Tuesday, July 22, 2014

More word games from Shaffer

We have noted before Council Member Lisa Shaffer's odd uses of language to detach herself from responsibility for her actions. First, Shaffer told the Union-Tribune that she was "sad at the divisive tone and misleading messaging" around Proposition A without mentioning that she was on the subcommittee that wrote the untruthful ballot arguments that the council gave to voters.

Then, Shaffer falsely stated,
Meanwhile, a judge ruled in favor of Olivenhain neighbors who sued the developer, asserting that a full Environmental Impact Report (EIR) should have been required before deciding whether to approve a density bonus project referred to as Desert Rose.
The lawsuit and ruling was not against the developer, but against the City of Encinitas, which, under Shaffer's responsibility of oversight, ignored environmental concerns and violated the law. One would expect a council member of a party in a lawsuit to be somewhat cognizant of the lawsuit. Maybe she was distracted by a plastic bag.

And it continues.

From Shaffer's latest newsletter:
A few speakers were eloquent but perhaps need their poetic licenses checked. I don't mind if people disagree with me or criticize me for something I actually did. I do object to someone criticizing me for things I did NOT do. I don't want to go into a long discussion of my request for information on a sales (or transactions and use) tax, but I want to be clear that I did not propose a sales tax. I asked for information so we could understand how a sales tax works and how much money it might provide to the City. I'm not afraid to admit what is obvious, that I don't know all there is to know about how cities operate and so I have to ask questions. Unfortunately, more than once, people have interpreted asking a question as taking a position or giving direction. Sometimes a question is just a question. In this case, the Council does not even have the authority to impose taxes - that requires a vote of the people. At the latest Council meeting, several times it was repeated that I had proposed a sales tax and it's not true. I was proposing that we consider all the available tools to increase revenues as part of our budget discussions. So just because you hear something from a speaker, that doesn't mean it is accurate.
While Shaffer's statement is narrowly, technically true (she did not literally say, "I propose a sales tax"), it is substantively quite the opposite. Shaffer, Barth, and Kranz aggressively advocated the hiring of Lew Edwards to run a propaganda campaign and push-poll advocating a sales tax increase. They were not just "asking questions" or seeking honest information about community opinion on taxes. Here's how Lew Edwards markets themselves, not as unbiased measurers of community needs, but as consistently successful pushers of ballot initiatives on debt increases and tax increases.

The only thing that stopped Barth-Shaffer-Kranz from paying Lew Edwards a huge consulting fee for push-poll propaganda advocating a sales tax increase was the fact that Mark Muir and Kristin Gaspar refused to provide them the required fourth vote to put a tax increase on the ballot, regardless of the outcome of Lew Edwards' biased poll. Go back and watch the council video. You can practically see the steam coming out of Barth's ears.

So either Lisa Shaffer is so naive and gullible that she actually believed that Gus Vina brought in Lew Edwards just to get an honest, unbiased opinion about how the community felt about sales taxes, or she's being dishonest. Which is it? You make the call.

Monday, July 21, 2014

City plans to kill last big old eucalyptus near Leucadia Boulevard on 101

Plans here.

Ya know, we kind of dig roundabouts. But not at the expense of irreplaceable, historic canopy.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Julie Graboi: Why I'm running

Coast News:
I am Julie Graboi and believe I am the best qualified candidate for Encinitas City Council. Speaking plainly, Encinitas needs responsible leadership that serves its residents. Others might make the same claims, but do they have a record of going to City Hall to stand for what they believe in? I do.

In asking for your vote, I’m going to share with you specific examples of how I have been engaged in city leadership to protect our community character, and I will present four important issues that concern us all. But first let me introduce myself.

I have lived in our beautiful city for 25 years. In addition to being an educator, I have run a small business with my husband. I’ve raised my family here, and like many of you, I feel grateful to call Encinitas my home.

I treasure our small town community character and believe that what makes Encinitas special is worth protecting. I am sure you agree!

Over the past four years, I’ve attended weekly council meetings and believe Encinitas is at a tipping point. Who we elect in November will play a key role in the direction our city takes as we move into the future.

Today, our community character is threatened, the city’s finances are moving in the wrong direction, and our quality of life is in jeopardy. City leaders seem more interested in serving special interests rather that our own citizens. Moving forward, we can choose responsible spending and sensible development, or we can continue to increase debt and increase zoning to promote high density projects.

The following are some of my concerns:

Encinitas needs to protect community character.
I believe part of what makes Encinitas special is our small town community character. This includes our parks and beaches, our many diverse neighborhoods, our local merchants and our arts and culture community. Today, city leaders very often put the interests of the development industry before those of our residents and that concerns me very much. Throughout the city, density bonus projects have been allowed to invade our neighborhoods, and nothing is being done to stop these ever increasing developments.

I was a leader in passing Prop A which gives all of our citizens the right to vote on proposed zoning, density and height changes that affect the quality of our lives. When the city proposed increasing densities in my neighborhood I helped lead efforts to protect our property rights and took on the Desert Rose development and won. We need leadership that preserves our small town identity and represents the rights of all. If you agree, vote for me.

Encinitas needs a General Plan Update that serves our residents, not special interests.
City leaders are continuing the General Plan Update and will recommend zoning changes that will increase housing densities throughout Encinitas by a process called a Housing Element. The city has targeted what they call “Infill Opportunities” in many neighborhoods. It is essential that any changes to the General Plan protect our existing community character and don’t promote uncontrolled density increases that will result in more traffic and less open space. As a concerned resident, I attended the General Plan Update workshops and recommended that our city leaders put the needs of residents before the profit agendas of out of town developers. If you agree, vote for me.

Encinitas needs responsible spending.
City leaders have proposed raising our taxes, increasing resident fees and installing parking meters while continuing to spend unwisely. As a concerned resident, I spoke against wasting tax dollars. As a council member, I will work to spend our money wisely. Citizens need responsible spending, not increased fees. If you agree, vote for me.

Encinitas needs to protect our quality of life.
Protecting our quality of life means spending our tax dollars wisely, serving residents and protecting our community character from ever increasing traffic caused by more and more development at densities not called for in our General Plan.

Prop A has put the power of change in our hands. Let’s use it wisely.

I am running for city council because I have the experience, knowledge and the will to move the city in the right direction — focusing on the needs of our residents. I am asking for your vote to elect me as your next city council member so that your voices can be heard as we fight to preserve our community character and protect our quality of life by protecting our neighborhoods from over-development. If you agree, vote for me. You will have a strong voice at City Hall.

Julie Graboi is an Olivenhain resident and candidate for Encinitas City Council

Graboi's Facebook page is here.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Everything you need to know about last night's density bonus decision

Excellent, informative, and balanced article by the Advocate's Jared Whitlock here.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Pacific View gets a whole lot more expensive

When we posted last week that the city's purchase price of the abandoned Pacific View school site was at more than 10x the book price (and presumed crony sale price) of the city's Quail Gardens property, we thought that was bad enough real estate dealings.
For comparison, the city's recent purchase of the 2.6-acre Pacific View abandoned school site for $10 million works out to more than 10 times the price at $3.85 million per acre. Pacific View is admittedly an even more prime location, but is zoned far more restrictively.
Tonight we learned that not only is there asbestos at Pacific View that will require expensive remediation, but more than 10% of the entire property is useless due to necessary access easements for 4th Street homes.

Given the loss of 0.32 acres to easements, the new Pacific View price is $4.4 million per acre!

7/16/14 City Council 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.

Items of interest on tonight's agenda:

- Moment of truth for density bonus. Will council follow through on what they unanimously supported last week, or will they flip-flop, turn their backs on their constituents, and take orders from Planning staff?
- Due diligence report on Pacific View.

- Borrowing $13 million for Pacific View and a lifeguard tower with a phony "lease revenue" bond where there is no lease and there is no revenue.

Also, we may hear some results from the closed session evaluation (closed by council choice, not by law) of His Excellence Gus Vina and unanimously-supported city attorney Glenn Sabine.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Op-ed: Impulse purchase that will preclude an arts center for a generation

From the Inbox:
The showdown on finalization of the sales contract by ignoring a full due diligence evaluation is on for tomorrow night's council meeting. I have come to accept the realty of the three members who want this to go through as is, including full capitulation to Superintendent Baird's imperious demands. Far from attempting to stop the purchase, in my exchange of emails with Council Member Kranz, I pointed how we could assert reasonable rights without triggering cancellation, described in this article, Pacific View- responsible evaluation while moving forward on purchase. My concern is that they will dig in their heels and refuse to do even this.

This movement is too far gone to try to rethink this decision. The rational approach, confirmed by a conversation with WolfBrown, consultants on such projects, would have been to first decide that an arts center is wanted, then explore possible locations for feasibility and symbiotic benefits with the locality. If we had done this we would have considered locations such as two existing sites that the city already owns. The first is in Encinitas Ranch Town Center, where the art center would enhance the shopping center and increase city sales tax revenues. The other possibility that I have just started to investigate is the fifteen acres behind the Senior and Community Center at Encinitas Blvd. & Balour Drive that would be a magnificent location for a larger performance space with none of the limits of Pacific View.

It is unfortunate that this impulse purchase will mean no major arts center for this city for a generation.

Al Rodbell

[note: edited to add name of consultants and correct location of Senior and Community Center]