Wednesday, September 29, 2010

High Society

Encinitas ranks 16th in nation for most expensive homes, according to Coldwell Banker.

Full survey data here.

Online predator caught in San Dieguito Academy sex case -- Jose Adrian Cano, 20, of Vista

A Vista man is in custody for allegedly having sex with a 15-year-old girl San Dieguito Academy student.

Last week, the teen said she was snatched off an Encinitas street, forced into a car, then sexually assaulted by three Latino suspects, who drove around for an hour before pushing her out of the vehicle near the site of her alleged kidnapping.
She later admitted she had lied and had consensual sex with a man she met on the Internet.

Jose Adrian Cano, 20, was arrested Tuesday and is facing several charges, including contacting a minor online with the intent to commit a sex crime, a lewd act with 15-year-old and unlawful intercourse with a minor. He is being held on $20,000 bail.
Authorities say evidence they gathered during the investigation has led them to believe there may be other underage victims out there.

Cano is being held at the Vista detention center and will be arraigned Thursday.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Rape report was false

As I hoped and suspected, the San Dieguito Academy kidnapping/rape story was false.

A 15-year-old girl who said she was abducted and raped Friday by three men who pushed her into a car in Encinitas made up the story after she had sex with a man she met online, sheriff's officials announced Monday.

The Sheriff's Department is planning a 4 p.m. press conference at the Encinitas Sheriff's Station to discuss the case.

The girl on Monday told detectives that she skipped her last class at San Dieguito Academy on Friday and was picked up at the school by a man she met on the Internet, sheriff's official said.

The victim and the man went somewhere and had sex, and then the man drove her back to school, officials said.

While the original story didn't make sense, the facts should be just as chilling. Predators aren't cruising the streets; they're trolling the Internet. I hope this girl gets the help she needs, and I hope the predator is caught and put away for a long time.

Encinitas Taxpayers Association rates Council candidates

The ratings can be found here. Detailed questions and responses are here.

Dan Dalager gets an unsurprising D. Teresa Barth gets an A-. Tony Kranz gets a B+. Kristin Gaspar gets an F for refusing to meet with the ETA, not addressing any fiscal issues on her website, and being evasive throughout the campaign on her positions.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

San Dieguito Academy student reports rape, kidnapping

... in broad daylight, right after school.

I hope this turns out to be a false report.

A 15-year-old girl walking home from school in Encinitas in coastal northern San Diego County was kidnapped by three men and sexually assaulted Friday, the Sheriff's Department said Saturday.

The girl was forced into the backseat of a car near San Dieguito Academy, where she is a student, the department said.

The three men drove for nearly an hour while the girl was sexually assaulted. She was then pushed out of the car near the school, the department said.

The three attackers were described as Hispanic in their early 20s to early 30s.

One was thin, with a shaved head and a 6 or 619 tattoo on the back of his neck; a second had a mustache and goatee and possibly a scar on the right side of his neck; the third had acne, large ears and a goatee, according to information provided by the Sheriff's Department.

The car was described as a white, older model midsize sedan with a squared-off back and tinted rear windows.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff's Department at (858) 565-5200.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

San Diego County Taxpayers Association opposes Proposition P

Thanks to Mike from New Encinitas Network for sending this. We all love the kids, but this is 30 years of debt for a grab bag of goodies, many of which will be obsolete long before the debt is paid off. You don't take on 30 years of debt to buy computers that will be outdated in five years.

Full report below.

Proposition P Staff Report.finaL (2)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

CalPERS: raises and bonuses for incompetence

Just to remind you, these are the guys who we're trusting to earn 7.75% annually forever in an environment where Fed Funds and CDs earn 0% and long-term Treasuries earn 3% - 4%. And if they don't hit that lofty goal, Encinitas taxpayers will be required to make up the difference.

As its investment portfolio was losing nearly a quarter of its value, the country's largest public pension fund doled out six-figure bonuses and substantial raises to its top employees, an analysis by The Associated Press has found.

Board member Tony Olivera said the California Public Employees' Retirement System tried to reduce the bonuses but was under contractual obligations to pay them.

CalPERS' plunging value came as stock values tumbled around the world, the state's economy suffered its worst decline in decades and basic state services faced severe budget cuts.

Virtually all of CalPERS' investment managers were awarded bonuses of more than $10,000 each, with several earning bonuses of more than $100,000 during the 2008-09 fiscal year. The cash awards were distributed as the fund lost $59 billion.

Thanks for spiking the pension liabilities 40%, Dan and Maggie!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

We've got wood

Woody Festival at Moonlight Beach. Til 3pm.

Council races in a nutshell

This quote from the Coast News on the recent forum captures the essence of the candidates perfectly: Dan Dalager, aloof and (feigning?) confused; Teresa Barth, crusader for open government; Kristin Gaspar, who either doesn't know about and/or won't take a position on anything other than the Hall Sports Megaplex; and Tony Kranz, the good guy outsider.

“I was almost thinking that’s what our rules had said before,” Dalager responded when the audience member asked why he voted in favor of the measure and how would the two challengers vote if given the opportunity.

“Your memory doesn’t serve you very well,” Barth responded. “It goes against the grain of our democracy,” she said referring to the inability of the minority to be heard. “You don’t have to have a majority of the people already supporting something to have it go to council for discussion.”

Barth raised the stakes when she called the move to a majority council in order to agendize an item “appalling and embarrassing” to thunderous applause from the crowded auditorium. Kranz went further saying he would consider a process by which citizens could get an item on the City Council agenda while Gaspar said she would entertain arguments both for and against the three-person agenda rule.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

So this is what they were hiding!

The Dalager / Stocks / Bond Council of Three has been stonewalling the release of the road condition report.

Now we know why.

Under pressure of recent court filings and efforts of Tony Kranz, the city released their streets condition assessment today.

The version of the report released today indicates that the city has over $17 million in deferred streets maintenance. The city currently spends about $2 million on streets maintenance and much of that is funded from outside the city. The version of the report released today indicates that $9.4million/year needs to be spent to catch up with the backlog of deffered maintenance.

The Director of Engineering has not responded to requests (sent yesterday) to orient the ETA to the report and allow the public access to the modeling software used to produce the report. There are only two staff working days before Wednesday's meeting.

The city required half a year to review this report, which was originally authored by a consultant. The city is still withholding the consultant's original work and records that outline what changes were made by the city, and why the changes were made.

The city has been spending far too little on road repair so that they could wander off and jack up union pensions by 40% and overpay for the Hall Property, Mossy property, and other properties by millions of dollars.

I fear this is only the tip of the iceberg and Encinitas is in far worse fiscal condition than its ruling triumvirate want us to believe.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What's the worst that could happen?

PBS: CalPERS is severely underfunded, has horrible investment performance, and has overly optimistic future return assumptions. And they've got a brilliant idea: take on more risk and hope they don't screw up so badly next time.

ROBINSON: Well, Joe Dear was running the Washington state investment board up until the end of 2008. And he has come into really clean up Calpers. There have been some influence peddling scandals that have affected it. But more seriously for him is dealing with the under performance of the fund. Calpers lost $70 billion in the crash of '08 and '09. And Dear's job is to rejuvenate Calpers so that it never loses that much again.

HUDSON: Let's take a look at this under performance because Calpers benchmark is 7 3/4 percent return per year, but over the past decade, it is under 3 percent return and that's even less than the median state retirement plan which is closer to 3.5 percent. So are the funds beginning to question these assumptions of trying to get close to 8 percent a year?

ROBINSON: Yes, they are. There is enormous pressure on Calpers and other public pension funds to lower their investment return assumption to what critics say is a more realistic level, perhaps around 6 percent, perhaps even lower. The difficulty for Calpers though in doing that is if they lower their investment return assumption, they are going to have to increase the contributions that public workers and the agencies that employ them have to put on the table. And that creates a lot of political ramifications for the state. And as you could imagine, that is not an easy situation.

In other words, if they told the truth, it would be a political disaster as the fiscal black hole is revealed. So they're going to keep lying to us.

But don't worry -- when they eventually blow up, cities like Encinitas will have to raise taxes and cut services to bail them out!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Your September HoodLink is up

Link here (.pdf).

I'd like to call attention to this editorial:


It would be easy to jump all over our Mayor’s latest faux pas. Far too easy. We believe that “appliance-gate”, “loan-gate”, and “bank-gate” are serving as distractions to what is really going on in City Hall.

Our City Council has five members. One of the members, elected by the five members of the Council, serves as Mayor for a year at a time. Our Mayor is chosen by the majority of the Council with no regard to the votes a Council member received from the voters in a general election. We have a City Manager who is selected and hired by a vote of the five members of the Council.

As mentioned elsewhere in this issue, the current Council majority, which includes our Mayor Dan, likes to run roughshod over the concept of open and fair play in our
representative democracy. Their behavior is nothing new. Some would say it is so common, that we should grow up and get used to it. But their behavior is no longer simply boorish or tiresome. The fruit of their behavior is getting toxic. We can, and need, to do something about it.

It is all about the power of counting to three, and the trouble of going too far with running a City using that limited knowledge...

Up until this summer, to get an item on the public agenda for a Council meeting, it took two members of the Council to agree that an item was worth public consideration. Regardless of whether the item was submitted by a member of the Council or a member of the general public, if two members of Council agreed it was a topic worth discussing, the item was placed on the agenda.

For reference, in Solana Beach it only takes one member of the Council or of the public to get an item on their agenda.

Democracies, even representative democracies like ours, are messy by design. But ours is supposed to work in the open and with a majority’s dogma unable to violate the rights of a minority, of even one, to have their voice heard.

What our current representatives in the majority on the Encinitas City Council have done is to exclude all issues from the agenda which were not chosen by the majority. The vote was, wait for it… 3 to 2… with Dan Dalager, Jim Bond, and Jerome Stocks voting to require that three members of the Council must agree to adding an item to the agenda.

Those three have been telling us for years that omnipotent knowledge is divined by counting to three. Now, in addition to telling us that they have no responsibility to listen to an opinion they do not hold, they have voted to totally exclude items from the agenda that they do not want to be officially discussed.

It is time to break up that poisonous triumvirate. Regardless of what a friendly guy
he may be, or how long he and his family have been in town, we need to step into a better future by voting Dan off the Council. Now!

The Leucadia Blog also chose to highlight the same editorial. I swear I'm not copying, just thinking alike.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Union-Trib: Dirty Dan pressured Encinitas businesspeople to bank with California Community Bank

Small town corruption:
“When you’re brokering business relationships, it creates an awkwardness,” said Encinitas attorney Marco Gonzalez, who passed on Dalager’s invitation to bank with his client. “To me, an elected official has to avoid the appearance of impropriety. The citizens depend on it.”

Former Encinitas planning commissioner Bruce Ehlers didn’t appreciate being solicited by an elected official either.

“I don’t pressure that easily, so I guess I didn’t feel overly intimidated,” he said. “But I thought it was a bit inappropriate that the council member was going around drumming up business.”

Isn't it obvious on its face that having an elected leader with significant influence over city budgets and development approvals should not be earning commissions from steering people toward a certain bank?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Candidate statements

Thanks to K.C. at The Leucadia Blog for getting the candidate statements.

In general, the statements are long on motherhood and short on specifics. But a word search can give a clue to their priorities. Here's how the following words show up.

Pension: only Tony Kranz even mentioned the word that is perhaps the single most important issue in the long-term viability of the city. "Our city needs to control its expenses and its pensions. I will vote on your behalf to make this happen," Tony writes.

To be fair, Teresa Barth made pension reform a key issue in her kick-off speech, transcripted on her web site. "I have been principled and conservative in how our tax dollars are spent. I fully support public employee pension reform."

The word "pension" could not be found on Dan Dalager's or Kristin Gaspar's web sites. Note: Dan Dalager voted for the huge pension increase in 2005.

Fiscal responsibility: Barth, Dalager, and Gaspar claimed it. Dalager promised to "continue to put fiscal responsibility, public safety and basic services first [...]" If his idea of fiscal responsibility is huge pension giveaways, over-budget libraries, and vastly overpaying for the Hall property at the peak of the real estate bubble, I'd prefer if he didn't continue.

Open government / transparency: Apparently only an issue for Barth and Kranz. Kranz: "My campaign's theme is summarized in these seven words: Trust, Tranquilty, Tradition, Traffic, Trains, Trees and Transparency." Barth: "support open government [...] my actions have demonstrated my strong belief in government transparency and my determination to safeguard the public's right to know."

Encinitas City Council Candidate statements November 2010 election

Monday, September 6, 2010

Pension time bomb still ticking; City Council fiddles while Encinitas burns

Even if we reform pensions today, there's already a time bomb of unfunded liabilities that will force a combination of severe tax increases and drastic cuts to services:

An August report by the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University found government pension programs in as many as 31 states are headed for financial disaster by 2030 and that taxpayers will likely wind up paying for unfunded liabilities.

“Even if states uniformly eliminated generous early retirement deals and raised the retirement age to 74, the unfunded liability for promises already made would still be more than $1 trillion,” Kellogg associate professor Joshua Rauh said in prepared remarks.

“Assuming states don’t start defaulting on their bonds and other debts, it seems that taxpayers will be footing most of the multi-trillion dollar bill for the pension promises that states have already made to workers,” he added.

We're in a huge hole and Dan Dalager, Jerome Stocks, and Maggie Houlihan are still digging.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

City blames Vulcan Puncture Path and 101 Puncture Lane on lack of funds

The Encinitas Chamber's paper picks up the goat head thorn issue:
[Bike store owner Frederic] Breidenthal shares his customers' frustration toward the city of Encinitas. "It's a nonperfect world," he said. "The cleaning crew doesn't sweep up after (foliage removal), and there is an increase in flats the day after. The city has covered, scraped, and poisoned them, but the thorns always come back."

From the city's perspective, there isn't the money to constantly clean up. "We clean the main thoroughfares four times a year," Howard Whitock, assistant superintendant of public works, said. "We can't afford five to six times, and there's a pretty good level of service."

We can't afford basic Parks and Rec services for residents, but we can afford for city employees to retire early and get paid fat pensions for life. Funny how that works.

Throw the bums out!

Support your local theater

If you don't go to the La Paloma, who will?

La Paloma consistently shows great movies, but attendance is weak. La Paloma is currently running Inception, which rates 87% on Rotten Tomatoes.

If you don't support the La Paloma, Jerome Stocks and Dan Dalager will turn it into another yuppie mini-mall.

Are you with us, or are you against us?