Friday, November 28, 2014

Kranz offers open dialogue on Housing Element Update

Residents have expressed concern about many aspects of the city's public outreach on the Housing Element Update: staff's pre-determined upzoning sites, the invite-only Upzoning for Fun and Profit party, the poorly-attended city workshops, the extremely dubious Peak Democracy survey site.

Council Member Tony Kranz has heard those concerns and is hosting a public forum to discuss the Housing Element Update.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Does GOP = BIA?

One of the big tests of the current city council will be its response to the Building Industry Association lawsuit over the city's implementation of state density bonus laws.

Earlier this year, the council belatedly responded to public pressure over staff's interpretation of density bonus laws, which residents felt had been overly and unnecessarily generous to developers. The council unanimously supported residents' positions on most of the issues.

The developer lobbying group BIA responded with a lawsuit.
The Building Industry Association of San Diego County is suing the city of Encinitas over recently approved changes to city development regulations, and the battle is expected to move into the courtroom in early 2015.

“We feel (city officials) are in violation of state law — all we’re asking is they adhere to state law,” Michael McSweeney, the association’s senior public policy adviser, said Tuesday as he discussed the lawsuit.
Community character advocates believe that the city is now implementing density bonus in accordance with state law and in the same manner other cities do.  If so, the lawsuit is on very flimsy legal ground and is intended to bully the city council into a settlement.  But then the city doesn't exactly have top-notch legal advice.

The BIA's Michael McSweeney is also on the Executive Committee of the county Republican Party that endorsed and supported Mayor Kristin Gaspar... which gives us a nice little laboratory experiment in a controlled environment. Will Gaspar reverse her earlier position on density bonus? Will she vote any differently on a possible settlement with BIA than her non-GOP colleagues?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Team Austin Bice Kook

Austin Bice was a San Diego State student from Carlsbad who died while on exchange in Madrid in 2011.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Public surprised to learn contract extension puts Ecke YMCA ball fields at risk

Encinitas resident and former coach Joe Corder said he recently learned that a clause in the city’s new contract with the Magdalena Ecke Family YMCA means the Y could yank the Little League’s use of the fields with only 30 days’ notice.

City Manager Gus Vina confirmed the clause was added, but said it doesn’t mean the youth team will lose access to the fields anytime soon. The YMCA has only just started on what’s expected to be a 2½-year master planning process for the area, Vina said.

The organization has launched the planning process to explore ways to “expand and renovate” the YMCA, which is next to the playing fields area on Saxony Road, Ecke YMCA Executive Director Susan Hight said in a Nov. 7 letter to the city.

While the work is still in the early design phase, the letter said the agency anticipates the renovation/expansion project could ultimately “impact one or more of the ballfields.”

At Wednesday’s council meeting, Corder said, “This means goodbye to the Ecke fields.”
It's the YMCA's property; they can do with it what they want. But this seems like a matter of enough importance that the city should have brought it to the public's attention.

UPDATE: It's much worse! The city had the option to renew for 10 years without a termination clause and gave it away without public discussion!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Sore loser in SDUHSD election Barbara Groth goes off on bitter rant against successors

Read all about it at Del Mar Times.

Groth grew up in Cardiff, but married a doctor and now lives in Rancho Santa Fe.

Stay classy, Encinitas. Honey Boo-Boo on the Pacific.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

11/19/14 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.

Beer Pong Kook

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Where are the plans for parking in the council's new high-density utopia?

From the Inbox:
Hi WC,

A friend saw this article in the SD Reader about high-density development and the lack of adequate associated parking.

As we know from existing and proposed high-density projects here in Encinitas, the City likes to keep the developer safe from any responsibility for increased traffic impacts from the overly dense construction. This tendency will surely continue if the Housing Element Update goes through, only this time to the tune of 1,300 densely-built units. Note that in all the cutesy, folksy, "visioning" artist's renderings of the upzoning the City wants to shove down our throats, cars are oddly absent from the images....

This comment from the Reader article struck me:

"...these residential developments are all less than ten years old; it should have been safe for the new residents to assume that the issue of adequate parking was addressed before construction was allowed to proceed (bold emphasis mine)."
Wouldn't a well-managed city be addressing traffic and parking infrastructure before approving high-density upzoning?  Why is the Housing Element being addressed as a standalone rather than integrated with traffic circulation and parking?

Monday, November 17, 2014

World Diabetes Day Kook

Friday was World Diabetes Day.

You can make a tax-deductible contribution in honor of the Cardiff Kook here.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Housing Element Update meetings open thread

By request:
WC it might be time for new thread on the housing element update that is taking place in our five distinct communities. After seeing the one at the Enc. library, it is not so strange to see the exact 95 parcels that mikey somehow? had access to for his meeting recently that gaspar attended.

If there is a difference between what is now being proposed by Planning and what we were presented with the norby run ERAC debacle of a couple of years, I would love to hear about it.
Who has been? Anything new from the city or the same old same old? There are three more meetings this week in case you think your opinion will matter.

Saturday, November 15, 2014


Leucadia's Buffalo Fork house just went pending at $1.225 million, or $694 per square foot.

Game on!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

11/12/14 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.

Items of interest on the agenda:

- Closed session performance review of His Excellence Gus Vina and city attorney Glenn Sabine.  Closed session by choice, not a requirement.  Would the fawning praise be too cringeworthy for public consumption?

- Street standards

Please use the comments to record your observations.

Douchy Encinitas guy seen driving pregnant girlfriend and child in Mercedes Benz to beg in Chula Vista


ABC7 News:
A pregnant woman and her young son seen begging for money in a San Diego shopping center parking lot were caught driving off in a Mercedes-Benz.

Melissa Smith told sister station KGTV she saw the panhandler and her son at Eastlake Village Center every weekend for two months. The woman's boyfriend would join them on the weekend, she said.

"I felt bad. There's a pregnant lady with a little boy who is down on her luck," Smith said.

The woman would hold a cardboard sign that said "please help," and plenty of people did.

"Lots of people gave them money. Probably five people in five minutes gave them money," Smith said.


That license plate number led to an Encinitas apartment complex called Encinitas Heights Apartments. Residents said rent is $2,500 a month.

The resident of the Encinitas home responded to KGTV's requests for comment, but said she had just moved in. The couple living there before had recently picked up and left.

Nice hat.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Is there an anti-New Encinitas bias on the council?

A new blog from New Encinitas, "Encinitas Report," feels short-changed by the council's expensive purchase of Pacific View for an arts center when the city already has a long-vacant place for an arts center on El Camino Real:
Lisa Shaffer, during her original campaign for city council, stated:
"The City has rights to a parcel in the Encinitas Ranch Town Center for a theater and other community uses, as defined in the Encinitas Ranch Specific Plan. Council expressed interest in looking for ways to put that space (now vacant and weed-filled) to use as soon as possible, and to explore concepts such as an open-air theater shell and a farmer’s market. I agree with the observation by Mayor Barth that New Encinitas deserves more public spaces and that this vacant lot should be used for the community."
Apparently, during her two years in office since then, Lisa has forgotten that "New Encinitas deserves more public spaces" and decided instead to mortgage the city's future on an asbestos laden elementary school in an effort to beholden herself to the nearby wealthy homeowners who do not want the parcel developed. On top of that, those residents get more city [debt financed] investment into an arts center that they can walk to, all at the expense of the other 61,000 Encinitas residents. GLAD TO CONTRIBUTE TO YOUR COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE!
Well, the three council members who voted for the Pacific View purchase are all from coastal Encinitas: Leucadia, Old Encinitas, and Cardiff.  The two who voted no are both from New Encinitas. Coincidence?  You make the call.

Incoming council member Catherine Blakespear is also from Cardiff and will preserve the coastal majority, so don't expect that El Camino arts center any time soon.

But we kid.  Of course everyone in the (coastal, ocean view) City Hall loves New Encinitas.  You know what kind of revenues Home Depot and Wal-Mart bring in?

Moonshot Mike loses election, wins soda tax; Peak Democracy wants (and gets) Al Rodbell's opinion

Moonshot Mike Cohen, the eccentric Berkeley politician who sold his Peak Democracy blog service to Encinitas, appears to have lost his bid for a Berkeley council seat.  Some small consolation may be that the soda tax he endorsed has passed.  Yes, having long been known as a focal point of free speech and civil liberties, Berkeley is now concerned with telling people what (not) to drink.

Meanwhile, Mike's blog service has run into some trouble in Encinitas, mainly in that is has been exposed as a complete joke and rife with potential for fraud and abuse.  But a little thing like that would never stop our city leaders from charging full speed ahead.

Take it away, Al Rodbell.  Way away.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Who are all these people moving to Encinitas?

We've asked before where, with declining birthrates and net domestic migration out of California, is all this population growth that SANDAG is using to force high-density development on Encinitas?  While foreign immigration could explain part of the conundrum, Encinitas doesn't have the wealthy Chinese buyers that Carmel Valley's excellent schools bring, and our high cost of living doesn't attract large numbers of poor, illegal immigrants.

So who are all these people moving to Encinitas?  A new resource using IRS data gives some great insight.  How Money Walks tracks the relocation of taxpayers. It is weighted by Adjusted Gross Income, so counts professionals and the upper middle class much more than the working poor or the retired. Here's the map of taxpayers moving by state.  Red is taxpayers leaving a state, and green is taxpayers moving into a state, with the magnitude represented by the hue.

Here's the California trend, and where California taxpayers are moving from and to:

California taxpayers are leaving for Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Oregon, and Washington, which overwhelms the immigrants from the Northeast and Midwest.  So the question remains, where is all this population growth?  But when we look at county-level data, we begin to understand.

San Diego County is actually a net importer of taxpayers, due to people moving here from Los Angeles and Orange County. With Encinitas being one of the more desirable and expensive places to live in San Diego County, it's safe to say the pattern holds here, too. So the next time you feel like complaining about crowds and traffic, just know that bringing high-density development to Encinitas is helping the wealthy of Los Angeles and Orange County escape the even worse crowds and traffic there.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Election post-mortem

This was written September 1, but embargoed until November 5.

Well, that wasn't much of a surprise.

- Prop F (medical marijuana dispensaries) went down to a landslide defeat.  While everybody wants the sick to have access to the medicine they need, nobody wants dispensaries and the perceived associated unsavory characters in our own neighborhood.  How about next time, Encinitas gets to vote on whether to put dispensaries in San Marcos?

- Gaspar won in a landslide, demonstrating the lasting damage that the Barth / Shaffer / Kranz gang have done to the Cardiff/Leucadia green coalition with their disastrous War on Prop A (and Desert Rose, and their failure to follow through on campaign promises about open government and fiscal responsibility).  Kranz struggled to even match his vote count from his losing 2010 council campaign.

- Blakespear won the council seat, having raised far more money and run a more professional campaign than Graboi.  The county GOP should be embarrassed that they couldn't find a more serious candidate than Bryan Ziegler to capitalize on the schism between the Barthists and the "community character" grassroots.

- Rep. Issa cruised comfortably to victory despite predictions from the left that he would be vulnerable.

UPDATE 11/5: So the only real surprise relative to that September 1 look was the lower turnout which made Kranz's vote total incomparable to the 2010 elections. Yes, he got fewer votes than in 2010, but Gaspar also got fewer votes this time than Kranz 2010. A better way to look at it would be by percentage, adjusted for the number of seats/votes per ballot. Kranz pulled 23% in 2010, which adjusted for the 2-seat / 2-vote election, is equivalent to 46%. His 32% this year is less than the seat-adjusted totals not only for his 2010 and 2012 results, but also for Jerome Stocks' and Dan Dalager's losing results.

The last-minute thwacking of Bryan Ziegler for Alan Lerchbacker was a complete waste of time, energy, and money.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Monday, November 3, 2014

Barnyard robocall

Here's the robocall against Catherine Blakespear that everyone is talking about.

They don't say who produced it, but our guess is Lerchbacker supporters. Doesn't seem like a Graboi kind of move.

Leucadia Blog endorses Kranz, Blakespear, Prop F

On Tuesday November 4th 2014 I'm voting:

Tony Kranz for Mayor
Catherine Blakespear for city council

I've found both Kranz and Blakespear to be calm, intelligent, professional and reasonable people and Leucadia would do well to support them.

Also, I'm voting Yes on F

Sunday, November 2, 2014

How will our City Council slow, and adapt to, rising sea levels?

Council Member Lisa Shaffer's latest newsletter on council priorities for the coming term:
We still do not have an adequate focus on climate change mitigation and adaptation, especially with regard to sea level rise.
Mitigation is obviously preferable to adaptation. If the council can put in place city policies that will slow or stop global warming, adapting to its effects becomes less necessary. The city's approach to global warming up to this time has been to encourage "Smart Growth," putting high-density development near public transportation in the hopes that people will give up cars and ride buses and trains. This approach appears to be a failure so far, as Smart Growth projects like Pacific Station and the Moonlight Lofts appear to be populated not by Coaster-riding commuters but by wealthy out-of-towners who use them as vacation party pads (and obviously burn lots of fossil fuels coming and going from Orange County, Los Angeles, Arizona, and beyond).

But even if we built high-density units near public transportation at prices that working families could afford, what evidence is there that the new residents would give up cars and rely on public transportation? Is there any realistic chance that buses and trains will so efficiently and conveniently get these people everywhere they want to go that they will forgo cars? It seems to us that if the City Council is serious about climate change, and not just using it as an excuse to approve big development, it would work toward policies disallowing parking spaces and car ownership at any new high-density projects.

But if our City Council doesn't have the power or will to slow or stop global warming, how will we adapt to rising sea levels? The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows that mean sea levels are rising at 2 millimeters per year. If these trends continue, by the time our grandchildren are living in Temecula in 2064 and paying $50 to park at Moonlight Beach, the average sea level will be 2 inches higher. That's about the amount that the tide will rise over 15 minutes of incoming tide today. What will we need to do to adapt?

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Encinitas edges out Yucca Valley for 44th place on list of best So Cal cities for young families

... according to NerdWallet.

The poor rating is largely due to high housing costs and only OK schools. rates Encinitas schools an 8, which is above average, but below what should be expected for a community of highly educated professionals and very high property values. Carlsbad crushes us at #19 thanks largely to a better school ranking.

While automated internet rankings like Nerdwallet's should obviously be taken with a huge grain of salt, it's undeniably true that the cost of living here puts Encinitas way out of reach for many middle-class young families.