Sunday, May 30, 2010
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
Thursday, May 27, 2010
[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
Friday, May 21, 2010
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
staff report here.
Who runs the golf authority anyways?
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Saturday, May 15, 2010
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 thecurrent regulatory height restrictions.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
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.
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. ¡Olé! 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.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Monday, May 10, 2010
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
From this week's Parade:
More Cities Encourage 'Loitering'
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
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
Wednesday, May 05, 2010
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.
Monday, May 03, 2010
Saturday, May 01, 2010
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.