The following letter was delivered to the Encinitas council verbally and via e-mail. I am posting it here for everyone to read. I like this letter because a) it is well written and intelligent and b) it explores turning a negative situation into a positive one. It may also help shed light to newer observers of Encinitas politics why there is so much angst in this town.
Re: Encinitas City Council Goals for 2007
To many of us in the community, it appears that the City Council does not have a coherent vision for the City. I say “appears” because it may be that you do. However, if you do, I propose that you are not communicating it to the community. Instead, it seems that decisions are made reactively, rather than proactively. The following seem to be true:
* Decisions appear to be made on a project by project basis with little regard for the cumulative effect of such projects on traffic, community character, and quality of life.
* Developers appear to have the consistent ear of the City, whereas, in general, residents are restricted to three-minute presentations at Planning Commission and City Council meetings without the opportunity for actual two-way discussion.
* When major changes are proposed, such as amendments to the General Plan, the City merely fulfills the word of the law, rather than the spirit of the law, by posting the announcement in the obscure public notices on the back page of the paper, the City website, and by posting it in City Hall. This puts the responsibility for finding out important information on the residents rather than on the City for ensuring that residents know about and have time to respond to such changes. The same holds true for significant rezoning proposals. Community Participation Plans only involve neighbors within a 300-500 foot radius of the proposed development, whereas, as is the case with the Brown property, the increase in traffic caused by such rezoning will affect a much larger segment of the population, not just those living right next to the property. The entire community should not have to find out about these important issues by word of mouth.
I propose that when you set your goals for the year, you include:
1. Preparing and publishing, with resident participation, a comprehensive vision for the development of Encinitas over the next 5 years that addresses traffic, community character, and affordable and sustainable housing.
2. Specific methods for communicating more positively and effectively with the community.
3. Specific ways for working more closely with the community to minimize the adversarial interactions that are becoming increasingly common.
I believe you will find that attending to these matters will benefit both you and those of us who live in and love Encinitas.
Carol J. Minster
Way to be Carol!