Highway 101 groups back hiring coordinator
By: ADAM KAYE - Staff Writer
ENCINITAS -- Officials from three revitalization groups said Thursday that they support a city plan to hire a coordinator to oversee economic development along the Coast Highway.
The person would oversee the Leucadia 101 MainStreet Association, the Cardiff 101 Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Encinitas MainStreet Association.
As outlined in the city's proposed 2007-08 spending plan, the Highway 101 corridor coordinator would earn $100,000 in the next fiscal year and $103,000 in 2008-09.
It has not been decided yet when the coordinator would be hired.
The City Council debated the budget Tuesday and is expected to adopt the $53.4 million spending plan May 23. The fiscal year begins July 1.
The city has proposed budgeting $278,500 in 2007-08 for economic development, which includes the coordinator's salary.
Part of the corridor coordinator's pay would come from a $23,000 reduction in the city's contract with the San Diego North Convention & Visitors Bureau, from $28,000 to $5,000.
A $10,000 reduction in the city's subsidy to the Downtown Encinitas MainStreet Association, from $50,000 to $40,000, would also go toward the salary.
Plans to create the position first surfaced during goal-setting workshops in January. At the time, officials said Peder Norby was their choice for the job.
Norby, executive director of the Downtown Encinitas MainStreet Association for the last 10 years, said Thursday that the job appealed to him, but said he did not know how the city would fill it.
"It's something I'm interested in and suspect will happen," Norby, 44, said.
It is unclear whether the city must advertise the contract position, which does not include health or retirement benefits. City Manager Phil Cotton and City Attorney Glenn Sabine could not be contacted Thursday.
Officials have not decided whether to solicit applications for the position, Councilman Jerome Stocks said.
Among Norby's accomplishments is securing the 2004 Great American MainStreet Award for downtown Encinitas, an honor coveted by the nation's 1,700 MainStreet groups.
The groups seek to revitalize and enhance historical downtown districts. MainStreet certification entitles groups to compete for government and private grants that are not available to other organizations.
The Leucadia MainStreet group formed under Norby's guidance in 2003 and is lobbying City Hall to beautify North Coast Highway 101.
"When all of the details of the Leucadia streetscape (emerge), Peder's got that experience," said Paula Kirpalani, program manager in Leucadia.
Norby represented downtown Encinitas merchants during a $5 million streetscape project in 2001 and 2002.
Jim Clark, of the Cardiff 101 Chamber of Commerce, said Norby's oversight would be a "huge plus" as Cardiff seeks state certification to become a MainStreet organization.
"Who has more knowledge than Peder?" Clark said. "We're pretty excited about it."
Do we really need a Hwy101 Czar or are we creating a job for Norby because he is a great guy?
Shouldn't the city at least interview a few other candidates for the job?
What kind of value do we get for our dollar? The Encinitas streetscape program cost $5 million (the city claims it has a $9 million surplus, we could start streetscape program in Leucadia tomorrow, right?). Is Norby's 101 Czar job meant to be temporary or his he going to earn $100,000+ a year for the next 20 years?
Peder Norby was a booster for forming a Redevelopment District in Leucadia. He was quoted in the Coast News as being "very familiar" with the redevelopment process and claimed Leucadia met the conditions of "blight". If Norby believes that Leucadia is "blighted" then is his presence to lay the ground work for a redevelopment district? Is your coastal private property in Leucadia safe from eminent domain under Norby's leadership?
Does Peder Norby respect private property rights?
What is it that Norby will be actually doing that isn't being done now?
Why should we expect Norby to accomplish more on 101 through Leucadia than L101 or LTC?
Is this position a "full time job" 40 per week and will Norby be working ONLY for Hwy 101 and the city of Encinitas? Will Norby be moonlighting with other cities while we pay him $100,000 a year?
Will Norby be consulting for other cities or municipalities while H101 Czar?? If so, why?
If so, will Norby be earning a salary from these other cities? If so how much?
Does Norby's position allow him any power over the Railroad right-of-way? (i.e. When can we expect the orange sandbags to be removed and erosion control flora planted in their place?)
Peder Norby is head of DEMA, an organization whose mission statement emphasises historic preservation along the 101. However, many critics say that DEMA has lost focus on historic preservation by supporting Pacific Station, a project promised to "transform" downtown Encinitas. If Norby supports transformation of historic areas and thinks Leucadia meets the definition of "blight", is he really a sheep in wolves clothing for developers?
I think that Norby did a great job revitalizing downtown Encinitas, but I am concerned about his position of a "blighted" Leucadia. I clearly remember how downtown Encinitas was back in the day, it wasn't much better than downtown Leucadia. Why the double standard? Why wasn't downtown Encinitas declared "blighted"?
What does Team Cardiff think about having a 101 Czar?
Does what Norby say goes, or is there a system of checks and balances?
Most importantly, does Peder Norby support my grand plan to install tikis and Easter Island heads all across Leucadia???
**Disclaimer** I recently became a board member on the Leucadia 101 Mainstreet Association. I basically support Norby. Many of the above burning questions are copy and paste from blog comments and e-mails I have received.