Monday, November 28, 2011

Game on!

The Belleview Christmas Tree above Swami's, a full-size star pine visible from I-5 and ships at sea.

How's your Christmas decoration coming?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Michael T. Pines assaulted in jail?

His victims would say he had it coming. Heck, most people who knew him around Encinitas would say he had it coming.

From the inbox:
Dear Clients (Victims) of Michael T. Pines:

He's back in Jail again. This mentally disturbed, stalking, harassing, thief, who threatens the lives of everyone he comes in contact with; with GUNS to the point where they are forced to move and get Restraining Orders against him is now back in jail ONCE AGAIN, this is the 6th time for threatening someones life.

But this time, someone kicked his ass. He has a bunch of broken bones per an unam source at the hospital and now he's in custody until December 2 unless someone has can bail him out. His bail is ONE MILLION DOLLARS. Probably too rich for his mommy's blood, the woman who continues to support his efforts to stalk, harass and rob victims like you. Here's the website and information on his recent arrest.


Usual disclaimer: Michael T. Pines is no relation to personal injury attorney Michael Pines of La Jolla.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011

Andrew Audet on the Encinitas banana republic

In the Coast News:
Last week Encinitas Mayor Bond, Deputy Mayor Stocks and Council member Gaspar appointed their campaign supporter Mark Muir to the city council. Evidence presented during the application process showed Muir was the only applicant to violate city policies for ethics and codes of conduct. Muir’s violations benefited the only three people in the city with the power to appoint a new council member. Meet your new “Council of Cronies.”

Bond and Stocks told local newspapers Muir was the most qualified. Muir being the only applicant who violated city policies made him the least qualified. Ask yourself, “Whom do you hire as a baby sitter, the kid who ignores and violates policy or the responsible kid who follows directions?” Enough said.

In the Woody Allen comedy “Bananas” a South America dictator employs the usual tactics of despots clinging to power. Armed sentries surround the palace. Residents of outlying territories are bussed in to prop up a regime of cronyism. Pageantry and theatre is used to deflect criticism. The movie pokes fun of so called “Banana Republics.”

Such third world chicanery was on display during the Encinitas City Hall Production of “The Swearing in of Muir.”

Click on over and read the whole thing.

I am very thankful for the Coast News' coverage of Encinitas government. Honest government depends on an alert citizenry, and an alert citizenry is difficult without good watchdog journalism.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Jerome Stocks berates constituent in Union-Tribune comments

Stay classy, Jerome.

Aside from the arrogant condescension, Stocks' assertions range from the misleading to the false and outright absurd. I was going to respond point-by-point in the comments, but Bruce Ehlers did it for me.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Behind-the-scenes dirt on the Mark Muir protest

Some interesting tidbits crossed my desk this week from a number of off-the-record sources:

  • Muir's people were boasting in advance of the swearing-in that the Union-Tribune was in the tank for them and would downplay coverage of the anti-cronyism rally (looks like they were right).
  • The Deputy Sheriffs' union was abuzz with talk of an "Occupy City Hall" unruly protest. This is why an absurd number of deputies surrounded City Hall for a gathering of mild-mannered, middle-aged professionals and retired folk who are no more a threat speaking about Mark Muir's misdeeds than they were last year speaking about Dan Dalager's misdeeds. It is not clear whether this "Occupy" panic was a result of institutional paranoia or a deliberate campaign by the Stocks-Muir gang to smear their opponents as dangerous radicals.
  • One neighborhood association that is currently fighting a high-density development upzoning asked all its members NOT to attend the rally because they feared retaliation by the council majority (this is truly chilling and a perfect example of how cronyism and concentrated power undermine democracy).
The Stocks-Muir gang played the political theater well, bringing in friends and family and city union members' friends and family, many of them not from Encinitas, to give the media the appearance that the public was evenly split on the Muir appointment. Many of the local papers (and even usually-good local online news sources) fell for this, not just the Union-Tribune. A couple that got it right were Wehtahnah Tucker of the Coast News and Alison St. John of KPBS)

Fortunately, Logan Jenkins today broke the Union-Tribune's code of downplay and hammered the council for the Muir appointment:

A brick — the Red Cape and Bull award — to the Encinitas “pro-business” (for lack of a better label) majority — Mayor Jim Bond, Jerome Stocks and Kristin Gaspar — for appointing Mark Muir, the city’s fire chief, to fill the late Maggie Houlihan’s council seat.

This decision wanted some tact, some humility, some spirit of compromise. None was displayed.

No one should have been surprised that a weird whirlwind was reaped Wednesday night as more than a hundred Encinitans gathered outside City Hall to protest the Muir appointment.

The council majority argued that they were picking the most qualified person to serve out the last year of Houlihan’s term. It wasn’t a political move. It was all about competence.

That may even be true. Muir, who retired before the surreal swearing-in ceremony, has a solid resume, including a stint on the Olivenhain water and SANDAG boards. He’s well-regarded.

But he also has a history as an unusually active political player on behalf of Stocks and Bond. The appearance of conflict looms.

Instead of choosing a neutral candidate, someone who could have capably held Houlihan’s seat until the 2012 election, the majority seemingly took pleasure in baiting the greenish Houlihan “progressives” they view with Olympian amusement.

Jenkins has a history of being close to Jerome Stocks, so this feels to me like a "scales fall from my eyes" moment for him. Jenkins started criticizing Stocks and Bond when they angrily demanded the removal of the Surfing Madonna, and he's been critical of Gaspar for breaking her campaign promises and worsening the acrimony on the council.

If there's one thing I have to criticize about Jenkins' column, it's that he continues to view this battle as "pro-business" vs. "greenish." True, Barth is, and Houlihan was, a lefty greenie, but a large number of the protesters are not. Many are just against corruption and financial mismanagement. The majority is pro-developer, not "pro-business." Encinitas businesses, like Encinitas families, will be burdened for decades by the majority's fiscal profligacy. Look at the majority's record on pensions, for example. Stocks voted (with Houlihan) to boost pensions 35%, a decision that will absolutely ruin the city's finances in the future. Stocks and Bond and Gaspar have stonewalled agendizing pension reform since. That's not a green issue; that's a mainstream issue very popular with the public at large.

NASA invades Leucadia

Are they chasing E.T.? Or do we have a new launch pad on the 101 puncture path?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Your special edition HoodLink is up!

From the excellent periodic publishers at HoodLink, a call to action and an explanation of the threat that the crony council poses to the future of Encinitas.

November 2011 HoodLink

Monday, November 7, 2011

Natives getting restless now

Mutiny in the air!
Encinitas residents are planning to gather at City Hall Wednesday at 5 p.m. to protest Mark Muir’s recent appointment to City Council. Muir, who will step down from his post as Fire Chief before being sworn into office Wednesday night, was appointed to fill Maggie Houlihan’s seat last week.

According to a written statement released on behalf of the group by Steve Meiche, one of the organizers, some residents are calling for Muir to step down due to what they claim are “instances of political favoritism, cronyism, conflict of interest and ethical policy violations.”

Even in laid-back Encinitas, you can only push people so far. The arrogant and brazen appointment of political crony Mark Muir could be what finally rousts the voters and runs the council good old boys out of town.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The fix is in

After a string of public speakers spoke against cronyism and Mark Muir and no one spoke in favor of Muir, Mayor Bond nominated Muir and Kristen Gaspar seconded.

A 3-1 vote for cronyism over the wishes of the public will follow shortly.

I must admit, I held out some hope that Kristen Gaspar would display a little independence and good judgment. Boy, was I wrong. This gang is brazen in their contempt for the public.