Wednesday, May 25, 2016

5/25/16 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.

Item of interest tonight: neighbors' appeal of the Hymettus Estates density bonus project on Fulvia Street.

Please use the comments to record your observations.

Last night's Planning Commission meeting on HEU

What happened last night?

Summary here and here from EU commenters:
People were freaking out about the zoning change proposals next to their spacious neighborhoods. Suddenly, 30 - 2 storied cracker boxes/acre rising like toadstools next door, forever changing the nature of the atmosphere of these areas. Also, the non-addressed issue of further congestion arose - cars lined up for 3/4 mile to get onto the freeway on Manchester, people seeing their streets turned into the Indy 500, people afraid to walk or ride bikes for fear of their lives - only the developers and their shills gave credence to the housing plans. One commissioner said the clause in the fine print that allows the council to overrule Prop A by majority will be removed - they got slammed on that sneaky attempt to override public rule, and realized it'd be used against them in the election. And many did not buy into the implied threat that if one of these city proposals isn't accepted, a judge will make the decision for the city by State mandate.

More on Thursday, but public input is over.
And here from Commissioner Tasha Boerner Horvath:
Thank you to all the people who came out to speak tonight at the Planning Commission Meeting! Over 40 speakers expressed a variety of opinions.

Staff clarified at the beginning (and again at the end) that they are recommending the supermajority clause be removed.

The Commission heard public testimony tonight. On Thursday we will deliberate and make any recommendations to Council.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Planning Commission meeting Tuesday night on housing ballot initiative

Encinitas Votes:
Please don't forget that Tuesday, May 24, 2016 the Planning Commission will be taking comments from the public about the City of Encinitas's Housing Element. You all should have received a large packet in the mail about what the City wants to do. If you are content with it, you can come and show your support. If you do not like what is attempting to be done, NOW is the time to let your voice be heard. If you don't feel comfortable speaking in public, you can also give your 3 minute time allotment to another person. However, you do have to be there to do that. It starts at 6PM and is at City Hall in the Council Chambers. If you are happy, or unhappy with the Housing Element and don't show up, you can also write to the Planning Commission. This is our community. If you don't participate others will. It is up to the citizens to make their thoughts and feelings known. Join me there.
Prop A reversal language still in updated housing element plan:


Last section, last page, where no one will look.
If amendments to any part of its planning policy documents, including but not limited to the General Plan, specific plans, Encinitas Municipal Code or its Local Coastal Program, are required to secure or maintain certification that may otherwise invoke the requirements of Chapter 30.00, the City Council is authorized to make any and all necessary amendments with a four-fifths super majority vote or any other lesser super majority vote should less than five Council Members be eligible to vote
In perpetuity, no less!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

5/18/16 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.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Library-buying Mizels' ties to failed S&L, shady land deals

Earlier this year, the Mizel family offered $2 million to buy naming rights to the Encinitas Library.  Before locals knew what was going on, the city council had agreed in principle and directed staff to negotiate a memorandum on the terms.  The majority of the $2 million would go to the city's general fund, where it would be relatively insignificant compared to the city's vast road maintenance backlog and unfunded pensions.

If we're going to be checking out books from the Mizel Library from now on, it behooves us to learn about the people we are honoring.

Victoria Advocate, March 11, 1990:
Deals by Silverado Borrowers Outlined

HOUSTON (AP) - Four major borrowers of a failed Colorado thrift also made deals with individuals or savings and loans in Texas that did business with organized crime figures or CIA operatives, the Houston Post reported.

In a story in Sunday's editions, the Post said the borrowers at Denver's Silverado Savings and loan had dealings, though sometimes indirectly, with Robert L. Corson, a Houston developer who is the subject of two federal investigations and allegedly had connections to the CIA and Herman K. Beebe Sr.

Beebe, who was convicted in 1968 of bank fraud, had connections to 12 failed Texas savings and loans and is alleged to have ties to New Orleans mafia boss Carlos Marcello.

The December 1988 collapse of Silverado, now operating as part of Columbia Savings, the largest thrift in Colorado, is expected to cost taxpayers up to $1 billion

The borrowers -- Denver developer Bill L. Walters, Denver homebuilder Larry Mizel, Mizel's company M.D.C. Holdings and Denver developer Kenneth M. Good -- had many loans and ventures with Silverado, the Post reported.


Silverado, an M.D.C. subsidiary, and a New Mexico company that was a business partner with Corson were involved in a questionable deed transaction involving 300 Harris County homesites in 1996, the Post reported.  The M.D.C. subsidiary, Wood Bros. Homes, sold the sites to Silverado, which then sold them to Bellamah Community Development, a New Mexico-based joint venture.

No deeds of trust were ever recorded of the deals.  The brother of Larry Mizel, Steven, last year joined the board of Houston-based General Homes, which has done more than $100 million in land deals with Corson.  Steve Mizel was on the board of M.D.C. from 1985 until 1988, the Post reported.

Corson is the subject of two federal investigations involving failed savings and loans, including Vision Banc Savings of Kingsville, which went bankrupt four months after he bought it in 1986.
Corson died supposedly "of natural causes at 45" but more obviously of a drug overdose while a target of a federal investigations.  His mother, Billie Jean Garman, was sentenced to 6 years in prison after spending 10 years on the run.

More at the LA Times.
The documents show that the committee approved Silverado-Elektra's role as a phony buyer of some Houston residential lots from MDC Holdings Inc., a Denver home builder, the newspaper reported.

The SEC documents indicated that the Silverado committee knew Silverado-Elektra was to be a straw buyer. Straw buyers typically are employed to disguise property ownership and do not use their own money.

"During the course of its internal review, representatives of the party (Silverado-Elektra) that purchased the residential lots from MDC stated that they would not have purchased the lots had they not felt assured of selling them to the third party," the documents said.

The Post said previous testimony by then-MDC President David Mandarich showed the home builder wanted to sell several hundred lots in the depressed Houston market to Bellamah Homes of New Mexico. MDC also wanted to buy lots near Castle Rock from a Bellamah Homes subsidiary.

Because MDC is a publicly traded company, federal securities laws prevent it from exchanging properties with Bellamah and then recording a profit on the sale of the Houston lots.

The SEC documents indicate that MDC asked Silverado-Elektra to buy the Houston lots for $3.7 million. The same day, MDC contracted to buy the Castle Rock land from Bellamah Homes, and three days later, Silverado-Elektra sold the Houston lots to Bellamah homes, the documents showed.

The SEC disciplined MDC in September, 1989, for its handling of eight real estate transactions between 1985 and 1987, including employing Silverado-Elektra as a straw buyer and booking profits on the Houston sale. MDC neither admitted nor denied guilt but agreed to make changes in some of its accounting practices.
And still more including MDC's ties to Charles Keating, Neil Bush, and Michael Milken in the New York Times bestseller Inside Job: the Looting of America's Savings and Loans.

Wonder if any of the council members knew any of this when they jumped at the chance to rename the Encinitas Library.  And the Planning Commission, when they voted to allow the Mizels to erect two monuments to themselves on city trails.

Once the precedent for selling naming rights in Encinitas has been set, maybe we can go for some serious money. Do you think Angelo Mozilo or Franklin Raines might be interested in paying $10 million to rename Moonlight Beach or Swami's?

Friday, May 13, 2016

City sale of library naming rights may be a done deal

San Diego Reader:
Steve Mizel, a wealthy investor and a philanthropist, wants to have the name of the Encinitas Library changed to honor his wife. He’s offered $2 million to the city to change the library’s name to the “Pat Mizel Encinitas Library.”

As city staff and the Mizels are negotiating a memorandum of understanding, former mayor Sheila Cameron and others have a problem with that. Cameron spoke out at the May 11 meeting of the city council.

Cameron says the issue was originally brought up late in the evening at a council meeting in January, when few members of the public were in the audience. Councilman Tony Kranz reminded the audience that the item was on the agenda and properly noticed.
The Mizels are also planning to build two monuments to themselves on a city trail in Encinitas Ranch.