Sunday, May 30, 2010

TACOS!!!

I eat vegetarian 90% of the time but sometimes I get street tacos from
El Torito market on the Hwy 101 in Leucadia.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

More Sand Supplementation




The Encinitas meeting is June 3 at 6. Encinitas city hall.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Love Affair with West Coast Arborists Continues

NCT West Coast Arborists Get a New Contract

[Excerpts]Despite objections from two tree specialists and several tree lovers, Encinitas will continue to do business with West Coast Arborists.

In a 4-1 vote with Councilwoman Teresa Barth opposed, the City Council agreed to award a two-year contract to the company, which has served the city since 2000. The city expects to spend $140,000 on tree maintenance in the coming fiscal year, which begins July 1.

Views varied widely Wednesday night on whether West Coast Arborists has done a good job for the city during its past decade of service. City public works employees said the company's service has been outstanding.

"Their performance in our opinion is superior ... they're very responsive ... we've had nothing but success with this company," said Mark Hosford, city street division superintendent.

note: The Rosemead RFP notices went out to a list of 20 greater LA companies and only two responded with bids, so West Coast won against one other company. None on the list were companies in San Diego. Staff was asked about this and they implied that any company from San Diego could have responded to Rosemead's call. But, Rosemead is over an hour away form here and how could they have guessed that the contract for the City of Encinitas rested on the results of a competition up in LA?

Local tree trimmers made a good argument last night that the city's policies and practices as codified in the way the city pays West Coast Arborists are not optimal for the care of our trees or the taxpayers wallets. The way things are set up the tree trimmers have monetary incentives to do work, regardless if it is truly needed.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sunday, May 23, 2010

City Tree Trimmers to Get New Contract


This week's council agenda: City's tree trimmers to renew their contract with the City of Encinitas.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Shelia Does the City's Homework

Speaking regarding the "Encinitas Ranch Golf Authority's" request to skip a debt repayment to the City, former Council Member Cameron said:



Shelia says what Chris Calkins of Carltas (Ecke's development company) had said on record about the suspension:


See Also: Golf Course's Profits Shared with Private Company

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Golf Course Rumors Put to Rest






















Over the years there were lots of rumors about the golf course and money going from the course going to the Carltas Development Company. Those rumors are put to rest in tonight's city council staff report. Here is an excerpt.




Click to enlarge

Tonight the golf course authority is asking the city to allow the course to skip scheduled sales tax repayments to the city. The "city" says there will be a zero end impact to the city budget. Read the staff report here.

Who runs the golf authority anyways?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Dangerous Streets of Leucadia

Why doesn't this street need infrastructure sprucing for aesthetics and safety as much as the 101?



Watch the video here.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Hall Park: Giving Notice

The Hall park development creeps forward.

From Malory:


The city put this small notice up in areas that are not very visible, but does provide legal posting.
It would seem that a radical change, such as this, that will negatively effect so many property owners any where near the proposed Sports Park, should publicize this proposed change in the general plan more reasonably.
As I recall, since the lighting plan is not available on the City web site, this plan would include a massive lighting program with varied light standards up to 90 feet high, operating possibly till 9pm.

Excerpt from the Hall E.I.R.

ISSUES TO BE RESOLVED

There are various issues regarding the development and design of the Hall Property Community Park

project that need to be resolved by the decision-making body. One issue that requires resolution is

the option to have night lighting of the athletic fields. This is an area of controversy among the

Encinitas community. The use of athletic field lighting is analyzed in this EIR. One project alternative

is the development of the park without the athletic field lighting. The City Council will decide whether

to adopt the project with athletic field lighting. If the project were to be adopted with athletic field

lighting, the City would also be required to approve a General Plan Amendment, Local Coastal Plan

Amendment, and Zoning Amendment to allow the light poles to be installed as they would exceed the

current regulatory height restrictions.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Barth's Statement

Council voted 5-0 to daylight the attorney's review of Barth's complaint. Council went 3-2 against agendizing (Barth & Houlihan for) a discussion on how the council might set up policies/practices/procedures for council members to respond to harassment claims.

Here is Barth's statement:

I welcome the opportunity to now openly and freely discuss the full contents of my complaint of harassment and hostile work environment.

As the media and public will see, my complaint was filed as a city of Encinitas employee based on the city’s “zero tolerance” policy against harassment.

I chose to file an internal complaint because I did NOT want this to be political but rather a sincere attempt to stop the escalation of bullying and possible retaliation against myself, my family or personal property.

It is unfortunate that Councilman Stocks chose to leak the existence of the investigation to the media and made a grandstand show of waving a sealed envelope marked confidential at a recent council meeting.

With the growing epidemic of bullying in our schools and the disturbing deterioration of honest political debate at all levels of government his behavior demeans us all. In these challenging times, honest and civil discussion is what the public expects from their elected officials and it is what they deserve from us.

It was the decision of the city attorney and city manager to seek outside counsel for this investigation. It was the decision of that legal firm to hire an additional investigator, who interviewed me for approximately 2 hours on January 6, 2010.

The first item that should have been addressed was my status as an “employee”. Why it took four months to make that determination is unclear. Because it was determined that I am not an employee further investigation into some, but not all, of my complaints appears to have been unnecessary.


I join Councilman Stocks in shock at the cost of this investigation. I hope that he will join me in calling for a review of the city’s legal service policies, especially as it pertains to the use of outside counsel and to determine if there are any internal efforts at cost containment.

Let me make it clear that I am not naive as to the rough nature of politics. However, it is truly a shame that as a sitting city councilmember, there is no legal recourse within the existing structure to address harassment.

Note: If anyone has a copy or link to the complaint and report please send it to us and we will post it.

Encinitas City Budget

The city held its first budget meeting for the coming fiscal year on April 28. There was a small audience mostly made up of city staff and those who do business with the city. There were only four public speakers. Two, Marshall Weinrab of the Chamber and Steve Aceti of Coastal Coalition, had their hands out asking for more money. The other two, Sheila Cameron and Tony Kranz, made succinct comments about the lack of details in the staff report.
What’s going on? Well, the city is undergoing what it calls a “fiscal realignment plan.” That’s a smoke-and-mirrors term for budget cutting or spending reductions. They say the plan will save $778,000 and will be instead of across-the-board cuts. But cuts are cuts, and reductions are reductions, no matter how they are framed.

Here is the not so good news:
1. The budget will be reduced 9%.
2. Expenditure projections are reduced considerably.
3. No Tier One capital projects are reduced, but none are increased.
4. Rubenstein traffic calming is on hold.
6. Revenue projection is down because recovery is slower than anticipated.
6. No projected increase in sales tax revenue.
7. For property tax a 3% decrease in net taxable value over the last year (1st time in Prop.13 history).

Councilman Stocks was not present at this first budget meeting. He was in Mexico City with SANDAG on a mission dealing with border problems. ¡OlĂ©! Both Councilmen Dan Dalager and James Bond spent a lot of time praising the staff for their outstanding work and justifying the lack of detail in the budget by saying they had spent hours conferring with City Manager Phil Cotton. The public doesn’t have this opportunity, so the public needs to be given details for transparency. For example, there is a technical paragraph in the staff report about changes in staff job classifications, but no explanation of what it means and its effect on the budget.

The elephant in the room that was scarcely mentioned is the financing of the Hall property park. The staff report simply says “No changes.” It is necessary to look in last year’s six-year plan to see that the city is not funding construction through fiscal year 2014-2015. Stocks and Dalager have been painting a rosy picture of the city’s economic status for several years now. They talk about a balanced budget and our high reserve fund. The contingency Reserve Fund is 20% of the operating budget and the Budget Stabilization Fund is 5% of the estimated revenues. This is a good place to be. but they fail to mention that this was accomplished by borrowing $45 million to buy the Hall property and finish the Library. And they never mention that they borrowed the money with Lease Revenue Bonds, so the cost is not counted as “debt” payment, but as a yearly “lease” payment. The money still has to come from somewhere in the budget, as the projects have no revenue stream. This is accounting doubletalk.

Councilwoman Houlihan talked about taking a conservative view, and Councilwoman Barth wanted more detail. This is a fuzzy picture at best. It all needs to be explained to the public better. After all, we pay the bills.

Gerald Sodomka

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Calling all Postcard Arteests!

click image for large view
Get your postcard post marked by May 17th to be in the show. More info at Jollyperm.com

Monday, May 10, 2010

???

UT Barth Files Complaint
Encinitas City Councilwoman Teresa Barth filed a harassment complaint with the city against Councilman Jerome Stocks late last year after he didn’t nominate her for deputy mayor and criticized her in remarks to newspaper reporters on why he didn’t choose her...

Stocks said, “These allegations demonstrate very clearly that Ms. Barth is vindictive, mean-spirited and is unhappy that she didn’t get her way.”

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Professor says, Encinitas needs more benches

At this week's general plan speaker series the topic was smart growth. The SDSU professor's thesis seemed to be that cities should have cool places to hang out and people should hang out at these place. Little things like including benches designed so that you could sit in them comfortably for long periods was one of his recommendations.



From this week's Parade:
More Cities Encourage 'Loitering'
After years of passing laws against loitering, cities from New York to Atlanta to San Francisco are creating new mini-parks and plazas where passersby are encouraged to sit and stay awhile.

According to data from the New York nonprofit Transportation Alternatives, outdoor seating areas boost foot traffic by 20%, leading to 10% more retail sales. Local property values also increase by 7%. In San Francisco, four new pedestrian plazas and five “parklets”—tiny parks made of two or three consecutive parking spaces—will be open this summer, with more to come. Neighborhood businesses and corporate donors are funding the projects; the city will pay for maintenance. The trend is spreading to smaller cities and towns, too. Morristown, N.J., is considering turning a parking lot behind a municipal building into a park, and Tigard, Ore., is adding sidewalks with benches to downtown streets.

Experts warn that the plazas must carefully balance the needs of pedestrians, drivers, and merchants. “They make cities friendlier, but they can choke traffic,” notes Ann Forsyth, a professor at Cornell University. “In most cities, businesses still need parking and visibility to drivers,” says Patrick Phillips of the nonprofit Urban Land Institute. “If you overreact against the car, you can cause problems for retailers.”

Friday, May 07, 2010

Turko on Nantuket


What the heck? Click here to watch two Turko videos that has something for everybody. It's got McPattinson, Patrick Murphy, Turko hacking the story, Turko not naming council members and saying he doesn't know the the name of the owner of the house that is at the center of the story.

Question: Murphy says the rules have changed and now the low income house has to be built much earlier in the build out. Which council members voted for that change?

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Leucadia Star


This one looked like it was concreted into the ground.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

General Plan Party

This weekend was the General Plan Festival. The day was nice and I ended up speaking with a ton of people about the general plan update. The lower level city staff I spoke with are clearly very eager to play a role in helping to secure a good future for Encinitas.

When the crowd was asked where they were from, the dominant majority was from Leucadia. It was enough to make people laugh. Few folks from new Encinitas were present.

Questions were not entertained during the general meeting, but I did ask the city's consultant a few questions about the process. Turns out that he admits to not having read the city's current general plan. Seems like if the purpose is to update the general plan he should become an expert in the current general plan.

One of the curious parts of the meeting was the slide show. Slides were shown to the audience and we were asked to rank our feelings toward what was in the image. Here are a few examples:











People laughed at the last one. What if everyone marks down that they didn't like the statue? I'm still having a hard time figuring out what this data will be used for.

Another Chamber CEO Steps Away


After a tough year that's included a lawsuit and financial troubles, the chief executive officer of the Encinitas Chamber of Commerce is stepping down.
"I'm leaving at the best time for me and I think for the chamber," said Marshall Weinreb, 67, who has been at the helm of the business organization since July 2009. "I can walk out with my head up high."

Monday, May 03, 2010

Another Star is Lost

I hope they don't toss the star in the trash.


Photo: D.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Barth Scooped by Rumored Council Candidate



It is rumored that Kristin Gaspar is running for city council. She was at the general plan festival today but apparently left before the presentations and feedback period, so I didn't get a chance to ask her about RR/Pedestrian policies and if she is running.

Leucadia Nights!

Leucadia Nights is tonight, Saturday May 1st 6-9 pm. Come check out the new dealy at the old grotto.