Tuesday, February 03, 2009

My Orpheus Park Tree Drama Compromise

Why can't the city just pull the contested tree out of the ground, place it on a flatbed truck and replant it somewhere else? It should only take a couple of hours and then everyone can go home happy.


  1. This is exactly why Leucadia and Encinitas are so screwed up.... Cut the tree down.

  2. Hey, I guess every bully like you, anon 2:16, gets off showing your "dominion" over the defenseless trees.

    The City should not have unwritten agreements. That does not allow for openness and public accountability. JP's right, the issue is over our City's lack of transparency and objectivity, not just over the remaining tree in Orpheus Park.

  3. The smooth running of Encinitas is desirable, but “form” isn’t more important than function. Public officers should listen well to the will of the citizens, and consider dissenters as well as staff and associated government contractors. Public officials are public servants!

    The only “martyrs” involved are the trees, which have been cut down without good reason and without considering public sentiment or interest. Councilmember Teresa Barth is correct in observing that people love the trees, and that Council, as a whole, could have been consulted before removal of trees in a much appreciated, much visited park was pushed through without opportunity for public input. The trees are important to us, to the children, and to most neighbors and residents. They are far more than merely “disposable landscaping,” as Councilmember Jerome Stocks has implied. Council needs to establish new policy on tree removal, which includes adequate notice and opportunity for public input.

    We will all miss the shade, the beauty, and the extra oxygen the trees, now cut down in Orpheus Park, had provided. Any act or decision that the City takes is “political,” because it involves the power of the people shifted onto and exercised through governmental authority. The citizens of Encinitas want our Council and staff to be sensitive to community concerns. We don’t want to be bullied, or to be ignored. Democracy should be a vehicle for the “little guy” to have a voice in these kind of community decisions. We don’t want the “machine,” to mow down more and more trees so that Leucadia continues to lose its precious canopy.

    When the public is prevented from expressing our voice, public officials continue to erode the goodwill and trust of the people. Rather than “micromanagement” this could have been a meaningful local opportunity for democracy in action.

  4. Why compromise?
    Write the guy a ticket for camping in the park and cut the tree down.
    If it was RSPB up in that tree, he'd probably be languishing in Vista by now.

  5. Your suggestion seems pretty obvious and I would support it. My suspicion is that the City Manager and a few councilmen have their heels dug in and are disinclined to compromise (it is a sign of weakness in their world).

  6. Why did the city plant those trees in the first place is my question. Me, Sheila Cameron, Gail Hano and the late president of Leucadia Merchants Association Howard Greenwood worked hard putting those trees in the ground at Orpheus Park shortly after it was sodded in the late 90's. It was a city-wide event called Plant-It-2000, and Leucadia's focus was this park. Lucky us. Makes me wonder why I bothered volunteering, as I'm sure it does with the previous mayors. With staff like that, who needs forest fires?

  7. Take the tree and the protester and move them back to Oceanside where they belong. While you're at it, take Barth.

    You hippies need to get a life!

  8. anonymous anonymousFebruary 03, 2009 8:10 PM

    "Get a life" wow, that's original. Please describe your life I'm sure it's a page turner.

  9. anon 3:41 you're the bully that ignores the law.... cut down the tree. Arrest the trespasser. Move on. do something better with city time and money than dealing with a weed growing in the wrong place with an ignorant and stinky transient sitting in it.

  10. Escondido Focused on THE Important IssueFebruary 03, 2009 9:02 PM

    When will Encinitas address the big issue and begin planning a sound finacial future?

    Escondido mulls cutting pension benefits to close budget gap
    By Angela Lau
    Union-Tribune Staff Writer

    6:56 p.m. February 3, 2009

    ESCONDIDO – The cash-strapped city is exploring cutting pension benefits and reducing overtime to close a budget gap that is projected to widen as the economy worsens.

    The City Council met Tuesday afternoon for a four-hour discussion of this year's goals. But the conversation quickly was dominated by budget concerns because the city faces a projected $7.4 million budget deficit this fiscal year.

    Escondido is expecting a similarly gloomy outlook next fiscal year. Without money, the council cannot carry out its initiatives.

    Last month, a council majority decided to cut city employee salaries and benefits, reduce library hours, freeze 12 police officers' positions, and not equip Fire Station 6 on Del Dios Road with a fire truck.

    But that addressed only part of the shortfall, leaving another $1.6 million to be cut when the council's budget subcommittee meets again in March.

    Council members didn't wait. Instead, they suggested reducing pension benefits for new employees and cutting overtime.

    The city, which has an annual general fund budget of about $82 million, spent $13.9 million on pension contributions last fiscal year, using money from the general fund and special funds, a finance official said.

    Currently, nonuniformed city employees are paid 3 percent of the highest salary they earned for every year they worked when they reach 60. That means if an employee worked in the city for 20 years and retired at 60, he or she would receive 60 percent of their highest salary earned for life. In retirement lingo, it is called 3 percent at 60.

    Police officers and firefighters have separate pension plans that pay 3 percent at 50.

    The city's pension system has long been a sore point with Councilman Sam Abed, who had said that a retired police chief is collecting 90 percent of his salary.

    At Tuesday's meeting, rookie Councilwoman Olga Diaz, a coffee shop owner who is married to an Escondido police lieutenant, joined Abed in calling for pension review.

    “It has been an eye-opening process. Coming from the private sector, I was disappointed I wasn't a public employee,” Diaz said. “It's very lucrative – you get a really great salary and a really great pension plan.”

    The city manager said that employees had traded part of their regular pay raises for better pensions. “The perception is not the reality,” he said.

    Diaz also supported reviewing the police and fire department's overtime policies. Abed had asked for a review of overtime pay for nonuniformed workers.

    Escondido spent $4 million to $5 million on overtime last fiscal year, with the bulk of that going to police officers and firefighters, the city manager said.

    “Just because we want to be safe, it doesn't mean we can't be efficient,” Diaz said.

    After the session, Diaz said she wonders if the city could save money by hiring additional police officers and reducing overtime.

    Another focus for the coming year was the library, which suffered extensive reductions in hours this fiscal year. The city also wants to double its size, from 40,000 to 80,000 square feet, to meet the needs of the city's growing population.

    Abed suggested using a 10,000-square foot wing of the California Center for the Arts, Escondido to house a new library.

    On economic development, the council agreed that the city needs to diversify its income to reduce its dependence on sales tax revenue, which makes up about 40 percent the general fund now. Diaz also suggested changing some regulations to make it easier for existing businesses to stay.

    She further recommended exploring the use of solar energy for city facilities, reviewing the gender and ethnic diversity of the city's staff and upper management, discussing the proposed use of reclaimed water for drinking, and developing the banks of the Escondido Creek into parks.


  11. Fix this drain, call your councilmemberFebruary 03, 2009 10:00 PM

    Save Encinitas Future, Cut Employees outrageous pensions. 90% of highest paying year at 60 is asinine! For an employee making $100,000 in their highest year, they get $90,000 a year when they retire FOREVER!!!

    In 11 years of retirement, each retiring above $100,000 will take home $1,000,000 each. There are hundreds of City Employees. Just think of the millions going out each year to these slackers who coasted through life and retired on our dime.

    Our City cannot afford this kind of criminal money draining program.

    Pure criminal robbery from the hard working Encinitas Citizens. City Council should be tarred and feather for encouraging and then approving of this criminal behavior.

    To address the real issue, cut the fat cut 40% of the city Employees. Call your City Councilmember NOW!

  12. There are literally thousands more trees in town than just twenty years ago. Why we are worried about this tree that takes away from an ocean view is just tree hugger mentality.
    The real trees that need saving are the euc's on 101. I don't see this dork trying to save them. They have been here long than any of us.

  13. the trees on Hwy101 and old growth that just had their roots paved over in front of Paul Ecke Central School. Someone should tell Jzu to relocate to on old tree worth saving. Or at least get some of his tree elfs in the old ones that really matter like the Cypress.

    I hope the school kids climb and stay up in the trees in front of their school along Vulcan Avenue until the principal agrees to provide fertization and deep watering for all the trees that had their roots paved over.

    In the valley of Leucadia, the trees are the view.

  14. Yes, the trees are the view.

    I am beginning to think that both Jerome Stocks and Dan Dalager are both posting anonymously on this blog.

    Whoever is doing it, one or two anonymous posters with a real hatred of what they consider to be "stinky hippies" are trying to take the focus away from the fact that this was a basic redesign of the park without Council discussion, public notice, or an opportunity for a public hearing, due to an "unwritten" agreement, which is really just another in a long line of back room "political deals."

    Dan's comments in the SDUT are hateful against Teresa, who is only doing her best to get community input, and to honor her obligation to the public trust.

    Go ahead with your "flaming" against so-called "hippies," guys. You will not distract from the issue of your thinking "might makes right," and "this is the way it's always been; it's worked for me, so I could care less about some grade school kids, or a few "tree huggers."

  15. Isn't it odd that the city would honor, what has been reported to be, verbal agreements with these condo owners when they can't seem to even honor the written ones.

    I wonder how many of those condo owners are contributors to the Bond, Stocks, Dalager campaigns?

  16. How much unshaven hippie bush is Drew going to get for sitting in that tree?


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