Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Mayor Guerin 30 years older than city itself

Public paying for sister city dinner that 'happens' to be on Guerin's birthday

By: ADAM KAYE - Staff Writer

ENCINITAS -- Mayor Christy Guerin is hosting an invitation-only dinner party for a sister city delegation from Japan, with taxpayers footing much of the bill.

And the party on Saturday "also happens to be on (Guerin's) 50th birthday," the invitation states.

"It seems that this whole sister city celebration has had problems of not including the public," longtime resident Jane Cartmill said Monday. "It's a little bit autocratic."

Up to 50 guests ---- including Guerin's family members and city and school officials ---- are expected at the home of Fire Chief Mark Muir, a longtime ally of Guerin.

In recent weeks, some residents have criticized Encinitas' sister city program, calling it elitist and inaccessible to the residents who pay for it.

"There's nothing elitist about it," Guerin said Monday.

She said the program, which began in 1988, has touched the lives of many people in Encinitas and Amakusa City, Japan.

She noted that residents can meet the visiting Amakusa officials, who arrive Friday, at a Sunday picnic at Cottonwood Creek Park. The city is hosting the picnic to celebrate its incorporation 20 years ago.

Also on Friday, the public can attend a $10-a-plate dinner with the Japanese visitors at the Encinitas Community and Senior Center.

"This visit (by the Japanese) is probably the most public, community-oriented visit we've ever had," Guerin said.

Some residents and Councilwoman Maggie Houlihan, however, remain critical.

In June, the City Council approved $30,000 to spend on the city's 20th birthday celebration and on the sister city guests. Of that, $20,000 would pay for the 20th anniversary party and $10,000 would entertain the visitors, officials say.

Officials Monday could not say how much public money would be spent on Saturday's private party, but said it would pay for all the food on the menu.

"I'm looking for the authorization for expenditures such as a private party," Houlihan said. "I don't know where the authorization was for that money to come out of the anniversary (budget). I think it's very important that we have an easy-to-explain and defensible process for making expenditures."

When the council adopted the city's operating budget June 21, that approval included "$30,000 towards the Sister City/City's 20th Anniversary celebration," according to records from the meeting.

At the private party on Saturday, former Fire Chief Don Heiser is providing the catering "as a favor to me," Guerin said.

Heiser was among those from Encinitas who traveled to Japan in June, returning just days before he retired. Guerin also represented the city on that trip, the third to Japan she has taken at public expense.

Heiser on Monday said tri-tip steak with a red wine and butter sauce will be the main course at Saturday's party. Also on the menu is bow-tie pasta in a parsley garlic-butter sauce; sauteed zucchini and yellow-neck squash, stir-fried with steamed broccoli; green salad and French baguettes; melon balls; and for dessert, brownies with chocolate frosting.

Guerin said she and her husband would purchase alcohol for the party at their own expense. Birthday cake would not be paid for by the taxpayer, she said.

"We're not throwing Christy a $10,000 birthday party," City Manager Kerry Miller said Monday.

Guerin added that in years past, city officials have entertained their sister city counterparts at private dinners with the Encinitas mayor. This year's dinner would be cheaper because it is at a private home and not a restaurant, she said.

Some residents, however, remained critical of the expenditure.

"This is Christy diverting taxpayer money to throw a party for herself," said Barbara Cobb of the Cardiff Town Council.

The good news is that in a year the city will be 21 and can finally stop hassling me to buy it Boone's Farm and Swisher Sweets in the 7-11 parking lot on Friday nights.

17 comments:

  1. I fail to see how this party helps the City to effectively and efficiently provide its core services to the public? This looks a lot like those warm fuzzies that I thought Christy said the Council would have to give up when Prop C failed.

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  2. City Officials' greed & corruptionSeptember 26, 2006 11:29 AM

    Chirsty Guerin isn't giving anything up. We could see her gun bulging at last Wednesday's Council meeting.

    We think that the Japanese "delegates" should not be "treated" to a helicopter ride, nor to a dinner at a Pacific Beach suci bar. What gives? This is more than "warm fuzzies." It is the taxpayers paying for junkets and benefits, entertainment, that has no relation to anything except our city officials' greed and corruption.

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  3. Is Christy Guerin actually carrying a gun into the council chambers? This is very disturbing.

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  4. Came as news to me that Pacific Beach was a part of Encinitas. Why aren't they going to a Japanese restaurant in our City? Just wondering. Also wondering, who got invited to this party. I know I didn't. Inquiring minds again want to know.

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  5. TWO Parties.

    The very, very private party at Fire Chief Mark Muir's home.

    The by invitation only party at the Encinitas Community Center is said to be a $10 donation. If you don't donate can you still eat? Why the donation? Is it for Mayor Christy Guerin's birthday present for the private dinner the next night?

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  6. Has Mayor Christy Guerin been packing heat at City Hall?

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  7. Kegger at the Chiefs house!!!!! Me and my boys will be there.

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  8. This is an insult to every single taxpayer in Encinitas. We cannot vote her out but we can ask everyone running for city council what they think about this rip-off.

    Dalager is acting more like Barney Fife everyday by letting things like this go on under his nose. He and Emma lou will no doubt be swilling the free booze (unless they have free drugs)and back slappin Gomer.

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  9. Somebody give me the address. I'll get a big crowd there and demand that we get in and eat for free (well not free since I paid for it as a citizen). If they try to stop us, we will take pictures!

    Front page of the UT unless Adam wants the story but I'm afraid he will wimp out as usual.

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  10. I 100% confident that I am on the guest list.

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  11. If you are invited, eat before you go.
    The menu reads like a frozen dinner.

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  12. Let's Go to DinnerSeptember 26, 2006 10:37 PM

    Yea-what is Mark Muir's address? I think we should all show up around dinner time. I would love to meet our Japanese "friends" and have a not so free dinner. Anyone know his address. It is this Sat. night, so J.P. if you don't already know if you are on the guest list, I think you aren't.

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  13. The internet is a wonderfult thing. You can Mapquest it for directions.

    Mark A. Muir
    710 West Bluff Dr
    Encinitas, CA 92024
    760-632-1666

    It's a gate guarded community so plan on walking in! Does anyone have the gate code?

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  14. We thought we saw a gun bulging under Christy Guerin's white jacket, by her hip. We could be wrong on this, but it sure looked like it.

    It has been suggested that someone from former Hondo, one of the delegates, might have a relative who has a restaurant in Pacific Beach? We cannot understand why the "delegation" wouldn't go out to eat in Encinitas where there are excellent restaurants, including sushi restaurants.

    Adam Kaye's article in the NCT today is excellent, as uusal. He was also at the founders' separate anniversary celebration at the Cardiff Library this afternoon, as were many great people who helped, twenty years ago, and are still helping. It was so good to see the diversity of opinions, all coming together, in unity, that we do want local control; we do not want "spot zoning." Everyone agreed that we need new direction on City Council. Teresa Barth was there. Of course Dalager, and the rest of Council were all no shows.

    I hope people can go to tomorrow's Council Meeting. Lots of important agenda items to be discussed. It's worth it.

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  15. Birthday presents for BossypantsSeptember 27, 2006 12:14 AM

    Christy Guerin sent out her special invitations to a select few, 50 of her "closest friends." Were you invited, JP? We don't hold it against you, if you were, though.

    In order not to lose face, the Japanese delegates will almost certainly feel obligated to bring presents for Christy to the private party at the retired fire chief's house.

    Christy Guerin is a hypocrite for receiving these gifts. She just got thru trying to narc out Maggie Houlihan because her husband accepted about $1000 when he was in Japan, in 2005, to help defray expenses, we presume. The fair practices committee said this wasn't a problem, because it was part of a city related program. We think all gifts should be reported, whether to Council members, or to their spouses.

    However, Christy held this over Maggie's head for over a year, no doubt, until she blew her top when Maggie's husband, Ian Thompson wrote a couple of negative letters to the editor of NCT and Coast News about our current Council. Christy Guerin has accepted a very expensive Kimono, which she did not disclose, under gifts, either.

    Christy Guerin should not get a private party to celebrate her birthday, at taxpayers expense. Carolyn Cope, formerly of the Sister City Committee, in the NCT, stated that since City Council took over, the sister city program has become elitist. The committee no longer meets at city hall or has fund raisers. Council just okays illegal revenue bonds to be able to continue to afford these vanity projects to pat themselves on the back.

    Christy Guerin has gone to Japan three times at taxpayers expense. That is outrageous, and she should know it. We sure do.

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  16. I want dinner, too.September 27, 2006 12:16 AM

    When is the Community Center party?

    What time? We want to go. Donation means you don't have to pay.

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  17. I can hardly wait for that old hag to get caught up in a Bilbray scandal. Bilbray and former cop aide arrested for money laundering scheme the headline will read.

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