Monday, September 29, 2014

Did Gus Vina deliberately deceive Council and public about cost of sales tax advocacy campaign?

We've pointed out in the past the dishonesty of Council Members' attempt to paint tax increase propagandist Catherine Lew as a neutral opinion-gatherer. Now it appears that City Manager Gus Vina attempted to deceive the public and at least some of the Council Members about the cost of hiring Ms. Lew.

Andrew Audet writing at Encinitas Beacon:
At the [March 12 City Council] meeting Mr. Vina invited the tax-raising specialist Lew Edwards to address the council on her process and services. During council discussion Ms. Edwards said most cities spend $100,000 dollars. When the council asked for a more detailed estimate of costs and scope of service, neither she nor Vina provided one.

A Freedom of Information request revealed that just that morning Mr. Vina had received from Ms. Edwards a detailed email with the heading "Cost Estimates" that defined two proposals and had an estimate of $168,000 dollars, 68% more than the figure shared with the public. So why did Mr. Vina withhold the information?

Did Mr. Vina conspire with the contractor to mislead the council? In the email defining the cost estimate of $168,000 Ms. Lew recommended to Mr. Vina that they tell the council most cities spend up to $100,000. Why not just tell the council the proposed estimate?

That Ms. Lew was directing the city manager what to say is troubling. The city manager should represent taxpayers not contractors. One day after the emails were released Mr. Vina sent an email to all council members directing them to no longer discuss the tax hike by email. It seems there are things Mr. Vina would prefer the public not know.

On March 25 residents made a presentation to the council showing the emails that the city manager withheld financial information. The council took no action. In July the council gave Mr. Vina a job review in a closed session out of the view of the public. Before the meeting resident after resident asked the council to hold Mr. Vina accountable for his secrecy. The council took no action.

UPDATE: e-mails between Vina and Lew below the jump. I think we can safely assume the $77,500 option was never going to happen, because it ends at the time of ballot placement in July, and without Ms. Lew's services in persuading the public to vote yes, the whole effort would be worthless.  And Ms. Lew was clear in the e-mail that $100,000 was the minimum that other cities spent, not that $100,000 was a valid estimate as the council and the public were led to believe.

UPDATE 2: The Internet never forgets!  Thanks Anon 1:29!  Here's what Barth wrote the weekend after the meeting (emphasis added, but red in original):
Fact Check: What we discussed was NOT to place a tax on the ballot but rather to understand the process and possible cost. The $100,000 was the estimated cost for research, polling, public outreach and the ballot measure.

The purpose of the polling would be to get the public's input: Do they support a tax and if so for what purpose. It would cost far less than $100,000 and more likely around $20,000. Unlike the previous 'feel good' surveys the questions would be much more specific.

If polling showed there was strong support for the idea the city council would then have to vote to place a measure on the ballot. It would require a super majority of at least 4 votes. If the council agreed, then the public would vote on the measure. However, I doubt that would happen since Council members Gaspar & Muir have already said they would vote NO regardless of the public's opinion.

While you may not support the idea, a number of people I have spoken to say they would if it was for specific projects such as street improvements, more pedestrian RR crossing & quiet zones, open space and especially to purchase Pacific View. Others also told me they see it as a way to move these projects forward at a faster pace with everyone, residents and visitors who shop in Encinitas, paying for the improvements and it does NOT create any long term debt.

It is a topic worth discussing not just saying NO.
But who will Fact Check the Fact Checkers?  I don't see anything on Lew's menu that would cost only $20,000.  It's $25,000 just to sign her before she does any work!  Who gave Barth that idea?

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Alex goes local

One of the criticism's of political newcomer Alex Fidel's mayoral campaign is that he focuses too much on national issues like the Federal Reserve and not enough on local issues.

Fidel has gotten the message. In the recent candidate forum, Fidel brought his left-libertarian principles to local issues.

Seaside Courier:
Fidel said if elected he would get to the bottom of why the city is “$50 million behind on road repairs.”

“Silence is compliance...I will not be silenced by any injustices,” Fidel said.


To the question about what plans they had to keep Encinitas from "becoming another Pacific Beach," [...] Fidel said the city’s code enforcement should be directed more toward the downtown area instead of being “bogged down” by other minor residential matters.


As to what should become of the Pacific View Elementary site—purchased by the city for $10 million from the Encinitas Union School District—Fidel, the youngest of the candidates, said since his “generation is picking up the tab for it” he would like to see it used as a place to grow food locally.


Asked whether they would support an amnesty program for noncompliant housing units as part of updating the city’s housing element in time for the public to vote on it in 2016, all candidates said yes.


Fidel said: “We need to stop building houses, that is the reasons the banks crashed. How many more houses do we need?”
Please consider this an open thread to discuss any other goings on at the candidate forum or elsewhere around town.

Friday, September 26, 2014

San Diego neighborhoods rally to defend against "Smart Growth" imposition

Raise the Balloon!

Those neighborhoods are in an even more precarious position than Encinitas, as they don't have a Prop A-style right to vote, and must rely on the kindness of politicians.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

9/24/14 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.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Backroom deal upzoning for fun and profit!

Well, lookie here. After all that open government and transparency we were promised last election, it looks like we're exactly back to backroom business as usual.

While the city is pretending to just now begin the Housing Element Update (selecting sites for high-density development to meet dubious SANDAG mandates), and will go to great lengths pretending to incorporate public input, it turns out that way back in March, city staff had secretly already selected 95 properties they wanted to upzone.

From the Inbox:
"Staff" applied some fancy math and identified 95 proposed upzones around town to identify the allocation. The approval of these upzones would not invoke Prop A because they'd be rolled into resident approval of the Housing Element Update (HEU). The upzones take some properties, for example, from R3 to R30, and that doesn't include the certain application of density bonus.

The City notified these 95 parcel owners of their upzone status in a mailer that went only to them back in March. You'll see from the attached that the potential "options" that these identified parcel owners could enjoy, should they decide to redevelop their property. Suffice to say, there's a message in there.

The City's current problem is, they kicked off this Update in the dark. They approached the identified parcel owners alone, as they considered them first-line "stakeholders." The City did not notify adjacent homeowners. Six months after notifying these 95 stakeholders, the City still did not notify adjacent homeowners or residents in general. So much for "transparency." Only Lisa is saying that she had no prior knowledge of this outreach, although has said she is ok with staff not telling her about it. Tony MAY have said the same, but I'd have to go back and look at the tape from this past Wednesday to see.

Residents learned of this contact to the 95 when an uphappy one of them came forward to tell her story at oral communications.

Funny how the Housing Element Update was quickly placed as an agenda item a week after the oral comms speaker made her revelation. The City could not afford to sit on it a minute longer.

Here's the city flyer that went out only to the chosen few.

But it gets worse.  Controversial political operative Mike Andreen was let in on the secret 95-property plan, and organized an event with Mayor Kristin Gaspar to get property owners behind the mass-upzoning campaign.  Titled "Encinitas Up-Zoning Can Mean Increased Property Values," the flyer for that event is here.  The purpose is clearly to get the property owners to see dollar signs and help fund a mass-upzoning vote in 2016.

More from the Inbox:
In addition to the 95 city staff-identified property owners, representatives from the development industry were at the Andreen meeting, including Pasco Engineering. Word from others who attended was that Andreen, with Gaspar nodding in agreement, blamed this "need to upzone" on Prop A.

So residents are just now finding out about the underhanded approach that the City took in starting the HEU six months ago with not a peep. Residents are not and will not be told that they may vote "no" on the HEU and what the consequences of a "no" vote would be (a few $100K in lost revenue from the State and some extra assigned low-income units), so that they may truly weigh options. They're merely being asked to decide "go up or go out," and will find out about the "no" option at the polling booth in 2016. Council is ok with that approach. By 2016, voters' heads will be so filled with "must comply with State mandates," they'll feel that they must vote yes; I assume that's part of the City's strategy to push the update through this time.

Best for last: we learned from the oral comms speaker, who is a real estate agent, that if you are a homeowner in the vicinity of a proposed upzone property, you must disclose that on when selling your home. It's an item on the list of disclosures alongside things such as cracked slabs, deaths in the home, freeway widening, etc. This puts the selling price up in the air, as the seller will have to say "there MAY be an upzoning" down the street, I have no idea." You can imagine that the home price will go down. There is no threshold for distance from the upzone; the only test is whether the seller knew about the possible rezone (per real estate/State law). If you fail to disclose, you could be sued later by your buyer who was not counting on 40 low-income apartments down the street.
What's the point of the upcoming Housing Element "public input" sessions? The decisions were made in secret six momths ago!

UPDATE: Here's the map of the proposed mass upzonings.

High-density developer attorney Marco Gonzalez wants Desert Rose grandfathered under the old denser rules

From the Inbox:
[Forwarded with this comment: Item 10 C is Marco fighting to ensure that Desert Rose was presented to council before they were caught breaking their own rules, so Marco wants to assure that Desert Rose is grandfathered in to the good old times when developers were able to threaten the council into giving them special favors.  Please help us get everyone related to a Density Bonus project at this meeting!]

I'm a firm believer in playing your aces wisely so I simply want to advise you of an important, upcoming City Council meeting that you might want to consider attending… can make up your mind how important you think it is for you to attend.  Remember, a good turnout sometimes helps to generate a good result. This Wednesday, September 24th, at 6:00pm, the Encinitas City Council has two agenda items that directly relate to density bonus in general and Desert Rose specifically.  The meeting will be held at City Hall, on Vulcan, in Encinitas. 

Item 10-B:
 Public Hearing regarding the introduction of City Council Ordinance 2014-09, Option A or B, to consider a Zoning Code Amendment to Title 30 of the Encinitas Municipal Code and the Home Depot Specific Plan, pursuant to Council direction related to Item 10E of the July 16, 2014 City Council meeting, to amend the definition of 'Net Acreage' to specify that detention basins and wetlands (rather than significant wetlands) are excluded from net acreage. 

Note:  The Planning Commission recommended Option "B".  Members of the community may suggest minor revisions to the City Council. 

Item 10-C:
 Questions have been raised as to whether the new policies are applicable to projects that were approved by the Council before July 16th, but are now pending appeal before the 4th District Court of Appeal; such as the 16-lot Desert Rose Density Bonus project that the Council approved on March 13, 2013. This is the only project currently under these circumstances. 

Note:  Since Judge Judith Hayes, of the California Superior Court, ordered the approval of Desert Rose, by the City Council, vacated, the Desert Rose project is technically not an approved project.  Therefore, it would seem that it will fall under the new ordinance/guidelines, unless the court ruling is overturned on appeal.

 I hope to see you there!

 Bill Butler for SDR and Encinitas 
EU note: Gonzalez is a friend and fellow Smart Growth traveler of some of the council members.  So it wouldn't be too surprising to see them comply with the Superior Court's order to require an environmental impact report, but still try to grandfather in his extra-densy densiness.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Convicted felon Rod Wright's density bonus letter to County Supervisor Greg Cox

Back in March, city staff included a letter from convicted felon Rod Wright as an excuse to keep violating city code and interpreting density bonus law far more leniently for developers than other cities do.

Here is that letter.

Fortunately, and only after displays of public outrage and threats of lawsuits, our city council finally did the right thing and reversed their ridiculous density bonus interpretations.

Side note: do we even know the half of Wright's crimes? How the heck do you afford a Maserati and a Jaguar on a legislator's salary? Why did a former legislator suddenly decide to get involved in a local development issue far from his district?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Rossini Creek update

Last year we covered "Who killed Rossini Creek?" as residents said the creek dried up suddenly during upstream construction at the Hall Park.

Now, from the Inbox:
California Coastal Commission
San Diego Area
7575 Metropolitan Drive, Suite 103
San Diego, CA 92108

Re:  Appeal No.: A-6-ENC-08-106, City of Encinitas v. Peter Stern and
Citizens for Quality of Life

Dear Sir(s):

I am writing to add a postscript to the Commission's decision and the Staff Report and Recommendation on Appeal dated January 15, 2009, through which approval was granted for the City of Encinitas project now known as the "Encinitas Community Park."

Hindsight allows us to learn from mistakes, but only if the one who erred is aware of the error.  To this end, I wanted to take this opportunity to inform you of the potentially devastating impact of your staff's recommendation and the Commission's decision to approve the above-referenced project, specifically with regard to damage to a rare Southern California coastal riparian area that has resulted from the project.

The following text appears on page 11 of the Staff Report and Recommendation on Appeal Substantial Issue:

… Finally, in terms of preservation of significant environmental areas on the subject site that have been identified by either the appellants or the subject EIR.  There is an offsite riparian area (Rossini Creek) south of the subject site, but the proposed development will not adversely impact the creek and may actually improve the riparian area by providing additional water.  In addition, with proposed BMP measures to effectively filter all polluted runoff from the site, the proposed development has been designed to protect the water quality resources of Rossini Creek and ultimately San Elijo Lagoon and the Pacific Ocean.  The BMP measures will represent a significant improvement over runoff that currently enters the creek from the former greenhouse operation site.  (Emph. added)

Fast forward just a few years and history now shows that Rossini Creek has been all but destroyed by the Encinitas Community Park project, which has yet to be completed.  A little over a year ago in May, the creek dried up suddenly and completely.   Rossini Creek runs through my backyard — I see it every day.  In what was then nine years in my home, I had never seen the creek go completely dry, even during the drought of 2009, when mandatory water restrictions were in place limiting irrigation run-off.  According to other area residents who have lived near the creek for as many as 40 years, this was the first time in their memories that the creek had gone dry.  In spite of extensive grading and excavation activity occurring at the same time less than 100 feet upstream of the creek head, City officials denied responsibility out of hand, declining to investigate the complaint or make any attempt whatsoever to identify a cause.  Rossini Creek was able to recover somewhat following the first rains in October of 2013, but again dried up completely at the end of last month.  Fish that were living in the creek have disappeared.  Trees and shrubs that rely on the creek for water are beginning to die.     

The City and its contractor are currently pursuing settlement relating to a substantial penalty imposed by the California Regional Water Quality Board for allowing uncontrolled sediment runoff from the site that filled Rossini Creek and emptied into San Elijo Lagoon during a storm in December 2012. (See Complaint No. R9-2013-0152.)  State inspectors found the stormwater measures taken by the City to be "totally ineffective", while others didn't exist at all.  This failure was in spite of warnings of several BMP deficiencies from multiple inspections conducted prior to the December storm.  An additional violation was cited in March 2013, thus prompting the large fine.

Far from "actually improving the riparian area" as the Commission report concludes, the Encinitas Community Park project is well on its way to obliterating Rossini Creek.  Whether or not the Commission takes any action or further investigates this issue, I can at least hope that lessons will be learned.  Firstly, assuming that proper BMPs will be used just because an applicant says so, without requiring further proof of compliance, is naive and irresponsible.  Unsupported representations by an applicant seeking approval must be properly viewed as self-serving,  not accepted as fact.  Secondly, follow-up on the impact of a decision such as this is essential.  The cost is too high when a mistake is made, and tragedies such as this one could be prevented in the future by recognizing inadequacies in the process.  

A rare and valuable natural resource has been severely impacted and may be beyond recovery.  The Coastal Commission is tasked with, among other things, preservation of significant environmental areas — it has failed miserably in this instance.  At best, I hope that the Commission will follow up with the City and demand both explanation and remediation.  At minimum, the Commission should take this as a learning opportunity to improve its procedures for evaluation of future applications for development projects and give genuine consideration to grounds raised in opposition to such projects.  In the instant case, the opposition accurately predicted this unfortunate result in its appeal, which the Staff Report's author dismissed as insignificant.  

Thank you for your consideration of my letter.  Should you have any questions or require further information, including any supporting documentation, please feel free to contact me by e-mail at [omitted] or by phone at [omitted].


Eleanor Musick
Cardiff Resident, Attorney,  and
Director, San Diego Coastkeeper

And a photo update:
Attached are some photos I took recently of the creek, including one of an area just south of Cardiff Glen where someone has obviously been spending a lot of time, right in the middle of what used to be the creek. I've contacted Tess at Cardiff 101 and she's contacting the Sheriff and others to address the mess.

It's really sad what has happened to our beautiful creek. (The middle photo shows a spot where the water has always been about 18 inches deep, where frogs and fish would thrive.) I posted a short video on YouTube last year when the first disruption in the creek occurred. It is, of course, much worse now. Here's a link to the video

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Cardiff candidate forum open thread

Please use the comments to record your observations.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Shrub City USA

While the city is killing Encinitas' historic 101 canopy, it's replacing the stately Eucalyptus trees with small species like arbutus that hardly merit the word "tree."

This one is so low to the ground that it creates a hazard by blocking the view of oncoming traffic for people turning left by the Mozy Cafe.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Will NIMBYs block patients' access to medical marijuana?

From the Inbox (lightly edited):
I support Proposition F. It would be an interesting conversation on the blog, to say the least.

My reasons for supporting it are quite simple. Marijuana works for pain and nausea, especially with cancer patients as well as people like me who have certain conditions where pain is always there. I can easily get it, but some people cannot. And, to say we support it, but not in our own backyard is another case of NIMBYism. This town is being run over by corporate interests who get their financial and legal stuff buried in mounds of paperwork at City Hall (like ERGA) and then there are the Marr's, who could not afford an attorney, and many of us have offered to pay for one. They are both very proud people and won't accept our money.

However, it is the right thing to do. My father was a WW2 veteran (Marines) and lived in Oregon when he died. He was in excruciating pain and all of the prescription meds, including OXY, Fentynol, etc. didn't work. I drove up and asked him to try the marijuana for his pain and nausea. He had cancer. He said he didn't want to break the law. This was man who had smoked 3 packs of cigarettes a day since he was 18 and that was OK, but to smoke marijuana wasn't. However, he was in so much pain he tried it. It worked so well he was amazed. Unfortunately, he couldn't get it in Oregon and I couldn't ship it. But, the point is that even if he could have gotten it, he couldn't drive anymore, so where would he have gotten it? He lived in a small town in Oregon, about the size of Encinitas.

So, it is legal to buy cigarettes and alcohol in our community, and medical marijuana is legal, so why can't we buy it in our own town? Tax it, give the City some income it desperately needs (more than many even know) and let the people with cards in. So many people are talking about urban farming these days. I can assure you that many of those farmers are growing it. So Kranz, Shaffer and Blakespear would seem rather hypocritical to not support it. If one can grow up to 5 plants, which is OK by law, then why can't they sell it in our own community?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Appeals Court rules for Coastal Commission against Neptune homeowner seawalls

A state appeals court has sided with the California Coastal Commission in a battle over an Encinitas sea wall, a decision that could weaken the ability of property owners up and down the state’s shoreline to protect their homes from the long-term assault of ocean tides.

The ruling Tuesday by the Fourth District Court of Appeal affirms the state agency’s authority to set time limits on how long sea walls can remain in place.
If you're on the west side of Neptune, you're not owning; you're renting.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

9/10/14 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.

Encinitas Ingenuity

From the Inbox:
Going to the Carlsbad Library Tuesday, Sept 9th at 1pm, I passed this four foot high gusher at the stack 'n' pax on Normandy Street in Leucadia. When I returned one half hour later, the gusher was still going strong, so I pulled over to take pictures. Within minutes, a worker walked over, and covered the gusher with dirt, thereby creating a pool of water. Problem solved! On Wednesday, I did call the San Dieguito Water District to report this leak. Their response should be interesting.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

CalAware's Terry Francke says EUSD Board violated Brown Act

The EUSD boozefest was not just an outrageous abuse of taxpayer money; it was also illegal, according to public advocate Terry Francke.

Seaside Courier:
One of California’s most respected open government advocates, attorney Terry Francke, has weighed in on the controversy about the Encinitas Union School Board’s recent three-day retreat at La Quinta Resort in the Palm Springs area.

“When the majority of a local legislative body attends a meeting dealing with its agency's issues, even though it may neither discuss nor act upon matters connected with those issues, its mere presence to obtain information presented at the meeting is sufficient to trigger the open meeting requirements of the Brown Act, as the Court of Appeal concluded in Frazer vs. Dixon Unified School District…,” Francke wrote Monday in an email to EUSD Superintendent Tim Baird.

Harvest Supermoon

Monday, September 8, 2014

First Amendment issues at tonight's joint meeting of Council and Public Safety Commission

Tonight's meeting is to clarify the role of the new "Traffic and Public Safety Commission," which replaced the old "Traffic Commission."  Some time ago, the Council changed the name of the commission but didn't explain adequately to the commission what new authority or scope it had.  So the new and expanded "Traffic and Public Safety Commission" has been doing exactly what the old "Traffic Commission" did.

So we'd expect the Council to explain what the point of the name change was.

But to make things interesting, Commissioner Al Rodbell is challenging the possibly un-Constitutional city law that allows for the arrest and prosecution of anyone who doesn't obey orders to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance (which also contains the uttering of "under God" that some argue is un-Constitutional).

From the Inbox:
Feel free to print this, or put it in your own words.  Meeting is in a few hours.
The Joint meeting of the City Council and the Traffic and Public Safety Commission tonight at the Balour Senior/Community center could turn out to be interesting.  If they ignore responding to this essay that I sent to the city official earlier, then I have to decide whether to support the man in Florida who was threatened by a police officer for expressing his rejection of the Pledge of Allegiance, or cravenly succumb to local authority.

I really don't know how this will unfold, but if you have the time to read the essay carefully, you will see this is no trivial matter for me. You will see my objection to having the Pledge as official government business is based on a Supreme Court decision that predates "Under God"  This "joint" meeting structure of two government bodies is not described or defined in any city ordinance or Brown Act compendium that I could locate - so anything could happen.   I did send in a specific suggestion for this agenda that they refused to include in the 87 page agenda packet, so I'll give the link to it here.

It would be good to have supporters in the audience, yet I feel I will be accompanied by Justice Robert Jackson and his eight colleagues on that 1943 Supreme court, although I'm not sure the language of their decision and dissent is still intelligible in today's world.

I guess we will find out.

Al Rodbell

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Public Works Director Glenn Pruim: Nothing is historic unless I say it's historic

San Diego Reader:
One of the last remaining tall, old, eucalyptus trees along Leucadia’s Coast Highway 101, at Leucadia Boulevard, is scheduled to come down soon.

Planted in the 1880s, images on old postcards are all that remain of the massive eucalyptus canopy that hovered over the pre-I-5 Highway 101, from Leucadia Boulevard to La Costa Avenue.

Over the years, the trees have been removed one by one. Some experts say they have reached their lifespan and pose a hazard of falling down. Others point out that eucalyptus can live up to 250 years and the city should trim and maintain them for optimal health.

A local blog, Encinitas Undercover, recently found out about the tree’s planned removal. The article called the tree an “irreplaceable, historic canopy.” City of Encinitas Public Works director Glenn Pruim disagrees. In a published report, he stated, “The city does not have a designation of ‘historic’ trees. Although this is a large, mature tree, it does not carry any designation of ‘historic.’”
Planted in the 1880's by Leucadia's early settlers and photographed and beloved by generations. But it's not historic because some city worker never wrote down a definition of "historic." Such arrogance.

Meet Alex Fidel

From the Inbox:
I'm having a small gathering at the Encinitas Blvd Swami's Cafe location on Sept. 12th at 5:45PM. Probably 40 persons max in the back room that is granted to us, though we could fit chairs in the middle.

It's open to anyone who'd like to find out more and engage in positive discussion about issues, of course until the room is filled up.

There will be a group discussion/open forum period.

Take care, Alex

Bunny Alliance Kook

Read more about the Bunny Alliance, the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, Green is the New Red, and jailed activists Kevin Olliff and Tyler Lang.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Leucadia schoolchildren suffer in un-air-conditioned sweatboxes while district bigwigs party at resort

From the Inbox:

Good Morning-

I would like to invite you ALL to visit PEC today and work for 30 minutes in any of the 13 classrooms without A/C. Yesterday I took a photo of the classroom temp at pick up (79 degrees) and another class at Back to School Night (78 degrees at 7 pm). I understand the district has sent a fan for each classroom. This fan is so loud that the teachers can not use while they are giving instruction. Also, in the old buildings, window's don’t all open to give a cross draft, so the fans can move cooler air instead of the hot air in the class. We have already had 2 hot weeks starting the year and my kids leave the school, red, sweaty and tired, not the most optimum conditions to learn in. The district was aware of this problem from last year and it is sad it has not been fixed. I know the district is proud of it’s solar tubes, panels and new furniture at other schools, but this is a joke, PEC is always overlooked when it comes to basic necessities.

On Amazon you can buy portable AC units that will cool up to 500 sq./ft for $500 with free shipping. That would be $6500 to keep PEC cool and learning. I urge you to remedy this situation. If the classrooms stay so warm, I am certain you are losing much needed teacher instruction time. $6500 is not an unreasonable amount of money to ensure ALL kids in EUSD are able to learn in a comfortable environment.

Again, please go visit the classes to see for yourself.


Elizabeth Shany
$6500 is a fraction of what the district is believed to have spent on its La Quinta Resort boozefest for board members and executives.

UPDATE: After public shaming, Baird relents and gives kids air-conditioning!

Send in the clowns

Monday, September 1, 2014

Party on, Tim!

It seems the Encinitas Union School District bigwigs wasted no time celebrating their $10 million Pacific View windfall.

Seaside Courier:
As if to celebrate their fleecing of taxpayers with the school site sale, school board members the first week in August gathered at the posh La Quinta Resort in the Palm Springs area—part of the Waldorf Astoria family—for a three-day “educational retreat” that may have cost taxpayers another $20,000 or so.

According to the flier produced by the school board, the retreat kicked off on Wednesday, Aug. 6, with a “Welcome Happy Hour at Tim’s Suite,” Tim being Superintendent Tim Baird. (Incidentally, in October 2011, Baird sued the City of Encinitas because the council at the time wouldn’t upzone the Pacific View site to allow high-density condos—a move that would have allowed the district to maximize profits from any future sale.)

After happy hour came dinner at the Adobe Grill, the resort’s onsite Mexican restaurant that one Open Table reviewer called “undeservingly pricey.”

The first day of the “educational retreat” ended with “evening libations in ‘The Suite’ or ‘TWENTY6.’” The next day, according to the agenda, a breakfast buffet on the Waterfall Patio was followed by a four-hour “management retreat.” That must have been grueling because the rest of the day was remarkably light: lunch, then “Relaxation and Reflection,” “Happy Hour at Tim’s Suite,” “Dinner off-property at The Grill on Main” and more “evening libations.”

A notice at the bottom of the flier urged school board members to “bring laptops, iPads, sunscreen, swimsuits, hats and any other desert survival items.”
An EUSD parent writes:
I have never heard of such an excessive retreat at a time when class sizes are going up, and parents are expected to fund hundreds of dollars worth of supplies and services.
Agenda for the boozefest here.