Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Planning Dept to keep on keepin' on improving

From the Inbox:

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


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


  1. This a comment is from the Planning Department's Mission Statement. Talk to many people and there are numerous examples of the Planning Depart ment NOT conducting themselves with honesty, nor integrity, nor living up to their commitments. They DO NOT openly communicate their processes and actions to the public, and they ESPECIALLY do not promote trust.

    Karen needs to clean house in Planning!

  2. Not true. Anyone who has dealt with this group knows their butt covering make up.

  3. Why do they need a mission statement?

  4. Manjeet, pack your bags. You are next to ride the Coaster.

  5. Slow news day/week/month/year? Maybe Joe Mosca can help them with their statement....

  6. I find it interesting that the new CM wants nothing to do with the Leucadia Streetscape. If I was L101 I'd worry about my funding.

    1. Ha, yes bad news for the L-101, great news for Leucadia residents. Just say no to OC-style cementing over every square inch of Leucadia. No barfy, uniformly-colored stucco in the name of "improvements."

    2. Where is it written that Brust opposes Streetscape?

    3. Just keep pulling things out of your butt.

      The council just recently pushed to get the 100% construction docs finalized for the streetscape but you come up with the CM wants nothing to do with it? Nice try. Believe me, whether or not the CM is enthusiastic about streetscape, she isn't going to frustrate the council on only the first few weeks on the job.

    4. Why don't the craplovers cleanup the trash left behind by your homeless friends?? Oh that's right, trash left by homeless adds "improvements" to the community.

  7. They need to keep our current Housing Element and not touch the rest of our General Plan.

  8. Watch for it. We have been screwed by Murphy before he left. He changed the wording on the HEU. Don't know if Council knew, or just decided to not tell the citizens.

  9. Paul Ecke Central School Facebook Post:

    We just found out that the city received the grant for the UNDERPASS AT EL PORTAL!!
    Lets say congrats and thanks to the staff and council, so if you can, please come out for 15 minutes tonight to City Hall from 6-6:15 pm (505 S. Vulcan). We would like as many families and kids there to say thank you!
    We will speak at the very beginning so it will really only be 15 minutes!

  10. Great news, 4:39! Thanks.

    1. So you'd rather have a train run through your town at 70 mph than lower the tracks and save lives, time and money. And you wonder why this town is in the trouble it's in...look in the mirror.

    2. 9:35 AM

      No we'd rather have something useful and affordable now then wait many years for the possibility of the tracks being lowered. The El Portal pedestrian underpass grant means it will be built in the next few years for $5.4 M. Lowering the tracks is in the hundreds of millions to construct and won't happen, if ever, for several decades.

      So while you wait years for that money, watching those trains whiz by at 70 MPH on two tracks, the kids going to school at Ecke Central will be able to safely walk underneath.

      I don't wonder why this town is in trouble. You've just demonstrated it. Take your own advice.

    3. 9:35,

      I'd "rather have" Elon Musk's hyperlioop train, or a teleportation system, but these options are not on offer in the foreseeable future.

      What is possible is an underpass, and most of us are happy to have it, especially at an elementary school with terrible traffic problems and no safe way to walk kids to school.

  11. Request for Proposals: Montgomery Avenue At-Grade Pedestrian Rail Crossing
    Posted Date: 9/9/2015 1:00 PM
    Submission Deadline: 10/8/2015 2:00 PM

    1. Ok...point being??

    2. They must have decided, or are exploring, putting in a pedestrian crossing at grade instead of an underpass as originally planned. Since few, if any, Cardiff Elementary Students would use the crossing to reach school unlike Ecke Central which have a number of students west of 101. The only reason to cross there is to get to the coast (beach). The at-grade crossing will be a lot cheaper than an underpass and is close enough to Chesterfield that train horns will only slightly increase.

  12. Anyone who has dealt with planning or engineering knows that they feel completely free to change the game at any minute no matter how many assurances and commitments they gave you to the contrary just the week before.

  13. Ranu Manjeet is full of buzz words, marketing jive. There were four points to his presentation, the final being celebrating his department's, and by extension, the City's administrative success. What was shown were flow charts, supposedly to simplify the permitting process.

    But Jeff Murphy had before stated that added efficiencies created by new computer application(s)/technology, would not result in savings to consumers, which are citizens struggling through the permitting process. Supposedly, time can be saved, but not money for the general public.

    1. What Murphy said (although he could have been clearer) was the computer system was going to create administrative efficiency and make public accessibility easier but it wouldn't replace staff review of the projects, a manual process, which is the bulk of their time. The software has no capability to actually analyze projects.

    2. Prior to Jeff Murphy's arrival, for 27 long years, the Planning Department had no 'check-list' for the Planning, Engineering or the Building Department. Just one of the reasons the planners seemed lost or confused all the time. At the public's request, Gus Vina made discretionary funding available to purchase and install a software program that allows the public to not only follow their own Case #'s, but it also allows for your friends and neighbors to follow the progress of your Case# and serves as a balancing element that keeps the city staff honest in their processing of the requests. Murphy got Vina to also find funding for some better trained new staff that have been an inspiration for property-owners in comparison to the staff prior to Jeff Murphy's arrival.

      While the 28 isolates that do everything in their power to foil the city's attempts to produce an approved Housing Element, if Ranu also leaves all residents can hope for is a lack of approval for the Housing Initiative completed in time for November 2016; which will then turn the 'Plan' over to a Judge that will then 'approve' the plan and let the city get back to doing business without this civil war that has gone on over a Housing Element since 1992.

      So, from the date of intake, the public and other staff members to 'follow' the progress of a project. This seemingly minor upgrade of technology alone is enough to be thankful that Jeff Murphy and Manjeet Ranu were brought aboard by Gus Vina.

    3. 6:31 PM
      What a light bulb Vina found in Murphy and Murphy found in Manjeet. What is the name of this magical software program? If you actually go to the case information, you will find very sketchy information. How much money was spent for this abbreviated, annotated program? A better program would have a link to the discretionary permit application. Better yet a link should be made to the CD of the tentative map as required of the developer.
      Following the progress of a project isn't the same as having the information of the project.
      Before the "new software" the management analyst keep track of all the projects.
      Adios, Murphy. Take Manjeet with you. See how San Diego will appreciate your updating of their information.

    4. 6:56 PM

      As admitted by Ranu during his presentation to the council last Wednesday, he was the primary developer using Intuit's QuickBase (an integrated cloud based database and application development solution). It replaces the old, outdated and very limited system. I assume he did this in addition to his normal duties. The only cost would have been QuickBase which from their website is pretty low. The city has already purchased the more robust EnerGov that will replace QuickBase and provide much more functionality and department integration.

      So you're right a better program would provide more functionality but then EnerGov has thousands of person hours behind it not the few hundred in the QuickBase application.

      'Before the "new software" the management analyst keep track of all the projects' What are you talking about? The planning department has only two management analysts and their functions are not tracking development projects. That is the planners jobs.

      What this sounds like is bitching for bitching sake. You don't like them therefore they can do nothing right. You've demonstrated a complete lack of knowledge in how the department functions.

      Whether you personally like the planning management or not, they have made major improvements in how the department functions.

  14. 3:27 PM
    A link, a link, how difficult is that? And you are the supreme defender of Manjeet Ranu? You like him therefore he can do no wrong. There is no middle ground from your comments.
    No, the planning management HASN'T made major improvements in how the department functions. Ship out Ranu and see how fast his "program" is removed from the website.

  15. 5:35 PM

    Is that you Julie. What link do you want? I watched the council meeting in real time so I assume you can just go to the council meetings page. Look it up. Do you mean what the Management Analysts do? One is the department's management analyst who provides general support for the whole department and the other management analyst responsibility is specifically housing. QuickBase is from Intuit. EnerGov is from Tyler Technologies. Look them up.

    I'm sorry for your ignorance in how things work. I go by results, not the personality of who is doing it. And the results have shown much improvement in the planning department's operations.

    "Ship out Ranu and see how fast his "program" is removed from the website". This makes no sense and just demonstrates your cluelessness. Why would the department stop using the program just because its developer isn't here. At some point the city will transition over to EnerGov which as I said above is a better program only because of its maturity and the number of development hours put in to it. For comparison, the SD Union-Tribune had a story Sunday about Vista's brand new planning projects webpage. It's pretty but has much less capability than Encinitas.

    Finally, I'm not Ranu's defender but you seem pathological in your dislike for him. To you he can do nothing right. It is you that has no middle ground. I just go by results not personalities.

  16. 7:52 AM
    Thank you for that reference to Vista's project information page. There are differences between the webpages of Vista and Encinitas. Vista wins. Vista provides the project application date. Ranu doesn't list the application dates on his webpage. Vista lists the planner's name, phone number, and email. Ranu doesn't list that information on the Encinitas webpage. Vista has an interactive map that provides the visual of street location of a project. Ranu didn't provide an immediate visual for each project in his webpage.
    The preliminary list of deficiencies in Manjeet Ranu's webpage -
    1. No application submittal date - which is used for tracking
    2. No up front planner information - why not?
    3. No up front visual as a map location
    4. No visual such as a tentative map that Vista shows on its webpage
    5. No date of the application expiration date
    Defend Ranu. What is the capability of Ranu's city project webpage?

  17. With no submittal date, at least in the online view for visitors, there is no way to track how long a project is taking. Therefore, the entire claim that this site is about continuous improvement is not supported. How does anyone know if the time it takes to do a project has improved from before?

    Also, I think that 7:52 was politely pointing out that the visual order and interface of this site is a mess.

  18. 10:40 AM & 10:53 AM

    You're right. It doesn't say "Submitted". It says "Request Received". What were they thinking.

    Oh, and since I know about these things, Vista is an ArcGIS Story Map application rather that QuickBase or something similar. Story Maps are a quick way to create on online map application but it's pretty limited. The one thing Vista does have that's not on the Encinitas site is showing a single graphic of the project. It's only one graphic but it's a nice touch. Unfortunately, the information is static. Encinitas includes dates for Planning Commission, CPP, City Council among other things.

    But you'll have to contact the planning department for efficiency metrics. There are numerous factors that go into the length of time a project takes including how responsive the applicant is in both turnaround and responsiveness to staff review. I'm sure staff can be very "effective" if they just accept whatever an applicant turns in. I'm sure you'll want that.

    Besides what do you care how long a project takes as long as the final project is done well? I've heard comments from the public thanking the developer for working with the neighborhood. That adds to the length of time a project takes to be approved. Do you want to cut that out as well?

    You appear to be on a witch hunt.

    1. The e-database is a good idea. It is the execution of this project that is the problem.

      Couldn't he have worked with the IT Department so that it was complete and so that it at least didn't look like someone did it in a single night?

      Why the rush to do release something so rough when a competent job could have been done at any time over the last two years?

  19. 12:05 PM
    Where is the column for "Request Received" on the list of active projects?
    No column.

    1. Click on a project. It's under Timeline. Since they capture the field, ask them to include it on the table.

    2. 12:29 PM
      What are you talking about? Where on that list of active projects webpage does it say to click on a project?

    3. 12:36 PM

      Maybe it needs to but most people when they see their mouse turn from an arrow to a hand know that they can click on it.

      Please contact the planning department and request adding the instruction to "Click on a Table Entry to see the Detail" to the main webpage. See, you're helping already.

    4. 12:55 PM
      Shouldn't Manjeet Ranu have checked out his program? Why is the public doing his work?
      Following your instruction and clicking a project, it leads to another webpage with most of the same information in the list of projects of the previous webpage.
      There is a heading of TIMELINE that below it is a fill in the blank space with a title of REQUEST RECEIVED. An application requires formal written information. Doesn't Ranu know the difference?
      The annoyance of chasing over the city website to find project project information doesn't lend to good public relations.
      How long did Ranu spend on filling in the blanks?

    5. 1:19 PM

      Why doesn't this surprise me. The projects I opened had Request Received dates filled in.

      "The annoyance of chasing over the city website to find project project information doesn't lend to good public relations." So clicking on a table entry to the detail page is "chasing over the city website"? I guess you don't use the web very much.

      Your criticisms are pretty lame. As I said, with you it's personal.

  20. It is not a "witch hunt" to expect competent work and honesty when that is what planners are claiming about themselves. To quote the planners themselves:

    "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."

    This website and many other projects through our Planning Department erode public trust and are performed at much lower levels than are accepted in other cities--like Vista for example.

    Instead of empty words, they need to behave in a way consistent with their claims.

    1. "This website and many other projects through our Planning Department erode public trust and are performed at much lower levels than are accepted in other cities--like Vista for example."

      Speaking of empty words. When you can give specific comparisons between Encinitas and other cities, then I'll take you seriously.

      First you criticized the Encinitas website for not having a submittal date when it does. You just didn't take the time to find it. Vista doesn't use a table on their website, they use images. Over the image is the static information of project summary with address, applicant name, planner name & contact info, and the date submitted. Encinitas doesn't have an individual planner's name but a general email account for all projects where an email gets routed to the appropriate planner. Nowhere on the Vista website could I find a project case number. They only have general status categories (Pending Review, Approved, Under Construction, Completed). There are other things that the Encinitas application has but I don't have time to go into all of them. Suffice it to say, other than a project graphic, the Encinitas eProject is more robust than Vista, which is not a slight of Vista.

      But you don't really care about that. It appears personal with you.

  21. The real point is that this is supposed to be a way to track continuous improvement--and without start dates and a complete list of ALL planning projects, this is just more of the same cherry picking and dishonesty that caused citizens to write and pass Prop A in the first place. Council can praise this all they want, but the end product doesn't do what the Agenda Item says it would do. This is the same reason that the Housing Element needs to be thrown out. The information in it is cherry picked and flawed. Rather than "promoting trust," this project has promoted distrust--especially of Council members who praise such low standards.

    Also, with a staff of more than 40 people, why didn't he get someone competent to do this project so that it could look professional? Managers are responsible for time, money and work accomplished in a department. Instead of doing a half-assed rush job, why didn't he use his staff to create something that looks professional and is complete?

    Karen needs to do a focus group to understand what is happening in the Planning Department since this points to another deficiency of leadership ability at the top.

    1. 4:51 PM

      No, the real point is you haven't demonstrated any competency to evaluate eProjects showing a lack of understanding and open mindedness. I'm not saying eProject is perfect but considering what was there before (nothing) it will do for now. Remember, eProject is a temporary application until EnerGov is implemented. Residents asked for this capability so instead of waiting, the department went ahead and created something internally. I'm not aware of any of the planning department staff with programming experience with the exception of Ranu. What you're really asking for is hiring a programming consultant to the tune of $100,000. I know because I have considerable experience in these matters. Besides, spending that kind of money for an application that will only be used for a couple of years doesn't make sense.

      "... this is just more of the same cherry picking and dishonesty ..." certainly applies to you. This smacks of a personal vendetta. Nothing will satisfy you and the department can do nothing right.

      "... the Housing Element needs to be thrown out". No it doesn't. Besides, doing so means there won't be time to get it on the November 2016 ballot. Maybe that's your real agenda.