Friday, July 3, 2015

Did Encinitas finally get a good city manager?

U-T:
Encinitas has tapped Karen P. Brust as its next city manager.

The City Council is set to vote Wednesday on an employment contract for Brust, who is the city manager for San Juan Capistrano and a former city manager of Del Mar. The contract calls for her to receive an annual salary of $238,000, plus a $500 a month car allowance and a $100 a month cell phone allowance.
Initial signs are highly positive. Both San Juan Capistrano and Del Mar are "community character" small towns, and Del Mar at least is not known for pushing excessive development to fund bloated city staff and pensions. And as an Olivenhain resident, Brust surely appreciates what makes Encinitas special.

On paper, she's poles apart from the last guy, who was a reject from the unmitigated financial disaster of Sacramento. The Council seems to be paying a bit more attention this time around.

A hopeful congratulations to our City Council for what looks like a great hire!

62 comments:

  1. Any one that changes jobs as often as Brust has is questionable at best.

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  2. Actually, San Juan Capistrano, except for the immediate area around the mission and railroad station doesn't have much of a small town character at all which happened before Brust got there. San Juan Cap got swept up in the south Orange County residential building boom. San Juan Cap is also split by the I-5 with all the commercial development on either side.

    But she lives in Olivenhain and I think she previously lived in Cardiff so at least she can hit the ground running.

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    1. Maybe she can be influential in getting most of the stop signs taken out on Rancho Santa Fe Road. The traffic backup is getting worse every day. There are several that are not necessary.

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    2. Olivenhain locals don't want the stop signs removed to encourage more San Marcos cut through traffic.

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    3. The stop signs don't stop the cut through traffic is my point If at least two or three stop signs were taken out, it would at least keep the traffic flowing.

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    4. 1:24 I am an Olivenhain local, and I would love to have a few of the stop signs removed. I am not the only one. Plenty more that feel that way in my area.

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    5. Many Olivenhain locals with children strongly support stop signs on RSF Rd. so that it is safer for their children to walk to school. While it may take longer for people to drive to work with the stop signs, those pushing the signs most passionately are parents who want their kids to have a safe route to school.

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    6. Most of the kids are driven to school these days. We walked in the good old days, but kids today are too pampered.

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    7. cut through traffic is never going to be eliminated as long as you have commuters needing to get from the 5 to the 15....

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    8. 10:26, Yes we must clothes or narrow the passages from 5 to the 15 to get rid of cut thru commuters.

      - Sylvia

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    9. She is the best!!!!!!

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  3. If she gets rid of crappy deadwood directors and mid level managers that consistently make bad calls like Greg Shields and John Frankin, then I am a huge support. If she comes in sing the praises of existing staff, she is a no good do nothing loser.

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    1. John Frenken is retired. Don't know about Greg Shields.

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  4. 12:39, There's also the prospect of coming in diplomatically, which is probably hard for you to comprehend. .

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    1. 12:42 In your dreams.

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    2. Just like I figured.

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  5. She'll be as crappy as ever other city manager we have had. Over paid, over pensioned and clueless to the realities of life in this city.

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    1. Well, we know for sure her salary is much more than she was getting in San Juan, which of course increases her pension and health benefits.

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    2. She lives in this city 2:07. I think she probably has more of an understanding of it then you may be giving her credit for. However, I have never met her, nor do I know her, so I will remain neutral and see how she does.

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  6. That she is a local is hopeful. Whether she has the cajones to do what is needed and get rid of the dead weight will instantly become her legacy.

    Karen, what are you going to stand for as you step into this morass? It is obvious to any observer where the weakness lies and those numbers are significant. The abundance of dead weight and subpar performance by so many staff members will now become yours. I hope you are ready to do what is needed.

    It may not make you appreciated by those skating along the past few years on easy street down there at city hall, but the public will come out in droves in support if you choose to represent the community and the character that has been lacking for far too long.

    You are now, or about to be, the boss. Your influence can be the positive that has been needed for so many years.

    Karen, being the local that you are, you cannot be oblivious to the corruptive influence that has had its way around here for decades.

    We need someone that supports the community instead of the developer and real estate interests.

    The choice is yours and one of the first things you can do is to send certain individual planners onto to whatever greener pastures they can find elsewhere.

    That there could a greener pasture that what they have enjoyed here is doubtful. Shoddy work is always appreciated by our council, much to the chagrin of those paying attention.

    Karen, you have a whole hopeful community behind you for the moment. I sincerely hope you don't squander the opportunity.

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    1. Remember who hired her....

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    2. 8:42 PM

      "You are now, or about to be, the boss" I assume you are passing on the wisdom you've gleaned from your years in public management, which I'm sure exceeds Brust's experience as a city manager for two cities. Not to mention living here.

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    3. Since the taxpayers and citizens in Encinitas pay her salary, we are the boss.

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    4. Well said, 12:03!!

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    5. Right, but not in a direct fashion. That's some kind of fantasy that keeps coming up on here. The city staff and operation has its own structure, just like any company. The city is supposed to be a function of its citizens needs, but somewhere in the middle is where the reality is. I hope we have a keeper here, she has a strong record in local city government and lives in town. This looks like the best "get" possible, short of Rick Cole.

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    6. 12:03 is one of those people who gets pulled over for a traffic stop and opens with "I pay your salary."

      Right up there with "Do you know who I am?" on the arrogance scale.

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    7. There is no question that there has been abuse of citizens at the city. When they ask us to participate in surveys and then change our answers to suit their own needs above ours, they prove that they are unable to act in our best interest. Interestingly, educators in Atlanta who did the same thing for manipulating student test scores to promote self-serving agendas have received prison sentences. Some would say that those in Planning who have done the same thing are also deserving of consequences.

      There is nothing innately wrong in with the model of representative government if the people in roles of responsibility are honest and forthright. The reason it has not worked in Encinitas for some time is the quality of people in particular departments and the lack of leadership by some council members. We have systems and people within those systems who are rewarded for lying, hiding information, and breaking laws.

      As we saw with AB744, when council takes the side of the residents instead of the side of staff members, there are fewer complaints on EUC.

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    8. 10:45 I hate to spoil your day, but have never been pulled over or received a traffic ticket. How very arrogant for you to assume.

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    9. 10:22 How does the city get their money? From us, the citizens and taxpayers.

      In addition, people from out of town visiting our city, sleeping in hotels/motels and paying an extra fee that goes to the city.

      Sales tax collected everywhere that goes into the city coffers.

      Property taxes payed by those who own homes.

      Red light camera tickets.

      Tickets written by the cops.

      Most all of the money the city has now has been given to them by the residents and taxpayers. I am sure there are many more ways that the city gets out money, but I can't think of them now.

      So, you can say what you will....if it wasn't for US there would be NO city and NO employees, and NO city council.

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    10. 10:45, Followed by "Am I being detained?" and "Do your job, run your checks".

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  7. I found all the bitter, angry, sad people.

    They are on EU!

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  8. I am happy and I am on EU. In fact many Encinitas are on EU. better take note Karen or you will be as hated as Vina.

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    1. Wow, why not pull up the welcome matt after 30 seconds.....

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  9. 9:01 How about just going away and not reading any posts? I'm sure you would be much happier. Bye Bye now.

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  10. I am happy. Why wouldn't I be? I live in Leucadia!

    No one else controls my happiness. I also intend to keep all of Encinitas nice and not let any bone head city staff person ruin our precious town. Yes Karen we are watching and we do participate. Hopefully you appreciate that fact.

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  11. I wish Ms. Brust all the best. Coming into the job, she needs to assess the situation with eyes wide open. There is a reason that staff moral is low and the trust between citizens and city management is at an all time low.

    I hope that she can get the staff under control and evaluate department directors so that we can stop the erosion of our quality of life in Encinitas.

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  12. Thoughts on this and that....
    Enc, SB and DM are combining to form one fire department....and the chief wants to begin "outreach programs" in inform the public about the name changes....LOLOLOLLLLOOOOO. Unreal!! Hey chief...AS IF WE, THE PUBLIC HAVE A CHOICE??? Here's what you do...change the name and move on!!! IDIOT!!!! Damn GOVT bureaucrat. We need to have an outreach programs to inform the public about our name change...we need to have support of the citizens on the name change....and the city council.... I'M GONNA BE SICK!! Prediction: the council will support the name change and tell the chief what a great job he is doing. Question: how many firefighters will be in the council chambers with the chief?? And will they be on duty that night?? Hey chief, I support the name change as long as the firefighters pay for the new lettering on the fire trucks. Why?? Because it's not the public calling for this name change nor should we pay for it!!!! IDIOT...and we pay this guy $250K a year to think up a name change...here's the new name change chief The WE LET YOUR HOUSE BURN TO THE GROUND FIRE DEPT.

    Marco Gonzalez is trying to polish his environmental credentials by claiming that litigation by Coastkeeper has lead to cleaner water in San Diego. " We used to be considered one of the dirty water capitals of our country and we're not anymore." Really Marco, really?? I travel extensively and everyone asks where I'm from, when I tell them San Diego, not a one, not ANYONE, has ever told me ohhh geee you guys are one of the dirtiest water capitals of the country. I suggest you move to Brentwood with Mr.Vina so you can be with people that are more informed than here in Encinitas...shall I say Desert Rose??

    Finally, Carlsbad and SanDag are deep in conversation about trenching the rail road tracks, will Encinitas city officials drop the ball again and FAIL to get the track below grade?? Prediction: Encinitas will fail to lower the tracks and more people die from suicide. Perhaps Marco could sue the city on behalf of Baykeeper after all, the blood, guts, mucus, urine feces and whatnot ends up in the dirt and the dirt gets washed into the storm drains and then into the ocean...complete and total contamination.

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  13. I've seen many statements here that the council ignores the will of citizens. By this, I am assuming that the writer(s) define residents' will by the speakers at council meetings.

    Questions:

    • Is the relatively small number of speakers at council meetings necessarily a representative sample?

    • can we agree that most voters do not attend or watch council meetings, and there is no reliable way to measure their opinions other than on Election Day?

    • if a council member believes that the same few people who speak regularly are out of step with the electorate as a whole, then isn't it possible that they may vote with what they believe to be a silent majority?

    • And finally, if council members are re-elected, then isn't there some evidence that they indeed have correct instincts for what the true will of the electorate is, nothwithstanding the clique of regulars who weigh in at the mic each week?

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    1. The following comment is made by someone who supports manipulation of resident feedback:

      " Is the relatively small number of speakers at council meetings necessarily a representative sample?"

      This comment and others like it disregard the fact that citizens with expertise and credentials in testing and survey have repeatedly offered to work on gathering citizen input in a scientific manner. Nobody is arguing that the speakers at council represent all of Encinitas, but what we are arguing about is that the city has spent millions of dollars bringing in consultants and programs like Peak Democracy which are NOT scientific, nor did Peak Democracy claim to be a valid method. However, the city places high value on this poor sample instead of reaching for higher standards to capture actual citizen input.

      For year now, citizen survey results have been blended, cherry picked, or ultimately not processed at all when they didn't like what we had to say.

      One simple way provide the best chance for everyone to respond would be to send a survey to every household in Encinitas with a simple Scantron form and a place for comments. There is no reason why this couldn't be done by a group of citizens trained in the field and it would certainly cost less than all of the money we have wasted on consultants.

      The truth is, they hire consultants to "massage" results that they don't like--not to capture the actual preferences of citizens. If the results that the Planning Department has been presenting for the past 5-10 years reflect citizens wishes so closely, why do you have such push back and a Prop A that voter passed?

      Another thing, Planning does not have to "educate" citizens. This is their term for biasing, threatening, and manipulating.

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    2. "One simple way provide the best chance for everyone to respond would be to send a survey to every household in Encinitas with a simple Scantron form and a place for comments."

      Some would respond, and others would not. The respondents would likely not be a representative sample. It's called Self Selection Bias.

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    3. At some point, when there are clear choices to present to residents in a scientific survey, then by all means do one. What Peak Democracy was being asked to do could not have been done with a survey. The best that could have been done is with focus groups.

      That said, as anyone who follows political polling knows, responses often change over time based on direct and indirect events and information. It's like dipping your toe in a fast running stream which is why polling frequency increases heading into elections.

      The return rate on 100% surveys are just another form of who votes or shows up at council meetings. It depends on the issues and/or the candidates. Prop A only enticed a third of registered voters to show up. Also, should a survey canvass only residents or property owners as well? Does a renter have as big a stake in Encinitas as a property owner who may or may not also be an Encinitas resident.

      If you're convinced that city employees are subverting public input, as a number of people here believe, then nothing the city says or does will make a difference. You will find some reason, valid or not, to discount it.

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    4. 9:22, Right you are about some never being satisfied, regardless of parameters set within surveys. But I'm satisfied that everyone who cared to show up for the Prop A vote, did. And it passed; even in the thick of an ocean of misinformation being spewed about it by the then council members - whether that was intentional or not. Fortunately, I think most voting Encinitans are smart and recognize developer's cloaked agendas as well as sweeping generalities single residents may claim.

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    5. 9:22, why do we have staff members at all when consultants are hired to do the work. There are cities like San Marcos that have a much smaller number of employees per citizen since they have project managers who oversee consultants.

      Developers and council members influenced by them always claim that nothing will satisfy the obstructionists. They seemed to be happy when council took a position in alignment with citiznes on AB 744 instead of buckling in to the BIA.

      This is more whining from special interests.

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  14. Spending time to do research and look into what the city does "in our best interest" is not for everyone. It takes guts, in addition to a high enough level of annoyance and outrage to put aside what they would rather be doing and go tackle city hall.

    The proposition that perhaps the vocal minority might not represent most citizens assumes that most citizens are aware of what goes on at city hall (that is most certainly not in the public's best interest), which of course is an absurd idea.

    But 1:12 knows that.

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  15. I would like 1:12 to explain why councils have spent millions of dollars hiring consultants and vendors to twist and misrepresent citizen comments if the comments by "a relatively small number of speakers" is a minority position?

    Over and over again citizens have shown that they don't want to change anything about their specific community character. One of the main findings of MIG in its first report was that over 90% of those surveyed (several hundred) said that they did not want to change anything! Instead of listening to these residents, planners removed this finding from other reports and council members brought in Peder Norby, Peak Democracy, and attempted to bring on Lew Edwards to pay for more manipulation and studies.

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  16. Peak Democracy is a good example of the failure of the City to even do due diligence. I, and others, shared with all of the Council why Peak Democracy would not work. It was not statistically reliable or valid. It did not nothing to help anyone. Marlena Medford spent many hours looking into what would be the best way to obtain feedback from the citizens, hence Peak Democracy (which she introduced) to Council. We so called, obstructionists, attempted to get rid of Peak Democracy and we finally did. Same with many other programs and consultants that have come and gone. San Diego State offered Encinitas the deal of a lifetime, which would have helped both the Masters level students at State, and it would help our city, all for $1500.00. Other cities have benefited from this, but our Council once again said NO. So they spent a heck of a lot of money on something that SDSU, and the faculty supervisor, would have done for next to nothing. Go figure. The same program has been offered 2 times to the City and both times SDSU got a NO. I doubt if the City somehow decided to say YES that SDSU would even bother with us at this point.

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    1. The main reason that they don't want this is because graduate students at San Diego State are better qualified and smarter than people we have in our Planning Department.

      The other problem is that they may capture actual citizen sentiment, the way that Prop A did, and city staff don't like it when their poor standard and unprofessional behavior is aired in public.

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    2. It conflicts with the pre-determined outcome that the rigged consultant studies would show. It is a ruse to hire consultants whose mission is to validate an agenda already set in place by the special interests,.

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  17. Where in the consultants reports does it say that citizens want:

    More traffic?
    Increased downtown drunken behavior?
    Higher-density housing?
    More views taken away from current residents by new projects?
    More noise?
    More stress?
    Less open space?
    Less citizen control and more control of city staff to decide for us?

    If these consultants are so great, they should show us where citizens have voted for these results because the policies that our council and city staff have supported have lead to these results. Let's hope that council will start to listen after the AB 744 decisions, which actually does represent what most Encinitas citizens want.

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    1. I think that page is in the middle somewhere.

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  18. Meanwhile there is a DUI checkpoint in Olivenhain....does that make any sense? Why doesn't the Sheriff's Dept have a DUI checkpoint over July 4th on the Coast HWY??

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    1. Don't want to interfere with business! ***HIC*****

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    2. Get rid of the planes flying banners along the coast...

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  19. The City Manager needs to direct the police to start enforcing the muffler laws on vehicles and police our streets. And quiet joyriding along our coastline. I saw four on a nice green cruiser going up and down the beach trying to avoid kids and families playing on the beach.

    What a total waste of police time and our money. We already pay lifeguard to watch the beach. The police need to focus on enforcing traffic laws including noise violations!!!!

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    1. Yea, that cushy beach patrol is an extra bonus for the cops. Double time pay and ogling at the babes. They can't police the downtown area, but waste manpower on the beach? What is their rationale for overlayering the lifeguard personnel? Get the cops off the beach - they are not needed there.

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    2. Let's not forget that $3M was set aside for the lifeguard tower once already... you are paying twice for the new lifeguard tower.

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    3. Mufflers?

      Is that you, Al.?

      http://focusonencinitas.blogspot.com/2014/06/reach-being-larger-than-grasp-when-and.html?m=1

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  20. No thats not Al. Its me. Are you for peace or against it?

    Losers with straight pipes show total disrespect for the community and I believe they all deserve $500 or more tickets.

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    1. 10:09,

      I don't like the bike noise, but I think we have bigger problems and the mess of laws make it unlikely the police will be able to do anything effective.

      I honestly hope I am wrong.

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    2. Yes you are wrong. There is no mess of laws. The law is clear. No straight pipes and no modified exhaust over 90 dBs. Which is soooo easy to read today with the amazing technology we have.

      The bottom line is the cops are lazy and the City Manager has not asked them to enforce the state laws on Encinitas Streets. How many violations for straight pipes have been issued in Encinitas over the last year?

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  21. Yea, nail the bikers with the outrageously loud pipes. Put the motorcycle cop downtown on the weekend to ticket these offenders and eventually word may get out that loud pipes aren't acceptable in Encinitas.

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