Monday, April 30, 2007

Clean Water Program "Flush" with Cash

Encinitas coffers flush despite clean-water costs

Let's review why Prop C, the fake clean water tax, was bogus.

Encinitas is a beach town and it's most popular tourist beach, Moonlight Beach, has an outfall from Cottonwood Creek which comes down Encinitas Blvd right next to the children's Tot Lot playground.

It is in the city's best interest to keep the Cottonwood Creek clean.

Encinitas Blvd is lined with hotels, motels, gas stations with car washes, restaurants and shopping centers. All of which have runoff into Cottonwood Creek and all of which were exempt from the clean water tax.

One of the biggest contributers to urban runoff is golf courses. The Encinitas Ranch golf course at the top of Leucadia Blvd was also exempt from the proposed clean water tax.

The city wanted home owners to subsidize the state mandated program. The city began charging home owners with water meters an extra fee. As it turned out, some people were getting charged while others were not. It was a confusing unfair mess.

The Howard Jarvis group sued the city of Encinitas saying this fee violated Prop 218. Howard Jarvis won the lawsuit. The city scrambled. They would put this tax to a vote of the people.

What followed was a comedy of errors as city council members said out loud that they were against the fee but voted it forward anyway. They said the city could afford the clean water program but the city needed money for the library. Then city manager Kerry Miller played many scare tactics with chicken little announcements about the city budget. However, some weeks he would say the budget was fine.

DEMA member Steve Aceti became the public spokesman and advocate for the clean water fee. Many guess that this was his chance to get his name out there so he could eventually run for Encinitas city council. Aceti would later clash with Encinitas Taxpayer's Association president, Bill Rodewald. Aceti accused Rodewald of only being against Prop C because Rodewald planned at run at Encinitas city council in 2006. Rodewald denied this and did not seek election. The North County Times recently reported that Aceti may run for Encinitas city council in 2008 Steve Aceti moving to Encinitas, entertaining 2008 council run

The city hired a fancy lobbyist/marketing firm to the tune of $100,000 for Prop C propaganda.

This money was poorly spent as word of mouth spread about the deceitful nature of Prop C and Prop C was crushed at the polls.

The city sent refund checks to home owners, giving back the illegally collected water bill fee. Unfortunately this was a confusing mess and some home owners who never paid a fee reported receiving refund checks while others never received a refund.

After the defeat of Prop C then mayor Christy Guerin chided that the city would only do the barest minimum requirements of the state mandated clean water program. It was widely known that this is what they were doing anyway.

Now, the city of Encinitas is gushing over a "newly discovered" windfall of property taxes and is adding employees and a vehicle to the clean water program. If only they had that wasted $100,000 they paid to that marketing firm to add to it.

Prop C was only 5 bucks a month (for a time, it would have gone up) but the Prop C defeat wasn't about 5 bucks. It was a symbolic breaking point between an aggressive city council and the home owners.

This story is the reason why every taxpayer in Encinitas should join the Encinitas Taxpayers Association. ETA website

Leucadia!: "a fee with a name that made us feel good"


  1. Can we get people cutting through encinitas from the north to pay a toll at La Costa? That would help with the needed landscaping, walkway and flood improvements.

    I will join ETA if they can make that happen.

  2. Considering that a toll is a tax it's hard to imagine a taxpayer watchdog group backing a toll booth.

  3. Stop the bleedingApril 30, 2007 1:56 PM

    I think since Carlsbad and other cut through traffic "tax" our infrastructure, they should pay for the cost of maintaining it and other benefits received such as shorter commutes.

    If the ETA is looking out for the Encinitas Taxpayer they could take on figuring out a way to have the cut through traffic pay for the benefits they receive from cutting through Encinitas. Currently, only the Encinitas pay the tax for the road maintenance and the lower quality of life and safety caused by the I5 traffic cutting through our streets is paid for by the encinitas taxpayer. Its an unfair and unnecessary tax.

    Please ETA make it stop! I can guarantee its costing the average Encinitas more than $5/month. What can ETA do to stop this unnecessary tax?

  4. tax /tæks/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[taks] –noun

    2. a burdensome charge, obligation, duty, or demand.

  5. Hey stop the bleeding guy,

    Why don't you contact the ETA and find out? Why not contact the council too?

  6. I check the ETA website regularly and most of it is "under construction" and has been for months. Where do I send a check to get this situation fixed?

  7. I don't think the Encinitas Ranch golf course is contributing much if any runoff all the way to the beach.

  8. So, what is the deal with the new building near Moonlight beach? Does that have something to do with cleaning/filtering water in Cottonwood Creek?

  9. anon 711 is must have been born before 1960. Bro, shit flows down stream and didn't you know that chemicals used on yards and landscaping turn out to be one of the biggest polluters of streams. Last I heard Cottonwood creek was in need of some cleaning, that is why we have that big structure on Amsuka Way.

  10. NCTimes commentsApril 30, 2007 7:42 PM

    From the NCTimes...

    Comments On This Story

    Note: Comments reflect the views of readers and not necessarily those of the North County Times or its staff.

    Leucadian wrote on April 29, 2007 7:02 AM:"During the last few years Dalager, Stocks, Bond, and Houlihan have cycled back and forth between crying about the city being too broke to keep street lights on, keep the tap water flowing, and the street sweepers on the road, then they turn around and say the city is so flush with money they don't know what to do with expect toss the money at huge salary and benefit increases for staff, build an extravagant library and decked out fire stations, and birthday parties for councilmen. Is the city broke or are they swimming in our taxdollars?"

    Toast wrote on April 29, 2007 7:58 AM:"Maggie Houlihan voted to IMPOSE that illegal tax. Jerome Stocks and James Bond voted against it and the voters agreed with them. Christy Guerin and former City Manager Miller are gone... Houlihan should be shown the door as well."

    Bob can do it wrote on April 29, 2007 8:00 AM:"Maybe Mr. Bonde should volunteer to fill out all the state mandated paperwork if he doesn't think employees are required to do the work!"

    Encinitas voter wrote on April 29, 2007 10:32 AM:"Maggie Houlihan and Steve Aceti worked arm in arm to sell us an unneeded tax. Thank goodness they failed to fool us. I'll never vote for either of them again."

    selective memory? wrote on April 29, 2007 2:53 PM:"Hey Encinitas voter, don't forget who's name was signed on all the prop c city propaganda. City Manager Miller and Danny Dalager. Who voted to spend the 100k on prop C? It was the entire council. No one on the council at the time would address the serious questions that the public were asking about Prop C. The only one on the council now to have opposed that waste was Barth. 4 vs. 1 is not good odds for Barth. I hope encinitas voter remembers that in the next election and sweeps Stocks Bond and Houlihan out!"

    Get Real wrote on April 29, 2007 6:56 PM:"Sorry kids, but no conspiracies here. The city had an unanticipated windfall because older properties downtown, that were formerly assessed at low rates, have been selling for millions and getting re-assessed. There is no way to accurately predict this kind of activity. If Prop C had passed, the city could have started to do StretScape Phase II in phases, among other things. You can't live and/or own a business in a coastal city and not expect to help pay for clean ocean water and healthy beaches. "

    All in good time wrote on April 29, 2007 8:43 PM:"Houlihan should be dumped in 2008. Stocks correctly voted against the tax and Bond should retire. Dalager is not up until 2010 and should be replaced. We need decent replacements for Houlihan and Bond in 2008."

  11. I love the way Houlihan votes and what she stands for. and I don't like what Stocks votes for (developer's best bottom line) or his lack of vision for a cool coastal town. If it were up to Stocks and Bond (and Dalager), we would look just like our ugly overweight sister City to the north- "Carl"

    Who with positive vision will step up and replace Bond and Stocks?

  12. when did houlihan vote differently than the men?

  13. Houlihan supported prop c. So did lefty Coast News columnist Bob Nanninga. They drank the fear mongering kool aid.

  14. eta

    contact Kevin Cummins. He is eta president and blogs here frequently.

  15. Posters on this blog like to play gotcha and call out a single vote or a sincle comment in an email or article.

    All that is good and fair but in my opinion it's nothing compared to long term patterns of votes or activities.

    Ed Koch the former Mayor of New York, and funky quirky politician once said:

    If you agree with me 70% of the time, then we are of like political mind.

    If you agree with 100% of the time, you need to be instatutionalized!

  16. DEMA is supposed to be all about the merchants so why did DEMA want a tax passed that affected homeowners?

  17. Weak asthma girlMay 01, 2007 10:40 PM

    What’s up with Jerome?

    Jerome why exactly do you want people to smoke and throw their butts on our beaches? We all know its the number one pollutant of runoff and litter on the beach. I can understand Dalager and Bonds not supporting the cause; their butts have been dragging in the sand for years. What you’re reasoning?

    Encini0tas is going to be the last City to ban Cigarette butt throwing on their beach. Has El Cajon passed an ordinance yet banning smoking in its parks?

    JP- Maybe you could interview Jerome and find out why he wants people to smoke on our beaches. That would be just great.

    below is a related article.

    SAN DIEGO – Smokers will have fewer places they can indulge in their habit at San Diego parks and beaches.

  18. I don't smoke, but when I walk along the beach south to Swami's, north to Grandview, I see more STRAWS than butts. Also, I see more balloons with ribbons attached than butts.

    People should be able to smoke pipes on the beach, yes? Those don't have butts. The people I know who smoke take their butts with them, with their trash.

    I always pick up as much trash as I can on my beach walks.

    People, outside, on the beach, are not endangered by side-smoke. Let's stop trying to micro manage and control everyone through more and more laws, less and less personal choice. Arrest people for littering, if you must. Leave them be on the public beaches re smoking.

    Many, many times I have disagreed with Jerome Stocks. But he and Bond did vote NO on imposing the $5.00 monthly fee on our EDCO trash bills. Dalager, Guerin and Houlihan voted for that illegal tax. Less government intrusion into our lives is better, less expensive, and gives people the right to make our own decisions.

  19. DEMA did not take a position on Prop C.

    Ask Bob Bonde and Bill Rodenwald who presented to the board. DEMA heard both sides and did not get involved.

    Dema poster or should I say slammer, get your facts straight.

  20. anon 223,

    Get your facts COMPLETE. Who voted to spend $110K on Prop C, the clean water fee? Answer: Houlihan, Stocks, Bond, Dalager and Christy.

    Stock and Bond did not vote for the illegal fee, before that but when made legal they endorsed it with their vote for the expenditure of public funds to help get it put in place. If they didn't want us to pay twice they could have voted no. Don't forget that Prop C was at a time when the council was scambling to figure out how to pay for the library and the park. They ended up having to borrow 10 million dollars.

  21. They borrowed 18.5 million dollars.

  22. I have lived in this area since 1951 and seen it screwed up by East coast people building La Costa Country Club , I-5 cutting the area in two etc... many of you people that complain about stuff in Encinitas are considered outsiders and intrusive. If I want to smoke on the beach then I will. I don"t throw the butt in the sand. Take your liberal busybody, nosey, do gooder attitude and pound sand.

  23. geez anon 459,

    The ecke family used their influence to get I5 where it is, instead of more inland where it wouldn't chop everything in half, but no one mentions that.

    No one mentions that the eckes and some of the old timer growers bankrolled anti incorporation drives for years. Had we incorporated earlier we wouldn't have been bleeding so much tax money for so long. We already would have our hall park and it would have cost us so much. You have been here since 1951 so you know this already, but must have forgotten. Does smoking affect memory?

  24. Oh I beg to differ...

    Hwy 5 was coming right down what is now Hwy 101.

    Paul Ecke and Sid Shaw were the two champions that kept it off Hwy 101.

    If that had happened, all the conversations on this blog would be a moot point and so would downtown Encinitas which is a jewel.

  25. I stand corrected on the Bond and Stocks deal. They did vote for the bogus expenditures of $110,000 for consultants and a special election on Prop C, which was VERY soundly defeated.

    You can't legislate "morality." This means, we can't judge an adult who smokes, when side-smoke is not an issue.

    Smoking isn't good for us; but we have a right to smoke. Arrest someone for littering. If the cops see someone leaving his or her trash, including butts, then cite and fine them. . .

  26. Sooo many laws in this county are based on morality. Sooo mnay goverment programs are based on morality.

    a lot of the spastic smoking ban people would be muted if the cops were actualy writting littering tickets on the beaches. Are you willing to have the cops spend time watching out for littering?

  27. I-5 was never planned to go down where Highway 101 is. This is absurb to even suggest this. It was originally planned to go where El Camino Real is. The Eckes opposed this for reasons having to do with land ownership and location of water lines. At the time their interest was in preserving and fostering their agricultural empire.

    All of this happened back in the 1960s. I have a postcard from 1957 of an aerial photo of the new Oak Crest Jr. High School. (Yes, that's what the card says.) It's a shot looking east. It is nothing but wide open spaces. Who would have ever thunk it?

  28. Thank you other anon for vindicating me in regards to my memory. No the smoke has not messed up my memory. Paul Ecke Sr. was not about to let a city like micro mgt. type dictate how he would exist. Just look what has happened to Encinitas with the bipolar and petty council folks that we've been burdened with.

  29. tin cup and pencilsMay 03, 2007 4:53 PM

    Encinitas is flush, flush with cash. The city manager is up for a salary increase next week. From $165,000 to $198,723. It was a $30,000 salary increase 5 months ago and now a $34,000 increase next week. In less than a year his salary increased $64,000. Flush, flush.

  30. The city manager received the $30,000 increase eight months ago.

  31. History LessonMay 06, 2007 3:14 PM

    Interesting that no one opposed the clean water fee when it was approved by the city council AFTER public hearings during which only two people complained about the fee and you know who they were. They complain about everything the council does. Even when it was accepting free - yes - free - art to hang in City Hall. The clean water fee passed with local support and people were paying it until the Howard Jarvis "crusaders" decided that Encinitas would be its next meal ticket (they make a living on legal fees awarded to them by a judge or paid by defendants to get rid of them). How come the pre-lawsuit events never make the revisionist "histories" posted on the issue of Prop C. Bottom line: the fee had local support until outsiders decided to challenge it.

  32. The council had been discussing the fee in closed sessions for more than a year before they brought it out to a public council meeting. The council wanted to get around Prop 218 and force a fee on property owners without a vote of the people.


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