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"

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Swamis Rip Rap, a Beacon's bluff solution?


Swamis beach March 2007

San Diego Union Tribune story about the Swamis "riprap" boulders which have done a dang good job of keeping the bluff stable.


On the edge of a solution for bluffs

Fellowship successful in preventing collapse


The story includes a history of the Self-Realization Fellowship's efforts to stabilize the Swami's bluffs.

Personally I like the riprap. I grew up hanging out on those boulders and always wondered why it wasn't used in Solana Beach.




In the 1980s, the fellowship came up with a simple three-pronged plan to stop the bluff collapses:

Drill wells and install pumps to send groundwater away from the bluff face and into a city storm drain that runs through the fellowship grounds.

Plant deep-rooted vegetation on the bluff face to hold the sand together.

Build a 1,500-foot-long wall of boulders, or riprap, at the toe of the bluffs to dissipate the crashing waves.



From the article:

Not an easy start

Before the system was installed, things were less than serene under the fellowship's lawns.

Water accumulated under the low-lying Second and K streets adjacent to the grounds and crept westward, leading to the collapse of the temple, said Steve Aceti, (dude, Aceti is everywhere!) government and community relations representative for the fellowship.

In 1981, the monastics got permission from the then-San Diego Coast Regional Commission – later replaced by the umbrella California Coastal Commission – to build the riprap wall at the bottom of the bluff. The ring of protective boulders cost the fellowship $270,900. (That is a good price. I wonder what riprap cost these days? I bet it is cheaper than building a seawall)

That same year, in an apparently misguided effort to smooth out and stabilize the bluffs, the fellowship graded them without a permit. (Barratt American CEO Michael D Pattinson would be proud. He says if you grade your property with a bulldozer without a permit then you are a great American hero like Rosa Parks) link


Workers suspended a bulldozer from a crane at the blufftop and ended up causing 3,500 square feet of bluff between J and K streets to topple under the weight of the heavy equipment, a San Diego Coast Regional Commission report stated. (Yeah, well...Heroes slice through the red tape)

The fellowship was fined $15,000, an unprecedented amount at the time, and ordered to plant vegetation on the bluff face.

The monks and nuns experimented with 51 varieties of plants and narrowed their choice to acacia and atriplex breweri, also known as saltbush, because they are drought-resistant and can tolerate salt air. The revegetation project cost $2,400. (I believe that vegetation is the key to stabilizing the bluff at Beacon's Beach. Let's plant some acacia and atriplex asap)



Local residents who are familiar with it are so impressed that they have suggested that the city replicate it at the popular Beacon's Beach in Leucadia. City officials are examining how to shore up the crumbling 85-foot-tall bluffs that are threatening a parking lot at the top and a trail down the cliff face. (see photos at bottom of post comparing Swami's and Beacon's)

The city has taken the suggestion into consideration and is drafting a final environmental review for the Beacon's project. However, city engineers say the geological structure of the Beacon's bluffs may be different from the fellowship's, and for now, they suggest a sea wall. (No, No, No! A seawall is just going to get the city sued by the Surfrider Foundation and it's costly, exceeding the state grant money by millions and we don't need it anyway. The city engineers need to chill on the seawall.)

Not everyone is a fan of the fellowship's measures.

Todd Cardiff, an advisory board member of the Surfrider Foundation's San Diego chapter, criticizes the riprap for taking up beach space that could have been used for recreation. (Todd Cardiff is out of mind here. The riprap takes up too much space and prohibits recreation? That is absurd. Bro, I grew up building forts on the Swami's riprap. That is where the locals hang out. We put on our boards on it, sit up on it giving a good view of the surf, the riprap is great and the locals have adapted to it) Cardiff also contends that it keeps the ocean from doing its natural job – eroding the bluffs to make sand for beaches.

(This whole "we need the bluffs to erode as quickly as possible" movement needs to end. If guys like Todd Cardiff had their way the Beacon's bluff would be eroded all the way to Gary Murphy's house by now)

“We prefer that everybody locate structures far enough away from the bluffs to not need bluff-protection devices,” Cardiff said. (Should we move the Swamis parking lot east of the coast highway?)

I think that riprap and vegetation are superior to a seawall at Beacon's. What do you think?


Riprap works great for Swamis...


but can it help Beacon's which has a more sloped bluff down to the beach? The Beacon's bluff is obviously eroding from the top. Shoring up the top with drainage and vegetation might be more effective than riprap at the base of the bluff.

SEE ALSO: aerial view of Swami's.

Friday, April 27, 2007

If I were in charge...

Billy Watson and the International Silver String Submarine Band would play in the Leucadia Roadside Park everyday, all day.

Peder Norby Responds

Hi J.P.

I most be a luddite when it comes to blogs. I tried to post a respones to
you on a couple of occasions but it did not appear.

So below is a response. feel free to post.

Cheers
Peder


Hi J.P. and all,
Happy to answer questions but a little busy at the moment with an event for this weekend.

I don’t politic in the papers or blogs, nor do I align with “sides” but I thought I would respond to these valid questions you and others pose.

Actions speak louder than words.

I have generally been referred to by my peers as an opponent to redevelopment agencies. I have done my best to prove that you can restore a community without an RDA during the past 10 years, those are my actions, so it’s with irony that I am now labeled as pro RDA based on one article discussing the topic in the Coast News.

I am familiar with RDA because I was an active merchant, Carlsbad Danish Bakery, for 15 years in an RDA area (downtown Carlsbad) and was seeking to explain the positive points (there are positive points) and the negative points (the destruction of historic fiber as the worst one) in the article, the reporter focused on the positive in an attempt to juxtapose with other comments from other people. So, I was not not miss quoted, but only half the story so to speak.

I also believe that all ideas and opinions are valid and should be discussed logically. The atmosphere at the time and to extent still is , is how to pay for all the infrastructure needed and exploring all the financial avenues that cities use. Exploring is the key word.

As far as RDA goes I am neither pro or con per se. I look at it as a tool in the toolbox among many others. Roughly 85% of California cities utilize RDA’s, as their primary methodology for downtown revitialization. Most are miserable, some are average, some are exceptional. Most cities in my opinion abuse this powerful tool. I support O.C. Supervisor Chris Norby (no relation by the way) in his efforts to reform redevelopment.

There is universal agreement that the urban renewal demolition of large tracks of downtown in the 70s and 80s was a disaster, self defeating, and ultimately a failure as a revitalization strategy brought on by redevelopment agencies. Anaheim (totally gone), and Oceanside are good examples. Thankfully Oceanside only demoed about 8 blocks.

The key is the right tool for the right job.

As tools go, MainStreet is a hammer and chisel. Small incremental successes over the decades with the development and investment molding itself around the core culture of the district guided by stakeholders (you)

Redevelopment is more of a chainsaw (good tool for making tiki’s) inflicting large scale quick change which seeks to change a district around a new culture in a fairly quick time frame guided by a city council.

Guess which one is the right tool for Encinitas? In my opinion it is
MainStreet and always will be MainStreet. I thought that was obvious to all but I live in a bit of a vacuum.

Some of the other q’s.

Ha Ha! I hope I only have to work 40 hours a week! This week has been three nights and two 14 hour days this weekend, on top of the 9 to 5er.

I have been and will continue to work with other cities and states in a small scale way (less than 10% of time and mostly on my own time) to promote the MainStreet concept. Not for money but because I believe in both taking from the network, it has been most helpful, and providing back to the network as an obligation. It’s the story of Mainstreet nationally, helping each other out. As an example May 4th and 5th I am presenting at the California Preservation Foundation with the California Office of Historic Preservation.. http://www.californiapreservation.org/res/HollywoodTrack2.pdf
on a preservation and mainstreet topic. This is a Friday and Saturday after a brutal week. Saturday is on my own time away from my family and my home both days without compensation. Why? Because I believe in it. Many times I do get paid, very handsomely I might add.

I am blessed that I am in a position to do what I love first and foremost, and not what I need to do financially. I love where I live and don’t like to travel that much. I would say 40 to 50 hours a week, many nights and some weekends is what you should expect and from anyone including me for the position. I also have other sources of income not related to my proffesion.

No power over the rail road right of way (I wish) other than to help organize locals to be more effective.

The lumberyard was controversial. In my opinion pacific station far less so. Citizens in a spark committee crafted the specific plan. On the whole compared to other cities Encinitas has retained and will continue to retain more and most of its historic fiber. I think the pacific station project is a good project on balance. I had no quarrel with Gils appeal on a few items.
More importantly I work for a board of directors and they unanimously endorsed the project. It’s my job to represent their views.

I my opinion, there exists today far more of a preservationist ethic and pride in our history, in Encinitas than existed 10 years ago. Focusing on our history and building consensus on this is a good thing and will lead to better things. As preservationist, we are used to loosing 9 and wining one.
In Encintas, We are bumping that up to losing 6 and winning 4 and one day I hope Encintias has the wisdom to win nine and loose one. We celebrate each small victory.

I am a property owner. It is America. Set the standard wherever the community desires and then follow the standards and be respectful to both the property owner and the neighbors.

I hate taxes and I pay a lot of them. I think that puts me in the normal
category J

Closing,

I have visited and worked in over 300 downtowns during the past 10 years. There is no example that I can point to as a success, where they destroyed the culture and history of their downtown, replacing it with “generica”

Conversely, every successful vibrant downtown has to a large and varying degree, retained their historic structures and core culture whaile accommodating investment.

Just think for yourself places you like and why you like them.

Hmm,

J.P thanks for your involvement in mainstreet, I look forward to meeting
you.
The tiki thing………..I’ve kind of been thinking that that was going to burn
itself out in a few years, I mean you can buy them at target and home depot
now! Just keeping it real J.P.

I don’t really care one way or the other if they advertise the position or award a contract. This would be a lateral move with no increase in salary for me. However, today I am the Mainstreet Director for DEMA and I have got a job to do.

Cheers

Peder

*Thanks to Peder for the quick response. I would like to note that just because you can buy a piece of crap tiki made in China at Costco doesn't mean that handcarved tiki culture is dead. link

Leucadia!: Peder Norby: Hwy101 Overlord or Friend?

Peder Norby: Hwy101 Overlord or Friend?

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."

Burning Questions:

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.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Leucadia Roadside Tiki Park

Leucadia Spring Social Mixer/Leucadia Nights Info



Leucadia 101 Spring Social is May 1st, 5 - 7 pm at the new Moonlight Grille restaurant, 190 N. Coast Hwy 101 (where Big Jim's Bar-B-Que was.) Come meet, greet and network. Find out what's new in Leucadia.

Leucadia Nights, May 11th 6 - 9 pm. The concept is an after hours "walkabout" along Hwy 101 where businesses that normally close at 5 or 6 pm stay open later, until 9 pm for our event. This type of event is very popular in downtowns for promotion of their business districts.

If you are merchant and plan on staying open late, please contact Paula at the Leucadia 101 Main Street office, 436-2320 or email paula@leucadia101.com , so that they can put your business information on the handout/map that they'll be giving out that night to people attending. Also, there will be having a raffle, and if you'd like to make a donation, let me L101 know so they can include your business as well. Deadline is May 9th to get that info in.

The Leucadia Merchant Guide (different from the above mentioned handout) will also be given out that night. It will be available year round at various locations in Encintias. Thank you to all the businesses who signed up. It looks fabulous thanks to talented Fred Caldwell of Coast Hwy 101 Designs.

Tree Planting and Dedication Ceremony, Leucadia Roadside Park May 11th from 5-6 pm, just before Leucadia Nights. Six Cypress trees will be planted to replace the cypress trees that had to be removed.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Leucadia Property Owners Supply Massive Tax Base with Little Return

Today's NCT story is about the city jumping for joy that they've been overtaxing Encinitas families despite several years of fear mongering:

New employees, programs proposed in Encinitas

By: ADAM KAYE - Staff Writer

ENCINITAS ---- Despite a flagging real estate market, strong property tax income means the city can build increased cash reserves into its $53.4 million budget and pay for new programs and employees, finance officials said Monday.

The information is part of a proposed spending plan for fiscal year 2007-08 that will be considered by the City Council at a 5 p.m. workshop today at City Hall, 505 S. Vulcan Ave.

Also up for debate is the city's six-year financial forecast and capital improvement program.

No action is scheduled today and the council it set to adopt its spending plan on May 23 or June 20.

The plan for fiscal year 2007-08, which begins July 1, shows the city receiving $4.1 million more in revenue than it plans to spend.

Operating budget revenues are anticipated at $53.4 million. That's a $2.4 million or 4.7 percent increase from the present fiscal year.

The projected increase follows a recent pattern: from fiscal years 2004-05 to 2005-06, the budget increased by $1.4 million or 3 percent, from $46.5 million to $47.9 million.

From fiscal 2005-06 to 2006-07 it increased by $3.1 million or 3.1 percent, from $47.9 million to $51 million.

The operating budget, also known as the general fund, pays for employee salaries and benefits, materials and supplies, contract services and debt payments.

Most of the general fund's projected income ---- $33.1 million ---- comes from property taxes.

Property tax revenue is anticipated to increase $2 million or 6.4 percent during fiscal 2007-08. That's because the taxable value of older homes climbs substantially when they are reassessed and sold, said Jennifer Smith, finance director.

While property tax income remains brisk, officials are budgeting for reduced growth in Encinitas' second-biggest income source: sales tax.

Sales tax income for fiscal year 2007-08 is budgeted at $9.1 million. That's a $180,000 or 2 percent increase. During most years, officials anticipate 3 percent to 4 percent sales tax growth, Smith said.

She said new shopping centers in neighboring cities have drawn away customers who previously spent their money in Encinitas. The city also lost one of its top sales tax producers, Mossy Chevrolet, when that business closed last summer, Smith said.

Other income sources for fiscal year 2007-08 include miscellaneous taxes and fees ($3.4 million); licences and permits ($163,000); intergovernmental revenue ($453,000); charges for services ($5.2 million); investment earnings ($991,000) and fines and penalties ($834,000).

The budget's expense column shows employee salaries and benefits as the city's top cost, $22.6 million. Personnel costs in fiscal 2007-08 would increase by $1.4 million or 6.6 percent.

Part of the increase comes from plans to add 3.4 employees to the payroll, which would bring the number of full-time equivalent positions to 240.8 employees.

Two of the positions would support the city's clean-water program. Also budgeted is the $29,000 purchase of a new, off-road vehicle for the "Stormwater Environmental Specialist" to complete his or her duties.

The coastal zone manager's job would increase from a 20-hour to a 36-hour-per-week position.

Another full-time position, program assistant in the Parks and Recreation Department, is proposed to handle registrations at city facilities.

Elsewhere, contract services would represent $20.2 million in fiscal year 2007-08. The largest single contract, to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department for law enforcement services, is budgeted at $11.2 million.

In future years, new expenses include budgeting for maintenance of a planned park in Cardiff. Starting in fiscal year 2010-11, the city will set aside $250,000 for park upkeep. That amount would increase to $500,000 beginning in fiscal year 2011-12.

Starting in fiscal year 2008-09, the budget shows $500,000 annual contributions to a fund to pay for retired employees' health benefits.

Sooner, in fiscal year 2007-08, the operating budget would contribute $3.7 million toward the cost of capital projects planned for the year.

This year, nearly $2 million in unanticipated property tax income has meant the city can increase its rainy-day savings to $9.1 million, or 20 percent of planned expenditures, Smith said.

The Finance Department also has proposed establishing a so-called "budget stabilization reserve" ---- with an initial allocation of $1 million ---- to restore the budget in the event of a recession, she said.

Also up for debate today is an estimated $11.1 million worth of capital improvements, including: $80,000 for the state-mandated collection of hydrologic, hydraulic and water quality data for four lagoons in North County; $15,000 for a community opinion survey; $90,720 for improvements to a new Encinitas Visitors Center on Second Street; $500,000 toward a comprehensive general plan update; and $765,000 to establish a quiet zone at the Chesterfield Drive rail crossing. In recent years, the city has studied how to modify the crossing so it could stay safe if train horns were silenced.

Burning questions: If the budget is so kick ass why were we threatened with street lights going out and a lack of a clean water program? Why doesn't the coastal Leucadia mainsteet on Hwy 101 have a streetscape program and why are Cardiff's alleys still oozing? If the budget is so solid why did the city borrow $20 million in bond debt? Can the city afford to build the $35 million Hall Park? Is there any chance of the city ever reducing fees? Why are our water bills filled with strange increases? Why no mention of the "shoot for the moon" firestations?


>>UPDATE<< Today's NCT.com recap of the budget workshop,
Encinitas mulls $53.4M budget

Saturday, April 21, 2007

We got tacos at Karina's and ate 'em under the trees.

Cypress tree wood to come back to Encinitas; ceremony to plant saplings scheduled for May 11

Click the above link and read the NCT story about the city planting new sapling trees in the roadside park. Mary Fleener has the greatest quote describing her first day in Leucadia, that to me sums up the quintessential Leucadia experience.

"The first thing we did was go to Leucadia Roadside Park," said Fleener. "We parked at Beacon's and saw a dozen dolphins. We got tacos at Karina's and ate 'em under the trees."


Couple of other thoughts on the Leucadia cypress trees, first I want to thank the arborist and the city for spotting the potential danger of the trees falling and hurting someone. The trees were beautiful and well loved but they lasted longer than their natural lifespan.

Secondly, thanks to Mary Fleener, Patricia Bell and Rachelle Collier for getting the word out that the trees were getting cut down.

Third, I glad the city respected the fact that the local residents wanted to have a little farewell ceremony. It may seem a little hokey to some people, but the fact that the trees were planted by Leucadia's founders made this very significant.

Last, my idea for the wood from the trees (which is in the capable hands of Palomar college) is too make them into cool benches for the Beacon's beach outlook. Right now there is only one bench facing the ocean, with plenty of room for more. On a typical summer evening there are 30-50 people standing at the top of Beacon's watching the sunset. The only other option is to sit in your car or try to sit on the metal guardrails. I think it would be slick if new benches were made from those classic cypress trees.


A few cypress wood benches would be cool in this poorly used space at the north end of the Beacon's parking lot.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Increasing property tax revenue and budget surpluses

Interesting story in todays Union Tribune about the city of Encinitas bogarting our tax money. Remember all the scare tactics over the budget former city manager Kerry Miller played with us? I say it's time for the city to REDUCE some fees.

Proposed budget includes big-ticket items

By Angela Lau
STAFF WRITER

April 20, 2007

ENCINITAS – Thanks to increasing property tax
revenue and budget surpluses
, Encinitas will have more than enough money to build priority facilities, boost its reserves to an unprecedented level and go high tech, a proposed budget for the coming fiscal year shows.

It will even spare property owners the threat of fee increases in two controversial programs – pollution control, and street lighting and landscaping.

The city will use general funds to subsidize those.

In doing so, city officials are acknowledging the harsh lessons learned in 2005 and last year when voters rejected a $3-to $5-per-year increase in the Lighting and Landscape District's assessment and a $5-a-month pollution control fee.

Not only did voters say no, but critics repeatedly accused the city of nickel-and-diming property owners.

read the rest of the story here.


I don't know if am ready to swallow this as something other than spin (because they tried to raise our taxes!) and the city has played shell games with money before that makes not a subsidy of those projects, and instead some of it is going the other way...

I might be giving the city some applause because many people have suggested this years ago, although the city is only halfway there. Member of the Encinitas Taxpayers Assoc wanted them to actually REDUCE some of our fees. Flush Encinitas should cut, not raise taxes.

The Encinitas City Council repeatedly proclaims that it has done a wonderful job with the city's budget. The city has plenty of money, enough to absorb citywide pay and pension raises and increases in staffing. If things are so great, why does the council proceed so frantically when it comes to obtaining more taxes?

Consider the recent clean-water tax. It was illegally enacted. Then the city spent money to defend it in court even though the obvious outcome would be a legal defeat. The city sent ballots to city landowners in the hope that we would elect to send the city more money for its streetlight assessment. The city manager sent residents an accompanying letter filled with confusing and scary propaganda that the city would cut services if revenue did not increase.

Fortunately, residents voted against increased taxes.

Unfortunately, the council has wasted tens of thousands of dollars on it is failed efforts to raise our taxes. If we trust the city's rosy predictions, the city's income should be increasing in the next few years. Instead of increasing the size of government, let's give tax money back to the residents. Let's use those future revenue increases to eliminate the lighting assessment that the council was trying to
increase.

Hopefully, the city is now shifting away from nickel and dime mode. I would also like to note that the amount of property tax collected from Leucadia must be an absolute windfall. I'm looking forward to seeing that money invested back into Leucadia.

See also:

Leucadia!: Financial Flimflam

Leucadia!: More Dirty Tricks, a must read

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Carpetbagger Steve Aceti moves to Leucadia so he can run for Encinitas city council in 2008

Tax lobbyist and shameless carpetbagger Steve Aceti has sold his house in Carlsbad and has moved to Leucadia so that he can run for Encinitas city council in 2008.



NCT.com: Steve Aceti moving to Encinitas, entertaining 2008 council run

Aceti was recently rejected by Carlsbad, Aceti applied to fill a vacancy on the Carlsbad City Council created by the resignation of Norine Sigafoose. Apparently, Aceti feels that Encinitas deserves Carlsbad's unwanted leftovers.

A native of New York, Aceti received a law degree from the State University of New York at Albany. In the mid-1990s in Encinitas, Aceti participated in a successful campaign to increase hotel taxes to create money for beach restoration.

This was Prop R. This unfair tax was most likely voted in because it is a hotel/motel tax that tourist must pay and didn't directly affect resident wallets. The Prop R money traditionally buys and imports that really horrible itchy ashtray sand that the city dumps between the lifeguard towers in the touristy section of Moonlight Beach.

In 2003, Aceti led an unsuccessful campaign to institute an Encinitas clean-water fee.

This was Prop C, a fee with a name that was supposed to make us feel warm and fuzzy inside. Disguised as a clean water program, Prop C unfairly targeted homeowners to subsidize out of control spending by the Encinitas city council led by former city manager Kerry Miller. Prop C was crushed at the polls. At the height of the campaign Aceti often became enraged at the Encinitas Taxpayer's Association and fired off many classic letters to the editors of the North County Times.

As a member of DEMA Aceti toys with the idea of parking meters for downtown Encinitas. Coast News story.

I have to admit, Aceti has conojes. He is already widely unpopular in Encinitas so it's very brash of him to announce his 2008 run for council so soon. It's baffling though, does Aceti really think he can win? Longtime resident Doug Long is far more likeable and he wasn't able to win a seat in the last election (although he probably would if not running against the smart and charming Teresa Barth). Thomas Brown spent a lot of money running for council and was defeated and Brown is about 1000 times more likable than Aceti.

Does professional tax lobbyist Steve Aceti really stand a chance of winning an Encinitas city council seat against lifelong local Doug Long? Can Aceti outspend the well equipped and intelligent Thomas Brown? Can an obvious carpetbagger defeat incumbents Jim Bond (who may retire and leave an empty seat up for grabs), Maggie Houlihan (who has received the most votes ever for council), and Jerome Stocks who, despite controversy, has a solid base ?

We'll be keeping a watchful eye on our new neighbor Steve Aceti.

See also:

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

Leucadia!: Aceti Lies to NCT, "We're back to cobble."

Leucadia!: Aceti Still Talking About Raising Taxes

Aceti also backed this increase in car registration: North County Republicans decry proposed fee

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Harsh




The Leucadia Roadside Park looks awfully naked without those big cypress trees.

UT story online: Beloved cypresses get fond farewell

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

New Gas Station Question and Comment

The following is a comment that was posted on this blog regarding the new gas station on the coast highway. I think it has merit so I'm posting it on the main page. The poster "Koalani" is an architect and former Leucadia resident.



This is totally unrelated, but I havent been to this blog in months. I was looking at the Leucadia 'tour' and was struck by the new look gas station. I was wondering if anyone knows if any 'green' efforts have been made with that new station. Is the building employing any sustainable principles? Is anything being done to curtail the runoff that will inevitably come from it (i.e. bioswales)? Will it be selling any sort of biofuels?

I ask because it seems like a new gas station is the perfect opportunity to effect change in the building, it's byproducts, and the fuel it sells. Leucadians need to demand these types of changes. When a new gas station is built to the status quo, it is a loss in our fight to keep Leucadia as the last bastion of healthy coastline in southern california.



Up here in Eugene a company called Sequential Biofuels is leading the way. They just opened a 'sustainable' gas station a few blocks from my house that sets an outstanding precedent in the fuel they sells, the building they sell fuel from, and the measures implemented to prevent inevitable gas station pollution. Too bad this wasn't built there in Leucadia off of Highway 101.

http://www.sqbiofuels.com/retail7_presskit.htm


Alohas to all my old friends and neighbors. Keep up the good fight!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Goodbye to our iconic trees?



I hear that the iconic Cypress trees that represent the heart of Leucadia in our little humble roadside park must be cut down due to rot. This makes me sad. A couple of trees were cut down a few years ago for the same reason. The park and Leucadia are going to look naked without those trees.

Please post some ideas for our roadside park, we can embrace this as a new beginning.

Painting of our beloved trees by the talented Scott Saw.

***UPDATE***Scott Saw will be in the park tonight (Monday, 16th) handing out posters of the above painting. Smart folks will get theirs signed.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

See you all at the end of the week...



No Leucadia blogging for me this week, I'm heading south for some surfy surfy.
I turned off the comments feature until I get back, hee hee.
peace,

your best pal,

JP

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Weekend Update



Go to the Farmer's Market in Leucadia every Sunday and eat some healthy food for a change. Leucadia101 web page.

News Roundup via NCT.com

Three apply for Planning Commission seat

Blogger sez: Why do I have a bad feeling about this?

Encinitas to unveil public works plans

By: North County Times -

ENCINITAS -- Encinitas officials will explain improvement plans for the city's public works facility from 6 to 9 p.m. Monday at the department's headquarters, 160 Calle Magdalena.

The city bought the former automobile dealership last summer but has yet to move all of the department's employees and equipment to the site. The department is applying for city permits for the renovation program.

To learn more, contact HB&A Architects at (760) 738-8608.

Panel recommended to study Cardiff Specific Plan

By: North County Times -

ENCINITAS -- The Encinitas Planning Commission will recommend that the City Council form a committee to evaluate the Cardiff Specific Plan, Commissioner Tom McCabe said Friday.

The commissioners agreed at their hearing this week to suggest that the panel include two members of the Planning Commission; the Cardiff representative to the city Traffic Commission; one member each from the Cardiff Town Council and Cardiff 101 Chamber of Commerce; and four residents or business owners.

The panel would meet weekly and evaluate the plan one chapter at a time, McCabe said. A revised plan would require approvals from the City Council and California Coastal Commission.

A draft of the plan was met with strong opposition at a council hearing last month.

McCabe estimated the panel's review process would take six months.

Grass-roots society spruces up Cardiff promenade

Encinitas' 101 Artists Colony faces loss of lease again

*Blogger sez: Move them to north Leucadia!

Fallen eucalyptus prompts vow to save the others

Blogger sez: Begin replacing the old eucs that can't be saved or maintained with California native oak trees.

Downtown Encinitas project won't include short-term rentals

Blogger sez: Good luck.

See also: The Coast News Encinitas page

Friday, April 06, 2007

Urban Planner Stuck In Traffic Of Own Design

The Onion

Urban Planner Stuck In Traffic Of Own Design

PITTSBURGH, PA—Bernard Rothstein, an urban planner and traffic-flow modulation specialist with the Urban Redevelopment Authority, found himself stuck in rush-hour traffic of his own design for more than an hour Monday.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

South Swells Bring Sand to Leucadia

click images for large views.

Today's swell model displaying current south swell running.

Early March 2007, Beacon's Beach Leucadia. The following photos show the week by week ebb and flow of sand levels over the past 30 days or so.
***UPDATE--The strip of black between the 2001 sand at the base of the bluff and the natural sand is NOT cobblestones. It is a strip of black sand. Enlarge the photos and examine closely. Better yet, go down the Beacon's trail this weekend and wiggle your little piggies in the sand in person.







This is the only day in a month that Beacon's had any cobbles. It was the day after that big wind storm that knocked down the big eucalyptus tree at Hansen's. The cobbles didn't last long and were quickly buried under new sand by the end of the week.


Taken this morning. Lots o' sand again.

Some regular readers of this blog who have never been to the beach before scoffed when I wrote that south swells naturally replenish our local beaches with sand. Somebody else out there agrees with this basic truth:
Harbor dredging to deposit sand offshore

Leucadia!: Aceti Lies to NCT, "We're back to cobble."

Monterey Bay Kelp Cam Thanks D.C.!

Let's Tour North Leucadia (part 15)

I've crossed the highway so you could call this entry part 14B. Click images for large view.

Backtracking a bit for a view of the Bar Leucadian and the nearby houses. Not sure how a busy popular bar co-exist with homes this close.
Notice the dirt median. I think instead of always trying to plant and grow stuff in these little sections, that instead we should scoop the dreaded cobblestones off the beach and pave these small sections of the medians with them. That would look cool.

Biking is a group sport despite the lack on any real bike lane. Notice the poor condition of the train track area. When people complain about dirt and weeds in Leucadia this is what stands out. However, it is wrong to blame the residents or even the Encinitas city council. The NCTD is in charge of the area and frankly, they do a piss poor job maintaining it. And, every time a train goes by it kicks up a huge dust cloud.

The NCTD could at least cover this area with wood chips or something to keep the weeds at bay and keep the dirt and dust down. Hell, dump the cobblestones around the tracks instead of that gravel.
The NCTD is like it's very own little fascist government that cuts through your freedom loving town. The NCTD does a lot of disrespectful stuff in Leucadia like this.

The eucalyptus trees provide their own mulch but there aren't that many of them on this side of the highway. Most of the trees are in the center medians. The city or NCTD should at least plant a hedge along the coast highway.

Here is a better view of the quaint little red place shown on part 14 of the tour.


Scott's Automotive from across the street. I shot this photo on a weekday hence the cars there. The photos from part 14 of the tour were shot on a Sunday.

*Encinitas city councilman Jerome Stocks is on the NCTD's board of directors. Be sure to contact him often with your complaints, link.

Leucadia!: Let's Tour North Leucadia (part 14)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Let's Tour North Leucadia (part 14)

click images for large view


Continuing our walking tour of the north Leucadia coastal corridor we find ourselves at this classic old red garage/barn building that always looks like it's on the verge of falling down. I have never once seen anyone come in or out of this place, heh. Can you say funky?



I really like that this old school auto-mechanic building still exist on the coast highway. I really dig this place and love driving past and seeing the race cars and hot rods out front.


The Royal Liquor building is one of many basic cube style buildings in Leucadia. But I'm not that keen on this one. The main issue is the use of the problematic stucco that collects and traps dirt and grim so that the building has an overall filmy look. Compared to the classic 50's style Leucadia Liquor the Royal Liquor signage is kind of weak but maybe I'm just comparing apples and oranges.
Inside the store, Royal Liquor is a pretty decent place and has a nice walk-in cooler.


This looks somewhat ghetto.

Blogger recommends: Royal Liquor should apply for one of those Leucadia 101 Facade Grants and give this building a nice updated paint job.

Leucadia!: Let's Tour North Leucadia (part 13)