Thursday, July 30, 2015

Olivenhain drug house severely damaged in fire

From an Olivenhain tipster:
- Fire trucks heard late last night
- Plumes of smoke still visible this morning
- RSF and Encinitas fire trucks on the scene
- News vans on the scene
- Appears to be the Olivenhain drug house from earlier EU coverage
Here's 10 News on the story.  10 News confirms it is 1507 Rancho Encinitas, the subject of the December SWAT raid.  As we reported in January, the owners had recently lost a mortgage-related lawsuit against Chase Bank, and were trying to sell the house.

Congratulations to the neighbors of Rancho Encinitas Drive! It looks like your long neighborhood nightmare is finally over.

UPDATE: Body found inside.

UPDATE 7/31/15: The victim was a 23-year-old woman.

UPDATE 8/4/15: The victim has been identified as Shelby Ann Black. May she rest in peace.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Bike wars!

As we get into the lazy days of summer and the city council is doing no harm on its annual break, our eyes turn to regional happenings.

From the town of Pacific Beach (also known to San Diego tipplers as Baja Encinitas, we're told), Pacific Beach businesses push back against bike-sharing service:
A battle is brewing in Pacific Beach over who controls the local bike rental market.

"We're a small neighborhood shop," said Surf Monkey Bike shop owner Jake Russell.

"I'm going to lose rentals because of it," Russell added when asked about the new DecoBike bike-sharing stations popping up around PB.

Bike-sharing allows a customer to rent a bike from one location and return it to another.

"We want DecoBike to pack up and go back to the East Coast," Russell exclaimed.

Russell said the ride-sharing service will directly cut into his business and dozens of others who rent bikes. In some locations, parking spots will be lost when new stations open.
DecoBike is a company that started bike-share in Miami and has expanded to San Diego in partnership with the city of San Diego. Their locations are primarily around downtown San Diego for urban commuters, but the expansion into Pacific Beach puts them right in the tourist market.

In some ways, this is like Uber vs. the taxi cartels: entrenched incumbents complaining about disruptive innovation. But in important ways, it differs. Where Uber is a pure market innovator and the taxi cartels are a government-created oligopoly, in the PB case the bike shops are the free-market operators and the disruptor is coming in with government support in the form of unprecedented rights to hundreds of bike rack locations on public property (and who knows what other financial support from the city, SANDAG, et. al.).

Aside from the PB brouhaha, though, bike-share is a rapidly growing concept around the world.

Is it time for bike-share in Encinitas? Up to now, most of our bicyclists are the spandex-clad multi-color weekend Lance Armstrongs. We don't have the hotel zone or the flat east-west routes or the bike path around the bay for tourists that PB has. Would tourists, commuters, or shoppers use shared bikes to go over the ridge to or from El Camino Real? Is there enough demand for bike shares to work up and down the coast to Solana Beach and Carlsbad, or within Encinitas from Leucadia to Cardiff?

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Logan Jenkins on Encinitas' new "proactive" code enforcement fiasco

Last year, at staff's request, the City Council changed the rules for code enforcement, so that code enforcement officers would not just respond to public complaints, but would go out "proactively" looking for reasons to issue citations to residents and businesses.

This led directly to last week's news of repeated harassment of the Kraken.

In a wild roller-coaster ride, bar owner Ron Crilley canceled all concerts following a spate of Encinitas noise citations that reportedly were not based on citizen complaints. (The nearest residences are hundreds of yards from the bar.)

The citations stem from a weird regulation that no sound at all should be emitted from a bar with an entertainment license. (Does that mean that no doors should open because, God forbid, music from a jukebox might spring out? Can windows not be open? Are we talking about bars or bordellos?)


Go ahead, Encinitas. Enforce noise standards, but put the onus on responsible, reasonable citizens, not drive-by inspectors under orders to keep the absolute peace and quiet.
Time to re-think those new "proactive" enforcement powers the council gave to Planning Director Jeff Murphy and his staff?

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Kraken cancels live music after noise citations

Since 1976, The Kraken has offered live music nearly every night of the week. But the Cardiff bar's owner pulled the plug Tuesday, worried that a series of recent noise citations over loud music could cost him his liquor license.

Beth Levy, who books bands five nights a week at the popular bar, said owner Ron Crilley made the difficult decision to indefinitely cancel live music after a city code enforcement officer showed up Tuesday with five citations for excessive noise. The citations, all written between June 26 and July 20, say that amplified music could be heard late at night outside the walls of the bar at 2531 S. Coast Highway 101.

To avoid risking the loss of his liquor license, Crilley asked Levy to cancel all future concerts.

"For 39 years we've had live music almost every night of the week," Levy said. "I've worked there 10 years. I'm a single mom with three kids and I'm worried about the future livelihood of myself and everyone that works here. Without music, we won't have the crowds in here dancing like we used to."


Michael Rennie, whose band Rio Peligroso was scheduled to perform at The Kraken tonight, said the loss of the bar as its "North County home base is significant for us."

"It's hard to imagine that the Kraken contributed significantly to any noise issues," Rennie said. "There are no residences nearby, it sits in Highway 101 and nearby businesses appeared to be closed by the time we took the stage. If anything, it seemed The Kraken would be a magnet for activity in that area after 8 p.m."
So in response to complaints from downtown Encinitas residents about public drunkenness, drunk driving, noise, sex, vomiting, and urination around Second Street, the council hired a full-time, pensioned code enforcement officer who works mostly day shifts and hasn't visibly improved the downtown situation.  But a long-time local music tradition two miles away that was not a known problem for neighbors gets shut down. So that's how it works.

An online petition to save music at the Kraken started just two days ago already has more than 1100 signatures.

HT: The Sculpin.

UPDATE: In the face of public outrage, the city backs down:
Jul 23, 2015 — Thank You To Everyone For Joining The Cause To Keep Local Live Music At The Kraken. We Have An Update From The Owner That The City Of Encinitas Has Heard Our Cries And Will Allow Us To Continue Live Music At The Kraken Without Future Retaliation Or Citations. I Strongly Urge Everyone To Continue To Show Why Local Live Music Is An Essential Part Of The Cities Culture. Once Again, Thank You All And Your Voices Have Been Heard. We Saved The Music!!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Humboldt Kook

Did you expect any more effort out of Humboldt kids?

Friday, July 17, 2015

Baird wins award for debt-for-iPads scheme

We've covered the EUSD iPads saga many times before:

EUSD to use 30-year debt to buy iPads that will be obsolete in 5 years or broken in 2

Five iPads stolen in most telegraphed theft in history

Encinitas schoolkids get porn on iPads

LA Times: iPads in education are a gimmick and a racket

More porn on iPads in class at Olivenhain Pioneer Elementary

From the Inbox:
This is why we have iPads in ENC schools - to win administrators resume padding awards. At least someone is benefiting from this monumental waste of money.

92024 Magazine:
Two Encinitas residents were recognized by the foundation as being at the forefront in the movement of technology-based education. Encinitas School District (EUSD) Superintendent Timothy Baird received the SDG&E Innovative Superintendent Award for his ongoing commitment to innovative learning programs. He recently implemented the one-to-one digital learning program for all students in Encinitas, which resulted in high student achievement.
No details on what that "high student achievement" means.

In related news, EUSD is canceling the idiotic $189,000 facial recognition login software contract.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Opening Day at the Races Kook

Put on your silly hat and take the 7 horse in the third race.

UPDATE: The long shot 7 horse came in second and paid $8 to place, $6.40 to show. You're welcome.

Barth on downtown bar problems

One year and at least one dead girl after failing to persuade her colleague Tony Kranz to vote with her to rein in the worst excesses of the downtown bars, former council member Teresa Barth writes in the Coast News:
The Encinitas bar scene has been causing trouble for some time. A handful of businesses are serving alcohol in an irresponsible way — a way that promotes public drunkenness, DUI-related incidents and a host of other problems. It all happens in the evening, after 10 p.m.


But there is a solution. It’s called a Deemed Approved Ordinance, a new kind of law that establishes a set of responsible operating standards that all alcohol retailers have to follow in order to stay in business. This approach has been successful in many cities in California, most recently in El Cajon where problems stemming from liquor and convenience stores have declined substantially. According to the El Cajon Police Department, arrests for public drunkenness dropped 35 percent, and arrests for drinking in public dropped 26 percent.

Actually, Encinitas was considering this type of ordinance last year but it was stymied by the local hospitality association. Not wanting to offend the business community, the city backed off from the ordinance and instituted some half-way measures. But it’s been almost a year now, and according to many residents I have spoken with, the problems have not gone away.
The vote last year was 3-2, with Barth and Shaffer voting for the DAO, and Kranz, Muir, and Gaspar voting against it. Instead, the council created another full-time, pensioned code enforcement position, which isn't even on duty most late nights and weekends!

Rachel Anne Morrison was killed just weeks later by a man driving home to La Jolla after drinking extremely heavily in downtown Encinitas.

Having defeated city efforts to crack down on problem bars, the "Encinitas Hospitality Association" has seemingly disappeared into the night.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

7/15/15 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.

We hear there's a big citizen presentation on recommendations for downtown 101 problems. Please come down if you're interested.

And, as usual, please use the comments to record your observations.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

CalPERS Fail

L.A. Times:
The California Public Employees' Retirement System said it missed its return target by a wide margin, hurt by a sluggish global economy and an under-performing private equity portfolio.

The nation's largest public pension fund said its investments returned just 2.4% for its fiscal year, ended June 30, far below its 7.5% investment target.

In a conference call with reporters Monday, CalPERS' chief investment officer, Ted Eliopoulos, said the main culprit was a sluggish world economy that held down returns on its giant stock portfolio, which makes up 54% of the $301-billion fund.

The stock portfolio's return was only 1%, underperforming the 1.3% returns at its benchmark portfolio. Eliopoulos noted that the fund has done better than the 7.5% target over the previous three- and five-year periods.

“We try not to focus or get too excited about any one year's given return,” he said. “We look more meaningfully at longer time horizons.”
Well, if you look more meaningfully at longer time horizons, Ted, why are you only telling us about 3- and 5-years, and not your 10- or 15-year record? Cherry-picking much?
The system was only 77% funded as of June 30, 2014, the latest figures available.
The poor performance will mean yet another increase to Encinitas' already rapidly rising pension costs. Good thing we're skimping on road maintenance!

UPDATE: It's worse than we thought.
Recently newspapers have reported that CalPERS earned 2.4% over the last twelve months and contrasted that return with its 7.5% assumed rate of return. But what those newspapers have not reported is that CalPERS needs to earn much more than 7.5% per annum for its unfunded liability not to grow.

This is because (i) under US public pension fund accounting, liabilities grow at the assumed rate of return and (ii) currently, liabilities exceed assets. That means assets have to grow faster than the assumed rate of return in order to keep up with liabilities.

As a simplified example, let’s say a public pension fund has a 77% funding ratio, which means that it has assets equal to 77% of liabilities. For greater simplicity, let’s say it has assets of $77 and liabilities of $100, and therefore an unfunded liability of $23 (100-77). Because of item (i) above, liabilities grow 7.5% per annum. That means liabilities that today equal $100 will in one year equal $107.50. For the unfunded liability not to be larger than $23 at that time, that means assets have to grow from $77 to $84.50 (107.50-84.50 = 23). That means that the pension fund needs to earn 9.7% ($77 times 1.097 = 84.50). Anything less and the unfunded liability will grow.

This is why it’s so hard for US public pension funds to catch up once they fall behind. See this relevant article from The Economist.

Monday, July 13, 2015

RIP Rick Kook

About Rick:
Seaside Upholstery
137 Chesterfield Dr
Cardiff By The Sea CA 92007


This is the place for wetsuit repair. Big sign says "Upholstery" outside. "1 hour wetsuit repair" sign on the window. Guy inside (Rick, owner/operator) has been repairing them for 30 years right at this same location. Just 1/2 block east past the seven eleven going east from coast highway. Doesn't even advertise for this, just the known spot forever in the north county. Probably good for...

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Council surrenders to developers on density bonus

... and hands them a fat $200,000 check as a parting gift:
The city of Encinitas will pay $200,000 in legal fees and rescind its density bonus ordinance as part of a settlement reached Wednesday with the Building Industry Association of San Diego County.
3-2 vote, Muir and Gaspar voting no. The one consolation is we get to keep rounding down on base density, so we've got that going for us.

Muir and Gaspar comment on their reasoning in the Seaside Courier. No comment from the majority.

UPDATE: Settlement here.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

7/8/15 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.

Design review tonight

From the inbox:
Tonight there is a joint City Council and Planning Commision meeting at 5:00.

I am concerned that the zoning standard that have protected our community character up until now are in jeopardy.

While it was a great victory that our city is fighting the BIA, that does not mean that they won't try to attack the underlying community character of our five communities through changes in zoning and Design Review.

I invite people to try to attend tonight's 5:00 Joint Council/Planning Commission meeting.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Sheriffs refuse to let senior volunteers enforce parking

Of course they can't! Those are union jobs!

Encinitas Advocate:
Councilmembers Lisa Shaffer and Tony Kranz several weeks ago met informally with a cross-section of residents and business owners to talk about downtown issues, particularly where problems seem the worst: Second Street, Third Street and Fourth Street. The conversation sparked the creation of the subcommittee.

One of residents’ chief concerns: People living out of their cars and campers, with many parked in downtown Encinitas in zones with two-hour limits. To that end, the council last week expressed interest in members of the Sheriff’s Senior Volunteer Patrol writing tickets to enforce the two-hour limit.

Shaffer this week said in an email the Sheriff’s Department isn’t supportive of that approach, so the subcommittee is looking at other alternatives, although she declined to go into more detail at this time.
Who's working for whom here?

Monday, July 6, 2015

Sheriffs run DUI checkpoint in Olivenhain far away from problem downtown 101 area; catch no drunk drivers

Good news Encinitas!
A DUI checkpoint staffed by San Diego County sheriff’s deputies in Encinitas between July 3 and July 4 yielded unlicensed drivers, uninsured drivers and scofflaw youth probationary drivers but no one was found to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, authorities said.

The checkpoint was staffed between 8:21 p.m. July 3 and 1:37 a.m. July 4 in the 1800 block Olivenhain Road, Encinitas.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Did Encinitas finally get a good city manager?

Encinitas has tapped Karen P. Brust as its next city manager.

The City Council is set to vote Wednesday on an employment contract for Brust, who is the city manager for San Juan Capistrano and a former city manager of Del Mar. The contract calls for her to receive an annual salary of $238,000, plus a $500 a month car allowance and a $100 a month cell phone allowance.
Initial signs are highly positive. Both San Juan Capistrano and Del Mar are "community character" small towns, and Del Mar at least is not known for pushing excessive development to fund bloated city staff and pensions. And as an Olivenhain resident, Brust surely appreciates what makes Encinitas special.

On paper, she's poles apart from the last guy, who was a reject from the unmitigated financial disaster of Sacramento. The Council seems to be paying a bit more attention this time around.

A hopeful congratulations to our City Council for what looks like a great hire!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Fire in Seaside Market complex

Firefighters were working to put out a fire on the roof of a Cardiff commercial building that houses two restaurants Thursday morning.

Someone called 911 around 9:50 a.m. to report a fire on San Elijo Drive near Birmingham Drive in a complex that houses several tenants, including the eateries Zenbu and Rimels, as well as the Seaside Market.
The Lord reportedly spared the Lost Abbey Confessional.

Leucadia meth heads arrested in bicycle theft ring

NBC 7:
Three men were arrested in Encinitas during an investigation into high-end bicycle thefts in the North County, officials said.

North Coastal Sheriff’s Station detectives arrested the men after serving a search warrant for the Royal Motel on the 1400 block of North Coast Highway 101.

Encinitas residents Jeffrey Scott Stevenson, 60, Emiko Nishida Sanderson, 54 and Billie Dee Estoque, 55 were arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia and sale of a controlled substance. Estoque, a convicted felon, was also found with a firearm.