Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Breaking: Mayor Barth's Defense

 Barth's defense is to not answer questions. That looks like Barth is afraid to face the truth.

On Jul 31, 2013, at 12:34 PM, Teresa Barth <> wrote:

Nor do I intend to answer your questions. 

The facts are: Prop A passed and the city is implementing it citywide.


Sent from my iPad

Blogger's note: Will we be able to trust the city next time? We can certainly determine that we would should not expect transparency (many have already known this).

Here's the questions. Formatted for clarity.

On Jul 30, 2013, at 5:02 PM, "K.C." wrote:
 I have good reason to believe that the city did not bring in any new outside assistance in helping to evaluate the legal issues related to implementing Prop A.
1. Is this correct?

2. Why did you not resolve actual and stated interpretation issues prior to the election?

2b. How many work hours were required determine how to write up the FAQ related to residential heights?

3. Doesn't it seem logical that should have been attempted prior to the election or at least stated how the city would act after it was passed, so the public would know what they were voting on?

4. What [was] the process and timeline for deciding if the city will implement higher residential height limits?

5. Do you believe that it is fair for you to describe the Rutan and Tucker report as an  "independent" study? Why?

Monday, July 29, 2013

Now, how does this jive with what the council allowed people to believe prior to Prop A?

Here is a letter to the coastal commission from the City of Encinitas (click link). Prop A people say this doesn't make the council look good.

I don't really have time to digest this, but here is my immediate reaction (besides... that's no surprise).

Does the letter mean the city won't be broken into 2 planning regions, as we were warned about? I think it means the city WON'T be bifurcated. Hum...

And what does this mean?
As suggested, in cases where existing codes specify a different maximum height standard, the more restrictive standard will be applied. For example, certain structures are limited to a maximum height of 22 and 26 feet in our Zoning Ordinance and certain specific plans. These more restrictive standards shall apply.
Does that mean I can't build a 30 foot accessory unit? The council wrote to every voter in Encinitas, "Imagine a 30-foot structure five feet from your property line [if Prop A passes.]"

Doug Long wrote that heights limits would be raised in residential neighborhoods if it passed. Of course, this sort of statement was an obvious and predicted result of the way the council proceeded with THEIR "independent" analysis and public statements they made about the  negative parts of Prop A. To their discredit, the council wrote a signed statement that the heights could be raised. They did not say how that could happen, nor did their "independent" report. ALL FIVE signed on.

Did the council want the public to be misinformed? When Doug wrote his commentary in Coast News I emailed the mayor letting her know about how her statements had predictably evolved in the public debate. I had hoped she would make a statement that addressed this, as the council clearly was responsible for promoting this thinking. She emailed back saying she would not even comment on the issue (an issue she facilitated). She comments on lots of stuff all the time, but not on this.  

If the council made a false statement in the ballot argument they could be sued, but wishy washy "coulds"  can be spread without support (the public has to rely on their trust of the council). Had the council explained their statement or said it "would" increase heights then they would have been sued, and they would have lost.  In that case they would have had to fight Prop A with legitimate concerns about Prop A (which were less scary to a majority and so would make winning less likely for the council). More on addressing legitimate concerns later.

The council avoided resolving contrived or real ambiguities, prior to the election. The did not want to put in the effort. Why? It turned out that it was better for their campaign now that there can be no more "coulds", assuming this letter is real. Prop A doesn't do all those scary things, apparently.

Several council members directly resisted having these issues clarified PRIOR to the vote (more later, I'll have to review emails). Some of the resistance was based on "the issue being too complex" and a court would have to decide explanation. I made the point that first the city would have to decide, BEFORE a court would ever hear it, so why not resolve things PRIOR to the vote, so the people would have good facts to work with? No good answers came for that, other than it will take some time, from one council member. Well, how much effort was put into making the decision to support the paragraph above (were there really any viable options)?

If it were so convoluted and difficult to figure out (was it?) why wasn't that deliberation and decision made in the public, especially if it took some judgement or put the city at risk?

Barth was recently asked via email why they didn't resolve these "issues" prior to the vote. She has not responded. 

It appears to have been "decided" easily by staff without new legal assistance or review by the city council!

This is all assuming I am reading the paragraph from the letter correctly (gotta work).

The (genuine) worst parts of Prop A didn't get pumped up by the council because a lot of people would have actually said, heck I like that! Or said, "if that is the worst part, I'm all in!"

Most of the council's statement could not withstand scrutiny and that might explain why the Mayor Barth wanted to avoid discussing her reasons for opposing "The Right to Vote Initiative". She went so far as to imply that she was afraid it would be illegal for her to exercise her free speech rights (which she knows), as an obvious and terrible weak way to deflect questions about her reasoning behind her opposition. 

It is one thing to disagree. Its another to thing when our leaders don't play fair.

Was this the fair play that the Mayor promised?

Sure, lets all move forward (like there is any alternative), but lets take stock of what has happened and figure out how not to make the mistakes were made during Prop A. What went down during Prop A needs to be reconciled and behaviors changed if the current council majority doesn't want to end up Guerinating.

Later, a discussion of the statements Pro A made about property rights.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Baird gets greedy on Pacific View price tag

EUSD Superintendent Tim Baird, who has long sought to asset-strip the community of its bequeathed Pacific View site in order to fund operating expenses, now wants even more money.

The city of Encinitas won’t be allowed to purchase the old Pacific View elementary school property at a steeply discounted rate, even though a nonprofit arts organization was once offered that option, the district’s superintendent said last week.

“That was two years ago, when we desperately needed money and (selling the land) was solving some problems,” Encinitas Union School District Superintendent Tim Baird said Tuesday.

Now, the district’s financial situation has improved, the region’s economy is in much better shape, and the real estate market is picking up, Baird said.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Family in Moonlight concessions lawsuit profiled in January magazine

Last week's Coast News brings news of a lawsuit by the Treggon Owens family over breach of contract by the city on the Moonlight Snack Shack concessions that the family had run since 2009.  Apparently this local family operation didn't fit with the city's plans for a bigger, busier Moonlight Beach.

The Owens family was profiled in January's 92024 Magazine, a new, free, glossy publication that features local content and advertisements.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

High-density development comes to L.A.'s older neighborhoods

L.A. Times:
Just north of downtown Los Angeles, skinny homes on tiny lots are sprouting from the hillsides — a building boom of miniature proportions.

The rectangular structures come in clusters of six or 15, or even 70, and developers are racing to build them in trendy Silver Lake and Echo Park. They're eyeing younger home buyers who crave hip cafes and proximity to work but don't want a sky-high condo or a Craftsman bungalow.


Such projects grow from a 2005 Los Angeles city ordinance that aimed to add more affordable for-sale housing — at least by L.A. standards — in densely packed neighborhoods. It lets developers carve up a lot zoned for multi-family use into small single-family plots, allowing multiple homes with separate foundations. The regulations chopped the minimum single-family lot size in those areas from 5,000 square feet to 600 square feet. The city of Glendale is now considering a similar ordinance.


The homes have their critics, said Jesus Sanchez, founder of the popular neighborhood blog the Eastsider LA, about Echo Park and surrounding areas. Some complain that the clustered homes could spoil the character of a neighborhood characterized by older hillside homes and spacious backyards.

"I think these buildings speak to something new and flashier," he said.

Often the arrival of the builders has surprised neighbors, accustomed to the green space or the parking lot the homes are built on. Or they simply had other ideas for the lots.

"People envisioned single family homes and duplexes, and it's different," said Andrew Garsten, president of the Echo Park Improvement Assn. "It's a little more dense."
Proposition A prevents future city councils from passing an ordinance like the 2005 L.A. law without a vote of the people.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

R.I.P. Kate David

From Mayor Barth's newsletter:

~ Encinitas You Need Us ~ Kate David 1947 - 2013 ~
Cancer claimed another dear friend this week. 

You probably didn't know her personally but you knew her through her blog EncinitasYouNeedUs.

Kate was a strong voice for real democracy and positive social change. A true believer that one person can make a difference.

After a successful career in design in  NYC and Phoenix. Kate decided to leave the rat race behind and moved to Encinitas to be near her son.

Here she began to consciously simplify her life, living each day with purpose. She volunteered hundreds of hours at Paul Ecke Central School to develop the School in a Garden program.

I met her about five years ago and we quickly became friends. She challenged me, she listened to me and made me question everything but best of all she inspired me.

Whenever I was frustrated by "politics" she would remind me of my great good fortune. I had a chance to speak up in a world were so many have no voice at all. 

Kate was my most honest critic and unwavering supporter. She made me a better person and I will miss her so very, very much. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Peder Norby resigns

Peder Norby, the six-figure contract employee co-ordinator between the City and its City-subsidized merchant associations (is this arrangement common in other cities? It shouldn't be), has resigned.

Norby was extraordininarily highly regarded by both council factions as an effective facilitator, but had recently come under criticism from some quarters, including at the July 17 council meeting, for seeming to promote high-density development and for failing to get downtown bars to take the noise and crime issues more seriously.

A source forwards this grateful and effusive but hastily written and formatted resignation letter in unsigned Word document format:

July 17th, 2013
Dear Mayor, Deputy Mayor, and Council Members,

Thank you for the wonderful opportunity to work for the citizens of Encinitas as the Hwy 101 Corridor Coordinator. I am and will always be, extremely grateful to current and past council members, city staff, property owners, merchants, investors, volunteers and most importantly to all the citizens of Encinitas for the opportunity to work professionally in this great city!  

I am choosing to end my contract, consistent with the terms therein, with the city of Encinitas.
I am doing so with a heart filled with warmth and joy, and with great admiration and appreciation for all that is past, present and that lay in the future for this great city. Encinitas is a special place on this earth, with a diverse and engaged citizenry that cares deeply about their city and communities,  a truly exceptional city.
I have accepted an opportunity that is very exciting for myself and my family, one that enables me to work in the fields of interest that are most closely aligned with my core beliefs of “Relocalization” and “Sustainability.”
Encinitas and its citizens will forever hold a large and special place in my heart.

With gratitude and thanks,

Peder Norby

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Weasels of Encinitas

No, not the kind of weasels you're thinking of.  The animal kind.

This spring, while on a jaunt about town on Saxony north of the YMCA, we saw what we thought was an escaped pet ferret (which is irrationally illegal, by the way).

Upon further discussion with locals, I am told that the little fella was likely a long-tailed weasel, still native to this area, and that a colony has apparently been displace by the giant development between Saxony and Quail Gardens (wasn't that supposed to be agricultural land in perpetuity, by the way?).

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Blog tricks

Last month, we showed you how to put hyperlinks in your comments.  Which absolutely nobody was interested in doing.

Here's a shortcut which you might find more useful.  Want to see the latest comments on all posts without having to click through, post by post?  Just put this in your browser bar (or click and bookmark the link):

It works on blogs run by Blogger (including the Leucadia Blog), but not those run by Wordpress.  It works in Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox, but not yet in Google Chrome.

Thanks for keeping the comments lively!

Party on!

Encinitas bar moratorium fails.

It would have required a 4/5 vote; Kranz and Gaspar were opposed.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Got revitalization?

Encinitas blvd & Vulcan

When does vibrancy turn into ugly gridlock?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

U-T on Prop A

By Barbara Henry, formerly of the North County Times. Despite last week's clarifying letter from the Coastal Commission that they have no problem with Prop A, Planning Director Jeff Murphy continues to push the story that we might not be able to implement Prop A in the Coastal Commission portion of the city:
New development restrictions approved by Encinitas voters in a June special election will start to take effect July 21, city officials said last week.

The changes could have ramifications for projects both large and small, city Planning and Building Director Jeff Murphy said Friday.

Whether the rules will initially cover all of the city, or just the northeastern region — well away from the coast — remains in doubt, he added.

The state Coastal Commission has review power over development proposals in about two-thirds of the city, but a roughly pie-shaped wedge of Encinitas — an area north of Encinitas Boulevard and east of El Camino Real — falls outside the state coastal review zone.
Murphy also brings up the density bonus issue as a red herring without mentioning that density bonuses would be even worse without Prop A because they are a multiplier of the underlying zoning. If the council doubled the zoning density of an area, the density bonus would be a multiplier of the new, higher-density zoning.

SD Reader: Vilkin's story in Upton Olivenhein murder

The San Diego Reader has more details on shooter Michael Vilkin's story.

The guy is such a nut I wouldn't be surprised if his lawyers try some kind of insanity defense.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Lennar density bonus in Leucadia

That R-3 Leucadia greenhouse land that City Ventures flipped to Lennar for a double? It's now R-4 thanks to the density bonus.

There are 30 lots: 28 houses, one street lot, and one open space / drainage lot. Plans are here.

Apparently City Ventures did the legwork to get the density bonus and that's how they doubled the value.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Lennar buys Leucadia greenhouse land for $1.8 million per acre

San Diego Daily Transcript:
Two parcels totaling 7.73 acres along the north side of Normandy Road between Urania Avenue and Piraeus Street in Encinitas 92024, have been sold for $13,887,000, cash.

The buyer was Lennar Homes of California Inc., Coastal Division, 25 Enterprise, Suite 100, Aliso Viejo 92656, attention: David Stearn.

The seller of the property (assessor's parcels 254-400-14 and 19) was CV Urban Land LLC, with City Ventures LLC, its sole member. Scott Homan is chief financial officer of City Ventures.

In December 2012, the property was sold for $6.21 million.
Nice flip by City Ventures.  A double in 7 months!

$1.8 million per acre. Gonna have to pack 'em in pretty tight to make that pencil out.

Coastal Commission has no problem with Prop A, Council finally honors will of the voters

The Coastal Commission sent a last-minute letter to the City Council yesterday clarifying earlier correspondence and making clear that the Coastal Commission had no problem with Prop A.

The City Council unanimously certified Prop A.

Coastal Commission letter here.

An Encinitas Council watcher recommends watching the video to see Sara Wan and Everett DeLano explain the law, and Dietmar Rothe, Pam Slater-Price, Hershell Price, and Sheila Cameron speak about the new Council members and mayor honoring their campaign promises and their supporters.

Local boy makes good

In addition to representing high-density developers and defending bars serving late-night drunks, Encinitas attorney Marco Gonzalez is becoming San Diego's own Gloria Allred:
Three of Mayor Bob Filner’s biggest supporters, including former City Councilwoman Donna Frye, have called on him to resign over allegations of sexual harassment.

Frye and local attorneys Cory Briggs and Marco Gonzalez each sent letters to Filner this week asking him to step down. The trio declined to answer questions until they hold a joint news conference at 10 a.m. Thursday.


Gonzalez told KPBS he represents “multiple women” who claim sexual harassment by Filner. In his email to Filner, Gonzalez notes a recent meeting he had with the mayor to discuss his treatment of staff, particularly women.

“Unfortunately, I and numerous of my colleagues have reached the point where we do not believe your behavior will change, and thus must request that you immediately relinquish your position as mayor,” Gonzalez wrote. “To write this email was not an easy decision for any of us, but we now firmly believe resignation is the appropriate choice for you to minimize the damage to your constituency and the city.”

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Council unanimously believes Vina is doing an "excellent job"

...  as per Mayor Barth at tonight's council meeting.

They're also supporting comedy attorney Glenn Sabine and continuing his contract.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Boozehounds Strike Back

In response to the proposed Encinitas bar moratorium and midnight closing time, bar owners are circulating petitions, both in bars and online, to stop the ban.

Enthusiastic late-night drunks have come out in force, already collecting 2600 online signatures and spreading the word via Facebook.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Wanda Podgurski caught in Mexico

In January, we covered the disappearance of convicted disability fraudster Wanda Podgurski. At the time, we speculated on Zihuatanejo, the idyllic Mexican beach retirement spot for Andy Dufresne in Shawshank Redemption.

We were apparently not far off. Podgurski was arrested in Mexico after stupidly tweeting taunts to DA Bonnie Dumanis.

UPDATE: That Twitter account just tweeted again:

Is somebody else tweeting on her account? Was that not her Tweeting from Rosarito but somebody else with her, goofing around? Was the whole Twitter thing a hoax and the Marshals found her via other information?

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Shea Homes packs high-density on Quail Gardens; dumps poor people on Vulcan

Read all about it at the Coast News.
Using “density bonus” state laws, the project was allowed to put in extra homes on the subdivision since they agreed to set aside houses for low-income residents.

In this case, the developers were afforded 10 additional homes. However, all of the houses will be sold at market rate.

That’s because Shea Homes transferred the 10 low-income units from the 69-home development, as well as three other projects, to the Iris Apartments on Vulcan Avenue, which opened about six months ago.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Yoga haters to appeal ruling

Because what the heck, they've got such a good chance of winning and the school district has plenty of time and money for this nonsense, right?

Christian Science Monitor

Monday, July 1, 2013

Coastal Commission weighs in on Prop A

Coastal Commission says they have veto power on Prop A.

In general, the letter has the tone of a legal formality: there may be nothing wrong with Prop A, but we still have to give it our stamp of approval:
Without commenting on the merits of the proposed 30 ft. height limit, to be effective in the coastal zone under the authority of the Coastal Act, that provision in the initiative would need to be incorporated into the LCP, thus an LCP amendment would be needed.
Nowhere are substantive objections raised; the CCC just has to flex its muscle and show everyone who's boss.

The Coastal Commission has always seemed to be coastal (and anything within a couple miles of the coast) conservation extremists, not "smart growth" fanatics or developer cronies, so we'd expect them to eventually rule Prop A is copacetic. But this is politics, and politics is dirty, so you never know...


Go forth and yoga, little ones.