Wednesday, September 25, 2013

More backdoor action at City Hall tonight

From the Inbox:
Please try to attend Wednesday's meeting if you can carve out the time!

On Wednesday, the Council is going to vote on actions pertaining to the Housing Element. It appears that they are trying to slip through a back door way to upzone the City--particularly New Encinitas and greenhouse properties. The following list are some problems with the report:

Specific Parcel Numbers Not Identified

The Staff Report that was available on Friday contains a map that shows areas that they want to upzone without identifying them by parcel number! Not surprisingly, the Sprouts/ McDonald's parcel is one that has been identified, as is the Ralphs/Trader Joe's parking lot. Although it does not indicate that it goes most of the length of El Camino like the original MIG map--by getting a foot in the door, they can easily extend it down the entire street. This is bifurcation in action!

RHNA Requirements Vary. Terms 'Affordable Housing' and 'Low Income' are Not Defined and Are Used Interchangably

In addition, there are many questions about the actual RHNA numbers that we must take since there are a range of figures presented though out the report.

No Red Line Version Has Been Made Available

In addition, the red line version of the Housing Element has never been created--even though it was requested by the previous Council almost 2 years ago. Without a red line version, there can be no accountability for the process since it is impossible to make a side by side comparison of what they have changed from the current General Plan.

They Are Back Interpreting Prop A--In the Wrong Way

They make claims in their power poing about Prop A which are not true.

The Stategic Plan is Also on the Agenda!

As if this was not bad enough, the issue of the Strategic Plan will also be on the agenda. Instead of updating the General Plan and its elements starting with our existing plan and asking for citizens to weigh in, they want to resurrect parts of the failed MIG plan and seemingly, want to run it through Gus' Strategic Plan.

Please attend the meeting if you can, and speak to the issues if you have background in these issues.

In conclusion, there is absolutely nothing in the report that is deserving of a vote or even a discussion in its current, unfinished form.  Please make every effort to attend Wednesday's meeting.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Leichtag Foundation trying to get a backdoor upzoning?

From the Inbox:
At last week's Planning Commission meeting, the Leichtag Foundation managed to push an accessory use "interpretation" for two new offices for non-agricultural use on what is supposedly "ag in perpetuity" (of Ecke fame) property. They asked for the two and got them. Never mind that the code doesn't allow this use, never mind that in very real terms it's a violation of Prop A - effective rezoning without a vote of the public - it's one more bone the city can throw at business.

Those who heard testimony from the Leichtag group that focused almost solely on what nice people the Leichtags are, what philanthropic folks they are, and, in a time when all we hear are bad, sad things on the news, they offer a ray of hope to our poor city. What they offered and the city enabled is a slippery slope to what Jim Farley (Leichtag spokesperson) has been whispering around town: they'd love to see a convention center there. Would you??

According to Farley, the good people at Leichtag make no profit on their operation and whatever they do is good for the people of Encinitas...except they forgot to ask us. Kind of brings to mind the image of foie gras that is so yummy and so good, except producers forgot to ask the goose. You know how that turns out for the goose.

Here are two more views on the subject from long-time residents.

When asked about the plans, Mayor Barth was supportive of Leichtag.

Other community members voiced the concern that changing the rules for a beloved community group sets a precedent that the law no longer applies equally to everyone and that cronyism may become business as usual.

Let's give the last word to Lee Leichtag's granddaughter, Heather Greene:
My grandfather always had the attitude of, "if you can't get in through the front door, you go around and you go in the back door."

First testimony in Vilkin hearing

In court Monday, one of two laborers hired by Vilkin that day to prune trees along the disputed path testified that Vilkin told him he had a gun, and that if a dog or a person approached, Vilkin would take care of it.

The laborer said he’d been working about 30 minutes before Upton, whose hands were empty, approached and offered to move his car, which was parked near where the laborer was trimming. Upton then walked off toward Vilkin, who was about 100 feet away.

The second laborer said he saw Vilkin yell at Upton, who was still about 40 feet from Vilkin.

One of the laborers had told investigators that Upton was calm, and Vilkin was agitated.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


What is the most important thing that Encinitas City Council should be working on, but has been ignoring? Unfunded pension liabilities? Growing road maintenance backlog? Transparency in government? Excess staffing levels and pay and pensions? High-density development destroying community character and quality of life?

Reform-minded Encinitans were cheered when the new council changed its policies to allow individual Council members to initiate agenda items, breaking the longstanding stranglehold of the mayor over the agenda.

So what do our new council members, elected on a campaign platform of community character, open government, and fiscal responsibility, want to do first with this new opportunity?

Let's go to Mayor Barth's newsletter:
Consideration of Enrolling in Earth Hour City Challenge of the World Wildlife Fund.

This is a request from Deputy Mayor Shaffer using the recently adopted process that allows for a council member initiated agenda item.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Does high-density bring affordability?

Here's a Pacific Station flipper who bought a 2-bedroom for $860,000, pimped it out, and is trying to sell for $975,000. HOA fees are $460 a month, taxes will run you about $1000 a month, and your mortgage will be about $4000 a month. Grand total: $5500 a month for two bedrooms wedged between the train tracks and the late-night bars.

That's not providing housing for working families. That's a vacation home for a rich out-of-towner.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Monday, September 16, 2013

Serious bike injury on 101

Photos taken Saturday morning (credit Anonymous).

A bicyclist reportedly tore his arm on the rack of a parked truck, so badly that it required a tourniquet.

Brodie goes to Cal Poly Kook

Friday, September 13, 2013

Amtrak to stop in Encinitas beginning October 7

Coast News:
Those in North County who wish to hop on the Pacific Surfliner no longer have to make the trek to Solana Beach or Oceanside.

Six of Amtrak’s Surfliner trains will stop daily at all of the eight county Coaster stations beginning Oct. 7. North County Transit District (NCTD), which runs the Coaster stations, recently announced a deal with Amtrak and Caltrans to expand the Surfliner service.
This will be convenient for people going to or from Orange County, LA, and beyond. Amtrak is a fun, if overpriced, way for single people to travel. If you have two or more people traveling together, it's usually cheaper and faster to drive (it's often cheaper even to rent a car).

Locals will also be able to use Coaster tickets on Amtrak trains between Oceanside and downtown San Diego, though cyclists will have to buy much more expensive ($12 each way!) Amtrak tickets to bring bikes.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

How Congressman Issa saved the Internet

Read all about it in Forbes.

Rep. Issa's media image as a bare-knuckled brawler certainly is part of the truth about him.  And we don't at all disbelieve his alleged youthful indiscretions which may have included felonies.  But Rep. Issa is a far more complex character than the New York Times would have you believe.  And sometimes, as in the SOPA/PIPA case outlined in the Forbes article, he's a principled crusader, reaching across the aisle to find allies to fight for what's right against powerful interests.

And then sometimes he goes along with the majority and the President and votes to allow the indefinite detention of Americans without trial.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Roundabouts are hard

A sign in the middle of the Santa Fe roundabout was mangled, apparently by an eastbound driver, during a vibrant Labor Day weekend downtown.

The more we think about it, the more roundabouts make a lot of sense as drunk traps.  Far better for late night 101 drunks to get into single-car accidents crashing into the middle of a roundabout than to T-bone somebody running a red light or kill someone on the freeway.

Monday, September 2, 2013

A little common sense and elbow grease goes a long way

For years, goat head thorn puncture vines have plagued the 101 and Vulcan bike paths from Encinitas Boulevard to La Costa.

When residents and cyclists complained to the city, staff made excuses such as that they didn't have enough money or that it was NCTD's problem.

Frustrated with City and NCTD inaction, some residents took matters into their own hands and organized a clean-up, which was a good start but didn't eliminate the problem. The next year, the vines were back.

Recently, cyclists have once again been seen on the 101 and Vulcan bike paths, and the once-ubiquitous puncture vine plants appear to have been cleared by rakes. How did that happen?

Encinitas Undercover has learned that in early August, Council Member Tony Kranz e-mailed NCTD staff asking to put together a joint effort by the City and NCTD to solve the problem. Within weeks, NCTD was on it.

In response to an inquiry, NCTD Right of Way Officer Tim Morehead writes:
NCTD has instructed our contractors to use hand tools and to drag burlap sacks around to remove the remaining goat heads from the ground on the east and west side of the tracks from La Costa Ave. to Leucadia Ave. Moving forward we will continue our efforts monitoring this area and looking for a permanent solution.
Thanks to Tony Kranz for taking the initiative to fix a problem that has plagued the community for years, and thanks to NCTD for the quick response when asked. Why did no previous council members make a similar request years ago?

SPECIAL EDITION! City of Encinitas Strategic Plan Inside!

So this is what Gus Vina has had City Council doing all year while not addressing the chronic road maintenance backlog, not reforming pensions, and not right-sizing city staff.

And here's the result: a five-page PowerPoint presentation full of feel-good buzzwords.

Well played, Vina!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Aloha Kook

What's "G Aloha 7?"