Wednesday, April 29, 2015

4/29/15 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, April 26, 2015

Millenials want to drive cars and live in the suburbs

We're told by Smart Growthers that Millenials are different than prior generations and want to live in high-density urban centers, so we have to put high-density development in formerly charming suburbs like Encinitas.

The truth? Not so much. The Atlantic:
Rich 20- and 30-somethings with college degrees are much, much more likely to live in dense urban centers than they were 20 years ago, as Ben Casselman and Jed Kolko have explained. Some media narratives treat this rarified group as synonymous with Millennials, perhaps because it describes the clientele of the bars frequented by the coastal journalists who write those stories. But step outside Brooklyn, D.C., or Oakland, and you'll find that the broader story is completely different. Adults between 25 and 34 without bachelor's degrees (which is the majority!) are actually less likely to live in urban neighborhoods than they were at the turn of the century. Most of them are moving to the suburbs as soon as they can afford to.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Stocks on density bonus: what's the big deal?

SD Rostra:
According to Mr. Jeff Murphy, the Director of Planning for Encinitas, in response to a Public Records Request, there are currently six projects considered “active density bonus projects” in the City. They would have a combined total of 74 units if the rules the BIA believes state law dictates were applied, but 66 units under the new rules adopted by the Encinitas City Council. That’s a difference of 8 units. This in a city of about 24,000 existing homes. Wow.

[...]

So, bottom line is that the City Council, bowing to some local pressure applied by folks that some would probably label as “NIMBY” (not in my back yard), is risking the expenditure of hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars, and is at risk of paying to reimburse the attorney fees accrued by the BIA legal team over what amounts to 8 housing units? Wow wow.

That’s our tax dollars not available to fix Encinitas potholes and maintain the parks, or even fix up the recently acquired but very dilapidated Pacific View School site.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Andreen proposes New Encinitas secession

Encinitas Advocate:
Mike Andreen, owner of the New Encinitas Network, said New Encinitas generates much of the city’s tax revenue, but he maintains most of those dollars go to projects outside the community.

“Currently, New Encinitas is suffering from taxation without representation,” Andreen said.

But the idea of secession was met with skepticism from a council member, the head of another business group and the executive officer of an agency that oversees local borders. Andreen said during a New Encinitas Network luncheon last week, seven of the group’s 22 members were in attendance and directed him to explore secession. He plans to share the reasons for potentially breaking away in a letter that will soon be sent to the Encinitas City Council.

Andreen said with the city’s upcoming budget taking shape, he’s concerned that funding will primarily go toward projects west of Interstate 5, such as the Leucadia Streetscape, a plan to revamp the area’s Coast Highway 101 corridor. He fears that New Encinitas projects like turf and field lighting for Leo Mullen Sports Park could be shortchanged.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Youth sports leagues hurt by city council giveaway of Ecke Sports Park

As we suspected, the YMCA is unilaterally terminating the city's lease to the Ecke Sports Park, thanks to a free termination clause given to YMCA by the city in 2013 without compensation.

Encinitas Advocate:
The YMCA stated last fall it would need “one or more” of the fields for expansion.

Around the same time, it came to light that the Encinitas City Council previously approved a new clause that would let the YMCA cancel the field lease with 30 days’ notice. League officials then became concerned they could be displaced with little warning.

The YMCA owns the fields, while the city leases and maintains them.

Little League, however, will have to make sacrifices under the expansion plans. Its junior program, 13- and 14-year-olds, plays on Field No. 1, which is slated to become three indoor soccer arenas and a parking lot with up to 180 spaces.

With few other options, the junior program is likely to move to the new Encinitas Community Park. Wade emphasized that in order to play there, new maintenance equipment, batting cages, fencing and reconfigured dugouts are necessary.

Wade anticipates the league — a nonprofit with a limited budget — will have to pay for most of the costs.

“The big issue for us is equipment,” he said. “We have one set of equipment that we’re able to use, which will change. And operations behind the scenes won’t be so simple.”

Wade said while the junior program could play at the park, the entire league wouldn’t be able to move there without downsizing, largely because of the lack of nighttime lighting.

[...]

Encinitas Express (youth soccer league) President Rick Lochner said he’s glad the YMCA didn’t take more than one field. But, he added, the plan will still mean the league loses almost half its practice time at the sports park.

“It’s a significant negative impact,” Lochner said.
For a history of the sordid saga of the backroom deal by city management and the unanimous vote without discussion by the city council to give away the Ecke Sports Park to make room for the YMCA's expansion plans, see here. It's still not clear, a year and a half later, which of the five council members were willing accomplices, and which were negligent dupes. Tellingly, no council members have explained their votes to the public or called for an investigation into the backroom deal.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

4/22/15 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.

Mighty Ducks Kook



Who knew it was still hockey season?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Port Brewing / Lost Abbey arrives in Cardiff tomorrow



Facebook:
The Beginning is Nigh... This Wednesday at 11am, The Confessional, the new Lost Abbey Tasting Room in Cardiff will open its doors. We'll see you soon to hear your confessions... ‪#‎Cardiff‬ ‪#‎beerpenance‬ ‪#‎theconfessional‬
That's in the Seaside Market complex.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

California legislature introduces "FU, Encinitas" density bonus law

All the good work of our city council last year in modifying Encinitas' implementation of state density bonus law is at risk of being thrown out the window. Among other tweaks, the council changed city law to allow rounding down, not up, on the number of density bonus units where allowed under existing state law. Current law has multiple stages where rounding is involved, only some of which explicitly require rounding up.

Meet AB 744, by Assemblyman Ed Chau, chairman of the Housing and Community Development committee. It not only mandates rounding up to higher density at every stage, but also greatly reduces parking requirements for high-density developers.

The bill is obviously heavily backed by the developer lobby and stands a very good chance of passing unless there is a large, public uprising against it.

Parents concerned about facial-recognition technology on EUSD iPads

From the Inbox:
I am not sure if you are aware that every kid in the school district grades 1-6 has an IPad.  [why, yes, yes we are aware of debt for iPads, leaving iPads unsecured even after burglaries at other local schools, and porn on iPads] It is mandatory and cost a fortune. That is troubling to some in itself. Kids don’t have books anymore and must use the IPad to do their work.

A few weeks ago the EUSD voted to buy Facial Recognition software for all the IPads for $63,000. Baird says it will save time logging in which is nonsense. First, it is a terrible waste of money that could be used much more wisely. Second, it is a huge invasion of privacy as facial recognition is like fingerprints and I don’t want my kid in that database. Third, it is the vanguard for much more invasive data collecting which is the real heart of the matter.

If you as a parent want to see what your kid is working on you cannot access the IPad. The program scans the face every 60 seconds and shuts down if little Johnny isn’t in front. This locks out the parent from the child’s lessons and that is criminally wrong.

Baird wants to be the first in the nation. No one wants this and we were not asked for permission or feedback. Attached is an article in Breitbart and the info on the software provider. We also have a petition circulating:

Change.org
There's a company promo video about the software at the petition link.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Encinitas Little League fields saved!

In a move that may save the political careers of Tony Kranz, Mark Muir, and Kristin Gaspar, a deal has been reached to save three of the four Ecke YMCA Little League fields despite the 2013 council vote to give away the league's access to the fields.

Kranz, Muir, and Gaspar, along with Lisa Shaffer, who is not expected to seek re-election, and Teresa Barth, who has retired, approved the giveaway of the city's right to an unrestricted 10-year extension of the use of the fields in a backroom deal between city management and the YMCA. The YMCA apparently had big development plans for the land, and played hardball for months, refusing to undo the contract change, but has finally yielded to public outrage with a compromise.

Union-Trib:
Encinitas Little League will be able to continue playing on three of the four fields at the Ecke Sports Park, even after a proposed construction project becomes a reality, the Ecke Family YMCA announced Friday afternoon.

Little League officials have been fearful for months that the YMCA’s expansion plans would kick them permanently off the fields, which they have used for decades. The YMCA owns the fields, but leases them to the city.

Worries surfaced last fall when Little League officials discovered that the YMCA’s latest contract with the city contained a clause that the organization could end the baseball team’s use of the Ecke Sports Park with only 30 days’ notice. The YMCA said it would probably need “one or more of the ball fields” when it expands its main facility next to the playing fields on Saxony Road.
As is customary at the City of Encinitas, no one in city management was held accountable for the backroom deal to give away the fields, and it remains unclear to this day whether any of the council members understood what they were voting for.

Prom Date Kook



"Hey Cassie, you're kinda rad! S. Prom?"

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Shaffer and Muir spar in Seaside Courier

Council Member Mark Muir wrote a commentary on the budget process in the Seaside Courier. Council Member Lisa Shaffer responded with a commentary of her own.

Muir:
The Encinitas City Council has begun one of our most important annual tasks, drafting the city’s annual budget.

Mayor Kristin Gaspar and I both voted against increasing taxes because we believe that, as with your budget at home, our city must live within its means and exercise fiscal restraints. Just like at home, there are always more wants than dollars available.
Shaffer:
Mr. Muir wrote that he and Mayor Gaspar voted against increasing taxes. The truth is that there has not been a proposal to raise taxes since Mr. Muir was elected, and there has not been a vote on this question.
As we have pointed out before, Shaffer is again dissembling the truth of what happened. True, there was not a vote specifically on the question of raising taxes. The vote was formally only to obtain cost estimates to run a sales tax poll. In reality, however, City Manager Gus Vina had already planned to hire propagandist Catherine Lew, who advertises her services not as an unbiased pollster but on her success in tax increase advocacy campaigns. Shaffer, Kranz, and Barth voted 3-2 to push forward with Gus Vina's sales tax increase scheme, and their plan was only foiled when both Muir and Gaspar were adamant that regardless of the propagandist's poll results, they would each refuse to be the fourth vote to put a tax increase on the ballot.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

4/15/15 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.

Pension costs going up yet again

Sacramento Bee:
CalPERS is about to raise pension contribution rates again, this time by more than 9 percent, a move that will cost state government and local school districts nearly $600 million.

The increases are the latest step by CalPERS to gradually shore up its finances. In early 2014, CalPERS said it would embark on a series of significant rate hikes, and on Tuesday the pension fund’s finance and administration committee recommended higher rates for the upcoming fiscal year.

While CalPERS is continuing to deal with the lingering effects of the 2008 crash in the financial markets, it pinned the latest rate hike primarily on growth in government payrolls and recent demographic assumptions that show retirees living longer.
Today's hike is just for state workers and school districts. They're coming for Encinitas and other cities this fall:
The CalPERS board will vote in the fall on higher rates for participating cities, counties and other local government agencies. Those rates will take effect with the fiscal year starting July 2016.
Nothing to see here, folks... move along...

Gardener Kook



Monday, April 13, 2015

Sunday, April 12, 2015

California wants your opinion on density bonus

From the Inbox (interesting that the City Council, despite its protestations about its hands being tied by the state, isn't encouraging residents to voice their opinions):
Many of you share the concerns with the way State density bonus law and regional housing assessments have been implemented throughout California. You now have an unprecedented opportunity to voice your concerns at the State level.

The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) has a survey monkey link that invites input on housing planning requirements and practices. Below is HCD's link and introduction to the survey; the deadline for comments is April 17, 2015.

Survey link:   https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/63MX9H3

HCD desires input in identifying concerns/issues/recommendations regarding State housing law, specifically planning requirements and practices related to the Regional Housing Need Allocation (RHNA) and Housing Element Update processes. At the below survey link, please rank topics and make suggestions for potential reforms. HCD has convened a 2015 Housing Working Group to discuss planning requirements and practices.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Please take the time to access the link above and complete the survey.  One of our residents who took the survey provided the following tips:

  •  For each topic there is a box for additional comments.  Use each of these boxes to insert your comments, even if your comments don't relate directly to the questions asked.  This is a chance to vent your frustrations and make suggestions for reforms
  • Don't press "Done" on each page until you have entered your comments in each box.  You won't be able to go back.

 Areas of Concern:
  • Not all cities interpret the density bonus law the same way (some round up and some round down on base density)
  • Housing allocations often use inflated population numbers
  • Drought conditions are not considered
  • Developers, not communities, are calling the shots in how laws are written and applied
  • Infrastructure for high density development is not being funded
  • In San Diego County over a 4-year period, the assigned RHNA numbers have produced only 4%-8% of the required affordable housing units.  92%-96% of the produced units are market rate.
  • Add any other areas of concern to you.

    Friday, April 10, 2015

    DNA match in Solana Beach child predator case

    DNA on tape from attempted abduction matches Doshay, prosecutor says

    Also:

    Bail set at $2.5 million; judge requires in-patient psychiatric facility, GPS ankle bracelet.

    Repeat offender? Parents knew and told therapist but didn't go to police?
    According to court documents, Doshay’s father told a therapist that Doshay had made a similar attempted kidnapping attempt in the past.

    10News found an article in the Rancho Santa Fe News from September 2010 warning parents about a blond man with curls who tried to lure a five-year-old girl at Solana Santa Fe Elementary School, the school Jack Doshay used to attend near his home.
    The big question now is whether DA Bonnie Dumanis will continue pursuing only simple, not aggravated, kidnapping charges so that Doshay can be out on the streets preying on children in just a few years.

    UPDATE: Prosecutors say father Glenn Doshay tried to prevent therapist from contacting police. Sicko. UPDATE 2: Doshay makes bail.

    WTF Kook?



    Inside joke I guess.

    Thursday, April 9, 2015

    Encinitans Gone Wild!

    Orange County Breeze:
    Jacob Lightig, age 19, of Encinitas, CA, was arrested for multiple charges, including residential burglary, driving under the influence of alcohol, fleeing the scene of a traffic collision and grand theft auto.

    On Wednesday, April 8, 2015, at approximately 10:00 a.m., a male suspect entered a residence in the 600 block of Ocean Ave. in Seal Beach through an open garage door. The suspect stole a car from the location using keys found in the residence. Witnesses called the Seal Beach Police Department to report the auto theft, which prompted a radio broadcast to all law enforcement agencies in Orange County to be on the lookout for the stolen car. At approximately 4:30 p.m., several hours after the vehicle was taken, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department received a call of a hit-and-run traffic collision in the City of Dana Point. The vehicle drove a short distance further and the driver exited the car. The witness followed the driver and directed responding Deputies to Lightig, who was arrested without incident.

    Lightig sustained minor injuries as a result of the traffic collision. The vehicle sustained major damage. Lightig was booked into the Orange County Jail on charges of residential burglary, driving under the influence of alcohol, fleeing the scene of a traffic collision and grand theft auto.
    First thought was that this was another messed-up Encinitas trustafarian like that girl from the D Street Bar & Grill stabbing, but there's not much record of a Lightig family in Encinitas, so maybe just a short-timer passing through.

    Alana is 3 Kook



    And quite the volleyball player we hear.

    Wednesday, April 8, 2015

    4/8/15 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.

    On tonight's agenda: the phony "museum" at Pacific View.

    Tuesday, April 7, 2015

    "Museum" designation at Pacific View a sham to avoid public input on commercial use?

    Sure sounds like it. But we're guessing this is an ends-justify-the-means kind of council.

    From the North Coast Current:
    I own the property at 643 Fourth St. in Encinitas, across from the Old Schoolhouse on the former EUSD Pacific View school site. My attorney Felix Tinkov and I have submitted written inputs and testified at almost every Pacific View meeting, since the first before the Planning Commission in July 2008.

    At its Wednesday, April 8, meeting, the City Council will consider a procurement for an operating partner to take control of Pacific View.

    Regrettably, the city plan cuts the residents short for education in the arts, at the expense of benefitting various local art groups.

    Moreover, the city proposes to violate the municipal code in order to make this happen. For Pacific View, the city plan recommends the principal use as a museum, which does not require a conditional use permit. Thereby, the city avoids a public hearing before the Planning Commission, as well as skipping the attendant due-process noticing to nearby residents.

    The proposed museum has no validity as a principal use, but serves as a front, cover or fa├žade, to permit uses prohibited by code in the public/semi-public (P/SP) zone applicable to Pacific View. The “museum” principal use also shields accessory uses, such as the farmers market and outdoor events, from scrutiny at public hearings for the use permit process. The city plan proposes a number of accessory uses under the “museum” blanket, among them 1) farmers market, 2) cafe*, 3) artists’ studios*, 4) store sales of artists’ works*, and 5) outdoor musical events. The municipal code prohibits the asterisked uses for the P/SP zone. The farmers’ market and the open-air theater require use permits. The municipal code requires the accessory uses to be “necessarily and customarily associated with” the principal use, in this case a museum. For example, a farmers market neither meets the “necessary” nor the “customary” standards. In a letter submitted to the city council, attorney Felix Tinkov identifies which of the Pacific View accessory uses will violate the municipal code.

    More significantly, the municipal code also requires the accessory uses to be “incidental” to the principal use. The staff report for the April 8 hearing resorts to a euphemism for describing the principal use as “a museum to reflect the historical aspects of the site,” the latter being the Pacific View school site. Thus, the principal-use museum comprises the existing Old Schoolhouse and its archives, and nothing more. Obviously, the accessory uses in the 10,000-square-foot buildings and on the 75,000-square-foot parking lot will totally eclipse this 1,000-square-foot “museum,” designated as the principal use.

    Bottom line, the accessory uses will take most of the building floor area, rent free, greatly benefiting the artists, but providing little for the residents regarding education in the arts. The April 8 staff report employs another euphemism to describe the art education offered to the public as “features to enable the public to observe and learn about the activities being undertaken.”

    At the February 11 council meeting on Pacific View, the staff report acknowledged the artists’ studios as visual entertainment for the public, namely, “where you could see amazing art created by local artists who you could also watch as they create their works.”

    Presumably, it will not please taxpayers to pay $15 million-plus in mortgage and interest payments to provide a home for artists to conduct their businesses, with the residents merely reduced to entertainments, such as the farmers market already operating on Vulcan Avenue, outdoor musical events and watching artists work.

    Don McPherson
    Manhattan Beach
    April 6, 2015

    Monday, April 6, 2015

    The residue of "vibrancy"

    From the Inbox:
    These folks and others downtown profit greatly from outdoor dining on city sidewalks. Why don't they bear some responsibility for keeping them clean?

    Sunday, April 5, 2015

    Sympathy for the Devil

    The PR campaign is already underway for suspected violent predator Jack Doshay. Doshay is the son of extremely wealthy and well-connected Fairbanks Ranch residents. Doshay faces a sentence of only 11 years (of which he would typically serve about half) due to prosecutors' decision to charge him with simple kidnapping rather than aggravated kidnapping (which could result in a life sentence and which the facts of the case would seem to support). Doshay could be back out on the streets when he's in his late 20's.

    Now comes Logan Jenkins to describe Doshay as "apparently troubled." Obviously, anyone who would attempt to kidnap a child is troubled, but we don't recall anyone attaching such an oddly sympathetic adjective to John Albert Gardner or David Westerfield. Did they not hire the right PR firm?

    Friday, April 3, 2015

    Namaste On!

    4th District Court of Appeals rules yoga OK in schools.

    Full ruling here.
    For many in this country, the practice of yoga is an entirely secular experience undertaken for reasons such as increasing physical flexibility, decreasing pain, and reducing stress. For others, the practice of yoga is a religious ritual, undertaken for spiritual purposes. In this case, we are required to determine whether a school district's institution of a yoga program as a component of its physical education curriculum constitutes an impermissible establishment of religion in violation of the California Constitution.

    After a careful review of the extensive evidence presented in the trial court concerning the nature of the particular yoga program at issue in this case, we conclude that the program is secular in purpose, does not have the primary effect of advancing or inhibiting religion, and does not excessively entangle the school district in religion. Accordingly, we conclude that the trial court properly determined that the district's yoga program does not violate our state constitution.

    Thursday, April 2, 2015

    Wednesday, April 1, 2015

    Open Government Theatre

    From the Inbox:
    Vurbeff Rebuffed

    On Tuesday of this week (March 31), approximately 40 residents from Leucadia and other parts of the city attended the EIR scoping meeting for the proposed “Hymettus Estates” density bonus project. Those who arrived expecting to get informed about the EIR process and study were sadly mistaken, as they were instead met by a bank of construction maps and instructed by [city environmental coordinator Scott] Vurbeff to “only make comments, not ask questions.”

    As most attendees had no clue as to how to interpret the maps, they stood around in small groups, clearly at a loss. Disappointment quickly turned to outrage as attendees realized they’d been tricked by a purposefully divisive and non-informative City-hosted meeting.

    Springing into action, residents arranged chairs in rows and self-organized so that all could hear the others’ concerns in the transparent and open format that they had originally expected from the City. Vurbeff, clearly baffled as to how to regain control of his “keep ‘em in the dark” format, had no choice but to ultimately join in the discussion and (sort of) answer questions. It should be noted that he was clearly rattled and gave responses that were largely vague and sometimes nonexistent.

    Residents left with a better understanding of the project’s issues and how they related to an EIR, but only after they took over the meeting. Is the Council aware of this anti-resident format, and do they approve? Is it part of the new transparency that residents were promised?