Sunday, December 31, 2006

ADD IT UP>>>2007 Projects

Encinitas will launch or complete many projects

Click the above the link to read the story about the list of ambitious and expensive projects the city has planned for 2007.

The long-awaited, $20 million library being built on Cornish Drive should be finished before 2007.

Also in 2007, the city expects to begin building a park on 43 acres it bought from the Hall family along the west side of Interstate 5, south of Santa Fe Drive.

At this time last year, Encinitas City Council members identified the park as a top priority ---- along with a new public works facility and fire station replacements ---- and issued $20 million in bonds to pay for the jobs.

A consulting firm has spent almost two years examining the consequences of opening a park on the property, which formerly was home to a commercial nursery. The firm is preparing an environmental impact report that should be ready for public review in January, officials say.

Officials estimate it will cost $35 million to build ball fields, a teen center, skateboarding features, a dog park, walking trails and picnic areas on the Hall site.

City officials have said in recent weeks that they are wary of the expense of the project. As they learned with city projects in 2006, construction costs are rising rapidly and may likely be more than expected.

"All of our cost estimates have really gone right in the toilet," Mayor James Bond said.

Because of the expense, officials said, the park will be built in phases and completed as money becomes available.

Holy freaking moly! 35 mill??? For a park???

I don't really know where to begin with this one. I don't know a whole lot about designing and building parks but 35 large sounds like a big scam and a big rip off to me.

Podunk towns all across America have nice little sports parks, how the hell do they do it because I know they didn't spend no $35 million.

Everybody is always griping about the state of Leucadia's infrastructure but let's sink $35 million into a park?

I bet we could build a kick ass park for $10 million (our bling bling library has about $10 million of useless nonsense we could have value engineered right off of there).

We should seek private donations to help build the ball parks and skateboard park. Several Padres players live in Encinitas as do people in the Padres organization. Maybe they could help us build the baseball diamonds. The multi-billion dollar skateboard industry in centered in north county. We should seek their donations to build the skate park.

Hope you enjoy your new $35 million ball field little Billy. Don't forget to remind your parents to pay their taxes this year.

I have a feeling that the $17 million estimate for the park doubled to $35 million not because of material cost which are finally stabilizing, but because of the clean up cost for the toxic soil. Where is that pesky EIR report anyway?

See also: Leucadia!: Search suspended for Hall property EIR report

Also high on the city's to-do list is to start replacing aging fire stations in Leucadia, downtown Encinitas and Cardiff.

Division Chief Scott Henry says he expects construction of the Leucadia station on Orpheus Avenue to begin this summer and end in 2008. The replacement of the downtown fire station at Second and C streets would begin in 2008.

A third new fire station is planned in the Cardiff area, on Birmingham Drive. Designs for that facility remain incomplete and Henry said he did not know when construction would begin.

Sometime in 2007, remodeling will begin at the city's new public works center on Calle Magdalena.

I haven't seen the designs for the new firestations. I hope they are frugal and efficient and not bling bling.

Also in 2007, work is expected to begin on improvements to Leucadia Boulevard. Earlier this month, the Encinitas Planning Commission approved sidewalks on the boulevard between Vulcan and Hermes avenues and roundabouts at Hermes and Hymettus avenues. Eight months of construction could begin as soon as April, says Blair Knoll, city engineer.

Beachgoers will be happy to know that the city plans to rebuild the parking lot and steep walkway leading down to Beacon's Beach at the west end of Leucadia Boulevard. The Planning Commission will consider that project early next year.

I hope the new Beacon's beach access is within the $2.8 million state grant.

In addition to the city projects, progress is expected on several large, private development projects in the new year.

Officials from KSL Encinitas Resorts say they plan to begin grading in the fall for a 130-room condominium-hotel west of La Costa Avenue. The developer plans to haul 50,000 cubic yards of sand from the site of the hotel, a bluff top, and spread it on the beach. That kind of work must wait until after Labor Day, when the state Coastal Commission lifts its restriction on beach construction.

On the opposite end of the city's 6.1-mile shoreline, officials from the state Department of Parks and Recreation plan to finish a $2.1 million makeover of South Cardiff State Beach in April.

Other projects to watch are scattered across the city:

- A Houston-based developer plans to raze the AMC Encinitas 8 cinema on El Camino Real sometime in 2007 to make way for retail stores, dropping the curtain on the city's only multiplex theater.

The wife and I went to the AMC on our first date 11 years ago. We saw a movie at the AMC last month as a farewell. My favorite theater in Encinitas will always be the La Paloma but I have fond memories of the AMC. I hate driving out of town to see first run movies. In this era of DVD's I still like going to see movies on the big screen and experiencing it with a crowded theater. Maybe the city should sell a portion of the massive Hall property to a multi-screen theater? Imagine talking a walk around the park with a cup of coffee after seeing a movie, that would be cool.

- Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas hopes to advance a five-phase, multiyear plan to more than double the size of buildings on its Santa Fe Drive campus, an effort to better serve the area's growing population.

- The Brown family, longtime flower growers on Lake Drive, have proposed to rezone their property to build 152 homes.

Wow, 152 homes seems like a lot for that old neighborhood.

"I think we've had a great run of purchasing a lot of things we've needed ---- the park, the library, the public works yard ---- and we've scheduled a host of other capital projects," said Bond, who emphasized the need for financial caution in 2007.

"If we added them up, the cost is enormous," Bond said. "We need to be very clear on where we are with funds, the things we need to complete, and prioritize how we're going to do them."

Congratulations on your great run. I would avoid adding them up because your right, the cost is enormous. It's probably better if we don't add them up.

Arrrgh, I just did. Total cost of above listed capital improvements is:

Library-$20 million

Hall park-$35 million

New public works facility and fire station replacements-$20 million (the bond loan)

Beacon's access-current plan is for $5 million, so the city needs to come up with an extra $2.2 million over the $2.8 million state grant.

Leucadia sidewalks and roundabouts-the NCT didn't give a price tag. So maybe the $20 million bond debt is covering this?

TOTAL- $77.2 million dollars.

How is a population of 60,000 going to pay for all this?


  1. You would think that the first thing the city would do is add it all up. I guess they didn't. The $20 million bond just floated is restricted to only the library, fire stations, and the Hall property project. Staff notes for the bond issue conceded that little or nothing would be spent on the Hall project because of timing and costs of the other two projects. After all the Hall EIR isn't even out yet, and Jennifer Smith said in May that any construction before the end of 2007 was unlikely.

    The one bright spot is all of this is that James Bond is finally beginning to concede indirectly that the city has been a bit profligate in its planning and spending.

  2. Jim Bond is right about the toilet. He is a four-flusher.

  3. The city also has the debt of the 23 million dollars bond for the Hall property, the 10 million dollars bond on the city hall and various other debts. The residents of Encinitas owe over 15 million dollars in unfunded pension liabilities for city employees.

  4. So, with the $23 million Hall bond debt and the $35 million to develop the park the Hall Park will total out to a whopping $58 million dollars?

    Is this figure correct?

  5. I would like the Encinitas Taxpayer's Association or a hobbyist like Donna Westbrook to discover the true total cost of city projects/pensions/services and how the city plans to pay for it all.

  6. The true cost of the Hall property aquisition is about 42 million dollars including the interest. If the four horsemen of the apocalypse decide to float another budget busting bond for the 35 million dollars construction, the cost including interest would be about 70 million dollars.

    Total cost for the hall property and development - 112 million dollars.

  7. I say a priority would be to bust up the City Council and SDWD affair and get some control and accountability before the politicos decide to go back to the well.

  8. How much did the "Thank you Satan" mural just south of Becaons cost?

  9. Speaking of money, the police have several million to spend this holiday season to give out as many DUIs as they possibly can and I hear Leucadia is a target area. They're also asking our fellow citizens to fink on people they think might be driving under the influence. The guy at Leucadia Liquor also heard the same thing, so take the taxi home.

    Happy (hic) New Year!!

  10. City needs to go to "shopoholic" rehab.

    They need an independent financial manager, not one who is completed conflicted, and underqualified, as Jennifer Smith is.

    Our City started going into the financial dumpster with Kerry Miller. He messed up South Lake Tahoe, royally, then left there, to come mess us up.

    The City was counting on increased revenues from the Redevelopment Districts that Kerry was pushing to bolster our General Fund through more sleight of hand.

    Yes, we should separate the Water District from the City, or our water rates will continue to rise.

  11. I didn't get why the NCT article made it sound as though the roundabouts would begin to be built in April?

    It isn't fair that this stuff gets pushed through the Planning Commission, and people don't have a chance to question the wisdom of building three. They hold these important meetings over the holidays, when less people know about them, or can attend. How much will the proposed roundabouts cost?

    Where is the city wide traffic study that Dan Dalager promised was ready at the forums? Why can't we have a one year re-visit on the Santa Fe Roundabout, as we did with the red light cameras?

    Does the Planning Commission's decision have to be appealed to Council? We shouldn't have to pay $250.00 to make this an agenda item.

  12. Jennifer Smith does exactly as she is told. She is not qualified to be our financial manager.

    She is completely conflicted, I agree. She may be a nice person, but she was handpicked by Kerry Miller to do his bidding, which is to put us into the financial toilet!

    I hope to God Teresa Barth can help us out of this mess. Maybe with Guerin gone, James Bond will come to his senses. Please!

  13. It doesn't matter what it costs. When it is done it is going to be Great!

    I sure am glad that the council didn't put the bond to a vote of the people like the state law says to do. Getting a 2/3rds majority is hard enough and they would have had to air the dirty laundary. We would never had gotten the Hall property done in our lifetime if that happened. I love that lease revenue bond more than my family.

    Just think of how great it is going to be to walk around the fields with your coffee. The freeway noise won't be so bad because the traffic will be so congested by then that the cars won't be moving.

  14. Jerome Stocks, Encinitas City Council Member, said our city was swimming in cash. I think the whole Council believed it and now they are acting accordingly.

  15. During oral communications, at a Council Meeting, I told Council that the costs for the Hall Property acquisition, including the debt, and for the Mossy Public Works yard, before the additional 1/2 million for remodel was factored in, and the library, and the debt on the new 20 million dollar bond, which is to include the first phase of the three new fire McMansions, added up to over $75 million.

    No one batted an eyelash, or listened to my comments, as usual. They still get their pensions and their raise. It's not coming out of their pockets.

  16. Yes, JP, it's way more than the 58 million, because you have to almost double that to allow for the money we taxpayers shell out in interest debt over 30 years.

    Right now we have two "revenue bonds" that we didn't get to vote on, the first, at $17 million, for the acquisition of the Hall property, and the second, for $20 million to fund the fire mansions, the library and supposedly, the Hall Property Development.

  17. Aguirre was on KPBS TV the other day. He said in the City of San Diego, every household would have to pay over $10,000 to erase the unfunded pension debt in that city.

    Our city has been run, for the last decade or so, by a bunch of development friendly, over spending, credit guzzlers.

    They have traded on fear of inflation to push through their projects, reward staff and private contractors, before Council's constituents could know what the heck had happened.

    Council and the City Manager write out the checks, but we have to come up with the money to pay the bills.

    Now seems like we're swimming in debt, instead of swimming in cash. We have to pay the piper, right Jerome?

  18. "I didn't get why the NCT article made it sound as though the roundabouts would begin to be built in April?"

    Sounds Like "Babble" Paul Martin talk to me. The one good thing is your so clueless no one takes you serious.

  19. Fire Man works on campaign for Stocks, Bond, and Dalager- Fire Man get Promoted to Chief- Fire Man get huge raise- Council makes Fire McMansions 1st Priority!

    AHHH- thats the way it works. I wonder which campaigns our City Department Heads will be working on in 2008?

    Is that ethical? Is that Legal? It seems like a conflict of Interest issue to me.

    Our fire department union has bought our council. Our Politics is starting to smell as bad as Oceanside.

  20. the union owning our council doesn't help matters with the huge pension liability.

  21. what the hell do we need an aquatic center and teen center for? We have the beach and a community center.

    The YMCA does a much better job then the City would ever do.

  22. You can thank Lou Aspell for the idea of the youth commission which bloomed into teenager commissioners mandating the need for a million dollar teen center. Just before Lou Aspell left office the Youth Commission and the Commission for the Arts were voted into existence.

  23. JP says: "our bling bling library has about $10 million of useless nonsense we could have value engineered right off of there"
    OK hot shot give us the details... Maggie Houlihan says yer full of crap!

  24. From day one, Christy Guerin was the one who was pushing for a Youth Center on the Hall Property. The Community Center has more programs, sports and activities for the youth of the city than a Youth Center could ever dream of. As does the YMCA. Why Christy pushed this (with no other city council support)is beyond me.

  25. Plus you dont have to pay the YMCA kids- $30 per hour and give them a life long pension after 5 years.

    The YMCA has a board focused on their objectives. I think our City of 60k is biting off more than it can chew. Make the Hall property ball fields and openspace with trails. Spend the money not spent on existing infrastructure needs.

  26. I've been a little hesitant in the past to fully criticize the library design because I don't want to insult Mr. Oncina, the architect, but seriously; you can't just draw crazy curves that serve no function knowing those curves translate into high dollars.

    The same architect designed the Cardiff library. I think it's weird enough that Encinitas has two libraries, but why are they both designed by the same guy?

    I've been a big supporter of having a nice library in that location, but it's my opinion that $20 million is too much for a town of 60,000.

    I'll do a library topic soon enough and everyone can get mad at me then.

  27. JP

    Some people will be mad at you because they truely believe that a library will raise the intelectual CAPACITY OF THE CITY. MOST people know better. The Cardiff Library is nice and serves the community well. Why spend 20 million on a building located on prime real estate? Sell the lot and use the money to fund the fire Mcmansions.

  28. There has been a library in the Cardiff community since 1914...the county, with funds raised by the community of Cardiff, paid for the new Cardiff library. It is run by the county and costs the city NOTHING. It was not designed to serve all of the City of Encinitas.

    The Encinitas library is being built by the city of Encinitas and will be run by the County...staff salaries will be paid by the county.

    Mr. Orcina has designed a number of libraries for the county so maybe that is why he was chosen to design Encinitas'.

  29. The former Cardiff library was tiny. We are fortunate to have the new one, there, as we have a hole in the ground where the original Encinitas library site was.

    The San Dieguito Water District also lost its headquarters, and the rent revenue from the City for the Publics Works Yards. Our rates are now going up. We are spending $10 million, plus interest, on the new Public Works site where Mossy Chevrolet was.

    Our Council simply had no one "at the helm" with common sense and a sense of fiscal accountability. I hope James Bonds wakes up from the stupor everyone seemed to be in, under Guerin.

    We need to rethink the design of the library and the fire mcmansions. We don't need another youth center, there is already one which is combined with the senior center.

  30. I'm afraid that James Bond has been asleep "at the helm," along with the rest, for some years now. I doubt he will wake up. He likes his perks too much, and age and alcohol seem to be taking their toll. Increasingly there are times when he seems out of touch with reality, as when he was quoted in the NCT article. The man is doing us no favor by hanging around.

  31. The "new" Encinitas library operating expenses will be partially paid by the county. The rest of the operating and maintenance costs will be paid by the city of Encinitas.

  32. The library's zigzag foundation added more expense to the library costs. It is too late to revisit that design error. The hill was completely demolished and replaced with concrete sides and slopes.

  33. Zigzag, sounds right for our former air head Council.

    We should have turned the design and construction over to Starbucks. The library will have a coffe-bar deck, and will also be a bookstore.

    This is a case of Council getting caught up in status, not considering the ultimate costs of its deluded decisions.

  34. I should remind everyone that the design of the new library was awarded as the result of a design competition. Our design selection committee voted unanimously for Mr. Oncina's design. Mr. Oncina earned the right to design our library. It was awarded to him. We saw the design ahead of time. It was open to the public. Where were you then? This was not done in a vacuum.

    In the end, the city will gain a lasting, valuable piece of architecture. Nearly every great piece of civic architecture ends up over budget because of costly design elements, mismanagement or market factors. But, they do get built and elicit enormous pride. You do favor a cool city don't you? I thought that was why all of you contribute here.

    Imagine Sydney without the Opera House. The final pricetag was 3 times the original estimate and took 3 times as long. We are nowhere near that. Imagine any great city without their significant buildings.

    Once in a while we need to dig down and allow something special and enobling to be built. Often it's a civic building or church. If we only build ordinary structures, we will be ordinary-minded people living in predictable environments. Our arts are the mirrors to our culture, I would prefer we not wallow in mediocraty. The developers around here have given us enough of their souless drivel. At the very least, our public spaces should be enobling.

    So embrace this opportunity to have a landmark structure deserving of it's special site within our city. And when it is open, use it, enjoy it, and celebrate it's uniqueness.

  35. Too bad I wasn't more involved in city matters back then, it's true. I didn't see the other designs in the contest so maybe the one you picked was the best one.

    I love unique architecture, but I don't like the new library, sorry. And it's not going to put Encinitas on the map architecture wise. I think this design tries a little too hard.

    I plan on going to the library often once it's finished.

  36. Leftcoast is nuts if she can believe it is fine to spend so much of other people's money trying, and in this case failing, to create sybolic structure without a mandate from the taxpayer. We had to take out a huge debt to do this!

  37. How much is too much for a library?

  38. Anyone know if we can drop off Christmas trees at the Moonlight parking lot this year?

  39. Left coast you are out of your mind. Do you really think Encinitas compares to Sydney? You have 60,000 people to pay for the city council's boondoggles. Sydney has almost 4 million people to pay for their city's boondoggles.

    If you think this library will make us a great city you are more nuts than you sound in your post. This library is a case of a few city persons building an edifice to themselves.

    They used poor judgement in ever aspect of this library from using that land to spending 20 million dollars.

    If they lived in the desert we would probably tie them down, spread honey on them and let the ants have their way. Luckily you are civilized here where i would never think of using the ant torture.

  40. Did Mr. Oncina also design the sewer treatment plant at Moonlight Beach?

  41. Yes, Oncina designed the Moonlight pump station and it's very cool. He did a good job on that one.

  42. The pump station is larger and now more out of place. The roof isn't installed, but the renderings on his website show the same design of a concave roof.

  43. Several points...

    I was not comparing Encinitas to Sydney, get real.

    The Sydney Opera House cost a total of 102 million in 1966. I was wrong about the final cost being 3 times the original estimate. The final cost of the Opera House was 14 times the original estimate. It took 15 years to build, original estimate was 5 years.

    I only pulled out this example to show that it is not uncommon for civic projects to be overbudget.

    I share your justified criticism of the means of obtaining the site, displacing the Public Works Yard at great cost to us the ratepayers. That was literally criminal. Perhaps it will be legally challenged one day. I'm not holding my breath. It seems this city can never do a proper real estate deal. I reference the purchase of our city hall site, another criminal action. Why do we always pay more than necessary?

    I don't think the library will make us a great city. I believe good architecture, arts, music, performing arts, etc. make us better people.

    Next, the city had to take on some very creative debt in order to complete this project. This is a serious long term commitment, I recognize that. I believe the details of this debt were not done in the interest of the citizens (and future citizens), but rather as a clever means to solve a sticky problem the council found itself in.

    Lastly, The library is not an edifice to a few city persons. This is a public building we will all use and probably be proud of, time will tell.

    J.P. ask your wife how great architecture gets built. Why must we surround ourselves with mundain, souless crap? Allow creativity whenever possible.

  44. Roadside Park BumJanuary 01, 2007 9:13 PM

    I warned you that all this spending by the city added up to ZILCH for Leucadia. You can't be spending the type of $$$ that the council does and NOT have to find ways to pay for it, or at least decide to CUT something somewhere. So as I posted earlier this year, don't expect anything to change in Leucadia. The cuts will come to Leucadia projects!!

    The straw that will brake the camels back are the salaries that city workers earn. Their pensions are based off of their earnings and their earnings are based off of what other cities pay their employees. The city of Escondido now pays their city manager over $240,000 per year. He got a $60,000 pay raise!! That means Phil Cotton will be getting a GIANT pay raise when his contract comes up for renewal!! His salary is based on a percentage of all city manager salaries!! AND this all means that PENSIONS are going UP,UP,UP!!!
    How do cities pay for these costs?? By allowing more development which generates property and sales taxes. Hopefully to offset the additional costs of running the govt. But as we know, that never happens, govt always runs a deficit!! Or borrows $$$ to fund the deficits. Another bond issue anyone???

    In year 2000 City of San Marcos paid $500,000 into the city pension fund, in 2006 they paid $5,000,000. I got these #'s from a story in the NCT, in 2005 I believe. And how does San Marcos pay these extra costs?? From sales tax revenues generated by the Fry's and the other shopping centers in town, including the new outlet mall.

    Apparently the "San Diego Discount" for professional athletes does not apply to civil servents!! BTW the Fire Dept employees receive the highest pensions.

    Staggering down the 101 neither receiving a salary nor a pension for the hard work I do for this blog, it's your RSPB!!!

    Left Coast you must be a librarian or an ex-librarian! (Hmmm anyone know of any ex-librarians in city govt!!) Anyway your sense of Architectual design stinks!! The library in Cardiff is UGLY!! There, I said what many think and feel. And you spent... how much on the literary turd house?? What was it $2.5 miliion?? And you selected the same architect for the city of Encinitas library also!!! This is why I drink, because of thinking like this!!! LC are you going to allow creativity when the Artist 101 building comes up for review?? Or are you going to pan it as "too much for our little city".

    Bob, this is a posting, not a couple of sentenses to "Further the thread of the conversation" THIS IS THE CONVERSATION!!!!

  45. I heard the architect of the oprah house was danish.

    see, there is something rotten in Denmark err Sydney!

    I like the library.

  46. I like the Cardiff library.

    I believe the Encinitas City Library is an exercise in status, and is over designed and over priced.

    I'm sure the architect gave Council what it wanted, though. If people understood the expense, we would have been more active in participating in the design.

    It took awhile before people like Donna Westbrook, Bob Bonde, JP, and the Citizens for Quality of Life, the Encinitas Taxpayers Association, the watchdogs of our city, got more of us asking questioning, realizing that we are being duped.

    I hope Council will look at the priorities and realize sidewalks are one of them; three roundabouts on Leucadia Blvd. are not.

  47. Roadside park bumJanuary 02, 2007 6:10 PM

    The library in Encinitas started at $6 million and has gone up from there. The library in Enicnitas is nothing more than a "Penis" thing. You know, the guy down the street gets a Corvette and then the next guy gets a Porsche and so on and so on!! Solana Beach got a new Library as did Carlsbad, soooo Encinitas needs a new bigger Penis err... library!!

    The library is behind schedule and over budget and noone will tell you unless you go to the job site and ask!!! So go!!!

    Staggering down the 101 hoping that the new library isn't as ugly at the library in Cardiff, it's your RSPB!!!

  48. If each person were to give a million and two hundred an eighty thousand dollars we could pull it off. DUH!



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