Tuesday, December 27, 2011

San Diego Banksters and Insiders Had a Very Merry Christmas


Under the leadership of Jerome Stocks, SANDAG just purchased the privately owned South Bay Toll Road for $345 million, with loans against your Transnet sales tax dollars. A lot of justification for the price paid was based on the cost to build the road, which was a lot more than the profit potential of the road,  which is what the private market would use to figure out the value of the road. Hum, right?

So what was the market value? It sure would have been good for the sale to have been put out for competition to find out for sure. An open bidding process? That happens, but is relatively rare under Jerome Stocks' leadership. It is easy to believe that we might have gotten the toll road for a hundred million less!

The sellers, the old owners of the toll road, said the value was $287 million. That wasn’t just an off the cuff estimate. It was the value they submitted in court documents, according to this April UT story. The PEOPLE SELLING the property said it was worth $58 million less than what the taxpayers purchased it for (On the other hand, the developer owned UT called the sale price a "fire sale" level, because the road cost so much more to build, of course).

If I build a bike from scratch in my garage at a production cost of $12,000, does that mean the market value will be $12,000+? Probably not. If you say yes, I will start building your bike tomorrow. Otherwise it would be lucky if I could get $300, as it will likely be a clunky bike. Our city leaders have a long history of overpaying for things and saying it is A-okay to do so.

According to Mayor Stocks, buying the road means they don’t have expand other nearby freeways with TransNet dollars. A savings? Maybe not. According to two reporters, the private for-profit toll road (partially supported with Federal funds), was set to be turned over to the government at the end of its contract (a length similar to the Transnet program). So, we bought something we were going to get anyways, and this benefit we purchased for $300 million would have been delivered for FREE later. 

Buying the road means drivers will pay lower tolls. Not buying the road probably meant the same thing. The tolls were too high to attract a lot of traffic and it is likely that the next private owner would have lowered the tolls to boost volume. No? Maybe the taxpayers could have come out ahead if they subsidized the tolls on the Toll Road until the road was turned over to the government rather than buying it outright. 

Did SANDAG consider the County-wide long-term financial and transportation outcomes under the different scenarios? Two reporters tell me they didn’t see it. Gary Gallegos the executive officer at SANDAG wouldn’t respond to my public records request for that analysis (if it existed) and Jerome Stocks wouldn’t show me where to find such comparisons (he said they existed and cut off communication when I asked where to find it). 

Jerome has been a leader in overpaying for real estate, especially when his friends are involved. It is not surprising that he has not fixed the problems that allow for million dollar mistakes to be repeated. We’ve called for a real estate transaction policy to be implemented, repeatedly.  

The call for saving Encinitas millions of dollars that has been rejected:


Responsibility for errors or omissions belongs to Gary Gallegos and Jerome Stocks for their lack of openness. 

 

Friday, December 23, 2011

At coffee coffee now

Improvements!

The new plantings near the rail crossing are sweet.


Let's do it all the way down the rail corridor. Envision patches of yucca and agave where there is just dirt now.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Leucadians to City Hall, "You Have Our Attention Now"

Over the years we've posted up videos from different camps. Remember the squealing pig video about Barth? (Did anyone every figure out what the point was of that pre-election video?) Well, the appointment of Mark Muir awakened a lot of people, including the creative class in Leucadia.



The second time around is when you can really see the soul and commitment to our city of these Leucadians. It is time for the Mayor to hold a town hall meeting and straighten things out because the natives are restless.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Rheanna to Grace Leucadia on Friday




Rheanna Downey is one of our local cultural treasures. She is authenticate. Rheanna is a prolific, original songwriter and masterful guitar player. She's great to see live, either on stage or in the line-up.

She'll be playing Christmas Carols and original tunes alongside some other local talent. Grab a hot drink, lounge & enjoy the show. Don't miss the show because in less than a month she'll be a new mom!

You can see her at Coffee Coffee from 4-8pm this Friday night. Coffee Coffee is right next to Surfy Surfy, on the 101.

It is always great to see good people doing great things.




www.RheannaDowney.com

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Stories to Avoid Here

Greeks now wish they hadn't tolerated favoritism in their government. It is not good democracy for doors of government policymakers and public resources to be open only to those who remain quiet about disagreeing with those in power. They should remain open to whistle blowers. 

Many Greeks now wish they had built institutions based on executing good policy with equal opportunity for all, rather than promote government based on who you were connected with. Are this important lessons for California? Encinitas?

NPR reporter Joanna Kakissis says the task of turning Greece around is especially daunting because Greeks let the integrity of their civic institutions decay. - Listen to

From Greek Crisis, A Call For Transparency Emerges

at http://www.npr.org/2011/12/18/143916141/from-greek-crisis-a-call-for-transparency-emerges?ft=1&f=10&sc=17





Another story is from right here in America. Big labor (UAW) has approved a plan that will mean people doing the same job will get different pay. Substantially different pay. I'm surprised we are not hearing about the social justice issues here.

Two-tier pay system brings reopening of GM plant, reviving hope

The full story can be viewed at: http://www.latimes.com/la-fi-economy-wages-20111218,0,384910.story?track=latiphoneapp


A few days before Thanksgiving, hundreds of people from around the country jammed into the idled General Motors Co. plant here, cheering as company and union officials pushed a big red button signifying the reopening of the car-assembly factory.


Under its agreement with the United Auto Workers union, GM will be hiring mostly new workers for the plant who will start at $15.78 an hour, about half the prevailing rate paid to the company's production employees...


UAW President Bob King said he wasn't thrilled with a two-tier pay system: It goes against the union's core belief in equal pay for equal work. But "there really wasn't an alternative," he said.

Was that really the only alternative? What about sharing the pain? Will Encinitas be better off  if we start offering a two-tier compensation system for city employees? Will it be a just system? Will it be the most effective and fair system to all staff and the taxpayers?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Musical Chairs

Muir appointed Christy to the OMWD. Now the OMWD Board appoints Larry Watt to fill his boss's spot.

Read it here.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Leucadia Lights

New Spiffy traffic signals and lamps at Leucadia Blvd!

This is very exciting, the much maligned Leucadia Blvd intersection is currently getting all new groovy signals /street lamps installed. They look classy!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Less Money for the Hall Park

The cost of the open government lawsuit against the city is high. One local attorney who has interacted with our city told me that the city's attitude toward legal violations is they don't care because they have a deep pockets legal fund, while the citizens don't and can be driven away based on trying to outlast and outspend citizens. They know 99% of the time people won't seek the help of a judge because they can't afford the time or money.

In the Cummins case, the attorney worked on contingency, otherwise the city's strategy would have worked to exhaust citizens' funds and financial support for the case. Of course, in open government cases, the judge can grant attorney's fees to the plaintiff. That is what happened.

Mayor Bond is talking about appealing the judge's ruling, which will cause the attorneys to do even more work. That will cost the taxpayer even more, because the outrageous cost will be passed on to you. It is completely nuts.

At close to the last minute allowed by law, the city sent out its closed session agenda notice for today. The council is discussing the Cummins case this afternoon.

You can read all of Dennis Winston's response to the city here. Here are some excerpts:


THE CITY INCREASED THE COST OF THIS CASE BY ENGAGING IN UNCOOPERATIVE DELAYING TACTICS
A defendant cannot litigate tenaciously and then be heard to complain about the time necessarily spent by the plaintiff in response.



Respondent City of Encinitas (“City”) has chosen to attack Petitioner Kevin Cummins’ (“Cummins”) motion for attorneys’ fees with opinions and conclusions, not facts.  The City’s attacks are evanescent since the City cites no case or principle which denies a Petitioner the right to receive an Answer in good faith and to conduct discovery.
City attacks Cummins’ efforts to resolve factual issues before trial: first, by denigrating Cummins’ efforts to seek a good faith answer from the City to Cummins’ Petition (e.g., instead of denying that City’s employees sent correspondence); second, by condemning Cummins’ attempt to conduct discovery in good faith.
                  According to the Declaration of Gregory L. Lusitana In Support Of Respondent’s Opposition (“Lusitana Declaration”) the City intentionally chose to refuse to authenticate documents in its Answer, planning “to authenticate these documents as the ‘record’ …by negotiating these issues with petitioner.”[1]  (Lusitana Declaration, ¶ 2:1-7.) 
First, what gave the City the right to proffer an Answer containing sham and evasive allegations of factual matters that were within the actual knowledge of the City?  
Second, when the City was faced with a meet and confer to prevent Cummins’ motion to strike from being filed, why did the City not “negotiate[] these issues” then?  Moreover, since Cummins’ Petition sought relief under Code of Civil Procedure § 1085 (“Section 1085”),[2] not Section 1094, the City should have known (since, according to Lusitana, “writ of mandate proceedings are significantly less complex …than a typical civil action” (Lusitana Declaration, ¶ 8)) that there was to be no administrative record to be negotiated at all.  As the court explained in Bright Development v. City of Tracy (1993) 20 Cal App.4th 783, 795:  

You can get the judge's ruling, with not so nice words about the city, here. He agreed with Cummins' attorney. 
The city still has not figured out that it has to act reasonable and it really really can't stand anyone who points this out. I sent the following the to he council:

Dear Council,

I see that you are going into negotiations with one of your bargaining units. I would recommend reviewing the status of the retirement system to determine the magnitude of the problem, so that an effective solution which is fair to current and future employees and taxpayers can be reached.  Please agendize a discussion of the STATUS of the retirement system, if for no other reason than to set the record straight about the status of the city's long-term finances.

I also see the legal fees in my case is on the agenda. I would like to remind you that when I requested the 2009 roads report I was rejected, even though the consultant had already finalized, printed, delivered, and invoiced the city for a final report. The City said it was a draft document. There was no risk to the public of releasing the document on roads conditions, which most people don't care about anyways.

For the newer council members, please be advised that the precipitating reason for the roads report was my questions about the fictitious report the city engineers were saying was being used to schedule road repair. The City refused to show this report to me, for years. That was against the law. Breaking the law was better than being caught lying, apparently. It turned out what the City had was a years out of date inventory and repair schedule. It was considered useless by your own staff. When I found out, the City quickly ordered a new $100,000 roads report to cover their butts during the next budget cycle and I recognized the efforts to go in the right direction, even if was selfishly motivated rather than for the public good. The City's good behavior didn't last long.

Please recall that I tried very hard to avoid a lawsuit. I would also like to note that this issue could have been completely avoided with a Sunshine Ordinance, which the council majority rejected.

The cost of the lawsuit is insulting to the taxpayers. My guess is you have no idea how much your staff drove up the cost of this case. I hope you didn't approve the tactics, because it cost the taxpayers. I recommend that you do your own investigation. I invite you to look into the record, speak with my attorney, and meet with me publicly to discuss the case. Just so you know,  Winston seemed to think our case was so strong that he didn't need to work out all the details [LB note: i.e. preparing responses to the city's baloney and attempted misdirections]. Given the nature of the City's responses that would have driven the cost up even more.

You can read what the judge wrote here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/75162384/Attorney-s-fees-order-Cummins-vs-Encinitas

I want you to be advised that the City Manager, after great delay, has informed me the City cannot carryout the judge's original order. The correspondence between the City and the consultant was destroyed.

I will offer to invite any of you to publicly discuss this case, including the costs, to set the tone for moving forward with a more open city hall. I am also willing to put the case behind us and just set a good tone for moving the city forward with a more open city hall. There are dozens of practices that are ripe for easy and cheap improvements. I look forward to hearing your suggestions and seeing you take action.

Kevin Cummins
PS Not everything in the City's submissions to the court is honest. I do wonder how my elected representatives think about that.

Side note on a quote from the UT:

Cummins pressed the lawsuit even after the final report was released. The judge ruled on May 24 that the city must release the draft because it was inconsequential once the final version had been published.

The City wouldn't admit and still pretends the cat isn't out of the bag. We asked for the "DRAFT" in the lawsuit because the city said that was all they had. They lied and never came clean with the court or unwound their deception. The document was finalized, printed, bound, delivered, and invoiced before I requested the "draft". They said they only had a draft. Had they told the truth I would have asked for the final document.

Who is responsible for all this?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The New Mayor

The logical choice for Mayor and Deputy Mayor was Stocks and Gaspar.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Saturday, December 10, 2011

101 New Trees for Leucadia's Hwy 101


Photo by Alison St John from KPBS.org

Read the story on KPBS.org

*One of the main themes of the Leucadia Blog has been concerns of the vanishing tree canopy on our history highway 101. It's good to see members of the community volunteering for this new planting. The paranoid and cynical side of us has to point out that we've had volunteer tree plantings before, only to watch the city neglect the trees and let them die. We hope that with the new streetscape plans underway and the momentum of the newest Leucadia 101 business corridor renaissance that these trees will be allowed to grow and thrive.

Leucadia front yard art

Secret leucadia tropical hideaway

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Top of Leucadia

Nice ocean view from the top of Leucadia Blvd and Sidonia St.

More Public Record Destruction

According to an editorial by Calaware, many Council Members are risking criminal charges with the way they routinely destroy public record.

...Anyone in business in any organization knows how central email communication is to planning, executing and reviewing operations. Email is the informational connective tissue that fills the spaces between formal meetings and documents and, if disclosed, allows scrutiny between the lines of official policy.

To get a candid, unvarnished picture of how our wars are being waged at the ground level, you don't go to Pentagon press releases; you look at Wikileaks dumps (or reports that translate them). On a more conventional scale, email is one of the first targets for public records access requests by journalists and other watchdogs, discovery demands in litigation, and subpoenas or search warrants in criminal prosecutions.

But a government record that has been destroyed, erased or discarded is beyond the reach of public access under the California Public Records Act or any other transparency law. Our state has two legal approaches to preventing or at least discouraging the purging of government records at will. One is the criminalization of such activity. The other is its regulation through records-management policies and laws.

On the criminal side, Government Code Section 6200 states:

Every officer having the custody of any record, map, or book, or of any paper or proceeding of any court, filed or deposited in any public office, or placed in his or her hands for any purpose, is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years if, as to the whole or any part of the record, map, book, paper, or proceeding, the officer willfully does or permits any other person to do any of the following:
(a) Steal, remove, or secrete.
(b) Destroy, mutilate, or deface.
(c) Alter or falsify.

For non-officers guilty of the same acts, Section 6201 sets the penalty at up to a year's term in prison or jail, or by a maximum $1,000 fine, or both. In Loder v. Municipal Court, 17 Cal.3d 859 (1976) the court concluded that "inasmuch as no showing of specific intent is required by the statute, an officer who knowingly removes or destroys such a document is punishable even though he acts without a criminal purpose."

And it is no defense to a prosecution under this law to say that the records were exempt from disclosure under the Public Records Act and therefore not "public" in the first place. In the leading case under Section 6200, People v. Pearson, 111 Cal.App.2d 9 (1952) a police captain was convicted for removing vice squad investigative records from station files (apparently to show them to raid targets).

The court observed:

A paper written by a public official in the performance of his duties or in recording the efforts of himself and those under his command or written plans of future work is a public record and is properly in the keeping of the office.
Nor is Section 6200 confined to protecting legally mandated records. P

The CPRA sets two years as a minimum for retention of public records. The City of Encinitas' excuse is they define public record as only applying to those things that get saved. That's kinda circular and a lazy argument, that is not supported by the law.

Many people have publicly and privately offered to pay for the computer "upgrades" necessary to save all the email (and make it TONS EASIER for staff and council members), but those offers have been rejected. The council wants plausible deniability and steep controls on information.

Join Calaware here. Email the council (or write a letter) at council@encinitasca.gov and ask them to justify their policy and practice.


Monday, December 05, 2011

BLACK OUT!!!

Coastal Leucadia, Encintas and Cardiff experiencing power outage. SDG&E estimates return to power at 8:45 pm.

Sent from my super groovy iPhone
JP St Pierre
President and janitor of the super huge mega corporation:
Surfy Surfy Surf Shop
974 N Coast Hwy 101
Leucadia, CA 92024
760-452-7687
www.surfysurfy.net

Sunday, December 04, 2011

The Downside of Rail

Development along rail corridors helps keep the cost of housing down because living next to a freight train line is loud and not desired by many rich folk.



Trains are a little noisy, even without the horns. They thunder by at 2 a.m.
Ever watched a movie at La Paloma? The train's vibrations are a cool part of the experience.

Hopefully, Pacific Station is soundproofed and built to withstand a tank car explosion.



Freight trains are a serious public safety liability. Putting high density immediately next to the freight rail lines risks stretching the public safety and medical response resource closer to black-tag triage if there is a serious accident. What happens to the Scripps Hospital if there is a derailment involving a tanker car with hazardous materials at Santa Fe and Vulcan?

Hopefully, design standards, public safety planning and disaster planning have been adjusted to take into consideration the extra density along the tracks and the proximity of the hospital to the rail lines.










It will never happen in Encinitas. My friends said the same thing until their neighborhood blew up in San Bruno.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

City Shows No Favors Involved

UT report on the Starbucks appeal. The council denied the appeal, but made the developer put in bigger trees, according to the UT. How did Jerome support the tree thing? It sounds a little HOAish.