Sunday, February 28, 2010

Think about the kiddos

The public needs to quit referring to the City Council’s latest move as a “water rate increase” because it isn't. Instead, it is a per citizen tax for use of the most fundamental life sustaining commodity. Commodities prices are way down and water should be as well now that we are well out of the mythical state sponsored “drought”.


This move is an obscene and highly “regressive tax” as it impacts those with a lot of people living at home (i.e., young families), the poor, the out of work, and those on fixed incomes.


The Federal government is currently pumping out $100B+ in new debt per month, CA is way past insolvent, and real estate/building will grind down further once the trillion dollar Federal supports begin to fade. We are not in a “V shaped” recovery, rather the elevator is momentarily stalled on the way down by unsustainable Federal money printing, and government bailouts of banking, housing, autos, insurance, states, employment, etc., and Enron-esque accounting schemes.


Thus just about every revenue stream to OUR city is down and will continue to fall for many years to come; yet I have not seen one painful and necessary adjustment in how the City of Encinitas spends OUR tax dollars. The are running with full sails into a hurricane.


The rating agencies that the City Council hides behind use a convenient snapshot approach that ignores all the obvious future obligations and revenue shortfalls to say “all is well”. If you were to use reasonable real world comprehensive financial analysis that included future tax revenue drop offs, the looming pension liabilities, and the crater that used to be the CalPERS pension fund – all is not well.


Lastly, these were the same rating agencies that said that Lehman, Bear, AIG, Enron, FreddieIndyFannie, Countrywide, B of A, WaMu, etc. were just fine – mere months before they were vaporized. They lied then and your 401K got hammered and they are lying now and YOUR city will pay. Encinitas is not immune to these problems we are just currently better off than other cities and earlier in the process of circling the drain.


In the near future when the pension shortfall costs and our current fixed debt payments collide with declining tax revenues; services will have to be drastically cut because the our City Manager and City Council created spider web of legal contracts that put the payouts to union employees above all else – like roads, water, etc.


But before they move to cut our services they will continue to operate in denial and cook up all forms of abusive fees and taxation to paper over the truth. The water tax was just the canary in the coal mine.


By the time the forced cuts come the decent, friendly, but seemingly uninformed public will realize they have been had and will push back very hard. But it will be too late, and so our mess will go to the courts and all these platinum retirement packages and will be cut down and OUR city services will operate on life support - there will simply not be enough money to go around.


My street already looks like a Detroit back alley with wild city spending today so I can just imagine what it will look like in 2012. This problem is so fundamental that it transcends “taxpayers fed up with outrageous pay packages”. It is about solvency in the next few years and everyone getting burned. Just ask a CA public school teacher in 2011 what happens when State politicians spend out of control and make impossible retirement promises and then leave the next generation holding the bag.


All the bad things noted above are the present reality and not fear mongering. However, with deep cuts today (like the private sectors has already done), restructuring to focus on the basics, retirement packages, and future revenue shortfalls, and saying “no” to new debt; we can avoid total capitulation in the future.


As adults today we owe it to our children to take the hits now and not leave them with crushing debt loads and terrible services, roads, and infrastructure in the future. I highlighted many of these issues at the last City Hall meeting and no one on the Council or the audience seemed to care what I was talking about. There was just silence and then the meeting carried on - I would strongly advise people to do their homework and quit focusing on relatively trivial issues.


We either take this reality head on or suffer a financial death of a thousand cuts. No matter what moves are made I do not want to hear City Council claim that they “had no idea this would happen” in a few years. You have been warned many times over.


Regards,

Charlie McDermott

homeowner, husband, father of 4, and taxpayer


48 comments:

  1. So is the Hall house going to be saved or torn down?

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  2. torn down unless you can convince Dan Dalager to agendize the issue.

    He probably wont, because then staff will have to explain why the didn't follow the council's official direction and did something else.

    Why don't you send an email to Dan and ask him about this. Anyone willing to challenge Dan to set the record straight?

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  3. BEST BLOG RANT IN A LONG TIME.

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  4. Charlie & Anon 3:50
    Hear, hear.

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  5. Buy guns, buy gold and store food.

    And oh, by the way, stay away from my house when the system collapses.

    Nuff said.

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  6. Thank you for facts, Charlie. This isn't a rant. It is reality.

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  7. Charlie for City CouncilFebruary 28, 2010 7:19 PM

    Charley-

    You are spot on. No rant at all. Just more people informing the public and City Council of what there terrible leadership has done to the public and our children. Man- Did our City Council and all politicians stick it to our children and grandchildren or what?

    When the young realize how bad the boomers screwed them, they are going to be pissed. I don't blame them. Its very embarrassing they way our generation destroyed the opportunity and future of America for our youth.

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  9. Spot On! I would love to see an independent audit of the city...didn't Maggie once back this idea? Term Limits is the only to ensure our leaders are part of our reality.

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  10. The Russians are coming!
    The Russians are coming!

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  11. Term Limits are the only positive answer. That and run out the politicians responsible for this mess out of town.

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  12. cor·rup·tion   [kuh-ruhp-shuhn]

    1. the act of corrupting or state of being corrupt.
    2. moral perversion; depravity.
    3. perversion of integrity.
    4. corrupt or dishonest proceedings.
    5. bribery.
    6. debasement or alteration, as of language or a text.
    7. a debased form of a word.
    8. putrefactive decay; rottenness.
    9. any corrupting influence or agency.

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  13. In regards to trivial stuff.

    Great post Charlie! But, with all due respect, don't discount the trivial stuff.

    Trivial stuff can be, and in the case of how corrupt our city leaders are, is important. That's how it all starts, the trivial stuff manifests itself to larger scale misconduct. Not following policy, incompetence, mismanagement, cronyism, nepotism, patronage and graft builds and builds. They cut corners or, get ordered to cut corners and don't get called for it. Then they condone it as business as usual. It has becomes a culture of operation within our city government.

    It is our responsibility to hold these people accountable for their action or inaction. All of those small or trivial things add up and will lead us down the trail to larger scale misconduct. It's just a matter of time until it blows up at every level.

    We, the citizens can accelerate the process of imploding city hall and expose the corruption by sharing our findings and experiences no matter how trivial they are. The sooner the better before election time.

    Exposure works, look what it did to the dog park issue. They were shoving it down our throats, not following the general plan or city policy and the municipal code. There was also conflict of interest and mismanagement. A strategic plan and a timely executed citizen campaign stymied the Council, their hands were tied. The bad media coverage of corruption will counter any financial contributions the incumbents receive from their slime endorsers.

    We can do it, we just need to work together investigate, coordinate, execute and expose these people that are jerking us off.

    con·done   [kuhn-dohn]
    –verb (used with object),-doned, -don·ing.
    1. to disregard or overlook (something illegal, objectionable, or the like).
    2. to give tacit approval to: By his silence, he seemed to condone their behavior.
    3. to pardon or forgive (an offense); excuse.
    4. to cause the condonation of.
    5. Law. to forgive or act so as to imply forgiveness of (a violation of the marriage vow).

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  14. Gee, Steve, sounds like you are lobbying for a place on the Council. Is that true? Better start campaigning soon, as Dan has the upper hand on this one and Teresa is almost untouchable.

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  15. condone is a good term to have in your pocket when watching city council meetings.

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  16. Execute? Pretty strong words. Who exactly should we execute?

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  17. Dr Lorri
    After reading your posts and responses for quite a while, I've come to the conclusion that you seem to take everything so literally. Is that the nature of your profession? This is not a facetious or disrespectful question: just askin'.

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  18. dr. lorri, i think he meant "execute" in terms of executing an idea, no? do you really think he means to execute someone, hello?

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  19. I don't think meaning #6 was meant.

    ex·e·cute

    1. To put into effect; carry out: a government that executes the decisions of the ruling party.
    2. To perform; do: execute a U-turn. See Synonyms at perform.
    3. To create (a work of art, for example) in accordance with a prescribed design.
    4. To make valid, as by signing: execute a deed.
    5. To perform or carry out what is required by: execute the terms of a will.
    6. To put to death, especially by carrying out a lawful sentence.
    7. Computer Science To run (a program or an instruction).

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  20. Dr Lori
    I'm gonna save yer butt here:

    Anytime anyone asks you if you have a sense of humor, just say "yo' Momma".

    Even if you don't KNOW (or care) what it means, it will take some of the heat off.

    But you gotta loosen UP.

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  21. To all: Yes, it is the nature of my profession to take things literally. If you tell me you are going to kill someone, or yourself for that matter, it is a good idea to take it seriously. I don't know what Steve meant. Since he has called me so many names, I am a but afraid of him myself. So, had it not been Steve saying it, I would have let it go. I do not choose to lighten up when it comes to making sure that the truth be told and that Council doesn't get away with the amazing things it seems to get away with. So, my sense of humor is lost on things that are half truths and half non-truths. For example, Steve suggested that there were conflicts of interest on the off-leash hours . An absolute non-truth, unless he knows something I don't. Please tell us Steve, where were the conflicts of interest? All in all, I am a reasonable person. And, I just may surprise all of you one day with my humor.

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  22. Dr Lorri
    You can't be serious.

    Are you positioning yourself for a sympathy vote?

    I'm curious, what names has Steve called you? Lots of allegations here. To my knowledge none have been proved.

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  23. When I receive permission, I will post some of the allegations from Steve and company. No, I am not positioning myself for a sympathy vote, since I am not running for anything. I don't want sympathy, nor have I any use for it. I want facts, not allegations. If that is too much for some to understand, so be it.

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  24. I have been told I could post a small segment of an e-mail Steve wrote to me on my personal e-mail address, which is not made public by the City.

    "I still would like to hear what your opinions is of the videos, as well as how enforcement and maintenance will be addressed. And, to be helpful, You better come up with a good statement regarding the conflict of interest. That's a huge target and an obvious conflict."- Steve Meiche

    This was in regards to Orpheus Park which I had nothing to do with. The Council was responsible for Orpheus. Our subcommittee was responsible for Glen Park and Hawk View Park only. I do not live near either park, so I have never understood exactly what my conflict of interest is. Steve has never answered that question either.

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  25. Am I missing something?

    The sentence was, "We can do it, we just need to work together investigate, coordinate, execute and expose these people that are jerking us off."

    I don't see how execute was intended to mean anything other than "carry out effectively".

    I don't know the background, and clearly there is some, but based on this context here, Dr Lorri seems way off base. Or, maybe I am missing something??

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  26. Names. You said he called you 'names'.

    Poor word choice (i.e. better) cannot be construed as a threat, unless you're looking for it to be so.

    Methinks you whine too much.If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen.

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  27. The names part I will save until I am allowed or choose to post it. I can always take the heat, as evidenced by the fact I always post my name. Yes, I said he called me names. This blog won't see it now, or perhaps you will never see it. Depends on too many variables to say at this time. Steve will know exactly what I mean, so if you are so curious, perhaps you can ask him.

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  28. I must say that I feel a little sorry for Dr Lorri.

    I check this blog regularly and even weigh in once in a while. But then again, I have a job and a life.

    Anyone with the time to opine on every subject, sometimes (often)several times a day may need to see a doctor of a different sort.


    By the way, what ever happened to NOTAXLADY. She knew how to do it right.

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  29. I feel sorry for Steve. He is the one who had all of the time to make You Tubes of poop. And he get paid by us the citizens. At least Dr. Lori isn't sucking on the public tit.

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  30. 9:32 - Next time you have a fire, call a psychologist

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  31. Dr. Lorri,
    (My response was too long, please see additional comments for full commentary)
    Steve is at the ICU right now, as one of our family members is terminally ill, and I am home with our kids. One has a fever, so I didn't go to the hospital. I just read your comments from the day, and I feel compelled to answer you. I took your advice and asked Steve before he left if he called you any names. I have access to all of the emails, and, with his permission, I'm posting them here now so that they are not taken out of context and everyone can see that you were never called any names.

    http://docs.google.com/View?id=dg3qqrg5_16fbjnn7cp

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  32. Dr. Lorri continued...
    You wrote, "I have never understood exactly what my conflict of interest is. Steve has never answered that question either." Please see his email of January 20. It reads, "Furthermore, I have found that you are a licensed clinical psychologist with a private practice in San Diego that specializes in pet bereavement and have a website that sells books. I am also aware that you are considered a future contender for a seat on the City Council. With all that being said, I find that there is an unquestionable conflict of interest with your position as a Commissioner and Committee member making any recommendations regarding dog park policies and expansion." So there you have it in his own words. And again, please refer to his January 23 email, "On a last note, the conflict of interest between you, a Commissioner and Committee member recommending dog park expansion, and your personal dog business. There is a perception that expanding dog parks in Encinitas could favor you personally. I question the ethics here, maybe you can justify the exemption. Please explain." He did, in fact, spell it out to you. Twice. It comes down to this: since your business or part of your business directly relates to dog owners and their emotional needs, you can benefit financially from supporting PADZish agendas and recommending these to city council. How is that not obvious? What I don't understand is why, with nothing to back up your trumped up claims, do you continue to drag this out in public?

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  33. Dr. Lorri continued....

    In the quotation that you chose to share on the blog, Steve writes to you, "I still would like to hear what your opinions is (sic) of the videos, as well as how enforcement and maintenance will be addressed. And, to be helpful, You better come up with a good statement regarding the conflict of interest. That's a huge target and an obvious conflict." Was this not your proof of his name calling? I do not see him calling you any names here. Let's take what he said apart and look closely. He writes, "And, to be helpful, You better come up with a good statement regarding the conflict of interest." Here he is giving you a heads up that you might want to be aware that many will perceive you as having a financial motivation for recommending dog park expansion, you know, to show yourself to stand on the side of the people who may want to buy your book in the future. He is trying to be helpful, as he states in the intro, "to be helpful." This is not a threat, not name calling, merely pointing out to you that you were about to walk into some muddy waters. He is warning you that people will want to know how you can recommend dog park expansion, meanwhile refraining from commenting on anything regarding dog park on the blog while commenting on EVERYTHING else, all the while selling books that relate to pet bereavement and offering SPECIFIC services to dog owners. To those of us that do not know you it comes across as shady. So he says, "That's a huge target," which, again, is giving you a heads up to prepare for that question so you are not surprised by it. He's telling you that the opposition will target that fact and you will need to know how to answer. I think it was actually pretty nice, even though I agree he could have had more grace in the way he expressed this point. His message was a little lost in the delivery. I can see how you may have gotten your back up by it. I probably would have also, but if you study the text, you will see that it is not meant as a threat, but rather as advice to cover your bases and to be prepared to answer these tough questions. Which, by the way, I would like to point out that you have never actually answered as far as I am aware of anyway, since you failed to respond to ANY of his three emails. We understand that Chris Hazeltine encouraged you to not respond to Steve. Perhaps you have the opportunity now?

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  34. Dr. Lorri continued...
    You mentioned a few weeks ago, " I also think it is time to let the issue with Steve and the dogs go. We need to move on in this City and resolve some of the more pressing issues." I so agree with you. So why are you now bringing it all up again? You constantly refer to Steve on this blog. Not necessarily name calling, but smearing him nonetheless. Here are a few examples from the past few weeks, your words: "I have definitely not used up all of my chi on dog poo. Perhaps Meiche wishes that had been the case....," and, "When I receive permission, I will post some of the allegations from Steve and company....," and "So since Meiche managed to find my regular e-mail and pass it on to others....," and "Since he has called me so many names, I am a but (sic) afraid of him myself. So, had it not been Steve saying it, I would have let it go." This is libel. He never called you any names. For you to pretend to be afraid of Steve is totally ridiculous. His states in his January 24 email, "I would enjoy an opportunity to meet you and escort you through a tour of the park and school," and in his January 20 email he refers to you as a "reasonable person." Why are you afraid of someone who wants to escort you on a tour and considers you a reasonable person? For some reason, you WILL NOT LET IT GO. If you are afraid of Steve you need not be. He's a fireman/daddyman who cares about our city, who is not afraid to speak up. Use him to help you in your battles with the city. Use his energy and willingness to put himself out there for the greater good to your advantage. I encourage you to work together on the many issues you two, I'm sure, must agree on.

    I absolutely admire that you help people with PTSD, that you help the bereaved, that you volunteer to make this city a better place. I am certain that if we can let bygones be bygones and come together for the greater good, that we can see the good in each other and move on. I will let Steve post his own response, because I am pretty sure he was referencing a totally different, completely unrelated "conflict of interest" in today's posting.

    Peace

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  35. Dr. Lorri should resign from all city related commissions. She is obviously conflicted with her postings, her profession and the recommendations to the city. Besides she is boring most of the time.

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  36. Roz-You shouldn't have done what you did.

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  37. Roz- Don't you realize what you did when you posted that stuff?

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  38. She may be boring but she did vote NO on the Swami's event. The rest of the Commission voted YES. Not so sure I want her to resign from anything. As far as I know, that is the only Commission she is on. The e-mail says she is a candidate for City Council. I had not heard this. Is it true Roz?

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  39. We are all on the edges of our seats.... What did Roz do?

    This is getting ridiculous. What next? A showdown at sunset between Dr. Lorri and Steve? This is a distraction and a waste of time. You two start your own blog and go at it there. We are tired of Dr. Lorri throwing her zings in and Steve defending himself.

    Let's move on people.

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  40. Let's face it. We are tired of Dr. Lorri. Stop posting here Dr. Lorri. Your input is not needed. Steve is the man.

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  41. I think both Dr. Lori and Steve should kiss and make up. Roz made perfect sense. This is a big brouhaha over dog poop, geez. Dr. Lori may treat people with dogs, but she also treats many without, or who have cats, etc. I think it is a stretch to call it a conflict of interest for her to support dog parks -- there is no direct financial gain to her and she is not an elected official -- the remote possibility that she might make money from supporting dog parks by sellng more books shoudn't preclude her from voting if she disclosed these facts beforehand. However, even though Steve went overboard, I was surprised to read that Dr. Lori was feeling threatened and think she went overboard with that comment. Two intelligent people should be able to patch this up and get back to the real issues.

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  42. Rock on New Encinitas. We got the trees cut down, finally. Now we hopefully got Dr. Lori off this blog. Next stop, City Hall. I'm with you Roz and Steve.

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  43. Dr. Lorri has a lot to offer us. I am not against her at all. I don't know her, but I do admire that she posts with her identity instead of as anonymous and I love that she has guts and spunk. I do not mean to persuade anyone to be against Dr. Lorri. I simply want the ugliness to stop and for everyone to kiss and make up. I believe that is possible, and hope everyone involved can move in that direction. I know I can.

    Hey Charlie... Great post. Sorry this conversation has directed attention away from your excellent, thought-
    provoking post. I can't wait to pick your brain in person.

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  44. Gertrude and SteinMarch 02, 2010 12:38 PM

    a blog is a blog is a blog

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  45. Roz
    Great post.
    Dr. Lorri sort of tempers her comments a bit (operative words: "a bit"). But her "toady" dosen't. The toady posts very inflammatory and childish missives. The 'toadette' should really stop...She seems to be goading this thing along.

    I agree, lets just move past this all.

    ......Meanwhile back at the WaterWorks

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  46. Charlie:

    I loved your rant, if that's what some people what to call it. I call it a passionate plea for fiscal responsibility and transparency.

    I've been railing against Lease Revenue Bonds and the murky financial arrangements with the SDWD for years. I strongly believe the city is playing a financial shell game with SDWD money, and the same thing with the two sewer "divisions."

    You have it right. It's all a tax disguised as rate and fee increases to get around Prop. 13. The purpose is to shore up the reduced revenue flow. It's unbelievable that the city isn't making more cost reductions. It recently reclassified a position in the water district to give an "analyst" a nice raise. His job is to find ways in increase revenue by any means necessary. More hidden taxes are on the way.

    I don't know if Maggie Houlihan ever called for an outside audit, but I remember that James Bond once did when Christie Guerin was mayor. She shut him down in an instant. We do need a forensic audit, but this council will never approve it.

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  47. Jerry,
    How can we document your claim? Maybe, a more detailed expose'. I'm serious. Even if the City's actions are marginally legal or, most likely, when the eventuality happens, and things collapse here in Encinitas, the City's "Management Pattern" or "Management Practices" could assist in a larger scale misconduct charge. A Grand Jury will always utilize any supporting evidence as to "Patterns" or "Practices" in their investigation.

    I believe, we (the citizens) have a strong corruption, misconduct, and mismanagement case against the City of Encinitas. It will take a methodical approach, time, and more than a few complaints or even obvious infractions to take these guy's down. A War Chest has already been started.

    Can you detail these findings?

    To the blog readers:

    Maybe it's possible we (the citizens) pool resources, or create a data base of findings, research and experiences from frustrated citizens that are willing to step up and hold our Encinitas City leaders accountable. I'm sure there is a large number of us that have experienced BULL SHIT that City Hall has tried to crammed down our throats. Stuff they should not have gotten away with but did cause you had no support and it was you against them... You bit the bullet.

    There are some incredibly smart and intelligent people that live here in Encinitas, our neighbors, the people we surf with and see at school and the market. Collectively our talents out weigh City Hall. That's for sure.

    If we are not happy with what's happening in our Encinitas City Government we can effect change... As a community.

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  48. Steve makes sense and their is another wayMarch 03, 2010 6:59 AM

    Steve-

    the simplest way is to adopt term limits, vote out Dalager, Stocks, Bond and Houlihan, with new council hire a good City Manager that will instill "the residents best interest" over "the City Staff's best interest" at City Hall. Many heads need to role and thats the first step.

    Get a PAC started and spend the war chest on ousting Dalager. He is Bad for Encinitas.

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