Thursday, December 31, 2015

Rail Trail supporters respond

From the Inbox:
I am writing to set the record straight on the planned Cardiff Rail Trail after Encinitas City Council members Kristin Gaspar and Mark Muir recently wrote a letter about why they voted "No" on the Cardiff Rail Trail (which passed the Council 3-2 in May of 2015).

I am a member of the "Friends of the Cardiff Rail Trail", a group that supports the new trail along with the proposed at-grade railroad and road crossing at Montgomery Street. I created the yesrailtrail.com web site and its new sister site cardiffrailtrail.com.

While I respect Gaspar and Muir for going on the record with their opinions and the rationale for their vote, I am compelled to respond to some of the inaccuracies and scare tactics in their letter.

First of all, contrary to what Gaspar and Muir assert, the rail trail project enjoys a great deal of support in Encinitas. I know this because we have a list of nearly 900 supporters that grows every day. We have hundreds of strongly supportive emails, posts, and comments that are all attributable to actual residents (and these are not the automated form letters that Gaspar and Muir cite as overwhelming evidence of opposition). We also recently conducted an online non-partisan survey about the trail that was surfaced to 15,000 Encinitas residents and garnered several hundred responses. The bottom line from the survey is that Encinitas as a whole supports the trail with its east-side alignment by more than 2:1 and the community of Cardiff is in favor of it as well (albeit by a smaller margin than the rest of the city).

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Gaspar and Muir respond to Cardiff neighbors' Rail Trail concerns

An e-mail from Mayor Gaspar and Councilman Muir to a group of residents who met with them about the Rail Trail:
The Coastal Rail Trail project is not new; it was originally envisioned in the late 1980s. Several prior councils recognized the negative impacts this project would have on our coastal community and, as a result, did not support it.

While some focus on the limited benefits of this project, such as encouraging people out of their cars and onto bikes, they fail to recognize the negative impacts associated with the project for the Cardiff community.

A primary reason citizens oppose this project is the change it would bring to this iconic area. The Cardiff rail corridor is the last undeveloped piece of coastal habitat in the area. It is an open space with a natural path and sandstone formations that is used regularly by joggers, pedestrians, dog walkers, children and cyclists. The rail corridor also provides parking to countless Encinitas beachgoers and those who stop to watch the sun set over Swami’s. The proposed project will pave over the natural path and line it with a 4 foot fence. It will also dramatically reduce beach parking. These changes dramatically alter the character and charm of this beach town community in an area where people frequently visit or have invested millions of dollars to buy property, presuming it would remain relatively untouched by development. As such, we believe that the Cardiff rail corridor should be preserved for current and future generations of Encinitas residents rather than developed.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

To converse or not to converse, that is the question

From the Inbox:
This article "Council signals hesitant support for ‘community conversations’" was in last Friday's Coast News.

Of note is Shaffer's quote: “I am tentatively supportive, but reserve final commitment until I see what the content is, because it could go either way.” One has to wonder whether her "could go either way" comment stemmed from the result of the recent forum she held with Mark Muir. Things there certainly did not go Shaffer/Muir's way if they were hoping to talk people into a HEU "yes" vote next year. HCD admitted to the crowd that affordable housing was not possible without (nonexistent) State subsidies and Habitat for Humanity said they could build homes but only on donated land.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Parks & Rec Commissioner Mosca's former Sierra Madre constituents still avidly follow his career

Joe Mosca must have made a real impression on Sierra Madre during his brief time as council member and mayor there. Years later, an update on the re-launch of his political career in Encinitas immediately draws more than 50 comments.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Late night driver driving away from downtown 101 inexplicably hits trees, rolls over

CBS 8:
Sheriff's deputies say the driver was heading north on Coast Highway 101 shortly after midnight when he hit two small trees on the side of the road.

The collision caused the truck to rollover on its roof.

At this time, it's unclear what caused the accident or whether alcohol was involved.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

El Callejon closing

Long-time local favorite Mexican restaurant El Callejon has lost its lease and is leaving Moonlight Plaza at the end of January. The restaurant will reportedly open a new location in the Rancho Santa Fe village.

HT: EU commenters.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Drunks of Encinitas

Sunday night DUI checkpoint catches two more drunk drivers in Encinitas' late night drunk district.

Wrong-way driver in fatal crash was Encinitas resident. The guy drove the wrong way on I-5 all the way from the Mexican border to Encinitas before killing two people. David Elmore, 29, had previous addresses both in Pacific Beach and at the Quail Pointe apartments at 924 Encinitas Boulevard. Elmore's Facebook page lists him as a bartender at Seasons 52, a chain restaurant chain with locations in La Jolla and downtown San Diego.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

SANDAG and CalTrans announce public Rail Trail meeting January 26

From the Inbox:


The meeting is about a number of changes to the plans for the I-5 and 101 area in North County, but most of the significant changes are about the Rail Trail and parking at train stations. More information about the changes can be found here.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Carlsbad moving forward to underground tracks while Encinitas focuses resources on $3 million lifeguard tower, $10 million abandoned school, and $100,000 early retirement pensions for city workers

Read all about it in the Seaside Courier:
Now, the city appears to be bent on making up for lost time with a series of out-of-the-box conceptual ideas in the new draft master plan for the downtown Village and Barrio — including undergrounding the train tracks with either roadway or a park on top.

[...]

The city is holding a series of meetings to present the draft master plan to the public for input. An “open house” for the public to view the plan was scheduled to be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 15-16 [...]

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

12/16/15 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.

Methheads caught following Amazon truck to steal Christmas presents

Christmas brings out the best in some people. The worst in others.

Yesterday brought news of the Walmart layaway Santa. Today we learn about the other end of the spectrum of humanity.

Times of San Diego:
The Sheriff’s department have arrested a man and woman who followed an Amazon.com truck in Encinitas on Tuesday and stole packages on its delivery route.

The truck was driving in Encinitas at about 3 pm, when its driver noticed it was being followed by a Dodge Charger, according to a news statement from the San Diego Sheriff’s department.

The driver then noticed one of the car’s occupants would get out of the car and take packages after he dropped them off, said the Sheriff’s department.

After observing this, the driver called 9-1-1 and kept their dispatcher updated, according to the Sheriff’s department. The deputies were then able to locate the vehicle and arrest the occupants.
The Walmart Santa was a local. The Amazon Grinches were from San Diego.

UPDATE: The thieves achieved international fame due to their carefully considered to-do list:



Audrey: I wouldn't hire this one if I were you.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Santa comes early to Walmart

10 News:
The woman showed up at the store on Leucadia Boulevard Friday night with her husband and young daughter. She was wearing a shirt that said 'Blessed' and she paid off $9,000 worth of layaway accounts for nearly 50 customers. She asked to remain anonymous.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Housing forum open thread

There could be fireworks at tonight's housing forum at the library. Some of the Prop A folks are on the panel, while the council's current plans would remove Prop A's public right to vote on upzoning.

Please post observations in the comments from your smartphone if you're there.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

12/9/15 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.

Lily is 4 Kook


Happy Birthday, Lily!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Coast Highway undermined at lagoon



Union-Trib:
Recent extreme tidal conditions appear to have eaten away part of the sandy bluff that supports Coast Highway 101, forcing the city of Encinitas to launch an emergency repair effort this week.

Two sections of the bluff on the east side of the highway, just south of the bridge and along the lagoon inlet channel, have eroded away, city Public Works Director Glenn Pruim said Monday. The larger of the two spots is 30 feet long and about eight feet deep, but it's the other, slightly smaller section that's even more worrisome, he added.

That's because erosion in that area has actually started undercutting the roadway, and the city has had to close one of the two northbound vehicle traffic lanes, he said.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Housing forum this Thursday

From the Inbox:
Dear Friends and Neighbors:

Two of our Council members, Lisa Shaffer and Mark Muir, are hosting and moderating an important Housing Forum to address the question of how Encinitas can achieve a certified Housing Element.

The Forum will be held on Thursday, December 10, 7:00-9:00 pm at the Encinitas Library (540 Cornish Drive) in the community room. The proposed agenda is as follows:

7:00 - 7:30 pm: Informal mingling and snacks

7:30 - 7:35 pm: Introduction/Welcome (Muir & Shaffer)

7:35 - 7:40 pm: Status of Housing Element Update (Muir & Shaffer)

7:40 - 8:30 pm: Presentations (10 minutes each) and Q & A
California Housing and Community Development Department (agency that implements housing law and certifies housing plans) - Glen Campora, Ass’t Deputy Director
Community representatives - C. J. Minster, Susan Turney, and Gerald Sodomka
Shea Homes (develops market-rate housing) - Paul Barnes
Chelsea Investments and Habitat for Humanity (develop affordable housing) - Matt Grosz (Chelsea investments) and Lori Hold Pfeiler (Habitat for Humanity)

8:30 - 9:00 pm: Informal mingling

We urge you to make a valiant effort to attend. We are hoping for a good turnout, so please come early enough to get a seat.

Thanks for taking an interest in the future of Encinitas.

C.J. Minster, Jerry Sodomka, and Susan Turney

Thursday, December 3, 2015

BMW dealer stacking car inventory all over town

Back in October, Encinitas Undercover received the following e-mail:
BMW Dealer is using Fitness Evolution Gym Parking Lot @ 720 Garden View Court, Encinitas (former Frog's gym) to store its stock.

Filed a complaint with the City on Sept 18, given the run around...

Code Enforcement says its been bumped up to Planning. Its been over a month. Planning is unresponsive.
There was indeed a number of new BMWs filling the east side of the parking lot.   720 Garden View is reportedly owned by a well-known, politically connected developer, which could account for the lack of city action.

Investigating further, we found another surreptitious stockyard: the old Re/Max office parking lot east of Brett's BBQ on Encinitas Boulevard had been converted into BMW storage.

Is it against city code to use retail and office parking lots to store dealer inventory? We don't know, but as the city seems to have a rule and require a permit for just about everything businesses or residents want to do, we suspect there's a code against this.

Now this in the Coast News:
The city of Encinitas has come down hard on a local car dealership that constructed an overflow inventory lot on a vacant lot in New Encinitas over the Thanksgiving weekend without city permission.

The city issued a stop-work order and seven citations this week to Encinitas BMW, which put up the parking lot over Thanksgiving weekend, prompting residents along Quail Gardens Drive, who questioned whether a car lot could legally be constructed on the land, to complain to local officials.

City staff quickly validated neighbors concerns: the dealership constructed the lot without any city permits.

“Doing so was in violation of a lot of regulations,” acting planning director Manjeet Ranu wrote in an email to city officials. “What BMW of Encinitas did is unacceptable. Staff’s approach will be very strong to compel compliance and remediation.”

As of Thursday morning, Encinitas BMW had removed the cars from the property.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Kook Nativity scene featured in new Christmas in San Diego book

2013's inspired Kook Nativity scene, and the subsequent Grinching, are included in the new Christmas in San Diego by author Bill Swank.



The book can be purchased here on Amazon, or you can get an even better price ($15, or $12.50 each for 5+ copies) direct from the author who will be adjacent to the Christmas dioramas at the Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park this Sunday, December 6, from 12:00-2:00 PM.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Target of Olivenhain SWAT raid sentenced to counseling on misdemeanor charges

San Diego Reader:
On the day set for her misdemeanor trial, Anastasia Kirkeby, 50, a woman plagued by multiple drug-related arrests at her home in Encinitas, made a plea deal and was ordered to get counseling. That hearing was on November 10.

[...]

[Prosecutor Melissa] Ocampo had charged Kirkeby with two misdemeanors: under the influence of meth, and resisting, delaying, and obstructing a police officer.

Papers found in the court file suggest that Ocampo was having trouble coming up with “material witnesses.”
Kirkeby's house was the subject of a spectacular SWAT raid last December, and later was severely damaged in a fatal fire.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Cardiff Rail Trail supporters respond

Earlier this month we heard from Cardiff Rail Trail opponents. This week trail advocates respond. From the Inbox:
Many of us are just waking up to the well orchestrated campaign by the opponents to the Cardiff Rail Trail. There is a sudden blitz of posts on Nextdoor, a discussion on this blog, a web site that generates automated emails to the City Council, and a flurry of articles and op-end pieces.

I am dismayed by the sudden explosion of activity. Those of us that support the rail trail on the east side of San Elijo feel like we've fought this battle already in an extensive series of public meetings which were widely advertised and well attended.

Now we see this attempt to reverse a decision that a vocal minority didn't like. These very loud voices claim to represent a groundswell of opposition to the project. That isn't right. They don't represent the whole community, they are late to the party, and their arguments are biased and one sided.

There is a lot of misinformation that has gone unchallenged for too long. The web site, posts, and op-ed pieces are based on highly biased, inaccurate, and often incomplete data. The strident tone is very reminiscent of the debate we had at the time the proposals were first being considered; back then we felt like we were actually being bullied in some of the public meetings by these folks.

Those of us who love the current plan for the trail are not organized and have been slow to respond to the ambush. However, a few of us have put up a web site with the facts (clearing up some of the fog that our opponents have woven around the issue). Please check out yesrailtrail.com (and if you wouldn't mind, also post as a resource like you did with the web site with the opposing point of view).

Many of us are still hugely supportive of the vision for the east side rail trail. We can't wait for the trail to be built in 2017.

As envisioned, the rail trail will link our community with Cardiff's market area and with downtown Encinitas. It fits beautifully with the other projects in the surrounding area, including the Santa Fe Pedestrian Underpass (thank you for that), the Chesterfield intersection re-vamp, and the Montgomery at-grade crossing. The coordinated development happening here is a rare example of a tapestry of improvements that will level up the whole area. These projects all complement each other.

The alternative that was discussed for the rail trail - which was to expand the existing bike lanes on 101 - will keep the Santa Fe underpass isolated from the majority of pedestrian traffic flow, create a mess on Second Street in Encinitas where the trail hits the city, and leave San Elijo Avenue in a state that's far from ideal.

We are so tired of dodging cars when we try to walk along San Elijo Avenue to Seaside Market or downtown Encinitas from our house... it's aggravating and dangerous given that drivers who are parking are often paying more attention to traffic on San Elijo than pedestrians who trying to walk through what is effectively their parking lot. Also, pedestrians are often forced out into the road with speeding traffic because cars - and large pickup trucks - park at 90 degrees rather than at a slant or parallel. Finally, the area is just not pedestrian friendly or pretty.

We need the trail on the east side of the road. We're thrilled about the plan and are counting the days until construction starts.

We understand that the white-hot issue of the fence along the tracks and the plan for the rail trail are not linked in the way the opponents would like us to believe (this is their #1 argument against the trail). With or without the trail, NCTD will eventually have to fence off the tracks at some point to reduce the potential for fatalities caused by people trying to cross the tracks illegally. This is a major safety issue. The problem will only get worse as rail traffic increases, especially with the double-tracking project reaching completion in the coming years. Fencing off the tracks is a foregone conclusion and is coming whether we like it or not; better to have it accompanied by a delightful rail trail that connects our community together and makes San Elijo a walkable and bike-able corridor.

I hope you hear more from those of us who haven't yet spoken up... who are just becoming aware of what seems like an ambush by trail opponents.

Thanks,

Mike Verdu
Proud Cardiff Resident

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Encinitas $100,000 Pension Club membership rises to 13

When we previously checked in on Encinitas' pension elites, there were four big swingers pulling in more than $100,000 per year in 2010.

That list doubled to eight in 2012.

Last year, Encinitas' tony $100,000 club hit 13, with two more scratching at the door collecting more than $99,000. Transparent California:

Name Pension Years ofService Year ofRetirement
Mark Muir $181,936.56 34.11 2011
Donald G Heiser $159,274.80 33.79 2006
Joseph W Bunn $154,836.00 31.02 2010
Jeffrey S Henry $151,155.24 33 2013
Talmadge F Tufts $127,270.56 33.35 2005
Darlene R Hill $111,573.96 36.26 2009
Robert M Romero $109,443.00 35.1 2009
David L Moore $104,875.68 31.73 2007
Charles Essex $102,499.92 31.27 2014
Darrin R Ward $102,011.76 21.26 2014
John C Gonzales $101,330.52 29.9 2014
Tom Henie $101,104.80 33.69 2010
Thomas E Curriden $100,975.44 31.59 2013


Former fire chief and current councilman Mark Muir is the undisputed champion, pulling in $181,936.  Talmadge Tufts and Donald Heiser have already collected more than a million dollars each, and with Encinitas' young retirement age, some of these folks will be collecting this every year for decades.

Meanwhile, CalPERS continues to fail miserably in its investments, meaning they'll be taking more and more money from Encinitas each and every year to keep these fatcats rolling in the green.  Encinitas already spends more on employee pensions than on maintaining its underfunded roads.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Cardiff man dies in Carlsbad helicopter crash

Fox 5:
The county Medical Examiner’s Office has identified the two men killed in a helicopter crash at McClellan-Palomar Airport late Wednesday afternoon as 65-year-old pilot Bruce Allen Erickson of Rancho Santa Fe and 60- year-old passenger Wayne Frank Lewis of Cardiff-by-the-Sea. The helicopter crashed and caught fire as the pair were practicing landings.
Lewis was a realtor at Berkshire Hathaway, an aviation enthusiast and cyclist.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

11/18/15 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, November 16, 2015

Encinitas Goat Buster prevails; Kranz, Blakespear back down on backyard livestock proposal

Encinitas Advocate:
A subcommittee tasked with updating Encinitas agriculture rules is no longer in favor of relaxing residential livestock buffers, which would have made it easier to raise chickens or goats without special permitting.

The subcommittee at its Nov. 12 meeting voiced support for maintaining current city livestock setbacks — the distance chicken coops and goat pens must be kept from neighboring homes.
See earlier: "Encinitas Goat Buster" Facebook campaign backfires

Friday, November 13, 2015

Grassroots campaign against the Coastal Rail Trail

From the Inbox:
This note just went out today [Nov 10] notifying a group of residents opposed to the Coastal Rail Trail that an Internet-based campaign is underway to stop it.

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

I emailed many of you more than a month ago to let you know that I was working on a website that will help give voice to the many folks in our community who are opposed to the Coastal Rail Trail as envisioned by three members of our Encinitas City Council. What I thought would take another week or two at that time is just now up and live. My apologies for the delay.

The website address is www.norailtrail.com. I urge you to notify others in our community who share our concerns about the Coastal Rail Trail by forwarding this email and/or the www.norailtrail.com site address. If we can each reach 10 people, and those recipients each reach 10 more, we will amplify our voice into the thousands. Most people in our community and the areas surrounding do not even know about the Coastal Rail Trail, and this is an easy way to spread the word.

The site is presently designed to inform the public about the Coastal Rail Trail, but its power comes from you and your friends, neighbors and contacts visiting the site and inputing your contact details into the fields on the site. Please be advised that by doing so, form letters will be sent in your name and with your address to the political actors involved in this project. The list of recipients is long -- all Encinitas City Council members, involved parties at SANDAG, all voting commissioners at the California Coastal Commission, and most of the editors of our local print news. Being on the receiving end of what I hope amounts to hundreds, if not thousands, of email letters from concerned citizens may get a bit annoying, but these individuals and institutions are here to serve the public, and we are the public most directly affected. We have a right to speak and be heard by our representatives.

Thank you in advance for lending your good name and contact details in helping correct a willful and wrong-headed policy by bureaucrats seeking to impose changes that fail to meet community needs and impose numerous negative impacts for the sake of a small but vocal few. There's a better way to achieve multi-modal transportation in our community that leaves a smaller footprint and doesn't alter the natural public land left along our coast, and the Coastal Rail Trail as envisioned is not the answer. Please use www.norailtrail.com to let our politicians know.

Best regards,

Joe A.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

City Housing campaign just a ruse to overturn Prop A?

According to documents uncovered by the local Waves to Ride blog, the city's proposed General Plan update would eviscerate Prop A, remove the public's right to vote on upzoning, and return to the 4/5 council supermajority standard for zoning changes.

Waves to Ride Blog:
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 while maintaining a quorum.

Comments: Chapter 30.00 referenced above is the Encinitas Right to Vote Amendment. In other words, Proposition A. It was passed by the voters through a special election ballot on June 18, 2013 and subsequently incorporated within the Encinitas Municipal Code.

K2 above guts Proposition A. It takes from the people the right to vote on any amendments that might invoke Proposition A and are needed to certify the Housing Element or Local Coastal Program. It gives that vote to the City Council.

Olivenhain burglar caught on video

Nice... burglarizing a widow during her husband's funeral.

Do you know this man?

Sunday, November 8, 2015

"Encinitas Goat Buster" Facebook campaign backfires

In the wake of the recent "barnyard" robocalls against Blakespear, Kranz, and Shaffer's plan to allow farm animals in suburban Encinitas, someone going by the name of "Encinitas Goat Buster" (apparently a close relation of Encinitas Goof uster) has set up a Facebook page to warn about the coming chickens, goats and bees. The page's posts showed up as "Sponsored" in Encinitans' Facebook feeds, meaning the Goat Buster was paying Facebook to promote the posts.

The campaign seems to have missed its target; most of the comments on the post are supportive of suburban agriculture. A sampling:
You can already have chickens in Encinitas (there are rules) just no roosters. Most chicken owners I know keep their coops cleaner than the dog parks.

[...]

Also, did you know that Olivenhain, Leucadia, and Cardiff are part of Encinitas? Olivenhain already allows livestock and bees. Methinks you just may have a beef with these city council members and are trying to find some poopie to stir up.

[...]

I live in village park and my next door neighbors have chickens. Not a problem

[...]

Seeing as how San Diego County has MORE small farms than any COUNTRY [sic] IN THE NATION, it makes pretty much sense. We are a GARDEN CITY. Agriculture is in our roots. Animals are an integral part of that system.

[...]

I grew up here and we had goats, cows, horse and chickens... I was in the 4-H… And showed my animals at the Del Mar fair....i loved it, and so did all of my friends.... I bet my food was way more organic than whole foods....

[...]

I live in encinitas and have chickens people should not get into ppls business and just let them pluck there chickens

[...]

Bring it back. I want the old flavor of Encinitas and Leucadia to dominate. Tate Sanderson's family had chickens, peacocks and geese. Aside from the ocasional attacks it's was totally cool.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

How many lives have been lost all these years because our lifeguard tower was too small?

Former mayor Teresa Barth's newsletter on the council's new $3 million lifeguard tower:
Encinitas unveils plans for new lifeguard tower This will significantly improve public safety at the beach and along the coastline.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Encinitas Smog bites the dust

San Diego Reader:
For the third time this year, another Coast Highway 101 building in Encinitas’ downtown is scheduled for demolition.

Encinitas Smog, at 682 South Coast Highway, has lost its long-term lease, says owner Alex Stanton. He expects to be out of business by next June if the property owner’s plans get approved.

The other two buildings — the former Villa Mar Motel at the corner of Coast Hwy. and West I Street, already demolished, along with the former Coast Furniture building at 850 South Coast Hwy. — will bring new mixed-use commercial/residential. None of the buildings were considered so historic that they were worth fighting to save.

The planned two-story, 30-foot-high structures will help push the changing face of downtown's ten-block length.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Vina pushes tax increase in Brentwood

Contra Costa Times:
In a push to solve the agency's long-standing financial troubles, directors of the East Contra Costa Fire District agreed Monday to the idea of reopening a fourth station next year as well as proposing another tax measure.

In a split vote, board members accepted these recommendations from a multi-jurisdictional task force that has spent nearly the past 4½ months brainstorming both temporary fixes and long-term solutions to the district's crippling shortage of firefighters and the stations to house them.

"We have a broken system," said Brentwood City Manager Gus Vina, who established the 10-member group that represents Brentwood, Oakley and the county as well as firefighters themselves.
Was Vina the instigator behind the failed Barth-Shaffer-Kranz tax hike? Will Vina call in Lew Edwards as an impartial arbiter of residents' opinions?

Monday, November 2, 2015

Second surfer death at Swami's in a week

The Coast News:
Only a few days after one local surfer was found dead while surfing at Swami’s Beach, another local surfer, a 57-year-old woman, died Monday morning surfing the same spot.

Joy Froding, a Cardiff-by-the-Sea resident, was out surfing with friends at Swami’s Beach when she suffered medical distress in the water and lost consciousness, according the Capt. Larry Giles of the Encinitas Lifeguards.
U-T:
Joy Ann Froding was sitting on her board after riding “one of the best waves of her life” when she felt a pain in her chest, friends and authorities said. She told other surfers she was with that she didn’t feel well, and then she collapsed.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

City releases proposed high density standards

Let's go to 3 stories and 38 feet high!

While the map page of the document is left blank, two maps discussed in February are here and here. The "ready-made" map was designed by staff, while the "build-your-own" map was designed using input from the discredited and defunct Peak Democracy site.

Carjacking at Oggi's

Union-Trib:
The victim was outside Oggi’s Pizza and Brewing Company on Encinitas Boulevard, near Saxony Road, when he was approached by a man with a silver revolver about 6:10 p.m., Lt. Jim Walker said.

The man demanded the victim’s car and took off in his black Hyundai Sonata. It has a California license of 7NQY467, Walker said. The victim was not injured.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Surfer Kenny Mann found dead at Swami's

Fox 5:
Someone called the Sheriff's department around 5:10 a.m. after finding the body of a man in a wet suit face down on the beach next to a broken surfboard. Sheriff's deputies and paramedics were sent to the scene at the 1300 block of South Coast Highway 101. The man was pronounced dead around 5:40 a.m. Technicians from the county Medical Examiner's Office were also at the scene.

The surfer was not taken to the hospital. It was unclear what caused his death.

This week's high surf may have contributed to the man's death, Encinitas Lifeguard Capt. Larry Giles said.
Update: Surfer identified as Kenny Mann.

And now for something completely different

From the Inbox, from the Encinitas Citizens Committee (downtown residents group):
​The City Council Meeting last night ​brought encouraging results. Three members voted to have the ​new Sheriff Department ​Captain research ways to continue the 2-deputy patrol ​on foot downtown from​ ​​his existing staff and two members voted for hiring a new Deputy. In the case of a new hire, all 5 members of the City Council must agree [actually, a 3-2 majority would suffice].

​Another piece of good news is that Encinitas​'s new Captain Maryon will head up the Encinitas Sheriff's Department. He has worked ​a beat ​in Encinitas in the past and so is "hitting the ground running." He ​is eager to continue ​former ​Captain Hydar's 2-deputy team and will be working on ways to show City Council how that can take place -- both with and without a new hire. Either way, it's a win/win situation for the Encinitas Citizens Committee.

Also good news is the City's hire of Karen Burst who is now the City Manager. She impressed us as someone who will have an emphasis on public input, and will meet with citizens to listen to their concerns. The ECC will schedule a meeting with her soon.

We are encouraged that the City seems more committed than ever to protecting its citizens and to take necessary actions to curb the disturbances that plague Encinitas.

For instance, ​the City recently issued citations to Shelter/Saloon. The owner disputed the citations the Bar was given for excessive noise and obstruction of the sidewalk. An administrative hearing by an independent hearing officer determined that the owner's defense was baseless. He had to pay the $300.00 for the three fines and comply with direction to follow the codes in the future. Surely this will serve to set the example to bar owners that the City means business.

Stay tuned for more encouraging events.......

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Sheriff Captain replaced

Encinitas Advocate
John Maryon, who previously served as the Sheriff's Department homicide lieutenant, recently took the reins as captain of the Encinitas Sheriff's station.

[...]

He replaces Theresa Adams-Hydar, who could not be reached for comment. Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Jan Caldwell in an email said that Adams-Hydar has been "rotated to oversee more of an analytical component of the department."

"This is a routine movement of managers and several have been rotated," Caldwell said.
The personnel change comes after Adams-Hydar's recent awkward and unpersuasive pitch for a new daytime beach patrol position.

10/28/15 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.

Desert Rose ruling overturned on appeal

Developer attorney Marco Gonzalez wins a unanimous decision, meaning the 16-unit density bonus project will go forward. Background here.

Ruling here.

HT: Anonymous.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Downtown residents want extension of Sheriff foot patrols

From the Inbox:

                  Please come to the City Council Meeting 
                          10/28/15 at City Hall, at 6:00 pm  

***Learn what happened when a Special 2 Deputy Patrol canvased the downtown area this summer and

***Show your support when the ECC requests City Council make this patrol permanent

The ECC has been asking City Council to take action to eliminate the ongoing problems downtown. We're thankful that in July they assigned two deputies to patrol downtown Encinitas on foot from July 24 - September 12, 2015.

(See Report and Analysis that will be presented to City Council) 


ECC members recently emailed that they noticed that things improved while the deputies were downtown but quickly went back to the way they were as soon as the patrol ended. What have you noticed?

Please send us an email and share your experiences since July 24th. The Sheriff, Code Enforcement, and the Council members are influenced when citizens speak up! 

It would also be helpful for you to send an email to City Council at council@encinitasca.gov You can tell them of your experiences, say you appreciate the fact that they assigned a Special 2 Deputy Patrol and ask them to make it permanent. 

Your presence at the upcoming meeting is vital. It will show the City Council two things: (1) ECC members appreciated the  recent patrol and (2) We request the Patrol be assigned on a permanent basis as we already see problems escalating​.
It's unclear how this request for (presumably evening) downtown patrols can be reconciled with the Sheriff's Department preference for daytime beach patrols.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Taxi driver appeals to Shaffer to squash competition

From Council Member Lisa Shaffer's latest newsletter:
I had an interesting discussion with a local taxi driver (who, after waiting 3 weeks for a response from the mayor, asked the Council secretary for any elected official to call him, and I did.) He is concerned that while taxis are required to have Encinitas business licenses, annual inspections, and carry $1 million in liability insurance, Uber drivers are not licensed by the City and thus have no fees, and have only Uber's insurance requirements which are much less. He said the Uber ap showed 37 Uber cars in Encinitas last Friday and 42 on Saturday evening. I told him I would talk to the City Manager and staff, confirm what our policies and practices are, and then request that the City Council consider whether any changes are called for. In my view, we don't want to be choosing among competing business interests, and we don't want to discourage safe options for bar patrons who have enough sense not to drive while intoxicated, but we do want to ensure that we are being fair and looking out for public safety, not sanctioning unfair or unsafe business practices. So the first step is information collection and understanding, and then we can move to deliberation on whether anything needs to change.
The taxi cartels have been trying this with cities all over the country, trying to remove their cleaner, cheaper, friendlier, more convenient competition. For the other side of the story on Uber, please see UCSD Economics Professor James Hamilton.

Oh, and Uber has $1.5 million liability insurance, by the way. Maybe those taxis should be forced to increase their coverage to match.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Attempted abduction reported at San Dieguito Academy

Union-Trib:
Two men tried to pull a 17-year-old girl into their pickup in Encinitas Thursday morning, but the school-bound teen was able to fight them off, a sheriff’s official said.

The girl was walking to San Dieguito High School Academy just before noon when the men in a white truck drove up next to her at the Melba and Nardo roads intersection, sheriff’s Capt. John Maryon said. The men tried to drag her inside, but she broke free and ran home.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Not all developers pack 'em in like sardines

Check out the huge new lots on Lake.

UPDATE: Silly us. Of course they go to the maximum possible density. Still, density bonus is a lot more tolerable when you're talking about 1-acre zoning to start with. One acre is 10 McMansions behind La Especial Norte!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

10/21/15 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, October 18, 2015

Iconic Surf Cleaners sign bites the dust



San Diego Reader 2009:
This very cool old sign for Surf Cleaners in Encinitas has been there since I was a little kid and it's probably been there a lot longer than that. I hope they never change it.
Never change it?  Pshaw!

Check out the suburb-a-licious new conformity!



UPDATE 10/21/15: The San Dieguito Heritage Museum has obtained the sign. Glad to hear that loving hands will preserve it if the city won't allow it to remain in its rightful place.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Encinitas Community Park closed session

From the Inbox:
The Hall property park may be under construction—again.

The closed session meeting on October 14 at 4 p.m. had, in addition to the usual items, a regular City Council item to discuss the sale of parts of 8 parcels comprising the park on its eastern edge to Caltrans for the I-5 widening and realignment of the MacKinnon Bridge.

What was so unusual about this item was the fact that there was no agenda report, no map, and no discussion. The Council really has no choice about selling because the property can be condemned by the state.

What are the possible consequences of this sale?

* Reconstruction of the eastern portion of the park
* Rerouting of parking and roadways
* Freeway pollution brought even closer to the playing fields
* Additional costs to an already very expensive park


The City knew in 2010 that Caltrans was going to be taking land from the park, back when they could have designed for it. But Jerome Stocks was in such a hurry to get the thing built in time for his council run in 2012 and avoid reopening the EIR to analyze the changes, that he ignored what he knew at the time and got the rest of the Council to go along with him.

It appears that the reason for the oddly-timed agenda item that should have been on a regular 6 p.m. Council meeting agenda was to obscure it from public view. This screw up comes on the heels of overspending on the illegal Rossini Creek discharge fines, the multi-million dollar Moonlight Beach lifeguard tower, and the over-priced Pacific View property. Was the Council trying to hide this latest from the wider public?

If an EIR is required because of the significant changes, especially bringing the freeway lanes closer to the playing field and exposing children to the toxic fine particle pollution, we can tack on several hundred thousand dollars in addition to reconstruction costs. At minimum, air monitoring equipment needs to be installed, as this equipment is now being required along freeways in Southern California.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

New Leucadia mixed-use project at 101 & Avocado

From the Inbox:
Strange how no one I know has mentioned this mixed-use Medical Center project at Avocado St & N 101 being advertised online. Found it by accident today.



More pictures, pricing, and layout here.

Election season starts

The election is more than a year away, but it's never too early for Encinitas politicos.

As we predicted, Catherine Blakespear has picked up the papers to file for mayor. And new Planning Commissioner Tasha Boerner Horvath has filed for city council.

And here come the robocalls! This one's reminiscent of last year's Barnyard robocall.

From the Inbox, here's a rough transcription of the latest robocall making the rounds:
Hey Encinitas, wake up! Three members of our City Council want to rezone our neighborhoods to allow chickens, goats, and bee hives in our backyards, and then allow them to sell their products outside in front of their homes. CLASSY! Tell Council members Kranz, Shaffer and Blakespear that we don't want the smells of barnyard animals in our nice upscale town we worked so hard to afford. Tell Council members Kranz, Shaffer and Blakespear that we don't want pigs, chickens, goats farms and beehives next to our homes. (Barnyard animal noises). "Hey, get those bees out out of here!"

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

10/14/15 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.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Blakespear: No densification without circulation!

Encinitas' main thoroughfares, such as El Camino Real and Encinitas Boulevard, are already straining with current traffic loads.

As we've pointed out before, it makes no sense to make plans for high-density development without at the same time considering the congestion impacts on the streets. But that's exactly what your City Council has decided to do.

Deputy Mayor Catherine Blakespear, who was elected after the high-density development plans were already put in motion, now adds some common sense to the discussion.
Many Encinitas residents work full-time outside the city, driving to and from the freeway every workday. Any discussion of additional housing density needs to go hand-in-hand with a re-evaluation of the roads that will carry those new residents. We haven’t made much progress toward updating the city’s “Circulation Element,” which is the blueprint for all roads. Maintaining high quality pavement is also a priority.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Gaspar, Shaffer spar on Pacific View costs

Gaspar:
Last, the Council unanimously chose the Encinitas Arts, Culture and Ecology Alliance as the proposed operator for the former Pacific View School site, which the Council purchased in March 2014. We also learned that unfortunately it would take about an additional $4 million to prepare the site for occupancy. While I opposed the $10-million purchase price for Pacific View because the appraised value of the property was only $3.3 million, now that we own the property we must consider the best future use that will enrich our community.

We must move forward with the challenge of raising the $4 million dollars needed to renovate the existing facilities and offset the current approximately $70,000 per month in debt service to repay the bonds used to acquire the property. I commend Garth Murphy and his entire team for pulling together a diverse community coalition, including, but not limited to the band, Switchfoot, and Rob Machado, whose activism and foundation work have touched the lives of many Encinitans. I look forward to helping the Encinitas Arts, Culture and Ecology Alliance clear the high hurdles in front of them.
Shaffer's newsletter response:
First, I feel compelled to offer some clarification in response to recently published commentary by the mayor regarding Pacific View. She wrote that "it would take about an additional $4 million to prepare the site for occupancy." This is not true. The architect hired by the city presented a plan to rehabilitate the building in several configurations, the most expensive of which was close to $4 million. However, the Encinitas Arts, Culture, and Ecology Alliance (EACEA), who we unanimously selected to move forward in developing an operating plan and agreement with the City, has its own architect and plans, which are much less expensive and will be financed by the Alliance. The financing costs for purchasing the property are already incorporated into the City's operating budget (which, by the way, has a handsome surplus this year, as it did last year). EACEA will be presenting its fund-raising plans and financial strategy soon, and I have no doubt that the community-based coalition will be successful in creating a vibrant and innovative space that will benefit the entire City for years to come.

The record is clear that Mayor Gaspar opposed the purchase of the property at the price that the school district was willing to accept. She lost that vote, and like all of us, is bound by the decision of the majority. So it would be nice if we could move on without having to rehash that decision. It's done. The bonds were issued and the site activation is underway. Let's work together to make the EACEA proposal a success.
So, Lisa, if city finances are so great, what was that whole sales tax increase thing about? You've still never explained that.  And why are you still underfunding road maintenance according to your own consultant?

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Apathy kills Olivenhain Oktoberfest

Union-Trib:
Olivenhain, an east Encinitas community founded by German immigrants in the late 1880s, has canceled its annual Oktoberfest primarily due to a lack of volunteer labor.

[...]

[T]he community-based Town Council has found its hard-core volunteer labor pool has greatly diminished in recent years, mirroring national trends. The continuing evaporation of civic engagement and face-to-face social interaction were highlighted in the 2001 book, “Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community.”
Is civic engagement dying in Encinitas?

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Draconid meteor shower tonight and tomorrow

Take a look to the northern sky this evening.
Beginning in the evening hours of Oct. 8 and continuing through Oct. 9, the peak of the Draconid meteor shower will become visible to eager stargazers.

The Draconids are one of the more unique and unheralded meteor showers that occur throughout the year. What sets them apart from other events is that the best time to view them is around nightfall, as opposed to the predawn hours, according to Earthsky.

Due to their location near the head of the constellation Draco the Dragon in the northern sky, Draconids are best viewed from the Northern Hemisphere, Earthsky states. The best direction to look is due north.
Best in those "dark skies" neighborhoods like Olivenhain.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Encinitas Ranch gets all stabby

On Thursday there was a stabbing on one of Encinitas' most expensive streets:
A trail of blood spotted by citizens led to the arrest of three men in connection with a stabbing that injured a man in Encinitas earlier this week.

The Sheriff's Department said that a passer-by found a man with stab wounds early Thursday morning at Calle Magdalena and Encinitas Boulevard. He was taken to a hospital and treated for his injuries.

Several hours later residents spotted a blood trail on Lynwood Drive and called deputies. They followed the trial to a home on the street. Deputies spoke to an occupant of the home at the door, and noticed "what looked like a crime scene inside the residence." After detaining the occupants of the house they summoned detectives, who got a search warrant and after executing it, arrested three men.

They were arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, conspiracy and destruction of evidence.
Days later, there's still no word what the motive was or what these stabby folks were doing in one of Encinitas' toniest neighborhoods.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

CalPERS admits failure; will charge taxpayers billions more to pay for broken promises

"Oops... I did it again!"

LA Times:
California taxpayers have never paid more for public worker pensions, but it's still not enough to cover the rising number of retirement checks written by the state's largest pension plan.

Even before the stock market's recent fall, staffers at the California Public Employees' Retirement System were worried about what they call "negative cash flows."

The shortfalls — which totaled $5 billion last year — are created when contributions from taxpayers and public employees who are still working aren't enough to cover monthly checks sent to retirees.
Encinitas' annual pension costs have more than doubled since 2005, and were more than $3.5 million (and rising) per year in 2013-14, so that city workers can have early retirement collecting more than median household income for life. But get ready to pay much, much more:
But even its staff acknowledges in a recent report that despite fast-rising contributions from taxpayers, the pension fund faces "a significant amount of risk."

To reduce that financial risk, CalPERS has been working for months on a plan that could cause government pension funds across the country to rethink their investment strategies.

The plan would increase payments from taxpayers even more in coming years with the goal of mitigating the severe financial pain that would happen with another recession and stock market crash.

Under the proposal, CalPERS would begin slowly moving more money into safer investments such as bonds, which aren't usually subject to the severe losses that stocks face.

Because the more conservative investments are expected to reduce CalPERS' future financial returns, taxpayers would have to pick up even more of the cost of workers' pensions.
Despite Encinitas' skyrocketing pension costs, the City Council has in recent years voted repeatedly to expand the bureaucracy, making the problem even worse. The city now spends more money on pensions for workers' early retirement than it does on its underfunded road maintenance.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

David Meyer's new Density Bonus project

From the Inbox:

_______________________________________________________
There's a new Density Bonus project in town!  The Weston family is developing approximately 14 acres off La Costa, west of the I-5.  Last night's CPP (Citizen Participation Plan) meeting was fronted by none other than David Meyer, the self-described "Entitlement Consultant" for the Weston family. 

Meyer's "I always get my way from this city" attitude was evident as residents raised concerns about:

  • the 450 cars expected to enter and exit daily through one outlet onto La Costa Blvd.
  • the soil that has already turned up, among other ag leftovers, toxaphene, one of the worst known carcinogens.  Meyer was hardly conscientious about his handling of contaminated dirt on Nantucket projects (Sheridan and Andrew), with the City equally happy not to enforce compliance.  The City is currently deciding "whether" an EIR will be required on this project, even with the presence of toxaphene.
  • Meyer's rounding up on base density, despite the Council's recent agreement with the BIA that future development will round down.  Meyer simply and with complete confidence stated: "The City is wrong."  When asked about his threat to sue the City if it required rounding down, Meyer claimed the person "had their information wrong," even though he had made recent public threats  to the  Council that he would, in fact, sue. 

Testy when asked about previous attempts to get out from under affordable housing requirements, Meyer attempted to rewrite history to a skeptical crowd.  Many present knew that the real story on the affordable units on Meyer's Saxony project is that they were traded away, but done under the builder's name, Shea Homes.  This was a typically slick move by Meyer, similar to his returning the two affordable lots at Nantucket to Barratt American before BA went bankrupt.  Meyer walked away from that one without building the two affordable units he'd promised.

His stock answer to everything was "it's the law," to which audience members responded "it's a sham." 

What remains to be seen is how far backward the City will continue to bend for Meyer, given the departures of Vina and Murphy.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Grief

A memorial shrine south of Las Olas:



The words in the picture frame are Funeral Blues by W.H. Auden.
In Loving memory of Tara Jean Murphy 1969 - 2013

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message 'She is Dead'.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

She was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
Murphy was killed crossing the highway on April 7, 2013.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Super Harvest Moon total eclipse tonight

Take a look to the sky tonight.



The eclipse starts about 9PM, and will be total about 10PM.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

9/23/15 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.

Fruit forest to honor Teresa Barth

Coast News:
A proposal to create a grove of edible fruit trees in Glen Park dedicated to former City Councilwoman Teresa Barth is up for consideration by the City Council Wednesday night.
What do you consider Barth's greatest contributions to Encinitas from her eight years on the city council?

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

SD Reader follow-up on Olivenhain drug house fire

San Diego Reader:
Neighbors who reported the house fire told authorities they saw a man, later identified as Jeremy Henry, 39, at a second-story window screaming for help. The man broke the window and climbed down with help from neighbors.

“He stated there was another person in the house to responding firefighters, before he was taken to a local hospital for treatment,” the medical examiner reported. Fire-department personnel attempted a rescue but were repelled by heavy smoke and fire.

“[Henry] said there was thick smoke and he could not see his hand in front of his face,” read the report. Bed posts blocked some of the windows, which made it “difficult,” and smoke alarms in the house were “inoperable,” the survivor reportedly stated.

Henry told authorities that Black was the only other person in the home. “He told deputy Backouris that he and the decedent had gone to sleep in the master bedroom on the second floor. He was awakened by black smoke filling the room and woke Shelby. He was able to find the window and broke it. He thought Shelby was right behind him when he went through the window,” according to the report. The woman’s body was found directly under the escape window.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Car Wars



Cranky old car driver meets earnest young bike advocate on Traffic Commission; hilarity ensues.
Commissioner Dave Hutchinson took issue with [Commissioner Brian] Grover promoting “complete streets” — roads that accommodate car lanes, as well as bike lanes and sidewalks.

“Your agenda, so it’s been revealed in the last couple of weeks, is anti-traffic,” Hutchinson said. “It’s complete streets, which cuts down the flow of traffic.”

Hutchinson also said that the commission’s mission is to ensure the steady flow of car traffic, not bike access.

“When I joined, this was the traffic commission ... biking wasn’t even in the vocabulary,” Hutchinson said. He added that the commission now has “this emphasis on biking, which is opposed to what we’re supposed to be doing in trying to get traffic to flow through this community. I have a real problem with that.”

In response, Grover quoted the city’s website, which states that the seven-member commission makes recommendations to the Encinitas City Council on “matters related to the circulation of motorized vehicles, pedestrians, bicycles and on matters related to public safety.”
UPDATE: An anonymous commenter says that the city is investigation whether Grover's communications with a subset of council members is a violation of the Brown Act, and another comment purports to quote one e-mail which might be in violation. What are the consequences to violating the Brown Act? We hear an awful lot about it but never hear any consequences.

UPDATE 2: Hutchinson responds.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Leucadians applaud state grant for rail underpass

U-T:
By Wednesday night, word had spread through the city’s Leucadia community about the city’s grant success. More than a dozen parents and students from Paul Ecke Central Elementary, plus William Morrison — vice president of the Leucadia 101 Main Street Association — appeared at the council meeting to give their thanks to Pruim, as well as other city employees and the council members.

“For the Paul Ecke community, this underpass means way more than connecting Vulcan (Avenue) and the 101,” Rebecca Conley, vice president of the PTA, told the council. “It means connecting the parents and the school. It means connecting the families and the kids and our community as a whole.”
The large grant, following on the heels of the Santa Fe underpass grant, comes despite Encinitas supposedly "losing out on infrastructure grant dollars" due to the last several councils having failed to pass a Housing Element Update.

Power failure across wide swath of Encinitas

Locals from the coast 101 area to Village Park are reporting a complete power failure that began around 1:45 pm today.

By about 2:07 pm, power was coming back on in some areas.

SDG&E's Twitter feed reports that the company was ordered to cut power by the state.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Encinitas celebrates California car culture

... with the annual Wavecrest Woodie Meet, where classic cars come from all over the West for the weekend to celebrate California's history of beach culture and the open road.



The City of Encinitas kindly reserves the whole Moonlight Beach parking lot for the event. Drive on down to Moonlight Beach this weekend and check out the classics!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

9/16/15 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.

Planning Dept to keep on keepin' on improving


From the Inbox:

On tonight's agenda, Planning is going to launch their Continuous Improvement Plan.


ETHICAL & TRANSPARENT WORK


We conduct ourselves with honesty and integrity, live up to our commitments and openly
communicate our processes and actions to the public in order to promote trust.




2015-09-16 Item 11A - Development Services Continuous Improvement Information Item

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Leucadians report return of summer gas smell

From the comments:
AnonymousSeptember 12, 2015 at 1:38 PM Heavy Duty gas smell in Leucadia today. What the hell is it?
AnonymousSeptember 12, 2015 at 1:43 PM
We just smelled it too.
This is a recurring summer phenomenon in North County, noticed again last month. We believe it's organic from the ocean, caused by the summer heat.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

House cleaning begins: Planning Director Jeff Murphy out!

This from an EU source who has been consistently solid in the past.

Murphy is reportedly gone as of October 2, and will be taking a job with the City of San Diego.

Murphy was hired by former City Manager Gus Vina, and had a rocky relationship from the start with both the council and the public. The perpetually failed Housing Element Update was the responsibility of his department, and residents say Murphy's Planning Department often encouraged property owners to build denser developments out of character with their neighborhoods. The City Council famously ripped into Murphy in 2013 when he tried to replace the 4/5 majority rule for upzoning with a 3/5 simple majority.

Murphy was most recently responsible for the new full-time, pensioned code enforcement officer who did almost nothing to address the downtown problems but instead harassed a Cardiff bar that wasn't bothering anybody.

A longer, but surely incomplete, history of Murphy's travails can be found here.

Former Sierra Madre Councilman Joe Mosca appointed to Parks & Rec Commission

In February, controversial former Sierra Madre Councilman Joe Mosca applied for the Parks & Rec Commission.

Last night, the City Council appointed Mosca to fill a vacancy on the commission.

Judging by his past and his political affiliations, Mosca will run for City Council, and he'll align with the Barthist "Smart Growther" faction on the council.

More on Mosca's history at Sierra Madre Tattler.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

9/9/15 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.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

2016 Election Pre-game

By request.

There are a lot of interesting structural dynamics in the 2016 election.  Here's how we see the players. We'll categorize them by the three local factions: Republicans, Barthists, and Prop A folks.

Kristin Gaspar (Republican): Already announced Supervisor run.  Opponents are Escondido Mayor Sam Abed and incumbent Dave Roberts (or a Democratic replacement if Roberts doesn't recover from the hostile work environment and improper use of taxpayer funds scandals).  Gaspar is thus likely out of Encinitas politics unless she fails to make the top two in the June Supervisor primary and then announces she'll seek re-election.

Catherine Blakespear (Barthist): Likely to run for Mayor from her safe council seat (as Tony Kranz did in 2014).  May not face a serious challenger because most other candidates would find it easier to win a council seat.

Tony Kranz (Barthist): Will run for re-election unless he moves out of state.  Likely to win due to large number of open seats (4 if Blakespear wins Mayor seat) and likely weak field.

Mark Muir (Republican): Likely to run for re-election, won't challenge Blakespear for Mayor because it would a lot riskier than running for council.  Likely to win re-election.

Lisa Shaffer (Barthist): Has said she wouldn't run again, but don't count on it.

Paul Gaspar (Republican): Seems politically ambitious and could probably win a council seat given his name recognition and fundraising ability.

Sheila Cameron (Prop A): Won't run again.

Julie Graboi (Prop A): Seems inclined not to run, but would be among the stronger Prop A candidates due to name recognition and practice on the campaign trail.  Remember, Tony Kranz got elected on his second try.

Al Lerchbacker (Republican): Hasn't been seen much since failed 2014 campaign, so it's unclear whether he's still interested.  However, with party backing and an earlier start and easier field this time, could probably win a seat.

So at this point we'll pencil in Blakespear for Mayor, Kranz and Muir to keep their council seats, and two other seats up for grabs.

We can think of several other Barthists who might run: the "Engage Encinitas" women and a traffic commissioner or two.  We're not aware of any other Prop A folks getting ready to run.  What have you heard?

UPDATE: Welcome former Sierra Madre Smart Growther Councilman Joe Mosca to the race!

UPDATE 2: Apparently the rules are such that if Blakespear wins Mayor and thus vacates her council seat, the seat does not go to the fourth-place vote getter, but is appointed by the council.  The vacancy wouldn't occur until the new mayor is seated, so presumably the new council is the one to make the appointment.  If Mosca wins, the Barthists would have a 3-1 majority and make an appointment to give themselves a 4-1 supermajority (which could resurrect the Barth-Shaffer-Kranz sales tax increase).  If Lerch or another Republican wins, we'd have a 2-2 stalemate which could lead to the appointment of an independent, non-partisan compromise candidate.