Friday, September 30, 2011

Empower Politicians More Than Voters?

Initiative: A process of a participatory democracy that empowers the people to propose legislation and to enact or reject the laws at the polls independent of the lawmaking power of the governing body. The people start it and finish it.

Referendum: A general vote by the electorate on a single legislative question that has been referred to them for a direct decision. Often a response to a government action.

Recall: The right or procedure by which a public official may be removed from a position by a vote of the people prior to the end of the term of office.

What do these guys have to say about it?


Well, listen to Abraham Lincoln. He assailed his opponents because they made "war upon the first principle of popular government, the rights of the people", because they "boldly advocated...the denial to the people of the right to participate in the selection of public officers except the legislative," and because they argued "that large control by the people in government" is the "source of all political evil." Mind you, I am quoting from Lincoln’s words uttered over fifty years ago. They are applicable in letter and in spirit to our opponents today. 

They apply without the change of a word to those critics who assail us because we advocate the initiative and the referendum and, where necessary, the recall, and because we stand for the right of the people to control all their public servants, including the judges when the judges exercise a legislative function.
-- Theodore Roosevelt, February 12, 1913

Clarifying the Lead

Today's Audet editorial in the coast news starts,

Encinitas residents who fear that a City Council super-majority could increase density without a vote of the people packed City Hall during a council meeting to discuss filling the vacant seat held by Maggie Houlihan, who passed away after battling cancer. 
Houlihan was the top vote getter in 2004 and 2008. Whoever fills her seat will cast votes affecting the residents who voted for her. 
In packed chambers, residents told the council that Houlihan’s seat should be filled by a person who will stand up for Houlihan’s positions to protect property rights, preserve community character and heed her warning against a council super-majority that could change zoning without a vote of the people.
 Read more: Coast News Group - Houlihan replacement process has prospect of council super majority

Upzoning is the granting of NEW development rights. The NEW development rights are often subsidized directly and indirectly by the taxpayer, in San Diego County.  Upzoning often results in a huge windfall for land speculators (often campaign contributors), because of the value of changes to lines and colors on a zoning map (rather than innovation and efficient productivity). The subsidies are glossed over and often ignored or twisted in with government sponsored "environmental" advocacy (ie propaganda).


Currently, upzoning can not be done WITHOUT a super-majority vote of the people. Only Barth has gone on record saying that upzoning should go to the vote of the people, implying a super majority council vote has not been enough to ensure good and fair upzoning practices.

List of decaying and devaluing cities and counties that require a vote of the people for upzoning:

Alameda
Burbank
Camarillo
Chino Hills
Danville
Davis
El Dorado County
Escondido
Huntington Beach
Imperial Beach
Livermore
Loma Linda
Malibu
Mission Viejo
Modesto
Monterey
Newport Beach
Oxnard
Palo Alto
Redondo Beach
San Jose
Santa Paula
Sierra Madre
Simi Valley
Solana Beach
Thousand Oaks
Tracy
Ventura
Yorba Linda

See Also: Presidents support empowering the voters.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Weasle Words Leave Encinitas General Plan Flacid

By Jerry Sodomka,

The city of Encinitas has been going through the process of updating its General Plan with a series of public workshops encouraging citizen participation. “This is your General Plan,” we are told. The draft revisions have finally been released. Already there is grumbling, especially about raising density through mixed use and higher height limitations in the El Camino Real corridor.

A perusal of the proposed changes shows a more insidious change which is very unsettling. This is a change in language, and language matters. The word “shall” has been almost completely eliminated and replaced by the word “endorse” in Policies.

Why does this matter? Because “shall” is an important word used in legal documents. It is defined as “an imperative command; has a duty to or is required to; is mandatory.” Court decisions have said the term “shall” is a word of command, and one which has always, or which must be given a compulsory meaning; as denoting obligation. Additionally, “It has the invariable significance of excluding the idea of discretion, and the significance of operating to impose a duty….”

On the other hand, the word “endorse” simply means to express approval or support. It doesn’t carry much weight legally.

The “State of California General Plan Guidelines” publication warns about the danger when writing policies: “A policy is a specific statement that guides decision-making. It indicates a commitment of the local legislative body to a particular course of action…. When writing policies, be aware of the difference between ‘shall’ and ‘should.’ ‘Shall’ indicates an unequivocal directive. ‘Should’ signifies a less rigid directive, to be honored in the absence of compelling or contravening considerations. Use of the word ‘should’ to give the impression of more commitment than actually intended is a common but unacceptable practice. It is better to adopt no policy than to adopt a policy with no backbone.” (Chapter 1, page 15)

The word “endorse” isn’t even mentioned because legally, it is so much weaker as a command. Its use in the General Plan update takes the “backbone” out of our governing document. Or more bluntly, it totally eviscerates it.

Too much discretion is given to policies that citizens will think are fixed, but turn out not to be. With a whim, or even favoritism, a council majority could very easily find a justification to violate the policy.

Additionally the word “is” is frequently replaced with the words “generally is.” This simply means that a policy that is, sometimes isn’t. The Guidelines say, “For a policy to be useful as a guide to action it must be clear and unambiguous.”

What we are getting in the update is ambiguity and fuzziness. It looks intentional. The clincher is that at this time the Planning Director Patrick Murphy and Update Consultant Daniel Iacofano are refusing to supply a draft to the public showing our present General Plan with changes clearly indicated by strikeouts, additions, changes in location, or complete deletions.

All of this looks like it isn’t our General Plan, but somebody else’s. It suggests Cole Porter’s famous song “Anything Goes.” There is stubbornness in the persons controlling the process and their unwillingness to listen to informed citizens.

If we are truly to celebrate this new plan, there “shall” be necessary changes to what we have been given so far. We can endorse these changes, of course, but we have no way to command that they be made. Only the consultant, staff and council can do this. Let it be a real celebration.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Feedback


From the in box:

Gotta love the transparency that was demonstrated on Monday. They didn't want Maggie's video to get the full meeting treatment. Nobody was sure what was going to be on it, so they played it safe, including no TV.

So how to have a meeting to play the video and not really do anything? Make the meeting about creating a subcommittee. Bond's email telegraphed it. Stocks' comment from the dais indicates he knows what the plan is. The newspaper reports show they already know the costs and did their homework. And Bond admitted he talked to Kristin. Meanwhile the city manager lets the game of charades go on, and Teresa went right along with them.

Burning questions: Was it in the public's best interest for the staff to not present the findings of their homework at Monday's meeting? Can a single council person tell the city manager what to keep from a public discussion and staff report? Can a majority do that, behind closed doors?  Probably not. The staff report is the STAFF's report, not the Mayor's report.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

How to fill the vacancy meeting

If you have trouble with the video go here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKOiGS3iN80

The Encinitas Decider

Three hours before last night's meeting, the Mayor sent this out to several constituents who had asked why there would not  be TV coverage of the council meeting. The Mayor also cc'd the rest of the council. That is his all caps.


PLEASE KNOW THAT THE PURPOSE OF TONIGHT’S SPECIAL COUNCIL MEETING IS INTENTIONALLY LIMITED IN SCOPE.  THIS IS BECAUSE IT IS MY HOPE TO APPOINT A COUNCIL SUB-COMMITTEE TO PURSUE A SPECIFIC PURPOSE AND RETURN TO THE FULL COUNCIL WITH A RECOMMENDATION AT OUR NEXT REGULARLY SCHEDULED COUNCIL MEETING OR SOONER IF POSSIBLE.

THE PROPOSED SUBCOMMITTEE PURPOSE IS:

TO DETERMINE A PROPER PATH FORWARD TO FILL THE RECENTLY VACATED COUNCIL POSITION DUE TO THE UNFORTUNATE AND HEARTBREAKING LOSS OF COUNCIL MEMBER MAGGIE HOULIHAN

IN A WAY THAT CONSIDERS ALL OF THE LEGAL REQUIREMENTS AND/OR OPTIONS AVAILABLE TO THE COUNCIL, THE TIME AND COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH EACH, ALONG WITH A RECOMMENDATION TO THE COUNCIL AS TO HOW T0 PROCEED

SO THAT ENCINITAS CONTINUES TO CONDUCT THE PUBLIC’S BUSINESS WITH A FULL COMPLIMENT OF PLEASE KNOW THAT THE PURPOSE OF TONIGHT’S SPECIAL COUNCIL MEETING IS INTENTIONALLY LIMITED IN SCOPE.  THIS IS BECAUSE IT IS MY HOPE TO APPOINT A COUNCIL SUB-COMMITTEE TO PURSUE A SPECIFIC PURPOSE AND RETURN TO THE FULL COUNCIL WITH A RECOMMENDATION AT OUR NEXT REGULARLY SCHEDULED COUNCIL MEETING OR SOONER IF POSSIBLE.

THE PROPOSED SUBCOMMITTEE PURPOSE IS:

TO DETERMINE A PROPER PATH FORWARD TO FILL THE RECENTLY VACATED COUNCIL POSITION DUE TO THE UNFORTUNATE AND HEARTBREAKING LOSS OF COUNCIL MEMBER MAGGIE HOULIHAN

IN A WAY THAT CONSIDERS ALL OF THE LEGAL REQUIREMENTS AND/OR OPTIONS AVAILABLE TO THE COUNCIL, THE TIME AND COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH EACH, ALONG WITH A RECOMMENDATION TO THE COUNCIL AS TO HOW T0 PROCEED

SO THAT ENCINITAS CONTINUES TO CONDUCT THE PUBLIC’S BUSINESS WITH A FULL COMPLIMENT OF COUNCIL MEMBERS.
 
No worries. We got the footage from last night's meeting. There were many interesting cross plots. The video, including Maggie's endorsement will be up tonight. If you want the full raw footage, contact us.

Oh, and the published scope of the agenda was a bit different than what the Mayor decided it would be, 3 hours before the meeting, with consultation with at least one council person.

The published scope was to "discuss" and give "direction to fill vacant seat on City Council." Hum, what happened?



Monday, September 26, 2011

Council Dances Toward Decision

Tonight city hall chambers filled with people riding the wake of Maggie's impact on this city. In the context of figuring out how we would try to fill Maggie's shoes, many people expressed how deeply Maggie had been woven into the heart of our city.  There were many touching comments. They were the kind that would have made Maggie sit up and lean forward with a big grin.

The council decided to have a subcommittee decide how to replace CM Houlihan. The subcommittee will be asking the city attorney what the city's options are and coming back to the full council with that information. Nobody is sure why the city attorney didn't just tell the council what their options were and why the city manager wasn't asked if his staff had reviewed the costs of various options. The city staff could have been prepared and the council should have asked the questions to see if there was a reason to set up a subcommittee, or better yet, just have staff come back in OPEN SESSION with the answers.

Many speakers thought the council would be deliberating whether or not an election should be held or whether an appointment should be made, tonight. Setting up a subcommittee allows for a delay, possible dodging of contentious public deliberation, and lets the majority know which way Barth is going before the recorded discussion occurs.

A video was played of Maggie Houlihan saying that she endorsed Lisa Shaffer as someone who represented her principles. 

I think it was seriously lame that the city held this meeting to set up a subcommittee to ask staff questions that should have been asked tonight. I might be way wrong or at least this is not as obvious as I think, because Gene Chappo made a point to congratulate Mayor Bond on his approach to tonight's decision. Gene, please explain (leucadiablog@gmail.com).







Sunday, September 25, 2011

The General Plan is the Future and it is Just Like the Past

Just like in the aftermath of some recent park developments and specific plan drafts, some members of the public are now searching for evidence that their participation was meaningful.
 
These are excerpts from an email sent to city planning staff in charge of the general plan update by a citizen who has been following the city's instructions on how to participate. From the in box:

Hi Mike [Encinitas Planner],

However, I don't understand how the project which was outlined in the announcement for proposals from 2009, changed so dramatically from what was rolled out on Sept. 1.  Moreover, I couldn't identify a relationship between community volunteers' statements of who we are and where we needed to go, which was supposed to have been the foundation of this process, and the draft plan that has been presented.  Nobody who participated in surveys communicated a need for the types of standards that we have heard about like 5 or 6 story buildings in the mixed use areas--particularly on the scope and scale that has been suggested except for possibly Buddy Boer, the man who spoke at Council on Wednesday and owns the McDonalds that recently burnt.




You spoke of the plan as an iterative process.  As such, I share the concerns expressed by others that we should have the 'red line' version of the plan, in order to make an accurate comparison between the old and the new.  Was a version of this process captured in a project management program or any other way that would demonstrate how and when these changes happened?

LB Note: The city tried to pull a major fast one a few years ago with the Housing Element Update (a section of the general plan). They said they had to do it or face penalties. Well, a lot of citizens mobilized in a short short amount of time and uncovered all sorts of nasties that were embedded "innocently" into the update. Finding those problems were made very difficult by the fact that the city refused to point out what changes had been made to the verbiage and which changes were intended to change the meaning of the document.

That update included a low income zone, which the city refused to map for the public. Instead, the city offered up a list of APN numbers. Please realize that the city spends hundreds of thousands a year on GIS mapping and it would have taken 5 minutes to make the map. Citizens had to generate the maps, which showed the massive extent of the zone. It was just one of many childish tricks that our city was playing in an effort avoid any educated public deliberation of the document. It seemed the city thought it would have been better if the public had remained ignorant.

Unfortunately for them, a half dozen citizens worked hard to inform the public. The public did not like what they saw and filled the council chambers. The city shelved that update at the last minute, perhaps because of the huge public turnout, or perhaps also because several citizens claimed the document contained statements that could be considered as fraudulent.

This draft reminds me a lot of the history of bilingual education in CA.  It certainly sounded like a good idea for how to treat non-English speaking children in school.  When I first read about it, I thought that it sounded like a wonderful program.  In the end, the people for whom it was designed were rejecting it because they said that the program ended up hurting the children when they fell further and further behind their mainstream peers, the longer that their kids participated in the program.  I think that the draft has had the same sort of reception from Encinitas residents who have been told that it came from us.

I just want to end in saying that I do recognize the hard work that was put in, but please provide as complete a set of project management data as you have for me, so that I can make better comments or suggestions about how such a disconnect between what we expected and what we received could have happened.

Signed,
Participating Citizen

LB Note: Anybody know where to find documentation that outlines the considered options and justifications for each of the changes made to the GP? Anybody know where to find documented responses to the public's comments?  We want to put those links up, if they are online.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

How to fill the void?

 There will be a special council meeting on Monday, Sept. 26 at 6pm to discuss the council's options for filling the open council seat.

Here are the rules for filling a vacancy.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

sol on los

LOS ?
by Herb Patterson


New York City Traffic

LOS stands for Level of Service in traffic engineering parlance and is a measurement of the average time during a specific time period it takes to get through an intersection. ADT or Average Daily Trips is a similar term used to describe the capacity of a given roadway over a period of time. Currently we are revising our General Plan's Circulation Element as mandated by the State and necessary to modernize it. Sounds pretty boring and designed just for policy wonks, NIMBYs, and those disdained activists, but the changes proposed in the Circulation element can drastically change our City and your way of life.

The old Circulation Element has policies in place to aim for LOS C {LOS is measured from A[good] to F[worst]} and put up with D or E if there is no other option. The current Circulation Element has a provision that shuts down development around an intersection if the LOS gets too bad. The current element also has a provision that any major change in the designation of a roadway must be voted on [Encinitas currently has four roadway designations plus a freeway designation]. There is a provision that the traffic conditions be periodically evaluated. The current plan has graphs, maps, and pictorial descriptions of each roadway designation, LOS and ADT figures for major roadways, and was done in 39 pages.

The proposed New Circulation Element accepts LOS D as a baseline and allows even worse [the City has been trying to make this change for quite some time], eliminates the vote on street designation changes, the halt of development at severely impacted intersections, and the requirement that periodic traffic evaluations to be done. The new element talks about more than four street designations, but contains no definitions, no LOS maps, no ADT maps, no current or future future traffic figures. The proposed new Element does have nice color pictures and lots of feel good verbiage. It takes 59 pages to present far less real information than the old Element.

The proposed Element is not even a good start, but it does manage to give City Staff total control over traffic conditions with no safeguards what so ever. The new element gives reasons why “exceptions can be made” so that any additional traffic, regardless of how impacted an intersection or street is, can be justified.

This is not conjecture on my part, because what the City Staff are attempting was actually done in at least one instance, even while the old rules were in effect. I am referencing the shoehorning of Walgreen's into the Bank of America center at El Camino Real and Encinitas Blvd. This totally redundant business contributes additional traffic to the second worst problem intersection in Encinitas and forced unwise traffic lane changes and brought about an as yet to be resolved dispute over a center median on Encinitas Blvd. The plans of the property holders on El Camino Real to develop mixed use multi story buildings exceeding the City's thirty foot height limit in the El Camino Real corridor can't be done under the current rules [ the first most impacted intersection -yes, you guessed it – El Camino Real and Leucadia]. So if you can't do what you want under the existing rules, change them !

So why are the Staff determined to worsen our existing traffic ? They need the additional tax money and development fees to keep the bloated City bureaucracy, the overly generous retirement and health packages, the over promised Hall Park, and their own jobs afloat. Let's not forget the influence of the bought and paid for members of the City Council [Stocks and Gaspar] and the election support that candidates will receive from those benefiting from these changes.

So where does that leave you ? Well, you are going to be subsidizing this whole program with travel times, increased gas bills, and additional wear and tear on the infrastructure. If you don't think this is a good idea, let your Council member know.

Just one more thought – are the rest of the parts of the update as bad as this Element ?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

RIP Maggie


Maggie Houlihan has passed away after a five-year battle with cancer.
She will be missed.
more info

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sith Lords and Whiners in Harmony at City Hall

The vision of the city’s five distinct communities was released in draft form and delivered to the City Council Sept. 14, but over a dozen speakers expressed dissatisfaction with the contents of the massive document.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

New Encinitas Network Questioning GP: That's interesting.

Flawed ‘Draft’ of new General Plan 2035 Goes Before Encinitas City Council
  9-14-11
Encinitas City Council Chambers

The First ‘public’ hearing on the newly released ‘draft’ Comprehensive General Plan Update 2035 may be the most important political and financial event in Encinitas since the 1994 vote on Prop K that brought the Ecke Ranch properties into the incorporation with the City of Encinitas.

We believe it is.
 This alert/reminder goes out to 1800 Encinitas business owners and residents this afternoon. Though they did not create it, the Encinitas City Council is responsible to approve the just released ‘draft’; General Plan ‘Update’ Wednesday, the first 'public hearing' is 6:00 pm at Encinitas City Hall. Everyone is invited.

        What does this public hearing mean to you; your family, your life, your business?

We believe this City Council hearing is completely 'about' the future finances of Encinitas; from NOW onto the Year 2035.
                               
New Growth in NEW ENCINITAS

This ‘draft’ plan, in part proposes up to 2,200 multi-family housing units to be located along El Camino Real and Encinitas Boulevard on commercial property. 








The Problem with the new General Plan 2035 'Draft'?
We believe the ‘draft’ plan in it’s current form is flawed and/or incomplete because while it locates this new growth along the two New Encinitas commercial corridors, to date there is no study or analysis on ‘How’ this new concentrated growth will be economically feasible or ‘How’ to realistically handle this burden of over 20,000 additional vehicle trips per day. 

We do not believe this new General Plan process should proceed 'as is' until the locating of new growth on heretofore commercial-only retail centers and corridors is professionally vetted by actual business people, as to it's potentially significant financial and cultural impacts on New Encinitas and the annual income stream for the City of Encinitas annually. To date there is no plan to do so, but there is a calendar for approving the General Plan 2035 without an economic impact analysis. As we all know, traffic in these New Encinitas areas is already a challenge and further degradation of service as the potential and additional 2200 homes will only make it more difficult for customers to reach/visit the shopping centers, businesses or services that currently generate an enormous amount of sales tax revenue that literally underwrites our local government.

These questions have been repeatedly raised by the New Encinitas Network, and it's Commercial Corridor's Focus Group,but have gone unanswered. In many scenarios this plan, as-is could honestly be a sure-fire recipe for diminished values commercially and residentially in the two corridors and certainly residentially in the surrounding affected New Encinitas neighborhoods. Nobody knows but this process goes on.

The City of Encinitas believes that the residents and business owners of NEW ENCINITAS have 'signed-off' and approve of this new general Plan 2035. We believe 99% of you never heard of this plan and certainly would not approve.  .

 

Should you choose to read the elements of the ‘draft’ General Plan 2035 for yourself? Here is a Link:
http://www.encinitas2035.info/Content/10040/DraftGeneralPlanElements.html
Should you choose to express your opinion on any or part of the ‘draft’ General Plan 2035, feel free to contact your elected official.
Mayor: James Bond .......................633-2623
 jbond@CityofEncinitas.org
Deputy Mayor: Jerome Stocks ....633-2622
 jstocks@CityofEncinitas.org
Council Members:
 Teresa Barth ...............................633-2620
 tbarth@CityofEncinitas.org 
Kristin Gaspar.............................633-2624
 kgaspar@CityofEncinitas.org

Feel free to call us with any questions; 760 683-4290

Thank you, to those who have taken the time to read
this invitation; become better informed
and to attend and be counted
or whom contact their elected representatives to register their opinion.

Mike Andreen
Executive Director
NEW ENCINITAS
Business Network

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Kristin Blogs

Gaspar Talks about Kristin D. Gaspar Day

Posted by: Kristin Gaspar on: August 31, 2011

In 2002, Kristin Gaspar started working at Gaspar Physical Therapy as Business Manager and Chief Financial Officer. She obtained this position subsequent to earning a Bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism from Arizona State University. Under Kristin Gaspar’s guidance, Gaspar Physical Therapy expanded to six locations, with the main location in Encinitas. A regular presence in the Encinitas civic culture, Kristin Gaspar has earned many honors from organizations within the city. The following is an interview with Kristin Gaspar about one such accolade.

Q. What can you tell us about Kristin D. Gaspar Day?
A. Two years ago, Encinitas’ mayor Maggie Houlihan declared July 1, 2009, to be “Kristin D. Gaspar Day.” It was an amazing experience.


Q. Why did you receive this recognition?
A. It was granted because of my successes while President of the Encinitas Rotary Club. I held the position from July 1, 2008, until June 30, 2009, and I led under the theme “Make Dreams Real.”

Q. What were some of your accomplishments with the organization?
A. I encouraged many Rotary Club members to volunteer at the San Dieguito Heritage Museum, the Community Resource Center, and other locations throughout Encinitas. Helping others played an important part during my term of service, and I sponsored holiday food drives, educator recognition awards, and a student exchange program. Through my initiatives, the Rotary Club garnered over $130,000 in charitable contributions.

Q. Are you still active in Encinitas?
A. Definitely. The following year, I was elected to the Encinitas City Council, receiving the most votes out of four candidates, including two incumbents. I still hold the seat and look forward to helping Encinitas grow through the coming years.

Creating posts takes time and energy. We've already given credit to Jerome for blogging about super cool stuff. 

The above post says its from Encinitas Council Member Gaspar, interviewing herself. We can't confirm this with her, because she won't respond to email from us.


According to KG's own election biography, Kristin married Paul Gaspar in 2001.
 

Friday, September 09, 2011

Send us reasons to celebrate too

Oceanside Transit Oriented Smart Growth

From the In Box:
There are a number of important items for them to know about but the most important two are 'raising the height limit on buildings' and 'not having limits on how bad traffic can be at an intersection'. 

The new General Plan will be allowing 'Mixed Use', i.e. businesses downstairs and apartments upstairs, at the intersections of I-5 and Santa Fe, I-5 and Encinitas Blvd and along the El Camino corridor.  One of the big questions is how tall should the buildings be allowed to be?  Currently, nothing can be built over 30', which is 3 stories, unless they get special permission, i.e. Scripps Hospital and the performing arts building on the Academy campus.  If they have an extremely good reason, the City will allow 3 or 4 feet. 

At least one of the property holders that will be allowed to add 'residential' to their existing 'commercial' zoning is asking to build up to 5 or 6 stories!   The only specific name I know is the Henry's shopping center but there are others.  Four floors of apartments (10' each) plus one floor of commercial (they require at least 12') would be 52'!  The whole 'Mixed-use' idea presumes that people with cars will be at work while the shops are open (what about Sat & Sun?) and will also use public transportation.  There is no guarantee that there will ever be any more public transportation than we have currently.  It is one of those 'build it and they will come' situations.

The current General Plan does not allow any up-zoning if any of the street intersections will be pushed beyond an 'D' rating for traffic.  'F' is as bad as it gets.  It is being proposed that we scrap that limitation.  The only place this is an issue is along the El Camino corridor, specifically at the Encinitas Blvd/El Camino Real intersection.  The situation is, they want to add 'Mixed Use' to the zoning along the corridor but the Encinitas Blvd/El Camino Real intersection is as big as it can get without moving into private property and they don't want to do that.  The solution they have come up with is to say it's okay to have a really horrible traffic situation there. 

Allowing some of the projects to go from 2 or 3 stories max to 5 or 6 stories would add even more traffic to that corridor and all our other streets.  It will also change the entire feel of Encinitas.  The people living in those apartments will be looking right down into other peoples, previously private, back yards.

What say you?  Attend the meeting and let the City know.  They are getting lots of feedback from the people who will gain by this so if they don't hear from the people who don't like this idea, they don't have any arguments to stop it.

I hope you will come to the meeting and look at the plans for yourself.  MONDAY SEPT 19TH 6 TO 8:30 PM AT COMMUNITY & SENIOR CENTER, 1140 Oakcrest Park Drive (Encinitas Blvd & Balour)

Thursday, September 08, 2011

The End of Sunlight!

Emails have been circulating saying it is time to celebrate. We would like to post reasons to celebrate, so send them to us. So far, we've only got this to share.

From the in box:



The update of the Encinitas constitution, the General Plan, and some accompanying zoning amendments, were released on Sept. 1.

The planning department is celebrating the changes they have made to the General Plan.
The public doesn’t know exactly where all the changes have been made because the Planning Director will not release that information.

A small portion of the changes can be seen reflected in the zoning amendments.

Some of what is known so far:

Residents don’t want mixed use; the Planning Department does and intends to turn major shopping areas in Encinitas into a combination of condos/offices/commercial with parking structures.

The first large area for this change will be El Camino Real. 

A minimum of 1000 dwelling units (condos) plus parking structures will be added to the current shopping area. Planning is also increasing the height of buildings in the new mixed use areas. 

The current General Plan prohibits buildings over 30 feet or two stories. City Planners want 35-40 feet tall buildings. Incidentally, the City Council can add more condos with a General Plan amendment.
Is this how residents see the City of Encinitas in 2035?

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Shady Campaign Group in Trouble

For several election cycles Voter Education Group has been a source of extreme suspicion.



Yesterday the UT reported:
Kinde Durkee was arrested Friday at Durkee and Associates in Burbank and charged with one count of mail fraud, said Lauren Horwood. The arrest was first reported by The Orange County Register.

In 2010, Voter Education Group, a slate-mailer managed by Durkee and Associates, was fined more than $110,000 by the FPPC for various reporting violations. One of the mailers endorsed Encinitas council candidates Kristin Gaspar and Dan Dalager while taking aim at Teresa Barth.

Last year the UT reported (with an empty comments section):

Voter Education Group reported receiving a $5,000 contribution last month from an Encinitas woman named Jane Blair for mailers endorsing Gaspar. Its original Oct. 5 campaign finance statement erroneously identified Jane Blair as a candidate for Encinitas City Council.

Gaspar, CFO of a physical therapy group called Gaspar Doctors of Physical Therapy, said Blair is her former client. Blair also was seen campaigning for Gaspar at an event last month. Blair’s listed numbers were all disconnected and she did not respond to e-mails. 

Read: Follow the Money 2010
Read: It is all legit.
Read: Believe in unicorns.

The negative appearance that is projected by the use of a group like this should give pause to candidates. It hasn't. Some candidates have been extremely proud of the work of Voter Education Group.  We should not be surprised that public policy discussions sometimes appear hollow, manipulated, and even bought. We should not be surprised that our elected leaders spend taxpayer dollars on projects that are shady.

The public should begin supporting candidates who campaign on issues and do so in a manner that is transparent and in the spirit of the law. 

Sunday, September 04, 2011

NCT starts covering Encinitas again


Moonlight Beach Icon Declared Evil (see the great article in the NCTimes Sunday paper).
The city council will be reviewing the invasive plant species program. If adopted as is, does this mean the Canary Island palms at the beach and on 101 are going to eventually get the axe?


Plenty of money to build $5 million dollar pedestrian track crossing.
Why not build cheaper and more frequent at grade crossings? They would be safer than crossing the tracks at Leucadia Blvd! See the LB series on AGCrossings here.

Plenty of money to build $5 million dollar, years late, fire station.
The city borrowed $20 million, in part,  because they needed to hurry up and quickly replace 3 fire stations. It was in the best interest of the taxpayers to remove and rebuild the old stations that the city needed to borrow money right away. That is what the city told the public. That was way back in 2006.

Green Economic Revolution Can Not be Won by Optimism and Taxpayer Subsidies Alone
Solyndra collapsed and 1,000 workers laid off. The current green jobs loan guarantees program is not a good way to use taxpayer money. With the current system there is less need to run a good company or show that you will be competitive if the government backs a half billion dollars of your debt. If you have a good model investors will back you without the government backstop.

It is also a good idea to back the loans of private for-profit desalination companies, which our council isn't fighting against!

Friday, September 02, 2011

Photo contest winner




This  all from lobshots. Click clicky to show your love and give 'em credit.



SAN DIEGO, Calif. (CBS 8) – A two-mile stretch of coastline at Casa Reef in La Jolla was reopened Thursday, following the third confirmed shark sighting along San Diego’s coastline in a week.
The coastline at Casa Reef was shut down, after several people spotted a 12-inch dorsal fin around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday near the Children’s Pool, where a colony of seals live. Just hours later, a group of fishermen discovered a dead baby seal off the Ocean Beach pier with apparent bite marks.
“The only thing that would have done that is something really with big teeth,” said fisherman Jeff O’Connor. “And we figured it’s a shark. And it sure looks like a shark bite.”
The closure at Casa Reef was lifted just before 10 a.m. Thursday because lifeguards, patrolling the area since the early morning, found no evidence of a shark, according to San Diego fire-rescue spokesman Maurice Luque.
In addition to the shark sighting Wednesday in the La Jolla area, another shark was spotted further north in Encinitas and was documented in a picture taken by a News 8 viewer. After receiving the photo taken at Swamis beach, News 8 spoke with a local shark expert who confirmed that the shark in the photo is a 10 to 12 foot great white.
Meanwhile, reports Thursday morning of a 12-inch fin sighting 100 to 200 yards offshore from the 1200 block of Sunset Cliffs Boulevard in the Point Loma-Ocean Beach area turned out to be not credible.
A two-mile stretch off Mission Beach was closed last week, after a lifeguard spotted an 18-inch dorsal fin on Thursday. The same area was closed again Friday when a surfer reported seeing a 14-inch fin.
Shark Week might be over for the rest of the country, but not for SoCal. Couple things about CBS8, thanks for putting a gigantic watermark over the big high res image so nobody else can use, effers. Another thing, thanks for the red circles up there…ya, jackwagons. Now, on to the shark…LobShots has been all over this San Diego shark business since day one. Even giving real time reports from insider sources. Now, I’ve learned my damn lesson with “viewer email” photos of sharks. I was heart broken to find out that the Puerto Rico street shark was a fake. That being said, this could totally be a photoshop job, some clown just feeding the frenzy of shark sightings. I’ve seen some of the comment boards about this shark spotting, and although photoshop is certainly a logical explanation…I would love to punch some of these morons in the neck that think that’s a person, “Ridiculous! Of course it is not a shark! It is just a duck dive. there might be some sharks not too far but this one for sure is a surfer.” And they attached this picture, explaining to the masses what a freaking duck dive is:
TV news just reported that Lifeguards are like 99% sure that is just a guy in fins and a wetsuit duck diving. The surfers around this “shark” said they did not see animal (shark or dolphin)” There is no way in hell that is a duck-diving surfer. Not a chance. If that is human… that’s means you believe this guy was out swimming at Swamis yesterday.
Yesterday, Mac finally told you the true story behind all these San Diego “shark” sightings. I told you once, I’ll tell you again…that’s not Snowflake…
That’s TERRY!!
You’re favorite lovable misunderstood dolphin “born with an abnormally large and backwards dorsal fin that is so jacked up that it carries a bizarre discoloration, and completely different skyline” is back! This time, he hit up Swamis with a new plan… he has been so depressed about the fear that his gigantic dorsal fin has brought upon San Diego, he wanted to bring the attention away from his poor dorsal fin…so wore a giant prosthetic tail and went for a little surf. Yep, his is the one in the middle…
I know what you’re thinking…why would Terry do that? Here’s why…he went with the ole “can’t beat ‘em…join ‘em” theory. If everybody thinks he’s a scary shark anyway, might as well have a little fun with it, right? Remember kids, Terry is just a lovable dolphin with some abnormalities…when you see him… swim TOWARD him. He’ll love you for it.
-bp
Total aside: those fake dolphin tails are real. Here’s a story about how they were used in Japan for a dolphin that had it’s tail amputated due to a skin disease or something. Pic below. Crazy.

Not a regular recession

This ain't a normal business cycle recession.




Green jobs to the rescue? China is sucking up some of those green industry jobs. In China they will work for cheap and don't care as much about the environment.

Then there are those evil American corporate types who say they are moving jobs to where it is cheaper to operate and the corporate taxes are lower.

There is a lot of hope that the economic problems are simple or transient, but the Japanesse lost a whole decade with similar hopeful thinking.

Is it time to move toward fair trade rather than free trade? Time to be smart about sending all our capital overseas? Time to start being more productive and not outpacing our intellectual and natural resources. Time to catch up to our promises to the baby boomers and those who need a safety net.

What will Leucadians contribute to the economy? Tourism? If it is tourism we should be very careful to protect the infrastructure and elements of Leucadia that is unique and attractive to tourists?








EFD Saves Strip Mall

McDonalds blows up. Rest of mall saved.