Thursday, July 31, 2014

Go Hogs! Kook

No, not Encinitas pension hogs. Arkansas Razorback hogs.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

RIP Herb Patterson

Your July Hoodlink brings sad news. Herb Patterson, an early and tireless advocate for community character and government accountability in Encinitas, has died.

Hoodlink here.

Herb will be missed.

We're #8!

Eighth snobbiest city in the country, that is.
Between the Self Realization Fellowship Hermitage & Meditation Gardens for people wishing to enjoy only the best scenery, and the Encinitas Spa (for those who can afford it) this place is just better than other locations in so many ways. Many locals will be the first to tell you just that, too.

Encinitas is pretty snob-friendly, just by the numbers as well. This place had the sixth best performing arts, featuring attractions as the Encinitas Ballet, and a wide number of art galleries to get your creative culture from.

Of course, every snob knows that these attractions don’t come cheap, and thus the median home price here is the 11th most expensive on our list.
The methodology on these click-baiting internet lists is always suspect, and that's certainly the case here. First, Movoto only considered cities with populations between 45,000 and 65,000, a bizarrely narrow range. Second, they had a small, highly debatable list of factors that define snobbery.

There aren't that many art galleries. And the few there are tend more toward the funky of Art n Soul on 101 than the legitimate snob galleries of Prospect Avenue in La Jolla.

And no, there is no attraction such as the Encinitas Ballet. It's a dance studio where you can take classes, not a major ballet production company.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Welcome Home Liv Kook

Did you miss us?

Blakespear on business

Letter in the Advocate:
Bureaucratic strangulation is the biggest threat facing small businesses in Encinitas today.

The Planning Department recently decided that a 2-acre, heritage avocado orchard, Coral Tree Farm, can grow crops but can’t offer low-impact community farm visits, vegetable boxes or small classes without a costly, time-consuming minor use permit. This decision is unreasonable, arbitrary, ill-defined and offers no guidelines for application to future activities.

As the pro bono attorney for Coral Tree Farm and a candidate for Encinitas City Council this fall, I am appealing this decision to the City Council.

We need city guidelines, and interpretations of those guidelines by city staff, that help small businesses to thrive and adapt instead of regulating them out of existence.

Encinitas’ over-arching legal document, the General Plan, clearly supports the business of farming. It states in section 11.10 that the city should “provide an economic advantage, where possible, to agriculture in competing with the forces of urbanization to minimize pressures to redevelop to urban land uses.”

Does requiring costly permits, prohibiting outright small Farm-to-Fork dinners and “suggesting” that Coral Tree Farm may have to construct a permanent ADA accessible bathroom, when an existing ADA accessible port-a-potty is already on site, further this goal? We should support building a community around our locally-grown food sources. It’s the natural evolution of our city’s agricultural heritage.

There is a lesson to be learned from the sad experience of “Food Truck Fridays,” where gourmet food trucks would come together downtown, on private property, to offer a wide sampling of inventive, locally produced food. After a complaint, the city staff directed the food trucks into the exact same permitting process now being asked of Coral Tree Farm. The result: No more food trucks, no more “Foodie Friday” and the loss of that creative element of our business community. They were vibrant tax-paying businesses creating a cultural event at no cost to the city who disappeared from our community.

Other types of home occupations, piano teachers for instance, can fill out a one-page form and pay $36. In contrast, the minor use permit process is so onerous and expensive (at least $1,600) it requires hiring professionals to complete it.

The City Planning staff is doing their job very effectively. And their job is to regulate. Whether businesses come or go is not their concern. But it is the concern of the City Council. Without clear direction from them, small businesses trying to farm will suffer the same suffocation by bureaucracy as the food trucks. This is not an acceptable outcome in a city with such a deep and strong agricultural history.
Interesting, and quite different than the approach taken by her backers on the council.

Sounds like she might not have voted to Keep Santa Fe Plaza Crappy.

Conversations with Gus

Wherein Traffic and Public Safety Commissioner Al Rodbell is ordered not to use his title when expressing his opinion.

We're pretty sure nobody confused Al Rodbell's opinion on Peak Democracy for an official Traffic and Safety Commission statement.


We wonder if Vina has similarly ordered Teresa Barth and Lisa Shaffer not to use their Council Member titles in their newsletters, which are -- shockingly -- not official statements of city policy.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Peruvian Independence Kook
Peru’s Independence Day celebrations, known as the Fiestas Patrias, take place over two days, both of which are national holidays in Peru. Throughout July, the Peruvian flag is flown outside both public and private buildings.

July 28 is the actual day of independence. The day begins with a 21 cannon salute in Lima, followed by a Te Deum mass by the Archbishop of Lima. The President of Peru attends the mass, after which he gives his official address to the nation.

The sense of national pride is certainly not limited to the Peruvian capital. Across the country, from the smallest villages to the nation’s major cities, the streets and main squares come alive with parades, fairs and a general spirit of celebration. The party atmosphere really takes hold as night falls, with no shortage of fireworks and beer.

July 29, meanwhile, is set aside in honor of the Armed Forces and National Police of Peru. The Gran Parada Militar del PerĂș (the Great Military Parade) takes place in Lima, attended by the President. Further military parades occur throughout the rest of the country.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Dead woman votes 14 times in Encinitas

Time to start taking voter fraud more seriously?

Welty’s identity has been used to cast 14 votes since her death.

A 15th vote was also cast in her name, in the 2004 presidential primary. County records show it was sent in but never certified — raising the possibility that the vote was invalidated, but her registration was not then revoked.

Welty’s address of record is an Encinitas home where her mother still lives. Dolores Welty told the U-T that the county still sends mail for Dara to the house. Earlier this year, Dara Welty received a jury summons.

Dolores Welty, a retired teacher, is also a registered Democrat and a frequent voter. In every election in which a ballot was cast for her daughter, she also voted.

Dolores Welty has voted in all but two elections she was eligible for since 1990, the 1998 gubernatorial primary and a 1999 special election on library funding. No votes were cast for her daughter in those elections, either.

Campaign finance records from the Center for Responsive Politics show that the mother has donated more than $51,000 to Democratic causes, committees and candidates since 1992.

Asked if she had ever sent in absentee ballots on her daughter’s behalf, Welty said she hadn’t.

It's official: Gaspar vs. Kranz!

Seaside Courier

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Crowdsourcing evidence: are Kranz, Barth and Shaffer the worst real estate investors in the county?

Last week we responded to a comment cheering the Pacific View sales price as fair for North County coastal property:
Can you provide us any recent comps at $4.4 million per acre that aren't oceanfront?
As the commenter failed to respond, let's throw this one open to everyone. Can anyone find any remotely comparable properties going for $4.4 million per acre (which ignores demolition and asbestos removal costs, by the way!).

We'd love to be proven wrong and find out the taxpayers didn't get completely screwed on this vanity purchase. Help us out!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

More word games from Shaffer

We have noted before Council Member Lisa Shaffer's odd uses of language to detach herself from responsibility for her actions. First, Shaffer told the Union-Tribune that she was "sad at the divisive tone and misleading messaging" around Proposition A without mentioning that she was on the subcommittee that wrote the untruthful ballot arguments that the council gave to voters.

Then, Shaffer falsely stated,
Meanwhile, a judge ruled in favor of Olivenhain neighbors who sued the developer, asserting that a full Environmental Impact Report (EIR) should have been required before deciding whether to approve a density bonus project referred to as Desert Rose.
The lawsuit and ruling were not against the developer, but against the City of Encinitas, which, under Shaffer's responsibility of oversight, ignored environmental concerns and violated the law. One would expect a council member of a party in a lawsuit to be somewhat cognizant of the lawsuit. Maybe she was distracted by a plastic bag.

And it continues.

From Shaffer's latest newsletter:
A few speakers were eloquent but perhaps need their poetic licenses checked. I don't mind if people disagree with me or criticize me for something I actually did. I do object to someone criticizing me for things I did NOT do. I don't want to go into a long discussion of my request for information on a sales (or transactions and use) tax, but I want to be clear that I did not propose a sales tax. I asked for information so we could understand how a sales tax works and how much money it might provide to the City. I'm not afraid to admit what is obvious, that I don't know all there is to know about how cities operate and so I have to ask questions. Unfortunately, more than once, people have interpreted asking a question as taking a position or giving direction. Sometimes a question is just a question. In this case, the Council does not even have the authority to impose taxes - that requires a vote of the people. At the latest Council meeting, several times it was repeated that I had proposed a sales tax and it's not true. I was proposing that we consider all the available tools to increase revenues as part of our budget discussions. So just because you hear something from a speaker, that doesn't mean it is accurate.
While Shaffer's statement is narrowly, technically true (she did not literally say, "I propose a sales tax"), it is substantively quite the opposite. Shaffer, Barth, and Kranz aggressively advocated the hiring of Lew Edwards to run a propaganda campaign and push-poll advocating a sales tax increase. They were not just "asking questions" or seeking honest information about community opinion on taxes. Here's how Lew Edwards market themselves, not as unbiased measurers of community needs, but as consistently successful pushers of ballot initiatives on debt increases and tax increases.

The only thing that stopped Barth-Shaffer-Kranz from paying Lew Edwards a huge consulting fee for push-poll propaganda advocating a sales tax increase was the fact that Mark Muir and Kristin Gaspar refused to provide them the required fourth vote to put a tax increase on the ballot, regardless of the outcome of Lew Edwards' biased poll. Go back and watch the council video. You can practically see the steam coming out of Barth's ears.

So either Lisa Shaffer is so naive and gullible that she actually believed that Gus Vina brought in Lew Edwards just to get an honest, unbiased opinion about how the community felt about sales taxes, or she's being dishonest. Which is it? You make the call.

Monday, July 21, 2014

City plans to kill last big old eucalyptus near Leucadia Boulevard on 101

Plans here.

Ya know, we kind of dig roundabouts. But not at the expense of irreplaceable, historic canopy.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Julie Graboi: Why I'm running

Coast News:
I am Julie Graboi and believe I am the best qualified candidate for Encinitas City Council. Speaking plainly, Encinitas needs responsible leadership that serves its residents. Others might make the same claims, but do they have a record of going to City Hall to stand for what they believe in? I do.

In asking for your vote, I’m going to share with you specific examples of how I have been engaged in city leadership to protect our community character, and I will present four important issues that concern us all. But first let me introduce myself.

I have lived in our beautiful city for 25 years. In addition to being an educator, I have run a small business with my husband. I’ve raised my family here, and like many of you, I feel grateful to call Encinitas my home.

I treasure our small town community character and believe that what makes Encinitas special is worth protecting. I am sure you agree!

Over the past four years, I’ve attended weekly council meetings and believe Encinitas is at a tipping point. Who we elect in November will play a key role in the direction our city takes as we move into the future.

Today, our community character is threatened, the city’s finances are moving in the wrong direction, and our quality of life is in jeopardy. City leaders seem more interested in serving special interests rather that our own citizens. Moving forward, we can choose responsible spending and sensible development, or we can continue to increase debt and increase zoning to promote high density projects.

The following are some of my concerns:

Encinitas needs to protect community character.
I believe part of what makes Encinitas special is our small town community character. This includes our parks and beaches, our many diverse neighborhoods, our local merchants and our arts and culture community. Today, city leaders very often put the interests of the development industry before those of our residents and that concerns me very much. Throughout the city, density bonus projects have been allowed to invade our neighborhoods, and nothing is being done to stop these ever increasing developments.

I was a leader in passing Prop A which gives all of our citizens the right to vote on proposed zoning, density and height changes that affect the quality of our lives. When the city proposed increasing densities in my neighborhood I helped lead efforts to protect our property rights and took on the Desert Rose development and won. We need leadership that preserves our small town identity and represents the rights of all. If you agree, vote for me.

Encinitas needs a General Plan Update that serves our residents, not special interests.
City leaders are continuing the General Plan Update and will recommend zoning changes that will increase housing densities throughout Encinitas by a process called a Housing Element. The city has targeted what they call “Infill Opportunities” in many neighborhoods. It is essential that any changes to the General Plan protect our existing community character and don’t promote uncontrolled density increases that will result in more traffic and less open space. As a concerned resident, I attended the General Plan Update workshops and recommended that our city leaders put the needs of residents before the profit agendas of out of town developers. If you agree, vote for me.

Encinitas needs responsible spending.
City leaders have proposed raising our taxes, increasing resident fees and installing parking meters while continuing to spend unwisely. As a concerned resident, I spoke against wasting tax dollars. As a council member, I will work to spend our money wisely. Citizens need responsible spending, not increased fees. If you agree, vote for me.

Encinitas needs to protect our quality of life.
Protecting our quality of life means spending our tax dollars wisely, serving residents and protecting our community character from ever increasing traffic caused by more and more development at densities not called for in our General Plan.

Prop A has put the power of change in our hands. Let’s use it wisely.

I am running for city council because I have the experience, knowledge and the will to move the city in the right direction — focusing on the needs of our residents. I am asking for your vote to elect me as your next city council member so that your voices can be heard as we fight to preserve our community character and protect our quality of life by protecting our neighborhoods from over-development. If you agree, vote for me. You will have a strong voice at City Hall.

Julie Graboi is an Olivenhain resident and candidate for Encinitas City Council

Graboi's Facebook page is here.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Everything you need to know about last night's density bonus decision

Excellent, informative, and balanced article by the Advocate's Jared Whitlock here.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Pacific View gets a whole lot more expensive

When we posted last week that the city's purchase price of the abandoned Pacific View school site was at more than 10x the book price (and presumed crony sale price) of the city's Quail Gardens property, we thought that was bad enough real estate dealings.
For comparison, the city's recent purchase of the 2.6-acre Pacific View abandoned school site for $10 million works out to more than 10 times the price at $3.85 million per acre. Pacific View is admittedly an even more prime location, but is zoned far more restrictively.
Tonight we learned that not only is there asbestos at Pacific View that will require expensive remediation, but more than 10% of the entire property is useless due to necessary access easements for 4th Street homes.

Given the loss of 0.32 acres to easements, the new Pacific View price is $4.4 million per acre!

7/16/14 City Council open thread

The current city council has continued prior councils' practice of not providing written summary minutes of council discussion, but only "action minutes" which state the outcomes. Encinitas Undercover will provide a forum for observers to record what occurs at each council meeting.

Please use the comments to record your observations.

Items of interest on tonight's agenda:

- Moment of truth for density bonus. Will council follow through on what they unanimously supported last week, or will they flip-flop, turn their backs on their constituents, and take orders from Planning staff?
- Due diligence report on Pacific View.

- Borrowing $13 million for Pacific View and a lifeguard tower with a phony "lease revenue" bond where there is no lease and there is no revenue.

Also, we may hear some results from the closed session evaluation (closed by council choice, not by law) of His Excellence Gus Vina and unanimously-supported city attorney Glenn Sabine.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Op-ed: Impulse purchase that will preclude an arts center for a generation

From the Inbox:
The showdown on finalization of the sales contract by ignoring a full due diligence evaluation is on for tomorrow night's council meeting. I have come to accept the realty of the three members who want this to go through as is, including full capitulation to Superintendent Baird's imperious demands. Far from attempting to stop the purchase, in my exchange of emails with Council Member Kranz, I pointed how we could assert reasonable rights without triggering cancellation, described in this article, Pacific View- responsible evaluation while moving forward on purchase. My concern is that they will dig in their heels and refuse to do even this.

This movement is too far gone to try to rethink this decision. The rational approach, confirmed by a conversation with WolfBrown, consultants on such projects, would have been to first decide that an arts center is wanted, then explore possible locations for feasibility and symbiotic benefits with the locality. If we had done this we would have considered locations such as two existing sites that the city already owns. The first is in Encinitas Ranch Town Center, where the art center would enhance the shopping center and increase city sales tax revenues. The other possibility that I have just started to investigate is the fifteen acres behind the Senior and Community Center at Encinitas Blvd. & Balour Drive that would be a magnificent location for a larger performance space with none of the limits of Pacific View.

It is unfortunate that this impulse purchase will mean no major arts center for this city for a generation.

Al Rodbell

[note: edited to add name of consultants and correct location of Senior and Community Center]

Open letter on density bonus

From the Inbox (and suggesting that anyone else having an opinion on density bonus should send a brief note to before tomorrow evening):
Dear Mayor Gaspar and City Council:

As I watched the City Council meeting last Weds, July 9, 2014, I was excited for our City and its citizens. Councilwoman Barth put Density Bonus on the Calendar, and a robust discussion, of both citizens and Council, occurred. Councilman Shaffer, along with others, suggested that three of the items Councilwoman Barth put on the agenda could be voted on at this coming Weds., July 16, 2014, council Meeting. I did not hear anyone asking for Staff's opinion. Originally Ms. Barth said it might go to the Planning Commission. As the conversation ensued, the general consensus was that it would be appealed to the City Council, so for expediency, I understood that the Council would vote on three items that were in Ms. Barth's proposal.

As I look at the agenda for the July 16, 2014 meeting I see a lot of information from Staff. Perhaps I didn't hear correctly, but I didn't get the impression that Council had asked Staff to give them direction at all. Since I do realize Staff is supposed to give direction, I expected to see a one page document stating something to the effect that you had all the information that you needed. I did not expect, especially in such short time, 83 pages of Staff input.

I would therefore like to make two points.

1) Please vote on the three items that you stated you would do, this coming Weds. I am sure you could not help notice the crowd's pleasure that Staff was being overridden. There is a reason for that, as I am sure you all know. More on that if any of you would ever like me to share my experiences being on the Parks and Rec. Commission, as well as with Mr. Kerry Kusiak.

2) I cannot help but wonder how Staff could get the information to the Council on such short notice, given that Jeff Murphy had stated it would take about 15-18 months for him to get the information to you. Perhaps there is more to this than I am aware of, and in that case, please consider that I don't know what Mr. Murphy was exactly alluding to when he said gave his answer.

I think you all understand the community's desire to not end up like another Huntington Beach. We are an amazing small coastal community that was written up in National Geographic as being just that. We get a lot of tourist dollars for being just that. There is Density Bonus, and then there is Density Bonus-developer style. It would appear as if the Staff likes the second of these. I moved here in 1983, and it was very different then. I voted to incorporate, as I could clearly see the argument of what would happen to us under the County? Our Community Character has changed, there is no doubt about it. But, do we have to continue down this road of more, and more, people, cars, density, and other poor quality of life issues?
Unless you want a bigger Encinitas, you are in a perfect position to say NO more. If the argument is "We're going to get sued", may I respectfully suggest that many citizens would rather spend taxpayer dollars on a lawsuit, than continue to give developers pretty much everything that they want?

Thank you for doing the right thing this Weds. by voting on the three items. I personally hope that you vote to round down, make the DB house the same size as the other houses and do not let the developers be able to put the "low income" housing into one area. We, as citizens can lobby Sacramento to rethink the Density Bonus law, especially in a drought stricken State, but that will take time. In the meantime, let's take a risk, if indeed there is one? Please vote to say No More to whatever a developer wants. I have respect for developers. It's their job to get every cent they can out of property they have purchased. So, I don't blame them for coming here, as indeed we are known to be very developer friendly. If I were a developer, I would do the same thing. But please, say NO! And if we are sued, I will personally give the City $500.00 to fight it. I expect there are a lot more citizens that would also do it, if needed. Thank you for your consideration of my request.

Warm regards,

Lorri Greene, Ph.D.

Monday, July 14, 2014

EUSD borrowing rated second-least transparent in county

You may recall the Encinitas Union School District's scheme to use 30-year debt to pay for iPads whose useful life would be far shorter than 30 years.

Now the San Diego County Taxpayers Association is calling foul on EUSD's lack of transparency on how it's spending our money.

San Diego County school districts are making strides when it comes to keeping the public informed on how they manage voter-approved bond measures, according to a study released Monday.


The information is intended to help districts and inform the public, said W. Mark Leslie, president of the taxpayers association.

“Voters have agreed to pay more taxes...,” he said. “They deserve to know if the promises are being kept.”

The report, “School Bond Transparency in San Diego County,” rates bond measures recently approved in 21 districts using its “School bond transparency score card” that covers everything from posting financial audits online to providing information about members of citizen oversight committees.

The organization found that school districts met 90 percent of the criteria, up from 80 percent in its last review conducted in 2011. San Diego Unified and Sweetwater were the only districts to earn perfect scores, having met all of the 23 criteria. The organization deemed Julian (met 7 of 23 criteria) and the Encinitas Union School District (met 10 of 23 criteria) as the least transparent, they are the only two to meet fewer than half of the criteria.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Staff report values prime residential-zoned Encinitas land at $375,000 per acre?

Officials unexpectedly announced plans they believe would ensure the future of the San Diego Botanic Garden during the July 9 Encinitas council meeting.

San Diego County Supervisor Dave Roberts reported the county is open to buying 4.8 acres, the city’s share of the garden.


The city’s portion is valued at $1.8 million, according to a staff report.
That's $375,000 per acre. Try to find a purchase of residential land in Encinitas in the last decade for $375,000 per acre. Quarter-acre lots have sold for double that.

For comparison, the city's recent purchase of the 2.6-acre Pacific View abandoned school site for $10 million works out to more than 10 times the price at $3.85 million per acre. Pacific View is admittedly an even more prime location, but is zoned far more restrictively.

To be fair to staff, though, the Advocate story is misleading.  Staff did not estimate the current value at $1.8 million.  They stated the historical book value at $1.8 million.  That is, that's what the property was worth in 1994, not now.  Nevertheless, it's interesting that staff and the Manchester press are highlighting this highly outdated number to create a psychological anchor at an extreme lowball value.  Will the city receive true market value for its property?  Don't hold your breath.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Staff really doesn't want Council to change density bonus

From the Inbox:

Hi WC,

Outrageous, but not unexpected: staff returned an 83-page report to Council that merely repeats their old "arguments" as to why Encinitas should continue to show the love for developers, specifically the density bonus kind.  Included in the report are such gems as this one on why we should not require that the affordable unit be of similar size as a market rate unit:

Constructing a "market rate unit" and expecting a "very-low" income household to maintain such unit is counterproductive given the cost associated with the long-term maintenance of a larger home. The cost to maintain the affordable unit and lot should be proportionate to the income of the household. Otherwise, the unit would no longer be 'affordable.'

In other words: them poor folks don't have the means to keep up a larger house and property, so why bother treating them equally and giving them one?  Council specifically directed "staff" to come back next week with an agenda item written in such as way as to be voted on.  "Staff" came back with 83 pages of "How about we 'discuss' instead?"  Disgusting.

Here's the link to the agenda item report for next week:

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Kudos to the council on density bonus

Last night a crowded house cheered the council as they finally appear set to take immediate, concrete action on the Planning Department's unusually developer-friendly interpretation of density bonus laws that has made Encinitas a magnet for abusive high-density developments.

Because of procedural rules, final action is delayed until next week's meeting, but the council appears unanimously frustrated with staff's foot-dragging on the issue, and committed to make the simple but important changes that residents have been screaming about for years.

The obvious question is what took them so long, but let's hope this is a sign of the city council finally beginning to assert its independence from staff and using common sense.

What's's return policy on 800 lbs. of tar and feathers?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

7/9/14 City Council Meeting Open Thread

The current city council has continued prior councils' practice of not providing written summary minutes of council discussion, but only "action minutes" which state the outcomes. Encinitas Undercover will provide a forum for observers to record what occurs at each council meeting.

Please use the comments to record your observations.

Items of interest on tonight's agenda:

- Discussion of tweaking the way the city applies the density bonus

- Selling naming rights to city property

- Possible sale at far below market value of 4.8 acres of prime city property to San Diego's Botanic Gardens

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Meet your council candidate Julie Graboi

Meet and Greet Hosted by: Julie Graboi

Sunday, July 6 from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Peet's Coffee & Tea 119 N El Camino Real Encinitas, CA 92024

Fire from Double Peak

The Waves to Ride blog had a post on Double Peak last month. Double Peak is a public park at the top of a steep climb that towers over the newly developed town of San Elijo Hills. It's a favorite destination of day hikers looking for a great view and cyclists looking for a challenging ride. But it's only about 15 minutes from Encinitas by gas-guzzler.

Here's a view over San Elijo Hills toward Encinitas and Batiquitos on a cloudy day.

Here's looking at the fire damage to the north and east. The fire burned right up to the trail at the peak.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Keeping Santa Fe Plaza crappy

If you've driven by the Santa Fe Vons in the last couple years, you've surely noticed that the Rite-Aid sticks out like a sore thumb.  Vons and the shops on the other side of Rite-Aid got a facelift a few years ago, bringing them up to date with contemporary stacked stone, while Rite-Aid retains its 70's white brick and red tile.

What you may not know is that Rite-Aid actually wanted to be a good neighbor and upgrade to match its neighbors, but was rejected by the city last year.

Apparently, the city has a rule that you can't get any permits for minor cosmetic improvements unless you bring the entire building up to current code. Since the Rite-Aid was built, there are new codes about having to put baffles around any air conditioning or other equipment on the roof. Putting in these baffles would require not just more city permits but also expensive structural support, making the whole project cost prohibitive.

Rite-Aid appealed to the city council, but the council unanimously rejected the appeal. Rules are rules.

So the city got exactly what it asked for.

Agenda item and appeal details here (pdf).