Sunday, December 31, 2006

ADD IT UP>>>2007 Projects

Encinitas will launch or complete many projects

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other projects to watch are scattered across the city:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Library-$20 million

Hall park-$35 million

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

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

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

TOTAL- $77.2 million dollars.

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

Saturday, December 30, 2006

2007--the year of Man Nipple

The new 2007 Encinitas town planner appeared in the mail yesterday. The cover shot is a slightly grainy photo of small high tidey but super fun looking Swami's.
I was stoked on my new calendar but then something caught my eye, something disturbing...

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Beacon's Roundabout Debuts

Softboard wielding yuppies from San Elijo Hills were delighted at the debut of the new roundabout at the Beacon's beach trail access this week.

"We didn't have to stop going down the trail," said Sandy McKrab, a beach and surfing enthusiast. "Mary Lou and I just had to slow down a little, it was peachy keen."

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Happy Happy Joy Joy

Season's Greetings to all you crazy people who visit this blog. Hope you and your family is safe and warm.


JP St Pierre

Friday, December 22, 2006

A Proliferation of the Devices

Encinitas panel OKs Leucadia Boulevard improvements

The Encinitas Planning Commission voted 5-0 Thursday to approve the first phase of Leucadia Boulevard improvements that call for sidewalks, bike lanes, landscaping three roundabouts.

Some peeps spoke out against the roundabouts, others in support.

Personally I can hang with the roundabouts, I support them.

But, I think three might be one too many roundabouts for Leucadia Blvd, two roundabouts might be better. I think the Hygeia stop sign should be replaced by a roundabout in Phase I of the plan instead of Phase II.

This quote in the story caught my attention, some speakers said, local motorists just don't understand how to navigate them.

Resident Frank Scarborough said he avoids Santa Fe Drive because of the roundabout and, as a result, does some of his shopping in Carlsbad.

That doesn't make any sense to me. If he avoids going to Vons on Santa Fe Dr because of the roundabout then it would be easier to go to Albertson's on Encinitas Blvd or any of the El Camino Real stores than drive all the way to Carlsbad. Or, he could zip down to the Seaside Market in Cardiff. (Pick up a nice bottle of wine and some flowers for the Mrs while you are there).

*Tip of the day, go to the Encinitas Blvd Smart & Final, that place is always mellow.

And, comon', the Santa Fe roundabout is easy as pie (unless you are driving a semi-truck). The Leucadia roundabouts will be way more chaotic for sure, but I think people will get used to them.

I'm hoping that once the I-5 hoppers realize they hate the roundabouts they will avoid Leucadia Blvd all together in the morning.

Blair Knoll, a city engineer, told commissioners that pedestrian and vehicular safety were driving the project, for which $1.2 million has been budgeted to complete the first phase.

In addition to roundabouts, landscaped medians appear on plans.

The medians, as well as landscaped, meandering walkways, would provide safe havens for pedestrians who today must cross a boulevard that is up to 50 feet wide, Knoll said.

What will be nice is linking the golf course area trails and east Leucadia Blvd with sidewalks on west Leucadia Blvd. Now, the key is to keep a pedestrian crossing at HWY101 and Leucadia Blvd (if they decide to close the intersection as Jerome Stock's plan calls for). Then pedestrians could walk from Neptune and Beacon's beach all the way to the Ecke Ranch trails and back. That would be sweet.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Search suspended for Hall property EIR report

ENCINITAS, Dec 20 - The search for the Hall property EIR report which has been missing since before the November election, has been suspended because of bad weather and will not resume until it clears, a local police officer said on Wednesday.

Crews are waiting for better weather to resume their search for the EIR report but experts say odds are slim they would it have survived this long.

Deputy Sheriff Tom Hilfiger of the Encinitas Sheriff's Office declined to say if future efforts would be considered rescue missions or if there was hope that the EIR report could be found at all.

"I am not going to use the word 'recover' because we will still be looking for it, but not as actively. We are standing down to a degree," Hilgiger said at an afternoon press conference at the site of the Hall property off Santa Fe Rd. "We have gone through the Roundabout several times with no luck." he added.

Hilfiger said searchers have yet to find clues that would lead them to the missing EIR report. "We didn't have any clues or anything leading us to the EIR report, so we're waiting for our next opportunity. It's strange because Dan Dalager promised it several times before the November election. It even appeared in all his campaign literature.

"We no longer have four, five, six teams waiting to bust out there. There are a lot of safety concerns," Hilfiger said. "The efforts are suspended. They're still open but we won't have any true activity until we get a break in the weather."

The EIR report was last seen by a trio of teenage skateboarders who did not recall the EIR dressed in proper overnight gear.

"The EIR report only had this thin blue windbreaker and no backpack and no water that I could see." said 15 year old Billy Snotgrass. "We yelled 'Hey fag, nice windbreaker' at the EIR report but the dude totally ignored us."

Cold weather has hampered search parties with temperatures reaching the low 30's at night.

"I totally had to scrape ice off my windshield this morning." said Officer Hilfiger.

See also: Leucadia!: Dalager's amazing lies, half-truths and misinformation (PART 2)

More Leucadia Lights

More blurry photos of local business with holiday lights. I understand that there is a "Light Up Leucadia" contest in effect. I wish more places would compete. I think the city should wrap the big center median Eucalyptus trees on the north 101 corridor with white lights. That would be awesome.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Tiki Spirit

Okay, these photos came out kind of crappy but I love tikis. Buy your loved ones tikis for Christmas.

See also Tiki Magazine.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Leucadia Sidewalk Dining

Sidewalks mean sidewalk dining, my favorite.


The San Diego Union Tribune ran a story about Christy Guerin over the weekend. Click headline link below:

Guerin says she adjusted, but never changed

ENCINITAS – To those who say the Christy Guerin who stepped down from the Encinitas City Council on Dec. 6 was a different Christy Guerin from the one sworn in eight years ago, she has a simple response.

“I don't think I changed in office,” Guerin said in a recent interview.

She will concede a couple of points, however.

“I think I was a little bit naive” when first elected. And “I may have become more cynical at times,” she said. “Politics can be a game of 'I have to win, you have to lose,' ” when it needn't be that way.

Guerin chose not to run for a third council term, and in July she became district director for U.S. Rep. Brian Bilbray, the Carlsbad Republican who won a June special election to serve the remainder of disgraced Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham's term. Bilbray was re-elected Nov. 7.

Some thoughts about Christy Guerin:

The good: Christy, along with Dennis Holz, introduced the Community Character workshops. Even after the developers and some of the staff tried to sabotage the process she stuck with it.

Same thing goes for the Trails Master Plan. Again, there was resistance from some neighborhoods. But, rather than scraping the whole project Christy was willing to compromise and got as much as possible.

The bad: Christy took over the Sister City program and made it into an insiders club, which was worse than just taking over the program. She became a diva, criticizing public speakers when they had no opportunity to respond. She had a personal vendetta against Maggie Houlihan that was borderline irrational. Christy developed an US against THEM mentality at city hall which created a toxic atmosphere in Encinitas.

You get the feeling that Christy started to believe it was all about her and not about the community.

Before, when Christy was on the council with Maggie and Dennis and they were in the majority, Christy worked with Dennis on the Community Character Ordinances. Dennis was the strong one so Christy followed his lead. That was the good Christy.

When Dennis left, Christy was influenced by Dan Dalager, Jerome Stocks and Jim Bond and became the bad Christy because she discovered she was now the strong one. Jim Bond once said Christy is an alpha male and the only way to get along with her is to stay out of her way.

Christy used her seat to talk down to people and when she disagreed with a speaker (which was often) she lectured them as a parent to a child would knowing they could not talk back.

Christy was known to be divisive and vicious and the council as a whole grew that way because of her leading the way. Christy caused a great fracturing of the council by getting them to remove Sheila a month before her term as mayor was over.

Note the article in the S.D. Union today, "I gave her every chance possible to be a good leader." Not we, but I gave her every chance.

She spent money, planned activities and appointed people to positions without bringing such actions up at a council meeting. And was surprised when anyone questioned her.

She told the fire boys to "shoot for the moon" when requesting fire station upgrades; which is why we now have fire McMansions on the drawing board.

She made sure her boy Phil Cotton was chosen before she left by not doing a search and hand-picking one of the good old boys (and he definitely is one of the good old boys).

Now, let's look at her going away evening at city hall. Traditionally, many friends and supporters give the outgoing council member gifts and speak in glowing terms of how wonderful that person is and why. These friends and sentiments were conspicuous by their absence and we had instead the usual suspects - DEMA, the Enc. Chamber and THE FIRE BOYS.

It will be some time before the open wound that was Christy Guerin heals. It may even take the leaving of some of the council members she trained to follow in her path.

This blog was created in response to the Leucadia Redevelopment plan. I still remember Christy's astounding words at the volatile RDA workshop meeting, "I just don't see the blight."

I think her realization that an RDA was the wrong direction for Leucadia was key moment. It was also an eye opener for me that maybe the city council wasn't set in stone after all, that the public could change the council member's minds.

A lot of people didn't like Christy for her often sharp style at council meetings. On one hand I've seen here wisely take control of meetings that were getting heated with emotion. On the other hand, I think sometimes she was rude to some of the older residents who were not that experienced at public speaking. It doesn't make your heart swell with hometown pride when your mayor is rolling her eyes at some old guy just trying to get through his 3 minute speech.

Christy was always a little scary to criticize. As a former cop turned influential council person and mayor who is married to a local sheriff, she was a powerful personality. I kept waiting to get pulled over and have all the local cops go Rodney King on me.

Voters love to cast ballots for former cops, but I think it's a bad idea. Sure, voters love cops because of their public service and safety concerns. But cops are not about compromise. Cops are about enforcing power and taking charge of a situation. I wonder how times Christy Guerin dreamed of tazering perennial critic Lynn Braun?

Before her election to the City Council, Guerin worked as a sheriff's deputy from 1980 to 1990. She left that job because of knee and back injuries she suffered on duty. She said she can continue to receive a $2,000-a-month disability pension despite her return to the workplace.

Is she getting this $2,000 check every month for the rest of her life? Is she feeling better or is she in pain? I hope she can live a healthy life, but I never did understand how she could receive that check and run in a marathon. That seems like fraud to me. Maybe someone can enlighten me on how all of that works?

What are some your memories and impressions of Christy Guerin's tenure in Encinitas?

See also: Leucadia!: Little Known Facts about Christy Guerin

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Roundabouts Proposed for Leucadia Blvd

Encinitas considers long-awaited Leucadia Boulevard improvements

By: ADAM KAYE - Staff Writer

ENCINITAS ---- The first phase of a long-awaited improvement program for Leucadia Boulevard is heading to the Encinitas Planning Commission for consideration Thursday.

Ultimately, the plan calls for tan-colored sidewalks, three roundabouts and lush landscaping along both sides of the boulevard, from Vulcan Avenue east to Interstate 5.

Improvements in the first phase concentrate on the one-block stretch between Vulcan and Hermes Avenue, where the westernmost roundabout would be built.

A roundabout is a landscaped circle that separates traffic lanes and slows vehicles, usually without stopping them. It is a term used commonly in Britain.

In 2001, the city hosted workshops to gather ideas for the boulevard. Since then, some residents have demanded that the city improve the road's traffic circulation and appearance.

"It's just killing me, it's just such a mess in that area," Tony Kranz of Hygeia Avenue said Friday.

Kranz said his patience grew especially thin in 2005, when the Encinitas City Council decided to withdraw $1.9 million from the Leucadia project's budget to pay for a different road project on Santa Fe Drive.

City officials said Friday that the money has been restored to Leucadia Boulevard's $2.6 million budget.

If the planning board approves the proposal, construction could begin as soon as April, said Tom Frank, a member of the city's Traffic Commission.

Frank lives less than a block from the Hermes intersection. He has lobbied the city to proceed with plans for the roundabout.

In addition to the roundabout at Hermes, the first phase of planned Leucadia Boulevard improvements include construction of:

- curbs, gutters, sidewalks, streetlights and bike lanes on both sides of the boulevard from Vulcan to Hermes;

- a roundabout at Hymettus Avenue;

- the construction of left-turn lanes on northbound and southbound Vulcan Avenue;

- and an asphalt pathway on the north side of Leucadia Boulevard from Hermes to Interstate 5. The pathway would be replaced with concrete sidewalks during a second phase of construction.

The second phase would add a third roundabout at Hygeia, which today has a four-way stop sign. It also would bring sidewalks to both sides of the boulevard all the way to the freeway and would include landscaping on the sides and on a median for the busy road.

Leucadia Boulevard carries an average of 13,000 vehicles a day, Frank said.

Traffic increased substantially in 1999, when crews expanded the boulevard's I-5 interchange and connected the boulevard to Olivenhain Road.

Farther east, Olivenhain Road turns into Rancho Santa Fe Road, a major thoroughfare connecting San Marcos and other points east to I-5 and the coast.

East of I-5, the medians and sidewalks of Leucadia Boulevard abound with landscaping that city officials point to as a showpiece.

The architect who designed the landscaping on that stretch of the road, Marian Marum, has produced a similar landscaping plan for the boulevard west of the freeway.

Paula Kirpalani of the Leucadia 101 Mainstreet Association said that for her, a spruced up Leucadia Boulevard would make for a prettier drive to work.

Beyond that, "Our organization supports any improvements that make for safer access to our business district," she said.

At least one resident remained skeptical that roundabouts are the answer for Leucadia Boulevard's traffic problems.

"I don't see how they work, to tell you the truth," said Dick Lane of Hermes Avenue. "Roundabouts are a lousy idea."

City traffic engineers say roundabouts are a good way to control traffic without bringing it to a stop.

The Planning Commission meets at 6 p.m. Thursday at 505 S. Vulcan Ave.

Contact staff writer Adam Kaye at (760) 943-2312 or

Leucadia Boulevard improvements

What: Encinitas Planning Commission to consider roundabouts, sidewalks and landscaping

When: 6 p.m. Thursday

Where: Encinitas City Hall, 505 S. Vulcan Ave.

Information: (760) 633-2600

*I'm somewhat down with the roundabouts now. Notice that this meeting does not involve the potential closing of Leucadia Blvd/train tracks/Hwy101.

I would prefer a roundabout instead of the existing stop sign at Hygeia. I still remember the first time I accidently ran that stop sign the day they put that thing in. "What the hell was that?"

Here is a question, will the big tanker trucks that refuel the 7-11 gas station be able to negotiate these new roundabouts?

Below are photos of a semi-truck that got stuck on the Santa Fe Rd roundabout

click images for larger view

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Mayor Bond Delegates Board Assignments from Vegas Baby, Vegas

Barth to represent Encinitas on many boards

Bond attended the meeting by telephone from Las Vegas.

"I felt it was important to have her on board and involved in as many (assignments) as she can," he said, "to give her the opportunity to gain some more information the rest of us have a little earlier."

Bond nominated Barth to serve on: the Santa Fe Irrigation District/San Dieguito Water District Badger Filtration Plant Committee; the Encinitas Cultural Tourism Committee; the Encinitas School District Liaison Committee; the San Elijo Joint Powers Authority; and the Association of California Water Agencies.

As an alternate, Barth will serve on: the Regional Solid Waste Authority; North County Dispatch Joint Powers Authority; North County Transit District and the San Diego Association of Governments.

Also on Wednesday, Bond returned Councilwoman Maggie Houlihan to the Encina Wastewater Authority's board, which Dalager had removed her from when he made nominations as mayor in 2004.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Fleener Report

Eyewitness account of the public workshop about Leucadia sidewalks:

by Mary "I was there" Fleener

Okay, folks-here it is in a nutshell. If ya'll want anything "creative", go directly to the City Council.

These Public Works guys have been directed to do a specific job and they are just following orders and have a budget assigned to this sidewalk project. They are not PAID to be creative and from what I saw at this workshop, the less they have to think about, the better.

Not that I don't appreciate the time set aside to invite the public to participate; think it's very noble, but these workshops seem to be orchestrated to let people blow off steam because, really, these City employees can't guarantee anything and they cannot make monetary changes in plans. They don't have the authority.

The meeting started at 6:07pm.
There were 21 people in attendance, which is pretty good.

Tom Curriden told us that in Jan. 2006, the City Council had a "Goal Setting" agenda and high priority were the improvements to Leucadia from A Street to La Costa Ave. at a cost of 3.2 million. While we're waiting for THAT to happen, "interim sidewalks" are scheduled for Spring 2007. Tom used the word, "cost effective" twice-the $400,000 is what they are allowed to spend and "We can't stray too far".

Someone asked for a time frame. "Planship", sez Tom. That's a new word for me to decipher. Then the same person asked,"Is anything planned like colored concrete or texture?" Tom said they plan on using grey concrete and since they are "filling in gaps to exisitng improvements", (that's OLD sidewalks to you and me,) they want to avoid a hodgepodge of too many designs. Wouldn't want anyone to get dizzy walking the walk down Leucadia, would we? Different colored concrete and different textures...? How tacky! Ow, my head hurts thinkin' about it!!!

Another person asked, "Will this be done, then torn up when the Streetscape is finally here?"

"That's the way we have to do it", replied Tom, "We have to get the most bang for the buck". He added, "We just don't know how and when the permanent sidewalks will be done. Maybe 2010".

I guess the money is "budgeted" to 2010. Another new word, and another thought: will a lot of us be alive to enjoy this Streetscape by the time it happens?

There were people who own a business voicing their concern about the time frame involved in this project, like if it happens in summer, they'll be, well; SCREWED. A lot of us are living paycheck to paycheck and if the guy at Sub Palace can't sell any food for two weeks, he's in deep doo doo. Tom was giving them vague answers and they weren't buying it. "This would be disastrous if done in the summer", said one man, "We don't expect the "downtown treatment."(A sly reference to downtown Encinitas, I surmised).

The moment I was waiting for was a Leucadia Town Council board member
who wants to use permeable concrete, which I think is great. He's done all this research and there are very sophisticated and fabulous patterns that can be utilized with this material. Plus, it would help the rain water absorb more slowly into the soil, thus helping the flooding problem along Hwy 101. I myself went on Google and found that many cities across the USA have had positive results using this concrete. The response from Tom and his sidekick Roger Somebody was lukewarm, AS USUAL.

WE have permeable concrete walkways and a parking lot at Cottonwood Creek. Roger Somebody was worried though. "We have to maintain it several times a year." Yeah, like sidewalks all over the world don't have to be hosed down and cleaned every couple of weeks if needed? Gimme a break!!!!

Anyway, there were a few more comments and the workshop ended, mercifully, at 6:52pm. I learned a lot of new words!

1. PLANT PALETTE-that means "landscaping"

2. GRADE DIFFERENTIAL-that means the street is higher than the door to a business-or visa versa, right?

3.ADA COMPLIANT-that means we get to have a buncha ugly newspaper stands anywhere to preserve our 1st Amendment Rights.. within code limitations,of course, and without undue influence. Right.

You can't make this stuff up.

Related post: Leucadia!: Discuss Leucadia Sidewalks Tuesday Dec. 12

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Guest commentary by Herb Patterson


In the last installment of the discussion of the San Diego Water Districts [SDWD] move into the City of Encinitas new Mossy yard, I criticized the methodology and the lack of alternatives presented by the consultants report. I thought the exorbitant price paid by the SDWD and their lack of ownership of the new property seemed like an attempt by the City to pass expenses of a major land purchase on to an entity that could raise their fees without a vote of the people – a violation of Prop. 218.

It actually is worse than that. The Mossy property is 4.4 acres according to the consultant's report. An acre is 43,560 square feet, so the Mossy property is about 191,664 square feet. That makes the cost to the City [figuring in the $100,000 purchased improvements in the figure] at $50 and a tiny fraction per square foot! Can the City “charge” the SDWD FIVE OR SIX TIMES it's cost per square foot to use the Mossy property? It will take a very talented lawyer to explain to me how this does not grossly violate Prop 218.

Another way of looking at the deal is to take the consultants figures of 23 employees [rounded] of the SDWD and multiple times the number of consultant-figured necessary square footage per employee[364 square feet] times $50 a square foot [the City's cost]. This total is about $418,600 – add an additional $100,000 for necessary improvements directly attributed to SDWD and you get a figure of $518,600 as an appropriate “donation” for the SDWD. Of course, the SDWD still has no ownership.
The consultant recommended SDWD “contribution” to the Mossy purchase is $3,378,700. Lets say the cost of improvements to the Mossy property necessary for the SDWD exceed the $100,000 figured previously and the actual cost are multiples of that. Let's say the improvement costs exceed the City's actual costs of the land [$418,000] and the total plus improvements comes to $1,000,000. This is still a far cry from $3,378,700 and the SDWD still has no ownership.

The City has once again spent tax payer dollars for a consultant to “find” exactly what the City wanted, giving them a screen of respectability to hide behind. Why use hypothetical costs when real costs were available? Why not comment on the previous locations of the SDWD? What difference does it make to this transaction what the City paid for the old SDWD site? Why not comment on what SDWD said it needed?

Questions that come to mind:

Has the City council a fiduciary duty to both the citizens of Encinitas and the ratepayers of the SDWD?

If they do, how can the City make a profit on the use of the Mossy yard by the SDWD?

Does not any transaction between the two entities have to be at “arms length” and as fair as possible ?

Who will sue the City for grossly violating Prop. 218?

Are there criminal penalties for attempting to defraud the ratepayers of SDWD?

My bet is we are going to find out.

Read Part One: Leucadia!: >>>a number of assumptions I find disturbing<<<

See also:

Leucadia!: No one would ever sell their personal property the way the city did

Leucadia!: More Dirty Tricks, a must read

Leucadia!: Water rates increase

Understanding Prop 218

Monday, December 11, 2006

Discuss Leucadia Sidewalks Tuesday Dec. 12

The City of Encinitas has invited the public to an open house, Tuesday evening, DEC 12 6:00 TO 7:30 PM


The City is planning a project to construct roadway improvements, including curb, gutter and sidewalk as well as landscaped planters at several locations, along the west side of No. Coast Highway 101 from North Court northward to approximately Jupiter Avenue.

This is a very important meeting. Please take the time to come with your ideas for our 101 corridor.

Previous related blog post:
Leucadia!: Rubber Sidewalks Anyone?

Leucadia!: Must Be Nice

Leucadia!: Squeaky Wheel Gets Sidewalks

Leucadia!: $900,000 for Leucadia Improvements? Sweet!

I like these paver style crosswalks. Can we have some of those?

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Hobbyist, Democracy and Integrity Frustrate Local Tool Sharpener

Encinitas gets record number of records requests

Encinitas city councilman, former mayor and lawnmower blade sharpener, Dan Dalager, is once again confused by the concept of democracy and public access to information.

In today's North County Times story about public records request; the lean, mean quote machine that is Dan Dalager gives us this gem,

curiosity comes at a cost to the public, said Councilman Dan Dalager. Dalager has publicly criticized residents who have filed public records requests.

"The question is, should the public subsidize certain people's hobbies?" Dalager said.

While the cost of responding to public records requests is not known, the city must find a way of reducing it, he said.

"We are going to have to figure out a way to scan every public document there is and put it online," Dalager said. "That way you can have people fishing for things to their heart's content. If people want to spend their whole lives digging through them, that's fine, but we have to find some way of stopping this expense."

Dalager said he thinks city resources could be better spent elsewhere.

Dalager has obviously finally lost his mind. The next line of the article should clear things up for him,

Regardless of cost, the general right of records access ---- the freedom of information Americans often take for granted ---- makes government more accountable and more efficient, said Peter Scheer of the California First Amendment Coalition.

Dalager, a longtime member of the so called Usual Scoundrels, is often frustrated by city watchdog Donna Westbrook who made 47 information requests during the last year. At city council meetings when Westbrook takes the podium for her 3 minutes of commentary Dalager often lets out audible sighs and groans and can be seen rolling his eyes.

Normal citizens of Encinitas have come to rely on Donna Westbrook to do the dirty work and uncover the Usual Scoundrels schemes. In fact, Donna Westbrook is taken for granted in Encinitas.

In many cases, city records show Westbrook requested and reviewed information ---- such as recordings of Planning Commission and City Council hearings ---- without asking for copies.

In recent interviews, Westbrook said she listens to Planning Commission recordings because minutes from those meetings provide only minimal information.

"If you have a question about how (an issue) was explained," she said, "you have to listen to the audio." The audio files are not available online.

Dalager, empowered by his big victory in the last election, is hitting new levels of hubris. Recently Dalager called city founder and Korean war veteran Bob Bonde a "whiner" for questioning the city's use of tax funds.

See Leucadia!: "It's the same, usual suspects who have nothing to do but whine,"

The irony of Dalager using the phrase 'should the public subsidize certain people's hobbies?' will no doubt be lost on him, Westbrook's "hobby" uncovered the true nature of the Usual Scoundrels attempt to hoodwink the public in subsidizing city capital projects under the guise of the clean water program.

Dalager and the rest of the Usual Scoundrels haven't exactly been frugal before (expect perhaps to starve Leucadia out of a decent infrastructure) so why complain about Americans using their God given constitutional rights to information?

Should Westbrook's labors even be described as a hobby? "Donna does her research for the Encinitas Taxpayers Association," said Bob Bonde, a founder of the association, which led the campaign against Proposition C, the clean-water measure. "She does her research, and it pays off."

Can honesty, intellectual curiosity, and hard work be categorized as "hobbies"? And, if these positive traits are hobbies, then it is alarming that city councilman Dan Dalager views these traits as a negative thing.

Dan Dalager needs a hobby.

*note-putting all information online is a good idea. As long as ALL the information does get put online. Can the city be trusted to do this?

Friday, December 08, 2006

More holes in head, "Quality-of-life tax" proposed.

Agency explores quality-of-life tax

I thought taxes were collected to help pay for stuff that insures our quality of life already, right?

So, if they are proposing a new tax dedicated for "quality of life" then I can only assume that all the development and traffic we have been getting is no longer sustainable and our quality of life has been compromised. But how can a new tax solve our problems?

Regional planners are polling San Diego County residents to see if they would support a special "quality of life" tax to fund beach-sand replenishment, open-space purchases, habitat restoration and water-quality programs, an agency official said Thursday.

The funding source could come in the form of a sales, property, hotel or rental-car tax, and could appear on the county ballot in 2008, said Rob Rundle, principal planner for the San Diego Association of Governments, the county's regional planning agency.

It's easy to justify dinging the tourist with more taxes, but really, it's a pretty uncool thing to do. A new sales tax sends shivers down my spine. We are already paying almost 8% in sales tax. It should be more like 4 or 5%. We are getting reamed.

Rundle talked about the poll at a meeting of the association's shoreline preservation committee Thursday, while panel members were reviewing a cost estimate for a proposed regional beach-sand replenishment project. It would be the second such project this decade.

This makes me totally insane. Nobody wants to hear this but there is still too much sand on our local beaches. All that sand they dumped on us a few years ago was too much. It screwed up the quality of the surf. It buried the reefs and the kelp beds, it screwed up the quality of the sandbars at the beachbreaks. Non-surfers may not care about this at first, but they should. Surfing is a big part of the local economy. Good wave quality means happy stoked surfers spending money at local restaurants after they surf.

The reefs and kelp beds are extremely important. The kelp beds are just now starting to make a comeback. The entire coastline of Leucadia used to have thick kelp beds. Now there are just small patches returning. The reefs and kelp beds are where lobsters and young fish live. The kelp also slows down the wind which keeps the base of the cliffs from getting scalloped out. If these the kelp beds get buried in sand (again) it will spell doom for our local fish stocks.

The quality of sand they dump on the beach concerns me too. Our natural sand is fine stuff, black and silver and sticky. We don't need coarse crappy sand that is more like dirt.

Mis-managed sand replenishment will add extra irony to the so called "quality of life" tax.

Officials say another sand-spreading campaign is needed because as much as half the sand on some beaches has already been washed away by winter swells.

Uh, no. Well, maybe half of the original sand from the first project has been moved and distributed by natural forces but this is a good thing. Like I mentioned before, there is still currently too much sand in Leucadia. We can't just let bureaucrat golfers dump and all over our beaches all willy nilly.

The association has come up with a $24.9 million estimate for the second go-round. The project would aim to beef up the scrawny shoreline at Oceanside Beach, north Carlsbad, south Carlsbad, Batiquitos, Leucadia Beach, Moonlight Beach, Cardiff Beach, Fletcher Cove, Del Mar, Torrey Pines, Mission Beach and Imperial Beach.

The project is patterned after an inaugural $17 million effort the association spearheaded in 2001, when 2.1 million cubic yards of sand was dredged up from the ocean bottom and spread on the beach.

"It's the exact same project from 2001," said Shelby Tucker, an associate regional planner with the agency.

Rundle estimated the restoration could be completed in about 2 1/2 years, after devoting time to design the project and study its environmental impact, and to obtain funding for it.

To get the ball rolling, the committee voted unanimously to start looking for funding immediately. Panel members said the agency needs to begin by lobbying for a chunk of cash from Proposition 84, the new $5.4 billion bond measure California voters passed last month that sets aside money for water and environmental programs.

If a regional quality-of-life tax were to be established, that, too, could be tapped for beach restoration.

So wait, there is already money for this? But they want a new tax? These people never sleep do they? This sounds like a larger version of Prop C to me. Read: Leucadia!: "a fee with a name that made us feel good"

Open-space purchases, habitat restoration and water-quality programs; these things sound good. But what would the reality be? Just another layer of government isn't going to help preserve open space.

I think the best thing for open space is to start a private foundation made up of donations to purchase land. If you get the government involved you could be looking at eminent domain.

The association has authority to seek voter approval for up to 1 percent in sales taxes. Given the half-percent TransNet tax, the agency could put another half-percent quality-of-life sales tax on the ballot.

I don't know a single person who would vote for this. Even my super liberal hippie friends are going to hate this one.

Thursday, December 07, 2006 Video of Barth/Guerin

The North County Times has been hosting videos of local events on their website lately.
Here is the video of Teresa Barth taking the oath and Christy Guerin saying a few words at Wednesday's city council meeting.

click me

Added: Logan Jenkins column about Del Mar and Encinitas mayor dramas,

Ignoble antics in North County councils

For deep-seated hostility, Del Mar's Machiavellian machinations don't hold a flickering candle to Encinitas'.

Politics – or, as newly installed Mayor Jim Bond said Wednesday, the computational skill to count to three – dictate the line of mayoral succession.

Most years, the council exchanges the gavel without a wave of nausea.

Not so this year.

In her first action as a newly elected councilwoman, Teresa Barth took a bull by the horns and nominated Bond as mayor and her staunch pro-environmental ally, Maggie Houlihan, as deputy mayor, thus putting Houlihan in line to follow Bond as mayor.

Houlihan and her supporters argued that she had been unfairly passed over in 2005 after drawing the most votes in the previous council election. They evidently believe that the selection of deputy mayors should reflect popularity at the polls.

A defensible theory perhaps. Escondido had a similar system before it went to popular mayoral elections.

But the political reality in Encinitas is as stark as a pair of brass knuckles: The only votes that matter are the three that command a council majority.

Though Houlihan has served as mayor in the past, the council majority declined to raise her hopes to become the mayor in 2008.

Councilman Jerome Stocks was the obvious choice to receive that bouquet of red poinsettias.

You never know where these kinds of maneuverings lead.

In 2008, ambitious coastal politicians could be looking at attractive options far beyond Encinitas, especially if Supervisor Pam Slater-Price decides she's ready to retire. Given a choice, it's much nicer to run in a large district as a mayor rather than a garden-variety council member.

In the Encinitas game of musical mayoral chairs, council members have a rough choice as to when they squat on the supreme seat.

That is, so long as they can count to three.

Logan Jenkins can be reached at (760) 737-7555 or by e-mail at

"We make hundreds of decisions a year, this is one of them,"

Encinitas council debates deputy mayor's job: Teresa Barth takes oath of office

Funny quotes from the story about last night's city council meeting where Teresa Barth was sworn in. In her first official act, Barth nominated Bond for the mayor's job and Councilwoman Maggie Houlihan for deputy mayor. The deputy mayor generally is next in line for the mayor's post, which rotates every year among council members.

Two of Houlihan's supporters, Candace Kamada and Bruce Ehlers, told the council that nominations for mayor and deputy mayor should reflect the total votes the politicians had received.

That kind of process, Ehlers said, takes "the petty politics out of this and respects the vote of the people."

Councilman Dan Dalager said he agreed with Ehlers, and that he liked the idea of the mayor being seated based upon numbers of votes.

"It takes the Machiavellian intrigue out of it," he said.

But it was on Dalager's motion -- with support from Bond and Stocks -- that Bond won the nomination for mayor and Stocks won the nomination for deputy mayor.

In a classic Dalager move, he gave a good memorable quote agreeing with something and then voted the other way. Remember his zinger, "I'm not a credit card kind of guy." before voting for the $20 million bond debt. (He later said he loved the $20 million bond as much as his own family). I still meet people who voted for Dalager that think he was against the bond.

The best quote in the article belongs to Jerome Stocks,
"We make hundreds of decisions a year, this is one of them,"


In the Union Tribune story about last night, I learned that a representative from county Supervisor Pam Slater-Price's office said the board proclaimed yesterday “Christy Guerin Day”

Double Gosh!!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

I know what is best for everyone

Listen to me, because I know what is best for everyone. There are a great many problems facing America today, and I have all the answers to all of them.

Everyone should listen to what I have to say and heed my advice because I am correct. When I say that lowering taxes is the solution to the Social Security crisis, you should agree. We can reduce juvenile crime by requiring school uniforms. It is crazy to pay a man $10 million just because he can put a ball in a hoop. Consuming a daily dose of Vitamin E will result in healthier, stronger dental tissue. No daughter of mine is going to step foot inside a church wearing a miniskirt. Those fat cats in Washington deserve each other. Parker pens are simply the best writing instruments on the market.

If your daughter is getting married, the groom's family should pay for bar expenses. Higher tariffs mean protection for America. It is important to support your local YMCA. Listen to me. We need longer jail terms for repeat drug offenders. If you are having a cookout to entertain friends, make both beef and chicken available. Wildly patterned ties are tacky–the simpler, the classier. I am right.

I also know the solution to the issue of campaign-finance reform. I wrote a letter to The Encinitas Post-Gazette to inform the citizenry what needs to be done, and that letter was published on Oct. 9. If you wish to know what needs to be done about the problem of campaign finance, you should find a copy of the Oct. 9 Encinitas Post-Gazette.

How do I know about everything? That's simple: by being smarter than everyone else.

Take, for example, the city council's plan to build a community swimming pool. They are wrong, and I am right. Not only will a community pool needlessly raise property taxes, but the traffic will double, causing delays for those heading to the Ecke shopping area. I have alerted the members of the city council of this fact, but they have failed to heed my advice, because, as I mentioned earlier, they are not as intelligent as I am.

One of the things I like best about myself is that not only do I know what is best for everyone, I always make sure to come forward with this information. I do not passively sit by, doing nothing about the problems around me. As soon as I determine what is right for my community, state or country, I speak up about it, writing a letter to the editor of a newspaper or talking about it loudly at a local park.

I also know what is right for individuals. I recently informed Patti and Gus Schmidt that their son Steven was smoking pot, and I told them they should put a stop to it. The Schmidts are not perceptive, so they did not notice the warning signs of drug abuse. Fortunately, I am extremely perceptive and was able to intervene.

Tomorrow, I am going to write a letter to USA Today about the problem of international terrorism. That will solve this serious problem once and for all. Thank goodness for me.

Will we ever see Mayor Houlihan Again?

At tomorrow night's city council meeting (Wednesday, 6th) presumably Jim Bond will be "elected" as mayor as he is Vice-Mayor now.

Maggie Houlihan was elected with the largest majority of any councilperson in the history of Encinitas, over 13,000 votes.

Are the voters of Encinitas getting the representation they wanted?

The following Wednesday Mayor James Bond will propose all committee appointments to local Boards (SanDag/NCTD/WaterBoards, even the local Cultural Tourism Committee). When Dalager was mayor he took Maggie off everything except Cultural Tourism and then Christy Guerin took her off that.

Will Maggie Houlihan find herself shunned from any local appointments again?

Are these appointments anything more than government gravy?

Also, tomorrow night at the city hall meeting, your new councilperson Teresa Barth will be sworn in.

*correction--I earlier posted that Maggie had never been mayor, but she has. Sorry about that. I guess I don't really care either way, ha-ha.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Showing my new Poinsettia around

I received this beautiful Poinsettia as a gift. I named it Poiny and I thought I would show it around.

Poiny at Moonlight Beach.

"Poiny, did you know that acting legend Douglas Fairbanks built the La Paloma?"
Everybody knows that." sighed Poiny.

Poiny thought it would be fun to live in a house shaped like a boat.

Poiny got really excited when he saw the billboard for the new Mel Gibson film. "Mel Gibson is a great American!" exclaimed Poiny.

Poiny takes a trip thru the round-a-bout.

Poiny thought SRF was pretty and a nice place.

Poiny got a cup of coffee and a donut at VG's.

I showed Poiny city hall. "This is where your daddy exerts mass influence", I explained. "OOOOooooh", said Poiny.

Poiny wants to get a burrito at Juanita's.

mmmm...Poiny like burrito.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

What's in a Name?

Tonight is the parade. Last year Dan Dalager used his special mayor powers to change the name of the parade from Encinitas Holiday Parade to Encinitas Christmas Parade. Dalager said that the parade was always called The Christmas Parade and that the politically correct Holiday Parade name was for "whiners".

But according to this souvenir mug from 1965, the parade was actually called the St. Nick Parade.

click photos for large view

City-sponsored Christmas concert creates stir

Friday, December 01, 2006

Ecke Breeds New & Improved Poinsettia

More than 60 million poinsettia plants will be sold during the holidays, and California farmers say their peak sales season starts this week.

Poinsettias have traditionally been sold as potted plants, but the nation's largest producer will begin selling fresh-cut poinsettias this year.

“I think this year consumers are going to find high quality poinsettias. We’ve had very few problems,” says Paul Ecke III, owner of the Paul Ecke Ranch in Encinitas, one of the state’s largest poinsettia growers.

Mr. Ecke says he expects excellent demand for the cut flowers, which will be used in holiday-themed bouquets.

“Most florists we talk to need something to put into flower arrangements at Christmas. They just don’t have that much stuff,” Mr. Ecke says. “Obviously, poinsettias are a perfect match because they are the Christmas flower.”

But don’t be surprised if the poinsettias you see in the stores aren’t just the traditional red or white. New varieties are being developed such as an orange-colored poinsettia, he says.

“I personally like the novelty stuff. I also want to make sure that the new generation of consumers out there – the non-Baby Boomers – are going to be interested in our product,” Mr. Ecke says. “I think they’re going to need new, interest products besides the traditional look of the regular poinsettias.”

Ecke added that anyone who voted NO on Prop A qualifies for a free new hybrid Bloodsettia.