Sunday, November 30, 2008

Inspiration for Leucadia's Hwy101 Center Medians

This awesome garden of succulents, natives and non-native drought resistant plants are what the city should be planting in Leucadia's coast highway center medians. (Garden located by the volleyball courts at Moonlight Beach).

Our current center medians *sigh*,

Friday, November 28, 2008

Jerome blogs about Maggie's mandate

Encinitas mayor and recently reelected city council member Jerome Stocks is one of the many bloggers over at the Red County Blog (San Diego edition). In his most recent post he mildly gloats about his reelection. Jerome says that the citizens of Encinitas rewarded the incumbents for doing a great job.

Incumbent city councilperson Maggie Houlihan once again received the highest number of votes in the recent election, a final total of 12505. Maggie has broken 10,000 votes in every election contest she has run in. Maggie has received more votes than Jerome Stocks in every election. Clearly the majority residents of Encinitas think that Maggie is doing a great job.

However, the city council Wall of Sausage (Dan Dalager, Jim Bond and Jerome Stocks) consistently paint Maggie as a radical outsider who is out of touch with mainstream Encinitas values.

It is clear that Maggie's continuing dominance at the polls shows that she has a mandate in this town (Maggie should probably stop being excluded from being mayor in our rotating system). As the most popular city council member Maggie is the spearhead of "the proven leaders of a reasoned and balanced council which has served our city so well these past six years."

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Green Expo

From the inbox:

The The Cardiff-By-The Sea 101 Chamber is presenting the first annual GREEN Awareness Expo on Sunday, December 7th from 10am -3pm.

This educational event will consist of local professionals in the field of sustainability.

From architecture and building materials to energy and recycling to water conservation, landscape and agriculture, each vendor will showcase how we can live a more GREEN life.

In depth workshops will be held in the auditorium, panels of experts in related fields will offer an opportunity for questions on multiple subjects throughout the day. (see attached Presentation Schedule on flier) In addition there will be many vendor booths for the public to investigate. Kids activities too.

Sequoia Solar will power the Expo! 91X will provide the music!

Vendors and speakers include: 2009 SMART car, Encinitas Bicycles, SurfRider, RawWalls, architectural firm DZN Partners, Bluwood, Slow Food, John DeWald, Falling Waters Landscape, Olsen Painting, Carroll Plumbing, Fredricks Electric, energy expert Dadla Ponizil, LEED Certified interior designer Laura Birns, WaveCrest, Quail Gardens, Solatube, recycling guru Russell Leven, artist Kevin Anderson and more!

This event will take place in a park-like setting at Cardiff Elementary School and benefits the Cardiff Education Foundation and the Cardiff 101 Chamber.

We truly believe this will be a worthy event for the community for many years to come.

Please come and join us and spread the word!

Brenda Dizon, co-Chair, Board Member Cardiff 101Chamber
Betty Steele, co-Chair, Board Member Cardiff 101Chamber
Morgan Mallory, Vice-President Cardiff 101 Chamber

Click the image below for a schedule

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Questions for the Encinitas Chamber of Commerce re: Leucadia Streetscape

There is a lot of confusion and rumors circulating around town about what is the Encinitas Chamber of Commerce's official position on the Leucadia Streetscape project. Maybe we can use this blog to clear some things up.

Burning Questions:

Is the ECC for or against a Streetscape Project in Leucadia?

Is the ECC against certain aspects and details of the ever evolving Leucadia Streetscape or are they against the entire project?

If the ECC is against any kind of Streetscape or infrastructure improvements in Leucadia then why?

Won't the Leucadia Streetscape increase commerce in Leucadia?

Isn't Leucadia part of Encinitas?

Is it logical for a Chamber of Commerce to be against a project that will increase commerce?

Does the ECC consider the current infrastructure in Leucadia to be sustainable, especially in this economy?

Does the ECC support traffic calming on Leucadia's Hwy101?

If the ECC does not support traffic calming in Leucadia is it because it will delay commuters 2 or 3 minutes from reaching Downtown Encinitas?

Is it true the ECC is afraid that a Leucadia Streetscape will draw shoppers away from Downtown Encinitas even though that is a totally absurd notion?

859 Second St.
Encinitas, CA 92024
(760) 753-6041

ECC Board of Directors

Monday, November 24, 2008

Leucadia Osprey

This awesome Osprey was feeding on a fish atop of a telephone poll near Beacons Beach Monday morning,

I had never even seen Ospreys in Leucadia until a few years ago.

A couple of crows were harassing the Osprey while it fed.

Pulling apart it's fish breakfast.

Pesky crow.

Check out his talons,

I am still pretty geeked out about getting to observe this Osprey.

Back to Beacons for another fish!

For some professional hi-res photos of local Osprey visit

See also San Diego Audubon Society

Encinitas Watercolors

I saw Mary Helmreich's watercolors at the street fair this weekend. I love how she documents a sense of place for Encinitas (When I was a kid, my family had one of her early watercolors and I know that sentimentality might be influencing my opinion of her work).

I know that for some people it is hard to get past Leucadia's rough edges and unfinished details. There isn't a real focal point for our sense of place except for the 101 corridor. What is the most important resource/element that gives 101 a sense of unique space? It is the tall Eucalyptus canopy and an eclectic collection of small storefronts.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Got Heroin?

It is cool that the Coast News ran a feature on heroin use in Encinitas. It finally puts some light on an issue that has been festering. For years, heroin dealers have openly taken up shop in the downtown/moonlight beach area. Merchants know about it, surfers know about it, high school students know about it and tourists could figure it out.

Even with the easy access to the drug, there is no rampant heroin epidemic in Encinitas among our youth. One percent of local high school students report lifetime use of heroin (5% at Sunset H.S.).

From The Coast News article:

Joan and Tim Smith are baffled as to how their child’s former dealer, among others, can still sell drugs openly in the D Street corridor of Encinitas...

Detective Johnson said because the Encinitas station only has two detectives for their department’s jurisdiction — which encompasses Encinitas, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Cardiff-by-the-Sea and Rancho Santa Fe — he and his partner are sometimes restricted to how quickly they can respond to citizens’ reports.

“We have limited time and ability to take care of things as fast as people want,” Johnson said. “If it was in my backyard, I’d want it done tomorrow, but it doesn’t work that way in our job. There are too many legal hoops we have to go through.”

I’ve heard the sheriffs have stepped up patrols, and my observations seem to indicate that things have cleaned up. I hadn’t realized that the dealers still have a presence.

Our town is becoming more urbanized and our town is less and less dominated by young college educated families with two kids and a dog. We are also increasing our population size and density. I’d like to see the City of Encinitas review and update its law enforcement policies so that we always have more than enough law enforcement officers to saturate any problems when they begin to arise and not after they get established.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Latest Hall Park Rumor, a private club for organized sports leagues?

So, the latest rumor swirling around town is that not only will the $75 million dollar Hall Park be primarily geared towards organized soccer leagues, the fields will be fenced off with locked gates during off days.

Imagine a town with a population of 63,000 funding a $75 million dollar park for the exclusive use of high profit soccer leagues based in Carlsbad.

Want to take your kids to the Hall Park to play a little ball in the afternoon? You better wait until the weekend, sign your kids up for a fee and dress them in cute little expensive uniforms because you ain't playing for free bub.

But remember, you can't criticize any aspect of the Hall Park because that makes you a NIMBY who hates children.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

City Budget in the New Economy

NCT: ENCINITAS: City considers increasing its reserves

Right now, Encinitas is one of the lucky cities, staff members said. Its property tax revenue ---- the single largest source of income for the city ---- is projected to grow by 5 percent this fiscal year.

City sales tax revenue, however, isn't looking good.

Sales tax revenue generated between April and June was down 5 percent compared to figure a year ago, the report notes. City staff members said that's simply the start of the bad sales tax news.

The city is forecasted to collect $54.5 million and spend $48 million.

Burning Questions:

Just how bad will sales tax collections be with several major retailers in New Encinitas closing down?

How much will the Leucadia Streetscape cost?

Is the Leucadia Streetscape project in danger when the city moves forward with it's plan to build a $75 million park on the Hall property?

How many small coastal businesses will close down this winter due to this harsh new economy and lack of infrastructure and support?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Eolus Fire

Fire reported at 3:35am.
Encinitas Fire arrive at 3:43am.

2008 Gas Prices

This morning at the Mobil on Hwy 101 in North Leucadia I paid $2.29 a gallon for regular gas.

The Leucadia Blvd/Orpheus Shell station crossed the $4 mark back in May of this year.

See also: Leucadia Blog: High Octane Local Pride Art

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Close Call at Beacons Beach

If this person had put their sleeping bag just a few feet over they would have got flushed by the drainpipe. Photo taken this morning.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Scripps Expansion Drama

From the inbox over the weekend:


Dear Friends and Neighbors,

We hope you have had an opportunity to look at the Scripp's Hospital Draft Environmental Impact Report that can be found on the City of Encinitas'website

The Scripp's Master Plan proposes a 162% increase to the hospital's current size. Building heights will range from 45' – 59' and include a helipad. An expansion of this size will bring many significant impacts to our community. The E.I.R., however, states that these impacts can be mitigated. We do not believe that many of them can be. The infrastructure was never meant to handle this quantity of traffic. With the traffic that will be generated by the Hall Property Park and Scripps Hospital we can expect to have a substantial increase in cut-through traffic on our residential streets.

When Santa Fe is unable to handle the number of cars that will be trying to access these two locations, drivers will take short cuts through our neighborhoods. The bulk and mass of this project will forever change the character of our community.

The E.I.R. includes some pictures of the proposed buildings, inserted using PhotoShop, into the existing campus, so you can get an idea of what this expansion will look like. Please look at them and see for yourself how massive this proposed project could be. Missing from the photographs are the manned toll booths/gates and traffic that will be a lasting part of this project and our community.

We need to address the negative impacts this plan will create in our community. We need to let Scripps and our City representatives know what concerns we have. An endeavor of this size, against an entity the size of Scripp's Health, will require large community interest and involvement. We need your help. Please plan on attending these important meetings. Get involved. Together we can make a difference!

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 15th, 2008, 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
The Neighbors of Scripps Encinitas (N.O.S.E.) will be hosting an informational meeting at the San Diego County Credit Union (501 N. El Camino Real, Encinitas) . We hope to simplify the information contained in the E.I.R. and give specific speaking and writing points that must be made regarding the issues that will negatively affect our community. There is a 45-day review period which began on October 24, 2008 and ends at 6:00 p.m. on December 8th, 2008. All written comments must be submitted by this deadline to be included in the Final E.I.R.

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2008 7:30 a.m.-9:00 a.m and 3:30 p.m. to 5:00
p.m.. March in front of Scripps Hospital and Press Conference by

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 20th, 2008 6:00 p.m.
A Planning Commission Meeting at City Hall at 6:00 p.m. will be held to allow the public an opportunity to provide verbal comments on the Draft E.I.R. We must have a large turn-out for this meeting and future meetings to show Scripp's and the Planning Commission the valid concerns we have regarding this project.

Final day to submit comments regarding the Draft E.I.R. to:
Mr. Scott Vurbeff
Environmental Coordinator
City of Encinitas
505 S. Vulcan Avenue
Encinitas, CA 92024

Please contact us if you have any questions or can help with time or monetary donations.

Thank you.
Neighbors of Scripps Encinitas

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Botanical Gems of Leucadia: Part I

Cal Pacific Orchid Farm is one of Leucadia's botanical gems.

Its worth stopping by just to see what is on display. The totality of the place ends up being numbing (in a good way). If you have been there lately, you know what I mean. They also have a ton of funky pots.

It’s a great place to find a gift and you can get a great deal. You can spend ten bucks on a bunch of cut flowers down the street or 3-4 times that for an amazing orchid that can bloom vibrantly for months. The people who run the Orchid Farm are super friendly and helpful. They even gave me a tour of their huge "orchid hotel".

I asked Kathy Desmond, the owner, how long orchids can live. She answered, "Indefinitely". Then she showed me one of their orchids that is over 50 years old and going strong. It is just about to bloom (see below).
The current owners purchased the farm a few years ago. The previous owner was discrete when preparing to sell the farm. He wanted to find someone who would continue the business and not turn around and sell to developers. He wanted to keep flowers in Leucadia.

Its right off Orpheus Avenue and it is always worth stopping by to see what's inside.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Streetscape Workshop Reactions

NCT story: ENCINITAS: Community voices off on face lift for Leucadia's historic corridor

The city has budgeted more than $4 million through 2013 for streetscape projects to enhance the 2-mile stretch of North Coast Highway 101 between A Street and La Costa Avenue.

At workshops held in February and May, consultants presented alternatives that provided for one northbound lane and two southbound lanes along the highway, as well as bike lanes, center medians, additional parking spaces and as many as five roundabouts at El Portal, Jupiter, Grandview, Sea Bluff and La Costa Avenue.

On Thursday night, Peltz and others presented a fourth alternative that they said would save 92 percent of the trees along the route and increase parking capacity by 22 percent. The new plan was said to encourage walking and bicycling, and reduce traffic speeds.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My Funky Streetscape Plan

click image for large view and don't laugh at my crappy drawing that I did in 5 minutes.

The roundabouts have been the most controversial element of the streetscape plan. A lot of people don't like them and they are expensive to build. Above is a quick sketch I just drew up. Instead of roundabouts it makes the coast highway right turns only with a series of U-turn spots. I think this would eliminate the t-bone collisions that Leucadia's coast highway suffers from.

My drawing shows Grandview as an example but I think it would work for the entire stretch of Leucadia's coast highway. I pretty much do this already, left turns are sketchy in Leucadia, especially in south Leucadia. The Pannikan, Leucadia Liquor, Lou's Records, and Gold Coast Plaza are all sketchy places to try to make a left turn.

Don't forget, the third streetscape workshop is tonight at city hall, 6 pm!

*Also, my plan calls for southbound 10 Speeders to cross the highway at La Costa Ave and share a extra wide bike lane with northbound bikers (single lane northbound for cars to make room for all these bikes). Southbound sure would function smoother with the 10 Speeders spilling into traffic but this idea probably work work because I doubt that the hoards of bikers would want to cross at La Costa.

Other elements include old timey streetlamps, stone paver crosswalks, nice sidewalks, lots of trees, flowers and native landscaping and whatnot.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Solana Center Composter

The Solana Center offers free composting workshops and e-waste drop off events in Encinitas. They also sell subsidized compost bins to residents and work with local schools to start recycling and compost programs.

The Solana Center Composter

Always wanted to start composting but aren't sure how? They are having a workshop at Quail Botanical Gardens this Saturday.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Giant Pencils of Leucadia

The Leucadia Giant Pencils are located in front of the Sea Air mobile home park/across from Paul Ecke Central school.

Too bad some knucklehead tagged one of the pencils.

Hooray for the giant pencil fence!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Cardiff getting sand the natural way

Photos taken on Sunday, November 10 2008.

That was a pretty good rainstorm we had over the weekend. The San Elijo lagoon was flowing out strongly at Cardiff.

The rain runoff flowing out at Cardiff.

Full on rushing river.

The runoff was depositing a ton of sand onto Cardiff beach.
The stormy big waves brought in a lot of kelp chunks. A few days these clumps of kelp will start to rot and stink and be covered in flies. Maybe the city should use some of that sand tax money to remove the stinky kelp?