Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Pacific Station development on agenda for Thurs. Feb 1st meeting

The downtown mixed-use development dubbed Pacific Station, is on the Feb 1st Planning Commission agenda (item #3)

Agenda pdf

Previous blog post: Leucadia!: Density Destiny

This project will really change downtown Encinitas, including another stop light on the coast highway 101 at F St, so you might want to check out the meeting. Maybe even fill out on those speaker slips and give the Planning Commission your thoughts, impressions and ideas.

(Someone once told me that the coast highway was a highway and that stop signs and stop lights don't belong on highways, so keep that in mind).

*UPDATE--Pacific Station was approved by the Planning Commission.

Encinitas panel approves downtown project

Encinitas bans black kids selling overpriced candy from knocking on your door after 6 pm

Watch the video on KFMB's website here.

"There are exceptions. People canvassing on behalf of political candidates, government officers... Girl Scouts... Boy Scouts," Houlihan said. "I think the limitations will make people feel safer."

(translation: "There are exceptions, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts. You know...white people.")

Solicitors who want an Encinitas permit need to pay an $80 fee and pass a background check before they start going door to door.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Puddle Time

Anyone catch that crazy downpour this evening?

We Live in Yuppie Hell

click image for full size.

The gentrification of north county ramps up. Yes, you too can be a cardboard cutout white bread family living the California dream in your psuedo-McMansion behind your safe gated community walls and ride down to the coast highway on Sunday with your bitchin' Harley. You might as well start surfing at Cardiff on a rubber surfboard made in China while you are at it. Group hug!


Sunday, January 28, 2007

Moving Forward Together

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!

My Burning Roundabout Questions

The three roundabouts going on Leucadia Blvd are proving to be a source of high drama.

Leucadia Blvd has become a busy road, especially since it was extended and connected to El Camino Real and beyond.

I-5 commuters use Leucadia Blvd to get to the Coast Highway 101. The train intersection causes all kinds of chaos, but for this blog post we will focus on the roundabouts.

The prototype roundabout on Santa Fe Dr is being touted as a success. I drove through the Santa Fe roundabout twice yesterday. It's visually appealing, especially driving up Santa Fe heading east, but both times there was almost zero traffic and I encountered no cars at the roundabout. Smooth sailing.

I also drove down Leucadia Blvd. There was a lot of traffic. I mean, a lot!

So, I am wondering what the purpose of the Leucadia Blvd roundabouts really are?

Is it traffic calming? I think that means slowing people down. Do we want people to go slower on Leucadia Blvd? Seriously, traffic is not traveling all that fast on Leucadia Blvd right now. Few houses are really exposed to that street and no kids are playing street hockey there.

If Leucadia Blvd is supposed to be an artery are arteries supposed to be 25mph?

The main burning question is, are roundabouts really safer for pedestrians? The pedestrian crossings are not in the middle of the roundabout like I've heard some people claim. They are before, and well marked. But I noticed that when driving through a roundabout, you are concentrating on making the curve and watching for vehicles that don't yield. The first pedestrian crossing you encounter before entering the roundabout is obvious, but the one the other side as you exit is tricky. It may be hard to see pedestrians already in the roundabout crosswalk, especially at night.

I would guess that any pedestrians struck at roundabouts were hit by vehicles exiting, not entering.

I propose some sort of push button flashing light in the ground for pedestrians, like the they have at the non-stop sign pedestrian crossings in Del Mar.

There has been a lot of heated roundabout discussion on this blog and a lot of the ins and outs have been well covered.

Santa Barbara is feeling the same growing pains that Encinitas is. Read this blog entry about Santa Barbara roundabouts DAS WILLIAMS Blog: Roundabouts

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Sorry "anonymous"

This blog no longer accepts anonymous comments. You will have to register with blogger under a name of your choosing. Sorry for the inconvenience. I hope you all will continue to post your feedback.

(click on "comments" as usual and follow the simple instructions)

I've also added an Atom feed. On the upper right of this page click "atom" and you can subscribe to this blog. If you use the "live bookmarks" option new blog post are easy to access via your browser's toolbar. Try it!

Hall Park Overview

click image for large view

The city bought the 43 acres south of Santa Fe Drive and west of Interstate 5 in 2001 for $17.2 million from one of the city's first flower growers, Robert Hall. The land is commonly called the Hall property.

In ensuing years, the city designed a $35 million park with baseball and softball fields, basketball courts, a teen center, a skate park, a dog park, playgrounds, rest areas and a swimming pool.

If built, it would be the city's largest public park. The first phase, to be financed with proceeds from a $20 million bond issue last year, would include the dog park, restrooms, grassy areas and a possible skate park.

Union Tribune story

43-acre Hall property environmental review

Public comment period: Jan. 25 to March 12.

Planning Commission meeting: 6 p.m. March 1, Encinitas City Hall, 550 S. Vulcan Ave.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Hall property report

Click the link below to read the story

Traffic top issue in Hall property report

I was expecting soil contamination to be the top issue, not traffic (how many SUVs with "Little Bobby is #1" written on the back windshield is this park going to attract anyway?)

Interesting quote, To compensate for the congestion, the report suggests installing traffic signals or roundabouts at the intersections.

Adding more roundabouts to Santa Fe, where one is in place at Rubenstein Drive, would make the busy road even more dangerous, said Peter Stern, who lives near the Rubenstein roundabout.

"It will also cause more noise," Stern said, "and as a resident near the roundabout, the perpetual honking is truly offensive. There wasn't any prior to the installation of the roundabout."

Honk if love roundabouts!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Going around and around

This blog has become really popular (I'm as surprised as you) and I find the comments people take time to post fascinating. Sometimes I post comments as a main blog post. Here is one of them:

The whole roundabout thing has caused me think in circles.

We came together as a city because we were less than pleased by the dumping attitude of the county. That was a time that if you had 5k (or a prostitute) you could get Paul Eckert, our supervisor, to vote your way on anything.

The five communities were necessary to achieve a critical mass (lafco) to become a city. I think that critical mass is still needed today.

That brings me to the circle part:

First it was the city services and the El Camino Real corridor that got the attention. That attention and expenditures were possible because of the property values along the coast that the new city of Encinitas was able to spend inland.*

Next it was downtown, those improvements were made possible by the new sales tax revenue of the Encinitas Ranch and the El Camino Real corridor.

Now, and the next five years, it’s Leucadia’s turn, those projects are made possible by the generation of property tax and sales tax generated by downtown and the Encinitas Ranch.

I have no doubt in the future, improvements to Cardiff and the El Camino Real corridor will be made possible by the Leucadia corridor property tax and hotel tax.

My simple point is that we are all making it better. It’s Leucadia’s turn at the wheel for the near future.

California has 33 million people and most of those folks (us) live in the bottom third of the state, along the coast.

It’s difficult to lock the doors and say stay away. Its possible to say here’s what we want when you come to our town, or drive through.

We have the right, and I think the obligation to control traffic and calm traffic as it comes through our city.

Reduce the lanes, the lane width, and most importantly the speed.

And finally, don’t pick on other areas of the city, but thank them for helping Leucadia.


*This is a key point. Without the original property tax collected from the private homes of old Leucadia, Olivehain, Encinitas and Cardiff none of the capital projects could have been jump started in the first place. The older neighborhoods deserve respect.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Big List of dumb things we gotta do this year

Encinitas announces top-10 list of projects

By Angela Lau

January 24, 2007

ENCINITAS – Despite worries about a potential dip in sales tax revenue and a smaller contingency reserve in the coming years, the city has decided to embark on long-awaited capital projects that include Encinitas' largest public park.

The City Council settled on 10 priority projects Monday in an informal goal-setting session. They are:

*A 43-acre park south of Santa Fe Drive and west of Interstate 5. The park's environmental review, which must be critiqued by the public and adopted by the City Council before construction can begin, is expected to be released tomorrow. The first building phase is expected to cost $19 million and will be paid for from bonds sold last year. Operating costs, estimated at $500,000 per year, have not been budgeted.

What is that sucking sound? It's the sound of all of our resources getting drained into this crazy expensive white elephant park. We all want the park, but it's mind boggling how costly this thing has become.

*The beautification of North Coast Highway 101 from A Street to La Costa Avenue in Leucadia. The cost has not been determined.

This can be done frugally and quickly. If done right it will pay for itself in no time at all as downtown Leucadia attracts more pedestrian shoppers.

*A sea wall and improved trails at Beacons Beach in Leucadia, at an undetermined cost.

This seawall is going to be trouble with a capital T. We must try to improve the bluff access with no seawall or leave Beacon's alone. I still want to see some porti-potties there and at Grandview beach too.

*A $200,000 study of Encinitas Boulevard's alignment to help the city determine how much to charge developers when they build near the east-west artery.

Wow, $200,000 for a study? I need to get in on this gravy. Developers like Michael D Pattinson are going to throw a fit when they hear about these new fess, ha-ha!

*A $20 million pedestrian crossing at the Leucadia rail tracks.

There is no freaking way in hell that every time I cross the tracks to pick up my dry cleaning in the 7-11 shopping center that it should cost $20 million. The world has gone insane. I can avoid getting hit by the train for free. A few thousand in landscaping I can understand, but $20 million? This is the kind of stuff that makes me crazy.

Improvements at Leucadia Boulevard and Vulcan Avenue that would cost $5 million. The intersection is a car length east of the railroad tracks. Deputy Mayor Jerome Stocks suggested moving the Leucadia Boulevard rail crossing farther south, where the tracks are lower and the street could be built with less incline than it currently has.

Now, this is confusing. Is this related to the above $20 million? Why do these improvements only cost $5 million while a single pedestrian crossing cost $20 million. I don't get it. Moving the intersection could work as long as it doesn't screw over the good people who live on Cadmus. We want to see traffic studies on this one.

*Sidewalks and roundabouts on Leucadia Boulevard, estimated to cost $1 million.

I decided I'm okay with the roundabouts because I drive like a little old lady from Pasadena anyway, but people are kind of flipping out about these things. I think we all like the sidewalks though. I had a lot of near death experiences when I was kid walking from the Flats to Beacon's down Leucadia Blvd. Sidewalks would have been nice.

*A downtown parking facility at a cost to be determined.

*cough* Pacific View would be a great downtown and beach overflow parking site. Anyone? Is this thing on? *cough*

*Traffic improvements near the 43-acre park near Santa Fe Drive. The cost has not been computed.

The cost has not been computed? Somebody get one of those new fangled electronic abacass asap!

*Ongoing road improvements to establish a network of routes for children to ride their bicycles or walk to school.

I thought kids got to school as single riders in big plush SUVs, sipping juice boxes while watching Finding Nemo on DVD.

Besides setting priorities, the council also decided to:

Authorize a ballot measure asking voters if they want to collect a hotel tax on vacation rental units.

I am usually against all taxes but if the hotel owners have to pay taxes then the summer renters should have to pay taxes too.

Study whether special events, such as sister-city activities, should be held by private entities to save taxpayers money. Already, the Encinitas Chamber of Commerce has offered to take over the Christmas Parade.

Will this really save us money? How?

Study whether the city should establish a permanent environmental oversight committee.

This sounds good in theory, but what are the details?

Accept an overall MainStreet “czar” – Downtown Encinitas MainStreet Association Executive Director Peder Norby – as the coordinator of downtown, Cardiff and Leucadia merchants associations.

Right now there is a certain amount of competition between downtown Encinitas, Cardiff and Leucadia. Can Norby be neutral and fair to all three downtowns?

Consider designating downtown as a historical zone.

Sounds neat-o. But, what does this mean for the ambitious high density projects that are going into downtown? What does this mean for the small business owner who wants to make improvements to his/her building? Or, is this simply installing a plaque that reads "You are standing in a historical zone"?

Post public documents on the city's Web site and consider announcing closed-session decisions more often.

Yes and yes.

Explore the formation of a construction oversight commission to ensure that the city gets the biggest bang for its buck.

Be careful of running into the law of diminishing returns here. We don't need anymore $100,000 a year jobs with fat pensions.

Consider banning or regulating commercial enterprises, such as surfing schools, at the beaches.

BAN ALL SURF SCHOOLS! LEARN TO SURF ON YOUR OWN AND STAY OUT OF THE WAY YOU YUPPIE FREAKS! Surf schools are insane. Sending a dozen novice surfers out at a time causes serious havoc in the lineup. If you don't surf you have no idea of the major tension that has been building up over the last 5 years over this.

Read the entire UT article by clicking the link at the top of the post.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Beautifying North Coast Highway 101 top the City Council's priority list for 2007

Encinitas sets goals for 2007: Hall property park, highway improvements first in line

Click the above link to read the story about the city' goals for 2007.

Leucadians should be happy that after paying 20 years of property taxes to the city the process of having a decent downtown mainstreet infrastructure has finally begun.

The hairy back of Leucadia is getting an overdue waxing.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Hall property EIR surfaces

The Draft EIR for the Hall Property is now available for public review. Review period is Jan 25 - March 12, 2007.

A public meeting will be held by the Planning Commission on Thursday, March 1, 2007 at 6:00pm.

The document will be available for review at the Planning and Building Dept. at City Hall and at the Cardiff-by-the-Sea Library.

Complete information should be on the official Encinitas city website soon.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Flipping Out

Interesting real estate blog I found called This Old House Flip.

The blogger does a good job tracking people's attempts to buy and quickly sell a home (flipping). In some cases the homes were not even lived in. A handy chart is supplied to see the date purchased, original price and new asking price.

Hi I'm Bob Flippa and welcome to "This Old House Flip". We will be investigating detailed examples of flippers attempting to quickly make a profit buying and selling the "American Dream" of owning a home in the San Diego County area. This blog serves to educate potential buyers of the unscrupulous activies of these flippers and will hopefully save you money in the longterm.

Most of the homes are mind boggling ugly and look like they were designed by blind retarded monkeys instead of architects.

Encinitas listing

(I can only assume that "Bob Flippa" is a pseudonym. At least, I hope so).

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Beacon's Access is Top Priority of 40 Projects

Encinitas city staffers: Beacon's Beach should be top-priority project

By: ADAM KAYE - Staff Writer

ENCINITAS--City staffers on Tuesday identified Beacon's Beach improvements as the highest-priority capital project for Encinitas to complete.

The job, which calls for a new trail, sea wall and parking lot to be built at the beach just west of Leucadia Boulevard, earned the most points in a ranking exercise by city department heads.

Other top-ranked projects included construction of the first phase of the Hall property park in Cardiff and accompanying road improvements, the design of a new interchange at Encinitas Boulevard, safe routes to school and pedestrian crossings along the railroad.

City Manager Phil Cotton presented the assessment of more than 40 projects to the City Council at its first of two goal-setting sessions for 2007.

Beacon's as priority #1? I guess I'm a little surprised. That's cool though. It's a controversial project (of course). There is a lot of opposition to the proposed seawall. Some folks are even against stabilizing the bluff at all (not me). As is, the city has a $5 million dollar plan. The state grant is for $2.8 million. Does the city even have the extra funds for this? Can the city planners come up with a solid non-seawall plan that won't get us sued by the Surfrider Foundation and other groups?

I wonder where a walkable downtown Leucadia mainstreet with sidewalks and lighting ranks on the list?

Also in the article you will find concerns about traffic and smoking on our beaches.

If everyone who smoked stayed home instead of driving around, half our problems would be solved!

Yield for the fence next time

Another Santa Fe roundabout mishap.

click images for larger view

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Kerry Miller's Folsom 7th Heaven

City Manager reflects on first 100 days on job
Kerry Miller makes predictions for 2007

By: Cheri March
Wednesday, January 17, 2007 1:32 PM PST
Kerry Miller

After 25 years in half a dozen cities, City Manager Kerry Miller is happy to call Folsom home.

As he approaches his first 100 days in office, an enthusiastic Miller reflected on his time in Folsom, his hopes for the city's future, and what brought him here in the first place.

Several years ago, Miller assumed he would retire in Encinitas, the coastal Northern San Diego County city he had managed for seven years. But as his family migrated towards Reno and the Bay Area, Miller, a Northern California native, changed his mind.

"I was feeling lonely seeing them so infrequently. It made me realize if I had the chance to relocate, I would - and I couldn't be more delighted with this community," he said.

Upon his arrival, Miller quickly noticed similarities between Folsom and Encinitas. The communities shared comparable median incomes, school test scores, and a landscape of rolling hills.

Encinitas had reached build-out. Not including the annexation on south of Highway 50, Folsom is beginning to grapple with approaching build-out, Miller said.

Both cities went through the challenging process of building a new library. Encinitas' nationally recognized Main Street program reminded Miller of the Historic District revitalization in Folsom.

Initially, Miller thought no staff could beat his "top-notch" Encinitas crew, but Folsom proved him wrong.

"There's good decorum between the five city council members and how much time they are willing to dedicate. They're a great staff," he said. "I look forward to developing real team-building programs to further cement working in the same direction with the community vision."

Recently, Miller appointed Evert Palmer and Nav Gil as Assistant City Managers and David E. Miller as Community Development Director.

"I couldn't be more delighted with the recent appointments," he said, explaining that he prefers to first look for talent internally.

The new Assistant City Managers had nothing but good things to say about their boss.

"We're very excited to have Kerry as city manager; he brings a great deal of experience," Palmer said. "And it's very good timing. There are exciting things happening with the opening of the new library and the groundbreaking of the new bridge. He's the right person at the right time."

Like Palmer, Miller agreed that 2007 will be an exciting year and he predicted several issues would dominate. At the top of his list is the annexation of land south of Highway 50.

"The annexation is probably the most significant in the total scheme of things," he said. "The prospect is very exciting. We're planning so that future development preserves our quality of life and is something the entire community can be proud of."

Miller is hopeful the annexation will be well underway this year. An agreement has already been worked out with the county. The community and property owners have embraced a land use plan, he said.

Another significant development will be the bridge project. With an expected completion date in late 2008, this year will see the groundbreaking for a highly anticipated bridge that will alleviate congestion caused by the closure of Folsom Dam Road.

Also on Miller's mind is the revitalization of Folsom's Historic District.

"Sutter Street is a diamond in the rough. I can't begin to imagine what its potential may be," he said.

Miller called the project fun, but challenging. "The challenge is in developing a streetscape that builds upon and enhances its character," he explained.

He is well qualified to oversee the project, When Encinitas underwent its own revitalization under Miller's management, shops not only remained open, but actually generated more income during construction than before.

As for his personal goal of being close to family, Miller now sees his children and grandchildren almost every weekend. Living in Folsom, he is conveniently at the center of his children's Reno, Tahoe, and Bay Area homes.

"This holiday was the first in many years that almost the entire family was together," he said.

Though he misses Encinitas, he is happy to be in Folsom, he said. "I love living here. I enjoy driving to and from work, seeing the beautiful trees out the window."

A self-proclaimed fast-food addict, he is also in love with Folsom's abundance of restaurants, including his favorite, Mel's.

"Give me a Vanilla Coke and a hamburger, and I'm in 7th heaven."


Kerry Miller looks just like the Dad from the tv show 7th Heaven. It's uncanny ain't it?

The last southern California coastal open space, thank you Camp Pendleton

I took these photos last weekend from that little view point off the I-5 in the middle of Camp Pendleton. Thank god for the marines. It's so nice to be able to actually see the ocean while driving down the freeway. At this point it's surreal to see the southern California coast without McMansions, 7-11's, Blockbuster Video's, Starbucks, etc.
Can you imagine if the marine base wasn't there and it was sprawl all the way from San Diego to LA? It's nice to get a little elbow room feeling, even if the base isn't accessible to civilians.

click on images for large view

Monday, January 15, 2007

What are your goals in life young man?

From my e-mail inbox:

Dear Friends....As many of you already know there are two council goal setting meetings scheduled for this month.

The first is this Tuesday, January 16 at 4pm. The 2nd one will be Monday, January 22nd, also at 4 pm. Both will be held in the Poinsettia Conference Room at City Hall. The meetings are generally 4-5 hours long.

The purpose of these meetings is to review past goals and the status of those goals.

Review and assess financial funding limits and opportunities.

Set goals for 2007 and beyond.

In the past there has been an opportunity for public comment...usually prior to council discussion.

I urge you to attend and participate in the discussion about the direction you want YOUR city to take. Most importantly it is an opportunity to offer positive solutions and approaches to a number of issues facing the community.

Friday, January 12, 2007

We don't need no education

Downtown Encinitas school site the topic of meeting

By: ADAM KAYE - Staff Writer

ENCINITAS -- Houses, offices and a historical schoolhouse are part of a development plan proposed for the old Pacific View School campus.

After more than a year of committee meetings, Encinitas Union School District officials said Wednesday that they are ready to disclose their latest thinking about what to do with the Third Street campus that closed as a school in 2003.

The district would like to trade the valuable site for commercial property that could be a source of income for its instructional program, said Superintendent Lean King.

But before any swap happens, the city would have to rezone the property and establish conditions that may limit what a developer could build, he said.

At a 10 a.m. Saturday public meeting at Paul Ecke-Central School, 185 Union St., district officials and consultants will present an advisory panel's suggestions, which include:

# rezoning the site for a project that includes single-family homes, town houses, offices and condominiums on top of offices;

# covering no more than half of the property with buildings;

# restricting buildings to two stories; and

# keeping the historical schoolhouse, and possibly moving it, so that it becomes a centerpiece of the project.

read the rest of the story here

It seems to me that if the city is hellbent on increasing our density then maybe we will need a school in the downtown Encinitas area. Why not make it a really cool pre-school or daycare or something? Or make it an adult education campus? Or an alternative school with woodshop, ceramics, welding and autoshop? It would be a great location for a skate park.

Okay, it's settled. Let's build a skate park.

***I didn't go to the meeting today. Did anyone mention turning the site into summer beach parking? Remember, parking was all a big drama last year with the 101 Mainstreet Assoc.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Coastal Leucadia, their Highway or our Mainstreet?

Another deadly accident in Leucadia resulting in the tragic death of a well liked local got me thinking about the state of Leucadia's HWY101 corridor.

It's called the Coast Highway so it's a high speed highway for communting, right?

I've always viewed it as a route to cruise, not speed. You take the coast highway slowly, to enjoy the ride and enjoy the beach community.

Now it's mostly just an alternative for when I-5 gets backed up.

Traffic is getting dodgy on the Leucadia 101 strip. The Pannikan is popular and has been the scene of big accidents before. I remember watching the Life Flight helicopter land there a few years ago.

The Lou's records, Pannikan, Calypso, Gold Coast shopping plaza, Robbie's Roadhouse and Vigilucci's section of Leucadia has become really popular, which is a good thing, but maybe it's time to manage the traffic a little better.

Now, the accident was a result of a dumbass teenager tearing down the coast highway way too fast (85 mph) in a vehicle that he couldn't handle. (I've had several people tell me that they have yelled at this same kid for speeding many times).

But, maybe we should ban all left turns out of the Leucadia side streets and instead make a good series of U-Turn lanes say, every 1/4 mile.

In the one time I met councilman Jerome Stocks I inquired what he thought about stop signs in coastal Leucadia. He said the coast highway was indeed a highway and that Del Mar regretted the stop signs they put in.

As a hater of stop signs, I do agree. But I think one or two well placed stop signs at popular left turn streets may be a good idea (if you don't like the NO left turn and U-turn idea that is).

In the one time I met Paul Ecke3 we talked about coast highway Leucadia and he said he liked the idea of making southbound Leucadia one lane with the other lane as a merging lane for wider sidewalks and better parking.

I like this idea, I think it would be good for all the small business and residents. Of course I'm not commuting south from Carlsbad (they really should just tough it out on I-5. You reap what you sow).

The coast highway is also our mainstreet in Leucadia. Since it is a one sided mainsteet it will never be like the downtown Encinitas mainsteet, but it can still be great.

You have to admit, this is not living up to it's potential. And why does the NCTD have to ugly up our coast highway so bad. Plant some plants!

If we could somehow get NCTD to let us put in parking along the tracks and then we put in pedestrian crossings I think Leucadia would really flourish. Remember the John Severson book signing at that little surf shop on Grandview a couple of summers ago? There was no parking so people parked on the dirt by the tracks and crossed the highway on foot. The cops wasted no time in writing tickets and towing vehicles.

You can't legislate knuckle headed behavior. The best infrastructure won't stop a bad driver from making poor choices. But maybe it will help the overall flow of the town.

Check out this overhead map of coastal Leucadia. Zoom in and out, travel north and south. LINK

Sunday, January 07, 2007

North County is a Mecca for Car Thieves

North County is a Mecca for Car Thieves and North County Surfers are a Major Target

click for large view

This is from

Eric Johnson

San Diego has one of the highest auto theft rates in the United States of America. In a recent News 8 CrimeFighters report (KFMB San Diego), it was claimed that a car gets stolen every hour in San Diego County.

But perhaps no other group has experienced the phenomenon of car theft more acutely than the North County San Diego surfing community. In fact the word on the street — or on the I-5 for that matter — is that upwards of 15 cars a week are being nicked from the beachside parking lots in the region between the Palomar Airport Road and Del Mar/Torrey Pines exits. And as we’ll get to here in just a moment, the number one target for these seaside rip-off artists is you: The guy wearing a wetsuit and holding a surfboard.

Three months ago, Britt Galland, Vice President of Marketing at No Fear in Carlsbad, decided to throw down for a new truck. First came the $26,000 to pay for the truck, then came $10,000 more to hop it up. “I bought a new Ford F150,” says Galland, “then I went right out and had it lifted 8”, bought 20” wheels, a new grill new, exhaust — I bought all the bells and whistles — and it was really dolled up. I was stoked with it.”

Then came Friday, December 23, 2006 and a surf session at Pipes in Cardiff.

“I lent the truck to my son and he went surfing at Pipes in Cardiff,” explains Galland. “Before he got in the water, he did what a whole bunch of surfers do, he hid the keys. People like myself might know about what can happen when you hide your keys, but there’s a large group of young kids that don’t really get it: People will watch you and take your shit and rip you off while you’re out surfing.”

Thus as fate would have it, when Britt’s 20 year-old son paddled back in, the f150 was gone and so were his dad’s iPod, camera, phone, cash, wallet, ID’s and two surfboards.

“It’s an attack on surfing,” declares Galland. “Surfers are the easiest targets. Your 200 yards out in the water and your feet are frozen and you’re nowhere near your car. So you’re out in the water and you see some guy stealing your car, what are you going to do about it? You’re not going to run in. The guy’s going to get into your car — with your keys! — and he’s not even going to have to break a window or anything. He’s not even going to be threatened. Hell, he’ll even have time to turn on the heater, put on the seatbelt, adjust the seat and drive away slowly. It’s the perfect crime. But it’s all 100% avoidable. Why make it so easy for these guys?”

What can make it unavoidable?

“There’s this new innovation in the wetsuit industry. In fact it’s actually been around for 30 years, but nobody uses it. It’s called a key pocket.”

As far as protecting yourself and your fossil fuel burning assets, Galland brings up a good point. But still, when it comes to people desperate for money, and the requisite need to steal other people’s property, when there’s an ill will, there’s a way.

Take Chuck Elliott, a director of retail sales for Surfer magazine, and his recent wall-hit of an experience.

“I live In Encinitas and surf in Cardiff,” begins Elliott, who makes a living walking in and out of surf shops. “I’ve been doing the same routine for 20 years. It was on a Sunday and I was watching a Chargers’ game. At halftime, I decided to go surf for 30 minutes. It was sunny and killer out and I just wanted to get wet. I stashed my key — I had a Hide-A-Key on my ’02 Land Rover Discovery — and got in the water. When I came back in, my car was gone. So was my camera, credit cards, wetsuits, iPod, a belt buckle I had from the 1976 Olympic Games and my wedding ring.”

What did Elliot do? And what should you do?

“The first thing I did was run and call my wife and had her get all the credit cards cancelled. My wife’s dad was a deputy sheriff in Encinitas for 14 years and that’s one thing he has told us before: if your car gets stolen, always get your financials in order immediately because the thieves can use the credit cards to gas the car up.”

Quick thinking and fast action provided Elliott’s tale a slightly happier ending.

“Since my father-in-law got involved and helped out, they recovered my car in 10 hours. What must have happened is that the guys who stole it did some hard joy riding in it. They must have driven it hard through alleys and streets and hit curbs because it was way out of alignment and the steering rods and stuff were bent. They also cleaned the thing out. I was happy to get my car back, but still…

Like Galland, Elliott too has some simple advice on how to keep the hands of thieves of the steering wheel of your car or truck. “The number one target is when these guys pull up and see a surfer in a wetsuit holding a board,” he offers. “I mean the guys who ripped off my car were most likely watching me from the parking lot with a pair of binoculars. It’s a great lookout point. You just have to be careful and try your best to keep your eyes open and be aware of what’s going on.”


“And make sure you have homeowners insurance,” insists Elliott. “Don’t just buy car insurance because it doesn’t cover the personal items in your car if it’s stolen. That’s the one positive thing I had going for me. I had homeowners insurance.”

Okay. Fair warning. It sucks, but it’s reality. There are plenty of car thieves out there with their sights set on you. Look out for one another. Work together. Help each other and don’t allow yourself or a fellow surfer to be a victim.

*note-This paragraph made me laugh out loud, "Three months ago, Britt Galland, Vice President of Marketing at No Fear in Carlsbad, decided to throw down for a new truck. First came the $26,000 to pay for the truck, then came $10,000 more to hop it up. “I bought a new Ford F150,” says Galland, “then I went right out and had it lifted 8”, bought 20” wheels, a new grill new, exhaust — I bought all the bells and whistles — and it was really dolled up. I was stoked with it.”
So typical of those No Fear goons to spend so much money on a gay bling bling truck. I feel bad that it got stolen, but Britt man, the freaking 80's are over bro. That thief did you a favor.

**Car thieves got hip to Hide-a-keys within 5 minutes of their invention. In Cardiff, car thieves park on Vulcan/San Elijo across the train tracks and watch surfers change into their wetsuits on the coast highway, watch where they hide their key and wait for them to go surfing. Now, the car thief has at least an hour to steal the vehicle.

I have my valet key tied with a nylon string loop and wear it around my neck under my wetsuit.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

New Leucadia Blvd Intersection Crossing

Dan Dalager and Doug Long test out the new Leucadia Blvd crossing with Alfred Guerin in hot pursuit.

Friday, January 05, 2007


Michael D. Pattinson's favorite roundabout, located in China of course. Looks like a great time.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Density Destiny

Transforming Dumpy Little Areas; John DeWald's vision of high density


"Pacific Station," the "mixed-use" project proposed by Encinitas developer John DeWald, calls for two three-story buildings, a two-story restaurant and two levels of underground parking on the 1.39-acre lot between E and F streets. The 33-foot-tall buildings would be among the tallest in downtown Encinitas.

The project also would include a grocery store or pharmacy as the anchor, along with offices and smaller stores. The businesses would have 47 one- and two-level condominiums built on the floors above them.

full story on


The developer, John DeWald of Cardiff, is expected to present his plans for the subdivision to the Encinitas Planning Commission this month. DeWald would be able to build 10 homes on less than an acre near the beach by including a low-income residence in the mix.

Called Daphne Meadows, the planned subdivision adjoins the back of restaurants and stores on the west side of North Coast Highway 101. To the west is a mixture of single-family homes, duplexes and town homes. The beach -- at the bottom of a tall bluff -- is less than one block away.

DeWald said Tuesday that the Daphne subdivision would replace "a dumpy little area" with nice, small houses, each on its own little lot.

DeWald said it would not make economic sense to build multimillion-dollar homes so close to the highway and commercial strip.

What makes sense, he says, is providing housing that is within reach of working people.

By applying the state "density bonus" law, DeWald is entitled to exceed the property's zoning by two homes. Under the law, one of the homes can sell at market rate, but the other must be set aside for a qualifying "low-income" household.

full story on

Density Destiny

Developers are interesting creatures. They try so hard to say and do all the right things so not to anger the NIMBY's so their project can get built and they can get paid. But sometimes it's hard for developers to disguise their true selves.

DeWald attempts to build some goodwill by throwing in the working man angle. Affordable housing for hard working cops, fireman and teachers; the unsung American heros who are getting priced out of the neighborhoods they serve.

Sounds great. But DeWald quickly blows his cover by calling his Leucadia property "a dumpy little area".

This area includes Shatto's t-shirt store, Mozy Cafe and the beloved La Especial Norte. All important neighbors DeWald should want support from, not insult. I'm sure the homeowners on that street aren't impressed with getting called "dumpy".


Promised to boldly "transform" downtown Encinitas (as if it needed it with the recent streetscape facelift that improved the infrastructure but kept the charm) Pacific Station is an ambitious high density mixed use project that announces 21st century Encinitas like a Super Bowl ad.

The Pacific Station project has some good concepts; downtown urban living with underground parking and markets to serve the neighborhood.

But, judging from the concept drawings will it really work?

At best, Pacific Station will be like the Cardiff Seaside Market area with housing. At worst, it's a claustrophobic mess.

The multi curved roofs say "Hey, look at me I'm totally modern!" but unfortunately the curved roof line was plenty played out by 1998, let alone 2006. Maybe in 25 years the many curved roof lines in the Encinitas area will give us a retro look?

The living units, sure to be mostly short term summer rentals, are packed in close with no common area for residents to meet and greet, and offers views of the coast highway restaurants backsides and dumpsters.

The main metal building won't be any great loss but the other small quaint/cool metal barn building on F St will be missed.

The lifestyle of Pacific Station living, wedged between the busy coast Hwy101 and the constant blaring horns of passing and stopping trains, will mostly appeal to the younger hipster 20's and 30's crowd. Downtown Encinitas can provide them with some of the culture they crave; coffee shops, art films at the historic La Paloma theater, plenty of taco stands and Thai food and the Daily Double Saloon. But will the current Stepford-ish vibe that all residents of Encinitas must be in bed by 10 o'clock; no loud music, no parties, no DJ's or dancing allowed and the anti-skateboarding rules, spoil all the new fun?

I'm a fan of mixed use and I think Urban Lite style projects will be good for the coast highway strip. But I would like to see these projects be more thoughtful and subtle in Encinitas. Most developers are salivating to "transform" Encinitas into the next Newport or Manhattan Beach. This might be good for them and send them back to Ohio with a bulging wallet, but we need to keep our town functional and livable.

My friendly advice to developers and the city is to complete full traffic studies when it comes to major developments and changes like Pacific Station, the Cadmus intersection and Leucadia roundabouts, before shouting at the top of your lungs about it.

What we need is more Encinitas, not less. And "less is more" developments will bring us that. Pacific Station has potential. Will it be a great asset or another botched opportunity like the Lumberyard shopping center of the 80's?

I wish these Pacific Station style developments for Encinitas were a little less yuppie and were headed up by advanced thinking architects like San Diego's Ted Smith or Teddy Cruz.

Be mindful...

*The Planning Commission is discussing both of DeWald's projects at the Thursday January 11 meeting at city hall. link

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Giant Nipple Man attacks downtown Encinitas

ENCINITAS--Panic and fear and gripped the small coastal community of Encinitas after an hour long morning rampage by a surfboard wielding giant Nipple Man.

In what appeared to be an unprovoked attack, the giant Nipple Man laid waste to several local business by shooting a heat ray from his oversized nipple.

"I don't know what his problem was," said stunned eyewitness, Bob Johnson. "The giant Nipple Man has always been peaceful in the past."

"He totally just freaked out for no reason." said another area man, Tyler Hanel. "He stepped on my car and then laughed about it. That's not cool."

Critics say that giant Nipple Man has transformed historic Encinitas in a negative way but Peder Norby of the Downtown Encinitas MainStreet Association commented that giant Nipple Man was a logical step in evolution.

"That represented a huge change for downtown," Norby said. "This does represent an evolution, but it's not that it's something that hasn't happened before."

Officials said that after running amok for nearly an hour the giant Nipple Man got into a giant yellow H2 and returned to his man cave deep below the earth's crust under San Elijo Hills.

Locals fear that another attack is imminent.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Leucadia Roundabouts need big Easter Island Heads

click photo for large view

It's so obvious that the only clear choice for our new Leucadia roundabouts is too have big Easter Island heads in the middle of them. That would show those Carlsbad and Del Mar creeps.

Sure, the indigenous people of Rapa Nui may have destroyed their culture by obsessively building these giant heads; but you have to admit it was worth it. The heads are that cool.

See also: Leucadia!: A Proliferation of the Devices