it. How many of us put our lives on the line even 9 times a year? I am on call 24/7 as well.So are a lot of people. If we are watching a video, it doesn't mean we should be cleaning toilets or cruising the streets looking for troublemakers when we are not called. That is the job of the Sheriff's department. If we need more cops, then let's hire them. Personally, I don't know what the crime rate is in Encinitas. I do know that I feel pretty safe here. Try living in East Los Angeles and compare.I can assure you, it is very different. Sorry for the tirade. Perhaps I have seen too many angry and depressed people today.


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