Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Prop 88, a weasel attempt around Prop 13

Enacted by California voters in 1978, Prop. 13 limited property taxes to 1 percent of the purchase price, with a maximum increase of 2 percent per year for inflation. Changes to Prop. 13 could only be made by state or local voters.

Since then, local voters sometimes have increased property taxes to fund schools, usually through higher percentage taxes on a property's value, but sometimes through a parcel tax -- a tax of a specified amount on each parcel.

Prop. 88 is a statewide parcel tax -- the first such statewide tax in California since 1910. Every parcel in the state, no matter what size, would pay $50 to fund statewide education programs, amounting to $450 million to $500 million a year. A car dealer or Costco would pay $50, the same as for a family home or small business.

Read more about Prop 88 on the Howard Jarvis website or do your own Google search.

I'm voting NO on 88 this fall.

50, 100, 150, 200, 250, 300, 350...

Even the owners of these ugly generic houses shouldn't have to cough up an extra $50 bucks every year, especially when it can be raised every 4 years.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Sometimes I Feel Like I'm The Only One Trying To Gentrify This Neighborhood

By Eli Kearney
August 23, 2006 | Issue 42•34
Opinion Sometimes I R

When I moved into this neighborhood, I fell in love right away. Not with the actual neighborhood, but with its potential: It's affordable, there are nice row houses all around just waiting to be filled up by my friends, there's lot of open space to be exploited, and plenty of parking. Plus, this area has got a great authentic feel and, with a little work, it could be even more authentic. Perfect, right?

So why am I the only one doing anything about it?

I am always telling my other struggling artist, freelance graphic designer, and independent T-shirt-maker friends that this is the neighborhood to take it to. It's the next big thing. Sure, it's an hour from my day job and right next to a stinky canal and a power station, but that's the whole charm—it keeps the yuppies out.

It's frustrating, though. My friends insist they're happy where they are. But if they only saw the idealized neighborhood I see, where that rundown old health clinic is turned into a tattoo parlor, and that Last Supper mural is replaced with one featuring Radiohead or a stylized corporate octopus, they'd come around.

The problem is that the property owners here are clueless. They fill their yards with pavement and statues of the Virgin Mary, when all they have to do is clear that brush and we'd have a great beer garden or bocce court. They're spending all this money to renovate the old church, when it'd be put to better use split it up into condos. My landlord has no idea this apartment—hell, every apartment in this building—is undervalued. He could quadruple his profits by cutting my place in half. So I give him an extra 20 bucks a month hoping he gets the hint, but he just takes it out of the next month's rent.

Do any of these people appreciate what the neighborhood they're living in could be?

I'm trying to convince the owners of that taqueria on the corner to change their décor to incorporate some more of that funky Day Of The Dead motif I really like. But they insist on bland white walls. Ugh! I can barely pronounce the name, let alone enjoy its delicious, reasonably priced meals. Plus, you could take all the cool stuff from the five thrift stores and make one really great vintage shop. They'd make a fortune! And, you know, we would all have a fantastic view of downtown if only they'd tear down that dilapidated garage by the waterfront. Or, better yet, they could turn it into a restaurant with a roof deck. Can you say "brunch on the harbor"?

I can't be the only one who'd like to see a community garden and dog run around here, can I?

It sure would help attract people like me if there was a record store, too, and not the one with the giant Shakira cutout in the window. I mean a decent one. I went in to see if they had the new Fiery Furnaces, and they had never heard of it. They said they'd see if they could order it for me, but I declined. I mean, what's the point of supporting a local business if it's not cool?

It feels like I'm the only one trying to do any good around here.

When I first moved in, I loved the 50-cent coffees—it was like living in the '80s—but I wish they'd listen to me and start making lattes. I know I'd pay the extra three bucks, and I'm sure everyone else around here would, too.

I've tried being proactive. But none of the locals I've talked to about bringing in a co-op health-food grocery store have seemed excited at all. Nor have I gotten any of them to take part in my community open-house idea for hip young people to come see what this neighborhood is capable of. What did they do instead? They had a barbecue. With very loud music.

I mean, I don't want the people here to leave. I just want them to stay inside more. Especially if they're not going to do anything to bring this community to life. But they're always out on their stoops, just playing dominoes or talking. I like talking, but I do it inside, where it was meant to be done. It makes me uncomfortable to have people watching me all the time. Not that I think they'd do anything, but I just like to be a little more private.

Also, their dogs stay outside and bark all day. I like dogs just fine, but why can't their dogs be smaller and more nervous?

It's getting to the point where I feel like I'm tilting at windmills. But I can't give up—I know this neighborhood would benefit from the diversity of more people like me moving in. If you need a good place to live, come check out my 'hood. It's quirky, but it could use a few more creative types to get it jumping. But no developers—those guys just ruin it for the rest of us.

Monday, August 28, 2006

"a fee with a name that made us feel good"

Why Encinitas rejected Prop. C

Letter to the editor SDUnion

Regarding “City-funded firm donated to Prop. C” (Local, Aug. 2)link:

The article on Encinitas' Proposition C revealed that Dudek & Associates dominated the proponent's contributions base. The description of Dudek's tight relationship with the city administration was meaningful. In contrast, the opposition campaign was funded by a grass-roots uprising. The article failed to remind your readers why a coastal city with a pollution conscience population would trounce a proposition with “clean water” in its title.

It lost because Proposition C provided the city with no new clean water mechanisms. All we were going to get was a fee with a name that made us feel good. The fee would have released some steam off the council's pressurized general fund. Fortunately, city watchdogs blew their whistles loud enough to overcome the propaganda and rigged public comment process. The Encinitas Taxpayer Association ended up creating a long list of dirty tricks the city used to get the proposition to pass. Once it became clear that the city manager and mayor condoned the overtly bad behavior, recruiting people to help fight the proposition was easy. On the other hand, support of Proposition C was so weak that pro C signs had to be distributed by Dudek employees.


Saturday, August 26, 2006

Weekend Update

Recent news items:

Encinitas abandons plan to rename B Street story

The city bails on changing B St to Amakusa Way. Dalagher scolded me for "scaring myself to death" because no such plan existed and then he takes credit for my idea to name the Moonlight park after our Japanese counterparts. Thanks bro!

Landmark restaurant shut; abrupt move by Hershel's owner surprises many story

It's tough to be Jewish these days. First Dalagher changes the name of the holiday parade back to Christmas parade, alienating the local Jewish community and now this deli closes down. Oh yeah, that whole mess with Israel and Lebanon too.

City takes on $20 million debt for multiple projects SDUT story

Dude I can't be broke, I still have checks left.

Proposition 218 mean what it says link

The importance of this ruling cannot be overstated. Water rates, sewer rates and other property related fees are now subject to Proposition 218's "cost of service" requirements. What that means is that the hundreds of millions of dollars transferred to cities' general funds from enterprise funds is now illegal. Let the games begin.

Anger rises as school in doubt, Homeowners taxed for it, but board says it's not needed now link

I've said before and I'll say it again, Mello-Roos SUCK and are a giant SCAM.

Council votes for landlord permit, Renters blamed for noise, vandalism link

Good for Stocks for voting no. This $150 permit is a band aid. I say short term rentals should follow the same rules as a bed&breakfast.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Art Walk

Time to test out how walkable blighted/funky/unique Leucadia is this Sunday starting at 10am. There will be one of those awesome red double decker buses if your little legs get tired.

Will the art be good or will it be Kincaid style crap hotel art like they always have in Carlsbad? Come on down and find out!

*Here are some links to Leucadia artist whom I like:

Mary Fleener

Scott Saw

Miles Thompson (relocated to LA for now)

George and Tanya Pure Corn

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Matt Walker's 6 Points

Dear Mayor Guerin and City Council Members:

I will not be able to attend the August 23 Council meeting but wanted to express my opposition to the plan to proceed with revenue bonds.

Here are my reasons:

1 The city should refrain from future major expenditures until it knows the size of its unfunded pension liability. As you know, the 2004 liability was substantially greater than the 2003 amount. In 2005, staff received pay and benefit increases. Unfortunately, we do not know the unfunded liability amount for 2005 (Mr. Lembach told me the numbers will be available in October or November), but I would guess the amount is very substantial. We should know how big this (debt) mountain is before we float more bonds.

2 Bonding is unnecessary now. The City could pay for fire stations and the public works yard by selling the Quail Garden property and using the money that would have been spent on bond issuance and interest. It will be years before we are ready to do anything with the Hall Property. The Hall Property EIR is not even done, and we can pretty much assume it will be challenged in Court.

3 The City will pay millions in fees, expenses and interest on the bonds. Mr. Lembach told me the issuance expenses will include over $600,000 in professional fees and charges, and over $900,000 for capitalized interest. Annual interest will be $1 million. All these expenses and interest will be wasted because we have the capacity to pay-as-you-go until we are ready to develop the Hall Property.

4 The rationale that we need to float bonds to save construction costs makes no sense. No one has actually projected how much construction costs will increase over the next several years (which is of course impossible). No one has attempted to compare the cost of bonding with the cost of pay-as-you-go utilizing a realistic assessment of when the City's projects will actually be ready to build. The financial projections prepared in May were clearly designed to support bonding, and are not believable.

5 The City could save money by selling general obligation bonds. Why is the Council is so opposed to a public vote that it will spend extra money floating revenue bonds?

6 I gather the proposed bonds will be paid from a revenue stream to be created by leasing the library from the EPFA to the City. I have seen a lot of gimmicks in my time, but this seems over-the-top. Are you sure this plan could withstand a legal challenge? Why start a process that seems so legally flawed? The Council made the same mistake trying to put the public works yard on Saxony Road.

I do not have an agenda here other than the fiscal health of my city. I think unnecessary debt is a bad idea. I have not seen anything that tells me this is the right time or the right reason to sell bonds. Many of us claim to be fiscal conservatives; this proposal is anything but fiscally conservative.


Matt Walker
721 Saxony Road
Encinitas CA

Matt Walker is a local attorney. We have never met.

Monday, August 21, 2006

LA Times Scopes Out Leucadia

Leucadia hangs onto its '60s vibe
By Irene Lechowitzky, Special to The Times
August 20, 2006

Leucadia is, well, funky. Once a hippie mecca, remnants of the '60s remain in this coastal north San Diego County community. But it's not all tie-dye, love beads and surfboard mailboxes: Residents are trying to preserve their lifestyle in the face of change.

Read the article here.

Irene Lechowitzky wrote an almost identical article about Encinitas in Oct. 2005.

Where shops close early when the surf kicks up
By Irene Lechowitzky, Special to The Times
October 2, 2005

People roam around downtown Encinitas barefoot or tuck their surfboards under their arms while they pedal their bikes to the beach. Spiritual centers and yoga studios add to the mellow vibe. But don't write this off as just another blissed-out beach town.

Read the article here.

Next year when Irene goes to the track maybe she will write about Cardiff?

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Apartments vs Condos in Leucadia

Several people wanted to know my opinion on the issue of allowing apartments to be built in Leucadia instead of condos. Since I am an opinionated person I will oblige.

I had opinions that didn't matter,
I had a brain like pancake batter.
--Jack White, The White Stripes

The North 101 Corridor Specific Plan says that any multifamily or other residential structure within the plan area must be constructed as condominiums instead of apartments. This probably seemed like a good idea at the time but these days developers don't want to build condos anymore because A) the market is dead for condos B) the people who buy condos are Nazis and will sue the developer sooner than later. The architecture firm my wife works for will no longer do condos because the liability insurance is too high.

People don't really want apartments built in their neighborhoods because apartments are mostly rented by A) Mexicans B) young people ages 18-30.

I heard that apartments don't have the same parking requirements as condos, so that becomes a huge problem.

In this week's Coast News article on the matter (Hey Coast News, please, please, please update your website. Transcribing stuff sucks. I want to copy and paste man) there is quote from Leucadia resident Mary Anne Penton who says, "Leucadia tends to be a dumping ground. We have enough low income housing. We don't have to carry the weight for low income housing for all of Encinitas."

Ouch. I felt a little sting there because I've rented apartments in Leucadia before. She does have a point though, how many low income apartments are there in say, Olivenhain?


I'm not really against apartments and here is why, since everyone in New Encinitas has 4 or 5 kids these days and those kids are rapidly approaching age 18; many of these kids need to strike out on their own. It's important that there are places for them to rent and live. It's a rite of passage, you get a few roommates, scrounge some ugly couches and learn how to pay rent and bills while working crappy night jobs at restaurants and going to school during the day. These 18-30 year olds are the most powerful consumer force in America. They spend money freely and are good for local business. Plus it's totally sweet to meet girls and bring them back to your swanky bachelor pad.

This age group of renters do bring bad things, like late night noise. It's a culture clash of sleepy baby boomers and wired up 20somethings. A well managed apartment complex shouldn't have too many problems and apartments should be built as soundproof as possible.

Vulcan Ave. in Leucadia is a well known apartment area. Some of them are nicer than others and some are fairly ghetto, run by slum lords. Some of those shag carpets haven't been changed in over 25 years and reek of beer and bong water. Many of the Vulcan apartments are rented by Mexican families. The general consensus of the local population is that all the Mexicans should move to Vista. Personally I like the diversity and the culture clash but that is not a popular opinion in this age of Minutemen and am talk radio screamers. I am also the only white person in the world who has an appreciation for Ranchero music besides my friend Josh. We both feel that tubas and accordians are overlooked instruments.

Now, regarding the apartments themselves. Regular readers of this blog know that I am an architecture snob. I hate ugly foo foo pink stucco crappy ass apartments. The vast majority of apartments built in southern California look like buildings that threw up on themselves. I have a conspiracy theory that developers who build apartments want the renters to feel bad about their lives so they make apartments as lame and tacky as possible. Then they label the apartments LUXURY.

The Poinsettia Ridge LUXURY apartments off Leucadia Blvd (by Target and the post office) are a good example of this lameness. With it's faux shutters and steroid puffiness I laugh everytime I drive by that stucco heap of shit.

An example of cool apartments would be the more modern approach taken by San Diego architect Ted Smith. His apartments are hip, cool and well designed and are cheaper to build than your typical southern California apartment complex.

Sorry I don't have better photos but this is the Ted Smith Merrimac apartment complex in Little Italy.

Planning Commissioner Bill Snow has this quote in the Coast News article, "Apartments can be nice or they can be crappy." This is true, the devil is in the details as always. Can we trust our planning commission to have our back and keep crappy architecture out of Leucadia? The Rite-Aid rejection gives me hope that they won't rubber stamp any apartment that comes crosses their desk. Oh, and props to Mr. Snow for using the word "crappy" in an official city meeting. Personally, I believe the word crappy should be found in architecture dictionaries.

Fred Caldwell, whom I have great respect for, has this quote, "Building apartments disrupts the flow of commerce. Apartment building are dead zones of commerce."
From the article, He asserted that the goal for Leucadia is to encourage a pedestrian friendly, business to business area along the corridor.

I agree 100%. Caldwell is a good man and he cares about Leucadia. I think a good compromise solution is too build mixed use live/work buildings. The greatest example of this has been in old school downtown Encinitas all along. On E St above the Detour hair salon are apartments. The key is that the apartments don't have balconies for drunk frat guys to lean over and leer at passing pedestrians. If any apartments are to be built on the coastal Leucadia corridor they should have business located in the ground floor. This creates a more lively downtown vibe. The landlord can collect rent from both civilian renters and a business. The coastal corridor gets more pedestrians walking around and patronizing the shops and restaurants. Call it Urban-Lite.

The commission has currently not reached a decision on this issue and will discuss it again next month.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Beautiful Downtown Encinitas

I love downtown Encinitas. I love the La Paloma theater. I saw my first big screen movie there when I was 4. It was the original 1933 King Kong. They were showing it as a double feature with a big summer surf movie that the entire surf community came out to see. It was a rowdy crowd. In King Kong the explorers open fire on a giant Stegosaurus. "DON'T SHOOT!" I yelled out, "HE'S A PLANT EATER!"

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Locked and Loaded for Nov. 7

Here is the official candidate list the this year's Encinitas city council run:

Ms. Teresa Barth

2140-K Orinda Drive (Google Map)

Cardiff by the Sea, CA 92007


Mr. Thomas Brown

2905 Wishbone Way (Google Map)

Encinitas, CA 92024


Dan Dalager

554 Hermes (Google Map)

Encinitas, CA 92024


Mr. Doug Long

858 2nd Street (Google Map)

Encinitas, CA 92024


Mr. Paul Martens

178 W. Leucadia Blvd (Google Map)

Leucadia, CA 92024


The North County Times reported that Will Perry was a candidate but there was some kind of problem with his petition signatures so he is out.

A special thanks to everyone who encouraged me to run. I gave it some serious thought. Hell, I even drove to city hall and sat in my car in the parking lot. I was on the verge of going inside and pulling papers. I gripped the steering wheel with white knuckles, then I grasped at the door handle slowly. Beads of sweat collected on my brow. My heart was racing. Luckily for me I came to my senses and peeled out of there and drove to work where I belong.

Kerry MIller Going to Folsom

Controversial Encinitas city manager Kerry Miller is going to Folsom.
No, he's not going to jail. He has taken a new job.

Former South Lake Tahoe city manager takes Folsom job
By Cathy Locke -- Bee Staff Writer

Kerry Miller, the former city manager of South Lake Tahoe, was named the city manager of Folsom on Wednesday night.

Miller, currently city manager of Encinitas in northern San Diego County, was named to the post during a special City Council meeting. He will take over the new job by Oct. 15.

Miller,55, has 30 years of municipal management experience, including 25 as city manager, 12 in South Lake Tahoe.

Folsom Mayor Andy Morin said council members were impressed with Miller's staff-development skills.

"He has the ability to work from the bottom to the top in the (organizational) chart," Morin said. "He has a real talent for mentoring employees."

Miller succeeds Martha Lofgren, who resigned after six years as city manager. story story

City of Folsom official website press release.

Kerry Miller wishes he was as cool as Johnny Cash. Or even as cool as Joaquin Phoenix.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Stir, Tizzy, Spasm, Incredulous, Absurd, Ugly, Passion

Name-change proposal causes stir in Encinitas
By Angela Lau

August 16, 2006

– Change B Street to Amakusa Way, in honor of a sister city in Japan?

Some say no way. Others say it must be a joke.

The source of the commotion is a surprise proposal to change the name of B Street downtown, from South Coast Highway 101 to Moonlight Beach.

City officials who proposed the change – without City Council approval – had hoped to use it as a welcoming gesture to an Amakusa delegation that is expected to arrive Sept. 28 to participate in Encinitas' 20th birthday bash Oct. 1.

But what seems to have been an administrative move has thrown the city into a bit of a tizzy and prompted a business owner on B Street, who would be most affected by the proposed change, to ask: “Don't they have anything else to do?”

“Why in the world would they change the name of B Street to something that has nothing to do with us?” said Paul Rotsheck, owner of Moonlight Beach Motel.

“The sister-city program is a very exclusive group of people who get to participate. This is the only la-di-da cultural thing this city does.”

The objections were not directed at Amakusa, which politicians emphasized has been a gracious host since a friendship with the southern Japanese city started in 1988.

Instead, the spasm is about an official notice sent by the Engineering Services Department to 54 property owners around B Street without notifying the Encinitas City Council.

“This sounds like a prank,” Councilman Jerome Stocks said, laughing. “I find it hard to believe this is a serious issue.

“No, I don't support it. It is too arbitrary for me. We have A through K Street. The alphabet is all in order. I rather like an orderly way to do things.”

Stocks' counter-proposal is to give the sister city a nice plaque.

Councilman Dan Dalager said he would rather stick with B Street.

“It's been B Street all my life. It works really well,” Dalager said. “They want a new name, find a new street. If they want to do it as a temporary thing, it's absolutely wonderful. We can even rename Highway 101 (temporarily) to Amakusa 101.”

Councilwoman Maggie Houlihan saw little humor in the situation and accused city officials of bypassing the City Council.

“I was incredulous,” Houlihan said. “This is absurd. It costs money to change the name of a street. Why don't we name a park after the sister city instead?

“They are going to make the sister program into something ugly. This is a good program that needs public participation.”

Deputy Mayor James Bond said he prefers to name a new street after Amakusa, adding that Mayor Christy Guerin probably knows what's going on better than anyone else.

She's the one with the passion,” Bond said.

Guerin did not return repeated telephone calls.

Parks and Recreation Director Chris Hazeltine said the proposal originated from a visit to Amakusa at the beginning of June.

At the time, Amakusa officials told the city's delegation they wanted to name a street after Encinitas.

Members of the delegation, which consisted of Hazeltine, City Manager Kerry Miller, Fire Chief Mark Muir, Guerin and Bond, said they wanted to reciprocate, Hazeltine said.

The proposal is expected to be discussed by the City Council on Sept. 13.

Those farther away from the epicenter were blasé about it yesterday.

A homeowner near B Street, Jerry Mendelson, said he has no problem with the idea.

“Some people just don't like change,” Mendelson said.

Another resident, Travis Higginbottom, said he didn't really care.

“Let them do whatever makes them happy,” Higginbottom said.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

5 Burning Questions about the Mossy Land Deal

Five Questions to the city council by Kevin C,

I know this is a set of 5 questions, but each one is worth at least a
hundred grand and up to a million bucks of my tax dollars. So bare
with me.

1. Why did the City pay more than your own appraisal's estimate of
"fair market value?" How many of you were aware of this (or is that a

2. Why didn't the Council adequately answer questions about the tax
benefits to the seller of choosing to sell under friendly
condemnation? Is your staff not knowledgeable or did they fail to
inform you of the important consequences? (for a timely article see,

3. How many of you closely reviewed the appraisal and remain
comfortable with the 8.5 million dollar estimate of fair market
value? How much was Mossy trying to sell the property for before they
came to the City to sell?

4. Is it always necessary to buy property under the threat of
condemnation when a willing seller approaches the City with a
property that they have been trying to sell?

5. Can a City negotiate a price or do they have to purchase at what
ever the appraiser comes up with (as one Councilmember has indicated to me)? If you can't negotiate, then what was all the blabbing about how great you guys are at negotiation?

This purchase was a huge expenditure of the taxpayers' money. I think you should all be able to answer at least three of these questions and be curious about all of them. So, the first one to answer 4 or more wins several points in my book.

Kevin Cummins is a local yokel muckraker who married one of the most popular surfer girls around. A major coup for Kevin!

Monday, August 14, 2006

B St to Become Amakusa Way

Some folks on B St received a letter from Debra Geishart, Engineering Technician at the city that clearly states “The City of Encinitas is requesting the following street name change in the Downtown area:

Present street name: B Street.

Proposed street name: Amakusa Way”

The letter goes on to say that “Encinitas has the privelage of sharing a Sister City relationship with Amakusa, Japan” and that “This symbolic gesture will help strengthen the bond between the two cities.”

Geishart futher states that “should you have any questions regarding the street name change, please contact me at (760) 633-2779.”

Jerome, Dan shoot Geishart a call.

Google satellite map view of B St click here

UPDATE-This story made the front page of the North County Times. Click here to read the story.

Whatever Happened to No Outlet?

Or , Not A Through Street? Man, Dead End is harsh.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

D St Name Change Rumor Untrue

The rumor that the city was going to change the name of D St has been debunked by two city council members. After hearing the rumor from several independent persons and total strangers I decided to e-mail the council.

E-mail from Dan Dalagher:

JP, You hear the strangest things. Things that have absolutely no relationship in any reality with which I’m familiar. I’m trying to get done with these e-mails so I can get out of this dank office, get a bite to eat and get in the water. I suggest you do the same. It’s a beautiful day outside. Get out and enjoy it and stop trying to scare yourself to death.-Dan

E-mail from Jerome Stocks:

I have heard no such rumor, no of no such effort, and would oppose any such idea. No wiggle words needed in the sentence.
You may want to re-consider how much credibility you grant your source...
Please feel free to continue to contact me with any issue of concern to you.

Jerome Stocks

*I am now hearing from several e-mails that it is B St that may be changed. B St has less of an emotional charge than D St considering that D St is a beloved surf spot.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Analysis of Fugly Rite-Aid

So we already know that the proposed Olivenhain Rite Aid is FUGLY, but why?
The Encinitas planning commission rejected the plans for being too "boxlike", but is that really the problem here?

1. Like most strip malls this Rite-Aid has non structural stud framed arches. No masonry here, they are just for looks...and they look lame.

2. The Mansard roof, a favorite of McDonald's. Lame. With spanish tile which is sooooo played out it's not even funny.

3. This curved papapet is purely decorative. The origin of the parapet is self defense. I guess if this Rite Aid ever comes under siege the pharmacist and clerks can go on the roof and defend themselves.

4. Quatrefoil window. Qautrefoils are often found on mission revival buildings, you see them on every strip mall in California. It has Christian origins, a symbol of good luck and yes, most of the time they are actual functional windows unlike here which is a stucco wall. Lame.

5. Molded foam cornice, pointless.

6. Brick veneer. Since this is earthquake land we don't use real bricks so slap on some veneer that will trick people into thinking brick was used in this building. Huh?

This Rite Aid is a generic version of Mission Revival, influenced by California's rich history. In my opinion mission revival strip malls openly mocks California history. It is used as a weak attempt to "theme" the entire southwest. Remember, Rite Aid is based out of Pennsylvania. They are not exactly Padres fans.

The funny thing about all these mission revival gimmicks is that they just drive up the building cost. Streamline it my man.

What are they trying to hide?

We expect our City’s department heads to have some relevant expertise. We should ensure that they have the capacity to provide adequate oversight and direction. This is why an earlier Council set a policy regarding minimum qualifications for department heads. Apparently, they are supposed to have at least a master degree in the field and 7 years relevant public experience.

Many of the watchdogs have wondered about the sudden rise of Jennifer Smith to Director of Finance. She appears to have no direct qualifications. Why was she placed at the head of finance? Was there ever a public search for candidates?

The City is about to embark on a funky financing journey. I would feel more comfortable knowing that someone worthy is advising the Council. We all know that Council needs a lot of help.

When Dalager gave Smith a proclamation stating she had served with great distinction (or something like that) a searing image of the President came to mind. “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.” Since then I have been determined to find out if Smith is at least minimally qualified. And it looks like I won't have to wait much longer

There are also questions about other department heads:

1) We have a Fire Chief who was on campaign teams for a majority of the council before getting appointed,

2) a parks and rec director who is supposedly qualified to also be a public works director,

3) a planning director who supposedly worked for Ecke before becoming director, and

4) after you read the following email the City Attorney’s service is also in question.

I did a records request for Smith’s application 5 months ago. The request was rejected. Others have made the same request over the last few months. The City cannot legally keep us from this information.

Why should I be surprised that the City isn’t following the law!

I recently called in some reinforcements. On my behalf, the General Council for Calaware sent the City Attorney and Clerk a sharp email. I thought you might like to be in the loop. I paste that email below. If you read the whole thing through you might think that the City Clerk should be added to the list too, but I suspect she was just following directions.


From: Terry Francke

Date: August 10, 2006

Subject: Access to Employment Applications

Dear City Clerk Cervone and City Attorney Sabine,

I'm informed by the attached message that for a little over five months, several area residents have been attempting unsuccessfully to get from the City of Encinitas copies of records that are, pursuant to the only case law on point, unquestionably public and not exempt from disclosure under the California Public Records Act.

As you well know and could have easily discovered within the first hour of the 10-day post-request period that the Act permits for such research, the California Court of Appeal for the Third District, dealing with requests for information about a public hospital employee, had this to say:

The trial court ordered defendant to disclose: "Such portions of [the employee's] personnel file as are necessary to disclose his professional qualifications ... or at [defendant's] option, she may, by way of compliance with this injunction, create and provide to [plaintiffs] a resume of [the auditor's] professional qualifications."

Defendant claims the order results in disclosure of the auditor's personnel file and is an unwarranted invasion of his privacy. We disagree. As we understand the order, plaintiffs would obtain information as to the education, training, experience, awards, previous positions and publications of the auditor. Such information is routinely presented in both professional and social settings, is relatively innocuous and implicates no applicable privacy or public policy exemption. (§ 6254, subd. (c), 6255.)

Eskaton Monterey Hospital v. Myers (1982) 134 Cal.App.3d 788, 794. There is no other case law contradicting or limiting this conclusion, nor in fact addressing the issue at all.

The force of this settled precedent is only amplified by the 2004 passage of Proposition 59, amending the California Constitution to provide, among other things, that laws providing access to state and local government records must be interpreted broadly, and limiting laws interpreted narrowly.

Quite apart from these legal points, to assert the "privacy" of public employment fitness information strips the notion of privacy of its meaning, announcing the principle that the public is not entitled to know whether appointed public executives have any job-related qualifications, and if so, what they are. One would have thought that with so much discussion in the past year of the dubiously relevant credentials of some high federal appointees, you would have found it awkward, to say the least, to maintain that such matters are not appropriate for public scrutiny. Taking this position, of course, tends only to cast doubt on the qualifications of the employees in question, and thereby does them no justice, one assumes.

I do not know whether the e-mailed response by you, Ms. Cervone, to Mr. Cummins on March 14—"Once I looked at the California Public Records Act, it clearly states that personnel records are confidential"—derives its blissfully amateurish error from your own lack of training, from your office's policy of reading exemptions overbroadly (to say nothing of superficially) in contravention of the California Constitution, or from the failure to consult you, Mr. Sabine. I suspect all three to be the case, because nothing else explains the lack of a prompt correction of the error, unless perhaps a contemptuous confidence that the requesters would simply go away. It has now been three weeks, according to the chronology below, since the Eskaton case was expressly brought to your attention, Mr. Sabine, by someone who had to do the city's homework for it.

If you both wish to defend your position in court and take the professional responsibility, at least, for the attorney fees the city would be ordered to pay upon an order to disclose, you can easily so signal by either a reply to that effect or by silence—by any response, that is, other than a notification to the requesters identified below that the requested records are immediately available for inspection and copying.

Terry Francke

General Counsel

Californians Aware

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Fugly Rite-Aid Rejected

Click photo to enlarge and see the full fuglyness.

Redesigned Rite Aid not passing planners' muster

By: ADAM KAYE - Staff Writer

-- Revised plans for a Rite Aid store on Manchester Avenue still are not capturing the country feel of the Olivenhain community, planners said Wednesday.

Members of the Encinitas Planning Commission told developer Jim Halferty in April that designs for the 9,800-square-foot building were too boxlike.

A new set of plans doesn't do enough to correct that problem, city officials said.

Planner Kelly Arndt said she would recommend that the Planning Commission reject the proposal when it meets Aug. 24.

Commissioner Tom McCabe said Wednesday that, in meetings with the developer, he suggested a sloped roof and an improved corner entryway.

"All the sudden they come back with another design that is a typical strip-center box," McCabe said.

read the rest of the story here.

Well, maybe there is hope for Encinitas after all. I applaud the planning department for not cruising on auto pilot and signing off on this crappy "Anywhere USA" generic strip mall garbage that these cheeseball corporations have been ramming down our throat. It would be shameful if the hub of Encinitas, Olivenhain and Rancho Santa Fe was landmarked by fugly architecture.
Nothing against Rite-Aid in particular, they provide services we all need, like Q-Tips and OxyContin, but enough is enough. I'm sure the Rite-Aid suits in Pennsylvania were shocked at the news that some little town in north San Diego county rejected them. Viva dissent!
These crappy strip malls have been blighting up the American landscape for quite some time now. I swear the entire continent will be indistinguishable in another 100 years if we don't stop the bleeding. It is widely believed that the strip mall began in car culture California. The strip mall is a quick stop for goods with no nice landscaping features or gathering places. If strip mall design would embrace it's minimalist function then strip malls wouldn't be as ugly as the proposed Rite-Aid.
Since strip malls began in California I say we either kill the strip mall or force a higher standard on them.
In fact, I think Encinitas has the potential to become famous as a mecca for good architecture and design if we did things right. Imagine, if Encinitas started attracting great architects from around America we could be featured in all the international design magazines and we could have architecture tours as part of our tourism. It might be nice to be known for something besides poinsettias and surfing.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Pros and Cons of Running for City Council

Pro-If you win you can play footsies with Jerome Stocks behind the podium.

Con-City council meetings are held on Wednesdays, the same night ABC's hit show Lost is on.

Pro-If you say you are a Encinitas city council member you get a free small soda at the La Paloma theater.

Con-Smart alecky punk ass kids will start blogs about you.

Pro-City council members get a special button in their cars that turn all the traffic lights green.

Con-You have to be Barratt American's CEO Michael D. Pattinson's bitch.

Pro-Michael D. Pattinson has nice soft hands.

Con-You are now a politician, icky.

Pro-Dude, free trip to Japan!

Pro-Jim Bond will tell you his monkey joke.

Con-You are damned if you do and damned if you don't.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Burning Questions

1. Why is good 'ol boy Leucadia old school local councilman Dan Dalager still interested in forming an RDA in Leucadia? Doesn't he know that this will result in his friends and neighbors losing their private property? Owning property in America is a sacred thing. Has he become so sycophant in his desire "I want to walk from my house to the beach without tripping and breaking my neck." that he would really be willing to sell out Leucadia into a 50 year RDA process?

2. Is it moral for a dozen or so players to make big money while normal citizens are forced to sell their property?

3. Why did the Leucadia flooding get worse after it was "fixed"?
*answer click here

4. If the only reason Leucadia can be declared blighted is the flooding (or extreme puddling as my friend calls it) is that why the city avoids a quality solution? Are "they" trying to make Leucadia blighted on purpose?

5. Will the new dirt being dumped along the tracks at Phoebe St make the puddling of water worse there when it rains?

6. Why is there an ugly chainlink fence along the tracks in Leucadia all of sudden?

7. Where will the city find the 7 million dollars needed to finish the $20 million UBER-BLING library?

8. Why didn't the city choose an simpler more cost effective library design? It's all about the archive of information, not curvy windows and zig zag decking.

9. Will the city overspend on UBER-BLING Fire Mansions or can they chill out and find a simple clean and efficient design that is part equipment garage and part dormitory?

10. What is the city's pension situation? The crisis in San Diego has a lot of people wondering about their own local governments.

11. Why does the city keep trying to raise taxes and fees? Why are they trying to nickel and dime you?

12. Will the city destroy the ambiance and mood of downtown Encinitas by installing parking meters?

13. Why does the city of San Diego spend a million dollars a mile on storm drains while the city of Encinitas estimates $20 million dollars a mile. Fred Caldwell raised this question at an RDA workshop, did he ever get an answer to this?

14. Should the city of Encinitas have an elected city attorney instead of an appointed one?

15. Should the city go ahead with huge bond debt? Will they get sued by Howard Jarvis again if they do?

16. Does the Hall park really have to cost $19 million? Could we go with a nice simple open park for the kids to run around on? Could baseball diamonds be built with charity fundraisers?

17. Could the big developers be encouraged to ease their way into the old neighborhoods instead of ramming their way in and then building anti-social walls around their subdivisions?

18. Is city manager Kerry Miller's only purpose in life to form RDA's?

19. Will the city actually collect TOT funds from the new condo/hotel? Has Christy Guerin opened a Pandora's Box of condo/hotels? Is this good or bad for Encinitas?

20. Did all those people on Leucadia Blvd really have to lose their homes so we could get to the Ecke golf course and Target shopping center in style?

21. What can we do to encourage the development of classy mixed use buildings in the vacant lots of coastal Leucadia?

Bonus question: Who is in charge of this crazy train?

Add your burning questions in the comments section.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Work at Burger King or Run for City Council?

From Sunday's North Count Times front page story: To conduct the city's business, each council member earns a monthly paycheck of $898. That pencils out to $10,776 a year, a sum that falls well below poverty levels. If City Council service were a full-time job, as some council members say it is, the hourly pay would amount to $5.18.

read the full story here.

So, what's a better deal? Working at Burger King or running for Encinitas city council?

Friday, August 04, 2006

Little Known Facts about Christy Guerin

1. Christy Guerin has no human parents. She was born as a full adult after the grand opening of the Ecke Ranch Shopping Center. Her birth was the result of a three way between Target, Linens and Things and Ross Dress for Less.

2. When she was a cop she was fond of yelling "FREEZE MUTHAFUCKA!" even when writing traffic tickets.

3. Her new duties working for Brian Bilbray include helping him peel off his latex human face mask and feeding him live kittens.

4. Even Chuck Norris fears Christy Guerin's roundhouse kick. She did all of Uma Thurman's stunt work for Kill Bill 1&2.

5. Under that cute Anne Taylor outfit is a .38 special with shoulder holster so don't mess with her.

6. When Christy Guerin cried at her press conference announcing she wouldn't seek another term, flowers and baby ducks appeared from the ground where her tears fell.

7. Christy Guerin makes a mean Paella, the best!

8. Christy Guerin won 1st prize at the San Diego Comic Con costume contest for her version of slave Leia.

9. Christy Guerin can reach speeds on foot up to 9 miles an hour.

10. Christy Guerin can hear underwater sounds from as far as 15 miles away.

11. Christy Guerin is the person who forwards all those heartwarming spam e-mails to you.

12. Christy Guerin's husband is a sheriff with a terrific sense of humor (I hope).

13. Christy Guerin's favorite dish at Denny's is Moons Over My Hammy.

14. Christy Guerin once appeared on the television show Judge Judy where she grabbed the gavel and cried out, NO MA'AM, YOU'RE THE ONE OUT OF ORDER!

15. Christy Guerin is lovely woman trying her best to make it in a man's world.


Guerin defends appointment to waste water board

By: ADAM KAYE - Staff Writer

---- Mayor Christy Guerin on Thursday defended her recent appointment of a staffer as an alternate to a regional waste water board and lashed out at a colleague for criticizing the action.

The spat over Guerin naming Public Works Department Director Phil Cotton as a nonvoting alternate to Encina Wastewater Authority's board of directors comes as Guerin juggles her city duties with those of her new employer, Republican Rep. Brian Bilbray.

It also underscores animosity between Guerin and Councilwoman Maggie Houlihan, as Guerin approaches her final four months in office. Guerin announced recently she will not seek a third term.

Houlihan said Thursday that Guerin should have brought a proposal to appoint Cotton to the Encina board to the City Council for consideration.

read the rest at

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Barratt Settles Lawsuit, Reports Record Revenue

Encinitas, developer settle lawsuits

By: ADAM KAYE - Staff Writer

---- Encinitas and Barratt American Inc. have settled two lawsuits brought by the Carlsbad-based home builder, officials for both sides said Wednesday.

The developer sued Encinitas in 2000 and again this year, claiming that the fees Encinitas charges for issuing building permits and reviewing plans exceed what the city pays to provide those services.

As part of the settlement, both sides agreed to cover their own legal fees and to confer before the next fee increase.

"This is a validation that the city's fee structure is reasonable and that, as a result, Barratt dropped their lawsuits," said City Councilman Jerome Stocks.

The City Council approved increases to building-permit and plan-check fees last December. The adjustment was Encinitas' first in 11 years and brought increases ranging from 13 percent to 52 percent.

In June, Barratt filed the second of its two lawsuits in Superior Court. The lawsuit alleged that Encinitas' approval of a revised fee schedule would result "in a massive and unjustified increase in the fees for building permits and plan reviews."

The lawsuit asked the court to overturn the City Council's approval of the revised fee schedule.

Encinitas' fees are at about the midpoint of those charged by other cities in the region, city officials say.

read the rest of the story here

Barratt Finishes Record Year

Barratt American, a Carlsbad-based residential builder, on Aug. 1 reported record high revenue of more than $378.6 million for the fiscal year ended June 30.

The figure includes $361.1 million on sales of 598 homes, up from 431 homes sold in fiscal 2005, and land sales valued at $17.5 million, according to Michael D. Pattinson, the firmÂ’s president and chief executive officer.

The average home-sale price was $603,965, ranging from products in the high $200,000s to luxury residences priced around $2 million.

San Diego Business Journal online story.

Barratt American CEO Michael D. Pattinson writes an entertaining twice monthly column for the North County Times. His controversial columns include strange bi-polar mood swings from hubristic bully to whiny little girl, often in the same paragraph.