Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Letter of Complaint to the City of Encinitas

December 13, 2009

To: City Attorney Glenn Sabine, City of Encinitas
505 S. Vulcan Ave. Encinitas, CA 92024

From: Stephen A. Meiche, Citizen of Encinitas
505 Orpheus Ave. Encinitas, CA 92004

Subject: Formal Personnel Complaint Against City of Encinitas Administrators Phil Cotton, City Manager and Chris Hazeltine, Director of Parks and Recreation

This is a formal complaint against the above-mentioned city administrators for the following misconduct:

Making untruthful and inaccurate reports. Making misleading statements with the intent to deceive and influence the city council to adopt a new city ordinance.

False and misleading verbal statements during a public meeting with City Council.

Failure to perform and breach of fiduciary duty and responsibility.

Violating practices and procedures of the City of Encinitas.

Violation of City of Encinitas Administrative Manual Code of Ethics and Discipline.

Violation of City of Encinitas Administrative Manual Environmental Policy.

Violation of Municipal Code 2.24.070.

December 13, 2009
Formal Personnel Complaint Against City of Encinitas Administrators
Page 2

This complaint is generated from written as well as verbal statements and analysis made by Chris Hazeltine, Director of Parks and Recreation to the members of the City Council during a public City Council meeting. The statements were in regards to the adoption of City Ordinance 2009-14 amending Chapter 8.04.160 of the Municipal Code. The described ordinance was placed on the City Council Agenda for adoption. (See attached Agendas)

During Mr. Hazeltine's preparation of the analysis he failed to perform his duties and responsibilities. Mr. Hazeltine violated city practices and procedures in the preparation of his analysis by failing to contact and consult any and all local stakeholders that could potentially be affected by this ordinance amendment. Additionally, he violated the City of Encinitas Administrative Manual Environmental Policy.

In his written analysis he states he following:

“Based on staff’s analysis and consultation with local stakeholders, staff has determined that the hours and days dogs are permitted off-leash at these parks sites could be expanded to better meet the needs of dog owners.”

Based on the above statement, Mr. Hazeltine willfully perjured public documents on 3 different agendas that mislead the public. Mr. Hazeltine also made verbal statements supporting his analysis at the November 9 City Council meeting with City Manager Phil Cotton present. Mr. Hazeltine’s actions gave false information that was inadequate and inaccurate and caused the City Council to make motions to adopt the ordinance without having full and complete information. Consequently, the adoption of the ordinance was published in the local newspapers. Local stakeholders became aware and contacted the individual council members with their concerns. When the errors were brought to their attention the council acknowledged the omission of the stakeholders and amended the ordinance without ordering Mr. Hazeltine to reanalyze his recommendation with the input of the local stakeholders. Stated on the most recent City Council Agenda Report for the December 16 meeting, Mr. Hazeltine continues to make false and misleading statements to the public and City Council by continuing to submit incomplete analyses that do not reflect consultation with local stakeholders.

December 13, 2009
Formal Personnel Complaint Against City of Encinitas Administrators
Page 3

The stakeholders that are affected by this ordinance represent a large number of citizens, taxpayers and constituents. Willfully misleading the public and City Council with intent to deceive is illegal, unethical, violates state and city government policies and discredits public trust.

The following are stakeholder groups that were not consulted:

Any and all homeowners, neighbors and residents adjacent to Orpheus, Viewpiont and Sun Vista Parks including Home Owners Associations (HOA) representing the condominium complexes and townhomes next to Orpheus and Viewpoint Parks.

The Principal and PTA, Paul Ecke Central School adjacent to Orpheus Park.

The Principal and PTA, Olivenhain Pioneer School adjacent to Sun Vista Park.

The Superintendent of Encinitas Union School District.

The Principal Librarian of the North Region Branch, County of San Diego Libraries, Encinitas.

As you can see the stakeholders groups alone represents hundreds of citizens that could be affected by the new ordinance. All of the above-mentioned were not consulted as Mr. Hazeltine states.


I formally request a full investigation into these allegations and that Mr. Hazeltine and Mr. Cotton are put on administrative notice that they are under investigation for their misconduct. Additionally, I request that the Agenda Report for the December 16 Council Meeting be revised by removing Agenda Item 5A pending the investigation and a full and complete analysis of the impact of the City Ordinance 2009-14 amending Chapter 8.04.160 of the Municipal Code. I also request a full written response to this complaint outlining any and all actions to be taken as well as my rights as a complainant.

December 13, 2009
Formal Personnel Complaint Against City of Encinitas Administrators
Page 4

This complaint has be forwarded to the following:

Members of the Encinitas City Council
State of California State Auditor, Bureau of State Audits
California State Assembly 74th District Martin Garrick
United States Congressman Brian Bilbray
San Diego County Supervisor 3rd District Pam Slater-Price
San Diego County Sheriff Central Investigations Division
San Diego Association of Governments Board of Directors

Additional copies of this complaint will be forwarded to:
All stakeholder groups mentioned in the complaint
Local television and print news media

Stephen A. Meiche
505 Orpheus Ave.
Leucadia CA 92024


  1. Does anybody know who this person is. This item was noticed in the public newspapers for all to see. It is not the job of the City to notify Librarians, PTA members, etc. Good grief get a grip. This is allowing a few more off-leash hours at community parks. I have not always agreed with Mr. Cotton or Mr. Hazeltine, but this seems a bit over the top IMHO.

  2. He must be a dog hater. You know how they are.

  3. He sounds like a nut case to me.

  4. The city should notify people of what is going on in their neighborhood.

  5. anon 140=anon142=anon144

  6. Yes, I know this guy. Good guy! First person to stand up to the special rights / dog rights activists trying to take over the parks. The city sent notices in the mail to residents near Hawk View to let them know about the possible creation of hours (which they passed last night with few if any consideration given to the neighbors that opposed the off leash hours). They did NOT do this with the other parks. It's political. BTW, these are not hours in community parks, they are hours in small neighborhood parks that are not designed for all the outside activity. Community parks could handle it better. It's a total doggie takeover in the small neighborhood parks. They should have put a dog park at Cottonwood Creek if there's so much demand.

  7. Regardless of the merits of this issue and this case, city staff is often poor at notifications, and often claims notifications were made when they were not made. There is no excuse for sloppy work by city staff, which is the norm.

    Again, staff may be totally right in this case, but there is a pattern of sloppy oversight.

  8. Ill start my defense early. The complaint speaks for itself and is factual with evidence to support it. No one holds the city workers or administrators accountable. Throughout the general plan and administrative manuals it clearly grants the public input. A stakeholder is defined as anyone that could be effected by.

    Hazeltine and Cotton did not do their job and willfully mislead the public, bottom line.

    In regards to nut case yes I am and, I have 2 dogs a parrot, a cat, a frog, and two boys 3 and 5 that walk thru dog poop at Orpheus Park everyday on their way to school. Im all for dog parks, just one's that are done right and that are enforced and maintained.

    By the way I use my name because I stand by what I say and will defend it. It easy to hide behind the name anonymous. Maybe if people spoke up and stood behind their thoughts this community would be moving forward in the right direction.

  9. Carly-Citizen of EncintasDecember 16, 2009 5:20 PM

    I am a bit confused. Since when do 3 year old kids go to school first of all? There seem to be so many flaws in the complaint, that although I usually think the City is incompetent, in this case I have a hard time understanding exactly what the complaint is all about. A few extra hours for people to take their dogs to an off-leash area. How can this be political? Who exactly stands to gain? Those are just a few of my questions.Is it possible the the person complaining is just haveing a temper tantrum because he didn't get his way?

  10. I had to stop taking my kids to D street park because of all the dog shit, it was disgusting! And, off leash dogs are a danger to young kids, they look like prey, and to traffic.. Just one week ago a woman's dog ran into traffic at D street and was killed...ironic that all the dog lovers just stood by and did not help her, my brother in law coming back from the coaster did, he was shocked by the lack of concern from the other dog owners. if you want a dog park, build it, they will come, but build it with fences!

  11. 5:20--

    We all stand to gain by this complaint, which really has very little to do with dogs. It has to do with the process for changing park rules and what happens when City employees don't do their jobs but say they did. The complaint seems pretty clear to me and it will be interesting to see who writes back to Mr. Meiche and the extent to which they investgate his claims, which I think are fairly significant.

  12. I agree with Steve and appreciates him for standing to better his community and standing by his position. This is really not about dogs in my opinion.

    the fricken City is out of control from the public process and is controlled by the three wienies and their employees.

  13. I take my dog to any public place and park I want. If you don't like it, too bad.

  14. 9:31 and i shit on your yard, no leash required

  15. Dog and Cat OwnerDecember 17, 2009 6:36 AM

    Three cheers for Steve!
    Too many dog owners don't pick up after their pets and should be fined heavily for it.
    Our council only approved this because they didn't want to be voted out of office next election.
    This is the worst thing you can do to our parks, making them toxic waste sites and worthless for the rest of the citizens of Encinitas.
    Remember Maggie had terrible poll numbers before her reelection a few years back until she was heralded for dropping out of a race to tend to a dying cat. No matter how loony she is the wackos will get her reelected.
    Most employees at all levels of government are either inept, lazy, stupid, mean, incompetent, ineffective or a combination. If not they are just biding their time to their golden retirement.

  16. From reading the letter it appears that the complaint is that the city staff lied or falsified a public document. In that document they say they contacted the stakeholders when they didn't. That should be taken as serious business.

    What else have the lied about or what other documents have they falsified? I don't see the city manager as a villain here. He needs to rely on his staff to tell him the truth.

    If in fact this guy didn't contact the people he states that he did then the city manager should take immediate action against the guy. The city council should also take immediate action. How can the council rely on information from these sources in the future? It doesn't matter what the issue is. It comes down to trust.

  17. Dog owners need to be sensitive about dogs on the actual playgrounds. A dog barked at my kid, completely unprovoked, while she was on the sandy playground climbing on the jungle jim thing. It made my daughter cry. I'm not going to write a 15 page diatribe against the city, but, c'mon, if you're a dog owner on a playground, get your dog on a leash or off the playground part if your dog is prone to freak outs.

    If my kid happened to have a habit of taking her pinky and gouging dog eyes, I would keep my kid away from your dog. If your dog barks at small children, unprovoked, because the dog is nervous or whatever, then don't bring the dog to the actual playground.

    We wouldn't need laws if people were a little more sensitive to others.

  18. The City should absolutely notify via MAIL all the people any decisions are to affect. The "assumption" that the notice will be read in any of the local newspapers is an "extraordinary assumption", and to assume anyone routinely goes on The Citys website is equally as presumptive.

    In the past, when issues affecting any neighborhood were to be acted upon, by a Commission or The City Council, the residents were notified by MAIL. Next question is: what about absentee owners? They appear to be left out of the loop entirely.

  19. Anon 7:35- Dog is GOD spelled backwards.
    Kid is DIK spelled backwards. Go figure.

  20. RvW: Yep Coucil said "dangerous" for dogs at Cottonwood Creek...yet they have proposed fencing at other Community Parks for off-leash dogs.
    I suspect that the waterway running under Cottonwood Creek park is the REAL reason. Can you spell b-i-o-h-a-z-a-r-d ? Everyone would be swimming in residual dog fecal matter at Moonlight. Also Cottonwood is the Jewel of the City (park) isn't it? The 'Gateway" to Encinitas....hmmmmm Plenty of parking, plenty of room, plenty of level ground. Cottonwood would appear to be a slamdunk for an off-leash fenced area park.

  21. Encinitas: 60,000 population
    17.22 ACRES for off-leash dogs

    Carlsbad: 100,000 population
    1 ACRE for off-leash dogs

    WHERE do you think Carlsbad takes their dogs? Do you like your tax dollars subsidizing Carlsbads residents?

  22. Anon11;07- I live in Carlsbad, I wouldn't offend my dog by bringing her to Encinitas, Del Mar yes!! Encinitas No!!

  23. Steve I believe has tried to make right a situation that the City of Encinitas council members is allowing to get out of control. As an owner of 3 dogs and living near a beautiful Encinitas park I believe we need to have areas where it is safe for dogs and also safe for children. Fenced areas/ dog parks where dog owners can enjoy off leash freedom and also Parks that kids can have the freedom to play by not having unleashed dogs around the play areas. This has become a very political situation in Encinitas and hats off to Steve for giving a voice to this issue.

  24. Anon 1:07 My point being: use your OWN Citys resources or press them to provide them. You aspirational types don't quite understand that concept, do you?

  25. Since Steve obviously reads this blog, I wonder if he spoke at either the Council meeting on this issue or the Parks and Rec. meeting. There were over 300 signatures on different polls that residents took, as well as at least 60 e-mails that came to the City. So, quite a few people knew. I just wonder if Steve's method is just attempting to divide the community even further apart on this? Sounds like he doesn't like dogs at parks. Backroom deals happen all the time at City Hall. Why did he pick this issue? Seems like he wants attention. Dr. Lori are you out there?

  26. 1:04
    two responses
    (the high road...sorta)
    May you ever have green lights through Enc with the clothespin clipped to your nose. But be aware oxygen deprivation may have already taken its toll.

    (low road)
    We dont want your rude,
    raggedy-ass here anyway.

  27. Carly, Carly, Carly.....
    some Mothers WALK their school-aged children to school with their siblings in tow....think before you write.

    I believe the complaint is simply that the Orpheus neighborhood was not TOLD in any official way, that off-leash hours were going to be amended. How much clearer could it be? Does everything have to be paraphrased for you?

    And when is someone standing up for what they believe to be for the good of the majority, considered to be having a temper-tantrum? You have a very elementary way of looking at things, don't you.

  28. So let me get this right:
    Dog and Cat owner: Council approved this because they didn't want to be voted out of office? If this is true it must mean there are more people wanting off-leash hours than do not want them-if we are just going political here.
    Anon: 8:32- If moms are walking there kids to school then and tagging along 3 year olds, I wonder how you can afford to live here? Do you work or are you one of those socker moms who wants 5 fields on the Hall property. And, yes I am aware I spelled socker incorrectly.
    What exactly did the City do that was so offensive to Steve himself. Since I have never seen his name on this blog before, what all of the sudden is he interested in posting his own name? Maybe for a little personal gain? How much are you going to waster of our taxpayer dollars Steve? How much do you stand to gain?

  29. Anon 9:41
    If you read the complaint, it appears the neighborhood was NOT TOLD. Reading Anon 10:44 how do the absentee owners find out? After-the-fact?

    Some people have lived here a LOT longer than you. Some people make more MONEY than you. Some people may have inherited their property and don't have a mortgage. WHO the hell are you to question their "means' ?? The Fact is: they-walk-their-children-to school.

    So what if you've never seen his name on the Blog before, you a blog-Nazi?

    Are you a Newbie trying to make this "your town"? You know the old saying "If you don't play Roundball, you ain't shit?" Well, "If you haven't lived here (at LEAST) 10 years, you ain't shit". Do you qualify, Homey?

  30. Hey :37. I have lived here for 30 years. What does that make me, trust fund baby?

  31. "Since when do 3 year old kids go to school first of all?"

    Since brilliant lawyers started having children.

    "In that document they say they contacted the stakeholders when they didn't"

    Landlords are the stakeholders, not the renters. Renters are always in the dark about notifications if the landlord doesn't tell them. And they usually don't.

  32. 53: Nor am I, who totally trumps you in residency, but its no ones business how anyone else can 'afford' to live here.

  33. equal park time for my iguana

  34. My dogs are gay and I want them to get married at the park.

  35. Dog Owners backwards is Srenwo god and butthole backwards is Elohttub - go figure.


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