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


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Art Banners are UP!


Fred Caldwell and Danny Salzhandler hang the art banners every year. They receive no pay and Fred is scared of heights.

My favorite local artist Mary Fleener's banner this year.

My good friend Maggie Marsek is the only photographer in the banner project this year. She got some prime real estate for her banner.
When it stops raining go cruise the coast highway and enjoy all 50 101 art banners.
Watch a short video of the art banner unveiling event, click here.

Cardiff Sports Park NIMBYs Live in Leucadia?




Can you be a NIMBY and still want sports fields, the park open ASAP, and live nowhere near the park? Did Dalager already grant his own wish to save the Adobe building? Should staff have addressed this stuff in their reports and contracting?

Friday, February 26, 2010

A park is a great campaign promise: everyone wants a park.


Comments on: A Park for Encinitas
Vote ends nine years of obstructionism UT editorial

Every one wants a park.
According to a city funded survey, public input, SANDAG opinion, the majority of public commentary and the recommendations of the Planning Commission, most want a more passive Community Park for all.
Why would so many tax paying citizens,(“NIMBYS”), object to the current Sports Park plan? There will be no tennis, volleyball, or basketball. Pick up games of baseball, football, soccer, rugby or Frisbee with family, friends or businesses would likely not be able to reserve a field. 80% of the field area will be fenced off, leaving small areas between fields. A main entrances to the Sports Park is a narrow two lane residential street with an unmitigated 'F' grade from the EIR and 90’ field lights adjacent to established neighborhoods.

In reality, citizens sued to HAVE an environmental review on the prior greenhouse land and won. Additionally, Councilwomen Barth and Houlihan did not “vote against the park”, but voted to support the Planning Commission’s recommendations after they reviewed 1700 pages of documents, two days of public testimony and all public written comments. The Commission recommended a “reduction of one or two fields” and offered concerns of unmitigated traffic issues and more.

Details at: http://www.theleucadiablog.com/2008/10/hall-park-roundup-by-morgan-mallory.html

Every one wants a park.

Morgan Mallory

Thursday, February 25, 2010

San Dieguito Water District raises rates

Your water bill is going up.

From the NCT: Under the proposed increases, the average residential customer in the district could see his or her bill go up by 13.5 percent. An average residential water user now pays $99.30 a month, and that would increase to $112.71, or an extra $13.41 a month, according to district figures.
The San Dieguito district covers the western portions of town ---- Leucadia, Old Encinitas, Cardiff and parts of New Encinitas. Olivenhain Municipal Water District serves eastern parts of town.


The Encinitas Taxpayers Association attempted a last minute rate protest but the volunteer efforts to walk neighborhoods with flyers was hindered by a rainy winter. 1000 protest flyers were returned.

The self proclaimed Republican fiscal conservative city council majority voted in the rate increase.

By the way, there is a free screening of the movie Tapped tonight at the La Paloma theatre at 7 pm. It's about the privatization of water and the effects of our addiction to plastic bottled water.

Question: What is the ceiling that homeowners will pay for water until they tear out their tropical plant gardens and lawns and start xeriscaping?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Rules About Contests at Swamis

This is the sort of stuff that good cities would include in their staff reports. It should be the basis for the first deliberations on holding contests at Swamis. We do it the Encinitas Way instead.

Submitted to the City by Bill Weedman:


SWAMI’S PARK SPECIAL EVENT PERMIT ANALYSIS

Recent discussions within the City of Encinitas have focused upon evaluating the potential to allow private parties to hold special events at Swami’s Park, a beach access point. The following analysis looks at various City of Encinitas documents and their relationship to the evaluation of the potential of special events at Swami’s Park. It is not the intent of this analysis to weigh the pros and cons of any specific event, but to look at special events in general.


I. Encinitas General Plan
The Encinitas General Plan has been referred to as the constitution of the City of Encinitas. As all laws within the United States of America have to be consistent with the Constitution of the United States of America, all laws and regulations within the City of Encinitas need to be consistent with the Encinitas General Plan.
The Recreation Element of the Encinitas General Plan is one of seven elements within the Encinitas General Plan. Each element is composed of Goals and Policies that were adopted by the City Council with the stated purpose to …“serve as a blue-print for the long-range physical planning of the City. The Plan contains stated community goals and policies designed to shape the long term development of the City, as well as protect its environmental, social, cultural and economic resources.” Goal 5 and related policies refer to beach areas within the City of Encinitas and establish the intensity of use expected at each beach facility:
GOAL 5: The City will continue to provide or coordinate with the State to provide for coastal/shoreline recreation areas, with effective access, including signing; and will designate various beach areas for high, medium and low intensity levels of use based upon the characteristics of the beach resource and support facilities, and character of adjacent neighborhood. (Coastal Act/30211/30212/30212.5/30214)

POLICY 5.1: The City recognizes Cardiff Beach State Park, San Elijo Beach State Park, South Carlsbad Beach State Park and Moonlight Beach (future City) State Park, as the major visitor destination beaches in the Encinitas area. The City will work with the State to upgrade and promote access to these State beaches, and will act to upgrade and promote access to Moonlight Beach, in order that they may receive an increased proportion of visitor uses. (Coastal Act/30214)

POLICY 5.2: The City shall act and coordinate with the State to implement an effective system of shoreline access signing based on uniform standards (i.e., size, material, symbols). (Coastal Act/30212.5)

POLICY 5.3: The areas of South Carlsbad Beach State Park, Moonlight Beach State (future City) Park, Cardiff Beach State Park and San Elijo Beach State Park shall be designated as high intensity beach recreational use areas. (Coastal Act/30212.5/30221)

POLICY 5.4: The City will classify the beach areas related to the following access points for a Medium Intensity use level:
- Beacons
- Grandview
- Swami's Park
- D Street (access to Moonlight Beach)

And the City will classify the beach areas related to the following access points for a Low Intensity use level:
- North Sea Bluff Village (no current access)
- Encinitas Beach (Athena - no current access)
- "I" Street Vicinity (Vista Point)
- Stone Steps access (Coastal Act/30212.5)

POLICY 5.5: The City will adopt beach recreation facility standards, and will encourage the State to apply similar standards to its beaches, regarding the existence of lifeguard facilities, restroom facilities, showers, water fountains, parking facilities (and a number of spaces for different level uses), fee access, trash facilities, beach maintenance schedules, signing, picnic facilities, bicycle facilities, security patrol, etc. In addition, the City shall assure that existing public parking lots for public beach access points are maintained and that no reduction in the number of existing public parking spaces shall be permitted. (Coastal Act/30212.5/ 30223) Policy 5.5 amended 5/11/95 (Reso. 95-32)
The recreation element provides the following definitions for intensity of use at beach areas:
High Intensity: This beach category represents the highest intensity for both utilization and improvements. Active recreational activities are encouraged in both the beach and tidal areas. Lifeguard stations, game courts, picnic areas, parking lots, restroom facilities, showers, water fountains, and facilities that provide access are among the improvements permitted on these beaches.
Medium Intensity: Beaches in this category may still be used for active recreation though improvements are nominal. Improvements may be restricted to lifeguard stations and facilities providing access.

Low Intensity: Beaches designated for low intensity use will contain few improvements and recreational activities, and will be more passive in nature. This category encourages the maintenance and preservation of these beaches in their natural state, as much as this is possible.
The recreation element provides the following standards related to access/vista points:

Specific standards concerning the access/vista points are difficult to generalize due to the considerable variation among these facilities. The following standards that apply to these facilities are more concerned with public safety and reducing potential impacts on adjacent properties and the bluffs.

• Landscaping shall utilize ground cover and drought-resistant plants to minimize the possibility of over-watering.
• Appropriate signage (with careful consideration given to color and material) should identify the facility as a public access or vista point.
• Benches or picnic tables and trash cans should be provided at all facilities.
• A barrier should be constructed at all facilities that will be effective in preventing small children from falling from the bluffs.
• Use of facilities near residences should be restricted to minimize noise and other impacts on those residences.

Please note in Goal 5 that the City “will designate various beach areas for high, medium and low intensity levels of use based upon the characteristics of the beach resource and support facilities, and character of adjacent neighborhood”. The sole City operated park or beach area designated as High Intensity is Moonlight Beach Park. The Medium Intensity Use level includes four “access points” including Swami’s Park which is bordered on the immediate south by single family homes and on the north by the grounds of the Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF). The SRF grounds include housing for monastics, retreat facilities that are used by SRF members from around the world and the meditation gardens that are used by hundreds of Encinitas residents and visitors on a daily basis. Encinitas residents and visitors to Encinitas visit the meditation gardens in order to experience the peace that is achieved after spending moments in the reflective environment.
The standards for “…access/vista points are more concerned with public safety and reducing potential impacts on adjacent properties and the bluffs.” Among the standards that authorization of a special event would need to be consistent with is the standard requiring that the “use of facilities near residences should be restricted to minimize noise and other impact on those residences”. With consideration given to the proximity of the adjacent single family homes to the south of Swami’s Park and the nature of the use of the SRF grounds to the north of the park, any use that would promote an organized concentration of users and noise generation more intense than would exist during the normal use of the park would not be consistent with the General Plan standards.

II. A Guide to Encinitas Parks, Beaches, Trails & Recreation Areas
The guide to Encinitas parks, beaches, trails and recreation areas can be obtained from the Parks and Recreation Department and from the web site of the department. The guide is a map showing the location, hours of operation and rules of use for parks, beaches, trails and recreation area. Pertaining specifically to Swami’s Beach, the guide indicates that the facilities include an area for picnics, phones and restrooms. Parking and surfing are other features at the site. At Moonlight Beach, which again is shown in the General Plan as a High Intensity Use site, there are handicap facilities, play areas, picnic areas, restrooms, phones, volleyball and tennis. Moonlight Beach can, as shown on the guide, be reserved for special events. Given the limited facilities at Swami’s, the small amount of parking compared to the parking available at Moonlight Beach, and the fact that Swami’s has not been an access point or beach area that could be used for special events historically, the change to allow special events could result in additional impacts to the surrounding uses and the users of the access point and beach area that have been able to access the beach and surf on a daily basis as weather permits.

III. City Policy PR A005: Recreation Facility Use
City Policy PR A005: Recreation Facility Use was the city policy that offered guidelines for the use of city recreation facilities such as city parks and beaches. This policy, in addition to specifying procedures for obtaining reservations and uses of parks, beaches and overlooks, listed the facilities that can be reserved and the uses that could take place at the facilities. Neither Swami’s nor other access points were listed in this policy, thus the access points could not be reserved for a special event. There were several viewpoints that were listed, but the uses permitted at those sites were restricted to smaller weddings and other similar gatherings.

Policy PR A005 was replaced by the present City of Encinitas policy effective January 1, 2006, which requires a Special Event Permit for all facilities eligible for a special event permit when used by a group.


IV. Special Event Permit

The following information is copied from the front two pages of the Special Event Permit application and briefly outlines the conditions when a Special Event Permit is required:

A Special Event permit is required for use of public recreational facilities if ANY of the following conditions apply:
Celebrations, festivals, fairs or similar events that have a significant impact on normal use of public or private property
Disruptions to the normal flow of traffic or access to public property
Use of live or amplified music and/or a stage
Utilization of booths and vendors
Greater than 500 expected attendees
Any organized or competitive aquatic event (i.e. surf contests, swim contests, kayak competitions or similar events)

The following conditions apply to use of park and beach facilities as a Special Event venue:
Limit one special event per day
Facilities are reservable from 8am to 10pm
90-day advance notice and permit review required
“Jumpers” or other inflatable play equipment not permitted
Generators are not permitted
Full cost recovery to be determined during the permit review process
(restroom cleaning, trash, Lifeguards, Sheriff’s, etc.)
Reservations available up to six months in advance
Proposed events for usage of Moonlight Beach during the peak summer months (Memorial Day through Labor Day) must have City Council approval
Pollution prevention may be required
A separate permit from the Encinitas Fire Department may be required. See Fire Prevention section on Checklist for more information.

SPECIAL CEREMONIES
A Special Ceremony Permit is available for use of Moonlight Beach Overlook (at C Street), J Street Viewpoint or Encinitas Viewpoint Park. Moonlight Beach is not available as a Special Ceremony venue. Special Ceremonies include weddings, memorials and other ceremonies as approved by the Parks and Recreation Department. The following conditions apply to use of these facilities for Special Ceremonies:
Available first and third Saturday of the month throughout the year only (Holiday weekends excluded)
One ceremony per day
Available in a three hour block
Facilities are reservable from 8am to 10pm
90-day advanced notice and permit review required
Maximum number of participants 50-75 (dependent on location)
Reservations available up to six months in advance only

NOTE: AS THESE ARE PUBLIC FACILITIES, A SPECIAL EVENT OR SPECIAL CEREMONY PERMIT DOES NOT GUARANTEE THE EXCLUSIVE USE OF A PARTICULAR AREA OR CONDITION OF THE FACILITY. PERMIT ONLY AUTHORIZES A LEGAL GATHERING AT THE FACILITY.

Special Events may be subject to City Council approval. Notification will be made upon permit approval and can take up to 90 DAYS. PLEASE PLAN ACCORDINGLY.

When determining whether Swami’s would be a site that could be used with issuance of a Special Event Permit, the City of Encinitas should consider several factors that are unique to Swami’s, including, but necessarily limited to: limited room for exhibits given the limited parking area available, all of the parking lot should be used for parking and emergency access; access to the beach is via a single, steep stairway which may limit emergency response; the popularity of surfing at Swami’s could result in conflicts given that the Special Event Permit does not grant exclusive use of the parking area, access or beach.


V. Encinitas Municipal Code
Encinitas Municipal Code Section 30.46.035c provides that a Coastal Development Permit may be required for a temporary use by the Director of Planning and Building under specified conditions:

C. The Director may determine that a temporary use shall be subject to coastal development permit issuance, even if the criteria for exemption under paragraph A or B of this Section are met, if the Director determines that unique or changing circumstances exist relative to a particular temporary use that have the potential for significant adverse impacts on coastal resources. Such circumstances may include the following:

1. The event, either individually or together with temporary uses scheduled before or after the particular use, precludes the general public from use of a public recreational area for a significant period of time;

2. The event and its associated activities or access requirements will either directly or indirectly impact environmentally sensitive habitat areas, rare or endangered species, significant scenic resources, or other coastal resources;

3. The event is scheduled between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day and would restrict public use of roadways or parking areas or otherwise significantly impact public use or access to coastal waters;

4. The event has historically required a coastal development permit to address and monitor associated impacts to coastal resources.

Should the director determine that a Coastal Development Permit is required under the conditions cited above, the applicant for the project will need to consider the necessary time for processing of the Coastal Development Permit and the potential of an appeal or appeals, including the potential of an appeal to the State Coastal Commission. Items 1 and 2 in Section 30.46.035c could potentially be a reason to require a Coastal Development Permit for a Special Event at Swami’s given the limited access, limited beach area, limited parking and limited coastal resources should the special event seek to use the beach for structures or otherwise limit public access.

Staff should consider review of Encinitas Municipal Code Chapter 23.06 to ascertain whether the discretionary Special Event Permit is subject to a Citizen Participation Plan. Given the Zoning Code definition for development, it appears that a Special Event Permit activity may require a Citizen Participation Plan given that the special event is an extension of the use of the land beyond the normally recognized use and the impacts, even though temporary in duration, could be significant upon the surrounding neighborhood and the general public, especially related to potential traffic impacts, noise and limited use of the site of the special event.

“DEVELOPMENT shall mean the division of a parcel of land into two or more parcels; the construction, reconstruction, conversion, structural alteration, relocation, or enlargement of any structure; any mining, excavation, landfill, or land disturbance, and any use or extension of the use of land.”

23.06.020 Applicability
A. Every application for development or construction that requires a discretionary permit or administrative review shall include a citizen participation plan that must be implemented prior to the first public hearing or notice of public review and comment period on an administrative application. Every City-sponsored capital improvement project shall also include a citizen participation plan that must be implemented before final approval or award of a construction bid.


Conclusion:
This concludes the analysis of City of Encinitas cited documents and their relationship to the evaluation of the potential of special events at Swami’s Park. Based upon the foregoing analysis, there is sufficient reason to find that the consideration of allowing special events at Swami’s Park would result in a conflict with the General Plan and potential conflict among the special event sponsors and the general public. Special events, other than weddings, memorial services and similar uses cannot be held at similar access points or viewpoints. Limited facilities at Swami’s including parking, emergency and regular access via a single stairway and popularity of Swami’s as a daily surfing area would preclude the issuance of a special event permit. The Encinitas Municipal Code contains regulatory language that could result in additional permits and processing time for any special event permit and future applicants and city staff should consider the potential total processing time of any special event permit.


From a previous post: We’re talking about public resources,” Dalager said. “Are we going to have a system of law, or are we going to have little local tribes that decide what everybody can do?”

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Monday, February 22, 2010

Big Giant Metal Thingies



Infrastructure work on the north coast highway 101 Leucadia.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

What are the Rules?

The people of California generally agree that government should not go into debt without approval of the voters. The Encinitas City Council (minus Barth) think otherwise. Some governments get around laws requiring voter approval by using very disingenuous schemes involving "lease-revenue" bonds. Here is a must read tutorial on lease-revenue bonds.

Lease revenue bonds cost more to the taxpayers and the reason our city has issued several lease-revenue bonds is obviously because they don't want to alert the public to what they are doing.

Many in town know that for years I have been pitching the idea of an initiative to require all large bonds be approved by the voters. But, do we already have protections on the books?

City Policy
This week's council agenda included a recommended revision to the city's policies. Here is a link to the agenda item. Please read it for yourself. Help me understand this. Here is an excerpt:
The way I read this, it looks like the city already has a weak policy requiring a vote of the people for bonding over $4 million. The city issued $20 million dollars of lease-revenue bonds in 2001 and 2006, for a park and library (firestations, park construction were also involved). There was no vote of the people for those bonds.

Are the bonds we issued "revenue anticipation notes"? If so, what is the revenue from the library? Twenty million dollars in overdue fines ;)

I can't believe it. When you read the staff report, does it look like staff recommended that this above section of the city's policies be deleted? I must have read this wrong. Did I?

However this sucker is written, Wednesday night should end with the Council adopting a policy that requires the city get voter approval for all debt over $4 million or which extends beyond 10 years.

Thanks Jim

Jim the mailman is retiring.

Jim's extraordinary service was talked about for years, on my block. He cared enough to go the extra step at some point for many of us and he watched out for us. It turns out that Leucadians got the word out along his route that he would be retiring on Tuesday. Leucadians all over the area have posted signs on their mailboxes thanking Jim for his service and wishing him well.
Click to Enlarge

I think it is pretty cool that Leucadians would take the time to publicly thank Jim for being a positive component of our daily lives.

See also: Mailboxes of Leucadia.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Timeline on Planting Trees?

Over in Olivenhain today. Morning Sun Ranch is a subdivision off RSF Road and there are a bunch of stakes along the streets.

These stakes came with notices from the city. The City of Encinitas is apparently going to be planting trees along this residential street.


The residents use to take responsibility for landscaping in front of their houses on this street.

When will Leucadia see stakes in the ground marking imminent tree plantings? What are the next steps toward planting trees on the 101? Alternative 4a has been selected and not having a plan selected was cited as reason for not replanting the canopy. We've got a plan. So, does anyone know the timeline for discussions on what sorts of trees will be planted along the 101?

Below are some images of trees presented at the last workshop.




I've been thinking that planting native oaks along the rail corridor might be a good idea. I'm not going all native here. We should be planting some non-natives. Its just that the local oaks don't get that tall, they have great looking canopies, are strong hardwoods, and they can survive without supplemental water.
Encinitas Dwarf Oak


When can we start planting?

See Also: Little Oaks

101 Art Banners today 2-5 pm


Saturday February 20th, 2010 from 2pm-5pm at Cabo Grill located at 1950 N Coast Highway 101 on the corner of La Costa Ave and Highway 101, the 101 Arts Alive Banners will be unveiled. After the unveiling the Banners will be on display on the lamp posts along Hwy 101 in Downtown Encinitas, Leucadia and the Cardiff Town Center where they will remain until May. On Sunday, May 23rd, 2010 the banners will be auctioned off at the Cardiff Town Center. more info

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Morning Gossip

Can anyone confirm or deny this early report about last night?

Dan and Maggie voted to give themselves 10% raises.

Maggie is posturing to give the city manager a big raise but is looking for some peer pressure. Maggie thinks a quarter million dollars is the right salary for the city manager, if all the other cities are paying that sort of compensation.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Positive Vibes from Otis the Dude

Hello there, I just want to shed some light in a positive way towards
TheWorld Womens Longboard Championships at Swamis


If you went to the City Parks and Rec meeting and Listened to Linda Benson speak, how could anyone be against the Contest?


She has tried to cover all avenues of issues and keep it low key to the locals at Swamis. Linda has dedicated an open time during the days of the events for the locals to surf. There will be a small festival at “K”st for all the spectators to enjoy. There will be a small bleacher set up on top of the parking lot for the spectators. Even a few home owners from Swamis came to the meeting in support of the contest. There will also be a telecast showing the contest from various locations. Linda said, whatever the council wants, she well try and do it. Linda Benson just wants to have this great event that everyone would be happy with. All proceeds will go back to the community, and to non-profit groups. See list.

Imagine how it will help the Women Surfers in the USA. Think of how it will benefit the local business of downtown Encinitas. This contest will help the local Surf Industry, and Women surfing around the world.

Look at how Surf Contests have helped the sport of Surfing. Take a look at all the past World Champions; Linda was one of them!

It is not the first surf contest at Swamis. There have been many. There was only one very large event in 1967, it was a “World Pro Open”. As Steve Aneer said at the meeting, “it was a big hit and everyone loved it”. There were several Swamis Surf Club members surfing in it as well.

This event is 4-days long, and not full days (finished by 4:00), again allowing for locals to surf if they desire. It is in early October, not during the peak swell time.

2

Why are some of our Swamis members saying things like, “it’s going to be a traffic nightmare”? Traffic? Haven't they seen the Street fair? Some say to have the event at Cardiff, or anywhere else. What does that mean, they don't care about these issues at the other venues? You just deal with it, and make other arrangements, just like she has.

Haven't they seen the crowd in and out of the water at Swamis on a large swell day? They haven't seen a World contest before? There are only 4-person heats, therefore, the environmental impact is 100's of times less!

I have surfed in contests most of my surfing life, and I have a bit of insight on how they work, and how they benefit the community.

What are most of these people taking about? It is selfishness, and they are worried about more contests at Swamis. This is the issue that everyone should be looking into, not to punish the Professional Women Surfers.

There are several “class A” surf spots that professional surfers have made famous. They have surf contests at these places, and they are controlled by the type of event, what the cause is, and the donations, non-profit and etc. These places are all limited to how many contests they can have a year as well. Malibu has Four, Trestles has three, Churches has three, Steamer Lane has three, Cardiff Reef has two, Doheny has three and the list goes on. The city can enforce the code for a limit on events, at any spot, which meets the criteria. The Noosa Australia Contest is about a week long, and is next to Noosa National Park . This spot breaks similar to Malibu, a right point break. This contest makes so much money for the city that the city council gives the Noosa Surf Club (who runs the event) $10,000! The city, the surf industry, and the local business make money, and it’s a fun good time event for all.


3

As Gary Baum spoke at the general club meeting and stated that the original Swamis Club was in favor of having events at Swamis (just like all other clubs do). Our club travels to other events to surf in; two Malibu events year, one at Doheny, one at Churches, Noosa, Steamer Lane, Windansea, and so on. These events have been this way for years, and it seems to be no worries!

Have you ever surfed Swamis? The answer maybe “yes”, and if it is “no”, I’m sure it’s because of what happens out in the water. There is so much screaming, yelling, and fighting, there are collisions, etc. There are people taking off all over the place, and not caring about anything but themselves! Are these some of the same people against the event? Bet you are right.

So, lets stop being Selfish, and have this great event, and enjoy it!

Otis


Fact Check: Nothing is promised for charities. Benson said that if there was any extra money it would go to charity.


Burning Question: Will Otis be working any of the Swamis contests?

...

Parks and Rec Commission Wants Benson Contest


The sub-committee's report was to decide whether or not this contest was a feasible idea for the city. They felt that it is and that this contest would be a good thing for the city with a 6-1 vote.

Also, the whole P&R commission voted to put the permit process through to the city council with a 5-2 vote.

So the P&R comm. thinks that this contest is a good thing for the city on many different levels, now the city council is going to make the final decision.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

UT Covers Pay Raises

UT Council to consider 10% pay raise.

The Council is up for a 10% raise, suggested by Cotton.

The council also will consider giving Cotton an 11 percent raise, which would bring his compensation, including wages and deferred compensation, to $242,640. His last raise was in May 2007.

Councilman Jerome Stocks, who proposed the raise, said it would recognize Cotton’s performance with an increase comparable to the raises for employee groups such as firefighters.


Either the UT, Stocks, or the ETA goofed, because the ETA reported that the firefighters did not take a raise this year.

See more comments at the UT site.

The council will vote on the raises Wednesday night at City Hall. 6pm.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Northern California Surf Contest Goes Amuck



On Saturday a surf contest was held in Half Moon Bay, California. Things did not go well for the spectators. Watch the video on CNN.com
Photos from the Associated Press
Three people were hospitalized with broken bones. I wonder if they have lawyered up yet?

In this video people on the bluff clap and cheer as small children are separated from their parents and swept into rocks and debris.

Valentine's Day in Encinitas

Most of the country is buried in snow. Feel guilty?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Haiti Action

Dear Luv Thing Friends,

Please join us for a night of sharing and giving love to the children of Haiti.

February 19th, 2010 seven o'clock p.m.

It's a Luv Thing

466 North Coast Hwy 101 Encinitas, CA 92024

Enjoy delicious eats from your local faves, drinks, DJ & live entertainment

$50 per person, seating is limited and this event will sell out. RSVP by responding to this email with your phone number, and we will call you back to get your credit card information. Or purchase online this week at www.leucadiasendsluv.com

All proceeds benefit the children of Haiti through "Kids for Peace"

Thanks in advance for sharing the luv!

xoxox

The Luv Thing Crew

(760) 632 8013


Don't forget to purchase your Valentine Tee or Tank for just $22 all proceeds to benefit the children of Haiti

Water Protest Flyer


click image for large view and to print out at home.
signonsandiego.com: Taxpayers group protests water fee hike

Friday, February 12, 2010

City Manager Still Underpaid

This Wednesday, the City Manager of the City of Encinitas will probably get a raise.

Stocks is recommending a 11% base salary increase and a 1% compensation increase. This would bring the City Manager's total salary package to $242,640. Barth's recommendation is for no increase in base salary or other compensation. Some of Cotton's salary is charged to the San Dieguito Water District.


See Also: Jerome Gets a Rose from the LB

Send Protest

email forwarded to the LB:

Friends,

I am writing to urge you to protest the planned water rate increase for San Dieguito Water District (SDWD). You can do that by filling out the attached protest form and mailing it to the Encinitas Taxpayers Association so that it gets there by February 24.

The problem with the rate increase, as I see it, is twofold. First, the City is shifting some of its expenses to the SDWD, which results in higher rates. Second, the SDWD gives developers, businesses and the City a discount on rates. This results in higher rates to homeowners.

To prove my point, compare the proposed SDWD rates with the rates charged by the Olivenhain Municipal Water District's (OMWD). (The proposed SDWD and existing OMWD rates are in the attachments.) The SDWD serves Western Encinitas. The OMWD serves Eastern Encinitas. [OMWD uses more imported water than SDWD, and imported water is more expensive.] But, the proposed SDWD rate for homeowners is more than 50% higher than the OMWD rate. The differential is even greater in a drought, like the one we are in now.

Notably, unlike the SDWD, the OMWD charges higher rates for construction, and does not give a lower rate to the City or businesses.

I cannot think of a single good reason why the SDWD would or should give lower rates to developers, businesses and the City. By giving discounts to developers, businesses and the City, the SDWD has to charge homeowners more. The rate study that the SDWD paid for does not mention these discounts, or explain why homeowners have to pay more.

The reason the SDWD gives the City a break is that the SDWD is run by the City Council. The OMWD has its own board. Because the City Council runs the City and the SDWD, the Council can push City costs over to the SDWD, and give the City a break on water rates. Recall the City Council has tried, unsuccessfully, to raise taxes three times in the last five years or so. The City Council can raise the water rates without a vote. This water rate increase is a disguised tax increase.

Again, please protest this increase. I have.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Dog Issue Not Going Away: "Kiddos Downstream"

Press release sent to the Lecuadia Blog.

ENCINITAS CITY COUNCIL FAILS TO STOP POLLUTION OF SCHOOL PLAYGROUND FROM DOG PARK

City Officials Violate Storm Water Ordinances and Clean Water Act Allowing Pollution From Orpheus Park To Runoff Into Paul Ecke Elementary School Playground.

Concerned community members to hold press conference at Orpheus Park, 482 Orpheus Avenue, Encinitas, CA 92024
Wednesday, February 10 at 8 a.m.

ENCINITAS-After voting to expand hours for off-leash dogs at Orpheus Park, the City Council and city staff continue to ignore the overwhelming evidence that it violated its own policies in doing so and is causing harm to school children at the nearby Paul Ecke Elementary School.

The City’s Storm Water Management Ordinance and the Federal Clean Water Act are being violated by the City itself.

The pollution caused by expanding off-leash dogs at Orpheus Park is documented in several photographs and videos accessible on YouTube:





In part, the ordinance reads:

“(B) Eliminating pollutants in Storm Water to the Maximum Extent Practicable, including pollutants from both point and non-point sources; (C) Prohibiting activities which cause, or contribute to, exceedance of state and federal Receiving Water quality objectives. (D) Protecting Watercources from disturbance and pollution.”

The ordinance defines a pollutant as... “animal waste…fecal coliform, fecal streptococcus, and enterococcus bacteria and other pathogens that pose a threat to human health…”


Clearly, the presence of dog urine and feces, as documented in the videos cited above meet the definitions in the city’s own Storm Water Management Ordinance.

By approving expanded off-leash hours for dogs at Orpheus Park, the city has exacerbated an existing problem. The runoff from the park leads directly into the playground area at neighboring Paul Ecke Elementary School.

The potential harm caused to children by the pollutants is of great concern to parents and school officials.

Despite numerous complaints to the City Council and Parks and Recreation Department by community members who live around Orpheus Park and whose children attend Paul Ecke Elementary, nothing has been done to rectify the problem, or even acknowledge that it exists.

However, the City Council is prepared to expand off-leash hours at Hawk View Park and Glen Park in Cardiff during its meeting tomorrow, February 10 at 6p.m.

Without further discussion on the environmental impacts of pollutants caused by increased off-leash dog activity at Orpheus Park, the council is proceeding in an irresponsible manner, violating its own ordinances.

Orpheus Park is the most heavily use Dog Park in North San Diego County and has been in operation for over 14 years. The recent expansion of hours has tripled the amount of hours for off-leash dog use.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

SDWD Scholarship Essay

Most people are unaware that SDWD ratepayers fund scholarships. This was posted to the ETA blog:

Here is the scholarship paper that my daughter drafted that was later thrown in the trash can by Phil Cotton.(2nd hand knowledge)

Special Districts

Today in California there are approximately 3,400 special districts. Each has a separate identity for their own specific interest. Each special district provides a variety of services from water distribution to fire protection. A board of directors governs each district. A special district can be defined as, “any agency of the state for the local performance of governmental or proprietary functions within limited boundaries.”

I believe the biggest benefit of special districts are the ability to serve specific needs of a community that might not be the needs of an adjacent community or a special district can fulfill the needs of several communities which might form to become one special district. The case in point is the San Dieguito Water District, which serves potable and recycled water to approximately 37,000 residents in Encinitas, Leucadia, and Cardiff by the Sea. These are three very different communities with the same need for a safe, reliable water supply for domestic, agriculture and industrial purposes.
There are two different types of special districts; dependent or independent. A dependent district is one in which either a city council or county board of supervisors directly controls the district. An independent special district is one in which the governing body is either directly elected by the voters or appointed for a fixed term of service, often by a board of supervisors. The San Dieguito Water District would be considered a dependent special district. Currently the board of directors for the San Dieguito Water District are members of the city council. Christy Guerin is the President and James Bond is the Vice-President.

For example, the San Dieguito Water district was independent before the incorporation with the City of Encinitas in 1986. Now that it is dependent, the City is the water board and ultimately the city council is the governing board that is suppose to look out for the best interest of the San Dieguito Water District and the customers they serve. The San Dieguito Water district was located on a property overlooking a 180 degree ocean view at 59 East D Street in Encinitas. This property was identified by the city as a location for a future library.

This property was sold below market value back to the city to accommodate a city library, when in fact this property could have been sold at a higher value and the income put directly into the coffers of the water district for future considerations, in turn keeping the cost of water down, maintaining a system, purchasing equipment and so on.


The original concept of incorporation seems in theory a positive step until you look deeper into the fact the interest is not in the water district, but in the construction of a library. Politics of building a mulit-million dollar library have taken precedence over the maintenance and delivery of safe drinking water. Currently the Water District now shares a property in Encinitas with the City of Encinitas street department. The two entities are now being combined to form part of a public works department, which operate out of one other satellite yard, which is, located next the human society on Requeza Avenue in Encinitas. The yard has been in a state of flux due to a long list of reasons not to construct a permanent yard that does not conflict with other city projects.

The San Dieguito Water District is reliant on not only its own budget but influenced by the budget constraints and citywide issues relating to City of Encinitas. The San Dieguito Water District is a non-profit organization, which receives revenue through the delivery of potable water. The City of Encinitas is reliant on sales tax, permitting fees and other related financing separate from the water district. Funds earmarked for the San Dieguito Water District projects ultimately have to be weighed in with the city council, which may or may not be in the best interest of the water district but may be in the best interest of the City of Encinitas. I have found there are times when there is a conflict of interest between the City of Encinitas and San Dieguito Water District, a difference created because SDWD is no longer an independent district. Prior to incorporation, the San Dieguito Water District was independent, and had its own budget concerns, which dealt with water related issues specifically.

Recently, the city council that governs the San Dieguito Water District had a priority session for all city projects. At this meeting it was decided in the order of importance that construction, renovation and expansion of the fire department was the first priority. Borrowing money from other city projects to begin the construction of a library, which has come in over budget, due to the rising cost of building materials, was the second priority and the construction of a public works yard, was third. Even though the San Dieguito Water District is renting space on a vacant schoolyard, which is due to expire this summer, they have no dedicated property that has been identified specific to the needs of the San Dieguito Water District, and the City of Encinitas Street Maintenance Division.

My conclusion is that the methodology of an independent district is run more efficiently with the best interest of their customers because of the dynamics and sometimes politics between dependent versus independent districts.

Blogger's note: By comparing the costs of the Cardiff Sanitation District, run by the city, and the LWD, which is independent of the city we can see that being run by the City Council does not guarantee cheaper rates.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Core Leucadian


Former Mayor Cameron has a legacy of enormous civic involvement. Unlike many former Council Members she remains active in the community, and not just in her pet projects. I think that says a lot about her original motivations behind running for office. She even has the Leucadia sidewalk stamp in her front yard. That sure says a lot about how she feels about Leucadia.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Encinitas Dog Blog


Dogs have been a hot topic on this blog lately. Now there is a blog dedicated to sorting out dog related issues in Encinitas, the Encinitas Dog Blog.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Council Guide 2010

One year ago the Leucadia Blog released its 2009 city council guide (check it out here), which provides a sharp introduction to the council. To understand the dynamics of our city you have to understand the individual characters.

We've been thinking about doing an update and this time we're looking for the followers of the the LB to formulate a retread or a full blown update to the council guide. A lot has happened in the last year.

One thing I've been wondering about is why people vote for our council members? I still don't understand how people could vote for both Jerome and Maggie on the same ballot? I couldn't image any of Maggie's campaign workers walking the streets for both Jerome and Maggie. No way, and vice versa, no way (Although, I'm not sure Jerome has a crew of people walking the streets for his candidacy).

Over at one of my favorite blogs a recent post really started me thinking about the reasons people vote for candidates. Here is an excerpt:

As a political scientist, it's always good for me to be reminded that party ID and the economy aren't the only things out there. Nugent's discussion also reminded me of the distinction between voting for someone whom you think they agree with you on most issues, and voting for someone whom you think will make good decisions. Two different ideas of representation.

On the other hand, the so-called fundamentals must strongly interact with attitudes on other issues. If you're already inclined not to support a candidate, there are often lots of reasons to vote against him or her. And, in a campaign, these issues are often evaluated comparatively. For example, maybe one reason it was hard for the corruption claim to stick to Barack Obama's (regarding his Chicago mansion), given that John McCain owned seven or so big houses himself. Another example that comes to mind is the battle-of-the-infidelity-rumors during the 1992 presidential election.

Which council members are getting votes because the voters think they agree with them on most issues? Which are getting votes because the voters think they make good decisions? Which are getting votes because they have name recognition?

Anon Desal Comment

Posted comment, off topic

Sorry to switch topics but someone needs to talk about the hearing next week on the desal plant in Carlsbad. We are on the 99 yard line to getting a reliable water source that can provide about 9% of the water needs of San Diego County (water will not be available outside North Couny but the math still works).

Surfrider Foundation will be there to make their last ditch effort to stop the progress. They say a few fish might get sucked into the intake every year. I guess they dont fish or eat fish because I know that I suck A few fish into my intake each year (I'll bet they do too but dont like that analogy).

If you care about a dependable source of water to our area and you belong to the Surfrider Foundation like I did. Call them and let them know how you feel.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Passive Aggressive Poodles

I swear I'm not making this up and I'm not looking for trouble. This stuff really happened.

So I'm home all week and keeping my eye out for Orpheus Park activity... and there's plenty. Monday, I walk my son to school and encounter just the usual obstacle course of dog waste. Around 10 am, I see a maintenance crew doing the twice weekly clean up: blow the walkways, pick up dog poop and change the trash cans, and for the first time in a long time they raked the sand! That's it, they are out of there in 30 minutes flat.

I decide to sit and watch them do their work and read the paper. I want to see what they are really doing. While they are working, about 4 toddlers are in the sand playing, 3 dogs are running free (it is NOT off leash time), someone is throwing a ball to one. As two workers are raking the sand the dogs are running through the freshly raked sand. No control by the owners. To protect the children I tell one of the owners that it is not leash free time. She tells me to "get a life." That seems to be a common reply from the dog people. I took some photos of the activity, check it out.
I then started thinking to myself... This IS my life!

Later in the day, 2:15pm, My younger son and I walk down to pick my oldest boy from school. We always stop at the park for a break from walking up the hill. Usually we see the neighborhood boys hanging out with their moms. It's about 2:35pm and today we have a football and we're throwing it around. Seven boys, 4 to 9 years of age, 3 moms, myself and my wife who joined us at about 2:45pm. So the football rolls in to the freshly raked sand area. You'd think the sand would be a safe place to step into, right? NOT. The boy chasing the ball steps right into a giant steamer.

Right at 2:50 pm on the nose, we are invaded or swarmed by 6-7 leash-free dogs. Out of the corner of my eye I see a dog rummaging through my son's left over lunch... It's gone. Then I observe a GIANT Great Dane running down hill straight for my 5 year old. I yell to my wife to grab him. Needless to say Myles is scared. All of the moms and boys pack up and leave. The Great Dane won't leave us alone.


Later that evening around 5pm, I walk out my front gate to get my mail and find that I can't get out because it's blocked by a vehicle (AGAIN!) I have to climb around the car and walk through my bushes to get out only to find that my mailbox is blocked also. No mail today. The mailman told me yesterday he was unable to open the mailbox and unable to knock on my door to hand it to me. I leave a note on the window of the offending cars and ask of them to be respectful of the neighborhood and not block our access to our walkway and mailbox... The notes end up discarded in our flower bed.
What a day! Thank god it's night, and I don't have to worry about being bothered by dogs... Oh that's right, dogs can hang out at night til' 8 and they were barking continuously up until 8:15.

Waking this morning, Tuesday 2/2, we were running a little late and made it through the obsticle course in record time, dodging at least a dozen poops in our path. One of our neighbors was there with his dog picking up everyone else's leftover poop. Nice guy.

About 9:15, I see the maintenance crew there again... Two days in a row? That's unusual. Today they are mowing the dormant burmmuda grass that hasn't grown an inch since October. So, they're going through the motions, someone is raking leaves, one of them is weed-wacking and the other is on a ride mower. I'm with my youngest son on the back of my bike, and we are on our way to the preschool. We stop and watch as the weed wacker is moving along the sidewalk. I see a giant shit that I noticed earlier about 5 feet in from the sidewalk. He passes it, then here comes the ride mower right at it. The mower blades roll right over it atomizing it... It's gone, where it is know one knows. On my way home from preschool I find one of the workers blowdrying the dog urine.

Later in the day, I see a work crew right in front of the park. Three guys are holding shovels, one guy is working and another guy who was doing a lot of pointing. Must be the supervisor. They are moving the dog hour sign from its old location to front row and center for everyone to see. It's really really beautiful. Not as nice as the Orpheus Park Theme sign, but we are not talking about a nice neighborhood park here anyways. They also added an additional sign at the bottom of the hill near the school. Now that those new signs are there I'm sure people will follow the rules. How much did that cost the taxpayer? Chris Hazeltine's knee jerk management at work again. Remember in his report to the City Council expanding the hours was only going to cost $3000 to replace the signs at three parks. Now they added a new sign and relocated an existing one.
The remainder of the day was rather uneventful with just the usual dozens of off leash dogs running through the park. Remember, it's TUESDAY. There are no off leash hours on Tuesday, right? Just read the expensive new signs.

I saved the best for last: a big SHIT in my entry way this morning! I might be a little paranoid, but it looks like someone placed it there. Something definitely stinks here.

This is a day in the life of someone that lives near dog park.

Steve Mieche

[Edited for brevity]

More Dog Parks

Comment about the Poop Patrol Video:

I was struck by in this fascinating video how empty the park was when Mister "Nimby" was "documenting" the doggie destruction.

The fact is the Park is full of life, activity and good will when people and their dogs are able to recreate at the site, which by the way still has quite limited off-leash hours. The park is used by animal lovers because there is a great need for places to take our dogs.
The dog poop IS disgusting, and we need to make a better effort to clean it up. It's also disgusting how much trash I find (and pick up) whenever I go to the beach.

By having more areas around the city where people can take their dogs locally, it will cut down on the overuse of Orpheus, so he is making a BIG mistake discouraging off-leash hours at other parks around town.

Anon Park User

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Free the Water District


From the Encinitas Taxpayer Association- For the first time, the Encinitas Taxpayers Association (ETA) is asking San Dieguito Water District (SDWD) customers to protest the SDWD’s proposed water rate increases. The City Council plans on counting anyone who does not respond as voting yes on the increase.

Download a protest form here.

The proposed rate increase for a typical water user will be 14% in March and automatically followed by another 13% increase next January. This results in an 85% increase since 2005. The SDWD has raised rates 4 times and 44% during the previous 4 years.

The SDWD has done well financially. The SDWD has been able to issue a 15% pay raise to SDWD staff over 2008-2012. The SDWD had $1.35 million sitting in its rate stabilization fund last summer, when the SDWD budget was adopted. This is a good time to lean heavily on that fund.

FREEING THE DISTRICT
The ETA is also organizing an initiative to open up the SDWD board to non-councilmembers. The Encinitas City Council now governs the SDWD. The ETA recommends the SDWD’s governing board be opened up to independently elected officials who have no conflicts of interest. This is critical during negotiations between the SDWD and the City. The City and SDWD enter into many financial agreements and the current ratepayer safeguards are inadequate.

We can trust the current council won't b.s. the public again or raid the water district, but you never know who is going to get elected in the future. The ETA has identified a number of vulnerabilities.

The SDWD claims the rate increases are necessary because of the increased costs of imported water and the need for upgrades and retrofitting to the district's infrastructure. The ETA recognizes most of those projects as appearing legitimate. However, the ratepayers could get a better deal.


The ETA is composed of members with diverse perspectives and their reasons for opposing the rate increase are varied. They include:

1. New rate increases should be opposed until the ratepayers have independent representation,
2. Raising rates in the midst of the economic downturn is bad timing,
3. Rate increases for seismic retrofitting should be written so they sunset once the projects are complete,
4. The residential customers of western Encinitas (i.e. SDWD) should no longer subsidize cheap water for the municipal government of Encinitas.

Under Prop 218, if 50%+1 of the SDWD customers disapprove in writing, rate increases will be temporarily blocked. Ratepayers who do not file objections are counted as yes votes for the rate increase.


Ways to Help
1) Sign and mail this protest form,
2) Display a yard sign,
3) Distribute protest postcards on your block,
4) Forward this email.

We will be able to cover the city if people like you share the protest postcards with our neighbors. Request a sign or set of postcards for your neighborhood from eta@encinitastaxpayers.org.