Last night's city council eyewitness report by M. Fleener
What a cast of...uh...characters last night. My evening began with Doug Long telling me that "The Press" would probably make me move from the table I was sitting at in the back room. I told him I'd been contacted by the LA Times to possibly do a comic story about small town politics. "Ever hear of them?" I asked Doug. Then Dalager walked by us and with a big grin on his face said, "Looks like we're going to be here until 11 pm tonight!" All the folks around me said, "Yep. I guess so." Seems to me that crack was more of a challenge than an actual observation. As the crowd grew in number, some guy yelled out, "Low income seating, anyone?" When Christy announced item #9 would "be continued" at another meeting on Dec 13, there was a loud groan from the audience. Oh, she remarked that she knew people had made time for this and she was sorry but they just weren't "prepared" to vote on it. I think this means they got a LOT of feedback about this Housing issue and it wasn't good.
Then we were treated to a water district dog and pony show that was design to convince us why we need to raise our water rates. Power point presentation, lots of graphs, mathematical formulas, statistical manipulations, and the fellow talking was a good little robot who said the city only got ONE letter of protest. Gee, some people do need to get a life, don't they? Then James Bond droned on as to why we need to do this. Several people got up and spoke and Bond told the audience not to clap after each speaker. This was met with laughter. The Council voted 5-0 to raise the rates.
Then at 6:40pm we got to see a special duel meeting between the City Council and the Water District. A nice female robot informed the crowd that the city made a lot of money with property taxes, $813,000.00 excess, to be exact. We also learned the average price of a home in Encinitas is $800,000. After that was over, Bond yammered about the Libraray, the Hall property and told us all we gotta is wait and everything will be OK.
The best was yet to come. The General Housing Update Presentaion! Seems for 2 years there have been meeting and more meetings to address our dire situation here in Encinitas. Another power point slide show with graphs, and info. This was a boring robot who went on and on and on. I saw several people nodding off, their eyes closed, their faces weary. Dalager was looking away from the screen. Maggie looked tired. Bond was "acting" interested and Guerin kept staring at the crowd, and at one point interrupted the speaker and told people that "standing in the chambers is not allowed", and made 'em move to another room.
The speaker robot told us that if we don't act on this Affordable Housing Program SOON we'll lose out on "certain funds" from the State, such as transportaion. This was the good part. We gotta move on this, people. Hurry!! Emergency!!!! Anyway, the guy finished his talk, and Bond started speaking in that low montone of his. Man, was his face ruddy. He don't look so good and apparently was in a rotten mood. Guerin asked him to "wrap it up" and Bond snapped back, "I listened to your questions and now you're going to listen to mine!" Oooh, that made Guerin mad and when she finally got a chance to speak she started her comment with, "MIS-ter BOND....I voted against this, and blah blah blah". Talk about a woman scorned!!
We took a break at 8pm. (Somehow, magically, all the other agenda items were shelved,) and at 8:15pm the speakers for item #9 were heard and there was a 100% negative response to this Housing Element scam. No one likes it and everyone knows this is a plan by the developers to screw each and every citizen in Encinitas. Most people asked for a public vote. My very favorite speaker was a guy who held up a report that gave the word "spin" a whole new definition. Every concern, whether it be Traffic, or Quality of Life, was put in the "No Impact" category, so this guy led the crowd in a chant-when he would read one of the comments, such as "...environmental pollution..?", he'd gestured towards the crowd and we all yelled out, "NO IMPACT! This went on for a bit and was very funny.
I guess we were having way too much fun...the city manager and attorney glared at us and Dalager looked like he had a headache. I left after this nice man got up and told the Council that "...we are strong, we are organized and we are prepared. We want to be on your side, but we want you to be on our side too." Or something like that. He was very gallant. Robert Nanninga was spot on and brought up some good points and delivered his argument with an unusually cohestive cachet.
Wish I could've seen those croc tears of Guerins', but I've seen 'em before, like when she helped stripped Sheila Cameron of her Mayor title two weeks before Camerons' term was over. I suppose I'll see 'em next week when Teresa Barth takes her place.
What's not to love about this town?