Sunday, October 22, 2006

Glorified Pot Hole Fillers Party Hardy With Your Tax Dollars

Encinitas gave Japanese a $12,000 welcome

ADAM KAYE does a little digging to see how our tax money is getting spent these days. Keep in mind this is the same city council that keeps trying sneaky ways to raise fees and taxes and just took out a $20 million bond debt. Italic quotes are excerpts from article.

When a sister city delegation from Amakusa, Japan, visited Encinitas last month, the group received a $12,000 welcome.

At taxpayers' expense, the 11 visitors slept at the Best Western Encinitas Inn & Suites. They enjoyed catered meals and were treated to lunch and dinner at restaurants. City records show they took a $524 trip to SeaWorld and received more than $1,000 in gifts.

The invoices show payments of $34.60 for chopsticks and $129.30 for Cross pens to sign "treaties" at a ceremony where Japanese and Encinitas officials reaffirmed their ties.

Invoices show the city spent $27,304 to produce the Oct. 1 "Picnic in the Park," where residents could meet and greet the Japanese visitors and celebrate the city's birthday at a free, all-day party. Officials say thousands of guests attended the event, and about one-third of the costs were covered by sponsors.

In June, the City Council approved $10,000 to host the Japanese guests and $20,000 to throw the anniversary party at Cottonwood Creek Park. The money came from the city's operating budget.

Expenses for the Amakusa delegation's visit, however, totaled $12,154, according to the invoices. To pay those bills, city officials tapped $2,500 from the sister city program's $12,000 annual budget.

For the Picnic in the Park, Encinitas paid $27,304. Records show the city received $9,000 in sponsorships, however, which raised the event's budget to $29,000.

All were welcome to the Sunday afternoon picnic, where the city offered free burgers and hot dogs to thousands of visitors. (Records show the city spent $767 at a nearby Smart & Final store for beef patties, plus $332 for wieners and $72 for vegetarian patties).

*note-this was pretty frugal in my opinion.

Food costs at an invitation-only dinner earlier that weekend also were significant.

On Sept. 30, at the exclusive "Mayor's Dinner," the city paid $576 for catering.

The dinner was held at the home of fire Chief Mark Muir ---- a friend of Guerin's ---- with support from firefighters past and present.

The catering was provided by "Firehouse Gourmet," a one-man company run by Don Heiser, Encinitas' former fire chief, who visited Japan at public expense just weeks before he retired June 30.

Party rentals ---- which included dinner china, 13 round tables, linens and red carpet, at a cost of $707 ---- were ordered by Fire Department Division Chief Scott Henry, according to the invoice. Firefighters helped with the set-up.

Some residents criticized Guerin when invitations for the dinner revealed that the get-together "also happens to be on her 50th birthday."

"I can't help it that my birthday is on Sept. 30," Guerin said.

Was the timing unfortunate? Community activist Gary Murphy said he thinks so.

One night after the Mayor's Dinner, the city held a $5,414, public event at the Encinitas Community and Senior Center ---- the "Sister City Signing Ceremony" ---- where officials from Amakusa and Encinitas formally renewed their sisterhood.

Records show 68 guests paid for the $10-a-plate dinner.

The city paid $3,275 to Four Seasons Foods for crab and cream cheese spring rolls, vegetable skewers, macadamia nut-crusted chicken, barons of beef, teriyaki chicken breast and various side dishes.

The second-most-expensive cost was $490 for linens.

Decorations cost $488 and included $90 for flowers and $34.60 for 9-inch, painted chopsticks that a city staffer ordered off the Internet.

The city paid $1,100 for entertainment from three different groups, which included steel-drum players and a choir.

A former deputy fire marshal in Encinitas, Mike Castaneda, earned $175 for videotaping the event, according to an invoice approved by Henry and Guerin.

A party of 17 ---- 11 from Japan and six from Encinitas ---- racked up a $602 tab at Pino's Cucina Italia in Encinitas. The midday meal included pollo marsala and creme brulee.

A Sunday night dinner in San Diego, at a restaurant called Sushi Ota, cost $222.

Two passenger vans, rented for $915 and driven by city employees, provided transportation for the visitors. The city paid $80 for gas and parking.

One outing, to SeaWorld, generated $524 in charges, which included $352 for admission and $96 for lunch at the SeaWorld deli, among other costs.

After the full days, the 11 visitors retired to the Best Western Encinitas Inn & Suites, where taxpayers paid to rent five rooms for three nights, at a total cost of $1,484.

The hotel commands a view of Cottonwood Creek Park, where the Japanese visitors sang "Happy Birthday" to Encinitas and grooved to classic rock furnished by the band Rockola, Guerin said.

Rockola received a $3,850 paycheck.

A company from San Diego that provided four clowns to paint faces and tie balloons for five hours was paid $1,750.

A Carlsbad-based home builder, Barratt American, Inc. gave a $5,000 sponsorship; a waste hauler, EDCO, donated $3,000 for the event; $500 sponsorships came from My Gym and San Diego Medical Supply Equipment, although the city has yet to receive a check from the final sponsor.

*Barratt American has sued the city several times. Barratt American has outraged many residents for their building tactics in older neighborhoods. Barratt American is an interesting player in all this.

To recognize the sponsors, the city paid $168 for customized plaques.

Early on the morning of Oct. 2, the Japanese visitors began their long trip home, but at least one gift made did not travel with them. The city paid $500 to one of its employees, Alex Long, to fabricate a hand-thrown urn adorned with Japanese symbols representing joy and friendship. The iridescent vase weighs 20 pounds, and to ship it, the city paid $545.

Other gift receipts include $55 at Paper Rose for wrapping and $85 for See's Candy.


  1. Bad deal DalagerOctober 22, 2006 9:08 PM

    Yes, disturbing article in the NCT Sunday paper, describing many of the over the top costs the City spent on the so-called 20th Anniversary of Incorporation celebration.

    Dan Dalager went along with all of that, and more, in promoting himself and a book tour, producing it at citizen’s expense. We will see if the donations cover all the expenses this Wednesday.

    The NCT article details bogus expenditures like $129.00 for Cross pens used for the fake treaty signing ceremony. That treaty was signed at dinner, which we had wanted to attend, but were told that too was by invitation, only. That dinner was listed in the paper as "$5,414 public event." We were not made to feel welcome to attend, for a $10.00 donation, or otherwise.

    The other private birthday party at taxpayers' expense was at the new fire chief, Muir's home. We had been told that food was to be provided by former fire chief Don Heiser, "who visited Japan at public expense just weeks before he retired June 30." However, this private party was catered by "Firehouse Gourmet," a "one man company" run by Heiser. Taxpayers were charged another $576.00 for his catering costs.

    All of this puffery and elitism has been supported and encouraged by Dalager. At least the videotaping of the Community Center party only cost $175, paid to former deputy fire marshal. Dan Dalager's book promotion "event" cost taxpayers, supposedly to be reimbursed by donations, $4,190 for videotaping, according to Thursday’s NCT's article about Dalager's bitter criticism of those he perceived to be criticizing him.

    We want Dalager out, and we don't need Doug Long in there, either, who would just be another Dalager.

  2. Yeah, bad deals by Dalager:

    Mossy property closed session negotiations, leading to taxpayers paying at least $1 million too much.

    SDWD selling of its paid for headquarters, including land, for $1,000,000, giving no credit at all for buildings, while use of the Mossy Public Works yard will cost ratepayers of San Dieguito Water District 3.5 million. Also lost was rent revenue from former headquarters from the City of Encinitas public works vehicles and personnel. Dan Dalager gets paid to sit on board of directors of SDWD. Conflict of interest between SDWD ratepayers, and general fund for City of Encinitas.

    Book promotion which was really a publicity event for Dan Dalager, which was produced by City of Encinitas. Donors thought their money was going to help the troops, not to pay for overpriced video production, and $8100 VIP dinners.

    Dalager is anti Coastal Commission, as are Bilbray and Guerin.

    Did Dalager vote to incorporate in 1986? That would be a good question to ask him. He was noticeably absent at the real Founders celebration at the Cardiff Library, organized by Bob Bonde.

    Dan Dalager supported Props A and C, and the Lighting and Landscaping additional fees. All of these were rejected by the voters.

    Dan Dalager, Christy Guerin, and Maggie Houlihan voted to put the illegal storm drain tax on our EDCO trash bills, which the City withdrew after being taken to Court, then losing at the ballot box. City also has to be sued to force compliance with California Environmental law at Hall property. Court rules Encinitas broke the law, and abused its discretion re Barratt lawsuit, also.

    Dan Dalager supports two raises in one year to Kerry Miller, now departed City Manager, and to Glenn Sabine, city attorney who gets paid by the hour, so has little incentive to settle before City is taken to court.

    Dalager, through "individuals" has accepted much development money. He gives "leftovers," to those who are attempting to develop a regional sports complex, with a high percentage of hardscape, and huge lights, at the Hall property.

    Dalager does not conform with the sign laws he enacted; he is a hypocrite.

    Dan Dalager is a sexist, calling professional women, "hot chicks." Christy Guerin never minded, though.

    Dan Dalager stages events that are important to the community on Jewish Holidays, and says, "too bad" when people object. Also, when none of the merchants who had started the parade had asked for a change, he switched from Holiday Parade to "Christmas Parade," because, he said, he COULD, as mayor.

    Bye, bye, Dan Dalager. Go chase your own tail somewhere else, please.

  3. "Warm and Fuzzies" for the eliteOctober 22, 2006 11:49 PM

    Remember when Christy said we would have to cut out the "warm and fuzzies" after the defeat of Prop C. VIP receptions, catering and private birthday parties at the fire chief's house all at taxpayer's expense make me think they are still spending our dollars on "warm, fuzzies and frillies!"

    Let's help Teresa get elected. Tell your friends and neighbors why you're not voting for D&D.

  4. We need to hold Dalager's lawnmower oil soaked feet to the fire. He continues to sit back and let Christy get us deeper into debt. Will he ever stand up for the people of Encinitas on issues like these or is he waiting for the memo from Ecke before he speaks out.

    Throw out the bum!!!!!!!!!

  5. the bigger problemOctober 23, 2006 5:39 AM

    Lets stop and think about what is happening here. Christy is now working for Bilbray and will have access to even more of OUR tax dollars.

    I was very happy to get rid of her on the council but we may have created a monster.

    While I am not a Busby fan, I will need to think long and hard about voting for Bilbray as long as he is tied to Guerin.

  6. Roadside Park BumOctober 23, 2006 8:30 AM

    Hey J.P.!!!
    Why no comment on the Sunny Garcia story in Sundays UT where the UT refers to Encinitas as "a crime ridden town"!!
    Paragraph 6-"Surfing was an escape from a crowded home and a crime ridden town."

    In which part of "crime ridden Encinitas" did Sunny grow up??
    Just wondering??

    Staggering down the crime ridden 101 , it's your Roadside Park Bum!!

  7. Sunny grew up in a bad part of Hawaii, that is the crime town he is referring to.
    Sunny has some serious problems. He beat someone up at Swami's last month. It really bothers me that he hangs out in Encinitas. Have fun in prison Sunny!

  8. Sunny Garcia's current residence is Newport Beach which is home to many tax evaders so he fits right in.

    Sunny never lived in Encinitas. He lived at his father-in-law's home in Rancho Santa Fe.

    Sunny grew up in the ghetto. Yes, Hawaii has ghettos.

  9. The article left out the cost two items:

    1.the sign on 3rd and A street that "points" towards Japan

    2.the sculpture at City Hall.

    I wonder who made them and how much.

  10. Roadside park bumOctober 23, 2006 10:44 AM

    I am shocked, SHOCKED to find out that surfers have anger management issues!! Perhaps Sunny needs a 12 step program!

    Did the surfer "Dude" press charges against Sunny??
    How many "strikes " does Sunny have now??
    Has he done Jail time in the past??


  11. The city hall sculpture is friggin pathetic! It really sucks big time. Looks like it was purchased at Cost plus and does a big disservice to our artistic community!

    Jim Gilliam is our arts coordinator and screwed up the operation homecomeing and the city hall sculpture. He was crowing at the arts commision meeting about how great it was.

  12. What happened to Dalager the fiscal conservative?

  13. Dan Dalager the fiscal non-conservative, also went along, lock, stock, and barrel, with the hiring of Jim Gilliam, our bogus "art director."

    This position, which is costing taxpayers over $100,000, including benefits, came to be because Council was not happy with allowing the Arts Commission, that they appoint, to themselves appoint an "Art Jury" to make recommendations, only, about the quality of certain artwork, for example sculptures, like the one being discussed, here.

    City Council, headed by Guerin, backed up by Dan Dalager was so afraid to give up any of their "power," to allow some hard working volunteers to have more input. Their recommendations, in turn, would have been reviewed and passed along, or not, to Council, who would still have had the ultimate decision on what grants would be given, or what artwork was to be chosen.

    Council nixed this, saying, "We aren't going to let the people we appoint pick an art jury!" So our micro-managing, egotistic and elitist City Council, including Dan Dalager, just added on another "director" to staff, at our expense. There is only about $20,000 or less of grants given out, per year [please if you know more precise figures, correct me if this is higher or lower], including Community Grants, which are not art related. Council decides directly on the Community Grants, after staff recommendation. The Art Grants are processed through our bogus "Art Director," who then gives his recommendations to Council.

    All and all, taxpayers have been screwed, again. What is our Art Director's specialty? Opera. How many community opera singers have we got here, and how is that related to visual arts or the type of music more often heard in this community? Perhaps Jim Gilliam could have saved us $3850 (for 2 hours of music played by Rockola) by singing at the City's so-called 20th Anniversary celebration at Cottonwood Creek Park?

    Another instance of Dalager mindlessly supporting "warm $$$ fuzzies," that we didn't ask for!

  14. What has Jim Gilliam brought to Encinitas besides him sucking a phat tit of our tax money? He has been working for over a year. So results or fire the tit sucker.


    This blog is pathetic, filled with whiners who don't appreciate what an incredible place we live in. All you people do is pick, pick, pick. Why don't you guys spend less time on the blog and more time working in the community in a positive way. From my perspective, things seem to be functioning pretty well around here. Of course, any system could use a little fixing-up. You guys seem to just want to burn it down. The old anti-establishment crowd, somehow leftover from another era. I was undecided on who to vote for until now and because of this blog will vote for Dalager and either Long or maybe Brown (except for that apparent lying thing on serving in Special Forces) - probably Long & Dalager.

    OK, you guys can attack me now.

    - Not a Whiner

  16. You must really enjoy paying fees and taxes you didn't have to pay in the first place.

  17. Sorry, Not A Whiner, you aren't important enough to attack. We got bigger fish to fry.

  18. not whiner is whining againOctober 24, 2006 9:58 AM

    We aren't anti-establishment, only when it is corrupt and self-serving, at the expense of taxpayers.

    You are the same Council person or Council person relative, NOT, previous poster, that loves the "status quo," cuz your family makes big bucks off of it.

    You just keep calling people who care, who know what's going on whiners and pathetic, when in fact, that is exactly what you are.

    Why waste your time reading or posting here if we are such a waste? Because you know people are listening. We are not happy with the "powers that be."

    Look at Duke Cunningham. Now Bilbray is voting for oil drilling to be opened up along our shore.

    Everytime financial waste is exposed, you just call the whistleblowers and the watchdogs whiners.

    Weak! You are lame, NOT; no wonder you want to vote for Dumb and Dumber, Dan & Doug. They are right up your alley. And Mama Bossy Guerin will keep raking in our taxpayer dough, like leaves, falling from the trees she shakes, with her retirement disability and her $85,000 plus benefits job with the Feds.

    You continue to whine about our whining, hypocrite.

  19. Tax dollars should never pay for private events. We got screwed.

  20. We spend a billion dollars a week in Iraq. What we get for it are dead Americans, dead Iraqis and a growing national debt. I think that spending this money to create mutual friendship and understanding with Amakusa is a good investment. Maybe if other money were spent as wisely as this, there would be better understanding between diverse people around the world and less mistrust.

    Sometimes money should be spent for the future and not the present. Paying for space exploration doesn't reap immediate results, but the rewards become apparent later. A new section of sidewalk is nice, but investment in relationships with other countries, are dollars well spent towards a better world. History tells us “money comes and goes”. Relationships are what endure.


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