Friday, November 30, 2012

Whither the mayoralty?

Teresa Barth will obviously be mayor.  She has earned the traditionally rotational post with her years of service to the city, and now she will have enough support on the council to see that her repeatedly being passed over does not continue.

But when will she be mayor, and for how long?

This month, the voters chose to change the mayor position to a two-year elected post, rather than a one-year appointed post.  Electoral politics could come into play in the order of the rotation.  Encinitas political operatives believe that being mayor is an advantage going into an election. I dispute this view vehemently; ask Dalager and Stocks how that worked out for them.  Nevertheless, Barth may want to wait to be appointed until 2014 when she would be up for either re-election to council or election to the new mayor position.

The new council could also presumably choose to start the two-year mayoralty now, and give Barth the two years leading up to the next election.  After all, the voters want a two-year mayor; why make them wait?  But this could be viewed as overreach, and a breach of the new spirit of cooperation promised by the newly elected council members.

In that spirit of cooperation, is it possible that the council would allow Kristin Gaspar to become mayor?  As current deputy mayor, she would typically be next in line.  But given Gaspar's history of both petty tantrums over not getting her way and staged outbursts over feigned outrage, as well as her connection to the sleazy We Love Encinitas election mailers, it would take the turn-the-other-cheekiness of Jesus for the new majority to appoint Gaspar mayor.

I wouldn't be surprised to see Barth appointed mayor this year, with Lisa Shaffer as deputy mayor, given Shaffer's having overwhelming public support as demonstrated by having received the most votes by far of any candidate in Encinitas history.  Shaffer would then become mayor the following year so that if Gaspar and Barth wanted to go at each other in the elected mayor campaign, neither would have the "advantage" of incumbency.

More importantly, though, than who gets to be mayor for a year, is the substantive issue of how future council agendas are set.  While the voters chose to elect a mayor, they didn't choose to change to a "strong mayor" form of government.  Rules for how items get onto the city council agenda were not part of the ballot question, and remain within the purview of the city council.  This city council should ensure that control of the council agenda remains in the hands of future council majorities and not in the hands of one (possibly capriciously) elected person.  The mayor of a small city like Encinitas should be a ceremonial figurehead, not a Boss Hogg.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Large methamphetamine bust in Encinitas

A late-night stabbing incident has led to the largest Encinitas methamphetamine bust in recent memory.

NC Times:
Deputies responded about 3 a.m. to a call about a woman heard screaming in an apartment complex on Regal Road near Park Lane. They were directed to an apartment, where they found a broken window and blood outside.

The resident, identified as Jeremy James Boone, was uncooperative and resisted deputies’ attempts to take him into custody, Nelson said.


Detectives obtained a search warrant for the apartment and found a loaded handgun, about 14 ounces of methamphetamine, six ounces of cocaine, and two ounces of marijuana.
The drugs would be worth about $20,000 based on crude estimates often used by the news media.

Jeremy Boone is listed at the apartment complex at 808 Regal. Boone was apparently a long-time resident of the neighborhood, as there were also listings for him on nearby Gardena and Melba.

An old Myspace page purportedly by Jeremy Boone includes a 2008 post referring to difficulty adjusting after a recent release from prison. A more recent Facebook page indicated Boone was a 1996 graduate of Sunset High School.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Paul Gaspar fingered as man behind sham charity

Recently, we marveled at the gall of some shadowy new group to take charity money and use it for blatantly transparent political purposes. We can now add self-serving to that charge, and put a face to that seedy group.

From the California Secretary of State's web site:

None other than Paul Gaspar, husband of city council member and Jerome Stocks acolyte Kristin Gaspar.

Really, Paul?  Using a charity to send out campaign propaganda didn't trigger even the tiniest sense of shame?

Incidentally, Kristin Gaspar's 2010 election campaign was heavily funded by out-of-town physical therapists, who presumably had a lot more interest in currying favor with Paul Gaspar as director of the California Physical Therapy Association than they had in wayside horns for Encinitas.

 HT: Anonymous

Bonus Thought: If Paul Gaspar plays this fast and loose with IRS rules on 501(c)3 charities, what else might he be pushing the envelope on?  An enterprising IRS auditor might want to find out!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Have another beer!

Driver crashes into house, flees scene on foot with pickup truck still running in the living room.

1338 Mackinnon Ave. This is just up the street from the vehicular fratricide incident of two months ago.

HT: NCTimes.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Internet killed the slate mailer star

In recent elections, City Council seats have often been won by campaigns of glossy mailers backed by political parties, unions, and other interest groups. It was thought by the Cardiff and Leucadia "activists" that New Encinitas would generally vote based on mailers, signs, and endorsements.

Last week's landslide results certainly seem to have changed that. The sleeping giant of Middle Encinitas has awoken. Some of this can be attributed to the development threat of the General Plan Update, and the backlash it created in the Encinitas Right to Vote movement.

But are broader cultural and technological trends at work too?

Pew Research says the Internet is taking an increasingly important role in informing voters.

The Pew study is generally referring to national elections, but I think we're seeing even stronger trends in local elections. Coverage of Encinitas issues in the Union-Tribune, North County Times, and San Diego television stations is minimal. Even the Coast News has too little space in its weekly format to cover everything important in Encinitas city government.  Filling the void, perhaps for the first time for many Encinitas voters, is the Internet.

Some of the candidates understood the trend.  Lisa Shaffer's web site was the most informative, by far, of all the council candidates. Jerome Stocks didn't even have a web site until late in the campaign. Before that, his Internet presence was limited to occasional posts on County GOP blog SDRostra, and often ill-considered comment wars on Patch and other news sites and blogs. Teresa Barth's e-mail newsletter kept hundreds of subscribers informed on local issues with dozens of links in each issue to news and opinion sources.

The bigger impact, however, was likely not from the campaign sites, but from local news and opinion sites, both professional and amateur. This was the first campaign season that Encinitas Patch was in full swing, and it has been a heavily-trafficked forum for both news and opinion. Long-time civic watchdog Leucadia Blog is still going strong, and worth reading far beyond the borders of Leucadia. Without sites like Patch and LB, it would be hard to keep up with everything that's happening. And people might just be tempted to re-elect incumbents based on a 98% satisfaction survey.

In his farewell speech, Congressman Ron Paul called the Internet the alternative to the "government - media complex." Locally, he could have been referring to Papa Doug's Union-Tribune and its ties to powerful developers and their politicians. In an era of concentration of power and collusion between Big Business and Big Government, Small Internet remains a remarkably effective weapon of dissent.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The bubble is back! Encinitas neighborhood now selling above 2007 peak prices

The bubble is back, baby!

Check out this little townhouse neighborhood by the library.  It's a good case study, because there are a lot of homogeneous units, and they trade relatively frequently.  They got into the low-$800's in 2005-07.  By 2009-10 they had dropped back to the $600's.

293 Triton sold in September for a record $840,000.  449 Pescadero listed last month at $875,000 (since pulled).

Your mileage may vary.  Some of this reflects a preference shift toward smaller, lower-price, low-maintenance units in prime locations.  I wouldn't expect most of Encinitas to pass peak pricing for quite a while.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Stocks Dumped!!!

Wow. How does an incumbent lose re-election with a 98% satisfaction rating?

Stocks came in fourth for three seats, behind Mark Muir who came in a distant third. Muir only hangs onto his seat because Shaffer and Kranz didn't find a third amigo.

Encinitas voters have spoken. They don't pay attention often, but Jerome made local politics impossible to ignore.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Monday, November 5, 2012

Your Election 2012 HoodLink is up!

... with ballot recommendations.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Banana Republic

Remember those innocent days of yesteryear when shady, unnamed political campaign supporters claiming tax deductions for campaign propaganda would at least pretend to cloak their propaganda in the guise of a generic "thank you" to unnamed, but obvious, incumbent politicians?

That was October 12, 2012.



Yes, "We Love Encinitas," which is a 501(c)(3) charity, meaning donations to it are tax-deductible, is now naming, quoting, and featuring press photos of the politicians it loves during the peak of the campaign season.

Your federal (and state) tax dollars are paying for Jerome Stocks' and Mark Muir's re-election campaign.

We have gone way beyond "Have you no shame?" and we are now well into "Is there no law or order?" territory.  Doesn't anyone know an honest prosecutor or an honest reporter any more?

Don't bitch to me about trillion-dollar deficits if you're not even going to pick up the phone to call the IRS about a blatantly fraudulent use of the charitable non-profit 501(c)(3) status.

Harry Eiler: Dump Stocks!

Harry Eiler is a long-time resident of New Encinitas in the Willowspring neighborhood near Encinitas Boulevard and El Camino Real.

He's also a long-time supporter of the pro-developer council majority, including hosting an event for Kristin Gaspar in 2010.

So it was very interesting to see his letter in the North County Times:
It is time the Encinitas City Council have some new faces. Mayor Stocks has had his time at the public trough long enough. I offer the following:

I am generally opposed to those who reside in the small communities of Old Encinitas and, most notably, Leucadia and Cardiff. They do not see the overall picture and fret over their minority role in the city. Their resentment at not being a singularly significant part of Encinitas dictates much, if not all, of their agenda.

Their desire to perpetuate some undeveloped beach town simply pales in the need to intelligently progress. Plus, the bloc of Tony Kranz and Lisa Shaffer with Teresa Barth (supported by single-minded backers — audet et al) only ensures continued discord at City Hall. Enough. We need independent, nonaligned representatives and not more majority rule by behind-the-scene manipulators.

I recommend Mark Muir for re-election because he is reasonable, intelligent and brings some continuity. I also suggest Bryan Ziegler for his youthful enthusiasm — long lacking in our city’s business — and Kevin Forester for his experience and ability to compromise — other talents missing on the council for too long.

Harry Eiler

It's also interesting to hear the pro-development point of view from someone who is not apparently motivated by financial ties to developers:

Their desire to perpetuate some undeveloped beach town simply pales in the need to intelligently progress.

Mr. Eiler has enjoyed decades in Encinitas as it is, a beautiful residential beach town without a lot of high-density development and traffic congestion. Why would he deny that opportunity to future generations? Where is it written that the need to "intelligently progress" cannot be done within existing zoning guidelines?