Wednesday, May 31, 2006

It's Your Roadside Park Bum




"You don't want pesticides in the water nor cigs butts, nor brake fluid, but how do you feel about urine and feces??? Because that 's what going into the ocean off of Stonesteps and Beacons and Grandview without any bathrooms facilites. Where do you think all the people are going to the bathroom when they need to relieve themselves?? That right in the Pacific Ocean!!! Hey can you blame them, the city doesn't provide facilities for Leucadia, but they do for Swami's and Moonlight.
Leucadia isn't even good enough for a portable weekend crapper in the summer when all the evil inlanders come to use the "locals" beach. Perhaps the city could start to regulate beach use by charging fees, after all the excess urine and feces has to be coming from the inlanders!! Heavens knows that "locals" would never deface the sanctity of the ocean just because there's no toilet, hell no they'll hold it until they get home!!!

Well I can't hold it any more, whissing down the 101, it's your Roadside Park Bum.....got any TP you can loan me???

Hey can I get on that gravy train??? Where does the RP Bum sign-up for a free trip to Japan?? After all I think I do just as good a job of representing the scum of the city as anyone down at city hall. Hell, I do all this work for the city as it's Official Roadside Park Bum and I don't get any of the perks!!
There have got to be bums in Japan and they have to live near some park or another, it's just how we are that makes us unique.

Maybe Hondo reps will come to Encintas next year?? I hope they bring a bum with them, I can share living tips, like how to recognize day old burritos from Juanitas from those of Karinas.Or how to hide your vodka bottles in the trash so that the sheriff don't find the hooch. Japanese bums might want only day old sushi, well we got that covered now don't we, good ol Leucadia Sushi Bar and Pachinco Palace. I don't mind day old sushi but that day old wasabi is a killer!!!

Staggering down the 101 , it's your Roadside Park Bum.

Hey, I thought the topic was "Keeping Leucadia Flooded,err Funky" not the Roadside Park Bum(s). I'm just doing my share to keep you informed of the truth involving your community.

Roadside Park Flower Child- I've never seen you in MY park, so don't go 'round trying to grab headlines off my JoJo.

Chuck Norris- My fellow bums and I, NO we don't pick up trash from the beaches...........we are the trash!!!!

Sylvia Martinez- Bless her soul, she has it bad- I've pissed, crapped and puked more than once in her front/back yard, alleyway. Whatever you want to call it. I think I might have even slept under her trailer once or twice!!

Staggering down the 101, it's your Roadside Park Bum- you know who I am, go ahead and give me a honk when you drive by, I can't wait to give you the finger!!! But let's not forget I add "character" to the community!!

It's not your home being flooded every time it rains- do you know how long it take to dry out a sleeping bag?? And what part of no streetlights or sidewalks do you like?? Personally I prefer to not get rundown in the street while making my daily beer run!! A few sidewalks would help me immensely-keep a bum on the sidewalk, I say!!! But Oh Yeah I keep forgetting we don't wanna be like Del Mar or Carlsbad. They have sidewalks, streetlights and storm drains!!! We have weeds and dirt for our center median, and taking your life in your hands evertime I walk the 101. Drunk or not that's just wrong!!!"

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

What do other Bloggers think of ENC?

Check out Dumb Angel for an LA hipsters tour of Encinitas and Leucadia. I like the snarky captions.

click me

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Budget puts Encinitas in tight spot


this is an audio post - click to play


Budget puts Encinitas in tight spot

By Angela Lau
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER

May 25, 2006

ENCINITAS
– Financial consultants last night confirmed the City Council's worst fears over the coming year's tight capital budget: There is no easy way out.

City Finance Manager Jay Lembach indicated in a report that delaying three priority projects – three replacement fire stations, a central public works yard and the first phase of a 43-acre public park – eventually would cost the city millions of dollars more each year they are delayed because of rising construction costs.

The proposed budget falls $23 million short of estimates for those projects.
this is an audio post - click to play


read the rest of the story

Thursday, May 25, 2006

City to Hire 1.5 Parking Enforcement Officers

Encinitas plans to increase parking enforcement

By: ADAM KAYE - Staff Writer

ENCINITAS
---- Enforcement of the two-hour parking limit in much of downtown Encinitas would increase this summer under a hiring proposal headed to the City Council tonight.

The proposal, to hire 1.5 "community service officers," also would relieve a traffic deputy from the job of reviewing images captured by the city's red-light cameras.
NCT link



That kitten may only be .5 cat but he's all cop.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Keep Hondo City Funky


Don't worry Gaijin, this year it won't be about me.

"Our tax dollars..." don't you just hate that phrase because you know that whatever follows is going to make a little bit of bile come up into your throat?

Encinitas delegation headed to Japan

By: ADAM KAYE - Staff Writer

ENCINITAS ---- A sister-city delegation is leaving Thursday for Japan, where officials will reaffirm ties with a city that is reorganizing much as Encinitas did 20 years ago.

Hondo City, Japan, is consolidating with Amakusa and eight other townships to become a single city of Amakusa, local officials said Monday. Encinitas and Hondo became sister cities in 1988.

When Encinitas incorporated in 1986, the communities of Encinitas, New Encinitas, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Leucadia and Olivenhain merged to become a single city.

As part of Hondo's transition, Encinitas Mayor Christy Guerin will exchange formalities with her Japanese counterpart, Mayor "Bossyhakama" Yasuda.


NCT link

The city's yearly budget includes $12,000 (our tax dollars) to support the sister-city program. Traveling at the city's expense this year are Mayor Guerin, Deputy Mayor James Bond, City Manager Kerry Miller, (why are we paying for the city manager to go to Japan. Will the Japanese who are excellent at management make Miller wear ribbons of shame for his shoddy job here in Encinitas?) Fire Department Chief Don Heiser (Why is a fire chief that is retiring next month going? It is his final boondoggle at taxpayers expense) and Parks and Recreation Department Director Chris Hazeltine (What purpose is there in sending a parks guy at taxpayers expense to 'knock around'?).

Guerin is bringing her teenage son and Bond is bringing his wife. Also making the trip is former Councilman Rick Shea, chairman of Encinitas' Sister City Committee, and his wife, Minerva. (Is this a joke? Why are we sending these people? Are we paying for the Shea's?)




Amakusa is a beautiful part of Japan and I'm sure the trip is going to be heaps of fun for everyone involved but it looks bad when you are a city leader struggling to find money for your capital projects and you take a vacation on the tax payer's dime. Yes, international relations are important. Did you know that Encinitas has been a favorite destination for Japanese surfers for over 30 years? It's true, they love to stay at the Moonlight Motel, surf D-St and Swami's and buy surfboards and surf clothing at the local surf shops and drinks tons and tons of beer at our local haunts.
My family business has had a tight relationship with the Japanese ever since I was a little kid. Everyone at the shop has posed for hundreds of photos by touring Japanese surfers. I recommend restaurants and stores and places to go to the visiting Japanese, doing my civic duty to help our local economy.
Why do I bring this up? Well I was thinking, maybe it would have made more sense to have a sister city in Japan in an area that has surf. I figure all the tax dollars I have personally generated for Encinitas by my relationship with the Japanese has financed all the trips to Japan.
You are welcome.


Someone from the city please bring me back an Akira action figure.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

What is the Funky anyway?

Keep Leucadia Funky.

This phrase is giving certain people the fits. Those who didn't grow up in Leucadia are in a state baffled disbelief. No Starbucks? No Krispy Kreme? How could this be?

The yuppie establishment calls Leucadia blighted. If anything Leucadia is slighted. When Encinitas became a city in 1986 Leucadia was immediately put on the back burner. No landscaping, no infrastructure improvements, a half assed attempt at drainage, a huge missed opportunity to improve the vital intersection at Leucadia Blvd and Hwy 101, the list goes on.

But Leucadians rolled with it. Leucadia is an eclectic family oriented community that has shunned the one size fits all strip mall mentality that is rapidly consuming America's small towns. The vapid Wal*Mart movement of sameness. The false sense of security that blandness and repetition provides has no place in Leucadia. We don't need the pseudo soul of McDonald's owned Chipotle when we have Karina's.

Leucadia is an oasis of sincerity in our paranoid 21st century. When Leucadians pass each other on our cracked and chipped sidewalks we smile and say hello instead of shoving our hands into our coat pockets and staring at the ground.



Leucadia is about the mellow beaches of Stone Steps, Beacon's and Grandview. It is a haven for authentic surf culture. Home to many influential surfers and the scene of historic surf events. Some of the finest surfboard builders in the world reside in Leucadia, bucking the sterilization of the surf industry by refusing to outsource to communist China and keeping the cottage industry alive and providing local jobs.

The Leucadian surf community balks at the mainstream media's stereotype of surfers. Leucadian surfing is cross generational. The lineup is shared by surfers age 6 to 60 (and up, Kit Horn is Leucadia's oldest active surfer at 77).

Leucadia is home to authors, artist and musicians who are attracted to the open mindness and low key atmosphere. Leucadians have published dozens of books and released dozens of albums.

Leucadia's beauty is in the details. "You need to absorb Leucadia and feel it to understand it." Tom owner of Leucadia Donuts once told me. "If you just drive through without stopping you won't understand it."

As the north county suburbs expand and I-5 slows to a crawl more and more commuters are passing through coastal Leucadia. It's hard for the good natured lifetime residents of Leucadia to understand this but many of these commuters loathe Leucadia. In fact they fear it! Where is the McDonald's? Sub Palace? Is that like Subway? Where is Jerred and that giant pair of pants? Where am I??? Is that a mobile home park, like the ones on COPS? HOLY CRAP ARE THOSE MEXICANS???

Fear turns to hate and hate turns to shady real estate deals. THEY want Leucadia bulldozed. They don't care that Leucadians have been patiently waiting for some crosswalks while downtown Encinitas and Santa Fe Dr. get to try on new clothes. Leucadia is blighted because some of the buildings are due for a fresh coat of paint? Too bad the Leucadia101 facade grant doesn't apply north of Leucadia Blvd eh?

You live in a blighted neighborhood! That's right, you Proposition 13 freeloaders! Your house is worth $700,000 even though you bought it for $20,000 in 1970. Twenty grand won't even get you an H2 these days. Why don't you sell your house that you have lived in and raised your family in for the past 35 years? The city needs the new tax revenue. Did I already call you a Prop 13 Freeloader? Well that's what you are.


Leucadia is improving organically on it's own. Two new local mom&pop markets have opened, El Torito and Just Peachy. These two markets are a welcome addition and serve the community well. Just Peachy's attractive display of fresh fruit and flowers brightens up those overcast mornings. El Torito's excellent fresh meats and homemade tacos and tamales can make your whole weekend.

Leucadia is home to many long running family business like La Especial Norte which opened in 1977. They are famous for their incredible soups and when you go there you see familiar faces. Yet, there are some people out there who would quickly replace La Especial with a wretched Applebee's if they could. The horror.

The yuppie establishment doesn't want us buying subversive music at world famous Lou's Records, but we do anyway. They don't want you to view the alternative art at Ducky Waddles, they want a Kinkade gallery.

Leucadians continue to frustrate the yuppie establishment. Leucadians were written off as apathetic hippie stoners. The powers that be did not realize that the majority of Leucadians have college degrees. Leucadians don't take their civic duties lightly, they are old school. Some of them fought in a war against fascism, some of those Leucadians children fought in a war against communist and some of those Leucadians children fought in a war against a dictatorship.

Leucadians talk to each other, Leucadians like each other, Leucadians meet, fall in love and marry each other. Leucadians beget more Leucadians.

Leucadians vote. I repeat, Leucadians vote.

Leucadia is blighted? Who us? Our homes, our families, our friends, our community, our slice of the American pie?

The new pride and joy of north county, San Elijo Hills is big and shiny and equal in it's opulence. Perhaps it has the potential to become the nice small town it markets itself as, time will tell. Perhaps in 35 years someone will slap a bumper sticker on their car that reads Keep San Elijo Hills Funky, but I doubt it.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Financial Flimflam

The Financial Flimflam of Lease Revenue Bonds



Several of us have been researching the Lease Revenue Bonds that the city of Encinitas used to finance the purchase the Robert Hall property. We knew at the very beginning that this borrowing method was used to get around the requirements of Proposition 13 that necessitate a vote for any tax increase. What about the other details of this financing technique? No one seemed to know anything, and the city was extremely unhelpful in supplying any insight.



In 2001 the city of Encinitas and the San Dieguito Water District (SDWD) drafted a “Joint Exercise of Power Agreement” and created the Encinitas Public Financing Authority (EPFA) for the sole purpose of issuing Lease Revenue Bonds for financing the purchase of the Hall property. The Chief Executive Officer who runs this Authority is City Manager Kerry Miller. This authority is supposed to be an independent agency operating apart from the city. The city of Encinitas through its Public Works Department owns, controls, and administers the “Operating Facilities” of the SDWD. The city then transferred the operating facilities of the SDWD to the EPFA and declared the EPFA the sole owner of these operating facilities. It is very important to note here that no money, not a penny, changed hands. This was purely paper shuffling.



It gets more complicated. The EPFA then leased the operating facilities of the SDWD back to the City, and through the City back to the SDWD. Thus the City became both the “lessor” and the “lessee” of its own water district. An Operating Lease Agreement between the EPFA and SDWD/CITY formalizes this relationship. This explains the name Lease Revenue Bonds. The SDWD Financial Statements, June 30, 2001 and subsequent statements from the district explain it this way under Note 8b, Operating Lease Commitment:

“The District is a participating member of the Encinitas Public Financing Authority (the Authority), which owns the operating facilities occupied by the district and other agencies. Those agencies are committed to the Authority under operating leases at rates and terms sufficient to cover the debt service requirements of the related Certificates of Participation.”



And now comes the zinger from the 2001 Lease Revenue Bond Prospectus:

“The bonds are not a debt, obligation or liability of the City, the State of California or any of its subdivisions (other than the Authority) nor do they constitute a pledge of the faith and credit or the taxing power of any of the foregoing (including the Authority) and the City.” At this point you are probably thinking that this is the kind of creative accounting done at ENRON.



It is clear the City is not responsible for repaying the money it is borrowing. Then, who is? Well, the Authority. And who is the Authority? Well, the City and the water district. Thus it is the water district that has repayment responsibility. The repayment money through lease payments normally comes from the general fund. What happens when there isn’t enough money in the general fund to cover the repayments? The water district is responsible and must come up with the money. This ultimately has to come from the water users in the district through the rates and fees they pay if the City is not to default on the bonds. If money is needed, rates and fees are simply raised. No vote of water users is required to do this.



If you live in the San Dieguito Water District you should be getting very nervous at this point. Water rates and fees can be increased to make bond repayment on borrowings that have no relationship to the normal activities of a water district. The SDWD bond obligation for its share of the Badger Filtration Plant is a legitimate debt repayment. Other bond obligations are very questionable, even if disguised as lease payments. Lease Revenue Bonds are issued to construct “facilities “ that are then used to produce a revenue stream to make the lease payments. The purchase of the Hall property has generated no income. Therefore the money to make the lease payments can only come from water users. If you live in the Olivenhain Water District (OWD), you are in fat city. You have no repayment responsibility. But the City has two water districts within its boundaries and does not control the OWD. This fact opens the possibility that water users in the SDWD will pay more for citywide obligations than water users in the OWD. When the City took over the SDWD it agreed not to mix monies. Can we be sure this is being respected?



All of this would be a waste of time researching and worrying about, if the City were not considering more borrowing in the same manner. The purchase of the Hall property with Lease Revenue Bonds is a done deal. The new borrowing is not. It was very significant that the budget workshop on Wednesday, May 10 was a joint meeting of the City and the SDWD. This makes it perfectly clear what the City is contemplating—more Lease Revenue Bonds. At the workshop Jay Lembach of the Finance Department fumbled and evaded an answer when asked by Mayor Guerin about ultimate repayment responsibility. He didn’t want to say water users in the SDWD, if money were unavailable elsewhere. But money seems unavailable elsewhere. Otherwise why is a huge bond issue being considered?



The State of California through its Department of General Services has the State Administrative Manual on line at http:/sam.dgs.ca.gov/TOC/6000/6872.htm.

I will close with the first line from this page on Lease Revenue Bonds: “Definition: Revenue bonds (or enterprise revenue bonds) are a form of long-term borrowing in which the debt obligation is secured by a revenue stream produced by the project.” I think we have the right to ask the city about the whereabouts of the revenue stream that will secure the debt obligation of any new borrowing.



Gerald Sodomka

*bloggers note--Is "flim flam" one word or two?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Capital Project Crunch

Budget woes crashing down on city projects

Encinitas may delay fire stations, park
By Angela Lau
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER

May 12, 2006 SignOnSanDiego.com story


ENCINITAS--Bad news continued to roll in this week as the City Council wrestled with a budget squeezed by rising construction costs.

At a workshop Wednesday night on the 2006-07 budget, council members were told that three major projects might have to be phased in or delayed because their current construction costs have far exceeded original estimates.

Council members and city officials didn't comment on the budget during the workshop, although City Manager Kerry Miller previously had said that the city was facing an astronomical increase in the cost of building materials.

We can only partially fund our capital program, he said.


According to North County Times bi-weekly columnist Michael D. Pattinson construction cost are high because of city fees and protesters. How does this apply to the current situation?
The cost of building materials can be blamed on the Gulf Coast reconstruction and China's appetite for raw materials (a country Pattinson recently praised for new California style sprawling home projects).


Priority projects that lack funding were:

Three replacement fire stations estimated at $12 million. The city appropriated $1.5 million, but that money has been used to buy a bigger piece of land in Cardiff to build one of the fire stations.


Could we just remodel the fire stations in phases? Do the fire stations really need to be razed and re-built? Could we just call a plumber, go to Home Depot and give these stations a fresh coat of paint? How bad are they? Leaky and moldy or just sort of worn around the edges? Is all this just envy over of the new fire station on San Marcos Blvd?

The first phase of a 43-acre park west of Interstate 5 and south of Santa Fe Drive. Initial work would include laying turf and drainage and sewer systems and fencing off an area for a dog park at a total cost of $19 million. The city has appropriated $9 million. An environmental study is scheduled to be released July 21.

$19 million? Holy freaking...are you kidding me? Who is in charge of building parks these days, the freaking mafia?
I don't want to pull out the "when I was kid" card but when I was a kid we just played in natural open fields. We built our own tracks and jumps for our bikes and we layed out our own baseball diamonds. Do kids these days really need $19 million of Martha Stewart style landscaping?


A central public works yard at an undetermined location to replace current facilities at a cost of $9.3 million, which does not include buying any land. The San Dieguito Water District, of which the city is a partner, has appropriated $2.5 million toward its construction. Public Works Director Phil Cotton warned that construction costs are estimated to increase 1.5 percent every month.

This tiny little paragraph is such a huge can of worms it makes my head hurt. Pass.

The only fully funded capital project is the new $20 million library under construction at Cornish Drive behind City Hall. Funding was made possible by taking money from the public works yard and street beautification projects.

I've been defending the need for libraries a lot lately. People say we don't need libraries because we have the internet. I disagree and I support an Encinitas library but...$20 FREAKING MILLION DOLLARS FOR THIS OVERDESIGNED YUPPIEFIED GOOFBALL WHITE ELEPHANT LIBRARY I CAN'T BELIEVE I SUPPORTED LEUCADIA GIVING UP LANDSCAPING FUNDS TO HELP BUILD THIS THING WHY DID YOU TEAR DOWN THE OLD LIBRARY WHAT ABOUT THE LIBRARY IN CARDIFF??? AAAAARRRRRRRGGGGH!!!


The council didn't make any decision at the Wednesday night workshop, but will hold another meeting May 24 to discuss the pros and cons of not building or delaying some facilities.

Another option would be to issue bonds, but it was criticized by some residents and the Encinitas Taxpayers Association as a poor choice.


I can't be broke, I just got another credit card offer in the mail!


Resident Teresa Barth suggested looking for new sources of revenue and Bill Rodewald, president of the taxpayers association, said the city would have to pay back double the amount if it borrows money.

But remember folks, the city can't afford to pay for the library, mega-park, 3 fire stations, Leucadia blight fighting landscaping and a public works yard because YOU voted against the clean water fee!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Video of Recent City Council Meeting



Watch this exclusive video of the last city council meeting.

1 Year of Blogging About Leucadia


It's hard to believe but true, I started this blog 1 year ago today.
This blog is now getting 5,000 hits a month and has had a total of 35,0000 hits.
this is an audio post - click to play

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Fascist Opponents Reap It's Rewards


Fascist opponents reap its rewards

By: Monkey D. Scamattinson - Commentary

The United States of America is such a great place, it is hard to figure out why so many grouchy people live here.

Just look at the recent Northern County Times editorial supporting communist China's brutal tactics against protesters. The Times rightly said this is a good deal for China and a great deal for the people of Encinitas who like to buy cheap products at Wal*Mart.

But judging from the readers' comments on the Times' Web page, you might think they editorialized to outlaw surfing. Or good weather.

One said that China policemen shooting farmers in the face when they protest the taking of their land is "uncool." Another said planet Earth is just a "shell of its historic beauty." Others saw plots and conspiracies around every corner. Others issued dark threats to anyone who supported such dastardly deeds.

And this is hardly the first time. Just a few months ago, my company was in front of the Beijing city council on a routine map approval. Some folks spread the word that if enough people showed up, they could convince the Beijing City Council to revoke nine legally binding building permits.

It didn't work.

They said things that weren't true, hoping no one would notice. Or check. It's a shame how often that happens. Luckily soldiers arrived to cart these NIMBY's off to a field and place bullets in the back their stupid NIMBY heads.

You have to wonder what is underneath these "no-growth" attitudes. Maybe someday I will drive out to the mass grave to find out.

If you look hard enough, you find it is not really about housing or traffic or parks or giant dams that displace 100,000 farmers or anything like that. No matter what they say. Because when we give them parks and roads and other amenities, they are still grouchy and say they never wanted that in the first place. They say they want freedom to express themselves and practice freedom of religion but they are just grouchy.

It's all about change.

And people who write angry letters and make things up at public meetings are deathly afraid of change. Just like all control freaks. Luckily the wise leaders of mighty China have decided to ban certain search terms on the computer internet. And if that doesn't stop them the grouchy bloggers are thrown in prison for decades where they belong.

They say they are against growth because we don't have enough roads.

But then when we want to build more roads, they say they are against that as well because new roads cause growth.

And around and around it goes.

They are afraid of the future. And they think if they don't prepare for the future, the future will never come.

They get away with so much. Never once does anyone in public ask these no-growthers about their homes, and how they got there. About all the money they have made on their homes, and how they scorn people, such as the Chairman Mao, who made it possible.

They use the parks, the roads, the beaches, but never once lift a finger to replace what they use, create something for others.

Like locusts, they eat the corn, but never plant. Now they would stop others from eating and planting as well. Control freaks are like that.

Tibet exists today because some so-called greedy Chinese landowners decided to risk their life savings to take the land there even if the grouchy NIMBY Tibetans didn't want to give it up. And then work. And every single grouchy person in Encinitas lives here only because that happened. Yet they are still unhappy, especially with the very people who made their breezy lifestyles possible.

That's enough to make the rest of us grouchy.

Beijing County Times columnist Monkey D. Scamattinson is chief executive of China home builder Barrarrattatta Americus.


Stupid grouchy NIMBY's should just enjoy the new roads for the cool ass tanks to drive on.

link 1

link 2

Friday, May 05, 2006

Your Moment of Zen




I took these photos on Wednesday of this week. I wonder if this rotting Yes on C sign is permanent?

Does anyone know what the final cost of Prop C was? The consultants, the signs, the mailers, the ballots, the people to count the ballots, the effort to refund your money taken illegally from you. All that must have really added up.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Carlsbad In China?

In my previous post about the boorish North County Times columnist and president of Barratt American, Michael D. Pattinson, we give him grief for his new found love of communist China. He makes mention of "California" style homes. I did a little searching and found out just what the heck he was so slap happy about and it'stasty!

Just like the Imagineers at Disneyland recreate the old west via Frontierland the plucky Chinese have recreated a faux Carlsbad! (Actually, the development is called Orange County, China. But since Carlsbad is now a Xerox of the OC the name fits).

Yes folks, this is globalization at it's finest. The blandness, boredom and repression of your typical Stepford wives style southern California gated community has been rebuilt in oppressive communist China. The circle is complete.

From Boing Boing
Posh American neighborhoods recreated as Chinese burbclaves
Orange County, China is a gated community modeled on the posh neighborhood south of Los Angeles of the same name -- it's one of many recreated US neighborhoods springing up in China, including "Soho, Central Park, Palm Springs and Manhattan Gardens." According to the NYT, the houses are "designed by Southern California architects, with model homes decorated by Los Angeles interior designers. The basement pool tables are American. The appliances are imported. The tiles, wood siding and wall sconces are from the United States, too."



There is Sun City, a half-built gated community with echoes of the desert. Then the tidy homes of Orange County come into view. Finally, you drive through a stone portal, past advertisements showing men fly-fishing in cowboy hats, pulling up before the impressive mansions of Watermark-Longbeach, the epicenter of faux L.A. in China.

"I liked it immediately it is just like a house in California," exulted Nasha Wei, a former army doctor turned businesswoman, sitting on a white suede banquette in the four-bedroom home in Orange County (China) she moved into this year.


link

click for more photos
Photo gallery 2
Communist yuppies with new faux Tudor style homes being built in the background. NO SKATEBOARDING signs to be added later.

Pattinson in China, NCT
And Californians are helping. Chip Pierson of the Solana Beach architects Dahlin Group opened a Beijing office four years ago. They are designing housing projects and winning design competitions across the country. Their most popular homes are exactly the same as those you would see in North County: classic California designs with family rooms, large master suites, exotic bathrooms and high ceilings. Even their real estate ads feature sandy blond models living at the beach.

The Chinese like California homes more than Californians do. The only thing missing is the three- or four-car garage. The Chinese make do with a single garage and a bicycle.

Chip's associate, Miss Lie Fei, showed me three projects named Napa Valley, Yosemite and Forest Hills. Model decorations were designed by Ryan Young Interiors of Chula Vista. Beijing home builder Kum Dai told me he is selling homes for $250,000 to $1 million, and many of his buyers pay cash ---- no mortgage.


Welcome to San Elijo Hills, China. Enjoy your new home but do not attempt to Google Tiananmen Square

Does all this remind anyone else of the tv show Arrested Development when the developer father of the dysfunctional Bluth family sells mini-mansions to Saddam Hussein in Iraq?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Michael D. Pattinson, Communist Sympathizer?


Barratt American CEO Michael D. Pattinson writes a column called The Equalizer, Opinions from the real world (laughter) for the North County Times. His newest is an all time classic and provides a glimpse into his scary soul.


NCT link
He sends this week's column from communist China where he gushes over the unprecedented growth. A typical Pattinson column starts off fairly pedestrian, he breezes over topics that are of interest to him with (like massive development) provides no real information and generally the first couple of paragraphs are a bore to read. It's the second half of his columns that make him great. It doesn't take him long to have a melt down. The second half of this particular Pattinson column is exceptionally surreal and even a little scary. This guy is either ignorant, naive or is in heavy denial. Viewing the world through his special rose colored robber baron glasses, could he truly be an evil bastard and not just the harmless amusing chuckle head we thought he was?

Pattinson can hardly contain his joy at the lack of NIMBY's in China and says, "Litigation ---- there is no litigation. I asked him about NIMBYs and protesters; he told me people who think new homes are a bad idea are not looked upon very favorably."

Protesters "not looked upon favorably" is the freaking understatement of the century. link

Pattinson's glee at this information sent a creepy chill down my spine. Despite some free market activity China is still a communist dictatorship that jails and even murders political dissidents. China has no freedom of religion. China routinely imprisons and sometimes shoots farmers that are forced off land that was farmed for generations. Talk about cracking down on NIMBY's!

Did Pattinson not understand this quote and it's dark meaning or is a government that kills it's citizens appealing to Pattinson?

Famed Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas on a visit to China was horrified to see 1,000 year old historical buildings and marketplaces bulldozed without any political process. Koolhaas also sees potential in Asia but reports concerns, "Singapore has succeeded, over the last 40 years, in removing any trace of authenticity. It is a culture of the contemporary. And many Asian cities are like this now, seeming to exist of nothing but copies - in many instances bad copies - of Western architecture." Wired magazine interview.

The Koolhaas quote is funny when we read that Pattinson is excited when he discovers "California" style homes are popular in China. "California" style homes are also popular in California but some reason Pattinson builds east coast style "Nantucket" homes here, go figure.

If you've been a regular reader of Pattinson's column you won't be surprised that he thinks an Orwellian government like China is like, the best place ever.

Are murdered corpses mangled up in bicycles Feng Shui?


Many people associate this photo of man stopping a line of tanks with the tearing down of the Berlin Wall. However, after this man finally stepped aside government troops forced the media out of Tiananmen Square and layed into the students.

Pattinson is famous for his column comparing a man on a tractor without a grading permit to civil rights hero Rosa Parks. NCT link Of course, in the China that Pattinson admires people like Rosa Parks are beaten and jailed or worse, shot dead.

A Chinese Rosa Parks snuffed out in her prime. They really know how to deal with NIMBY's in China I tell you what.

First 10 people to qualify to buy in the Leucadia Nantucket development get a Free Tibet sticker for their SUV.

Since I often crack Pattinson on this blog so I'm sure he is a big fan of China's policy towards bloggers, China jails blogger.
Read jailed blogger Hao Wu's post Do I Have to Take a Stand? It's possibly the post that landed him in jail which is really scary considering how tepid it is.

Converting to Christianity is also a good way to get in big trouble in China. Big trouble meaning the death penalty. I can see why Pattinson loves the place.

Pattinson writes, "If you think North County has seen a housing boom over the past five years, you should see Beijing, whence I am sending this dispatch. I counted 40 cranes ---- not birds ---- during the short ride from the airport to my hotel. Later, I learned more than 1,000 cranes rise above the city, many of them working around the clock. Other Chinese cities are the same.

Downtown San Diego currently has eight cranes in operation."


Should beautiful downtown San Diego be more like Beijing?



Pattinson often writes about city fees and regulations driving up the cost of homes. Barratt American even has a lawsuit against the city of Encinitas over the increase in fees. He seems ignorant that China's huge growth is gobbling up the world's raw materials and driving cost up.

Barratt American must be proud to call Michael D. Pattinson their CEO.

Drink some of Barratt's commie kool-aid. Taste great, less filling!

Michael D. Pattinson was named Carlsbad's Business Person of the Year.

"We Could Disappear At Anytime"

Amnesty International China watch

Human Rights in China HRIC website

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Libraries Keep Us Free

There have been several comment posted saying that Encinitas doesn't need a public library anymore because the internet has made libraries in general archaic. I think this is a dangerous opinion.

I subscribe to the theory that once we use the internet as an excuse to stop building public libraries it will mean a breakdown of democracy.

Not everyone can afford a computer. People who pay for internet access don't always know how to seek the information they want. Google is powerful but your local librarian, a walking talking breathing person you can talk to, is your real link to knowledge.

The new Encinitas library was apparently designed without any regard to construction cost which I view as a colossal failure of the architect and not just the people who approved the design. A simple streamlined less is more design would be more appropriate. Less bling for the building outside and more resources inside.

It's a shame that the high cost of construction and materials is causing people in this town to turn their anger onto the institution of public libraries. Instead be anger that our library was torn down without any real leadership or plan to rebuild.

The Wikipedia entry for libraries (yes, I'm aware of the irony here) link,

In the traditional sense of the word, a library is a collection of books and periodicals. It can refer to an individual's private collection, but more often it is a large collection that is funded and maintained by a city or institution. This collection is often used by people who choose not to--or cannot afford to--purchase an extensive collection themselves. However, with the collection or invention of media other than books for storing information, many libraries are now also repositories and access points for maps, prints or other artwork, microfilm, microfiche, audio tapes, CDs, LPs, video tapes and DVDs, and provide public facilities to access CD-ROM databases and the Internet.

Thus, modern libraries are increasingly being redefined as places to get unrestricted access to information in many formats and from many sources. More recently, libraries are understood as extending beyond the physical walls of a building, providing assistance in navigating and analyzing tremendous amounts of knowledge with a variety of digital tools.


People keep saying that Encinitas doesn't need a library because Cardiff has one. That is a decent argument. People keep saying that Encinitas doesn't need a library because Carlsbad has one close by. This is terrible. We have all these developers saying Encinitas needs to be more like Carlsbad (meaning massive urban sprawl) but at the same time we should just gravy train their library?



Speaking of the Carlsbad library, have you seen the cars in the parking lot? I'm confident that all those people can afford computers and internet access.

Google vs the public library.

"The only people that think the internet makes libraries obsolete must not know how to use the library." Quote from a teacher friend of mine, "Students that don't use the library, and Google instead, turn in the worst reports as a rule over the last few years. Those reports are often shallow like a lot of the fluff on the internet. The internet provides the literary research equivalent of sound bites. Information is organized by subject in the library and not ranked by search engines. Sometime this is good sometimes this is bad. We need both."

Quote from a researcher friend of mine, "I don't know anyone looking for a faculty position at a university that would work someplace without a library, even if they get a high speed connection to the internet."



Founding father Ben Franklin is credited with creating our first public library, the Library Company. Franklin felt that "these Libraries have improved the general Conversation of Americans, made the common Tradesman and Farmers as intelligent as most Gentlemen from other Countries, and perhaps have contributed in some Degree to the Stand so generally made throughout the Colonies in Defence of their Privileges."

Without a library Encinitas is just a yuppie slum filled with slack jawed yokels wandering the aisles of the Ecke Ranch Barnes&Noble, our mouths agape waiting for our Starbucks order to come up.


Why do you hate Ben Franklin so much?

Depleting the City Reserves Would be Dumb.

The following landed in my e-mail inbox. I should note that I have never met Bob Bonde.

April 29, 2006

Open letter to Encinitas City Council,

The City of Encinitas has never had a revenue problem. It only has a spending problem.

Twenty years ago, when we became a city, LAFCO declared that we were the most economically viable city to have sought incorporation in recent California history. Since then, to the best of my knowledge, income has almost always exceeded projections.

The Encinitas Taxpayers Association wants you to add one more alternative to the three so-called evil budget cuts proposed. We would like you to reduce the amount of money now spent on staff salaries and benefits by at least 10%. Other agencies have done so in the past and you know that if necessary the city could still effectively operate with this small cut.

We found it amusing that the staff recommendation honed in on capital outlay projects but never mentioned cuts to the largest city expense.

Please ask yourselves, if the world would end if the Hall project or fire station projects were delayed a year or two? While one could argue that costs will continue to increase, there is nothing to prove that they could also over time level out or even fall.

Borrowing money to solve today's minor timing problems is definitely not the answer and would probably meet stiff resistance from the taxpayers. Borrowed money is too easy to spend.

Playing games with lease revenue bonds are equally unacceptable because taxpayers end up paying the bill.

Depleting the city reserves would be dumb.

Bite the bullet and face up to the fact that you are between a rock and a hard spot because you recently granted overly extravagant staff salary and benefit packages. Now you want the property owners to bail you out. Cry if you will, but you will get no sympathy from me and other informed citizens who consider your actions totally unacceptable.

Do what is right! Share the wealth of this community with the citizens for a change, by cutting staff costs rather than those capital projects that improve citizens quality of life.

Robert Bonde

Bob Bonde is a retired university dean. He is known as the father of the City of Encinitas . He is married and has three adult children. Dr. Bonde was named environmental activist of the year by the San Diego Press Club. He has resided in Encinitas since 1972.


Encinitas Taxpayer's Association