Saturday, October 18, 2014

Encinitas' Peak Democracy site is chock full o' fictional TV and movie characters

Earlier this week we brought you the story of how flimsy and vulnerable to manipulation the city's new "public input" vehicle, Peak Democracy, is.  Encinitas council members names were showing up as verified Vallejo residents offering their opinions on Vallejo's Peak Democracy site.

But the abuse isn't limited to the Vallejo site.  Here on Encinitas' Peak Democracy site, we found some unusual characters.

Here's Old Encinitas resident Derek Smalls saying, "Thank you to Teresa Barth, Tony Kranz, and Lisa Shaffer for purchasing Pacific View!  What a jewel!"

We couldn't find any Encinitas listing for Derek Smalls, but it does happen to be the name of the bass player from Spinal Tap.

Here's James Darmody from New Encinitas, who writes, "I would like to thank our excellent city council, particularly Deputy Mayor Tony Kranz, for having the foresight to see that Pacific View can be a tremendous arts cent and a legacy for our children."

We were unable to locate Mr. Darmody of Encinitas; however, that is the name of a character in Boardwalk Empire.

Other fictional characters pop up without praising the council.  Here's "Arthur Vandelay," a running pseudonym gag from Seinfeld.

And here's Vernon Wormer, the Dean from Animal House, suggesting that Encinitas purchase antiquities from Greece, Italy and Egypt.

Any comment on this, Dean Wormer?

True, Dean Wormer, but it's good enough for Encinitas!

If it weren't so serious that Encinitas is actually going to use this tool as the primary vehicle for public input on the housing element update, it would be funny.

Peak Democracy: what a great tool for manipulating collecting public opinion!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Peak Idiocracy: verified Vallejo residents weigh in on Vallejo public policy

You may recall that this past spring, the council majority (Barth, Kranz, and Shaffer, with Muir and Gaspar opposed) followed Gus Vina's recommendation to spend city funds to buy silly blog software called "Peak Democracy" from eccentric Berkeley politician Mike "Moonshot" Cohen.

Residents at the time implored the council not to purchase the software which was rife with potential for abuse, but the majority would not deny Vina his toy.

Six months or so into the great Peak Democracy experiment, all we've got for our money is two absurd polls. The first freaked dog owners out with the question, “How important is it for off-leash dog hours to remain at Encinitas Viewpoint, Orpheus and Sun Vista parks once the new dedicated two-acre off-leash dog park is open at Encinitas Community Park?” This seemed to imply that staff were considering cutting local dog park hours and making everyone drive their dogs to the Hall Park instead. Fortunately, it seems it was just space filler so they could say they were doing something with the new software.

The second trivial question was about the arts, a multiple choice question "What's your favorite type of public art?" The choices were "interactive art," "mosaic," "mural," "sculpture," and, bizarrely, "LED installation." We hope that Encinitas Arts Director Jim Gilliam wasn't involved in writing this inane question that views the medium as the most important aspect of art.

But now the council is considering moving beyond irrelevant time-wasting internet polls, to using Peak Democracy as the primary vehicle for public input on the extremely important Housing Element Update.  They'll use it to decide which properties to upzone, resulting in multi-million-dollar windfalls for some lucky property owners.

How is Peak Democracy working in other cities that have been using it longer?  Let's see how verified Vallejo residents Tony Kranz, Lisa Shaffer, and Teresa Barth used Peak Democracy to give input on Vallejo public policy.


Great idea, Teresa!

Peak Democracy has a feature that distinguishes residents as "inside Vallejo" as opposed to random out-of-town commenters.  Somehow, these three computer whizzes were able to persuade Peak Democracy that they were legitimate Vallejo residents.

How will we know which, if any, Encinitas opinions on Peak Democracy are real people if we are to use Peak Democracy as the primary tool for alleged "public input" on the Housing Element?

Fortunately, we can't think of any reason why property owners looking for a multi-million-dollar upzoning windfall would bother to spend a few bucks hiring teenagers to create fake online accounts to push upzoning in their direction.  Can you?

10/15/14 City Council meeting open thread

The current city council has continued prior councils' practice of not providing written summary minutes of council discussion, but only "action minutes" which state the outcomes. Encinitas Undercover will provide a forum for observers to record what occurs at each council meeting.

Please use the comments to record your observations.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Average Encinitas retiree with 30 years of service gets more than $94,000 per year for life

You know how pension apologists claim that only a few abusers get huge pensions and the average government worker only gets a few thousand dollars per month?

Yeah, not so much.

Data from Transparent California show that the average Encinitas employee with a "full career" of 30 years or more is given $94,602 per year for life.  And no, it's not just skewed by Mark Muir.  The median is almost the same at $93,723.

Want to know why your streets are full of potholes, we don't have any money to build anything at Pacific View, and your city council wants to raise your taxes and fees?  Look no further.

Raw data here.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

HoodLink endorses Cameron, Graboi

HoodLink, Encinitas' long-running grassroots newsletter, has come out in favor of Sheila Cameron for mayor and Julie Graboi for City Council, with a polite nod to Tony Kranz but an acknowledgement that Kranz and HoodLink's community have parted ways on the issues.

See the latest HoodLink here.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Council Candidate debate thread

What are they saying?

Subcommittee plans 1500-foot CN Tower, pasty white people with balloons at Pacific View

Yes, that's actually what they're showing in this subcommittee PowerPoint.

The image is from plans for Toronto's Ontario Place, which is enormous, commercial, and waterfront. In other words, it has absolutely nothing in common with Pacific View. (And the upper photo is not, as some people have suggested, the new development at Weidner's Gardens.)

But on a more serious note, aside from the subcommittee's poor PowerPoint skills and inappropriate image appropriation, the October 6 meeting raised a lot of serious concerns that somebody should have thought about earlier. Like, say, zoning for the new arts center!

Wait a minute... art galleries, music conservatories, dance studios, and recording studios are expressly prohibited? What kind of art center are we getting for $10 million?

Then there's the Coastal Commission approval (and they don't want anything that will impact parking at Moonlight Beach!), and the non-taxable bond limitations fiasco.  Not to mention that the city is too broke to build or operate anything on the site, which is why they are hiring expensive consultants to figure out how to raise fees on residents.  Click on over to Focus on Encinitas for the full scoop on the Pacific View SNAFU.