Monday, August 31, 2009

Leucadia Art Walk Roundup

Stray Observations:
*The heat was punishing in the areas without shade trees. The little roadside park was probably the best place to hang.
*The Art Walk is too big. The Leucadia coast highway is longer than you realize when you walk it, especially in baking August heat.
*The wine garden was popular, maybe next year we need a beer garden?
*The Magic Bus, Art Walk shuttle and Bio Diesel were well used.
*I was surprised that a lot of businesses didn't take advantage of the event to promote themselves and introduce themselves to people walking by.
*South Leucadia coast highway is really, really dangerous for kids and families and teenagers on bikes. I saw a group of 4 get almost wiped out by a big jacked truck with a huge SOLCAL sticker on the back window. Wow, COOL.
*Art Walk is a good event, still needs refinement,but we should keep doing it.
*The Leucadia Project Blog has a good post with photos about the Art Walk, click me.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Batiquitos Bluff's Appeal Gets Backing: General Plan Doesn't

General Plan Violations
A month ago The Leucadia Blog posted a short note on the Batiquitos Bluffs project. I just received an update.

Three independent appeals were filled with the State Coastal Commission over the city issued permits. I won't be surprised if there is merit to the claims. There is a wide sense among council watchers that parts of the general plan and muni code are selectively overlooked or bent into pretzels by the city. In this case, two Coastal Commissioners have already taken the position that some details of the Batiquitos Bluffs permits violate the city's general plan.

This could be the second time this summer that the Coastal Commission catches the city violating its own laws.

I've had enough experiences over the last six years to feel comfortable saying that Dan Dalager, Jerome Stocks, and Maggie Houlihan actively ignore, if not promote, what is happening.

We have council members who don't like many of the provisions found in the general plan. As the general plan update begins, I hope they will stand up and give the public notice that they they intend on gutting the general plan. They should be open about it, but, unfortunately, the city is not above trying to quickly slip nasty changes into our planning documents (ex: Housing Element Update, Traffic Study).

Watch to see if the general plan amendments are clear and intentions defined for the public, or if changes are camouflaged among a total rewrite of the chapters.

The Bigger Picture
I would rather see the council gut the general plan than continue down the path that they started. To some degree, our city is increasingly under the rule of man and the not rule of law. Development rules, and routes for (publicly) granting exceptions, should be knowable and consistent for all residents of Encinitas.

Adopt Good Rules and Follow Them
We have a pretty good general plan, but it is devalued if it is ignored at the whim of those in charge. I'm hopeful that Encinitas residents will once again get involved and help tweak the general plan, but their efforts will be wasted if the general plan is ignored by the city.

I'd like to see council members either affirm that they will uphold the general plan or be honest and openly strike the general plan down. I'd also like to see provisions added to the general plan that make the council members more accountable for following the general plan.

Map of Leucadia

Leucadia boundary map from the city's general plan:

Friday, August 28, 2009

Not Far From Snow

Leucadia is a great place to live, not just because of all the great things you can do here, but also because of how many things are within striking distance.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Uncommon Art in Leucadia Part 1

Leucadia artist Mary Fleener took a bike around the Neptune, Melrose, and La Veta 'hood, and shot all these cool things in a half hour's time. We are calling this post part 1 so that she will send us more.

See Also: Mailboxes of Leucadia.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Leucadia Art Walk Sunday Aug 30

click poster for large view
click map for large view

Started in 1987, the tenth LeucadiART is on Sunday. This is the fifth year revival.

There will be over 100 artists in varied media and live music artists to share their talents with our guests and locals. This show has always been an only fine art. No window sales, hawkers or the like. No China imports. Additionally there will be art activities for kids, a wine garden, art demonstrations and more. LeucadiArt has been extended north to Bamboo 4 You and south to a half a block south of Mad Potter.

There will be the Magic Bus, (double Decker), The Coast Cruiser, (powered by Capt. Kenos), and an additional LeucadiART shuttle to help folks around. Park at city hall or coaster station, if you like and ride the bus. It’s free and fun.

Leucadia 101 Mainstreet Association invites all to attend and enjoy. IT’S ALL GOOD.

The Cardiff Solution

At ~6:30pm today, there were a couple hundred walkers, runners, and bikers walking Highway 101 in Cardiff. Along most of this strip of Highway 101 there are four lanes of cars going 50mph.

See Also: The Del Mar Solution

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Mayor Hurricane Hazel

It just goes to show that term limits are needed if an 88 year old mayor can get reelected 11 times and her city has no debt. If your city isn't in debt they probably aren't getting good financial advice. That is the thinking that went into the city's last lease-revenue bond.

See Also: Info on Encinitas' public debt.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Council Meeting Report: Part I

I took some pictures of the council meeting last night. Gary Murphy was there and told the council that the Leucadia Boulavard/101/Vulcan intersection signal lights were stuck on flashing red recently. He told the council that traffic was improved over the normal signal control.

He suggested that the city evaluate converting the intersection to an all way stop as a way of improving Leucadia.

I give Garry credit for paying attention to what is going on and thinking of ways to improve the lamest intersection in Encinitas. That intersection is a real downer.

Was it always that bad? I don't remember it being that bad when I was kid.

People who live in my neighborhood avoid the Leucadia Boulevard intersection like the plague and we use all sorts of cut-troughs to avoid it. Going north, we bypass it by going down Union (I should note that northbound on Vulcan could have been worse).

A vintage Leucadian also addressed traffic issues (she is sitting in front). She wanted the city to put in speed bumps on Union, or something like that. I don't think anyone saw the connection between the lady's and Gary's issues.

If the city states its traffic objectives and determines how it will measure success I would support collecting some easy/cheap data to see if Gary's suggestion is worthy. I might suggest measuring changes in cut-through traffic :)

Speaking of traffic, last night the council gave traffic engineering company Austin-Foust a contract to produce the city's new traffic study, which will be a foundation of the general plan update. Dang, we don't want to get the traffic study wrong or adopt a dumb general plan. We could end up with worse intersections and more cut-through traffic!

Steve Gerken (above) and six or so other speakers (including me) recommended that the city not hire Austin-Foust for this linchpin component of the general plan update. Steve and a number of other engineers and technical professionals from around the city had reviewed the last traffic study that Austin-Foust produced. That report sucked.

The report was obviously troubled. The data was funny, the model was questionable, and it included policy foundations that citizens would be unhappy about. The public highlighted so many issues that the council majority made an unusual move. The entire council didn't want to (publicly) accept Austin-Foust's work, and they sent it to the traffic commission to be reviewed. The report was not salvageable. The traffic commission would not approve of the report. One commissioner called the work "junk".

The whole time Austin-Foust signed off on the report and tried to promote it forward.

Above is Jim Cowles. He reviewed Austin-Foust's data and analysis of traffic in east Encinitas. He had the same basic conclusion as all the other speakers. Don't hire Austin-Foust, instead put the contract out to bid. Did I mention that Austin-Foust did not have to go through a competitive bid process?

Jim explained why this traffic study could determine the future of our city. He said, "The traffic study is the heart of this whole million dollar general plan update process."

I recommended to the city that they put out an RFP and bring in a contractor that the citizens could trust. Even Councilor Jerome Stocks was willing to go to a competitive bid process for the $100,000+ traffic study. Even Planning Director Patrick Murphy all but directly recommended going out to bid for the traffic study. Murphy normally toes the line even if he has to compromise himself. Murphy probably realized how important the general plan update is and decided to put the city's future (and the $1million dollar contract) in front of the wrath of the council majority.

Murphy made it really clear that if the citizens have problems with the general plan update on day one the whole update process could be jeopardized (whatever happened with the Cardiff specific plan?)

Barth was clearly leery of hiring Austin-Foust because she had analyzed Austin-Foust's previous report and remembered the analysis the public had conducted. Because Bond was on vacation, it looked like it would be at least a 2-2 vote against hiring Austin-Foust. Jerome said he was for a competitive bid process, but that was before Mayor Houlihan spoke.

Mayor Maggie Houlihan went off. She said she didn't know what was wrong with the Austin-Foust report. Well. She hadn't analyzed Austin-Foust's report. She appears to just go by whatever staff says and her conversations with the consultants. She also blamed the problems with the report and its delay on city management of the contract. Nevermind that the public asked her to address that issue years ago and there was no public response from her, nor did she explain how that couldn't happen again.

During last night's meeting Houlihan asked staff if they knew of any flaws in the Austin-Foust report. She temporarily forgot that she considered staff responsible for managing Austin-Foust (and there weren't any city engineers at the meeting).

Houlihan did not ask any of the 7 speakers if they would inform her of the flaws. None had done so during their address to council because they had assumed the quality of the report was no longer in question (the report had been tossed years ago). However, Kathleen Lindamen had offered to share a letter that outlined some of the issues with Austin-Foust's report. Houlihan could have, but did not, request that the one page letter be read. She could have asked Jim Cowles or Steve Gerken. She did not.

Mayor Houlihan drove the vote to Austin-Foust and Jerome jumped behind the cover of the Mayor.

The Mayor could be 100% correct that they were only puppets of the city and Austin-Foust should still not be given a new contract. Austin-Foust was willing to sign off on the report and cover city officials asses (regarding the artificial delays).

Above is the guy who got the 1 million dollar general plan update contract. He learned two things last night:

1) Encinitas citizens and Barth won't tolerate manipulated or shoddy work, and
2) Dalager, Stocks, and Houlihan will.

The vote was Barth against, and Dan Dalager, Jerome Stocks, and Houlihan for giving Austin-Foust a new traffic study contract.

The vote was unanimous to give MIG the overall general plan update contract.

See Also: Encinitas Council Back from Vacation.

Encinitas city council back from summer vacation

North County Times-ENCINITAS: Traffic consultant's selection causes conflict Council agrees to spend $1M on update to city's general plan


The Encinitas City Council agreed Wednesday night that it will spend about $1 million to update a 20-year-old citywide planning document, then it promptly stepped into a controversy over who will do the plan's traffic study.

In a 3-1 vote, with Councilwoman Teresa Barth opposed and Councilman James Bond absent, the council agreed to put together a $110,000 contract with Austin Foust and Associates for the traffic study to be incorporated in the update of the city's general plan.

Before the vote, several residents told the council that they wanted anyone but Austin Foust. That company did a "very, very poor" job on a Leucadia area traffic study, argued one opponent, Steven Gerken.

Another man, Jim Cowles, said the city should get the best job possible on this traffic study because the data will become the heart of the city's new general plan, which will guide the city's development for decades to come.

Councilman Jerome Stocks said he didn't have an issue with the Austin Foust company, but wondered if the traffic study should be put out for public bids the way that the overall general plan update had been.

Barth asked if city staff members could do the traffic study. Murphy said he wasn't sure whether that was a possibility. Barth then said she would be voting against the contract agreement that night, saying she didn't have enough information to make a decision.

"This update is the most critical thing we're going to do in our community in the next 20 years," she said, later adding, "I want this to be a great kickoff, and this isn't the way to start."

Stray observations:

Patrick Murphy, the city's planning and building director "wasn't sure" if the city staff could handle a traffic study? That is just sad.

Jerome Stocks expressed a half intelligent thought with the public bids and then went ahead and voted for the controversial consultant anyway. Quack quack quack.

Maggie Houlihan is not a very good mayor.

Teresa Barth will get slammed for being the lone no vote even though it was the only logical vote.

Encinitas city hall has long lost it's enthusiasm for hard work and should just move back in with it's parents.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Encinitas has no money for Hall park

There is a good letter to the editor about the Hall Park and the financial realities in the North County Times FORUM: Encinitas has no money for Hall park

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Hall Park Needs a Shooting Range

Local News Roundup

Here is a list of news links you should know about:

ENCINITAS: City's general plan contract up for vote DOCUMENT ADOPTED IN 1989 NEEDS UPDATE

Federal aid eyed for rail projects $377 million sought from stimulus fund

State OKs beach-rebuilding permit Encinitas has secured a five-year permit from the state Coastal Commission that will make it easier for the city to replenish its beaches with reclaimed sand from construction projects or dredging.

West Nile Virus detected in North County mosquitoes

Community Commentary - Re: Busby incident report
The writer, a Fallbrook resident, compares the Busby incident with how the Sheriff's deputies handled a loud party in Fallbrook. Additionally, last weekend there was a grand opening party at a new store in Cardiff on Chesterfield Dr ...with free food and alcohol and a band set up on the sidewalk. The deputies broke up the party around 9:30pm and then left. This was also the same week-end the sheriff's dept was setting up DUI roadblocks in the area.

Taxpayers association compiles city pension report

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Great Derangment visits Encinitas

From the Women partake in Open Carry gun event in Encinitas

The romantic image,

The boring reality.

Excerpts from the article in bold, my commentary in italics:

The quiet streets of this San Diego seaside community were awakened to the Second Amendment rights as 12 Californians walked the sidewalks with their firearms. Six of the 12 open carriers were women and six additional non-carriers handed out informational fliers to anyone who was interested.

"Awakened"? Interesting word to use. I guess we have woke up to the fact that not even Encinitas is immune to The Great Derangement syndrome that is sweeping the country, especially with the presidential election of that Kenyan born Socialist/Fascist who is destroying the fabric of America.

Most of residents were curious about what was going on, some thought the open carriers were a part of law enforcement and a few were offended, but the morning event ended with educating the public about their right to carry a gun in the state of California.

Being bold about carrying guns in public is the hot new fad in America. TeeVee and radio personality Glenn Beck recently boasted about taking a gun to the movies, "I went to the movie this weekend with a gun and surprise, surprise, I didn't kill anybody." I would like to add the word YET to the end of that sentence.

Of coarse there are a few rules to be followed when taking your gun outside your home. First you need to be a registered gun owner, the weapon must be in a holster in plain site and it cannot be loaded. Ammunition is normally carried, but separate from the gun.

Once the group met, they notified the local law enforcement, as a courtesy, that they would be walking the downtown district of Encinitas.

“It’s awesome, we as Americans have the right to carry our guns and it can’t be taken away from us,” said Rochelle Howes, fellow open carrier participant. “This is my second open carry and it amazes me that some law enforcement officers don’t know we have this right.”

Fellow gun advocate, Mari Hayden, says this is her first open carry event. “This is great. I just talked to an off-duty officer who said they were creeped out by this right, but I told her I was creeped out that she was a cop.”

Hey, I'm creeped out too! Sounds like a real creepy event put on by creepy people. Call them the Creepy Creeps.

Another fellow carrier was Rosa Garcia, a Mexican immigrant who came here legally with a sponsor; “I do this to share quality time with my sons.” The Garcia’s are belong to the San Diego Minutemen group and since they’ve lost their business due to illegal immigration, they depend on the kindness of the Minutemen for help to get by in the tough recession.

"They lost their business due to illegal immigration". Gee, could you be more vague? So now they are on some kind of Minutemen welfare program or something? It's good to spend time with your kids though, I took my son to the beach this weekend.

Sarah Conner is another kick ass single mom.

When it comes to the importance of being able to carry their firearms, many open carriers had different reasons for the educational walk through Encinitas.

“I will save a liberals' life even if they won’t save mine,” says Pendry Boteler. “I don’t mine though because I’ve been around guns my whole life.”

Ah, this is getting interesting. “I will save a liberals' life even if they won’t save mine,” This is one of the most paranoid things I've ever heard. Under what circumstance does Pendry believe her gun will "save a liberals' life"? And, isn't it interesting how absolutely everything these days gets boiled down to liberal vs conservative? Normal life is extinct, now we just live in a giant Red Soxs vs Yankees game of Us vs Them. This is a prime example of the Great Derangement. This deranged woman believes that a "liberal" won't save her life. You know, one of my most liberal friends is a paramedic. He has saved more than a few lives. Just sayin'.

The goal of this group is to exercise this right in every North San Diego County city in order to educate as many Americans as possible, says Jeff Schwilk founder of the San Diego Minutemen.

Not everyone was convinced this was a good idea. A few residents left their table outside a cafĂ© and said, “You people are nuts and paranoid. You shouldn’t want guns in your Christian nation.”

However across the plaza the group ran into current City Council member and former Encinitas Mayor Dan Dalager. “I’m not used to seeing people walk down the street openly carrying guns. I’m not endorsing it, but I’m not freaked out by it either.”

He continued to say that growing up he used guns and referred to them as tools that they used on the property to get the fox out of the chicken coop.

And here is why I'm even blogging about this story. Good 'ol Dan Dalager, no matter what the issue is you can always count on Danny to lapse into some random memory of the good old days of his youth when Encinitas was Mayberry and he was Opie. Classic.

Finally one of the carriers drove down from Orange County to learn about the organization in hopes of bringing a chapter to the Orange County area in a few months.

Vincent Burke is a lifetime National Rifle Association member and assists the U.S. Border Patrol on the U.S./Mexico border in counter-narco terrorism activity. “It’s tough work, but someone’s got to do it.”

It is tough work...for the U.S. Border Patrol. Maybe you should get a job with the Boarder Patrol instead of being some kind of comic book vigilante?

Once the streets were safe and the group hungry, they all ended their day at Giovanni’s Italian restaurant on Hwy 101 for lunch, guns and all.

"Once the steets were safe"? Seriously? What the f*ck? The Examiner article is suggesting that the streets of Encinitas are not safe? Well, gosh and golly and a big thank you to these brave souls for making the streets of Encinitas safe! Yup, even former mayor and current city councilman Dan Dalager was "not freaked out" by these pistol packing nerds. But hey, if you ride a skateboard down the sidewalk you are public enemy #1!

The thing that troubles me about these groups, I don't believe that they are sincere about expressing their 2nd Amendment rights. No, I believe that they have itchy trigger fingers and actually pray for the day they get to pull the trigger. As time goes on their excuse may get thinner and thinner. Do you feel that the streets of downtown Encinitas are safer with people openly carrying handguns?

*Now before you all start to destroy me in the comments section for being a liberal anti-gun socialist keep in mind that I keep a Made-in-the USA Remington 870 shotgun next to my bedside table, so don't get any ideas creeps.

The Great Derangement by Matt Taibbi

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Leucadia Walking Trail

West Leucadia offers recreational walking routes on the beach or, above, on Neptune. Far eastern Leucadia offers trails with long views and wild habitat.

You can get to the trails through the Encinitas Ranch subdivision.

There is no place to ride motorcycles anymore.

The trail's trees offer comfortable shade on a sunny day. These trees are doing way better than the L101 trees and I don't think they cut any of these down lately.

Nice views, quiet, and peaceful. No congestion.

Nice neighbors.

The trip can end at an uncrowded playground.

Link to Encinitas trails map.