Thursday, March 20, 2014

Council votes unanimously to expand pensioned bureaucracy yet again

On the "Deemed Approved Ordinance" to create tougher enforcement mechanisms against problem bars, the council rejected the idea 3-2 with Kranz, Gaspar, and Muir voting no.  Whether a DAO is too draconian is open to debate, but there's no question it would have been an effective tool in giving downtown residents relief from the nightmare they have had to live with for three years now.

What will be far less effective is a new full-time, pensioned code enforcement officer that the council unanimously approved last night who will spend only half his/her time on bar issues (the other half "pro-actively" snooping on residents), and presumably only a fraction of that time patrolling late night weekend hours.  A part-time, contract, non-pensioned position would have been far less costly and could have been dedicated entirely to the bars and the problem late night weekend hours.  But nobody on our council ever claimed to be fiscally responsible, did they?

Muir proposed, and the council adopted, the idea that the position should come from cost savings found in other departments.  Muir suggested, as an example, that Peder Norby's $100,000 contract wasn't renewed so that money could be used.  The problem with that idea is that Norby's contract cancellation was already used as an excuse to create the new Communications Director position.  Further, if the council are creating new, full-time, pensioned positions without eliminating full-time, pensioned positions elsewhere, they are actively making Encinitas' pension crisis worse.  Will Vina actually eliminate a pensioned position somewhere, or will he just shuffle the financial accounts like he did to build the Hall Park?

72 comments:

  1. Vina and City Council take yet one more step in the wrong direction. Pathetic.

    I am for sure voting in new blood next election. I will support Council members that will focus on the real issues at City Hall which is lowering Employee Costs including significant reductions in costs for our pension program.

    All this Council is focuses on is feel good meetings and getting along. None are real leaders. A real leader would focus on priority.

    Same question still exists, How does our next five years financial projection look when including all the new fire stations, huge DEBT we need to pay back, Pension DEBT, Deferrred road maintenance, and our foreseeable project needs?

    Vina? Any answer?

    Nope… we all know your plan is to string out this strategic planning crap as long as you can, and when City Council finally wakes up and passes a resolutions directing you to do a long range financial plan for the city, you will announce your retirement.

    Well played Vina, you WIN! Encinitas Citizens lose!!!!! and this current City Council goes down in history as the feel good City Council that ignored all the City's top priorities for 4 years and made conditions that much worse be EXPANDING employee costs adding 5 new Full Time Employees instead of shrinking City Hall costs. I have to say, you all should be ashamed to let down the City like this….

    I know quick, deflect- Start talking about Pacific View or bar problems…. lets ignore the big problems that cause some real discomfort for the City Manager. we get it….. sigh :(

    Everyone but City Council see- the City Manager so called plan has "no clothes". This is an age old storyline. PS to City Council- Go read the book- "The Emperor's New Clothes" , Wake UP, and start Leading!!!

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    1. Vina - the losers' choice!

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  2. If Vina is going to do away with a pensioned position I have an idea. He should give up his own and hit the road. He is a disgrace. During Oral Communications, a retired employee shared what a hostile workplace Vina has created for his staff. Don't be surprised if the City gets sued for that, too. He is a 3rd world dictator and an empty shell who has nothing EXCEPT positional power.

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    1. He is the leader of this city because the council fail to do their jobs, which it to lead. Therefore, Vina steers the ship.
      Come November vote OUT the incumbents and bring in new blood. New blood that wants to LEAD the city not follow Vina over a cliff.
      Make it happen.

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    2. She said 27 employees have left because of him. You should be happy.

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  3. And your city Council has given him that power. Without it he is nothing he offers nothing!!

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  4. St. Germain's sold to the owners of the Union?

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  5. I may have misunderstood, but I thought that the position that was voted upon last night was a half time position? I guess I'll have to listen to that part of the webcast again . . .

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    1. They had a vacant half-time position. They are changing that to create 1 full-time. Would have been cheaper and more effective to have 2 half-timers.

      WCV

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    2. WCV, thanks for clarifying, and I also called the Clerk, and spoke to Claudia. To me, the vote was tricky; it was confusing, and should have been made more clear to Council and the public, upon exactly what Council was debating and voting.

      In fact, I am again reviewing the webcast. The half time position was mentioned numerous times, as in referring to the position that is already being advertised. I cannot find where this distinction is made in the staff report, OR in any comments made by staff or Council at last night's Council Meeting.

      Council DID NOT specifically vote upon adding a full time employee, only to hire a part time employee, with funds taken from other departments, so that Code Enforcement could be more proactive, especially to deal with community concerns regarding unruly behavior associated with drinking at alcohol serving establishments. To me, this is all based on "interpretation," but what was literally voted upon did NOT specify hiring a new full time employee, only referring to pro-active enforcement.

      I feel our existing officers could work smarter, more efficiently, and better set their priorities to deal with the backlog.

      I know it sure wasn't made clear, on the Consent Calendar, before, that someone had retired, a half time employee, from Code Enforcement. The case for hiring a full time Code Enforcement Officer was made on the "backlog" of cases that Joan Kling and Marianne Buscemi et al had not been able to deal with. I feel they are spending too much time on non-priority items, including litigation designed to line the pockets of our City Attorney, through his law firm of Sabine and Morrison.

      Essentially, what seems to be "in progress," now, is that another full time employee was pushed through, but on different grounds. But neither the public nor Council were aware, to my knowledge, that this was to be the effect of Mark Muir's motion.

      This time the justification for Vina's using his "discretion" to hire another hall time employee, and now, with Council's authorization, to hire a half time employee for proactive enforcement, "reconfigure" Council's directive re proactive enforcement of regulations related to alcohol serving establishments, to somehow mean he is now authorized to hire another FTE!

      Remember, the new code enforcement officer will only devote HALF his or her time to the specified "proactive enforcement" related to restaurants and bars.

      I just don't appreciate the way this was pushed through, wiggling around the mandate, given before, that the subject of hiring a full time employee CE officer would come up in May, during prioritization of budget goals, as part of Strategic Planning.

      If WCV and Claudia Bingham are correct, Vina got his way, again. But WCV is also correct that hiring two half time employees, if necessary, would have been less expensive, and more effective!

      Meanwhile the half time employee that is already being advertised, according to Jeff Murphy, and is already being posted as including weekend, early morning hours. I do NOT understand, from what was said at the meeting, or what was contained in the staff report, that Vina is now authorized to hire a full time code enforcement officer. He is again overstepping his authority.

      I am going to write Council about this, because I'm not sure that even they understood that a new full time employee was to be hired, but only half his or her time would be spent on alcohol serving establishment issues? It shouldn't be too late to consider hiring two part time employees, and for now, only one more half time employee, as has already been advertised. This could save, hugely, on pension liabilities, etc., and could be a better fit for someone who would prefer part time employment, as in a job sharing situation.

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  6. The downtown neighbors appreciate the council wise decision to hire a code enforcement officer.

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  7. The council's wise decision was to fail to hold the sherrif and the bar owners responsible - instead they hoodwinked the public and stuck another pension on the backs of taxpayers-

    A half time code office paid on contract would save taxpayers money and improve the bar situation. Again the council spends our money foolishly.

    Facts are fact- argue with that? Please show how teh council's "wise decision" is better?

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    1. No, it wasn't wise to hoodwink the public. I was completely fooled, if it's true. WCV, could you point to where in the staff report it talks about hiring a full time employee, or where on the webcast?

      I still feel the only authorization that was voted upon was to go through with the hiring of the half time employee Code Enforcement Officer, ALREADY IN THE WORKS!

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    2. Why don't you come out from behind that computer and tell us your name and run for council.

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    3. Lynn,

      They talked about how the person's time would be split between the two areas: bars and general code enforcement. Pretty sure it was Jeff Murphy. Other staff or council may have made similar comments.

      Not sure they explicitly authorized an FTE, but it sounded like everyone understood what they were doing.

      WCV

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    4. Thanks, WCV, but I didn't get that; I kept hearing half time employee, with respect to the vote. Also, in Lisa Shaffer's post CC meeting newsletter she states:

      "After many months of talk, we unanimously approved a pro-active `code compliance' program to step up our focus on alcohol-serving establishments, including authorization to devote a Code Enforcement officer half-time to this effort . . . "

      So, as one can understand, that is confusing, as to exactly what was voted upon. However, Lisa Shaffer later, in her newsletter, continues:

      "There is a half-time position vacant in the department due to a retirement, and the Council authorized an additional half position to enable the City to hire a full-time employee whose duties will include this pro-active compliance program."

      NOWHERE IN THE STAFF REPORT or in the comments made at the Council Meeting was it made clear to me that this was what was what Mark Muir's motion meant. I feel that Gus Vina, possibly through his pre-briefing of Council, and the assumptions they are all making based on that briefing, NOT necessarily what is delineated in the staff report, is once again overstepping what should be the City Manager's authority.

      From my perspective, Council's vote is being misinterpreted.

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  8. Lisa Shaffer has confirmed that the council is hiring a full time code enforcement officer -
    There is a half-time position vacant in the department due to a retirement, and the Council authorized an additional half position to enable the City to hire a full-time employee whose duties will include this pro-active compliance program.

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    1. Did Shaffer also confirm that after she told Logan Jenkins that once she had changed her mind on a $100K tax survey: Shaffer changed her mind again? Think Logan knows?

      Did Shaffer confirm that she had the city clerk remove her request for 'reconsideration' on the $100K for the tax survey from last night's agenda? Didn't hear her mention that last night?

      Did Shaffer confirm that now, once again, that she is 'for' expending the $100K for the survey?

      Did Shaffer confirm that she still agrees with Barth's tax increase plan?

      Did Shaffer also confirm that the council has made an overture to the school district over Pacific View that is so altered from its previous offer, that one could easily imagine EUSD canceling its 'auction?

      Did Shaffer confirm that there well might be a Special meeting of the EUSD district trustees tomorrow perhaps to cancel an 'auction'?

      Did Shaffer confirm that now there is no money left in the bank for any resurfacing of the city's streets? None?

      Will Shaffer confirm all of the above? Please let the public know if she confirms. An FTE is the least of the financial worries this city has.

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    2. 2:20 Very good questions and hope we get some answers.

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    3. Is Shaffer asleep at the wheel?

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    4. 1:45, again, NOWHERE IN THE STAFF REPORT or in the comments made at the Council Meeting was it made clear to me that this was what was what Mark Muir's motion meant. He did not say anything about hiring a full time employee! His only reference to hiring a HALF time employee for more proactive enforcement of existing regulations was that the money for doing so should come out of existing department funds.

      And again, I feel that Gus Vina, possibly through his pre-briefings of Council and staff, and the assumptions they are all making based on these briefings, where no CONCURRENCE is to be sought, and based on what was specifically delineated in the staff report, or by the Deputy Mayor's motion, is once again overstepping what should be the City Manager's authority. That is why any "briefing" about items currently under consideration by Council, should be made openly and transparently, so their is NO CONFUSION, and no sense that the public is again being hoodwinked.

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    5. Why is the city manager meeting frequently with each council member on a one-on-one basis? My sense is that he is feeding them a bunch of crap prior to council meetings in order to sway their vote to benefit what he wants. This should not be happening. No council member should be meeting alone with the city manager. This is a very sneaky way of operating and I don't think it is in the best interests of the public.

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    6. Vina is a weasel, working a weak and impressionable Council. He needs to be terminated or corralled.

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    7. ¡Vina el ratero fuera!

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  9. The same problems that exist downtown now with the bars and excessive noise, etc. will continue to go on and council will be hearing about these same problems a hear from now. The ordinance would have given "weight" to the problem, but since it was not approved, there will be continued problems. Thanks Council for NOT doing your job and letting us know that the bar owners are more important than the health and well being of the citizens who pay your salary.

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    1. There was evidence, provided by the Sheriff and Code Enforcement, that in the last year, complaints related to bars and excessive noise have decreased significantly.

      I do not favor more regulations being passed under the assumption that existing regulations would then have "more weight." Existing laws and regulations should be enforced. Also, the ambassadors, for the HA, that is their private safety patrol, should be re-evaluated, quarterly, along with the new half time employee's efforts, as to their effectiveness in continuing to significantly decrease complaints received.

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    2. The decrease is because you can't get through, they do everything to not file a report! I gave up several times and just realized it was futile to even try.

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    3. Try lodging a complaint, see how much time you waste even trying.

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    4. The decrease is due to frustration of people making futile attempts to get action so they have frankly given up. That definitely has improved their statistics and seems like all is well, well in actuality, all is NOT well.

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    5. As Lisa Shaffer also says in her current newsletter: 'To me it's no different that our current code enforcement efforts."

      If the DAO is no different than current efforts, then there is no reason to enact a superfluous ordinance. Also, the one which staff reported in El Cajon, as a comparison, is significantly different, in that it regulates alcohol providing establishments, such as liquor stores, not alcohol serving establishments. That El Cajon ordinance is being litigated.

      When I looked at the State Board of Equilization's webpage, it occurs that there are 83 "tax jurisdictions" in San Diego County. I believe this webpage was referring only to cities, not the County, itself. I was attempting to look up numbers relevant to the new tax proposed, which Lisa Shaffer apparently is vacillating about, but which sales tax increases the majority of residents don't support, although we do support preserving Pacific View in the public domain, and addressing unfunded pension liabilities and deferred road maintenance. By cutting back on operating expenses, we could address all of these looming issues.

      Moreover, out of those 83 cities listed, are we to understand that only El Cajon has any kind of DAO, but a DIFFERENT deemed approved ordinance, which is not being enforced while it is being litigated?

      San Luis Obispo has a population of how many? I think it is preferable to use "Comps" from North County or San Diego County. There are reasons no other jurisdictions in San Diego County have passed a similar DAO. Perhaps it is because existing rules and regulations, when enforced, are sufficient.

      I do care, tremendously, about maintaining citizens' quality of life. Many of the complaints detailed at numerous Council Meetings have been about inappropriate street behavior, which may be related to alcohol, but are not necessarily related to alcohol serving establishments, in particular.

      Laws against public intoxication, deification, urination, littering, should all be enforced. Loud voices in the street at 9:30 at night, as one public speaker last night reported, are sometimes part of city living, even in relatively small cities. Many times these loud voices, locally, are generated from street people, not bar & restaurant patrons, or are created by sometimes unruly teens and young adult house parties, from people leaving, or going to the parties. It is truly unfortunate that some residents are disturbed, but we know we are not living in a more rural area, here, as in parts of Olivenhain.

      The Planning Dept. and Council have the discretion to review permits for expansion and/or initiation of existing or new businesses.

      A primary concern must be addressing the lack of parking infrastructure, downtown, which was created, in great part, by previous Council's granting a development permit for Pacific Station, without sufficiently addressing parking needs, including the lost parking spaces on the street, and the fact that not enough underground parking was provided for all the retail stores, the restaurants, the offices and the condos built by John DeWald's development company. Perhaps a new fee should be added to developers of large projects to help facilitate more parking in the City of Encinitas, particularly when many projects are being allowed with unrealistically low amounts of parking spaces.

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  10. Gaspar is more concerned with bar owners than residents.

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    1. She only looks good after a 6 pack....make that a 12 pack....

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    2. Whoa that would take 3 cases!

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    3. The poor woman seems to have permanently congested sinuses. Have some sympathy!

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    4. Does her sinus problem contribute to her looking like she is crossed-eyed? Just wondering.

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    5. She the human chameleon - she is retro-evolving from Wonder Woman to the reptilian raptor - she has her eye (or eyes) on you!!!
      Should work for the NSA!

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    6. giddidy giggidy!

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    7. Ever notice that there are no flies in the Council Chamber????

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  11. Thanks to the very eloquent speaker who retired from the city because of the problems that exist. People are leaving for a reason. Can we guess what the reason is? I think the speaker pointed out who the problem is --- the little man who sits next to Barth. Get rid of this guy. We are losing good people.

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    1. Yes, she did an amazing job, as did CJ Minster, the week before, during oral communications.

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    1. Realistically, there is no time for a recall and no need, because people will be able to vote whether or not to elect Teresa Barth or Kristin Gaspar in November, anyway. less than eight months from now!

      My opinion, we need to focus on the General Election, and give the three Councilmembers not up for reelection some further time to understand what the public wants and needs, as opposed to what the City Manager is pushing on us through diversionary and stalling tactics of the Strategic Plan, which has already been formulated, and for which current public meetings, public speakers have even more limited opportunities to comment.

      Meetings drag on and on, but the public's participation is currently strictly limited to 30 minutes, by Mayor Barth, with no opportunities for oral communications. But according to the Brown Act, because of the notice given, these Strategic Planning Meetings ARE CONSIDERED REGULARLY SCHEDULED MEETINGS. Oral Communications should be allowed, and have been, in the past, at some so-called "special" Council Meetings.

      Teresa Barth is improperly using the Brown Act in an attempt to limit public participation at City Council Meetings, just as she did when she and Lisa Shaffer attempted to do away with time donations at the initial Policy and Protocol Ad Hoc Subcommittee meeting, at which I was the only member of the public present.

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    2. Dump Barth and Gaspar.

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  13. Sorry Lynn ,this item was voted on by the full council IT PASSED 5 0 including your new BFF'S Muir and Gaspar and yes the voted no on your new fav Pacific Veiw .

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    1. You ARE INCORRECT 3:25. Council voted to NOW authorize hiring a new HALF time position for more proactive enforcement of regulations related to alcohol serving establishments. Please show me in Mark Muir's motion where he Council was thereby authorizing hiring another FULL TIME code enforcement officer.

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    2. Can I ask, because I applied...is the City of Encinitas a bad place to work for? Do or would any of you do this job there. I applied but now am worried about leaving a job to go to another and it not be secure and the citizens automatically hating me without knowing me or the actual job?

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    3. 2:51,

      A recent retiree spoke at city council and said that Gus Vina is driving a lot of people out by creating hostile work conditions.

      The public aren't angry at individual employees who do their jobs responsibly, but pay and pensions are a legitimate concern especially as the city is too broke to maintain the roads.

      The pay and benefits are great. I would not discourage anyone from applying. Hopefully management will be changed after another election cycle or two.

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  14. If they actually wanted to, they could create the position as a night time position. Many people work nights including law enforcement officers and even judges. If they are going to offer this new person full-time, we should get the maximum benefit for what they are getting paid. They need to work when and where they are needed.

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    1. They just refuse to catch on.

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  15. I believe we already pay millions of dollars for enforcement to the sherrifs department. Rather than hold then hold the Sherriff department accountable the council instead chose to stick it to taxpayers and again follow VIna's lead.

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    1. Vina wanted to give more time to the officers to sip their coffee at Starbucks.

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  16. Wow, if you missed it, watch oral communications from last night's council meeting for the woman who skewered the City for its malfeasance during the past General Plan update, the woman who raked Vina over the coals for his poor management and the men who exposed the ugly truth about Peak Democracy.

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    1. She did a GREAT job, as did CJ Minster, during last week's oral communications. I believe CJ was the first speaker.

      I am so grateful when former employees, and sometimes, former Commissioners, come forward to share with us what is actually going on, behind the scenes.

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  17. That lady is the talk of the town! An insider who had Vina drawn & quartered. Guy sounds like a real leader, get rid of him now.

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  18. The former employee who used to do payroll is a hero to the city. Maybe others will come forward, too. Many have speculated that they have been forced to do some of the things that they do that make no sense. It sounds like Gus is a control freak and makes life hell for anyone who has ethics and professional standards that he lacks.

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    1. Maybe the Coast News will ask that former employee to write a weekly column about how the City is (mis)managed.

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    2. Plenty more material where that came from, no doubt.

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    3. You know Gus is a little cuban Napoleon, right?

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    4. That is being too generous! Some compare him to a miniature Scarface--especially when he tried to bring attention to his dark pinstripe suit, his dark shirt and tie which he talked about in a meeting. All that was missing were the white shoes and white belt to show how classy he really is.

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  19. Lynn
    I am so sorry you don't get this , the council voted 3 to 2 Muir and Gaspar againest for Pacific View and 5 to 0 for the oral comm policy .It's sad you don't get this.Your hate for the city come through,does it have anything to do with the lien they hold against your property ?.Court ordered.

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    1. You are again incorrect, 7:19. I'm sorry you don't get this.

      I am glad for Council's action. As I wrote them, earlier today:

      Thank you for your time and consideration. I also am grateful for Council's vote last night on Pacific View, although I understand Kristin Gaspar and Mark Muir's hesitation to continue negotiating with someone, EUSD Superintendent Tim Baird, who has not shown good faith to the public or to our duly elected officials in the City of Encinitas. I also resonate with the Deputy Mayor and Councilwoman Gaspar's desires that the negotiation process could be more open, [something not mentioned in Lisa Shaffer's most recent newsletter. Kristin Gaspar also stated she and Mark Muir agree that Pacific View is a legacy property.]

      But my top priority is for Pacific View to remain in the public domain. If the District continues to fail to negotiate, after a significantly higher offer, then the City should immediately, and more seriously consider Eminent Domain, also taking into account the Naylor Act, because our wish is that at least 30% of the school site would be maintained as community gardens and open space, for shared public use with the arts and learning center. Also the District's failure, over the years, to abide by the terms of Education Code with respect to the Naylor Act has wrongfully increased what the District is alleging is "fair market value" of the entire property, and therefore artificially inflates the price that Baird feels he is entitled to ask the City, or any potential bidder, to pay, as a one time injection of funds.

      Baird also misrepresents that these funds could go into EUSD's General Fund. An important goal of Council's terms submitted with its confidential bid, should be that the land would remain in the public domain, in perpetuity, should the City's bid be accepted. This is the public's uncontroverted desire.

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  20. what did they do to oral communication policy?!

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  21. They twisted the oral communications policy; the mayor has been disallowing oral communications at Strategic Planning Meetings, because they are special meetings. But the Brown Act defines special meetings as those with only time for 24 hour notice, and regular meetings as those with 72 hour notice, as the Strategic Planning Meetings have. The public should be allowed oral communications, on non-agenda items, at all meetings that receive at least 72 hours notice.

    Oral Communications are to be about non-agenda items. People wishing to speak about agenda items, such as Pacific View, last Wednesday night, for the 3/12 CC Mtg., can ask for an agenda item to be moved up, under "changes to the calendar," which is a separate agenda item, on all regular Council Meeting agendas.

    PV did not have to be last on the agenda, yesterday night, but as it worked out, the closed session did bring good results. I have attended a Coastal Commission Meeting, where the meeting was opened, then the Commissioners went into closed session, for about twenty minutes, then came back for the rest of the open CCC Meeting.

    By having separate closed sessions before the meeting, or trailing the closed session, afterwards, the Mayor is encouraging overly long closed sessions, when, for real property negotiations, only price and terms of payment can be discussed. However, as I said, I'm very grateful that the majority did agree to a higher bid. I sincerely hope that the Board of Trustees will be reasonable, compassionate, and financially prudent and accept this increased offer, if the City offers to keep the property in public/semi-public zoning, in perpetuity.

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    1. 8:32
      "Yesternight" is a forgotten word that might save space I think everyone would still understand. Don't know about yesteryou and yesterme, Stevie Wonder.

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  22. I don't know if any one else has noticed this, but at Council meetings when they address each other, it is councilperson Shaffer, Gaspar, etc. When the Council addresses the city manager, they all call him "Gus" which indicates to me they have a "real buddy" relationship with him. I find this to be in bad taste in a televised, formal public council setting. They should address him as City Manager. Same situation in addressing the City Attorney. They should not be calling him "Glenn" in this kind of setting.

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    1. They're saps being played. I think they are afraid of being exposed as uninformed, which they are. So they act chummy with the con men. Sad....

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  23. Professional behavior runs deep in Mayberry.

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  24. 9:59-

    Who cares. I just wish they would make logical decisions and fire lame ass Guss considering he is bankrupt us just like Stockton and Sacramento.

    Sad Sac has to go!!!

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  25. "Gus," and "Glenn" are in charge of the Council. "Gus" makes Barth think that he reports to her because he hands her the scissors when she gets ready to cut ribbons. Aside from that, "Gus" runs the show.

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  26. Opening for a full time position for a code enforcement officer now listed on the city website.

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    1. Um wow I applied for the full - time Code Enforcement position but hearing all this scares me. Is the City of Encinitas not a good place to work for?

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