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).


Aside from confirming our hypothesis that a silent majority wants the trail, the survey also highlighted that 85% of Encinitas residents who support the trail actually plan to use it themselves. This was true for people living in Leucadia, the Highlands, the coastal/downtown corridor, and areas east of the 5 Freeway. This project is a community benefit that will be enjoyed and appreciated by the entire city.

As for scare tactics, Gaspar and Muir raise the specter of an even taller fence along the tracks than the planned 4 foot tall post-and-cable fence that is a part of the rail trail project. Their letter says: "NCTD has reaffirmed that if people choose to cross over the new 4-foot fence, a taller, more effective fence will be needed".

They are just trying to scare you. NCTD has always had the right to build whatever sort of fence they want along the corridor. This is not new information. It's their right of way. NCTD originally wanted a 6 foot chain link fence to go with the rail trail project. The 4 foot post-and-cable fence in the current plan is a negotiated compromise because NCTD is trying to be sensitive to the community's desires and needs. However, given NCTD's concerns about safety and liability, they have to reserve their right to stop illegal crossings. When pressed, of course they will assert their right to try a different solution if this one doesn't work. Does that mean a project to replace a fence that isn't even built yet with some sort of other nightmare fence is on a hair trigger? Of course not. And for the record, a safe and legal railroad crossing at Montgomery Street is the key to reducing illegal crossings over the long haul.

There is also a logical inconsistency in the Gaspar and Muir position on the fence. In one part of their letter they argue that a rail fence might never be built at all because NCTD has not allocated funds for it. And yet at the same time, they are quick to say that NCTD is poised to replace the planned fence with some sort of horrible Berlin Wall monstrosity. The latter argument doesn't make sense in the context of the former. You can't have it both ways.

Finally, in response to the argument that NCTD has no money allocated for a fence, I would point out that NCTD has publicly stated that it will be seeking planning dollars to develop context sensitive fencing solutions for the area. Those are their words, not mine. So it seems disingenuous to say that fencing is nothing but a twinkle in NCTD's eye. We should grab the compromise while we can, especially since it is a part of a community improvement that will benefit the whole city.

On the topic of the Montgomery crossing, Gaspar and Muir claim that the city will have to spend $1MM after the crossing is built to silence the resulting noise pollution. This is an incomplete version of reality at best. The $1MM will go towards establishing a "Quiet Zone" that will actually reduce train horn noise along the whole Cardiff corridor from current levels. This is arguably worth doing even if no Montgomery crossing were built.

I'd also like to point out that Gaspar and Muir would rather wait another three, four, or five years to get funding for the perfect Montgomery crossing. Then it will take years to plan it, permit it, and build it. I'd rather we move forward. A $2MM at-grade crossing will do the job. Let's get it done now and not wait the better part of a decade (or more) for something that will be two or three times the total cost in the end. 

The plan of record for four new underpasses throughout Encinitas came into being in 2009 and so far only one has been built (at Santa Fe, at a cost of $6MM) with funding for another at El Portal just recently approved. Given the current inertia, the Montgomery underpass is years and years away... and will likely cost far more than the $6MM spent at Santa Fe.

Last but not least, I want to address the concerns Gaspar and Muir raised about the trail's impact on the undeveloped area and on parking. Gaspar and Muir use the word "dramatically" twice to describe the negative effects of the planned trail on the undeveloped area and on the parking along San Elijo Avenue. With respect, that is entirely too much drama. 

The planned trail will wind through the natural environment and complement it, not replace it. More people will be able to enjoy the area. 

The situation with parking is more nuanced. There will indeed be a moderate reduction in parking spaces along the stretch of San Elijo near Santa Fe, although it won't be "dramatic". But the trade-off is for pedestrian and bike accessibility and safety. That north stretch of San Elijo is not safe nor is it accessible. The trail with its parallel parking along the road solves the safety issues and opens up that corridor for all of us. Cars may have to park a little farther south on San Elijo on busy holiday weekends in exchange for a safe, accessible, and pleasant pedestrian and bike path.

Please get the facts about this project. Don't react to scare tactics and to a partial picture that emphasizes the negative. You can now see where your City Council stands since most members are on the record (Catherine Blakespear and Lisa Shaffer have written extensively about their reasons for voting "yes"). There are advocacy groups on both sides of the issue, each with hundreds of supporters who have surfaced volumes of data about the rail trail. There is a great deal of public information out there. Do your research and make an informed judgment. 

Thank you,
Mike Verdu
Proud Cardiffian

85 comments:

  1. The only question I have is whether Julie Thunder will allow anyone else to speak at the January meeting on the project.

    I've been to the other meetings, and, well. . .

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    1. I strongly support the rail trail on San Elijo but there's no way I want to be screamed at by Julie Thunder, Chris Swanner, Ed Thielicke, Rich Risner, Pat Sheehy, Joe Alkhas and other people who constantly impart their "wisdom" on this and other sites acting like there is new information. Also, if by chance you disagree with them, they immediately ask accusingly, "Did you attend the meetings?" Are you kidding? I don't want to be in the same room with you or anywhere near you. I can read the minutes from my home and then drop my representatives a note via email if I have a question or recommendation. Personally, I don't need such toxicity in my life from such selfish, selfish people. When you talk to them it's always about their beach, their parking, their view. Guess what guys, it doesn't belong to you and not everyone else in this community is as self-centered. Attend a meeting with these people? Ahahaha...I DON'T think so.

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    2. Thanks Mike and thanks 8:14 for standing up to any bullying. Please folks, lets maintain an open mind and open dialogue on the rail trail going forward.

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    3. I went to the meeting at Cardiff Elementary before the vote.

      There were definitely a few people against the trail who thought that shouting and frequently talking out of turn was somehow an indicator of popular opinion.

      If they truly believed that their side of the argument had majority support, then they would not need to behave that way.

      In politics, it's an easy way to identify the side that is losing.

      Sadly, I expect more of the same, from the same people.

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    4. 8:14- you might not be aware of this, however your bullying, threatening, intimidating post demeaning viewpoints of others is the very thing you are accusing others of.

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    5. 8:14 isn't demeaning their viewpoints (whatever that means). 8:14 is calling them on their aggressive, un-neighborly tactics. It is possible to oppose the rail trail without being disruptive and rude in public meetings.

      Also, I missed the threats and intimidation in 8:14's post. Can you please quote the precise language where you found a threat/intimidation?

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    6. Mike Verdu's said poll is a total scam. Anyone know anyone who was contacted? Trying to concoct phony support to pave over our natural space. Mike, if you like pavement so much you might want to move back to DC. I can't believe you think people are that gullible.

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    7. It's not a scam, that's his belief, he wants the rail trail, just as you don't want it. There are reasons for and against. That's all...

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    8. 11:54 - is that really called for? Yikes. I expected more from my community. I totally respect those who have a different opinion than me - and I have empathy for their position - but this is a bit much. Accusing me of scamming you and then telling me to move back to DC seems over the top. Let's level up the discussion a bit if we can.

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    9. Verdu, the pot calling the kettle black. You have been inciting a lot of drama yourself and taking plenty of your own pot shots. Funny, now you are the statesman shocked that Encinitans are emotional enough about this issue and think you are scamming them. Kind of like your treatment of the mayor and council man.

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  2. Mr. Verdu does not speak for Cardiff residents and families. It is Cardiff families that will suffer loss of quality of life. It is Cardiff families who will see increased traffic and pollution. It is Cardiff residents who will lose the originality of their topography for the cookie cutter UN Agenda like high density rail trail hub. The money could be better spent educating our kids, fixing our roads, rehabilitate the sink hole called Pacific View. I guess Mr. Verdu could not be bothered to attend the council meeting where they raised fees on youth sports, raised fees on seniors and looked at increasing our taxes. He must have only read Blakespear's published work of fiction in The Coast News misleading voters to believe the city finances are in great shape when in reality we can'talk afford Pacific View, Maintenance at the Hall Park, pension liabilities or fixing our roads.

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  3. Thank you Mike Verdu. This is Lorri Greene. We would like to have a meeting at the end of January at the Cardiff Library, if it can be arranged. Councilmember Muir said he would come, and Catherine Blakespear had said she would come, but I am not so sure at this time. If she chooses not to come, would you be willing to present the YES side? My one and only goal in all of this is to make sure that Cardiffians( yes NIMBYism at its best) will still speak to their neighbors after this is all over. I have not seen an artists rendering of the project, even though I have seen sketches. I am,unfortunately not very good at seeing the whole picture sometimes, unless I have a rendering of what the whole thing will look like. Sort of what we had when the Encinitas Community Park was being built. There was a rendering of what the whole thing would look like. There was also something like it when Moonlight was being redone. So, hopefully, someone has a rendering of the project.

    The votes have been cast, as many have said. So,this meeting may not change anyone's mind as to what is going to be built. However, it would be a place where we all could get together and share what we like about the project and find common ground. Our community is too priceless to let this become neighbor against neighbor, at least in my opinion. I really have no horse in this race, so to speak. I live on Oxford and can walk to the beach via Chesterfield. I am 68 years old, so I will probably not ride a bike on the trail, nor will I stroll my babies on the trail. However, I wish there was a way for everyone to be happy with the project. That may not happen, but we can all, at least, be kind to our neighbors. Anyway, that is one of my 2016 wishes. Happy New Year to you all.

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    1. Who is "we"? Councilmember Muir? They are stirring up a hornets nest for their own cynical purposes.

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    2. 10:25- The WE I mentioned was a meeting that I posted on Neighborhood asking if my neighbors would like to have a meeting to take another look at this. Muir said yes, and Blakespear said yes. However, at this time, I am not sure if Blakespear still wants to come to this meeting. It has already passed, so she may think it a waste of time. My reasoning was perhaps there was some kind of middle ground we could all reach. Hope that helps. Lorri Greene

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    3. Lorri, I really hear you on the tone of the debate. As I've said before, I love this community and my passion around this issue comes from caring about this community, this place, and these people... from a feeling that I've found home here.

      I still work and have a very full life, but I put time and energy and passion into this project because I care. Same goes for the opposition. They care as well.

      I think we all want what is best for the community. We just disagree on what's best in this case. And we care enough to get fired up about it. That's actually a deeply good thing in the end. I lived in a DC suburb many years ago before moving to North County and I remember that nobody there gave a damn about what happened in their community. They also didn't know their neighbors and didn't seem to want to... which was such a missed opportunity.

      Anyway, I am 100% with you on trying to make sure this doesn't spin out to the point where bad feelings linger after the issue has been decided one way or another. I will still love this place and its people regardless of the outcome, trail or no trail. We all have to live together. I hope we can disagree and that everyone recognizes that those disagreements come from a place of good intentions.

      On the topic of a meeting, I think the right time to get everyone together is when SANDAG finishes the design phase they are working on right now - which should happen in the next few months. At that point we'll have a bunch more information. My understanding is that we'll get a design and budget update. We might have enough information at that point to have an artist create a rendering, which is a fantastic idea and is absolutely needed.

      -Mike

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    4. The time to get everyone together is now -and shut the destruction of the unique topography of Cardiff down. Mommy groups with strollers can run on the 101 sidewalk or choose to move to Solana beach, PB, Huntington. Or some other concrete neighborhood. The tactic of waiting untIL the unelected Regional Bureaucrats of "SANDAG finishes the design phase" is self-serving to Mr. Verdu and intellectually dishonest. The time for citizens interested in protecting Cardiff from increased traffic and loss of quality of life is to act before the design is finished, but Mr. Verdu likely already knows this.

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    5. Protecting Cardiff from Increased Traffic? By doing what, removing the roads? In case you haven't noticed, the beach is kind of a destination in the summer.

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  4. Mr. Verdu,

    Your response has misinformation. The PUC is the controlling agency on fence height. If they want a 7 or 8 foot high fence, they can order it. However, if the three council members take a second look at what is being proposed, they will see that this development is a major change in the Cardiff character.
    There is only a small portion of the paved bicycle path, from Chesterfield to Verdi that will be built close to the double tracks. The rest of the paved path will be part of the widening of San Elijo Ave. from Verdi to Santa Fe. This is from your posted information.
    There are no scare tactics but yours.
    Perhaps you can explain how you can tout an at-grade crossing at Montgomery that will dead end on the west side of San Elijo.

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  5. Interesting that the headlines on this issue always refer to the Rail Trail, but the real issue is the NCTD fence that will wall off the beach from West Cardiff (and eventually, all of West Encinitas) residents. The dreaded Fence is what we should all be concerned with. We've had an informal "rail trail" in place ever since the tracks were first laid in the 1800's.

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    1. The fence is coming at some point when NCTD double tracks the entire corridor, but that could be in another 10-20 years, and that is their call because it's their property.

      That said there would no doubt be crossings as their are in Solana Beach...

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    2. NTCD does not own that land, taxpayers do.

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    3. Really 8:04?

      By your logic then, we also "own" NA S Miramar, Pendelton, San Clementi Island, all the local schools, and the I-5 right of way.

      Perhaps we should assert ourselves to remove all fences from all of these properties?

      Think about it.

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    4. Intellectually dishonest comparison. No body is suggesting what you propose.

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    5. Okay,

      Let's recap.

      8:46 said NCTD would likely construct a fence at sone point, because "it's their property" and they have openly declared an intent to establish a fence line.

      8:04 "corrected" 8:46 by asserting that the land does not belong to NCTD, but rather to all of us--"taxpayers." The obvious implication is that lands that are controlled by a public entity should be accountable to popular opinion on matters related to fencing.

      I pointed out how silly that is, by expanding the scope to other properties held by public entities in the region.

      The point is, public agencies own property. Some of those properties need to be secured against unauthorized access, irrespective of public opinion. Over time, as population density and rail traffic frequency have increased, it becomes a logical expectation that the agency in charge will eventually want to segregate trains from people crossing the rails on foot.

      High speed traffic on I-5 can kill pedestrians. Live-fire munitions aboard Pendleton or San Clemente Island can kill trespassers. Trains can and do kill people who get in the way.

      At some point, public agencies have the right, indeed the obligation, to use fences--even unpopular ones--to seperate sensitive areas from random people on foot.

      The LOSSAN corridor is approaching that point. Make peace with that thought. The best we can do is to work together to find the best safe, legal, and quiet alternatives to cross the rails.

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    6. NCTD has jurisdiction for the land in the rail corridor, so in this instance, they have the final say on egress, near, through and on the railroad property and the land on either side.

      They are the public agency that controls that process. The LOSSAN corridor is obviously heavily used, and that use will only increase, hence the need for double tracking.

      Every time someone is killed by the train, a new crew has to be brought down and the driver replaced. Nothing happens in a vacuum. The close calls are way higher in number than anyone thinks.

      So yes, NCTD has a vested interest in securing the rail line...

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    7. This Michael Verdu guy obviously came into EUC having prepped his "hundreds" of fans to provide some online support. I haven't found more than one or two people who like this bike lane plan, but those two people seem to have come to his rescue.

      It is pretty obvious NCTD has oversight of their property, and it is pretty obvious NCTD has a vested interest in securing the rail line. But the NCTD rail line property runs through multiple cities, and each city has legislative control to draw up ordinances that codify city planning. Encinitas isn't powerless to draw up ordinances that would limit NCTD's options concerning fencing in the bike trail area around the rail line. It could codify maximum fence heights, limit fence types, and box NCTD into something workable for Encinitas.

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  6. Probably will cause neighbors to take sides but the people who don't want it are the definite majority, it is not hard to get a sense around here where people are at. Also what we have is being used and enjoyed, many runners out today and all smiles. If it's not broke don't fix it!

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    1. I disagree.

      Most people probably want it.

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    2. 7:11 - I disagree that most people want it as well. In conversations that I've had with my friends, family and mommy groups, I know that there are a lot of people who really want it but don't want to get into a crazy shouting match with a small, but very vocal group of people who practically go ballastic if you disagree with them. These people say it's because they are passionate but it looks a lot like anger to me and I don't like to be around such angry people. Trust me...if this thing goes to another vote...there will be a lot of people who will show up and make their voices heard thru the ballot box.

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    3. 7:11 - I disagree that most people want it as well. In conversations that I've had with my friends, family and mommy groups, I know that there are a lot of people who really want it but don't want to get into a crazy shouting match with a small, but very vocal group of people who practically go ballastic if you disagree with them. These people say it's because they are passionate but it looks a lot like anger to me and I don't like to be around such angry people. Trust me...if this thing goes to another vote...there will be a lot of people who will show up and make their voices heard thru the ballot box.

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    4. 7:11 - (Correction to above...Sorry) I disagree...I think MOST PEOPLE want it as well. In conversations that I've had with my friends, family and mommy groups, I know that there are a lot of people who really want it but don't want to get into a crazy shouting match with a small, but very vocal group of people who practically go ballastic if you disagree with them. These people say it's because they are passionate but it looks a lot like anger to me and I don't like to be around such angry people. Trust me...if this thing goes to another vote...there will be a lot of people who will show up and make their voices heard thru the ballot box.

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    5. Terrific 7:58. Please let me know where you and your many supporters will be gathering signatures to put an initiative on the ballot like the Prop A supporters did. I will look for and sign it, and then vote as I choose.

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    6. Good grief, 7:58 has got to be Mike Verdu's wife. Or the wife of that guy who is working with him. She just can't get her story straight, but Verdu is going to correct the mayor with his straight story. LOL. These two couples must be on a dinner circuit with the three blind mice on the council, or maybe they are bidding the contract to build this awful path.

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  7. No one has ever polled me. I live in Cardiff and it will block my access to the beach. I will need to drive after the fence is up. As all of you should know there is very limited parking at the beach. If the city council proceeds with this plan they need to increase parking along hwy 101. That should be done before the rail trail fence blocks access. I would vote no on this alignment if asked. "from a 40 year Cardiff resident"

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    1. What makes you think an alignment on 101 comes without a fence?

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    2. It won't have a fence because it is not in the rail corridor. Everywhere else in this city it runs along the 101.

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    3. "Everywhere else in this city it runs along the 101."

      Cardiff is the first section of the Coastal Rail Trail in Encinitas. There is no "everywhere else" for the CRT.

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  8. I was surely not polled either. Never heard anything about it. Your statistics and claims of support for this project sound totally made up. I don't know anyone in Cardiff who supports this plan except for Mike Verdu and Catherine Blakespear. I don't understand how you could support a plan to pave over the last piece of undeveloped coastal habitat we have left in Cardiff. The rail corridor is a beautiful natural area and open space which is used extensively by members of our community every day. Once the graters get in there it will be trashed for good.

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    1. We used SurveyMonkey to create and administer the online survey between 12/24 and 12/27. The main survey question asked residents if they supported or opposed the rail trail and for reasons why in each case. We also asked where in Encinitas they lived and about awareness of the issue (and if folks were very aware, how they were following the issue). Finally, we provided open ended comments so that people could fill in whatever they wanted (we plan to forward both the positive and negative comments to the City Council).

      The survey was IP locked (one response for one IP) and was surfaced randomly/algorithmically to the entire population of Encinitas that uses Facebook. We used FB because of its ability to reach a very broad cross section of the city. We know the survey was surfaced to 15,000 residents across all areas of the city and that 366 of them clicked through and answered at least one question. 55% of survey respondents favored the trail, 24.5% were opposed, and 20.5% were undecided or had no opinion. We got a good response from all areas of Encinitas. In Cardiff we had 100+ responses with 55% supporting the trail and 45% opposed. There was a surprisingly high level of awareness about the trail, although that was possibly influenced by selection bias since we suspect only people who are very interested in the issue would even get to this question (it's worth noting that even people with very high levels of awareness still favored the trail by a significant margin). Our sample size was .56% of the entire Encinitas population and just shy of 1% in Cardiff.

      We did not drive any supporter traffic to the survey site. As a result, many of our supporters didn't even see the survey (we relied on FB to randomly sample and felt like any organized effort to drive traffic would skew the results). We tried to be as careful as possible with the survey because we were genuinely interested in the results. I have no interest in advocating for a cause that is supported only by a minority - and I had a hypothesis all along that there was a silent majority rooting for the trail.

      I felt like that hypothesis was confirmed and validated the many hours that our team has put into advocating for the trail.

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    2. Mr. Verdu,

      If you only provided your misinformation and feel happy good times we'll all have on the concrete bicycle path without telling survey participants of the major destruction to the environment, your survey was very biased.

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    3. Your survey of 100 cardiff responding residents is wrong. The trail supporters are the minority rest assured. Probably why the supporters jumped in to save a sinking ship.

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    4. 6:11pm - You crack me up with your Mr. Verdu this and Mr. Verdu that. Honestly, Mr. 6:11pm you sound a tad inebriated. First rule of posting, try to be conherent. Reread your own post and see if it makes any sense to you in the light of day. Your happy good times combined with concrete makes for some difficult reading. If that's not the case, I apologize. I am simply hoping that this is not an example of your inner chatter.

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    5. 9:08 AM
      You want the major destruction to the environment in Cardiff?

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    6. 9:08 Perhaps you would do well to read your own posts before hitting the publish button. Do you feel CONHERENT today. That is your word, not mean. Sounds like you have already hit the bottle yourself.

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    7. Conherent is when you are negative and don't make sense while trying to support an argument.

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  9. There's more... In October 2015, the Traffic and Safety Commission heard 2 Agenda Items, 1) a new wide bike lane on Birmingham that made on-street parking on Birmingham illegal; and 2) a likewise widened bike lane in the same exact stretch of San Elijo and Vulcan where the Rail Trail would belong, including 'no parking' from Birmingham to City Hall.

    What? You haven't heard of this? Of course not because Blakespear, Kranz and Shaffer ordered that staff place these 2 items on the agenda and demanded staff approval even though the commissioners were provided no impact report and absolutely no prior public hearing or discussion about it, no city council vote for approval and no study of impacts. Luckily the Traffic and Public Safety Commission currently has both brave and responsible members and they voted down these two actions unanimously, calling 'whomever' thought these 2 actions up and placed them on the Agenda for approval 'assinine', its in the record. The point is, these 3 same councilors gave little or maybe less thought to rendering Birmingham and San Elijo/Vulcan less navigable than they are now; without ANY concern for 'what if' both these 2 items were approved along with the Rail Trail imposition. Biking is fine, but allowing these 3 laymen to make promises to SanDag at the expense of the very people they were elected to represent shows another example of what poor leadership these 3 incompetents provide this beautiful city. Only shipping these 3 out of office can guarantee that this SanDag project is tossed on the rubbish heap where it belongs. Luckily, there is an election not too far in the distance.

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    1. 10:29,

      Birmingham west of the 5 is already no parking. Red curb on both sides all the way.

      Also, council cannot order any commission to approve anything. The fact that the commission voted down the idea is proof.

      I'm not sure what other facts you have wrong, but I suspect there are more.

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    2. 4:07 PM
      The no parking was on Birmingham from Lake to the freeway -east of the freeway. That was on the commission agenda. There was neighborhood opposition to the no parking and bike lanes.
      The facts aren't wrong.

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    3. East of 5 has no relevance to or effect on the Rail Trail proposal.

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    4. 9:20, in denial much? Point 2 describes some cockememy bike lane plan on Vulcan and San Elijo, and you want to distract us with what is or isn't relevant? This Verdu guy should reconsider his friends.

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  10. Put it to a popular vote. Majority rule.

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  11. Put this on the ballot and let the voters of all of Encinitas have their voices heard. Seems like a great way to end this dispute.

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  12. If we can't entrust our leaders to rule on a rail trail, why have elected officials at all? You can't vote on every single move the city makes, especially on such a single community issue.

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    1. I don't have much confidence in our city council to make the right decisions on behalf of the citizens. They all seem to have their own little hidden agenda above and beyond what is good for the community. I say get it on the ballot and let's decide how this goes down.

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    2. "especially on such a single community issue"

      Which is code for "we'd lose on a city-wide ballot proposition."

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  13. 1:39 PM
    This is a public works city project costing millions of dollars. Yes, we can vote on it.

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  14. With all due respect Mike Verdu exceeds what he accused Muir and Gaspar of doing by using scare tactics and being overly dramatic. When he say "horrible Berlin Wall monstrosity" and "nightmare fence," he is using hyperbole and fear mongering to support his point of view.

    The height and kind of fence that will be built has not been finalized or fixed in a signed construction contract. Chris Carterette, SANDAG facilitator, made it clear that there would be a fence, but he gave in to a four-foot post and cable fence because of intense public pressure. His interest was in getting the plan approved by the city council. He knows SANDAG can come back and quickly change the plan to a taller and more restrictive fence. The excuse will be public safety, and SANDAG will win. There is no guarantee that the initially promised type of fence will be what we get.

    Verdu is either being disingenuous or is inexperienced about how SANDAG operates. Was he not in Cardiff or has he forgotten how SANDAG got the double tracking in Cardiff? Our city had sued SANDAG over this, but then quickly capitulated without a word of explanation. Our councils, past and present, always give in to SANDAG because SANDAG controls the Transnet funds.

    There is also no guarantee on the crossing at Montgomery, either at grade or above/below grade. Again promises. SANDAG is very astute at piecemealing projects to get them started and made inevitable, and then revising plans and pleading lack of funding.

    When Verdu describes the parking problems the rail trail will create on San Elijo as "nuanced," he is avoiding the big problem of a safety issue that will be created, yet doesn't exist now. All one needs to do is walk the stretch between Cornish and Verdi to understand how difficult it will be to squeeze the rail trail, parking, and two lanes of San Elijo in the narrow space. The issue of how the trash containers will fit in on Fridays is totally ignored. The cyclists/pedestrians/skate boarders, baby carriages/dog walkers will all be pushed right up against the traffic lanes. Of course, further south closer to the school there is more right-of-way, but a dangerous constriction point will be created that affects traffic up and down Vulcan/San Elijo.

    Train noise? It has been increasing for the last 20 years. We have been promised wayside horns or a quiet zone, but the city says it doesn't have the money for it, and SANDAG says the city must finance it. More broken promises. Yet more and more train whistles.

    I too am very dubious about the percentage of support that Verdu claims. I never received a polling email or call, a door hanger, or a flyer by my door. I'm a long time resident of Cardiff and almost everyone, not all, I have talked to is against the trail as planned. And they don't like the lights either.

    This issue will NOT be put on the ballot. Someone will have to do an initiative a la Prop. A to get a public vote. The council will never do it unless someone steps forward to pay for the election - $50,000 in an election and $250,000 for a special election, and even then the council could refuse without officially circulated and certified petitions.

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  15. 3:17- I am not sure as what your point exactly is, but you have some good points. I do think with enough pressure the Council might put it on the Nov, 2016 ballot, which would not cost as much as a special election.
    Does anyone know if an EIR has been done, or does it need one?

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  16. 3:17. The city under Vina and the council stole money from the wayside horns and quiet zone project to build the Hall park. The council, including the current council has yet to fund those projects that were raided. When this was pointed out to newlyrics elected council member Blakespear, Blakespear wrote a work of fiction published in The Coast News the next week falsely claiming city finances were in good shape. Mr Verdu might take note.

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  17. As far as who has done what as far the as the Council, I think we call all agree that no candidate keeps all of their campaign promises. I remember Gaspar running on wayside horns and quiet zones, and I also remember Kranz running on Prop. A. I suspect they both had good intentions, but when someone runs for Council they may not know all of the facts as they pertain to the city.Perhaps some of the things future Council members think they can do, perhaps cannot be done. I have never run for Council, but when I was on the Parks and Rec. Commission it was very revealing regarding city issues. As far a meeting, I suggest the following:
    On Jan. 28th 2016 at Encinitas Community Center, from 6-8PM, SANDAG is having a meeting on some of this. I will also contact the Cardiff Library on Monday to see what dates are available in early February for anyone who wants to meet. I would hope that we could have one councilperson from the YES side, and one from the NO side. If not, we will have one citizen from the YES side and one from the NO side. To those who think they will be shouted down, I hope that everyone who attends will put their feelings aside and focus on the issue for the Cardiff Community. Even though we have 5 communities in Encinitas, each has their own special uniqueness. On this, I think we can all agree. I have lived in Cardiff for 35 years, and I hope to die here. So, like so many of you, I care what happens in Cardiff. I believe we all have the same interests at heart. It's how do we get there that is important. Hopefully, this will not come down to an initiative, for two reasons. 1) the cost of an initiative is very high (recently raised by the State of California) and 2) it divides the community even more. If it goes to initiative we all realize that all of Encinitas will vote, not just Cardiff. Unlike Prop.A, it does not affect everyone, so a lot of campaigning, and money, no matter which side you are on, is going to have to go into this. I cannot help but think there is a better way for everyone to get most of what they want to happen. If anyone cares to comment to me my email is: lgreene98@aol.com. Lorri Greene

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    1. If any of our tax dollars are used for this project, it involves the entire city not just Cardiff. In that case, we all should have a say which means by vote of the people.

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    2. The council already has set a policy. The YES side has little reason to participate. The CRT is funded by SD County tax payer dollars. I do hope the SANDAG meeting and this meeting, if it occurs, are used to determine the real issues. I keep hearing fence, fence, fence, though I know some are averse to the changes to San Elijo.

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    3. 11:36- Of course anyone can come to the meeting, both the SANDAG meeting and the other that will be set up. I am so sorry if I inferred otherwise. Yes, our tax dollars are being used, be it at a local level or a State level. There are no free lunches. Are you a part of the Neighborhood connections? I send the information to usually the Cardiff Walking and Composer districts, as that is where I live. I can also let this blog know of any meetings coming up if that would help. So sorry if you felt excluded.
      11:36- You are correct. The YES side has little reason to participate except as a way to try to put some salve on the wounds on some of the residents who don't want this project. However, there seem to be some vague areas in this project, that just might need to go back to Council for further reconsideration. Perhaps not. Remember when Shaffer suggested they revisit who should be Mayor before we elected the mayor. That was agendized. So, perhaps we can at last get this back on the Council's agenda. I would really love to see an artist's rendering, but so far, there does not seem to be one. I really don't understand why that is, as every other major project that the city has built has had one. But this has not been built and may not be for some time. Things change, as do Councils. It's always a good idea to keep up with what's going on in the entire community, and so once again I truly apologize to 11:19. Lorri Greene

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    4. Kranz was swayed by the "Big Boys" when he got into office. He was probably told how 'beneficial' it was to consider their recommendations. Shades of Dalager here....

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    5. 3:34 beat me to it. Kranz supported Prop A until someone told him their projects might not "pencil out" that was Kranz' new "fact" that caused him to flip his opinion.

      He quickly switched sides on A after his developer friends used their powers of persuasion....

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    6. Shades of Dalager.

      try dumb and dumber. The only difference was Dalagers trophy project was Sports Complex, and Kranzs is the PV.

      Other than that very similar. when will Tony get employees by a local bank….. Haaaa!

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    7. and some would have us believe Phony Tony did not sell out when he got invited to the big boy's table at the swanky Del Mar party weeks after being elected that was thrown by stack and pack developer Pappa Doug Manchester.

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    8. His actions say he did.

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    9. A free trip to Israel to start - playing ball with the right team has its benefits! Wonder what has occurred under the proverbial table?

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    10. Does anyone know why Kranz's wife decided to leave Encinitas and Tony to take a job in Idaho? Seems strange to me. I cannot help but wonder if this has affected his decision making process?

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    11. 8:27 Why don't you ask him? If he wants you to know, I am sure he will tell you.

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    12. I already know. Just wondering if others did? And yes, a politicians marital status is fair game, before you spout off how it isn't. When a politician is having a tough time on the homefront, they often make poor choices. Same with professional athletes, and other high stress jobs. Not that being on the Encinitas City Council is that high stress. But, if you ask Kranz he will tell you it is. If he doesn't spit in your face, or hit you first. Oh, I forgot he had those anger management classes.

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    13. Nope. Maybe you think it's your business, but it's not mine.

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    14. Please. Tony turned coat right after the election and whatever epiphany he had at Doug Manchester's party. The wife left within the past year.

      Tony does what's good for Tony. Homeboy, my ass.

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    15. Doug Manchester can afford the best, but rarely goes that far. His parties present a target rich environment, however, for a dud like Kranz. Little surprise about the wife.

      As for 10:54, hell yes it should have been voted on. Spending $200k to bring this trail issue to the ballet box would have saved this city $400k. We've all read about the recent $600k spent to hire a consultant to help with an at grade Montgomery crossing. Money thrown away when the alternative was we could have at least resolved the bike trail. For those not living on the coast and getting a much smaller percentage of the city budget for public works, that would have meant something.

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  18. Why do we need two meetings?

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  19. 1:03- SANDAG already had posted their meeting and it is not just about the Rail Trail. The other would be for interested citizens and is just about the trail. Look on the side of the EU's site and you can see the SANDAG meeting already posted. So, to answer your question, we don't NEED 2 meetings. It just might be nice to see what they have to say before we have the community meeting. Do you disagree?

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  20. PUt it to a vote. Its a big enough issue where council truly has no idea where the majority of the public stand on the issue.

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  21. Leucadia can offer seasonal water sports - car hydroplaning, pedestrian drenching and bum baths!
    It can also cool off those flaming hoverboards!

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  22. Leechtag indited on US Treasury lawsuit for tax-fraud. http://www.pij.org/details.php?id=1280

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    1. The link to nowhere...

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  23. At least the link-to-nowhere doesn't cost us the millions the trail-to-nowhere eventually will.

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