Monday, May 31, 2010

Del Mar to use private funding to pay for wayside horn project



This is how it should be done:
A group of residents attempting to reduce train noise received council approval at the May 17 meeting to seek funding for the $160,000 project.

The Quiet Zone Committee, led by long-time Del Mar resident Hershell Price, conducted a test April 22 to determine if a stationary wayside horn system would be an effective and affordable way to temper train noise.

After receiving nothing but positive input, the group canceled a follow-up workshop and went directly to City Council for approval to move forward. With that in hand, securing private donations will now be easier, committee member Lee Stein said.

Once there is a funding commitment, staff can begin confirming costs and securing contracts for items such as the horns, the inventory to support them and monthly maintenance, which will be provided by North County Transit District, City Manager Karen Brust said.

I certainly hope that's what Kristin Gaspar was talking about when she brought up wayside horns for Encinitas, but she didn't mention any private funding at all and left the impression (for me, anyway) that she wants taxpayers to fund it.

Wayside horns would greatly improve the value of the railroad condos at Pacific Station currently under construction by Jerome Stocks' patron John DeWald. He should pick up the check rather than asking for a freebie from the taxpayers. Why should someone living in a modest house not on prime coastal property have to pay to make John DeWald a little richer?

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Life is good

Moonlight Beach, 2 mins ago

Sea Coast Exclusive Properties

Exclusive? Who do they exclude? They won't sell to black people?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Hall Property Park finds new use as construction waste dump

Remember a couple months ago when Scripps Hospital was told it couldn't dump its construction dirt on Moonlight Beach as "sand"?

Well, it looks like the obliging City of Encinitas has given them another place to dump it.



Hall Property, May 28, 2010

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Leucadia Blog scoops local media

NC Times got the news this afternoon, and the Coast News and Union-Tribune are apparently still clueless.

City Manager Phil Cotton has resigned, and Leucadia Blog had it first thing this morning.

NC Times' Barbara Henry did get comments from Cotton and Dalager, and did mention the pay raise controversy, but didn't mention the outrageous legal fees in the Barth case or the pension increase scandal.

Monday, May 24, 2010

W.C. is reading...

Encinitas History & Heritage by Mac Hartley.

I first saw this book in a display in the lobby of the La Paloma theater. That display said it was available at the old Vulcan address of the Heritage Museum. Needless to say, it wasn't there. And I stopped by the new museum location at the old schoolhouse on F Street a few times, but never managed to find it open. So I finally just ordered the book on Amazon.

It's a big book absolutely full of photos and well-documented history dating back to the pioneer days. I'm just cracking it open, but I can't imagine anyone who loves Encinitas not wanting a copy. It's fascinating just to flip open and read a few pages.

Did you know, for example, that Leucadia used to be called Merle, or that Olivenhain was founded by commies?

The Colony was originally planned as a commune, requiring each accepted member to pay $625 plus a monthly fee. The price included a plot of land. Horses and machinery were to be the property of all members. Strict rules set for the members to follow were far more rigid than many set by today's homeowners associations. Members were expected to speak fluent German and were required to present evidence of their honesty and ability and willingness to work communally. Occupations of those accepted were mostly service and trades. Professional occupations, attorneys for example, were not welcome.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Batra on Barth: a former supporter reflects




Sunana Batra in the NC Times:



Once upon a time, the standard was: "How would a reasonable person respond?"

Not long ago, this was replaced by: "How would the most unreasonable and hypersensitive person respond?"

[...]

It's the fact that she thinks she should be able to mar and end the career of individuals she serves with when she feels insulted that makes me think she should not be in the position we in Encinitas elected her to be in.

Stocks used his power of persuasion to pass her over for deputy mayor, he was within his rights. We expect our electeds to vote on the basis of a candidate's ideas and ability, not because of tradition, or just because it's always been that way.

It's troubling, this toxic mix of gender-war feminism that treats such acts as ridiculing a fellow elected official an offense worth filing an official complaint about.

I agree with Batra. Teresa Barth should withdraw from her re-election race and endorse an ally who will be more effective at fighting the establishment.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Encinitas triathlon

It ain't easy being a cougar


Encinitas teenager Vincent Russo charged with kidnapping, raping 30-something Chula Vista girlfriend.



[...] the woman’s ordeal began Thursday afternoon, when her boyfriend phoned and told her to bring some money to his Encinitas home.

She went to his place, where he forced her to hand over the money and told her to go burglarize her parents’ Point Loma home, Reber said. When she refused, the suspect reportedly punched her and forced her to go to Point Loma with him.

They discovered that her parents were home, so he gave up on the burglary plan, and they went to the woman’s home near East Palomar Street and Heritage Drive.

Reber said the teen forced the woman into sex acts through the night and threatened her with a knife.

Shortly before 5 a.m. Friday, Reber said, the woman escaped as the suspect was busy emptying things from her car so he could sell it. She waved down a motorist who happened to work at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center, and the motorist took her to the hospital, where staff called police.

Nice guy.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Barth announces candidacy. Why?

... according to the Coast News, which in a syrupy puff piece nominates Barth for sainthood without mentioning any of the recent events surrounding Barth.

Her announcement came before I had the chance to write an intended post suggesting that she not run.

We obviously need more Barth-like votes on the council to counter the Stocks-Dalager Axis of Developers and Unions. But Barth is clearly not an effective advocate for her side if she is so fragile that she runs crying to the lawyers and makes serious sexual harassment claims over political insults. What's the point of constantly casting losing votes 3-2 in an atmosphere so polarized and poisoned? Do you really think after this recent fiasco Barth will be effective in reaching out to Bond or Dalager and bringing them over to her side on a vote?

Barth obviously doesn't enjoy her work on the Council if she would go so far as to call it a "hostile work environment." So why keep going? Stubbornness and ego?

The best thing Barth could do for the people of Encinitas and for herself would be to step aside and endorse someone who shares her views but is temperamentally better suited for the job. I'm sure she has friends and allies from her years in community work who could win widespread support and would do a great job on the council.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Attorneys' report on Teresa Barth harassment complaint

Here's the outside attorneys' report on the Barth complaint. It doesn't look good. Barth initiated the investigation with the following e-mail where she plays amateur lawyer:

"Subject: December 11 Union Tribune Article

Phil and Glenn,

Jerome's comments about me in this article clearly show that the actions taken on Tuesday night 12/8 were punitive with the intention to threaten and/or intimidate me and create a hostile work environment.

This behavior is classified under California law as verbal harassment. This is a complaint of harassment and you have both been officially notified."

The actions Tuesday night 12/8 were when she was passed over for Deputy Mayor.

The attorneys found that not only are elected officials not employees covered under "hostile work place" rules, but that even if Barth were a covered employee, there was no illegal harassment.

Teresa Barth Complaint - Encinitas City Council

Barth's full complaint is here (starts on p. 7 after 6 pages of boilerplate). HT: Leucadia Blog.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Monday, May 10, 2010

Teresa Barth filed harassment claim over political squabble

Good grief. This whole council is a giant embarrassment.

Union-Tribune:
Encinitas City Councilwoman Teresa Barth filed a harassment complaint with the city against Councilman Jerome Stocks late last year after he didn’t nominate her for deputy mayor and criticized her in remarks to newspaper reporters on why he didn’t choose her.

Legal counsel deemed the complaint invalid because Barth is not technically a city employee, but only after the city spent $15,249 in legal fees investigating it.

[...]

Their dispute started when Stocks was quoted in a Dec. 11, 2009, article in The San Diego Union-Tribune about his decision to nominate Councilwoman Maggie Houlihan for deputy mayor even though it was Barth’s turn in the council rotation.

Stocks said in that article that he was sending Barth a message that she had angered the council majority with personal attacks and a lack of leadership. Stocks criticized Barth for boycotting some City Council closed sessions in 2007; Barth said she did so out of concern that the public wasn’t receiving adequate notice of the meetings.

Barth included that article along with a two-paragraph complaint that she submitted the same day to City Manager Phil Cotton.

“Jerome’s comments about me in this article clearly show that the (vote to appoint Houlihan deputy mayor was) punitive with the intention to threaten and/or intimidate me and create a hostile work environment,” Barth’s complaint stated.

“This behavior is classified under California law as verbal harassment.”

That's not harassment. That's politics. And the litigious Barth cost the city $15,249 in legal fees because her little feelings got hurt. Aren't there any adults in City Hall?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Encinitas has 2nd lowest crime rate of all cities in SD County

... according to the U-T.

Second only to Poway. Cracktowns Del Mar and National City have the worst crime rates.

Friday, May 7, 2010

City of Encinitas loses $29,524 to embezzler

I guess we should be thankful. Some other cities lost a lot more:

The former president of a Huntington Beach company that held federal grant and loan money in escrow on behalf of local governments agreed today to plead guilty to embezzling millions of dollars that belonged to more than 20 cities in the Southland [...]

In a plea agreement filed in U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles, Belinda Exon, 55, who now lives in Phoenix, Ariz., admitted she embezzled $3.9 million that was being held in escrow by her former company, Rehab Financial Services Inc., according to Thom Mrozek of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The now-defunct escrow and loan servicing agent administered grants and loans for California municipalities. The money entrusted to Rehab Financial included funds awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to local governments for rehabilitation programs designed to address health and safety hazards in low-income housing.

Read more: http://www.swrnn.com/southwest-riverside/2010-05-07/news/head-of-oc-firm-pleads-guilty-to-embezzling-from-cities-including-hemet-perris#ixzz0nIElmggE


According to the plea agreement, the following cities sustained losses:
– San Francisco, $1,021,000;
– Pomona, $751,000;
– Seal Beach, $481,432;
[...]
– Encinitas, $29,524;

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Cinco de Mayo drunk sweeps

If Arizona enforcing immigration laws is racist, this has to be racist too.

Undercover sheriffs arrest Cinco de Mayo revelers.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Bees of Encinitas

A week or two ago we had bees apparently trying to make a hive in the compost bin. I opened the lid and they decided they didn't like it that way and moved on.

Today, we were hanging out in the back yard and all of a sudden heard a loud and growing buzzing sound. I looked up and it was a swarm of bees filling the sky, like something out of a bad horror movie. We ran inside, and they were gone as quickly as they had appeared.

I think I prefer the parrots of Ocean Beach.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Baby season at the Wild Animal Park

This little fella was born an hour ago.

P.S. How do you get to the Wild Animal Park from Encinitas? 76 and 56 are so far out of the way, and San Marcos has too many lights and too much traffic. Del Dios Highway?

Why it's so imporant to be in that Encinitas school district

... because Carlsbad schools cover up child molestation by teachers.

The Coast News on the sentencing of long-time Pacific Rim Elementary teacher and serial child molester Raymond Firth (April 30 print edition, not available online):
Following Firth's hearing, Christy, the mother of the first student to come forward, told reporters she got the impression from the district that they were more worried about their reputation then [sic] her daughter's well-being. She said that she repeatedly received calls from Principal Devich asking her to tell her daughter not to discuss the case with other students.

[...]

Chris, the father of the last victim, told reporters that he was also frustrated with the district, because he had to find out about Firth's charges through a story in the Coast News.

Like the first mother, Chris said he didn't understand why it took more than a year after Firth was first charged by prosecutors for the district to finally inform parents at Pacific Rim of the ex-teacher's molestation case. He said he would have expected a letter from the district immediately after Firth's arrest.