Saturday, May 28, 2011

Walkin on Sunshine

"Sunlight is the best disinfectant."
- Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis

The dirty back rooms of Encinitas City Hall are about to get a whole bunch o' disinfectin'.

Judge Timothy Casserly just ruled that the city's practice of hiding embarrassing information from the public is illegal under the Public Records Act.

A big thank you to Kevin Cummins for his work in bringing this case to court.

Killer bees return to Encinitas

Like the swallows returning to Capistrano and the flies returning to Del Mar, the killer bees have returned to Encinitas.

Yesterday I drove through a swarm of them, then came home to find another bunch contemplating building a nest in the compost bin.

Last year the killer bees arrived in late April and early May. Then in June they killed poor Marco Lazaro.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Logan Jenkins on Encinitas' rich history of unauthorized art

Surfing Madonna and the Stone Steps Mermaid.

There was a time, you see, when Encinitas wasn't ruled by self-important petty tyrants.

In related news, a new pro-removal faction has surfaced.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Penny wise, pound foolish

City council squabbles over $2000 for a 25th anniversary celebration while refusing to address outrageous pensions costing millions of dollars per year.

If the city founders had known we'd have a council this irresponsible, they would probably never have incorporated.

Logan Jenkins fingers Bryan Snyder as Madonna artist

... and slams Stocks and Bond for their petty, Cartmanesque "Respect my authoritah!" hatred of the mosaic.

Though he said he likes the art — in beachy Encinitas, that’s like saying you love Swami’s — Councilman Jerome Stocks scolded the outlaw artist(s). He/she/(them) put the city “between a rock and a hard place,” he grumbled.

Really? Your city is graced by a glassy bolt out of the blue ocean and you’re bemoaning that you’re forced to act like a grown-up? Not cool.

Mayor Bond struck a similarly ungrateful theme, likening the Surfing Madonna to a St. Bernard puppy gifted to someone who lives in a one-room studio.

The analogy is way off the wall. The wildly popular Surfing Madonna fits its 100-square-foot space in a rail underpass like a seamless dream. To rip out the mosaic would be akin to euthanizing Bond’s oversized puppy, stuffing it, and displaying it at a 7-Eleven.

On Snyder:

In North County, the street-smartest artist is Bryan Snyder, the Carlsbad muralist who famously transformed the Cardiff Kook statue on Vincent Van Gogh’s birthday.

Though a few art locals suspect Snyder may be the perpetrator of the beautiful crime, he says he’s “not taking credit.” Neither is he straight-out denying a role, saying he prefers to preserve the Surfing Madonna’s “mystery” (as well as take out of play, one can imagine, financial and/or criminal liability).

I had hoped and suspected that the artist was a Leucadian. Is it Snyder? His web site is here. He could be the guy.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Glenn Sabine: We need secrecy in government so bloggers can't criticize us

Really, that's his excuse.

In KC's public records lawsuit over the roads report:

Sabine also questioned the use of social media that allows preliminary documents to be sent out on blogs and websites though they are not a finished product.

"Let the staff do its job," he said.

Assistant City Attorney Greg Lusitana said releasing draft documents can create problems for staff.

"The city needs to be able to have a decision-making process free from second-guessing by public questioning of funding options," said Lusitana.

It's an arrogant, condescending attitude toward the public reminiscent of Nancy Pelosi. "We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it."

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Goat head puncture vine citizen action Saturday, May 21

Encinitas' alleged bicycle paths along 101 and Vulcan have long been notorious for goat head puncture vine that massacres bike tires. You're better off taking your chances with the drunk drivers on 101 than trying to bike on the Puncture Path.

And as the City of Encinitas is now spending millions a year on employee pensions and can't afford basic services like road maintenance or bike path maintenance, citizens are taking it into their own hands.

NC Times
"They are brutal, the thorn is long enough to go through ... a thin part of flip-flops," said Russell Levan, a Coast Highway recycling company owner who has watched many a cyclist derailed by the plant and has experienced the frustration himself. "You can literally get six, seven, eight thorns in a tire."

Levan, who lost two tires at once during last year's Bike-to-Work Day, is rapidly becoming known as the weed-hating guy of Leucadia because of his campaign to rid his community of the "horrible invasive plant."

When he first started speaking out some 18 months ago, no one really took him seriously, he said Thursday.

But momentum began to build in recent weeks and now he's got the backing of the North County Transit District and the city of Encinitas public works department for a special community weed-bashing day.

The first-ever, open-to-the-public, whack-the-weed party is set for Saturday, and it will start at Coast Highway's intersection with A Street.

It'll be a zero-waste event; participants are encouraged to show up with their own re-usable mugs for free coffee and a fork for the goodies. People also need to bring closed-toed shoes, gloves and shovel or a rake. To participate, e-mail Levan at

He shall be Levan
He shall be a good man

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Miracle in Encinitas! The Virgin of the Waves is healed!

Last week, the Surfing Madonna was damaged. A piece of her green cloak was missing, possibly by vandalism but more likely by accident or failure of a bit of glue.

Behold! She is healed!

Pinesy bails out?

The Sheriff's web site says they are no longer holding Michael T. Pines.

NOTE: This is NOT La Jolla personal injury attorney Michael Pines, who is concerned about being confused with the Encinitas break-in artist.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Michael T. Pines arrested and held on four counts of felony stalking

Pinesy never fails to outdo himself.

Sheriff's Department booking info here.

Stalking? What's that about? Who's he stalking?

And $227,000 bail. Think he'll be able to come up with that?

NOTE: This is NOT La Jolla personal injury attorney Michael Pines, who is concerned about being confused with the Encinitas break-in artist.

Another apparent Encinitas Ponzi scheme: John Clement

What is it with Encinitas and Ponzi schemes? First Scott Bottolfson and now this:

The Securities and Exchange Commission filed an emergency enforcement action to halt a fraudulent scheme being conducted by John Clement of Encinitas, Calif., and his company Edgefund Capital LLC.

The SEC alleges that Clement ran a purportedly profitable day trading business out of his home and raised at least $2.1 million since August 2008 from 22 investors in the San Diego area. Clement hyped the profit potential by falsely promising returns of 1 to 2 percent per month to investors in his hedge funds (The Edgefund, LP and The Edge Fund Ltd., LP). He falsely claimed that the risk potential was limited because of his purported 5 percent stop-loss rule, and he falsely assured investors that they could request a return of their investments at any time upon written request. The SEC alleges that Clement has misappropriated and misspent all of the investor funds.

The Honorable Larry A. Burns, U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of California, granted the SEC’s requests for an immediate freeze of the assets of Clement and Edgefund Capital and an order prohibiting Clement and Edgefund Capital from destroying evidence. The court will hold a hearing on May 16, 2011, on the SEC’s motion for a preliminary injunction.

The SEC alleges that in order to conceal his fraud, Clement sent fabricated account statements to at least one investor that reflected an inflated fund balance of $8.2 million. In fact, the hedge fund accounts at that time were not even funded. Beginning March 29, 2011, Clement began telling investors that an SEC investigation had impacted his ability to communicate with them, frozen his bank accounts, and blocked his securities trading activities. Although the SEC was investigating Clement’s operations, he lied in his other assertions to investors.

I guess it's that Encinitas is a great place to live, so when scammers get their hands on Other People's Money, they use it to fund the Encinitas lifestyle. Or maybe Encinitas living is so expensive that it pushes people to fraud.

Any time somebody tells you he makes a living day trading, ask to see his tax returns. Most self-proclaimed "day traders" have other assets or income and just call themselves "day traders" because it sounds cooler than "trust fund baby" or "disability malingerer."

Monday, May 16, 2011

Return the Favor

Beach cleanup, Sunday 5/22, 9am, Moonlight Beach.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Andrew Audet on the city's disastrous library construction oversight

Coast News:

Encinitas residents are steamed the cooling system at the new library needs to be replaced costing more than $250,000 just three years after it was installed. With services to seniors cut and city fees increased, citizens descended on City Hall seeking answers for the waste of money.

Temperatures rose when residents demanded the names of those at City Hall responsible and called for “heads to roll.” Mayor Bond and Deputy Mayor Stocks refused to answer. While citizens sought accountability, the council members responded to staff’s report by spouting off accolades of praise. Rather than hold staff and themselves accountable, council gave a hall pass to those responsible for the failure. Elected officials sought political cover when leadership was needed.

Mayor Bond and Deputy Mayor Stocks spewed some hot air blaming the “shoddy work” of the contractor while ignoring the fact the city signed off on the project. Stocks oddly blamed the global recession for forcing the contractors out of business and strangely “applauded” the same staff who failed to do their jobs costing taxpayers a cool quarter million dollars.

Stocks has a history of giving praise when it is not merited. He endorsed and sang the praises of former Mayor Dalager who received a vote of no confidence from the public finishing last in the city election and later pleading guilty to the DA for violating the public trust.

City employee Bill Wilson said the library’s ventilation system often contradicts itself. The same could be said of staff and City Council. Rather than accept responsibility, Mayor Bond and Deputy Mayor Stocks are pointing the blame at a third party inspection company.

Click on over and read the whole thing.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

General plan update: residents really want more Pacific Station-type developments


The Encinitas City Council discussed the results of the citywide workshop on Wednesday night. This presentation came as a result of the March 28 workshop in which residents of Encinitas provided their opinions on housing and policy development for the Comprehensive General Plan Update (CGPU).

Highlights from the presentation included:

Establishing more mixed-use land in Encinitas, which would combine shopping and living units in the same area. Two areas that residents believe could take advantage of mixed-used land are the Encinitas Boulevard and El Camino Real corridors. More focus areas could also be included to give the walkways more character. Planners are hoping this will give the city more pedestrian activity, which could increase tourism.

WTF? I went to the early community forums, and the overwhelming #1 issue was "preserve the existing character of our unique communities." This doesn't make the final report but the public's love of developers' pet projects does?

Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

Exit question: if the public loves "mixed-use" so much, why aren't they buying the condos at Pacific Station and the Moonlight Lofts? And why aren't the retail and office spaces there filled and thriving?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

State and feds to install $4.5 million underground homeless shelter at Santa Fe & Vulcan

What budget crisis?

The $4.5 million project would allow foot and bike traffic to go under the railroad tracks to access Coast Highway 101 and Swami's beach. It was the final hurdle for the proposed tunnel, which could begin construction this fall.


Those opposed also point to other coastal cities that have built underground tunnels (such as Oceanside and San Clemente) and claim that the tunnels create more graffiti and crime. In the late-night hours, they stated at public hearings, tunnels become a shelter for the homeless who often urinate or sleep there.

For $4.5 million, can we at least get a toilet installed so the stench of urine and feces won't be so overpowering as to render the tunnel unusable by the non-homeless?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Golf shoes named after Encinitas, Cardiff, Leucadia

Shoe maker Ashworth is naming its new line of golf shoes after us.

The Encinitas ($140; available in tan and black) is a loafer that strikes the perfect balance between style and versatility. Premium materials and fine craftsmanship create a rare combination of beauty and go-anywhere freedom that works with chinos or jeans, on casual Friday or on the town. Great for travel given its lightweight comfort and slip-on ease, the Encinitas is a shoe for all occasions.

The Cardiff ($120; available in navy, white and black) is a golf shoe with the crossover appeal of a town shoe. Playability, wearability and a sure-footed spikeless sole unite with tumbled leathers and rich suede accents to take the Cardiff from the course to the clubhouse and beyond. The molded rubber sole is discreet and pliable for a comfortable, low-profile feeling without the sensation of traditional golf spikes.

The Leucadia ($90; available in grey, tan and black) is a saddle shoe that receives a long-overdue rework through the pairing of soft suede and leather uppers with a classic vulcanized outsole. The resulting updated style and unstructured comfort makes the Leucadia an instant wardrobe favorite on and off the course.

You've got to love how they price the Leucadia cheaper so the folks in the density-bonus slums on Vulcan can buy them.

But actual golf in Encinitas? Not doing so hot. The city council is allowing Carltas, the Ecke family's development company, to weasel out of its financial obligations resulting from the money-losing golf course.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Hidden Encinitas

Congratulations to Ryan for winning the Where in Encinitas? photo contest. Patch would give you a prize, but around here you just get respect.

Encinitans pass by this phenomenal junkyard every day, but few even know it's there, right between Leucadia Liquor and La Especial Norte. This is prime real estate, west of 101 with retail frontage!

The new "Beacons" development behind Mozy Cafe will pack ten million-dollar homes onto a 1-acre lot directly overlooking the junkyard. How many slum units did theyhave to dump on Vulcan for that density bonus? An interest list is forming.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Things that make you go hmmmm in Encinitas

Inquiring Encinitans are wondering:

1) Where does Cottonwood Creek start? If you go to the southeast corner of Cottonwood Creek Park, you'll see the creek go under Encinitas Boulevard near Wendy's and Denny's. But where does it come out the other side? It seems like a decent amount of water, but it can't be coming from too far east because of the big ridge between I-5 and El Camino Real. Is it spring water? Encinitas History & Heritage doesn't shed any light. Alas, Google answers the mystery here.

2) What's the deal with the sheds on stilts in Leucadia? Dalager's got one in his yard, and there's another one up near the Leucadia fire station. I wouldn't be surprised if there are a few more around town. Are these the playhouses of a bygone generation of children? Was this the hip thing to have years ago?

Where in Encinitas?

Patch has a running series called Where in Encinitas? where Anastacia Grenda takes a picture somewhere in Encinitas and readers try to figure out where it is.

It doesn't look like they have one this week, so I thought I'd fill in.

So, you think you know Encinitas? Name the location where this photo was taken.

Friday, May 6, 2011


The train enthusiasts at Pacific Station are going to get more than their money's worth.

Roughly 44 passenger trains traveling up to 90 mph, plus seven freight trains, rush down the tracks each day. The number of trains is expected to double in coming years as a second rail track is added, said Encinitas City Councilman Jerome Stocks.

HT: Bubbleinfo

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Michael T. Pines reclaims his office building

He's not disbarred. He's dis-WINNING!

Casual observers thought Michael T. Pines was a crazy person with huge legal and financial problems after advising his clients to break back into their foreclosures, and having several of his own properties foreclosed, including his Leucadia office on 101.

Casual observers would be wrong. In his own words:

I was making a lot of money with my own real estate. I am sure you have heard stories about people getting houses for free. I have, and can, acquire real estate, and then sue the Banks and get it for free for myself. I already own the office building in Encinitas for free. That is the smart thing for me to do selfishly, and what I intend to focus on. I have also filed legal actions against the State Bar and will vigorously pursue them with many more legal actions against them coming. I have also filed legal actions against the State Bar and will vigorously pursue them with many more legal actions against them coming. They deserve it. I am asking ALL California attorneys to stop paying their dues in protest. (I don’t have to because I am now officially “Inactive”). I have received enormous amounts of information from all over about wrongdoing by the State Bar, and some large and powerful San Diego law firms and Judges, which I intend to make public. One tip was given to me by a famous person who worked at high levels in the Federal Government.

Michael T Pines State Bar Letter

NOTE: This is NOT La Jolla personal injury attorney Michael Pines, who is concerned about being confused with the Encinitas break-in artist.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

There's something about Mary

Encinitas has spoken. We love the Surfing Guadalupe.

Patch's Anastacia Grenda adds her voice to the heavenly choir:
I finally made the pilgrimage to see our “Surfing Madonna.” My husband spotted it during his morning run the day before Easter and snapped a photo with his cell phone. Ever since then, I’ve been meaning to get out there in person but the days—and the newspaper stories, and the YouTube videos, and the local news broadcasts—have added up. I’ve caught a few glimpses of it driving down Encinitas Boulevard, but I realized, when I finally parked at Cottonwood Creek Park and walked down to the train overpass, that you truly have to stop and soak it in to appreciate its beauty.

And it is beautiful, as anyone who’s seen it can attest: the richness of the colors, the textural composition from the different types of glass tile and stones, the detail of her face and hands. And it merits appreciation from a technical standpoint as well, for creating this elaborate and fragile work and then putting it up on public property while cars obliviously speed past.

Unlike other times I’ve driven by, there was no one else there when I came to see her. Which I actually liked, as I could contemplate the work in peace. Yes, even though I was there during the morning commute, the aura emanating from our Madonna was one of serenity. Passing from the bright heat into the cool shade of the overpass was almost like entering some mystical grotto, as the sounds of traffic died away and a stillness came over the place. It was just the two of us, and I couldn’t help feeling, just a little bit, that some small miracle had occurred. Something beautiful had sprung up, completely unexpected, in the plainest of places.

So here we are, with this surprise gift, and the question now is what to do with it. It’s produced national news coverage as well as “Surfing Madonna” T-shirts (available at First Street Art Gallery downtown)—plus lots of debate involving complex issues of defacement, public art guidelines, and religious content on public property. And while my head says it’s probably not best to set a precedent that allows people to put up any kind of art work anywhere, my heart says we should make an exception for our Madonna.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Negotiation 101

What not to say before negotiating the salary for a new city manager:

With broad grins, Encinitas council members announced [Gus] Vina's appointment to the post immediately after a 20-minute, closed-to-the-public meeting Monday afternoon.

"I think all of us are pleased, almost giddy," Encinitas Mayor James Bond said, describing the council's unanimous decision to offer Vina the job and his eagerness to accept it.


His salary is still in negotiation, and will be the subject of a public meeting later this month, council members said.

This is a guy without a job who wants to live in Encinitas and would take this job for half what the city is going to pay him. And they're going to give him a fat pension to boot.

On the plus side, he's an outsider, so he's not (yet) beholden to Encinitas' Good Ol' Boy network. And he's 50, which is almost retirement age in government work, so he won't accrue too many years before retiring to Pension Fat City. Hopefully he's already rung up a doozy of a pension on Sacramento, so he won't have to ding us too badly.

More on Vina's resignation from his last job (and a favorable review of same) here.