Saturday, October 31, 2009

To Moderate or Not?


Introduction
You are welcome to comment and we hope to create a space where more people participate. We also invite people to submit content.

The comments on the Leucadia blog can be stimulating or a turnoff. It has been the Wild West on the blog. The general tone can sometimes metldown and become unpleasant, even for lurkers. It has effectively kept some people from participating in the dialogue.

JP has experimented over the years with filtering comments and requiring logging in. Neither of us are interested going that route now.

Before I throw out a proposal I should make a few points.

Background
We aren’t the government and the blog is privately controlled space. Readers do not have a constitutional right to post on the Leucadia Blog. The Leucadia blog invites the community to participate and fair access is important to us. If you say something ugly we are not compelled to publish it on our website.

I will fight for your right to publish ugly stuff on your own website, but that is another matter. I invite everyone to join me (and Council Member Barth) in support of Calaware.

Proposal
If you post under your name, or under an established screen name, you can write however ugly you want. If you post anonymously and write something unnecessary, without contributing and are disruptive to the exchange of ideas it won’t be deleted from the blog, but it might be moved from the current thread and placed in side thread.

Boorish trolling, spam, unnecessary personal attacks, or outright racism, sexism, and homophobia unrelated to the topic could also be moved to a side thread.

If you use profanity obnoxiously that could trigger a move. Intelligent or relevant use of profanity is a different story.

Final Notes
Be aware, it turns out that sometimes JP and I don’t read all the comments.
Please don’t say anything bad about my best friends JP and Mike Andreen.

See Also: Commenting is like going to a coffee-shop 

UPDATE: You can see that we removed some nasty comments addressed to someone who has different views than the LB. That was good, but moderation failed. We don't have the time to read all the comments and people get really crazy if they think they have been censored. Too much drama over small stuff. Remember, don't feed the trolls

Streetscape 4: Roundabouts

I have a few observations about roundabouts.

Prioritize
I would be super bummed if the streetscape project went down the tubes because roundabouts became a linchpin issue.

Objectives
Roundabouts seem to be very effective tools for some objectives and many circumstances. I think much of the friction in the streetscape debate stems from differences in objectives of the civic participants. There is also a little bit of extremism in the pro and anti roundabout rhetoric to heat things up.

Free Flowing
Roundabouts are not universally immune to congestion jams. The traffic engineer, which much of the community stands behind, told me straight up that Leucadia should not expect the roundabouts to handle more than 10,000ADTs. He implied that we will have to do something else after that.


I wrote here about why I was so surprised that some community leaders weren't interested in analyzing the traffic engineer's work. I still don't understand how it will take longer to cross Leucadia if we are keeping the HWY 101 open at freeway speeds than if we slow traffic and incorporate traffic calming/slowing infrastructure. The explicit goal behind the project is to slow traffic down and end the Leucadia drag strip. Let me be clear; I am not disputing the engineer's result. I am only saying counter-intuitive conclusions should be explained before widely accepted and used to support a decision.

Our city seems to base everything off Austin-Foust's traffic modeling. If we want to have trustworthy traffic reports that is the first thing that has to be improved and we should not selectively reject/accept the city's traffic analysis when it is beneficial to our objectives.

Given all that, it is surprising that the city's traffic engineer said the roundabouts would eventually fail. I did not ask, he volunteered this conclusion. I suspect that he is underestimating the capacity of the roundabouts. Most of the traffic is going to be flowing north/south and there will be little conflicting traffic for most of the intersections (unless there is lots of u-turning). Uneven delays at roundabouts seem to be most likely with heavy and uniform cross traffic and that doesn't describe HWY 101 very well.

The Green Question Mark
Another argument about roundabouts is they are greener. That can not be a universal reality.

We aren't comparing stop signs and roundabouts. The comparison is signals and roundabouts.

If there is no cross traffic then a sensor controlled signal will be "greener" because cars will not be forced to slow and then accelerate back up at the intersection. Steady speeds allow for fuel to be used more efficiently. In reality, there is going to be some conflicting cross traffic at any intersection. The question is, how much cross traffic do you need before the roundabout wins the "green" contest? Here is a photo of Ponto Avenue and HWY 101 in Carlsbad.
Thousands of cars go straight through this intersection without having to slow and stop. There is very little cross traffic and very little waiting for any autos. A roundabout here would result in ALL of the thousands of cars to slow and require a few to stop. My guess is that this intersection has a smaller CO2 footprint than if there was a roundabout. Maybe not, but there is some point where the trade off does not pay back in terms of greenhouse emissions. If the decision is to be based on such things then let's do the analysis. (The analysis should not be be based on optimizing all turning motions, as is now the case in the engineer's models).

Emergency Response
There are lots of public safety issues wrapped into the streetscape project. One that seems to be missing is emergency response times. One of the benefits of not living in rural zone is first responders can be at your doorstep in a few minutes. Fire, strokes, heart attacks, trauma and violent crimes can have very different outcomes as a consequence of delays in public safety response.

The city's fire department has said during public meetings that roundabouts can increase delays. I asked city staff about this and their response was the fire department has signed off on alternative 4a.

I am not saying that the delays should cause us to toss out roundabouts. We should make our decisions with our eyes wide open... if it matters.

Aesthetics
One reason people like to live in low density rural zones is concrete and asphalt are not very comforting. Vegetation, vistas, open spaces and landscaping are more desirable to many.



See Also:
The Streetscape Workshop 4 Series
Results of Workshop 4

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Funky Coast Hwy Del Mar


A quaint coast highway with Torrey Pines in the center medians. Del Mar is funkier than it gets credit for.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Kevin Buckmaster Memorial Today


Kevin Buckmaster was the 49 year old Leucadian who was hit and killed by a car on Encinitas Blvd while helping a stranded motorist on Saturday Oct. 17th. His memorial service is going to be held today at 3pm at Moonlight Beach

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

STOP SURFING CONTESTS AT SWAMIS


A small group of profiteers are planning a surf contest to be held at Swamis in Encinitas October 2010. This is a segregated contest that excludes the local surfing community. Swamis services several hundred surfers a day. Cutting off public access to Swamis will put pressure on other surf spots, creating frustration with overcrowding and dangerous situations.
The Rob Machado and Switchfoot Bro-Am contest have been very successful in the past because those events includes the local community. These contest have not been held at Swamis because the organizers know that Swamis is traditionally a no contest zone and they respect that. Even the Swamis Surfing Association has written in their by-laws not to have contest at Swamis.
The new CEO of the Encinitas Chamber of Commerce Marshall Weinreb, a non-surfer, has declared this contest "The biggest thing to ever come to Encinitas." Mr. Weinreb has been misinformed. This contest does not carry the prestige that the organizers claim it has. The major surf media outlets don't even bother to cover it.
This contest will set a troubling precedent. The local surf community losing access to Swamis for 4 days is just the beginning. We are opening Pandora's Box. Imagine 3 or 4 contest a year at Swamis. The public could lose access to Swamis for 20 days a year. This has happened to many important surf spots worldwide.

Stop the privatization of our public surf spots for profit of a few. Please sign the online petition and pass it along to your friends.

www.thepetitionsite.com/1/stop-surfing-contests-at-swamis



thank you,
JP St Pierre

Monday, October 26, 2009

Halloween Weekend


Halloween Activities in Encinitas
Friday, Oct. 30
Campground Spooktacular ---- The San Elijo State Campground hosts a free event featuring a mini carnival game, crafts, prizes, children's costume contest and a movie; 5 to 7; 2327 S. Coast Highway 101, Cardiff; 760-715-4457 or e-mail kwiebe@parks.ca.gov.

Elks lodge to host Halloween party ---- The Encinitas Elks Lodge's Halloween Bash is open to anyone age 21 and over. Entertainment by classic rock band Planet Jack and a "ghoulish" dinner menu. There will be a costume contest and a raffle; 7 p.m.; 1393 Windsor Road, Encinitas; $12 ($15 at the door); 760-753-2243.

Saturday, Oct. 31
Gardens hosts Halloween party ---- San Diego Botanic Gardens hosts its annual Halloween party and parade for the preschool set. Children ages 2 to 6 can arrive in costume for a parade, trick-or-treat hunt, plant-potting and Halloween crafts and free snacks; sessions from 9:30 to 11 a.m. and 11:15 to 12:45 p.m.; 230 Quail Gardens Drive, Encinitas; $17 ($12 for garden members); 760-436-3036, ext. 222

Heritage museum's membership picnic ---- The San Dieguito Heritage Museum's Pioneer Picnic and Membership Activity features butter making, washing clothes on a washboard, using a water pump, old time crafts and stories by longtime local residents. Lunch includes hamburgers and hot dogs. Volunteers share historical exhibits and encourage memberships to the nonprofit museum and its programs; 1 to 3 p.m.; 450 Quail Gardens Drive, Encinitas; 760- 632-9711.

Encinitas hosts Safe Trick or Treat ----To take the trick out of trick-or-treating, the city will once again celebrate its annual Safe Trick or Treat celebration Saturday on Highway 101.

From 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, businesses in the 600 to 1200 block of Coast Highway 101 will hand out candy to costumed ghouls and goblins, and many businesses will display hand-carved pumpkins, including Art N Soul, SRF Books, Encinitas Smog Center, California Community Bank and Yoga Swami. Businesses handing out candy will be marked with special signs.

The Self-Realization Fellowship has donated dozens of pumpkins ---- some as large as 100 pounds ---- for this year's Pumpkin Lane. Monks from the Fellowship will carve the orange gourds and arrange them for the Queen's Court, where a costumed queen will hand out candy to trick-or-treaters at 1150 S. Coast Highway 101.
In the courtyard at the 101 Artists Colony, a stage will be set up for live music performed from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. by Uplift. And Oh My Dog! Photography will do portraits of costumed revelers all evening (at 816 S. Coast Highway 101).

*Blogger's Rant: I would like to take a minute to criticize the concept of the SAFE TRICK OR TREAT. Listen, trick or treating is safe, it has always been safe. Nothing bad has ever happened to kids on Halloween. Nobody has ever stuck pins or razorblades or poison into candy. That is all a bunch of fear mongering media urban myth bullshit and it has totally ruined one of the greatest nights in American childhood. Churches and chamber of commerce all across this country have used scare tactics to take the fun out of trick or treating in our own neighborhoods. The SRF event is great and everyone should go, but geez, when I was a little kid this town rocked on Halloween and now it's a ghost town. I'm hoping with the new baby boom we can bring Halloween back to our residential streets and make Halloween the great American holiday it used to be.

Good Morning Humans

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday News Roundup


What stories are we tracking this week? (Besides that Ace" Frehley, guitarist for KISS bought a guitar from Fred Caldwell. 


NCT: Task force postpones ocean decision PANEL SETS SIGHTS ON ENCINITAS KELP BEDS, LA JOLLA
Gee, it's great how the Navy can kill cetaceans with it's sonar but now you won't be able to spear a fish for dinner at your local reef. They are talking about banning urchin diving at Swamis. Since we don't have sea otters to control urchins anymore, you can say goodbye to the kelp bed if divers aren't controlling the urchin population. Yes, urchins love to eat kelp, which is home to thousands of other species.

NCT: CARLSBAD: City sales tax revenue down 19 percent
The article says Encinitas sales tax is down 13%, but the city hasn't confirmed this number.

NCT: NCTD leaders slam federal requirement BOARD STILL APPROVES MANDATED STUDY
Always drama with the NCTD, always.

SignOnSanDiego: 760 overlay starts
A local Leucadian saves small businesses thousands in printing cost by creating movement to keep 760.

NCT: Garden supporters push ahead with project
In a crafty move the Encinitas power trio of Dalager, Stocks and Bond pit gardeners against open space supporters in order to save their backroom/off the record deal with a developer.

*And, on the blog this week my fellow blogger Kevin tried to be a nice guy by posting letters from Gary Tucker, Mike Andreen and Jim Kydd. This backfired and now everybody is mad at Kevin for "taking sides". Yes, Encinitas is high school for grown ups.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Quail Gardens Drive Property

On Thursday, December 6, 2007 the City of Encinitas Planning Commission voted an extension of time for approval of Tentative Map, Major Use Permit, and Coastal Development Permit to allow a 10-residential-lot subdivision with a density bonus on the city-owned property on Quail Gardens Drive. This is the piece of property that supporters are proposing as an excellent site for use as a community gardens. The property is currently vacant.


The city had bought the property in c.1998 for use as a public park. In October 2004, as part of an agreement with the Paul Ecke Ranch to swap the property with a piece of Ecke property along Saxony Road for a Public Works yard, the city allowed the Ecke Ranch to process the original subdivision of the city owned property. This was part of a deal to let the Ecke Ranch rezone a part of the ranch for residential use. When the rezoning was put to a public vote under Proposition A and defeated in 2005, the whole agreement collapsed. The city later bought the Mossy Chevrolet property to use as a Public Works yard. Thus, the original justification to put a subdivision map on the city-owned property disappeared.

So why wasn’t the original subdivision approval allowed to lapse and why was the extension granted? There were large numbers of people at the Planning Commission meeting who spoke against the extension. Everyone wanted the property to be used for its original purpose – as a park. Yet the staff argued for maintaining flexibility on the property, and the Planning Commissioners agreed, ignoring all the public input. There could be only one reason: the council had plans to sell the property.


Who might be interested in obtaining the Quail Gardens Drive property?

During the subdivision extension discussion someone noticed that David Meyer was standing in the back of the room. Meyer is a developer and brother-in-law of Paul Ecke III. He has been very active in election campaigns which support Stocks, Bond, and Dalager, and has been responsible for years of smear campaigns against their challengers. He was seen dining at Pino’s together with Mike Andreen and Doug Harwood on election night in 2004, hoping to celebrate Councilwoman Houlihan’s defeat (note: Houlihan had her election night party at Pino’s).

Meyer never spoke at the planning commission meeting. He only watched everything very carefully and was seen talking to city staff after the agenda item was approved and then left city hall. He looked pleased. And why shouldn’t he have been? He got what he wanted and had positioned himself to get the property. The problem is that the city negotiates real estate transactions in closed door session out of the public eye. What’s to prevent the council majority of Stocks, Bond, and Dalager from approving a sweetheart deal with Meyer and then simply announcing it to the public? The answer is nothing, unless there is strong public protest and insistence that the property be put up for sale in open public bidding. The Mossy real estate transaction proved to the council that they can give away millions of dollars during a real estate deal and public will not react, after the fact. We have to insist that the council opens the decision making process long before any property is transferred to a developer or well connected member of the community.

Better yet, why not keep the property for a park, as a community garden as many are requesting? The suggestion of Indian Head Canyon as an alternative is a diversion. This land was dedicated to open space and to be allowed to return to a natural habitat. Increased housing density through mixed use and upzoning will create more demand, not less, for open space and parks. It is shortsighted to sell the Quail Gardens Drive land. It looks like the council majority is planning to sell city assets to finance the construction of the Hall property. It’s not hard to guess what will be sold first and to whom.
Gerald Sodomka


Blogger's Note: If the council majority has made a decision to sell they have done so in violation of the Brown Act, because there hasn't been a public vote. I've put in a great effort trying to get the city council on record for what they plan for this potential park site. It looks like they have a plan. So far, the council has ducked the issue and the only thing on record is the council's broken promises to hold a public discussion about the site’s future. I am for the city holding a public vote regarding the future of the site.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Kydd Wants Bailout for Encinitas Chamber of Commerce

Here is a link to Jim Kydd's Op-Ed on the ECoC drama. Read that first.

The publisher of The Coast News, Jim Kydd, writes that withholding taxdollars from the chamber is making it difficult for the chamber to pay its bills. Kydd says he believes the financial report prepared for the chamber that alleges misuse of city funds. Kydd also credits the new Chamber CEO for helping the WWLC Corporation to take over Swamis for three days next October (this is the biggest thing to ever happen in Encinitas).


Kydd also calls out Andreen for "obvious" copyright infringement because his organization is called the "New Encinitas" CoC and writes "[Andreen] is openly being supported by former Encinitas Chamber CEO Gary Tucker and Encinitas City Councilman Jerome Stocks."

Andreen, who worked on the chamber's publications, had been widely credited for giving Council Member Jerome Stocks a free happy talk PR campaign. Kydd reviewed the last 20 issues of the Chamber's Newsletter/Newspaper and found that Jerome got the lion's share of the photos. This matters if the chamber was getting direct and indirect government support.

Years ago Andreen worked for The Coast News. Kydd explicitly questions Andreen's integrity and goes on to say why he fired Andreen. It wasn't because Andreen botched an editorial.

I would have sworn that Andreen was named Vollenteer of the Year not long ago.


I agree with Kydd that under normal conditions that the separation of the visitor center and the chamber should be done so in an orderly manner. On the other hand, the city seems to have taken the position that its contractor was not living up to its contractual obligations. The chamber is the contractor, not Andreen and Tucker. If the chamber has met their obligations and provided the services for which they have billed the city, they should be paid.

Kydd goes further than that and says the city should bailout the chamber. He wants the city to pay for the chamber's legal fight with Andreen. I'm still trying to get my head around why the taxpayer should help a private organization fight with another private organization.


Responsibility for the drama is placed on the city council by Kydd. Maybe to keep things simple he doesn't mention the 3-2 split on the council over this issue. I'll concede that the city's lax oversight, special treatment, poor contracting policies, and lack of open competitive bidding begs for taxdollars to be squandered and dramas to develop. Adoption of a reasonable contracting policy by the council could fix that.

Questions:
1. Why did Tucker's predecessor leave?
2. Why does Kydd have a collection of Encinitas First newsletters?
3. Would the restaurateurs, hoteliers and vacations rental owners fund the visitor center if the city didn't? Will they fund it in the short-term, during the funding gap?


Gary's Response: Part I

Kevin,

I'd like to remind you that this report was requested by the City Council at the April 15th Council Meeting. As a condition of receiving a new contract the Chamber was required to provide an "Audit of The Visitor Center's expenditures for the prior year", with the results of the audit to be presented to Council within 60 days.

On August 31st the Chamber still had not provided the audit that was required by the Council more than 4 months before. After begging Phil Cotton for another 3 week extension Marshall Weinreb, CEO was notified in a letter from Phil Cotton dated September 1st that the agreement was specific in stipulating a time frame when an audit of the financial reports of the Encinitas Visitor Center would be provided to the City by the Chamber. As a result Phil directed staff to withhold any future payments to the Chamber until the audit was received and approved by the City. The report was finally submitted to the City in early September now 5 months late. The Accountant's Forensic Report was produced by Colleen Walsh, CPA from CFO to-Go.In a document dated July 19th addressed to Ken Gross, Chamber President Colleen Walsh says the following: "a review does not contemplate obtaining an understanding of the internal control structure or assessing control risk, tests of accounting records and responses to inquiries by obtaining corroborating evidential matter, and certain other procedures ordinarily performed during an audit". "Thus, a review does not provide assurance that we will become aware of all significant matters that would be disclosed in an audit.Our engagement cannot be relied upon to disclose errors, irregularities, or illegal acts, including fraud or defalcations that may exist." She goes on to state that "all information included in these financial statements is the representation of the management of Encinitas Visitor Center". "Based on our review, we are not aware of any material modifications that should be made to the accompanying financial statements in order for them to be in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles". In her Forensic Report to the Chamber Board Colleen Walsh says "The forensic observations and disclosures in this report are based on information that is the representation of management". "The information and findings presented herein are not designed for those who are not informed about the financial matters of Encinitas Chamber of Commerce". "Responsibility for any action taken on the observations, disclosures and findings of this report rests with the management and Board of Directors of Encinitas Chamber of Commerce".
As a result of this haphazard review spoon fed, to the soon to be new Chamber Board Member Colleen Walsh, by two of the most uninformed, least knowledgeable so called Chamber Executives in my 20 year association with the Chamber. Ms. Walsh come up with the following assertions: *(TRUTH)

  • Forensic Accounting reveals many irregularities and questions continue to arise (?)
  • Former CEO diverts funds (the great 2nd copier caper/ ask Ken Gross who approved the purchase)
  • Expense reports filed with the City of Encinitas to support Visitor Center financial picture inaccurate and misleading (I have reviewed 10 years of these reports from city files, virtually identical to those submitted by my staff & all approved by Richard Phillips in the city Managers office, as were mine)
  • A portion of former CEO salary billed to Visitor Center ( common practice for the entire time Chamber has operated Visitor Center,10+ years. I operated the Chamber & Visitor Center with 2 paid staff and myself)
  • 50% of total rent allocated to the Visitor Center ( 2400 sq. ft.total space, 1200 Chamber / 1200 V C)
  • Visitor Center & Chamber rent increased 45% ( when we moved to new location space doubled)
  • Chamber was never in a cash flow position to stay current with the terms of the new lease, as of June 2009 $11,960 in arrears (my last day was Jan. 24 2009 I never missed a rent payment from July 2007 thru Jan.2009, ask Ken Gross what happened when he and Michelle Johnston took over operation of Chamber after dismissing me on the 24th, conveniently not in forensic report)
  • City funds that should have been flowing to V C were decreasing over time as former management struggled with cash flow ( I never missed one monthly V C reimbursement check in 24 mos., ask Ken Gross & Marshall Weinreb about their record)
  • CEO received undocumented expense advances & $4,000 for furniture deposit ( after my performance review from Ken Gross I received a salary increase & the following monthly benefits - medical ins.$300, Car allowance $200, Cell phone allowance $100, ask Ken Gross & Dr. Klien for a copy of my contract & review) (I placed an $11,000 down payment for Chamber office furniture on my Amex card & after 1 1/2 yrs.I got reimbursed, ask Board Member David Da Costa who sold the Chamber $23,000 worth of office furniture)
  • Fixed assets sold to D.E.M.A.in 2008 ( after reducing staff to one full time operations manager we had 2 extra desks, cabinets & chairs, originally purchased in 2007. Sold to D.E.M.A. at 25% off $3,111 deposited in chamber bank account, ask Doug Long, Charley Sougius, Dave Agious - DEMA board members who helped move and install the furniture)

Virtually everything listed above was told to Marshall Weinreb in a face to face meeting at the Lumberyard one month after he took over. Ken Gross was aware of all decisions as were the Executive Committee Members. I was an employee and served at the pleasure of the Board of Directors, I received good performance reviews and two raises while employed as CEO. If the Chamber is really interested in auditing the Visitor Center they might what to concentrate on the period from Jan. 24, 2009 to October 23, 2009.

Thanks for listening
Gary Tucker

Thursday, October 22, 2009

City snubs 700 humans who want to cross the train tracks legally

The City of Encinitas currently has 5 at-grade pedestrian crossings. One is pedestrian only.

Coast News article Railroad remains a barrier

ENCINITAS — Despite the requests of numerous residents, City Council voted unanimously to continue with plans to build pedestrian crossings under the railroad on Oct. 14.

A large contingent of supporters of “at-grade” crossings addressed the council in an effort to scrap the project in favor of a cheaper, easier solution. The three pedestrian crossings under the railroad tracks come at a price tag of $15 million.

Several speakers asked the council to pursue permission from the state regulatory agency and the railroad companies to approve a simpler plan to cross the tracks at street level. “All I’m asking for is time (to explore the issue),” said Leucadia resident Rachelle Collier, who helped collect 700 signatures in support of developing a plan to create at-grade crossings.

While preliminary environmental work is under way for proposed underpasses at El Portal Street, Santa Fe Drive and Montgomery Avenue, the city has only budgeted $1 million for the Santa Fe site with additional $4 million earmarked by the state for the project. A fourth project at Hillcrest Drive is undergoing environmental review.

Councilman Jerome Stocks, who represents the city on the North County Transit District, previously said he is optimistic that financial support will be forthcoming.

Stocks also said that if the city pursues at-grade crossings it will be difficult to establish so-called “quiet zones” because of safety concerns.

Councilman Dan Dalager said he doubted the city would get permission to build at-grade crossings.

read the rest of the story, click me

Dude, I know if we had at grade pedestrian crossings it would save millions and millions of dollars but it sounds like an uphill battle man so why even try, you know?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Community Garden on council agenda Wed Oct 28

The Encinitas community garden effort will be discussed at the City Council Meeting on Wednesday, October 28th, 6 pm. Gordon Smith and Elizabeth Taylor will address City Council Members about the community garden committee's progress.

Lobby your city council members for a community garden by calling them on the telephone:

Jim Bond 760 633-2623
Jerome Stocks 760 633-2622
Dan Dalager 760 633-2624
Maggie Houlihan 760 633-2621
Teresa Barth 760 633-2620
Use this email to contact all 5 city council members council@ci.encinitas.ca.us

All the council members seemed to like the idea of a community garden last time it was discussed, but the 3 boys want the garden to be located on the Indian Head Canyon open space reserve and not the 9 acre city owned parcel off Quail Gardens Drive, because they already promised that land to one their developer friends (an oral agreement apparently).

Suggesting the Indian Head Canyon location was a crafty move because it pits the open space preserve folks against the gardeners, which for the most part is the same group of people. Encinitas doesn't have a lot of open space left and installing this garden will set a nice precedent for the city to use our open space in the future.

If it were up to me I would put the community garden in the Pacific View school location.

A community garden sounds like a slam dunk, but if you want this I suggest you lobby hard for it. I predict a 3-2 vote against the garden because some of the Encinitas Elite have been grumbling that the community garden is a waste of time and for hippy losers (a strange belief considering that gardening is one of America's oldest and greatest traditions). Good luck.

Read the NCT story from April

Monday, October 19, 2009

Streetscape Workshop: Traffic

One of the obvious issues a lot of people were ignoring was the “diversion” of HWY 101 traffic onto Vulcan. Vulcan is mostly residential, with a school. North Vulcan is at least as dangerous as HWY 101 for bikes. I avoid walking my kids to Little Oaks Park because walking north Vulcan between Hillcrest and the park is sketchy.

At workshop four, Mike Murphy recognized that the 101 wasn’t situated in a vacuum and asked what would be done for “traffic calming” along Vulcan and Hermes. Later the consultants acknowledged that the impacts would have to be mitigated (That sounds like an EIR will be required).

I spent most of my “break-out” time with the traffic engineer (it was pretty lonely over there). The engineer made the point that the diversion traffic shouldn’t be considered a big deal because Vulcan will be far from capacity. His point was that Vulcan can handle a lot more traffic. After questioning him, he said HWY 101 was also far from capacity and we agreed that decisions about HWY 101 weren’t being made based on roadway capacity, but apparently that would be the case for Vulcan. Are we throwing Vulcan under the… traffic?

Under the different alternatives it is going to take longer to drive across Leucadia on the 101. As we know from our experiences with the I5, longer drive times motivate cut through traffic. The objectives of the streetscape are directly related to a reduction in drive time, so nobody should be surprised that we will be inducing cut-around traffic unless all the diverted cars go onto the I5 (BTW: If you’d like to help keep the I5 flowing send me an email. Keeping the I5 flowing is important for Leucadia and too few people pay close attention to what Caltrans and SANDAG are doing).

There are people who will disagree with my point. Mr. Eubank(?) made a statement during the workshop that could be a rallying cry for the mob that is going to chase me down. It was something like, “We can drive out cut-through traffic and send traffic back to I5!”


The engineer’s model projects the following impacts for Alt 4a:

4000 ADTs divert to the I5
2000 ADTs to Vulcan

Under alternative 5:

1000 ADTs divert to I5.
? ADTs to Vulcan

It is totally counter intuitive to me that twice as many drivers will drive the I5 instead of going down Vulcan, which turns into a straight shot down to San Elijo through Cardiff-by-the-Sea.

The engineer made a couple interesting points that should make people chill out before they tie me to a stake. Here are a couple issues:

1) The traffic projections for this model are built off Austin-Foust’s model. A couple years ago I successfully organized a review of Austin-Foust’s work and successfully managed a campaign to keep the work from being approved by the city council (It was clear that the council only ducked the approval because we did the analysis and presented it to the public in a clear and compelling manner).

It seems that we are relying on the Austin-Foust work for the L101 reports.

Funny thing is, I asked the engineer about the quality of the model. He did not say the model needed to be made more specific to fit the project, instead he agreed that the Austin-Foust model was lacking and needed corrections. It was not clear if all the needed corrections were included in the HWY 101 study.

2) The traffic model that produced all the projections was based on optimizing all of the movements through the intersections. Optimizing through flow would likely result in very different numbers, but that becomes an issue of what are the objectives.

3) He was not compelling to me when explaining how the model decides if a driver turns down Vulcan or HWY 101. If its faster to go down Vulcan wouldn't you expect most drivers to eventually decide to make a habit of turning down Vulcan? And, it didn't sound like the model deals with habit and herding behavior.

Then there was a guy name Steven that spoke during the workshop. He said that the models were based (parametrized?) on traffic data collected on Tuesdays through Thursday traffic. He thought that summer weekends are the most impacted. I don’t know, but it seems like there is some seasonality to our traffic. We have seen plenty of times that we can’t count on staff to ensure that data are collected at reasonable times and A LOT of people involved in the streetscape project know it.

People on HWY 101 know what it is like to be ignored. Drive North Vulcan early on a Sunday morning or walk it at 5 in the afternoon. We should be advocating and planning for Vulcan’s future too. Indeed, the city may not have the choice.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Rest of the Response

I can argue that Andreen has played the role of political hitman and a lot of people in Encinitas are scared to say anything in public that would catch his glare. That doesn't mean he can't make a good point. It is because he can (even if unfounded) that people are afraid.

I told Mike that if he responded to my inquiry about the chamber that I'd post it in full. It wasn't clear to me what he expected to be posted and what was background for me. I asked him to clarify and he said the whole thing could go up, so here it is. My comments are in italics.


As a quick preface; I am, was and will always be a 1099 Independent
Contractor in my work on behalf of the Encinitas North Coast Chamber
of Commerce.

Unfortunately, the old Chamber did not do as it committed on video
April 15, 2009 before the City Council. President ken Gross stated
clearly that the old Chamber has,"somebody to do an audit, in May
(2009) the only hold up has been that it is tax time."

Six months and one day later, Mr. Gross submitted a decidely
unindependent report that the CPA Colleen Walsh admits several times
in the cover letter is not an audit, nor analysis of 'how' the old
Chamber expended $91,000 in public monies operating the 'Visitor
Center' on behalf of the City of Encinitas in 2008.

There should be an independent and fully open audit run by the city or other agency. It would be interesting to see if the city, Andreen and the Chamber would all agree to make that an open process from start to finish.

Instead, they delivered a white-wash with absolutely no documentation
of the serious allegations Mr. Gross has made against myself, a 1099
with no access whatsover to finances, and former CEO Gary Tucker who
joined the old Chamber as the CEO in February 2007 when Mr. Gross, as
Treasurer for 2006, and President Dr. Michael Klein had to explain to
the board how the staff that they were responsible for overseeing had
driven the old chamber $47,000 into the red AND had not billed any
members for dues for nearly 6 months.

Gary Tucker was hired, after being away out-of-town for over a year,
to try and save the chamber.

Now, the old Chamber led by five executive board members and a CEO who
do not live in Encinitas, have submitted a report to the City that I
do not believe fulfills the legal requirements of the action taken by
the Encinitas City Council on 4-15-09.

I have formally called upon the City of Encinitas to reject
this...report; and require the old Chamber to have a real and
independent audit executed and submitted before receiving one more
penny of public money.

I don't recall Mike saying this sort of thing when he and Tucker were still at the Chamber?

Again, I am a 1099, and should never have appeared as a focus of an
'audit' of public monies expended in operating the visitor center in
2008. The allegations made against me are patently untrue and I can
prove it.

Why wasn't a truly independent audit done in 60 days by the old
Chamber and submitted to the City? Ask Mr. Gross and Mr. Weinreb.
Hopefully, they know.

As reported by the NCTimes, the city changed direction all of a sudden. They are now going to look at the issue in closed session out of the public's view. I would love to see that question addressed during a council meeting.

Kevin, you assured me last month when you contacted me that you would
run my reply in full. I hope you will.

I am going to promote that we in Encinitas go to the San Diego County
Civil Grand Jury to ask for an investigation of ALL of the non-profits
that the City of Encinitas has given literally millions of dollars to
in the past 15 years, with little in oversight, nor auditing
whatsover.

The GJ might be the only entity that could bring a closure to this drama.

I am not afraid to see an independent true audit of the old Chambers
financials; but why is the Chamber alone in being required to execute
an audit? Shouldn't DEMA, Leucadia MainStreet 101, Cardiff MainStreet
and the million-dollar giveaway Encinitas preservation likewise be
required quarterly audits like Oceanside was just required to do after
a Grand Jury investigation? Is the 101 Czar accountable to the public
taxpayers?

I believe they should, and I hope the city council and city staff agree with me.

Mike might be trying to muddy the waters or warn people with his suggestion that all the nonprofits could become subject to more oversight. There are a lot of community boosters who have some ties to these groups. A lot of those boosters have ties to council peeps. Whatever his motivation, I agree with what Mike writes.

Democratic workings are at risk when the active portion of the community become afraid to stand up for good governement or call foul on bad behavior. There are a lot of people out there who think Dalager should not be in charge of a $100 million dollar budget but are afraid that not supporting him and speaking out will result in the
end to special favors or the wrath of political hitmen.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Leucadia Nights: Howl O' Ween - Oct 24



Pet Parade and Pet Halloween costume contest this year for Leucadia Nights.

Participating businesses, see below, will judge the costumed pets. First, second, and third place prizes will be awarded at Grateful Dog at 8 pm. Contest winners (and their people) must be present to win!

There is a $5 entrance fee for the contest, which will be donated in total to Rancho Coastal Humane Society.

The entry form and pet "trick or treat" bags will be available beginning October 15th through October 24th at the following businesses (please check with each for their hours):

Grateful Dog, 802 N. Coast Hwy 101, 943-Woof

Embellishments, 466 N. Coast Hwy 101, 633-1440

Leucadia 101 Main Street Office, 386 N. Coast Hwy 101, 436-2320

Participating Businesses/Contest Judges (listed North to South on Hwy 101 )

Auggie's House of Crab, 1468 N. Coast Hwy 101

Bamboo 2 U & Tikis Too, 1240 N. Coast Hwy 101

Caldwell's Antiques, 1234 N. Coast Hwy 101

Corner Frame Shop, 1038 N. Coast Hwy 101

Sub Palace, 810 N. Coast Hwy 101

Grateful Dog, 802 N. Coast Hwy 101

deepFLING, 466 N. Coast Hwy 101

Embellishments, 466 N. Coast Hwy 101

It's a Luv Thing, 466 N. Coast Hwy 101

The Garden, 466 N. Coast Hwy 101 (located behind It's a Luv Thing)

454 Tattoo, 454 N. Coast Hwy 101

Leucadia 101 Main Street Office, 386 N. Coast Hwy 101

Leucadia Chiropractic, 280 N. Coast Hwy 101

North Fitness 101, 246 N. Coast Hwy 101

Live Entertainment will be provided at the Gold Coast Plaza and North Fitness 101.

For more information, please contact Paula Kirpalani, Leucadia 101 Main Street Program Manager at 760-436-2320 or visit online

Andreen Responds

When the chamber report came out I sent Mike Andreen an email about the issue. Below is the core of the response.

Letter to the City of Encinitas from Michael Andreen, September 14, 2009

Dear Richard,

First, in regard to the item on the tentative Agenda for Wednesday
October 21, 2009; for reconsideration of renewal of the agreement with
the Encinitas Chamber of Commerce for the Operation of the Encinitas
Visitor Center, I would like to formally request a meeting with City
Manager Phil Cotton tomorrow or Thursday morning at the latest.

The subject of the meeting is the fact that on Wednesday, April 15th,
2009, the Encinitas City Council passed a motion to continue funding
the Encinitas Chamber of Commerce to operate the Encinitas Visitor
Center for one more year, contingent upon receipt of an "audit within
60 days." (Please find video linked excerpts of the motion and
pre-motion detailing that "an audit in 60 days" was required).

As Mayor Houlihan stated at the 4-15-09 public meeting, "I am really
glad to hear that you (Ken Gross and the Chamber) are doing an audit,
I am assuming that this person (chosen) is someone picked for their
independence, and to be quite honest, I don't care what the audit
shows, I just want the truth."

In reality, the Encinitas North Coast Chamber of Commerce did not
return an audit in 60 days, nor six months; on September 16, 2009, the
Encinitas North Coast Chamber of Commerce returned something much less
than an audit, nor was it even a 'review' according to the CPA Colleen
Walsh a Chamber Board Member who prepared it; nor did it allow for
analysis of 'how' the public monies the City of Encinitas forwarded to
the Chamber were expended to operate the Encinitas Visitor Center,"for
the year previous", as you stated, Richard; meaning fiscal year, 2008.

Instead, the Chamber submitted a listing of financial categories not
broken out or differentiated between public monies and private
Membership or Special Event monies.

Also attached to this report were conclusions submitted by Chamber
President Ken Gross that were completely unsubstantiated character
assassinations with absolutely no documentation to back up his spurious claims.

Gross tells of misdeeds, but showed none in the report. Where's the
beef? I am and
was always a 1099 independent contractor with absolutely no access to
financials and have no business being the focus of an "audit" of the
Visitor Center funding as I was never ever a part of the Visitor
Center and serve only as a convenient scapegoat for Mr. Gross to use
as part of a whitewash of his personal responsibility as an Executive
of the Encinitas Chamber of Commerce for five years.

In fact, the report by the CPA Walsh that she prepared for the Chamber
is,"...substantially less in scope than an audit in accordance with
generally accepted auditing standards." In her own words.

In the actual report submitted by the Chamber, Ms. Walsh clearly
states,"This forensic report is presented as an expository tool for
management and the Board of Directors. The information and findings
presented herein are not designed for those who are not informed about
the financial matters of Encinitas Chamber of Commerce."

"This is not a full scope report, nor is it an audit."

So, what was submitted was not an audit, nor was it independent as
Mayor Houlihan personally requested, nor was it done in 60 days. For
that reason and others, I would like to meet with the City Manager to
formally ask him to prevail upon the City Council to remove the item
from the 21st and return the report to the Encinitas Chamber of
Commerce, as they have clearly failed to submit what is legally
required of the Chamber to fulfill the requirements of the action
taken by the Encinitas City Council on April 15, 2009.

Like Mayor Houlihan, I would like what the Chamber has submitted to be
the truth. While it is several things, it is not an audit, and
certainly not the truth.

Thank you in advance for your help. I will make myself available any
time the City Manager is available to meet with me.

Sincerely,

Mike Andreen

Mike also posed some other interesting questions in his email to me. I'll try to get to some of them soon.

See Also: Chamber Report Coverage

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Leucadia Town Council meeting was last night


A shoutout to the LTC, I would have blogged your meeting if you wanted. Email me anytime. Hope it went well.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Streetscape Workshop 4: What Next?



The workshop went late and I had to leave before the close. I heard reports that it didn't end with a clear note on what happens next.

Q1: How will what happened at the workshop play into the progress of the streetscape?

Norby was quoted as saying that the process is marathon. That makes sense to me and that should not provide cover for lollygagging. Marathon runners don't stop for a latte halfway through the course.

Q2: What are the next milestones and when are they scheduled to occur?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Streetscape Workshop 4: The Two Alternatives

A notion cannot be made to 'fall apart' simply by asking a question, but rather,
only by providing an adequate answer to the question posed.

The consultants started by pointing out that they really wanted to work on the big picture issues. Much of the presentation was general. I took that to mean that details like what is going into the plant palette are to be discussed later. However, there were very detailed maps with specifics out for review and that focused the attention of many.

The presentation itself was well organized and informative. The only thing I thought was missing was clear discussion of how the discussion would play into the process and how things would proceed after the workshop.

Objectives Determined
At the outset Peltz outlined the objectives. Sidewalks, trees, and sidewalk features are the old school streetscape makeover. When combined with the Specific Plan, Leucadia 101 is shooting for the New Urbanism make over. Walkable communities allow you to walk to where you need to go. Traffic calming means slower traffic with less friction. The infrastructure will be rebalanced away from automobile domination to more space for pedestrian and bicycle uses.

Increasing parking was also a priority and this leads to my first question. This goes out to those people who hope that walkable design induces people to leave their cars at home.

In other places, like Santa Barbara for instance, walkable community activists have pushed to reduce parking and to centralize parking. The thinking is would make it less desirable to drive and the expectation is that more people will walk, ride, or take transit.

Q1: Does designing for more parking promote an automobile centered culture and promote more driving?

Restoring the tree canopy was noted as one of the unifying concerns of Leucadians. I would have put that on top of the other objectives.

The city makes a big distinction between "restoring" and "preserving" the tree canopy. Q2: Why is that distinction being made now?

Q3: Are any of the large heritage trees slated to be cut down in either of the alternatives? Has anybody looked?

The Two Alternatives
The two alternatives overlap on a lot of features. Q4: If the meeting was about big picture stuff, how come the different features have to packaged? Why not allow people to consider 3 lanes and signals or 4 lanes and roundabouts?

Q5: Are there any local examples of roundabouts used to cut traffic speeds in configurations like that being proposed, and on an arterial with conditions similar to 101? Are people going to be able speed back up between roundabouts?

Bird Rock has roundabouts very close together.

The pedestrian path along the tracks doesn't go through the center part of leucadia, because the right-of-way is too narrow to handle the path and the Leucadia Blvd intersection.

I was sitting next to one of the most ecofriendly, walking path promotional Leucadian and he noted that forcing pedestrians to cross the 101 twice was a usage killer for the path. I've also thought it was weird to push a walking path across the street from all the action and across the street from where there better be a very nice walking zone.

If it sucks to walk along the west side of 101 when this is done we're all to blame for losing sight of what should be the first priority of the project -> good sidewalks on the west side of 101!

The walking path is going to be next to the NCTD dust bowl.

Q6: If we gave up the east side walking path could we assign more space to the bike lane?

Riding the 101 is seriously dangerous. Q7: Would it be safer if there were only one southbound lane?

The city says this is not a consideration because people parking would cause too much friction with southbound traffic. It would slow traffic. Two lanes are not as affected by people slowing to park.

The alternatives for major intersections were roundabouts and traffic signals, not roundabouts and stop signs. Q8: Why has discussion focused on roundabouts vs stop signs?

There were people who spoke of their motivation to send commuters back to the freeway. Q8.5: Would stop signs slow traffic down more and send more commuter traffic back to the I5?

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Streetscape Workshop #4 this Saturday

Workshop #4 – Saturday, Oct. 10, 2009; 9 am – 12 noon; Banquet Room, Encinitas Community & Senior Center


I cannot attend workshop #4 because I have a booth at the Sacred Craft Surfboard Expo in Del Mar this weekend. http://www.sacredcraftexpo.com/ (check my other blog Surfy Surfy to see what that is all about, http://www.surfysurfy.net/

Stray observations:

I am taking full credit for creating the streetscape movement. This blog was instrumental in defeating the Redevelopment Agency and all along I quacked that Leucadia should have a streetscape like downtown Encinitas had a streetscape. By taking full credit you can also blame me if you hate the idea.

I still believe that if we pass on the streetscape opportunity that in a few years we will either have an unstoppable  Redevelopment Agency rammed down our throats or, the city will just cut off downtown Leucadia from all funding, cut down all our trees and invest zero money in even basic infrastructure. Then we will truly see what "don't change a thing" means as we watch our coastal corridor crumble and decay. What will Leucadia look like then when my 2 year old son is my age?

When the streetscape movement began very few people knew about roundabouts. I have no idea who introduced this concept to Encinitas. Roundabouts have been the most controversial aspect of the streetscape. People seem to love them or hate them. Here is what I think, the roundabouts will do everything the believers promise they will IF  the Leucadia Blvd intersection is no longer a full stoplight. When the intersection is flashing red, as it has been quite a bit lately, traffic flows smoothly and quickly. When it is a normal stoplight traffic backs up and people get frustrated. I think that the roundabout concept is pointless if traffic is backing up at Leucadia Blvd which is currently the only part of the road you can realistically call a "choke point".

The second most controversial aspect of the streetscape is the single north bound lane. I hated this idea at first but have now warmed up to it, especially considering the hostile NCTD and the incredibly dangerous lack of a bike lane. I'm not buying the "evacuation suicide" scare tactic of a single lane.

If we can just choose a plan then we can have fun working on the details like what trees and flowers to plant, where the benches go, what kind of streetlamps to use and all that other stuff.

If we pick a plan then we will know how much it is going to cost. It is still unclear to me how we are funding this thing.

I support a streetscape for Leucadia. Do I worry about gentrification? A little bit. But I think Peltz & Assoc. grok our vibe down here in Leucadia. I am cautiously optimistic.

I await your destruction of my opinions in the comments section.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Community Commentary by Morgan Mallory

From this week's Coast News

Soon after the incorporation of the city of Encinitas, the city drafted the Specific Plans for Downtown 101 and the North 101 Corridor. I served on the North 101 Corridor draft committee and I am a business owner on 101. Meeting concurrently, the goal was to envision what issues need to be resolved in planning for our future and have these two drafts flow through planning, council approval and implementation simultaneously. What happened is the Downtown 101 Specific Plan was adopted, which has been very successful, having won the best award from the National Mainstreet Association. Then the Encinitas Ranch development was completed, Leucadia Boulevard went through to Coast Highway 101 but Leucadia is still waiting and their trees are going away.

The North 101 Corridor Draft identified the same issues back then that the public identified during the North 101 Streetscape Workshops recently. Most all agreed that maintaining, (now revitalizing), the tree canopy, calming traffic to design speeds of 25 to 30 mph, creating safe pedestrian friendly environments for businesses to thrive, safe bike lanes, identify parking opportunities and maintaining the character of Leucadia were all valid goals for our future.

Consultant Peltz and Associates has done an admirable job in addressing all these issues in the first four alternatives in different ways and responding to public input.

I admit, that I was not immediately comfortable with some of the concepts offered. The one lane and roundabouts were not what I had envisioned as options. Seeing examples of the effectiveness of these solutions in successful streetscapes in other communities with similar issues and driving up Leucadia Boulevard,( what is your least favorite intersection?), convinced me that they were good options. A larger volume of traffic can go through a roundabout at a slower speed and be safer than a traditional stop sign. Reverse angle parking? Parallel parking stops traffic too, but gaining better visibility when pulling out in traffic more safely is a positive. It works elsewhere.


The challenge is that there is limited space to accomplish all the stated goals, NCTD won’t plant trees on their right of way to restore the canopy and has not been a good neighbor, Leucadia’s rail crossing problems won’t be solved and there has been a lot of misinformation circulated and printed. The oft mentioned petition states the majority of trees will be removed, beach access will be limited, property will be taken by eminent domain, Leucadia Boulevard will end at the tracks, roundabouts are choke points and other fallacies. Amazingly the Encinitas Chamber of Commerce championed this un-factual petition and stated the plan would, “impede people from getting to downtown” and was initiated by a few business owners on Highway 101. The chamber’s streetscape “workshop” hurt the process. What motivated this business- unfriendly negative campaign is a mystery. In fairness there is a new chamber CEO, Marshall Weinreb. The bad apples are gone and I am confident that the chamber’s position has changed. I have met with Mr. Weinreb and he stated, “I will say that the overall concept is quite good” and, “I was surprised to find that when this project was previously discussed, this chamber’s management was quick to voice its opinions against the plan, with comments that did not seem to be entirely based upon facts.” I have high hopes for the chamber’s new leadership and direction.



I urge the community to get involved in this process and find out the facts and issues involved. The current plan calls for one lane north on portions of 101, (like Encinitas, Carlsbad, Del Mar, etc.), 10.5 foot lanes, (like downtown), roundabouts, (like on Leucadia Boulevard and Santa Fe and the world), revitalization of the tree canopying, (saving 93 percent of existing trees and adding a thousand more), safe bike lanes, slower traffic, create a pedestrian and business friendly environment and parking opportunities and roundabouts, (factually more efficient, safer for cars and people, wiser ecologically and offer more appealing artistic and landscape options). They are the opposite of choke points. And all of the plans will deal with flooding solutions.

If these are your goals, support a plan that you don’t compromise. We have an opportunity to create a wonderful legacy for our future generations. Get informed and involved.



Morgan Mallory owns the Corner Frame Shop at 1038 N. Coast Hwy 101 in Leucadia. 





Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Next Streetscape event is Thursday Oct 8


Informational Open House – Thursday, Oct. 8, 2009; 4pm – 7:30 pm
Community Room, Encinitas Public Library

...and don't forget, the big workshop #4 is Saturday Oct 10.

Fundraiser for the Arts, Cardiff Oct 17

click poster for large view
October 17th. Ebb and Flow is trying to raise $4,200 to reinstate the
Art teachers position in the Cardiff school district, which was
removed due to budget cuts. There will be live music, food, games and
a silent auction with items from great artists, designers, shapers and
more...
www.ebbandflowcardiff.com

Sunday, October 04, 2009

My Way or the Highway

I've come up with a classification for the origin of civic disagreements, at least for the good faith disagreements. Other disagreements have an origin in deception and manipulation and I don't include those here.

I've seen disagreements because of the following:
1. Different Facts. Citizens who disagree may do so because they have different knowledge of the situation. This is the easiest to resolve if all parties are working in good faith.

2. Analytical Differences. Citizens can disagree because they come to different conclusions about how different processes or alternatives will turn out. This is the most interesting root of disagreements. These require respectful inquiry and testing of ideas to be conducted in order for all those involved to be satisfied that the analysis is sound and complete. It also requires all citizens to be open to the evaluation of all the relevant outcomes.

Some citizens see the evaluation of certain outcomes as counter to their personal values, but doing the analysis is not the same as making the final decision. It is my opinion that we should not incorporate value judgments directly into the analytics and the selection of what to study is part of the analytical process. This is where we get to the third origin.

3. Different Values. Judgments based on values are going to differ in a diverse, independent-minded, and thoughtful community. We see this all the time in Encinitas. At the project level, it is clear to me that engaging in disagreements based in value judgments are only useful for developing understanding. I've not seen people engage in successful persuasion (at the project level) that changed what others' valued. It is just the opposite. People end up getting very emotional and polarized when exposed to people who have different value judgments on a project AND the groups try to change each other's value systems.

Most of the time residents of Encinitas can be very tolerant and respectful of others. We can find unfortunate exceptions here on this blog.

I found a similar classification system and some things to do to clear up the disagreements at makingitclear.com . Here is the alternate classification:
Why Do We Disagree?
1. Objective
What one person wants to accomplish is different than what the other person wants.
2. Method
They may agree on the objective, but they have differing opinions on the best way to achieve the objective.
3. Communication
They may agree on both the objective and the method, but they don’t realize it. They keep arguing, and because of miscommunication they each get the impression that the other person disagrees.
4. Emotion
They may agree on the objective and the method, and they may even understand that they agree on these things. But they choose to disagree anyway (or at least one of them does). There are a lot of possible emotional reasons: everything from distrust, dislike and hate, to embarrassment, fear, peer pressure, face-saving or just a steadfast commitment to a prior position.

Relation to the Streetscape Project
I met with planning staff a couple weeks ago to review the project and ask some questions. I still have some questions that have not been answered. Mostly, I was interested in the process.

As was conveyed to me, the workshops have not been designed to develop a set of alternatives and a catalog of their characteristics, so that the public and the council can pit each alternative up against each other. They could then weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each alternative. Instead, the process is working toward the selection of a single "consensus" plan. It was not clear what defines and who decides whether a particular plan has a consensus behind it.

It was also made clear that not having a single consensus plan could jeopardize the progression of the streetscape project. I think this might be why some community members and blog commenters or so upset by anyone who is against (or questions) the leading alternative.

I support a streetscape as do most Leucadians and I hope that we don't let the process devolve into a "my way or the highway" scenario.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Every 75 to 100 years,

The following landed in my inbox this week,


Every 75 to 100 years communities get a chance to make a significant difference in their built environment, 

As examples, it was 1937 when the current road configuration that we drive on today was installed. In 1937 they widened US Hwy 101 from 2 lanes to 4. When we completed the downtown Encinitas streetscape we replaced crumbling sidewalks from 1927.

The conditions in Leucadia in 1937 were that Leucadia was a sparsely populated rural outpost of San Diego, an area around Hwy 101 (very few buildings) and the burgeoning adoption of the automobile.  Hwy 101 was a US Hwy designed for a speed of 70mph and cars were king.

The conditions today in Leucadia are vastly different than in 1937 over 80 years go.

Today Hwy 5 is the Interstate Hwy where cars are king,  Leucadia is now a community with 15k to20k residents- a real vibrant and diverse neighborhood where people live, work and play and Hwy 101 is the main local road, traversing this neighborhood, not a state Hwy or an Interstate Hwy.

So here we are.  We are at that point in time every 75 to 100 years where we get to make a significant difference in our built environment.  It a huge challenge and a great honor for all to be participating in this effort.  Our role is to successfully interpret our community today, our opportunities and constraints, and the gifts that the land, the buildings and the people of Leucadia have to offer.  To apply a road design that best represents our interpretation of our community and city. 

Like a river, no two shores are alike, for a road no two streetscapes are alike.  We can learn from others but the key is interpreting our stretch of the river so to speak.

Today, Leucadia is vastly different than it was in 1937.  The community question is how do we best balance this road for Leucadia 2009, and for the Leucadia of the next 70 years?

To quote a colleague: "If you design for the traffic, you will get more traffic. If you design for the people who live there, you will get a neighborhood.  

I believe if you design the road and keep the road in it's current configuration, that will be an opportunity lost, and for the next 70 years you will have a road similar to today, a road a road designed to serve the Leucadia of 1937, A US Hwy with a design speed of 70mph.

I believe today that Leucadia can balance the road to embrace the current life of the community.  That a walkable, bike-able, drivable road with a design speed of 30mph can happen and that Leucadia can enjoy their commercial corridor in a manor similar to Downtown Encinitas which went through this same exact process in 2001-2002. 

I think the results in downtown Encinitas speak for themselves.  

Cheers

Peder