Thursday, December 27, 2007

Encinitas City Budget and Home Purchase Prices

A big chunk of the city of Encinitas revenues are based on home purchase prices. After purchase, property taxes rise 2% a year.

My economist friends think our city is nutz for believing there will be no price depreciation in Encinitas. Check out this graph:

Source: Christian Science Monitor

I have not once heard the NAR economists back up their analysis with data and findings. That is why you get things like this second figure:

Source: Voice of San Diego

Is the city of Encinitas in a tiny bubble sheltered from the big popping bubble? Will the city of Encinitas collect it's projected future revenue in order to build it's high end parks, fire stations and other infrastructure?

Monday, December 24, 2007

Leucadians in Iraq Part II

My next door neighbor Matt Sanchez representing funky Leucadia in Iraq on Christmas.
Leucadia Blog: Leucadians in Iraq on Christmas

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Leucadians in Iraq on Christmas

The following letter was forwarded to me from community activist Dr. Lorri,

Dear Doc:

I can’t tell you where I am except somewhere in the Middle East. I wanted to write to let you know that I am OK. You asked me before I left why I wanted to be in the Corps. I told you my dad and his dad were in so I wanted to follow family tradition. I now know the real reason. Since I have been here, I realize that I am here to help people get the rights we already have in the U.S. They can’t speak freely without getting thrown into jail. They can’t criticize the government the way we can, without getting thrown into jail. Forget things like City Council meetings. I remember you told me once that we had a great opportunity in our community to speak out to the City Council if we didn’t like something. These people don’t have that. I never went to a City Council meeting when I was home, but I will when I get back. I won’t take our freedoms for granted ever again. I hope that is a better answer to your question than the one I gave you before.

With love,
name withheld on request

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Leucadia Homegrown Poinsettias

Hymettus greenhouse, photo by Demeter.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Encinitas Icon

Where can you find authentic Encinitas/Ecke Poinsettias? Armstrong Garden Center on El Camino Real may still have them, or Weidner’s Garden’s along the I-5 in Leucadia. Sunshine Gardens at the corner of Quail Garden’s and Encinitas Boulevard has some plants that are grown from Ecke cuttings. Anderson’s on La Costa has poinsettias. Also, the Quail Flower Barn on Quail Garden’s may have some Ecke poinsettias. They have a cool, funky shop off the beaten path that you and your family might enjoy.

Roadside Park Replanting

I've been meaning to post these photos all week.

Leucadia Blog: More Chopping, a mistake?

Leucadia Blog: Leucadia Roadside Park, it ain't what it used to be

Monday, December 17, 2007

Adam Kaye's L101 tree article

More Leucadia trees identified for removal

By: ADAM KAYE- North County Times

- After years of decline, more and more of Leucadia's historic eucalyptus trees are dying, and their demise could damage the look of the quaint seaside town, some residents say.

At least seven of the tall and twisted trees that tower over the railroad tracks and North Coast Highway 101 are dead and recommended for removal.

The felling of those trees and seven others could begin as soon as next week, according to the North County Transit District. Nearly 10 others trees should be watched closely because their roots show signs of decay, a transit district report says.

The sinuous trees unfurl their limbs above the coast highway, creating a bushy, green canopy that some residents say is a signature of their community.

As gaps in the canopy grow wider and wider, activists have renewed their call for Encinitas to adopt a tree management policy that would ensure new trees are planted when old ones are removed.

"All I'm seeing is more trees going away and I'm not seeing anything actually being replaced," said Russell Levan, a former Parks and Recreation Commission member. "It's of extreme concern to me. We're quickly losing the entire canopy along the coast highway and trees in general all over the city."

Policy in the works

While community members cling dearly to the trees, a report commissioned by the transit district states that some of them must go.

The report - conducted by Oceanside-based Arborist Consulting Service - examines the health of nearly 60 blue gum eucalyptus trees along the railroad right of way between La Costa Avenue and Basil Street.

At least 13 of the trees have been removed since 2003, the report states. It adds that the city's work on storm drains and sewer lines in the area may have undermined the health of the trees.

Encinitas officials said they are now looking for ways to save or replace the trees and still make sure the city's infrastructure needs are being met.

The city's public works director, Larry Watt, said last week that his department is reviewing existing tree policies and regulations and will bring a tree management program to the City Council for review next month.

The policy must balance the aesthetic quality of trees with the government's need to provide public utilities such as storm drains and sewer lines, said Mayor Jerome Stocks.

Stocks, the city's delegate to the transit district's board of directors, added that the agency knows that Encinitas values its trees but that its priority is to keep the railway safe.

A host of ailments

In 2003, a mature tree fell on the tracks in Leucadia, said Tom Kelleher, a transit district spokesman. A resident reported it and no damage to trains or passengers resulted, although some trains travel at 90 mph through that stretch, he said.

The transit district began its survey of Leucadia's trees shortly thereafter, Kelleher said.

A report issued in October recommends removing at least seven trees and trimming and monitoring several others that show evidence of decay, including:

- Decay conk, a fruiting or spore that grows fungi that resembles a mushroom.

- Epicormic shoots, which grow from stems and branches, often as a result of stress.

- Sulfur fungus, which indicates rot that can extend to the heartwood.

- Kino, a reddish-brown, gummy substance eucalyptus trees produce to avert invasions of pathogens.

A tough year for trees

The report does not address replacing the trees identified for removal.

Kelleher said the transit district has no plans to plant new trees but would work with the city or any community group willing to bear the cost of planting trees and maintaining them.

Replacement trees must not interfere with railroad operations, he said, and also must be native to Southern California.

That means no more eucalyptus, which originate from Australia.

In addition to the eucalyptus trees felled or identified for removal along the railroad corridor, other mature trees have met chain saws elsewhere in the city.

In March, high winds toppled a 60-foot-tall eucalyptus tree on South Coast Highway 101 at J Street, causing minor injuries and damaging three cars in the Hansen Surfboards parking lot.

A landmark cypress tree was removed from Leucadia Roadside Park in April after an arborist's report deemed it unsafe. It was replaced with a cypress sapling.

At the same park, two other large trees were removed in October - one of them mistakenly.

That came one month after city-contracted crews in September removed two tall eucalyptus trees on North Coast Highway 101 at Phoebe Street.

Around that time, a private developer felled another big one along Vulcan Avenue at Ashbury Street.

'A signature of Leucadia'

Stocks said the replanting of trees should have started years ago.

"What I'd like to see is a logical sequence of plantings, so as the trees go through their life spans, we would have a regular planting of replacements so we don't have this sort of barren period of time," Stocks said.

Leucadia Town Council's president, Rachelle Collier, said she wants to see a policy to substantiate the remarks of city officials.

"There just has to be an urban tree policy," Collier said. "Once again, it's the double speak of 'We want to recanopy Highway 101,' then, once every three months, we lose more trees and none of them are replanted."

According to local lore, English spiritualists planted Leucadia's trees in the late 1880s to create an open-air temple. The temple included rows of cypress, eucalyptus and pine trees.

"To me," Collier said, "the tree canopy is a signature of Leucadia."

Saturday, December 15, 2007

L101 Lights

photos sent in by reader Morgan Mallory.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Vote Light Up Leucadia

click image for larger view

This ballot box is located at Leucadia Donut Shoppe. There are some cool light displays but many disappointing dark gaps on the coast highway corridor. Comon' people, string up some lights ya Scrooges.

Light Up Leucadia December's Holiday Lighting Contest

Let's get festive and light up Leucadia! Leucadia businesses with holiday light displays along Hwy 101 will be judged by a panel of judges selected from the community and receive cash prizes as follows:
First Place $150 Second Place $125 Third Place $100
Honorable Mention $50 and new for this year People's Choice Award - (people vote for their favorite Leucadia business light display along Hwy 101. )

The winner of the People's Choice Award will receive a bottle of 2003 Opus One Wine (donated to Leucadia 101 for this prize) AND a small wine cooler to put it in, donated by Aztec Appliance. Drop by the following locations to vote: Leucadia Donuts, Corner Frame Shop, Embellishments, Leucadia 101 Main Street office, DEMA and Encinitas Visitor Center. Judging will go through Jan. 3rd and all winners will be announced at the Leucadia 101 Annual Membership meeting on Jan. 17th 6 - 8 pm, Poinsettia Room at City Hall.

Leucadia Blog: Light Up Leucadia Merchant Contest

Other Community News

Garden of Lights at Quail Botanical Gardens, December 7-9, 13-23, 26-30 from 5 - 9pm. Check with the Gardens for admission prices and dates for special activites on some of the nights. or call 436-3036.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

UT Editorial about ENC Closed Sessions

click image for large view

All Eyes on Jerome Stocks in 2008

Longtime city councilman Jerome Stocks is shredding his Deputy Mayor sash and stepping in as the full fledged mayor of Encinitas.

Bond steps down, Stocks steps up as Encinitas mayor

2008 is the Year of Jerome. Even though Jerome has been around for a long time he has never really stepped up to the plate and emerged as a leader of men. The majority of the Leucadia old school views him as back room sneak who toadies up to his developer cronies. How much of this is true isn't really important. With a 2008 election looming the perception of Jerome in Leucadia could make or break him. As a board member of the NCTD which is largely viewed as hostile towards Leucadia Jerome is viewed as a weak Yes Man. It could help Jerome a lot if he stood up at one of the NCTD meetings and demanded that the Scorched Earth policy towards Leucadia ended i.e. removing the hideous orange sandbags at Leucadia Blvd. This may go nowhere but it would be a refreshing moment of symbolism for large base of Leucadia voters.

Of course, attitudes towards Dan Dalager began to turn sour in Leucadia and Dan was still re-elected. But Jerome doesn't have the roots or the Andy Griffith appeal of Dalager. It may really weigh on who is running against Jerome and for Bond's empty seat in 2008. There is a chance that Doug Long and Tom Brown could slip in and nudge Jerome out. But, if Jerome can shed his "Jerry" persona and start working with Leucadians and with 101 Coordinator, Peder Norby on L101 issues it could be the re-start of a beautiful relationship.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Ch 8's Leucadia Roundabout Story

Channel 8 news took a break from crime stories, fear mongering about killer bees, panda coverage, "are your children safe?" stories and over hyping the Chargers, to cover the new Leucadia Blvd roundabouts.

Go to the News 8 website,

Look for the News 8 video section and click on Driving in Circles Driving Many People Crazy.

Now that's infotainment!

UPDATE: Direct link to story click me (Thanks to poster "beanherelong?")

"A" Street Gang Drive By Chopping and Graffiti

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Bridges, better than tunnels?

click image for larger view

Don't laugh at my crappy 5 minute photoshop job. This is to demonstrate what a Sound Wall and pedestrian bridge might look like in North Leucadia. In my opinion bridges would be superior to tunnels.

Sound Fighter Systems website

Leucadia Blog: Railroad Pedestrian Crossings Moving Forward

Railroad Pedestrian Crossings Moving Forward

Walkway underpass project takes step, Three of four sites get council's nod

By Matthew Rodriguez

December 7, 2007

ENCINITAS – Encinitas is moving forward with designs for three pedestrian passes beneath the railroad tracks that stretch the length of the city, in an effort to protect residents from being hit by trains.

Although other North County cities grapple with the problem of residents illegally crossing tracks, only one underpass exists – at Pier View Way in Oceanside.

While Encinitas aims to begin building three underpasses in 2009, some Leucadia residents want a fourth built at Hillcrest Drive to give them a safe route to walk to the beach.

The city estimates it could cost more than $1.2 million to design, engineer and obtain permits for three underpasses: at Montgomery Avenue in Cardiff, Santa Fe Drive in downtown Encinitas and El Portal Street in Leucadia.

Encinitas has spent $680,000 on the project and has received $491,000 in state money through the San Diego Association of Governments.

Construction could cost $5.5 million for each underpass, said Richard Phillips, assistant to the city manager.

Some funds have been spent researching the Hillcrest Drive site, Phillips said.

Preparing environmental studies concurrently for a fourth underpass could cost an additional $175,000 and delay the other three projects by 12 to 14 months, according to the city. City engineers found that unlike the other sites, the Hillcrest Drive underpass could be prone to flooding.

read the complete article

My Take,

We could save millions of dollars if we just allowed to people to look left and then right and then left again and just cross. For a few thousand dollars they could install special pedestrian warning lights and small pedestrian ramps like they have at the Coaster station. But this simple solution doesn't really apply to the America we live in today.

The majority of people who are hit and killed by the train are suicides. Expensive underpasses won't solve that unless they fence or wall off the tracks.

Walling off the tracks would solve another problem. If they used one of the new attractive high tech Sound Walls not only would residents of the L101 corridor no longer be burdened by the noisy train horns at 2 am, it would also cut down on dirt that the trains kick up when they fly by at 80 mph. There is a layer of dirt and grime covering the entire coast highway corridor from the trains.

This isn't just a wall, it's a noise barrier.

A Sound Wall doesn't have to be a giant monstrosity, bougainvilleas can grow on it making it attractive. The wall doesn't even have to be so tall you can't see the train anymore (it's sort of fun to be at a roadside cafe and watch the train go by). Also, we don't want to block the view of Leucadia from Coaster riders. If you haven't ridden the Coaster through Leucadia you should take the trip, it's a fun and interesting perspective.

A Sound Wall would also keep drunk illegal aliens from stumbling onto the tracks and getting killed and ruining your morning commute. A wall won't deter a super determined suicide who will find a way onto the tracks no matter what.

The downside of walling off the tracks is that you would be forced to use one of the pedestrian underpasses which could mean walking out of your way and a lot of doubling back depending on where you are going. But hey, walking is good for you.

It is important that North Leucadia get a pedestrian crossing. The city of Encinitas cannot continue to neglect North Leucadia.

Leucadia needs traffic and noise studies in 2008. It's a safe bet that the train horns are over the legal decibel limit.

Sound Fighter Systems website

***Strangely enough, this tragic event happened the same news day as the proposed pedestrian crossings: Man dies in Leucadia after hit by Coaster train

See also,'s Hillcrest railroad crossing on hold in Encinitas

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Leucadia Rainy Nights

Leucadia Nights 6- 9 pm on Friday, Dec. 7th

Due to the rain predicted, there will NOT be any of the planned activities at Leucadia Roadside Park. However, that is not to say that Leucadia businesses won’t be doing something special on their own for the evening!

The evening’s planned opportunity drawing will still proceed, but not at the park. Instead, tickets will be sold at: Corner Frame Shop at 1038 N. Coast Hwy101; Embellishments, 466 N. Coast Hwy 101(in Gold Coast Plaza); and at the Leucadia 101 Main Street office, 320 N. Coast Hwy 101. (Check the store hours at each location.)
Tickets will be on sale Dec. 7th – Dec. 14th. Ticket Prices: $1 each/ $5 for 6 tickets. Below is a list of the really great items that local merchants donated. Winners need not be present to win. Proceeds benefit Leucadia 101 Mainstreet Association. Thank You

Many Thanks To The Following Local Merchants For Their Donations

Sanctum Gallery & Gifts - Unframed Print
Farr Better Spirits - Bottle of Wine
Shatto & Sons Custom T-Shirts – Original Art T-Shirt
Joel Bloomberg Designs – Hand Blown Glass Piece
Corner Frame Shop/Leucadia Art Gallery – Leucadia T-Shirt
Nan Sterman’s Book - California Gardener’s Guide
Indigo Dragon Center for Health & Wellbeing - Gift Certificate
Jam Roc 101 Caribbean Grill – Gift Certificate
Ecke Ranch Poinsettias – Large Poinsettia (24 “ tall)
Bodywork Emporium – Gift Certificate
A Snow Globe Christmas - Holiday DVD
Deep Fling – Gift Certificate
Le Papagayo – Gift Certificate
Leucadia 101 Main Street – L101 Coffee Mug

Light Up Leucadia December’s Holiday Lighting Contest

There’s a new category this year: The People’s Choice Award. People can cast their vote for their favorite Leucadia business holiday light display along Hwy 101. Voting can be done at the following locations or send an email to me with your vote: Winners will be announced at the Jan. 17th Leucadia 101 Annual Membership meeting. One vote per person, please!

Voting locations: Leucadia Donuts, 1604 N. Coast Hwy 101,
Corner Frame Shop, 1038 N. Coast Hwy101,
Embellishments, 466 N. Coast Hwy 101(in Gold Coast Plaza),
Leucadia 101 Main Street office, 320 N. Coast Hwy 101,
DEMA office, 818 S. Coast Hwy 101,
The Encinitas Visitor Center, corner of Second and H Streets.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

80% Chance of Rain for Friday/Leucadia Nights

This Friday is Leucadia Nights, a "walkabout" style event where Leucadia coast highway merchants stay open late and the community is encouraged to have dinner and cruise around Leucadia.

The plan is to set up a movie screen in the Leucadia Roadside Park and show surf movies and play vinyl records and have a good time.

Only one problem, every weather forecast website and news channel is forecasting rain for Friday.

According to Weather Underground Dot Com there is an 80% chance of rain between the 4 o'clock and 10 o'clock hours. Just as bad if not worse are the 17 mph winds that are predicated for Friday evening.

We'll have to play it by ear but there is an 80% chance there will not be surf movies in the roadside park this Friday.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Light Up Leucadia Merchant Contest

Light Up Leucadia

December's Holiday Lighting Contest for Leucadia businesses on Hwy 101.

Cash Prizes awarded to the best light displays: First place $150; Second place $125; Third place $100; Honorable Mention $50 and People's Choice Award (new for this year) a 2003 bottle of Opus One wine will be given to the winner. Winners announced at the Leucadia 101 Annual Meeting:

Leucadia 101 Annual Membership Meeting, Jan. 17th 6 - 8 pm Poinsettia Room, City Hall.

Comon' L101 merchants, I want to see some nice x-mas lights up this year. Ever since the time change I've noticed driving home on the coast highway that Leucadia seems extra dark and sad this year. Let's light it up!

I wish we could light up the coast highway trees like this. Can we???

Saturday, December 01, 2007

50th ENC Parade Tonight

Dancing Elves??, originally uploaded by BestOfTodd.

From the NCT:

The 50th annual Encinitas Holiday Parade will hit the streets of downtown late this afternoon. The event will kick off with a tree lighting ceremony featuring Santa Claus at 5 p.m. in the Lumberyard Center, 937 S. Coast Highway. The parade will begin at 5:30 p.m. with the theme "Since 1957, a Classic Holiday Tradition," celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first Encinitas Parade. Floats, marching bands, children's groups, specialty cars and patriotic organizations will travel along South Coast Highway 101, beginning at the corner of D Street and finishing at J Street.