Saturday, December 9, 2017

Housing meeting next Saturday

City web site:
Joint City Council and Housing Element Task Force Meeting
Saturday, December 16, 2017 @ 8:30 AM - 12:30 PM

The City Council and Housing Element Task Force will hold a discussion regarding the Housing Element Update and associated analysis to achieve a state certified Housing Element Update.

Public is welcome to attend.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Democratic infighting over Assembly seat


When Councilwoman Tasha Boerner Horvath announced a run for Assembly, some local Democrats including Councilman Tony Kranz and former Councilwoman Lisa Shaffer had an unusually harsh reaction, apparently upset that Horvath would buck the party hierarchy and challenge the party's anointed candidate, activist Elizabeth Warren.

Still, she persisted.

Now colleagues and fellow Democrats Joe Mosca and Catherine Blakespear are rising to Horvath's defense.


Warren, though not well-known in Encinitas, is a long-time activist with Moveon.org, the PAC formed in 1998 to give former President Bill Clinton political cover against accusations of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and perjury.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Berryman Canyon goes posh

Tour courtesy of Jim the Realtor:
This is not your father's Encinitas.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

New Encinitas disenfranchised by council gerrymandering

Coast News:
New Encinitas is the big loser in the new election districts map the Encinitas City Council adopted by a 3-2 vote on Nov. 15.

The city’s largest traditional community has been completely disempowered by blatant gerrymandering. Cardiff and Leucadia are in control of the main street that runs through our community (El Camino Real). The north end of our community has been severed and given over to control by Leucadia, the south and west have been given over to control by Cardiff, and nothing in this truncated New Encinitas can be promoted without aligning with the concerns of Olivenhain.

New Encinitas, the largest community in the city, has been made powerless. It and El Camino Real have been set up to become the dumping ground for all of Encinitas’s problems. It’s as if this had been the explicit goal in the first place, which it may well have been given the recent revelation in The Coast News that the new map is not a “citizen” map, but the personal product of a coastal council member who benefits politically from the new districts.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

11/29/17 City Council meeting open thread

Please use the comments to record your observations.

Hymettus appeal rescheduled due to insufficient public notice

From the Inbox:
The November 29 Hymettus Estates’ hearing was rescheduled. Why? Because city staff decided to make up the rules as they went.

They violated city Municipal Code not once, not twice, but three times. They shortened the comments deadline to noon from 5 pm; they did this in the notification mailed out to area residents, they did this in the Coast News legal notice, and they again violated code when they mailed the hard copy notifications out after the Municipal Code deadline.

Staff was once again on a mission to do a favor for the developer by ensuring anyone wanting to submit project comments for Council to consider would be unable to do so. Residents came home from work the day before Thanksgiving to find notices in their mailboxes citing a deadline that had passed just hours before.

Pleas from residents to follow the law and properly re-notice the meeting according to code fell on deaf ears. From the person answering the main line, up to the aptly-named “Development Services Director” and Assistant City Manager, the mantra was the same: “All we can do is extend the comments period.” When asked how they would let folks know about the extension, they were unable to respond. They seemed to think they'd hit on a real solution.

Fortunately for Encinitas residents, [City Manager] Karen [Brust] can not only read code; but abide by it. When the violations were brought to her attention, she took immediate action and directed the November 29 agenda item be pulled and rescheduled. This should allow staff to learn how to tell time and count days on a calendar to avoid breaking the law again, but I wouldn’t count my chickens.

Anyone suspect that maybe staff shortened the submission deadline so they could bug out early from work the day before Thanksgiving?

Any bets on how hopping mad this developer was at once again getting so close to breaking ground, only to have it delayed by yet another staff screw up?

Any guesses as to who on staff directed this mess?

Monday, November 27, 2017

Crash on Encinitas Boulevard



Looks like somebody tried to merge into the turn lane without looking, eastbound at Quail Gardens.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Tasha's Gerrymander map

Everybody saw what she did there.

North Coast Current:
Muir and other speakers at the City Council meeting expressed concern that the map might have been designed to retain current council members’ seats while making it more difficult for certain portions of the city to be represented in the future.

“Drawing a map that takes into consideration allowing each of the elected council members to keep their district is simply the definition of gerrymandering,” resident and former planning commissioner Ruben Flores told the council. “This reflects the potential future behavior of you as elected officials. I believe you’ve lost credibility.”
Encinitas Guerrilla:
Recently retired Encinitas city spokesman Jerry Mander has endorsed Tasha Boerner Horvath, a candidate for the California State Assembly District 76 seat.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Gerrymander Joe

Title of the post taken from the comments.

Del Mar Times:
Resident Steven Winters questioned why the council ultimately voted on the maps designed by Boerner Horvath, who was not previously disclosed as the author before the council's decision.

"This was a back-room deal lacking transparency... and leaving a bitter taste in the mouths of Encinitas residents," Winters said, adding he believed some council members had a “hidden agenda” regarding districting.

He added that he believed five other maps met the council's criteria, but council member Joe Mosca said those options did not work for various reasons, including the city's current five communities being "dramatically divided."
Anyone want to take a look at how many of the alternative maps gave each council member his/her own uncontested district?

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

11/15/17 City Council meeting open thread

On tonight's agenda: Tasha's incumbent protection district map.

Please use the comments to record your observations.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Jilted pot farmer wants to change ag land to housing; Kranz prefers a hotel

Union-Trib:
A flower grower who has been asking the city for permission to commercially grow marijuana in part of his greenhouses now is proposing to build the region's first "agri-hood" with higher-density housing on half of his land and agriculture on the other part.

[...]

Council members were divided over the proposal. The city's mayor called it a "very appealing" alternative to the commercial marijuana growing proposal, while Councilwoman Tasha Boerner Horvath said if Echter commits to setting aside a significant portion of the homes for low-income people, then it would be very attractive. Councilman Joe Mosca said it was at least "worth looking at."

But Councilman Mark Muir, who lives in the Encinitas Ranch region where the city's agriculturally zoned land is, said putting homes on the land that the city has previously set aside for agricultural preservation would face strong community opposition.

[...]

Councilman Tony Kranz said he might support the use of some agricultural land for housing, but not this property, given its location near the Encinitas Ranch Golf Course. Instead of homes, it ought to contain a hotel, he said.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

City staff, mayor, merchants association fall for Amazon Go hoax

Del Mar Times:
A spokesperson for Amazon has denied that an Amazon Go store is opening in Encinitas, though city representatives confirmed earlier Nov. 10 that the store was opening.

[...]

Earlier on Nov. 10, Mayor Catherine Blakespear said city officials told her the store would open next year. Irene Pyun, interim executive director of the Encinitas 101 Main Street Association, said she believed it could help bring more shoppers downtown.

"We are excited to see a 'store of the future' coming to our downtown," Pyun said. "Amazon Go will fulfill a hole in our downtown that needed a fresh start. I see it as a positive in that it will bring people from all over to experience a new way to shop."
It's unclear why city officials would confirm false information from an obviously suspicious website. As Thomas Jefferson said, don't believe everything you read on the Internet.

Website promises Amazon Go store in abandoned Whole Foods site

A website apparently published by Amazon promises the arrival of Amazon Go in Encinitas.

See AmazonEncinitas.com.

Amazon Go is a cashierless convenience store that is being beta-tested in an employee-only store in Seattle. Technology tracks customers as they take items off the shelves, then charges them as they walk out of the store.

Is Amazon Go really coming to Encinitas? The website could be an elaborate hoax. No announcement appears on Amazon's primary Go site. The AmazonEncinitas.com web domain is registered at Google, a rival of Amazon in some business areas. Online listings still show the Whole Foods site for lease.

Amazon bought Whole Foods this year, after the Encinitas store had closed. If Amazon Go does come to Encinitas, it would likely use only a small fraction of the Whole Foods site, as the Go concept is 1800 square feet and the Whole Foods site is 25,000 square feet.

UPDATE: Yep, it's a hoax.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Map secretly submitted by Horvath and chosen by council gives all 4 incumbents their own districts

How convenient!
Boerner Horvath’s Citizen 16 map — which the council approved 3 to 2, with Kranz and council member Mark Muir dissenting — divides the city into four districts with an elected mayor. Representatives for districts three and four would be voted on in 2018, and districts one and two would be decided in 2020.

The map, which council expects to officially adopt Nov. 15, would put a sitting council member in each district but would pit Muir, who lives in New Encinitas, against a potential candidate in Cardiff.

Horvath drew both housing maps, didn't disclose

Good reporting here at Coast News:
Encinitas Councilwoman Tasha Boerner Horvath was asked at the Oct. 30 council meeting to list her favorite of the 22 maps from which the city would choose to decide its future council districts.

“I looked at the maps that had four districts, and two represented best our initial goals,” Boerner Horvath said. “There was a map, 16, that did that really well, and Map 15 did that really well.”

She was referring to the maps known as “Citizens Map 15” and “Citizens Map 16,” which a divided council ultimately voted as the final two maps from which they would choose for future districts.

The Coast News has learned that Boerner Horvath authored the maps.

The Coast News filed a public records request to learn the identities of the authors of the 16 maps that were submitted by citizens.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

11/8/17 City Council meeting open thread

On the agenda: housing plan.

Please use the comments to record your observations.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Housing consultant needs more money

Coast News:
A consultant hired by Encinitas to help develop its housing element plans said between $200,000 and $300,000 more is needed to complete the work.

[...]

Dave Barquist, a consultant with Kimley-Horn and Associates, was tapped in May to help the task force craft a new housing plan that would pass muster with voters. The City Council approved a contract for $84,000 to complete the process.

But recent changes to state law have drastically changed the city’s approach to crafting the plan and require additional work from Barquist, according to a city staff report.
On the agenda at tomorrow's council meeting. Agenda report with tentative maps here.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Council down to 2 district maps under consideration

Del Mar Times:
Either of the two maps would divide Encinitas into four districts with an at-large mayor. According to the submitter's comments on the city's website, one of the maps, titled "Citizen 15," would "Keep core communities in tact [and] give all four a stake in El Camino Real." The other map, "Citizen 16," would "Keep the core of communities together, cluster neighborhoods, and give three communities responsibility for the coast, El Camino Real and the Escondido Creek San Elijo Watershed," according to the submitter.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Psycho killers

Trial begins in the case of former Encinitas triathlete Diana Lovejoy, who seems to have hired a hitman to kill her husband, and did an absolutely awful job of covering her tracks:
Former Marine and shooting instructor McDavid told Lovejoy he would have tactical advantage if the ambush could take place during a new moon (that is, no visible moon). Lovejoy then made an internet search to find the date of the next new moon, which was September 1, 2016. Her estranged husband Greg Mulvihill was shot that night.

The conspirators obtained “Pinger” numbers to aid their secret communications, according to the prosecutor.

Lovejoy selected a place she knew her husband was familiar with, the “Switchback Trails,” and she informed McDavid that her husband would agree to meet there for the alleged planned ambush.
Stupid is as stupid does:
Carlsbad police traced the call that lured Mulvihill to a burner phone bought in mid-August in Encinitas. They looked at the store’s surveillance video, and identified Lovejoy as the buyer.

Another meeting on council district maps

City announcement:
   Additional public meeting set to discuss proposed voting districts

Oct. 30 meeting will give residents another chance to weigh in

ENCINITAS, CA - The City of Encinitas has added another public meeting for residents to review and discuss proposed voting districts as part of the city's exploration of district-based elections. The meeting will be held on Monday, Oct. 30 at 6 p.m. at Encinitas City Hall, 505 S. Vulcan Avenue.

This added meeting will give residents one more chance to review and provide comments on the proposed boundaries before the City Council is anticipated to vote for its preferred option at its Nov. 8, 2017 meeting.

Draft boundary maps are also available to view online by visiting www.encinitasca.gov and searching "draft maps." Residents may provide comments about the maps via email at encinitas@ndcresearch.com or in person at the Oct. 30 meeting.

Since August, the City of Encinitas is in the process of exploring the transition to a system where City Council members are elected by district instead of serving at-large. If approved, the new system would begin with the November 2018 election.

So far, the city has held three public meetings on the topic. The Oct. 30 and Nov. 8 meetings will round out the public outreach on this issue. Both will be held at 6 p.m. at Encinitas City Hall.

For more information, please visit www.encinitasca.gov or call (760) 633-2600.
Seems to me five districts that map as closely as possible to the five communities makes the most sense. Of course, part of New Encinitas and/or eastern Cardiff would have to go with Olivenhain to balance out the population. What do you think?

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

10/18/17 City Council meeting open thread

On tonight's agenda: marijuana!



Please use the comments to record your observations.

Prediction:
Muir NO
Kranz YES
Mosca NO
Blakespear YES
Boerner NO


UPDATE:

U-T: Voters to decide.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

U-T follow-up on church & school arsons

Union-Trib:
Tyler Carender, the accused arsonist in a string of blazes last fall that torched an Encinitas church and middle school, might have communicated with other people about the fires multiple times before his July 5 arrest, according to a recently unsealed federal search warrant affidavit.

[...]

Authorities believe that Carender’s Facebook communications with up to 11 people might not only reveal co-conspirators in the arsons but also pinpoint his motives for allegedly setting the fires.
It will be interesting to see if this was just a bored kid or if there's some weird political motivation.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Hit-and-run suspect may be son of TV attorney Larry H. Parker

LA Times archives, 1995:
Larry H. Parker got me $2.1 million . . .Yeah, but woe be the pro team that has to negotiate for his son's services. Junior pitcher Justin Parker was 7-2 with a 1.34 earned-run average for Santa Margarita this season.

So coming soon to daytime TV:

Dad got me $2.1 million . . .
Hit-and-run suspect Justin Parker's work bio refers to playing college baseball, which would have been in the late 90's.

Larry Parker 1986 TV commercial here.

Hat Tip: Anonymous.

Is Joe Mosca out of touch with voters on marijuana cultivation?

The Sierra Madre Tattler follows up on its old friend Joe.


Saturday, October 7, 2017

Was Encinitas' 2005 pension increase illegal?

The California Policy Center has found that many cities did not comply with state law when granting employees huge pension increases in the early 2000's.
In 1977, the Legislature enacted California Government Code Section 7507, which provides:

“The Legislature and local legislative bodies shall secure the services of an enrolled actuary to provide a statement of the actuarial impact upon future annual costs before authorizing increases in public retirement plan benefits. An “enrolled actuary” means an actuary enrolled under subtitle C of Title III of the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 and “future annual costs” shall include, but not be limited to, annual dollar increases or the total dollar increases involved when available.”

“The future annual costs as determined by the actuary shall be made public at a public meeting at least two weeks prior to the adoption of any increases in public retirement plan benefits.”
Suffice it to say, the CPC hasn't been able to find the required analysis in records at many of the cities and agencies that passed the massive pension increases that are now crippling their budgets.

Did Encinitas comply with the law? The required actuarial analysis certainly doesn't appear in the 2005 agenda item. We doubt it exists anywhere.

But does the public have any recourse if staff and council illegally gave themselves massive, retroactive pension increases? We shall see.

The California Policy Center offers an instructional guide for anyone seeking to challenge those increases.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Arrest announced in hit-and-run

10 News:
A driver was arrested in connection with a hit-and-run crash that seriously injured a mother of two in Encinitas, San Diego County sheriff's officials announced Friday.

[...]

After compiling evidence and witness tips, sheriff's officials identified the driver as 38-year-old Justin Parker of Encinitas.

Sheriff's officials said: "A search warrant was served on Mr. Parker's residence in Encinitas. Numerous items of evidence were located at the residence. Deputies also located two large-capacity rifle magazines in his house. Another search warrant was served at a custom automotive shop in the city of Riverside. Mr. Parker's truck was located at the shop. Although the truck had already been repaired additional evidence was located."

And this was probably the reason for that helicopter circling over Encinitas Boulevard and Rosebay early in the morning of Oct 3.

Looks like the sentence guidelines are 2 - 4 years for hit-and-run with serious injury, and the fact that he went all the way to Riverside to cover up the crime after he had time to think about it is not going to help.

Fox 5 identifies Justin Walt Parker, which matches the name of a stockbroker with two recent formal customer complaints to regulators, one minor but one very serious (of course, meritless complaints can be made by crackpots, but the allegations of churning and selling high-commission UITs to unsuspecting clients are not uncommon among the shadier sort of stockbroker. If your stockbroker ever tries to sell you a UIT or a non-traded REIT, be aware that he's getting a huge commission coming straight out of your pocket, and there are almost certainly better investment choices for you).

Earlier: Hit-and-run on Encinitas Boulevard, Hit-and-run victim is mother Ashley Mullins Lane, Cops find hit-and-run Ford.

Friday news round-up

Local firefighter wounded in Las Vegas shooting.

Modern Times pulls tasting room application after appeal by residents' group; now seeking full-fledged restaurant.

Beavis & Butthead kidnappers go to court. Teen describes kidnapping attempt.

Residents protest Cardiff Elementary expansion into park space.

Kranz & Mosca reach stalemate on marijuana cultivation subcommittee.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

10/4/17 City Council meeting open thread

Please use the comments to record your observations.

New Finance, Development directors

City announcement:
The City of Encinitas has announced the hiring of Brenda Wisneski as its development services director. She will assume her role on Oct. 9.

This critical position oversees the engineering and planning divisions for the city, which are responsible for the following areas: capital improvement, inspections, traffic engineering, city planning, building and regulatory permits, housing resources, land development and code enforcement.

Wisneski comes to the City of Encinitas after serving as the Deputy Community Development Director for the City of Newport Beach. In total, she brings 26 years of city planning experience with her to Encinitas with previous roles working for San Clemente, Dana Point and Newport Beach municipalities.
Planning and engineering were two of the departments that had extremely contentious relations with residents, so change at the top is quite welcome.

Finance Director Tim Nash, who was also a Gus Vina hire but was free of the controversy and ill-will surrounding many of Vina's people, is retiring. An interim director will be appointed tonight.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Cops find hit-and-run Ford

10 News:
San Diego County Sheriff's deputies said Tuesday they recovered the vehicle that struck and injured a North San Diego County mother.

Ashlee Mullins Lane was crossing the intersection of Encinitas Blvd. and Vulcan Ln. on Friday, September 22, when she was hit.

Witnesses told deputies she was hit by a white Ford F-150 truck. Deputies have not confirmed if that is the vehicle they recovered.

According to Lane's father, the vehicle was hidden in a body shop in Riverside.

Boerner-Horvath running for Assembly, Shaffer and Kranz not happy about it

Mee-ow!
Former Encinitas Deputy Mayor Lisa Shaffer, who supported Boerner Horvath's campaign for council, said in an email she was "disappointed" in Boerner Horvath.

"As someone who encouraged Tasha to run for City Council, and who actively contributed to her campaign, I feel betrayed, and I believe other Encinitas voters will feel the same way," Shaffer said. "We elected Tasha so that she would work for us on issues she championed, such as safe routes to school and active transportation. I did not expect her to use her Council seat as a stepping stone to higher office before even completing her first year."
Why can't you just graciously say that you wish her the best but you've already committed to supporting one of the other candidates?

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Sheriff IDs vehicle in hit-and-run

NBC 7:
Sheriff’s deputies identified a vehicle of interest in a hit-and-run crash that left a mother of two in critical condition on September 22, and they are asking for the public’s help.

The vehicle is a white 2016 Ford F-150 Platinum Edition pickup truck with a CA license plate 83524A2.

Friday, September 29, 2017

9/28/17 City Council meeting open thread

What did we miss?

Thursday, September 28, 2017

New legislation makes Housing Task Force change course

Del Mar Times:
After making significant progress earlier this month toward creating a state-certified Housing Element, the Housing Element Update Task Force had to take a few steps backward Sept. 26 to accommodate new state legislation.

[...]

At the Sept. 5 meeting, the task force — consisting of Mayor Catherine Blakespear; Deputy Mayor Tony Kranz; Planning Commissioner and former No on T spokesman Bruce Ehlers; and former Planning Commissioner Kurt Groseclose — had planned to winnow down the list of properties mentioned in the failed Measure T to reduce public outcry and increase the chance of voter approval.

However, as a result of the pending legislation, the task force must now find more vacant land to hit at least a 51 percent threshold, or between 550 to 650 units of high density housing on currently vacant land. The group will likely have to look outside Measure T's sites, as most of the sites designated on the failed Measure T map had existing development, either residential or commercial, already on them.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Hit-and-run victim is mother Ashley Mullins Lane

NBC 7:
A mother struck by a hit-and-run driver while returning home from work Friday evening is fighting for her life.

Ashley Mullins, 33, was on her way to catch the coaster home from work at Lazy Acres in Encinitas around 7:30 p.m. when the crash happened.

San Diego County Sheriff’s deputies said a white Ford F-150 pickup hit Mullins as she was crossing Encinitas Boulevard, mid-block, near Vulcan.

The crash left the mother of two with serious injuries, her father Roger told NBC 7. Doctors gave her a "dire" prognosis. Mullins is at Scripps La Jolla Hospital's Intensive Care Unit with serious head, spine, pelvis and limb injuries, according to deputies.
Oddly, the sheriff's department doesn't seem to be getting a description of the suspect out to the public.

UPDATE: Man of average height in his 40's. White guy.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Orange County city chooses pension responsibility over trophy projects

Orange County Register:
Lake Forest is doing what many cities aspire to do — it’s paying off its unfunded pension liabilities. The move is estimated to save taxpayers $3.4 million in interest costs over 30 years.

[...]

But Lake Forest is lucky: The city possesses that rare combination of being relatively new, being relatively small and being a relatively wealthy city. That means its pension liabilities will remain small in comparison to larger and older cities. But that doesn’t mean that these obligations can’t grow beyond a manageable level — and fast.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Hit-and-run on Encinitas Boulevard

Union-Trib:
Sheriff’s deputies are looking for the driver of a white Ford F-150 pickup that hit a 33-year-old woman crossing Encinitas Boulevard, leaving her with critical injuries Friday night.

The woman was mid-block, walking south between Interstate 5 and North Coast Highway at 7:27 p.m. when she was hit by the westbound truck, witnesses told deputies.

The driver stopped the truck, got out of the vehicle, told some people nearby that the victim appeared to be OK, and then got back in the truck and fled, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Knife-wielding burglar prowls Village Park

10 News:
A young woman says she chased an intruder from her Encinitas home. When she began the chase, she had no idead he was armed with a knife.

Just before midnight Tuesday, Maria Medvedev was reading a book in her home on Little Oaks Road. She was startled by the sound of the side gate opening. Then, she saw and heard a shadowy figure race out of her yard.

Medvedev took off after him and found him hiding behind a truck in the street. She says he tried to convince her he was a neighbor, then took out of a knife and approached her.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Amtrak drops Encinitas stop due to low ridership

Union-Trib:
Amtrak plans to cease its daily stops at the Carlsbad Poinsettia and Encinitas Coaster stations beginning Oct. 9, in part because of low ridership. Coaster service at the locations will be unaffected.

The two stops have the least riders of four North County locations where Amtrak initiated service four years ago, according to numbers provided by the LOSSAN Rail Corridor Agency, which oversees rail service between San Diego and the Central Coast city of San Luis Obispo.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

9/20/17 City Council meeting open thread

District election motion passes 3-2, with Muir and Kranz opposed.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Costumes damage Cardiff Kook; artist wants decorators arrested

Union-Tribune today, page B-1:
The city will likely ask the artist -- Hemet resident Matthew Antichevich -- to do the repair work, [... Arts Administrator Jim] Gilliam said.

[...]

Never a fan of the continual redecoration of his piece or of the "Cardiff Kook" moniker, [...] Antichevich said Thursday the city wouldn't have a repair problem if decorating discontinued.

"Make a couple of arrests and then it will stop," he said. "It breaks my heart that they do that."

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Pedestrian killed crossing Encinitas Boulevard

U-T:
A 61-year-old woman died after she was hit by a vehicle in a crosswalk in Encinitas Friday evening, sheriff’s officials said.
The reporting isn't clear, but it sounds as if the woman may have been crossing against the signal.

UPDATE: The victim is Carmen M. Gonzalez, who resided on Gardena Road near Santa Fe Avenue.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Residents appeal Modern Times tasting room

Del Mar Times:
A group of residents is appealing the Encinitas planning commission's decision to approve a beer-tasting room downtown in July.

The Encinitas Citizens Committee (ECC) will go before the city council, tentatively set on Oct. 11, in hopes to overturn the commission's approval of the opening of the 150-seat Modern Times Beer tasting room, which is set to open at 470 South Coast Highway 101.

Issa owes $45,000 attorney fees in frivolous lawsuit

Lotsa news about frivolous defamation lawsuits lately.

U-T:
A judge has ordered Rep. Darrell Issa to pay his opponent from last year’s election more than $45,000 in legal expenses fees incurred during a defamation lawsuit.

In November, Issa, a Vista Republican, sued Democrat Doug Applegate over attack commercials the congressman said hurt his reputation. In March, a judge said that Issa didn’t prove his case, but also sided with Applegate who argued that he was exercising his free speech rights with the television commercials, and that Issa’s lawsuit was an attempt to silence criticism.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Paul Gaspar sues Dave Roberts for defamation

SD Reader:
The husband of San Diego County supervisor Kristin Gaspar says his wife's former opponent, Dave Roberts, defamed him and his business in an attempt to win the election.

Paul Gaspar, owner of Gaspar Physical Therapy, and one of his associates filed the defamation lawsuit in North County San Diego on September 6.

The lawsuit claims that Roberts, through his reelection committee, attempted to smear Kristen Gaspar in campaign mailers. The mailers accused Gaspar Physical Therapy — where Kristen Gaspar served as an officer — of elder abuse and medical malpractice.
The Roberts mailer was a sleazy, cheap shot about a settled lawsuit over actions by one of Gaspar's dozens of employees, something Gaspar presumably had no involvement in or knowledge of.

But defamation cases against public figures, particularly in election campaigns, are notoriously hard to win.

At the same time Gaspar's wife Kristin was running (successfully) against Roberts for county supervisor, Paul Gaspar was running (quite unsuccessfully) for Encinitas mayor.  He beclowned himself by sending campaign mailers dressed as a physician in lab coat and stethoscope despite being a physical therapist whose occupation does not generally call for such accoutrements. And Gaspar was earlier a central figure in the "We Love Encinitas" phony charity scandal.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Orpheus Park trees appear to have survived arborcide attack

Orpheus Park has a long history of tree lovers battling with neighbors who want unobstructed views.

A year or so ago, someone tried to kill some trees in Orpheus Park by cutting rings through the bark.



Fortunately, the trees seem to have survived the attack for now. No word on whether the likely suspects have been warned or visited by the cops.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Local woman sought in Lumberyard jewelry store burglary

NBC 7:
Two suspected thieves, a man and a woman, entered a jewelry store in Encinitas by removing the Plexiglass windows and stealing about $30,000 worth of jewelry.

The burglary occurred on Aug. 22 around 4:30 a.m. inside the Three Sisters Jewelry Store on South Coast Highway in Encinitas, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department (SDSO) confirmed.

SDSO released photos of the suspected thieves Thursday.

The woman, identified to be Lily Coelho, has a felony warrant out for her arrest. She is still at large, Sheriff's officials said.
It appears Coelho most recently lived in Carlsbad, though she lived on Hermes in Leucadia in 2013.

This Facebook profile describes Lily Coelho as a graduate of Sunset High and a dancer who works at Pure Platinum.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

San Diego considers curbs on vacation rentals

U-T:
Under Bry’s suggested regulations, homeowners would be allowed to rent out only their primary residences on a short-term basis but for no more than 90 days a year. By clamping down on such rentals, Bry says her proposal would effectively shut down the transformation of single-family homes by absentee investors into what she calls “full-time mini-hotels in residential zones.”
The same issue is beginnning to affect Encinitas' coastal neighborhoods. So far, the city likes the hotel tax revenue and the neighbors aren't complaining too much. Of course, turning residences into vacation rentals exacerbates the housing shortage that everyone is so worked up about.

P.S. How about prohibiting vacation rentals in any new complexes built in the high-density zones being created in the new Housing Task Force plan? That would further the goal of creating real housing, without infringing on the property rights of existing residents and owners.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Friday, August 18, 2017

Blakespear supportive, Barth skeptical of 2-story housing plan

Coast News:
Encinitas can develop an affordable housing plan that limits buildings to two stories and less than 30 feet in height and satisfy its regional housing mandates — but they’ll have to make some concessions to get there.

This was the word from a report authored by a city-hired consultant who unveiled his findings at a recent housing element task force meeting.

[...]

Former Councilwoman Teresa Barth in a recent newsletter questioned the trade-off.

“Will more crowded-in two story buildings be better than limited three story buildings with setbacks?” Barth said in the newsletter.

Blakespear acknowledged that the city would have to make some concessions to satisfy voters’ concerns about building heights.
How badly do you really have to mess with the setbacks? One acre at two stories is 87,120 square feet. That's enough for thirty 1000-sqft apartments plus with almost two thirds of the land left over for setbacks, parking, and green space. Make the units more affordable at 800 or 900 square feet on average and you have even more room.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

8/16/17 City Council meeting open thread

What did we miss?

Hit-and-run vehicle possibly found, driver appeared under influence

10 News:
A car possibly linked to a hit-and-run crash that seriously injured a woman was found in the Mira Mesa area, according to San Diego police.

Officers responded to a call at about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday regarding a white 1998 Mercedes-Benz with front-end and windshield damage parked in front of a Pizza Hut in the 8000 block of Mira Mesa Boulevard.

According to police, officers arrived and found a man inside the car while a female passenger was inside getting a pizza.

The woman was questioned, and the man -- who police said appeared to be under the influence -- was detained.
Stephanie Berger-McKenna's friends and family are posting updates on her condition here.

UPDATE: Wrong car, but police say they still have good leads.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Hit and run on bicyclist in Leucadia 101 "sharrows" lane

Del Mar Times:
Authorities are looking for a person who struck a woman with their [sic] car and fled the scene on Aug. 11. in Encinitas.

Deputies from San Diego County Sheriff's Department's North Coastal Station responded to the area of North Coast Highway 101 and Basil Street at 10:07 p.m. in response to reports of a vehicle versus bicyclist collision, according to a news release from the Sheriff's Department.

A preliminary investigation found a 30-year-old woman was riding her bicycle southbound in the designated bicycle "Sharrow" lane when she was hit by a vehicle, authorities said.

The car then fled the scene southbound, and the woman was taken to Scripps La Jolla Hospital with severe head trauma, according to the Sheriff's Department.

The suspect vehicle was described as a 1993 to 2000 Mercedes C series, silver or white in color. Authorities said the car has damage to the front grill.
Instagram:



UPDATE: Cyclist identified as 29-year-old Stephanie Berger, in a medically induced coma.

There can't be that many pre-2001 Mercedes C Series cars registered in the area, can there?

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Consultant finds Measure T's building height increases completely unnecessary and number of upzone sites vastly more than required

Del Mar Times:
Lower building heights and fewer units than what were proposed in Measure T could be possible in Encinitas' next housing element update, a consultant told the city's Housing Element Task Force in a meeting Aug. 10 at city hall.

Dave Barquist, project manager for the Orange County-based Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc., whom the task force hired as its consultant earlier this year, analyzed potential scenarios at the meeting to see what could fit in a cap of 30 feet or two stories, suggesting overlays could mean the number of parcels goes down from 195 — the number proposed in the failed Measure T — to as little as around 70.

This would eliminate any site that would yield fewer than 16 units, including smaller sites downtown and in Leucadia that were included in Measure T. Although the sites are the same ones proposed in Measure T, which have already been through environmental review, Barquist noted this plan would reduce the total number of sites.
So why didn't the city council get a second opinion before trying to cram Measure T down our throats?

And is Marco Gonzalez going to apologize for calling Measure T opponents liars?

And does Lisa Shaffer still want to impose unnecessary, unaffordable high density on Encinitas?

Friday, August 11, 2017

High-density housing, Encinitas style

$3500/month for one bedroom in Pacific Station.  With a view of the back wall of Nixon.

Fortunately, the loading dock immediately below has been a lot quieter since Whole Foods left.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Encinitas $100,000 pension club expands to 19

Mark Muir is still the pension king at $185,000 per year.

Transparent California:


Name Pension Years of  Year of 
    Service Retirement
Mark Muir $184,888.08 34.21 2011
Donald G Heiser $162,463.68 33.79 2006
Joseph W Bunn $157,929.12 31.02 2010
Jeffrey S Henry $153,603.96 33 2013
Michael P Daigle $138,536.16 28.71 2015
Talmadge F Tufts $131,159.16 33.35 2005
Vincent-Peer Hubner $121,711.20 Beneficiary 2011
Darlene R Hill $113,748.96 36.26 2009
Gary A Reeve $111,970.88 34.71 2002
Robert M Romero $111,576.36 35.1 2009
Robert J Lamarsh $108,832.26 33.46 1992
David L Moore $106,583.88 31.73 2007
Richard S Phillips $103,726.92 25.99 2014
Thomas E Curriden $102,611.28 31.59 2013
Charles Essex $102,604.32 31.27 2014
Darrin R Ward $102,011.76 21.26 2014
John C Gonzales $101,669.40 30 2014
Steve M Walsh $101,651.88 32.41 2006
James R Kelly $101,395.68 30.57 2007

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

8/9/17 City Council meeting open thread

Please use the comments to record your observations.

Monday, August 7, 2017

District elections could pit Kranz against Boerner

Seaside Courier: Encinitas likely the next North County city to go with district elections
.
This would result in four council districts plus the at-large mayor. Muir lives in western New Encinitas, while Mosca lives in Olivenhain, so their districts would be unlikely to collide. Kranz and Boerner, however, both live in western Leucadia, so it would take extremely shameless gerrymandering to create separate districts for them.

Another open question is whether elections would be every two years or every four years. Voters showed an overwhelming preference for 2-year elections when asked about the mayor position, but politicians usually prefer to face the voters as infrequently as possible.

Friday, August 4, 2017

San Dieguito grad & Seaside Market employee sentenced to 21 years

Last year we brought you the strange tale of longtime local 53-year-old Robert Parker, who had a bad morning and robbed a restaurant and was shot by cops after crashing his motorcycle.

He was sentenced to 21 years, which is way more than people get for trying to kidnap and rape underage girls these days.

Which one do you think is a bigger threat to the public in the future?

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Beavis & Butthead kidnapping duo due in court today

Jeremiah Owens' and Christopher White's arraignment is scheduled for 1:30 PM.

UPDATE: Denied bail.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Is SANDAG's board corrupt or just incompetent?

Voice of San Diego: SANDAG Staff Knew About 2004 Voter Deception But Didn’t Tell the Current Board:
In an investigative series, Voice of San Diego has revealed that SANDAG misled the public on two separate ballot measures. One was passed 13 years ago, after the agency told voters the tax would bring in far more than the agency actually expected.

After our stories, SANDAG staff has faced questions from its board of directors and the public.

To answer them, staff members dug into the situation. In November 2016, they produced an internal presentation that explicitly spelled out how the agency had drastically scaled back the amount it expected to raise from TransNet, a 2004 ballot measure. In recent months, SANDAG staff have made a series of pronouncements about what happened that now look questionable.

The presentation not only spells out that voters were misled on the 2004 ballot, as Voice of San Diego reported earlier this month. It also shows that agency staffers were aware of the 2004 deception last year, in the weeks just after the scandal broke. But as the agency worked to explain away new revelations, it never disclosed the 2004 issue to the board or public despite repeated opportunities to do so.
Encinitas' representative on the board at the time of both the 2016 deception and the cover-up of the 2004 deception was former ethics professor Lisa Shaffer. Shaffer fought vehemently to retain her SANDAG seat when former Mayor Kristin Gaspar attempted to appoint herself instead. Yet despite continuing to offer her opinion on public issues, Shaffer has not come forward to explain how she performed her oversight role while SANDAG was deceiving the public.

In December 2016, with Mayor Catherine Blakespear now representing Encinitas at SANDAG, staff gave a 37-minute presentation on the false forecasts. VOSD has board member reactions.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Racial gerrymandering lawyer demands Encinitas change to district elections

Coast News:
Encinitas has become the latest target in a series of demands for North County cities to abandon citywide elections in favor of electing council members by district.

And if history is any indication, Encinitas will be the latest city to begrudgingly make the electoral change.

The city received a legal demand letter from the law firm Shenkman & Hughes, the same firm that has targeted San Marcos, Oceanside, Vista and Carlsbad in recent months.

Attorney Kevin Shenkman, in the letter dated July 14, asks the city to voluntarily change its citywide election system or face litigation. Shenkman argues that the citywide voting violates the California Voting Rights Act because it dilutes the voting power of the city’s Hispanic residents — who comprise 13.7 percent of the city’s 63,000 population.

Shenkman’s firm, which represents a voting rights organization for Latinos, made similar demands in the four aforementioned cities.

In each case, the city chose voluntarily to create districts for future elections — including at least one district whose population has a Hispanic majority — as opposed to fight them in court.
Would it even be possible to draw a district with a Hispanic majority? Encinitas Hispanics don't all live in the same part of town.

As odious as the motivation to divide residents by racial background is, district elections could be a good thing if they result in the election of more neighborhood activists over candidates promoted by the county political parties.

Suspects Jeremiah Owens and Christopher White arrested in Neptune teen kidnapping attempt

CBS 8:
Two Escondido men were taken into custody Friday in connection with an attempted kidnapping of a teenage girl in Encinitas.

The two suspects were identified as Christopher White, 27 and Jeremiah Owens, 28.

The two men face charges of kidnapping with the intent to commit rape, false imprisonment, assault with the intent to commit rape, and conspiracy.
A Jeremiah Owens is on Facebook, from Escondido and approximately the right age.



Owens is a Facebook friend of Christopher White, who describes Owens as his roommate.



A limited online record search returned no criminal history for either man.

The 15-year-old victim is a long-time resident of Encinitas.

You have to be a special kind of stupid to try to kidnap someone in broad daylight, on a heavily trafficked beach street, in a neighborhood with lots of security cameras, in an unusually identifiable vehicle, and then to return to the same city in the same vehicle two days later.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Possible suspect detained in attempted kidnapping

Patch:
Authorities on Friday detained the driver of a truck in connection with an attempted kidnapping of a teenage girl in Encinitas, officials said. Following a brief pursuit, the driver of the pickup pulled over in the 1500 block of Summit Avenue in the Cardiff area, several miles south of the site of the attempted abduction.

The attempted kidnapping happened around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in the 1600 block of Neptune Avenue, according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. The 15-year-old girl said she was waxing her surfboard in the driveway of her home when a man came up from behind her, pinned her to the ground and tried to drag her toward a pickup truck parked along Grandview Street, where another man was waiting inside.
The vehicle closely matches images caught on neighbors' security cameras.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Purported kidnapping attempt on Neptune

Patch:
A teenage girl fought off a man, with another man waiting inside a nearby pickup truck, escaping an attempted kidnapping Wednesday in Encinitas, authorities announced. A sketch has been released of one of the two men wanted in the attempted abduction.

The incident happened around 5:30 p.m. in the 1600 block of Neptune Avenue, according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. The 15-year-old girl told deputies she was waxing her surfboard in the driveway of her home when a man came up from behind her and pinned her to the ground. She said the man tried to drag her toward a pickup truck parked along Grandview Street where another man, seen in the sketch, was waiting inside.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Modern Times tasting room survives 3-2 vote

Del Mar Times:
[Planning Commissioner Kevin Doyle] worried aloud about the lack of parking downtown, about the crowds that would flock to the proposed Modern Times tasting room, and tipped his hand that he’d vote against the proposal, all but sealing its fate.

"I'm not happy for anybody," Doyle said. "This situation is unfortunate. This is not an easy issue to wrap our heads around. This whole issue has really torn me up."

And then, his thinking turned. Fellow commissioners Greg Drakos and Al Apuzzo doubled down on their stance that Modern Times was everything the city could want in a property owner. Doyle changed course, sending up a round of applause from one half of the packed room.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Armed robbery at Shell station

10 News:
The San Diego Sheriff's Department released video Tuesday of two men wanted for armed robbery at a Shell gas station.

The men went into the gas station Tuesday morning at 5:30 when the clerk was in the stock room, deputies said. One robber ran behind the counter and grabbed the cash register. The other man had a shotgun and pointed it at the clerk as he was walking out of the stock room, according to deputies. Both men ran away.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Shaffer advocates immediate adoption of Measure T

Former Councilwoman Lisa Shaffer on Facebook:
I will repeat what I advocated before. The City should enact Measure T as originally adopted by the Council (and yes, rejected by the voters) in order to stop the financial impact of the increasing number of lawsuits. Let the Prop A folks sue in order to get the court to proceed with its determination of whether Prop A or state law has precedence. Keep working on finding a strategy that the voters will approve and put in on a future ballot regardless, since we want a measure that is publicly supported, but in the meantime, let the measure go into effect and come into compliance with state law.
Not sure why Shaffer would rather side with developers and make the residents sue than side with residents and have the developers sue. If the city did a mass upzoning a la Measure T, there would be a flurry of permit filings for large luxury condo projects with inadequate parking. And permit approvals could be irreversible regardless of the eventual outcome of resident lawsuits.

Why not let the task force work to come up with a plan that is less destructive to Encinitas' community character and that, unlike Measure T, actually provides some affordable housing?

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Cancelled task force meetings bring back developer lawsuit

Coast News:
A development consultant has asked a Superior Court judge to enforce a provision of a lawsuit settlement with the city of Encinitas that would require them to adopt an affordable housing plan without a public vote.

DCM Properties, the namesake company of development consultant David C. Meyer, recently filed the motion to enforce the settlement between the firm and Encinitas, which stemmed from a 2016 lawsuit over, among other things, the city’s lack of an approved housing element.

A hearing on the motion is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Sept. 8 in Judge Earl Maas’s courtroom.

[...]

[The city's housing task force] recommended a consultant to work with the city on the revised proposal, but recently has canceled meetings.

This was the final straw for his client, Abasto said.

“When was the last time they had a meeting?” Abasto asked. “They aren’t moving at an expedited pace. We believe this process is a sham.
The city's most recent July 6 meeting was cancelled and rescheduled to August 10.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Seawall owners lose at Supreme Court

Fox 5:
Property owners who object to government-mandated restrictions on construction permits must litigate the issues before building their projects, or risk forfeiting their rights to take legal action, the California Supreme Court ruled Thursday in a case involving plaintiffs in Encinitas.

In a unanimous opinion, the justices ruled that plaintiffs Barbara Lynch and Thomas Frick, who own adjacent blufftop properties in the northern San Diego County municipality, gave up their right to challenge the California Coastal Commission’s conditions on a seawall project because they went ahead and had the structure built.

Burglar caught on camera

CBS 8:
The San Diego County Sheriff's Department asked for the public's help Thursday in identifying a man wanted in connection with a burglary in Encinitas.

The incident took place on May 11 in the 400 block of North El Camino Real. A man wearing gloves broke into a dermatology clinic and stole $90.

Blakespear receives threatening text message

Coast News:
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a threat made against Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear the evening of July 2, The Coast News has learned.

Blakespear reported the threat July 3 to sheriff’s investigators.

The message, which The Coast News has chosen not to publish, came from a disposable cell phone. The unknown messenger called the mayor “Cathy” and said they had dreams of committing violent sexual acts against Blakespear.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Local man charged in Encinitas church and school arsons

Patch:
A 20-year-old Encinitas man is charged with setting three fires last fall at a church youth center, an administration building at a middle school near his home and at a preschool, according to a federal indictment unsealed Wednesday.

Tyler Carender allegedly began his arson spree Oct. 22 by setting fire to the Friendship House Counseling and Youth Center, which is owned and operated by Saint Andrew's Episcopal Church on Balour Drive.
When young adults commit crimes in Encinitas, we often wonder whether the perpetrator is a local trustafarian or a drifter. In this case, it looks more like a drifter.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Housing Task Force meeting July 6

UPDATE: Postponed to August 10.

Del Mar Times:
The Housing Element Update Task Force will hold its next public meeting July 6, when the group is expected to hear suggestions for the first time from its recently hired housing consultant.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

City wants to improve El Camino Real strip mall zone

Union-Tribune:

Encinitas can make El Camino Real more pedestrian-friendly by widening the sidewalks, improving the crosswalks and adding more trees, according to recommendations from an expert the city hired to study the thoroughfare.

[...]

The council plans to set aside $250,000 in the coming fiscal year for improvements to El Camino and will use Burden's advice as it explores how to spend that money, Mayor Catherine Blakespear said.
$250,000 doesn't buy much in city projects.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Stop sign to break up Vulcan Speedway

Vulcan Avenue east of the railroad tracks has long been a preferred route for locals to get north and south between Encinitas Boulevard and Leucadia Boulevard while avoiding the Coast Highway traffic and stop signs. That's about to change.

Coast News:
The Paul Ecke Central Elementary School community will get the four-way stop sign on Vulcan Avenue they have coveted for years, but the council’s decision on the issue was not unanimous. The City Council voted 3-2 in favor of the all-way stop at Vulcan and Union Street. Deputy Mayor Tony Kranz and council members Tasha Boerner Horvath and Joe Mosca voted for the stop sign, which they said was long overdue and would keep kids safe.
This is kind of weird though:
Mayor Catherine Blakespear and Councilman Mark Muir voted against it after suggesting the item be returned to the Traffic Commission to consider alternatives short of an all-way stop sign, which they said would create unnecessary vehicle stops that would create added pollution next to the elementary school.
Has there ever been a study that shows that a stop sign in front of an elementary school creates a measurable increase in air pollution in classrooms or on the playground? Where are Blakespear and Muir getting their information?

Friday, June 16, 2017

Pyrrhic victory for patio service at Union?

Union-Trib: Encinitas gives win to downtown patio for Union Kitchen + Tap:
Patrons of the lively downtown Union Kitchen + Tap will finally be allowed to eat and drink in the patio area, but its owners will need to provide the city with yearly documentation that alcohol isn't their primary source of income.
Is it possible that Union actually sells more food than alcohol?

If not, will the city actually hold Union accountable?

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

R.I.P. Doug Harwood

Local realtor and anti-Prop A campaigner Doug Harwood has passed away.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Math is hard

Encinitas Advocate:
Proceeds from the event benefit the McAlister Institute, one of San Diego’s leading resources to help people and families affected by addition.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

I fought the law and I won

We've covered before Encinitas' red-light camera contract with the corrupt Australian company Redflex. The program takes millions of dollars out of the local economy and provides no net benefit to the city budget and highly dubious public safety benefit. Despite dozens of cities dumping Redflex, Encinitas continues the contract.

Now a reader writes of a personal victory over the Redflex cameras.  From the Inbox:
An uncommon story these days: a regular citizen leery of the creepy creeping surveillance state surrounding us/good guy fighting big government story…. with a happy ending.

My red light “infraction” was surveilled and recorded at the Minority Report-looking set of cameras at the intersection of El Camino Real and Encinitas Blvd. To my chagrin, after adding up the cost of the ticket and the multitude of taxes, court fees and Orwellian-termed charges slapped on by greedy, fat-fingered bureaucrats on top of it -- plus 2 points on my driving record that would have driven up my car insurance cost for 2 years -- the red light camera ticket delivered me a potential net cost of….

Over one thousand dollars. Luckily, I contacted a small law firm in San Diego -- “Mr Ticket” -- and for a very reasonable sum the attorney took my case (along with many others I suppose), argued on my behalf, and won.

Due to complaints and a dubious Constitutional status, red light cameras have been removed in many areas across San Diego.

Not Encinitas.

Although there may be a window - the city’s contract with Redflex Inc., the intermediary camera experts that control the red light cameras in the city, expires in 2018.

What’s that, you say? A company has access to the camera data (as in your personal information, likeness, additional people in your car, their likeness, etc) is handed off to a third party who then processes the info, pictures, etc.? Yes, that’s right.

Question: How many hands does it change in the meantime? Who has access to your likeness, driver’s license number, vehicle, name, address? Who, with criminal or malicious intent, could get their hands on your private information or use that as blackmail?

The safeguard to those kinds of questions is exactly why we have a Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.

But sadly, many of our fellow citizens believe, “if I’m not doing anything wrong, what’s the problem?”

On a related note, In case you’ve wondered why there are so many cameras at other intersections in Encinitas today, it’s per the city’s recent policy of installing cameras at intersections to “alleviate congestion” (wink, wink). These numerous cameras aren’t for public safety revenue generators like the one I encountered at El Camino Real/Encinitas Blvd; they are purely surveillance.

That makes me feel great.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Marin County grand jury explains pension crisis

This is an excellent, thorough report explaining the pension crisis facing California municipalities.  While the numbers in the report are specific to Marin, the issues are mostly identical for cities like Encinitas.

Key points:
It’s Worse than You Thought – While a net pension liability of $1 billion may be disturbing, the true economic measure of the obligation is significantly greater than this estimate.

The Thing That Ate My Budget – The annual expense of funding pensions for current and future retirees has risen sharply over the past decade and this trend will continue; for many agencies, it is likely to accelerate over the next five years. This will lead to budgetary squeezes. While virtually every public agency in Marin has unfunded pension obligations, some appear to have adequate resources to meet them, while many do not. We will look at what agencies are currently doing to address the issues and what additional steps they should take.

The Exit Doors are Locked – Although there are no easy solutions, one way to reduce and eliminate unfunded pension liabilities in future years would be transitioning from the current system of defined benefit pension plans to defined contribution pension plans, similar to a 401(k). However, this approach is largely precluded by existing statutes and made impractical by the imposition of termination fees by the pension funds that manage public agency retirement assets. [This last part is a new twist; San Diego has successfully transitioned to a defined contribution plan, but San Diego does not use CalPERS. The grand jury says that CalPERS has veto power over allowing defined contribution plans for new employees of any agency that uses CalPERS, and the CalPERS board would be likely to use that veto. CalPERS is like the Roach Motel -- cities check in, but they don't check out! Governor Brown proposed legislation that would have changed this, but it was killed in the union-dominated legislature].

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Hipster hoteliers meet Keep Leucadia Funky locals

Del Mar Times:


A Planning Commission discussion of a remodel of an older existing Leucadia hotel into a small luxury hotel will continue in June.

The proposed project, by Encinitas-based 101 Hotel, Inc., calls for the demolition of the interior of the existing 45-room Portofino Beach Inn, at 186 North Coast Highway 101, to reconfigure the layout to allow for a 44-room boutique hotel called The Ray with a full-service restaurant, complimentary valet parking for guests, a 600-square-foot lobby and new eight-foot sign on Coast Highway 101.

It would also include indoor and rooftop bars.
Neighbors, and at least one planning commissioner, aren't amused.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

5/24/17 City Council meeting open thread

Please use the comments to record your observations.

Airbnb eliminating "affordable housing" in tourist areas

We've already seen in Encinitas how vacation rentals and second homes for the rich quickly put an end to Smart Growthers' utopian dreams.

The LA Times explores further:
As short-term rental websites such as Airbnb explode in popularity in Southern California, a growing number of homeowners and landlords are caving to the economics. A study released Wednesday from Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, a labor-backed advocacy group, estimates that more than 7,000 houses and apartments have been taken off the rental market in metro Los Angeles for use as short-term rentals. In parts of tourist-friendly neighborhoods such as Venice and Hollywood, Airbnb listings account for 4% or more of all housing units, according to a Times analysis of data from Airbnb's website.
A search for Encinitas on Airbnb shows hundreds of units currently available.  The prime-location apartments and condos envisioned by the failed Measure T would have been even more likely to end up as vacation rentals.

Perhaps Encinitas' Housing Element Task Force should consider a prohibition on vacation rentals in any new developments that take advantage of upzoning?