Friday, March 31, 2006

City Attorney Glenn Sabine!

Free speech threat backfires
Eye on the Coast

March 10, 2006 from the Coast News

LA MESA ELECTEDS BACKPEDDLE ... An ill-advised letter that threatened legal action against a resident who addressed the La Mesa City Council in January may reverberate to the November election. Mayor Art Madrid could find himself a few votes short of re-election.

In rather strong language demanding a retraction and apology sent to Chris Tanner by City Attorney Glenn Sabine. The ensuing hue and cry by La Mesans favored the accused. At stake was an infringement on a citizen’s right of free speech and an effort to muzzle future citizen’s comments at council meetings. Sabine, who also represents the Flower Capital city in legal affairs, has been on the short end of some decisions there. Peter Scheer, executive director of the California First Amendment Coalition, indicated the law clearly was on Tanner’s side. Maybe the mayor and city attorney oughta review citizen’s right of free speech under the First Amendment.

I don't want to ever get sued by city attorney Glenn Sabine!

this is an audio post - click to play

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Prop C Lingers

Prop C was crushed by you voters, so why is it still crashing on your couch?

Get a job Prop C, it's almost noon for god's sake!

Mayor and Council

I am not here tonight to belabor the issues of proposition C, the votes were cast and the measure was defeated by a significant margin. I am here to ask one or all of you to provide an accounting of the costs associated with the failed proposition.

It has been said that those who ignore the lessons of history are bound to repeat them. I would like to spend just a few minutes to request a dollar figure for the election in the hopes that the understanding of that large figure will make a future council think twice before it attempts to promote another tax as a great sounding fee. Lighting and landscaping did not pass, clean water did not pass. I sincerely hope that a message has been sent and understood

I realize that we could get the figure through the cumbersome freedom of information process, and we will if we have to. What I am hoping is that one of you will help us in this research process as an elected pubic servant. You could access the information easily and would be doing the voters a big favor.

The final number that we are looking for would certainly include the $110,000 of taxpayer money paid to the three consultants that the city chose to convince us that paying twice for the same service would be a good thing. We know about that expense. What we do not know would include;

1. The cost of the survey that was cleverly worded to mislead the council into believing that the measure would pass. The graphics, the printing and the two way postage.

2. The cost of the “informational flyer” that was sent out with the beach scenes. The Photography, the graphics, the printing and the postage.

3. The cost of the legal fees associated with the original vote to pass an illegal tax, the settlement agreement, and the legal advice throughout the mail ballot process.

4. The cost of the mail ballot itself, particularly in light of the fact that we have an election that will occur in early April about 33 days after the March 8 Proposition C mail ballot vote count. The production, the printing and the first class two way postage.

5. The cost of the staff time to work with the paid consultants, administer the mail ballot process and observe the vote count.

I hope that I am wrong in my estimate that the total cost exceeds a quarter of a million dollars of taxpayer’s money from the general fund. I would appreciate your help in getting to a bottom line number. I would love to close my file on this issue and help insure that we do not repeat the mistake. Would one of you volunteer to help?

Submitted for the record

Bill Rodewald, President

Encinitas Taxpayers Association

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

On the Brink of a Riot?

Photos from last year's Machado event at Cardiff State Beach when Christian rockers, Switchfoot took the stage. The state is afraid of such national bands (our local band , Switchfoot is from North County) causing violent riots.

Click photos for large view.

Machado himself is in the center of the bottom photo holding his daughter in his arms (he has the fro and sunglasses) He feels safe enough to join the crowd (his neighbors) and not just lurk backstage.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Christian Rock Band to Cause Cardiff Beach Riots?

The Hansen/Machado Surf Classic & Cardiff Beach Fair has "wiped out" (thank you North County Times for yet another weak surf pun).

NCT link

Jim Clark, the event's organizer and president of the Cardiff-by-the-Sea Chamber of Commerce, said Wednesday that the chamber's board voted earlier this week to cancel its participation in the contest.

However, a state official and the contest's founders said they are looking for a way to continue the event.

Clark said that in recent weeks state parks officials have increased fees and placed "outrageous" restrictions ---- such as no alcohol and no concert stage ---- on the event.


Park officials say rock music from the stage and alcohol from the beer garden can create an unsafe mix in such a large crowd.

Last year, with less than one day's notice, the band Switchfoot agreed to play. State officials said the sudden appearance of the popular act caused problems.

Switchfoot is a group of wholesome local surfer/muscians who are having success. They are famous for being the first band to break through the "Christian Rock" barrier. Cardiff should be wary if not terrified of these youngsters with electrified instruments. Here is a sample of some of the lyrics that will probably send dozens of 12 year old girls into a violent mob:

Oh Lord, why did you forsake me?
Oh Lord, don't be far away away
Storm clouds gathering beside me
Please Lord, don't look the other way

Be afraid, be very afraid.

What is it about mellow wholesome family friendly music that makes people from Encinitas go nutty? Remember when laid back crooner Jack Johnson played that free show at Lou's and 2,000 people shut down the coast highway? Maybe if Jimmy Buffet would come to San Diego more often if would quench our thirst for standing with our hands in our pockets, looking down at the floor and nodding along with the beat.

The concert ---- and, for that matter, the entire contest ---- went off without any problems, Clark said.

"We've had riots before," Stoufer said, referring to a surfing contest in Huntington Beach. "Rock music and alcohol ---- it's easy for it to get out of control."

In 1986 the Op Pro held at Huntington pier erupted into a riot because of an out of control bikini contest that was being held nearby. There has never been a bikini contest at the Machado event.

I encourage you to slam dance to this next song I wrote about world peace.

Rob Machado represents family values in modern surfing and is well respected around the globe but apparently that hair of his is a little close to Osama Bin Laden's so Rob's popular annual beach event must be canceled.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Where Does Runoff Come From?

In the previous post we talked about how Encinitas Blvd and it's infrastructure feeds out to Moonlight Beach, the heart of our tourism.

Here is a link to Google maps of the Cotton Wood Creek outfall. Start working your way east and marvel at what is there.

Google map of Encinitas Blvd

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Aceti Still Talking About Raising Taxes

DEMA president and Carlsbad resident Steve Aceti has been the #1 backer of Prop. C which would have raised your property taxes to pay for the existing clean water program. The Coast News story reports Voters Reject Prop. C Aceti said one idea he is going to suggest to City Manager Kerry Miller is that the city consider raising the hotel tax to fund the program, much as the city did to help pay for sand on the beaches.

Mr. Aceti is still unclear on the concept, the voters are telling the city to use the existing budget wisely. I never have liked Prop R which taxes tourist to help pay for sand, mostly because the sand that gets imported is always this god awful scratchy gritty stuff that leaves this weird white film on your skin. I feel sorry for the families that try to set up camp in those patches of crappy sand down at Moonlight Beach. We don't even need any sand imported this year, we had a mild winter and there is still lots of sand on the beach. The coming spring and summer south swells will refill the bare spots.

Mayor Guerin has this quote in the North County Times story, Clean-water initiative flushed in Encinitas "We'll do exactly what we need to and nothing more," Mayor Christy Guerin said.

That is fine and great (almost sounds like a threat) but I wonder if Mayor Guerin even understood what the clean water program is all about, which is this:
Moonlight Beach and Cotton Wood Creek cannot smell like sewage!
. Moonlight Beach is the heart of the town and our #1 tourist destination. The city has been spending a lot of money on that beach, building a playground for example, and is about to spend more (new snack stand, etc.)

That area should not smell like sewage but trust me it does. Ride your bike through there on a hot August night and tell me you want to live in one those multi million dollar homes or stay in the nearby hotels or eat at the Moonlight plaza restaurants. The smell is bad for business, it's bad for tourist, it's bad for residents, it's bad for the new park and it's bad for the children's beach playground.

What is upstream from the Cotton Wood Creek outfall? Gas stations, car washes, grocery stores, hotels, car dealerships and restaurants line Encinitas Blvd. I wonder how much tax revenue per year the city collects from these places? Remember, Encinitas Blvd, stretches all the way east to Rancho Santa Fe. It's these business's and car traffic that contribute to the vast majority of runoff into Cotton Wood Creek. It's also reaping lots of income, the gas stations alone must be raking in huge taxes.

The revenue collected from Encinitas Blvd alone should be able to pay for the clean water program, there was no need to cherry pick home owners spread across the town's 5 communities.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Sunshine Week

This week is Sunshine Week, celebrating 40 years of the Freedom of Information Act

The Brown Act (muy importante)

Don't violate my act dude.

This San Union Tribune article shortcuts to researching like a pro, will illuminate you on your rights as an American and how to use resources available to you. It has a list of links compiled by librarians and other smarties. Remember, it's the local city council that affects your life more than any branch of government and it's your right to access information you want from them.

The sneakiness of the San Diego city council and Randy "Duke" Cunningham has interested a lot of locals in keeping tabs on the Encinitas city council. Keep them honest, they work for you.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Barratt American, Your New Neighbors on Sheridan!

Leucadia, known for flooding, welcomed a brand new drainage problem with the first Barratt American project's completion. Some Sheridan/Andrew neighbors had been worried that the development did not fit Leucadia's community character. Turns out that the new development fits right in!

Sheridan was recently reengineered by Barratt. The photo above (click for large view) was taken after pumping cleared the southbound lane. City engineers have promised to pay that guy in the orange waders for the cost of pumping water away from his house. His house is down the driveway. Your tax dollars are being used for the pump rental. We better hope he doesn't flood because then we will paying for all of his flooring to be replaced.

Note the concrete pad in the drainage swale in the above photo (click for large view). The City got bent over and allowed Barratt to shove all the right of way work in a narrow strip (northbound lane, northbound parking, walkway, utilities, and drainage swale all squeezed in.)

Good idea!

After construction ended, residents pointed out that the utilities in the path forced kids to fall into the swale or into the narrowed northbound lanes. The City realized they got caught and they had to move the utility boxes out of the way. You think they would ask Barratt to help and put the utilities up on Barratt's property (where it should have been right of way in the first place). Everyone knows Barratt would have helped out, right?

Instead, the City decided to double up again and placed concrete slabs over the swale where the utility boxes can be moved onto them. See the new concrete that guy is standing on, that is it one of them. Unfortunately, there is a side effect. It works like a dam.

Who would have ever guessed?

Dig the wall/fence designed to keep those "blighted" Leucadian surfer/skater locals out of the shiny new Nantucket area. It's like a yuppie prison.

Barratt American CEO Michael D. Pattison (above) writes a regular column for the North County Times. There was a lot of controversy about this "Nantucket" home project, most of it having to do with ducking the proper grading permit process. Here Pattinson compares a man who skipped getting a grading permit to American civil rights hero Rosa Parks. link

Friday, March 10, 2006

C for Crushed

NCT report

Prop C, the double taxation for an existing city service has been crushed despite the weeks long taunting of it's pundits. 61% NO votes.

The clean water program which all love and respect will continue to be paid for out of the general fund. It was an unfair concept that only 22,100 individuals were asked to pay for something that thousands more benefit from. If you lived in Olivenhain and only went to the beach twice a year you probably didn't cast a yes vote.

"It's getting expensive to do things," Aceti said, "and the money has to come from somewhere."

"Needless to say, we'll be tightening our belts," City Manager Kerry Miller said.

The voters have sent a clear message to the city, we are trusting you with the responsibility to do your own jobs. Especially Mr. Miller. The city of Encinitas is prosperous and thriving. All of 2005 we were repeatedly told how great of financial shape the city was in. 2006 hits and suddenly we don't have any money for all the pet capital projects (that should have been finished years ago) and we need to start cherry picking subsidies for programs.

Let's all move forward together without bitter feelings, save those for prop D.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Prop C Ballot Count Has Begun

The ballots are opened, scanned and counted and put in bundles of 100 and go into boxes. For some reason the yes and no ballots are not separated. The votes are clearly visible through the thin envelopes before they are opened.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Grade separation at Leucadia Blvd and Hwy 101

The following message comes from Tom Frank, Leucadia's representative on the Traffic Commission.


From Tom Frank: "We need major public comment at council this week to make sure they head in the right direction. I have read the study and offer the following comments. The study concludes that it will take $150 to $160 million to create an acceptable grade separated crossing. With no funding source identified for the project, the only improvements for the next 50-100 years will be at grade improvements. The at grade alternative should be called 50 to 100 year improvements not interim improvements to reflect reality. This project is one of the paramount issues effecting Leucadia's future character. The at grade crossing section of the study is very preliminary and contains many flaws. Examples include:

1. Not conforming to the N. Coast HW Specific Plan, the General Plan, and
the goals of L101.

2. Interim improvements do not include a walkway along the south side of Leucadia Blvd. between Vulcan and HW101 as shown in the NCHW specific plan. This Crosswalk is imperative to promote a walkable community.

3. Report does not specify width of walkway on north side. The Walkway should be a minimum 8 feet wide with a protective barrier similar to the walkway design on the new North Torry Pines bridge constructed just S. of Del Mar on H.W. 101.

4. Bike lines should be min. 8 feet.

5. Travel lanes on Leucadia Blvd. do not need to be (actually should not be) 12 feet and should be reduced to 11 feet. 1 12 foot travel lanes would promote speeds above the posted speed limit.

6. The study did not list or address the comments received at the public workshops or letters. The participation at the 2nd workshop was well over 100. Closer to 200 residents attended (I counted 180). No minutes or record of the meeting comments were recorded or addressed. The majority of the participants at the workshop favored the one way couplets alternatives, and did not support adding travel lanes to promote cut through traffic at the expense of pedestrian safety and community character.

7. Although listed in several written comment letters, the study does not address a quite zone at the Leucadia Blvd. which should be required prior to placing any 2nd track.

8. The list goes on and on.


1. SANDAG's goal is to promote "SmartGrowth". Smartgrowth focuses on high density land use along with walkable and bicycle improvements to get people out their cars and using public transportation. Without these vital walkable community infrastructure improvements, "smart growth" quickly becomes Stupid Growth and only make communities look more like the LA mistakes.

2. NCTD's Goals is to get people out of their car and using public transportation. Adequate walkways and bicycle infrastructure is imperative to allow this to happen.

3. Encinitas General Plan has similar content to promote a walkable community similar to smart growth.

4. L101
Mainstreet Goals include goals to promote a more walkable community consistent with Smartgrowth.

Leucadia Blvd. at HW101 is:

1. The heart of Leucadia and should be treated in a manner to improve the character of our community with walkways and design to encourage the neighborhood to the east to visit the L101 businesses and beach by foot or bike.

2. The only legal RR crossing within a 3 mile Stretch from Encinitas Blvd. to La Costa Blvd.

3. Currently a hazard and should be improved in the near future. The public was only given 3 working days notice to get to City hall and read the study and provide comments. Most of the public is not aware this project is being discussed at this Wednesdays meeting. More public notice and input is need on this paramount project.


As currently outlined in the study, the proposed at grade improvements at Leucadia Blvd. would promote more I5 commuter cut through traffic at the expense of Leucadia's character, pedestrian and bicycle safety, property values, coastal pedestrian access,
business revenues, and City revenues. I recommend that council accept the report as a starting point and schedule a series of public workshops to further the development of the 50 to 100 year at grade improvements.

Walkable community concepts, N. Coast HW specific plan, and L101 goals need to be properly addressed before moving forward."

"people who are disgusted with the entire process"

Please be aware that the vote counting process is at city hall and will begin at 8AM on Wednesday. The Encinitas Taxpayers Association will try to observe as much as possible but we need help. We have now been told that the vote counting process may continue for several days.

Deborah Cervone at the city has indicated to me via email that she does not anticipate a final count until the 13th or 14th. Part of the delay is that your city staff is off on Fridays.

The count will be facilitated by MuniFinancial, the same consultants that specialize in helping cities pass tax and fee increases. That would not be my first choice but I am just a voter.

It would be greatly appreciated if any of you would have the time to stop by city hall to help observe over the next few days. It might be a great civics lesson and we may be able to put some pressure on the city to keep it above board.

I have been on the phone quite a bit over the past few days with people who are disgusted with the entire process. Several people wanted to change their vote based on the information that has come out in the press. Others never got a ballot and a few got their ballots forwarded from an escrow company that they used many years ago. One man on Sunday said that although he has several properties in the city he will not vote because his name and parcel number appear on each ballot. He may want to develop one of his properties and fears retribution if he votes against a city sponsored proposition. He said that this "whole mess" does not seem like the American way where citizens get to vote in the privacy of a voting booth. I agree.

Bill Rodewald is the president of the Encinitas Taxpayers Association.

related Coast News story click

Sunday, March 05, 2006

12,000 of 22,111 Prop C Ballots Returned

The North County Times plucky Adam Kaye is reporting: What started with a flood of incoming ballots is now a trickle, and at 4 p.m. Tuesday, the spigot will close.

Mailed ballots for Proposition C, a measure asking property owners whether Encinitas should assess a $5 monthly fee to support a mandated clean-water program, are due in the city clerk's office by that hour.

A March 7 postmark won't suffice.

The ballots ---- 22,111 of them ---- landed in the mailboxes of registered Encinitas property owners in late January.

City Clerk Deborah Cervone said last week that 12,000 to 13,000 envelopes containing the ballots had been returned, a response rate of 54 percent to 58 percent.

NCT link

It will be interesting to see what the result is. The funniest thing about Prop C is that it gave myself and Steve Aceti big fish in small pond style fame, the second dorkiest level of fame in the world (the first would be an unusual or funny death where bad radio shock jocks make fun of you). Coast News link.

This is my favorite line from Adam's story, Recent rainstorms have damaged campaign signs that popped up like mushrooms starting in January. A bare, wooden stake with a soggy ball of cardboard at its base is all that's left of many signs.

This is where Cotton Weed Creek drains out at Moonlight Beach, right under the volleyball courts. The outfall forms a sandbar on a small slab of reef out in the surf and I make the bold claim that over the past 20 years no-one has surfed there more than me. The clean water program has been a great benefit, afterall upstream you will find strip malls, restaurants and gas stations, the runoff from those places can't be good.
So why don't I support Prop C?
Because it's a scam, that's why. The truth won over emotion in this case so I had no choice but to criticize Prop C, and I never even got a ballot.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Timeshares are Lame

NCT link

KSL owns the La Costa Resort and the Hotel Del Coronado. They want to build a "hotel" at the north end of Leucadia and make it one of those scammy timeshare deals like they have in Cabo. The Coastal Commission is recommending denying this request.

Mayor Christy Guerin plans to fly to Monterey next week to testify on behalf of KSL(who pays for that plane ticket?).

KSL officials have said rates at the Encinitas hotel would probably range from $400 to $600 a night.

I think KSL is going about this all wrong. Carlsbad is going to build some hotels on the north side on the estuary. We are going to have 5 high end hotels competing for business around a stinky lagoon with west Nile virus infected mosquitoes. Previous blog post.
KSL should build a small but groovy hotel on the bluff with $200-300 a night rooms, cater to a younger crowd with disposable incomes and put in a swanky bar/lounge that would serve the whole community.

The timeshare deal reeks of that pit Cabo San Lucas.

Since Mayor Guerin is going to Monterey she should check out the famous aquarium. Now that would be a cool thing to build at the north Leucadia bluff site.