Monday, June 30, 2008

One little tiny mistake and they die.

The following fantastic comment was recently posted on this topic from 2006, Leucadia Blog: Beacon's Beach Poisoned? Sir, whomever you are I thank you.

I happened accross this web site and have to post a few short comments regarding some issues of these type of squirrels.

We have plenty of them around here in Upper Lake too. However my land's flat and fairly big. If these are the Beecheyi Spermofolus type squirrel, then the bait they are using, if for rats, won't harm the squirrels if the pellets are of the type used in common house hold use for rats. I went through training at a wildlife rescue center to be able to rescue and reintroduce back into the property. As one of the pups liked to run around the house, she got into the box of rat poison so I took her to a vet and called the poison center on the box to try and save it. She had eaten some of the pellets and placed a cheek full under my leg while laying down as if to play "Bury the Stash" under my leg.

Well, the poison center told me that rat poison pellets will not harm squirrels and the vitamin K is not even necessary to keep their blood from coagulating, nore a prescription from any vet. Their systems are just not the same and do not react to poison rat pellets like rats do. Please take my word for this and save the money on a call to Decon Corp, who will tell you the same.

Let me explain a little something recently discovered about these little critters. There are many different species but not all species are related and some are not even related to the Rodentia Family. Regarding the Beecheyi, they are more related to the APE family, like you or I, and UC Davis not too many years ago did a complete brain, central nervous system, synapse, gene and many other very indepth tests, and found they are more related to the Caucasian Monkey that any other species. This is really no suprise to science as there are many researchers who believe man may have originated from a Squirrel like creature.

Yes, they will sometimes get out of control, are protected by Federal and State Law. One must have a permit, while other entities like schools, the city, or public parks, do not require a permit to kill them.

There is a downside to putting rat poison in a public park the way described in that it's a hazard to children, just for the fact it's a poison and yes it will kill mice and rats, which the poison can then harm birds of all types who eat the flesh, and smaller essential organisms we need for the ecosystem, including some species of fish in water near a area where enough poison is put out to wash in. If it's the ocean, I doubt very much that by the time it's obsorbed into the water of an ocean, it's enough to kill a shrimp. A pellet size may be different, so why even take a chance?

The smaller beecheyi can be a nuesence but there has never ever been on record a case anywhere, where a cow, human or any other living species has tripped into a squirrel hole and broken or sprained an ankle. That's a hoax and total mythe by people who hate them.

Their bark is loud and they can bark for hours. What's very interesting, is they are one of very few animals of any species that can throw their voices to confuse preditors. This works very well with cats who try to eat them.

The Beecheyi does not carry Rabbies, and there has never ever been one single case of rabbies reported that is linked to a Beecheyi or squirrel of any kind I could find in the history of man. They are very clean creatures and their hair is adapted to dirt, sand and other soils, and take dust bathes and prean each other and themselves like Monkeys do, you will never find a flea or tick attached to a squirrel unless they are very sick, have a long term illness or are alone, but even alone they are usually clean of most parasites that take blood. I've seen and examined lots of squirrels and never found a flea in the Beecheyi. They most likely have a natural oil protection that is effective against parasites.

Other species of squirrel will take all the food they can find to store for the winter, while the Beecheyi only takes very little as it hybernates, (One of only 4 known species that go into true suspended animation) and Nasa has been studying these little creatures to see how they do this in hopes of finding something to aid in long distance space travel, believe it or not. You may find this interesting and fun to look up for yourself on the Internet.

Funny how mythes can get started and how much can be said that is just not true, or true in some cases as far as these very cute critters are. They are fun to watch and rarely attack unless cornered. They run as a natural built in defense. I feel bad for them because they have to be so careful in life. One little tiny mistake and they die. They also have a very short life span of only about 4 years in the wild and 5 years max in captivity.

I believe they are great candidates for the study of longer lives for people. Especially genetic testing as they do with worms that are now living 7 times their normal life span thanks to labs that study them for longevity.

One last thing. When they do get out of control, nature has it's own way of correcting this with birds of prey and other animals like Bobcats, cayotes, and many other preditors. If the park closed a few days a week, then these animals will move in to take as many as possible once nature or preditors get the word out to their fellow preditors that there is a free squirrel lunch where no people are.

This was a very interesting forum. Thank you very much for the good reads.


Money for Leucadia Blvd Grade separation???

Bill for More Infill, Transit-Oriented Development, Railroad Grade Crossings and County Roads Goes To Governor

Legislation that fast-tracks additional allocations of bond funding authorized under Propositions 1C and 1B (2006), was approved by the Assembly and sent to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Thursday, June 26. AB 1252 (Caballero) provides an additional $150 million for infill infrastructure and transit-oriented development (TOD) programs initiated through Prop. 1C. This allocation was requested by the Administration in response to the heavy demand for these funds at the local level.

The FY 2007-08 budget provided $240 million for the Infill Infrastructure Fund and $95 million for Transit-Oriented Development, but the volume of applications exceeded those amounts four-fold. AB 1252 provides an additional $100 million for infill infrastructure projects and another $50 million for TOD.

As part of the Senate deliberations, an additional $150 million allocation in Prop. 1B funds was added to the measure, with $63 million allocated for railroad grade crossing improvements and $87 million for county roads.

related info

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Speculators Pushing Oil towards $200 a Barrel, what will be the effect on Encinitas?

Check out the story in today's LA Times,
Envisioning a world of $200-a-barrel oil

image from LA Times

Burning Questions:

*Has the city of Encinitas budgeted for the rapidly increasing fuel cost for it's fleet of city vehicles?

*How much did the city of Encinitas spend on fuel in 2007?

*How much will the city of Encinitas spend on fuel in 2008?

*How many vehicles does the city of Encinitas have?

*Should the city of Encinitas look into converting it's fleet of vehicles to hybrids and other alternatives?

*As consumers spend their disposable income on fuel, what will be the impact on sales tax revenue for the city of Encinitas?

*How long until the local pizza places start charging an extra fuel surcharge for deliveries?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Walgreens Traffic Conclusions

From the desk of,

Herb Patterson


For years now I have been quoting the General Plan verbiage below:

Circulation Element Goals and Policies page C-3 reads as follows “Policy 1.2 Endeavor to maintain Level of Service C as a basic design guideline for the local system of roadways understanding that the guideline may not be attainable in all cases.” and “Policy 1.3 Prohibit development which results in Level of Service E or F at any intersection unless no alternatives exist and an overriding need can be demonstrated."

For years you have not enforced this provision of the General Plan. We now have a perfect test case as their is no controversy over the conditions of the intersection of Encinitas Blvd. and El Camino Real, the proposed site of the now green lighted Walgreens. The Walgreens traffic report shows the before build out and after build out improvement the peak hour level of service are between LOS D and E at peak hours [see Table Seven pg. 29 of the traffic report]. It also shows that the 2030 baseline and the baseline+project level LOS for the two driveways varies between LOS C and E during peak hours [ see table 5, pg. 26] .

So what are my conclusions ?

1. The development should not be allowed because the threshold of the General Plan have already been exceeded. No new development affecting this intersection should be allowed until such infra structure improvements as necessary to bring the intersection within the acceptable limits of the General Plan are done.

2. The addition of an additional right hand turn lane on the West side of El Camino Real would mitigate the gross LOS figures generated by the Walgreens to a certain extent, but whatever that extent would be, it would not mitigate the the driveways at peak hours AS THE TURNING MOTION REMAINS THE SAME. In fact, a dedicated right hand turn lane without an island preventing those leaving the El Camino Real driveway of the BofA from attempting any other action other than turning right may well make the problem worse.

3. This project is not one where "no alternatives exist" or an "overriding need can be demonstrated".

4. The alternative of closing the BofA El Camino access has not been discussed, whether in the context of moving the BMW driveway to alignment with the MacDonald's driveway on Encinitas and signalizing it to provide access to all or with no further changes. The Staff report indicates the only other option would be to change or remove the existing BofA building. They have failed to consider any other possibilities and have been deaf to the community.

I propose that each of you respond to this letter in writing so the citizens of Encinitas can understand your views. I suggest that you do this without help of staff or counsel, though the response of staff could certainly be included as a separate response. I suggest you respond to the applicability of the General Plan in general as well as this specific example. Ms Barth is excused from this exercise as she voted for the appeal against this project based on other General Plan provisions - though she is welcome to provide input. Since the Traffic Commission will review this project, their participation is also voluntary.

I have contacted J.P. La Pierre and he will post this letter and your responses on his "Leucadia!" website so the community can better understand your point of view. For years I have presented you with these General Plan provisions and have never received a written reply. I believe you owe me and the citizens of Encinitas a specific reply outlining your views.

Thank You,
Herb Patterson

See Herb's previous letter about Walgreen's: Leucadia Blog: Do we need tax monies so badly that we are willing to shoehorn in an unneeded business on an illegal lot?
ENCINITAS: Walgreens gets green light

Friday, June 27, 2008

Hometown Tree

From the Monday Art Day blog,

This is a drawing of my favorite tree from my childhood. It was the greatest climbing tree ever. It even had a place where a branch separated and grew back together to form a throne to sit on. It was an avocado tree, so it also provided a tasty snack and a plenitude of amo to through at neighborhood bullies.

I grew up in Leucadia, California, which was entirely covered in avocado orchards and small green houses before anyone started building real houses. It was a lazy beach town with a population comprised of surfers, hippies, and immigrants. As the years wore on, the trees were all but sacrificed for the cement and wood of housing and commercial pursuits. The beach culture, that I loved, was transformed into a consumer culture. Yet through it all this tree still stands on Sanford St. in the front yard of the house I grew up in.


4th of July Leaders Wanted

click image for large view

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sheffo on the Sand Tax

From 2008 Encinitas city council candidate Joe Sheffo:

The North County Times has a piece on the council's attempt to put another sand tax initiative on the fall ballot.

ENCINITAS: Council to decide to put sand tax on November ballot

Prior to the June election, I made the argument that the sand tax was just another money grab and that if sand replenishment were so worthwhile the council should make it a priority and fund replenishment projects out of existing funds.

The Times article quotes Mike Andreen, who was a major proponent of the sand tax, now making that same argument:

"I think you have a 50-50 chance of passing it in November, " Andreen said. "But there is the argument that you just spent $25,000 and F passed. So why don't you collect that $160,000 a year (under Prop. F) and see if you need more money later. Besides, you can always use some of the general funds for sand replenishment."

It's becoming clear that Props F & G were never really about sand replenishment but were instead part of a calculated attempt to use sand replenishment as a campaign issue in the fall.

Putting politics before sound policy and fiscal responsibility is pretty darn cynical. I hope that taxpayers remember that this fall. Vacation-rental tax to go before Encinitas voters

My idea for Moonlight Beach: Leucadia Blog: Moonlight Beach, Grassy Park instead of Sand?

Also in the newz:
ENCINITAS: Walgreens gets green light
I bring this up because it's a rare day when the usual power players on the Encinitas Chamber of Commerce and DEMA agree with city watchdog Donna Westbrook.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Local Gal Rachelle Collier Making 2008 Encinitas City Council Run!

The following is an e-mail from a friend,

I am running for City Council because I have noticed that the citizens of Encinitas are not always clearly heard. I believe that community involvement is essential to keep our City, and its five unique communities, true to the General Plan that was so thoughtfully written when our City was incorporated in 1986.

Please remember, the reason Encinitas incorporated as a City was to remove control from the County, which was not doing its job, and to demand good and well-planned development. Too often, in the past few years, citizen’s ideas and concerns have not been thoroughly considered. Workshops are well attended but the input from the community is not reflected in the outcome.

I believe we can do it better. It is time to open up City Hall and allow citizens who have vast expertise and knowledge to participate. The responsibility of making final decisions will always fall to the elected officials, but the City has a great resource at hand and should encourage citizens who can volunteer their time and ideas to be part of the process.

It is time for change and fairness in our City Government and I am committed to making that change happen.

My community involvement includes: Being founding member of the Community Parks Council, (1999). We were instrumental in the development of the Leucadia Oaks Park. I’ve been a member of the Leucadia Town Council since 2001, and President since 2006. The LTC has also awarded an annual $500 scholarship to a graduating high school senior since 2006. As well as being a Board member of the Leucadia 101 Mainstreet Association since 2000, I am currently the Secretary and have served on many committees and have participated in all the events that contribute to the character of the North 101 Corridor, including working with the City staff and Council to have temporary sidewalks installed where there were none and attending the Streetscape workshops. I am also a member of the Friends of the Encinitas Library and the Encinitas Taxpayers Association.

I am proud to be endorsed by The League of Conservation Voters and Sierra Club California.

Three meetings on Wednesday night June 25

San Dieguito Water District - one item

Joint City & SDWD - three consent items and one regular item

Council Meeting

Three Presentations

Three Consent Items

Four items on the Regular Agenda

Make appointments to the Youth Commission

Appeal concerning Planning commission appeal of the Walgreens drug store on Encinitas Blvd.

Introduction of an Ordinance to require recycling of construction and demolition materials

Council discussion and direction on whether to include on the Nov. ballot the 2% Transient Occupancy Tax on short term vacation rentals.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The NCTD Hates You

It's clear the NCTD hates all of us.

TREES: The NCTD cut down a bunch of beautiful old growth trees in Leucadia, link.

QUALITY OF LIFE: The NCTD does nothing to beautify it's scorched earth dead zone in Leucadia,

COASTER: While I support the Coaster and ride it often, the train horns are overly loud and the Coaster kicks up huge plums of dust in the Leucadia dead zone that leaves a layer of grim over the coast highway corridor. Breathe deep, that dusty air is some quality air pollution.

COASTER COPS: If you live east of Vulcan Ave in Leucadia and want to walk to the Pannikan to get a cup of coffee you cannot cross the train tracks. You are too stupid to look both ways for the train and cross safely on your own. If you attempt this you will be fined $200 by the Coaster Cops who cruise the tracks in a gas guzzling SUV. It's better that you get into your car and drive to the Pannikan even though as the crow flies you only live 1/4 mile away. Yes, the NCTD is all about saving gas and getting cars off the road!

SPRINTER: The Sprinter is a $478 million giant taxpayer boondoggle which won it a Golden Fleece award.

BUS: The NCTD bus stops are horrible. Most of them don't have benches, but even the ones with benches are craptacular. The bus stops are notorious for not having schedules.

Now you can't take your bike on the train! news link What is the point of the NCTD? Why didn't the NCTD design their cars to accommodate bikes? What the hell are you supposed to go once you get to the Coaster station? Walk? Take the bus (that probably doesn't go where you need to be and has no schedule posted)? Take a taxi? Arrgh!!!



Thursday, June 19, 2008

Nantucket Leucadia, the Plot thickens ENCINITAS: Homeowner to ask Council to lift affordable housing restriction

Leucadia Cares and friends:

At the city council tonight the agenda item of interest was # 4 - a report and 3 options laid out by the staff concerning the affordable housing unit on Andrew and the Barratt home located on what is called Plot # 1 - their former model home on Andrew.

The story goes: Barratt sold Plot # 1 to a customer who wants to move in (of course). The customer says he was never told the house can not be occupied because the affordable house has not be built. The customer, George Shafer, came before the CC a couple of weeks ago to say he wants to move in "with his family", he is reported to have said. The city holds what is called a "certificate of occupancy" (COO) and is not suppose to give it up until the affordable home is completed as contracted.

As it turns out: David Meyer, who was under contract to build the affordable home on Andrew, has backed out of the whole deal. The council thinks Barratt is now responsible for the affordable home.
Barratt has no money and has pulled their advertising signs off La Costa and the huge one on Andrew. There is a "for sale by owner" on the lawn of Plot # 1 home tonight.

Kathleen McMillen Lees, Jerry Sodomka and I spoke to the issue of making Barratt live by the existing contact and build the affordable home before releasing the COO to Shafer. I brought up the point that Barratt gave $ 30K to the city for the last birthday party...and now is asking for favors again. We brought up the point that all we want is the city to follow their rules. They haven't in this case.

We found out on the web and through some of you that George Shafer is actually a representative for an LLC that buys model homes and leases them back to builders. No warm cuddly family to move in. And it was vaguely reported that the # 1 house had been sold to someone else before Mr. Shafer got involved. The boys on the council were hoodwinked again, but they didn't seem to care.

Maggie and Teresa didn't buy any of it and wanted more time to figure who is who and what is what. Teresa said publicly "the whole deal smells."

The boys voted them down and came up with a very difficult plan to give Barratt the COO for Plot # 1 (the model home) and somehow take back the COO for plot # 6 and hold it in hostage until the affordable home is build. I believe the city attorney said it might be very hard to get the COO back. Good luck - I understand someone already owns plot # 6...a point neglected by the boys last night.

If ever you wanted to see one hour and 20 minutes of giving Barratt and David Meyer favors -- this was the night. It was SO embarrassing to see how the boys practically fell over themselves to accommodate the wiggly players here. Wish we had bought the birthday party.

The staff is to meet with Barratt and give them the plan of building an affordable (now probably 800 sf) home on Andrew by June 30, 2009 or the city will take over Plot # 6 as the affordable home. Sounds tough, but I have my doubts about it working out like that. It was all very pathetic. The taxpayer money that has gone into this aspect of the project alone is probably staggering.

What the CC did not discuss is what happens if these properties have not paid their property taxes and default back to a lender? Is the lender responsible for building the affordable housing? Somehow in the boys' zeal to help Barratt they forgot that biggie.

Keep a look out for more deals to come.

Ron HOUSING: Carlsbad-based home builder in financial trouble

Leucadia Blog: Barratt American, Your New Neighbors on Sheridan!

Leucadia Blog: Invasion

Nantucket, Leucadia

New Construction in Leucadia

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Drunk Driver on Leucadia's Hwy 101

From the inbox-"A drunk driver mowed down two trees Monday around 2pm, narrowly missing numerous cars, motorhomes and a motorcycle. The cops caught up with the vehicle (with a limb of one tree still attached) and arrested one man. The man said it wasn't him but a friend driving his car who split. Yeah right."

Poor Fred Caldwell, he has tried everything to make that little center median in front of his business look nice. He plants flowers, they bloom and the city sprays them with poison. He maintains trees and they are mysteriously cut down. Now what little was left (including a California Oak that sprouted up there) was destroyed by another 101 nitwit driver...

Leucadia Blog: Invasion of the canopy snatchers....

California Drought Post II

click image for large view

US Drought Monitor

PBS documentary (sadly VHS only) Cadillac Desert: Mulholland's Dream (Water and the Transformation of Nature) (1997)

which is based on the excellent book Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water by Marc Reisner.

Water is a precious resource,

Leucadia Blog: No Doubt, it's a Drought

Friday, June 13, 2008

$40,000 a month beach rentals in Encinitas?

Check out this Wall Street Journal story about summer rentals,
The 'Five-Star' Beach Rental


Ray and Cathleen Shera are among the beach house owners who are trying to lure tenants. The couple bought a four-bedroom oceanfront home in Encinitas, Calif., for $3.55 million in March 2007. Initially, they thought they might hold it a while, then sell it. But the Southern California real estate market quickly turned sour, so they decided to rent it out instead.

To stand out from other beach places on the rental market, the couple says they spent more than $500,000 on upgrades and new furnishings, including Italian leather sofas, a new kitchen with a 50-bottle wine chiller and a Jacuzzi with iPod hookups. They also stocked the linen closet with Frette sheets and towels and the baths with scented salts and shampoo. "We wanted the same quality as a five-star hotel," says Mrs. Shera, an interior designer.

Seven months ago, they started advertising the home for $40,000 a month in the high season. Their strategy worked -- at least to the extent that they've been booked most of the time. But because of the tough economy more competitors are adding their vacation homes to the rental pool every day, making it harder to attract customers, even with all the amenities. The Sheras recently cut their rates by more than 20%, and say they're just breaking even financially.

People are wacky!

High end Neptune rental example and here.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Leucadia 101 Membership Drive

e-mail copy and paste:

Leucadia 101 Membership Drive

It's been a busy year for Leucadia 101 and we need your involvement and membership!

What an incredible time in history for Leucadia. We are well along on the planning process for the Leucadia Streetscape; conceptual design for the entire length, and first phase construction between A street and North Court. This is the most significant public investment in several decades for our community as well as other projects such as pedestrian rail crossings, Leucadia Blvd. improvements as well as several private sector projects. You've probably noticed the new sidewalks with the round medallion stamps embossed that have been installed on Hwy 101 between North Court and Jupiter. I think we can all see the tremendous improvement this has been with the increase in pedestrian activity and improvements to business storefronts and landscaping.

Your involvement with Leucadia 101 is the most important and effective way to ensure your voice is heard on these projects as they come to fruition, which is why I'm writing to you today to introduce our New Membership Program! We had fun with the names - it's Leucadia after all- but we're serious about the great benefits for each level.

Please take a look at our website for more information and sign up today!

We Got Fleeced by the Sprinter!

13th Annual Golden Watchdog & Golden Fleece Awards

GRAND GOLDEN FLEECE: North County Transit District - Sprinter

Planning for the Sprinter rail by the North County Transit District began in 1990, with an original estimated cost of $60 million. Hampered by a seemingly endless series of delays, fiscal problems and technical issues, the total cost of the Sprinter amounted to nearly half a billion dollars. Amazingly, after receiving a $160,000 fine for sediment pollution to surrounding water bodies, the Transit District was fined an additional $685,000 for repeatedly ignoring the same issue. Three different projected start dates for operations came and went because of faulty signal systems for traffic gates and the failure of an inspection by the California Public Utilities Commission. Faulty design problems delayed work even further, and the Transit District paid $12.2 million in a settlement with West Coast Rail Constructors for the resulting waiting period in addition to $18.1 million in change orders. And that's not all…the rail has failed to significantly reduce traffic on Highway 78; a trip on the Sprinter from Oceanside to Escondido takes longer than driving. Other Sprinter benefits include new traffic delays at train crossings and a lack of sufficient parking for riders at several stops. Even better, while intended to increase the overall use of public transit, many Sprinter passengers were previously Breeze bus riders whose routes were canceled upon completion of the rail.

* * *

“This milestone brings us one step closer to SPRINTER operations and realizing our ultimate dream of moving more people in and around North County,” said Jerome Stocks, NCTD Chair. “The SPRINTER vehicles are representative of the quality of this new transportation project for North County – they are well made, sleek, modern and efficient. I am pleased to have been part of such a great investment on the part of our community.” Stocks, a City of Encinitas Councilmember, also represents NCTD on the SANDAG Board of Directors. source

Encinitas Taxpayers Association Sprinter postings.

*Blogger's note-I kinda like the Sprinter, I think it looks neat.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Encinitas Plastic Bag Ban

Towns all across America are discussing banning plastic grocery bags from their communities. link

The people who banned smoking on Encinitas beaches and streets and banned selling novelty lighters now want to ban those worthless plastic bags they give you at the grocery store.

You know the ones, the thin crappy plastic bags that always get a big tear in the corner, the bags with the handles that break if you put anything heavier than a box of cereal in one, the bags so flimsy that they have to give you two of them?!? Yeah those bags are getting banned.

As cheap as they are, those crappy plastic grocery bags are expensive, around 5 cents each, with the cost sure to rise as oil crawls it's way to $200 a barrel.

Pretty much everyone has the groovy reusable grocery bags by now (I like the ones from Trader Joe's the best). Go ahead and use the Trader Joe's bags at Vons and Henry's, it's okay.

Funny thing about the whole bring your own bags movement, years ago I tried to take my groceries home in my beach backpack. It was only a few things and I had room. But the beady eyed bag boy absolutely insisted that he put my items in a plastic bag. He would not take no for an answer.

The reusable bags are called totes. Soon people will hiss and spit at you if you go to the grocery store without your tote. Most stores will give you 5 cents off your bill per tote. Last Sunday at Henry's on Encinitas Blvd I saved 20 cents off my $150 grocery bill by using my Trader Joe's bags...err, totes.

Burning Question: Does Encinitas really need to ban plastic bags when the free market and consumer culture is eliminating plastic bags on it's own? And, why hasn't Encinitas banned styrofoam cups and plates from eateries yet? Most cities did that over a decade ago. with video. ENCINITAS: Plastic bag petition drive Surfrider group wants city to ban plastic bags

Coast News: Organization petitions Encinitas to cut down on plastic bags

25 Reasons to re-use grocery bags

This homeless guy on K Street has way too many plastic bags which are harmful to the environment.

*Be sure to vote in the plastic bag ban poll located on the righthand side of this here blog.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Encinitas Library Wartime Review

The new Encinitas Library doubles as a fine military bunker is this review:
Monumental Slab, The Encinitas Stacks by John Overmeier.

Do we need tax monies so badly that we are willing to shoehorn in an unneeded business on an illegal lot?

Coast Planners stall new drugstore proposal

Herb Patterson

TO: City Council and Planning Commission
RE: Walgreen's

After the Planning Commission meeting where the proposed Walgreen's was approved without resolving the traffic concerns [can you say "pass the buck?"] one Commissioner told me that he had been reassured by staff and counsel that all aspects of the proposed Walgreen's met code and were legal.

I beg to differ and here is why:

The Subdivision Code 24.01.180 authorizes a modification of City standards if special circumstances and the necessity of the modification is clear. It goes on to say "... that the modification will not be materially detrimental to the public welfare or injurious to other property in the immediate vicinity."

Neither of the requirements for modifications to City Standards have been meant. The proposed Walgreen's adds traffic to an already problematic intersection that the City was well aware of even before the traffic report done by Walgreen's confirmed it. The left turns occurring across Encinitas are known to be hazardous and even our Traffic Engineer realized this with his proposal to prevent certain turning motions. Adding additional traffic to an already impacted area is not only counter to the General Plan [as was pointed out by a speaker at the Planning Commission hearing ] but clearly is
"detrimental to the public welfare". You can ask the Henry's market complex tenants if they think that the Walgreen's is "injurious to other property in the immediate vicinity". This is obvious on the face of it. The Planning Commission's defense of property rights is not enough to justify adding an unneeded business in an inappropriate location at the expense of a long established business. The surrounding
residential area residents complained about possible cut through traffic directly attributed to the proposed Walgreen's. All of this was readily foreseeable by even our staff. The modification of City Standards was backed by staff anyway - as in many cases, the staff was a proponent of the development and not referee between the builder and the City Code.

Further on in the Subdivision Code, it again reiterates the wording of 24.01.180 and goes on to say in 24.12.030 b2 "Every lot shall contain the minimum lot area and conform to the minimum lot dimensions and design standards specified in Chapter 30 of the Municipal Code (the Zoning Ordinance) for the zone in which said lot is located at the time the final map is submitted to the authorized agency for its approval".
The MINIMUM [emphasis mine] commercial lot must be 100' by 100' and be 10,000 square feet. The proposed Walgreen's lot may be 100' feet in a Northerly direction, but is not in a Westerly direction. In counting that 100 foot distance, roadways and similar uses do not count. As most of you are aware, this building was to have a drive through completely around the building. This is not a legal lot. You would never know that from the staff report, which fails to mention this. You decide whether this was an
intentional deceit or simply an oversight.

It is also curious that the same planner on the Walgreen's project was the planner that ran into this commercial lot size issue on 1225 Rubenstein Ave. [Case #05-191] where a residence was proposed to be turned into a medical building.

Again, in that case, the staff acted as a proponent of the builder and not a neutral party. So what should have been done on this proposed Walgreen"s ? Staff should have turned the applicant down, sighting the particular code areas mentioned above [there are other more minor violations as well]. That's what they should have done with the 1225 Rubenstein project as well. Why isn't this happening ? Have all of you simply seeded your authority to the Staff ? Do we need tax monies so badly that we are willing to shoehorn in an unneeded business on an illegal lot, negatively affecting the second worst major intersection in Encintas, and the long existing businesses ? Is the only reason we have a Planning Commission is to ensure that buildings built in the wrong place and the wrong usage are esthetically pleasing?

The upshot of the whole Walgreen's mess is that Walgreen's is threatening not to build if their left hand turn access from Encinitas is closed [which apparently, they didn't know was planned with the Encinitas expansion eventually] and the Henry's center management is threatening to sue if their access is curtailed.

All this could have been avoided if Staff had simply done their job. So the question now is who is directing the Staff to to cram in as much development as possible and forget the rules or do we simply have a portion of Staff that needs to be replaced?

Thank You,

Herb Patterson

*blogger's note-The new issue of Encinitas First, the Encinitas Chamber of Commerce newspaper, has a front page story (an op-ed piece loosely disguised as a news) that is strongly against the Walgreen's project.

The cynical part of me wonders, if the Henry's on Encinitas Blvd was not the #1 Henry's in the chain and not in the top 25 Encinitas tax producers, would the ECC care if that shopping center was impacted?

The ECC website does not have any 2008 Encinitas First issues on their website.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Stocks vs Nanninga

Coast News columnist and 2008 Encinitas city council candidate Bob Nanninga wrote this article for his Observations from the Edge column on May 31st harshly criticizing the NCTD,

Death by a thousand cuts is the best way to describe the plight of bus and rail service in the land of sprawl and crawl.

It boggles my mind how with the price of gas firmly ensconced at more than $4 a gallon, parking in coastal communities damn near impossible to find and commuter rail ridership up, North County Transit District, or NCTD, is cutting service as it struggles to make ends meet and contend with $34 million in debt.

A devolution of public transit in San Diego County seems like a case of criminal neglect or purposeful mismanagement.

Read the entire column online: County’s mass transit off track

Mayor of Encinitas Jerome Stocks is up for re-election this year and he wrote this scathing letter criticizing the Coast News and their "columnist".

click images for large view

To Tow or Not to Tow?

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Soul Steps

Reader Robert Tempchin e-mailed this great photo of the Stone Steps mural painting before the tile replica went in. I preferred the painting but the tiles make more sense maintenance wise.

The present tile mural.

Stone Steps 1975.

Bottom 2 images from

Friday, June 06, 2008

Meet Sheffo

Meet and Greet with Encinitas City Council Candidate Joe Sheffo Scheduled for Tuesday, June 10

Event will be held 7PM on June 10 at the Encinitas Community Center

ENCINITAS – Joe Sheffo, candidate for Encinitas City Council, will hold a meet-and greet on the evening of Tuesday, June 10. The event will be held at the Encinitas Community Center and begin at 7:00 pm.

WHO: Joe Sheffo, candidate for Encinitas City Council

WHAT: Meet and greet

WHEN: Evening of Tuesday, June 10, 7:00 pm

WHERE: Encinitas Community Center Room 140, 1140 Oakcrest Park Drive (Off of Balour)


Hero Leucadian Fights to Keep 760 REGION: Code war -- Leucadia man launches drive to keep 760

Article excerpt:

ENCINITAS ---- As North County prepares for yet another new area code, one Leucadia resident is saying enough is enough.

"It seems arrogant to me that a nonelected body would impose this decision, which will cost millions of dollars," said Scott Chatfield, who has started an online petition drive to ask the Public Utilities Commission to reconsider its April 24 decision to change North County's area code from 760 to 442.

With no publicity so far, about two dozen people have joined him to lobby the commission, he said.

The 442 area code will be introduced in October for Borrego, Carlsbad, Encinitas, Escondido, Fallbrook, Julian, Oceanside, Pauma Valley, Camp Pendleton, Ramona, San Marcos, Valley Center, Vista, and Warner Springs.

Both the 760 and 442 area codes will coexist until April 2009, then only the 442 area code will work in North County.

Chatfield, who has a background in radio and runs a small recording label, has created the Web site to pressure the commission. He doesn't dispute there is a need for more area codes because of a growing population and an increasing number of cell phones, fax machines and other devises.

But he does disagree with the commission's solution to the problem.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Cottonwood Creek Environmental Film Festival this Saturday

Saturday, June 7
10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
La Paloma Theatre
471 S. Coast Hwy. 101
Sunday, June 8
2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Encinitas Library
540 Cornish Drive
Cost: Saturday: $5 per film, $20 festival package; Sunday: free
Info: 760-943-1950

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

West Nile Virus in Encinitas Five More Birds Test Positive For West Nile Virus REGION: Birds test positive for West Nile virus Five more birds have West Nile virus

Watch a video about when West Nile Virus appeared in the USA for the first time in 1999, click here.

F & G

Encinitas Prop F
Pass: 4852 / 56.38% Yes votes ...... 3754 / 43.62% No votes

total votes-8606

Encinitas Prop G
Fail: 5581 / 64.66% Yes votes ...... 3050 / 35.34% No votes

total votes-8631 ENCINITAS: Tourist tax leading in early returns

*According to Smart prop G did not pass because it did not get the required two-thirds approval. source

The idea of taxing short term rentals may have well originated on this blog as a compromise instead of banning short term rentals outright. I support taxing short term rentals, but as usual the devil is in the details. I did not like the details of prop F.

This excerpt from the article sums it up for me,

Prop. F would levy an 8 percent transient occupancy tax on short term vacation rentals --- units that rent for 30 days or less --- with that money going into the city's general fund. Prop. G would add 2 percent tax on the same short term vacation rentals, but would earmark that amount for beach sand replenishment.

Tourists who stay in other types of lodging in the city ---- including hotels, motels and bed-and-breakfast inns ---- already pay a 10 percent transient occupancy tax. Eight percent of that money goes into the general fund and 2 percent is used for sand replenishment.

Supporters of Tuesday's ballot measure said the funding is important to the economic health and aesthetic appeal of the city.

"... We are a tourist destination and the sand is integral to the local economy," said Andreen, adding that the early returns appeared to show that voters understood that message.

Kevin C, president of the Encinitas Taxpayers Association, said before the election that he opposed the measures. He said the city should have lowered its existing transit occupancy tax to 8 percent, then included that to include short-term vacation rentals.

In my opinion, double digit taxes are just plain evil.

When your friends Skip and Buffy come to visit and you put them up at the Leucadia Beach Inn at $155 a night, you have to pay an extra $15 bucks. So if they stay Friday and Saturday you just subtracted $30 bucks from your wallet that isn't going to the local restaurants or boutiques. Oh well, it's only money.

Of course, the short term beach rentals can fetch up to $5000 a week in Encinitas. It's still unclear just how many short term rentals there are in town and how much revenue they generate every year, but they are definitely going to be a cash cow for the city. I sense a city staff raise in the near future!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Throw your Birkenstocks in the air, it's the Encinitas Environment Day

Hall Park Mediators Presentation, did you go? ENCINITAS: Mediators present Hall property report

"We have leadership that pitted us against each other. Every day this park is not built, every day it costs more to build," said Bob Nanninga, a member of the parks and recreation commission when the property was purchased by the city. "As someone who has been in the process from the beginning, it has always been divide and conquer. We need to stick together and get this park built."

I say, for now just make the Hall Park simple open fields where the kids can run around and play tag and stuff.