Saturday, October 31, 2015

City releases proposed high density standards

Let's go to 3 stories and 38 feet high!

While the map page of the document is left blank, two maps discussed in February are here and here. The "ready-made" map was designed by staff, while the "build-your-own" map was designed using input from the discredited and defunct Peak Democracy site.

Carjacking at Oggi's

The victim was outside Oggi’s Pizza and Brewing Company on Encinitas Boulevard, near Saxony Road, when he was approached by a man with a silver revolver about 6:10 p.m., Lt. Jim Walker said.

The man demanded the victim’s car and took off in his black Hyundai Sonata. It has a California license of 7NQY467, Walker said. The victim was not injured.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Surfer Kenny Mann found dead at Swami's

Fox 5:
Someone called the Sheriff's department around 5:10 a.m. after finding the body of a man in a wet suit face down on the beach next to a broken surfboard. Sheriff's deputies and paramedics were sent to the scene at the 1300 block of South Coast Highway 101. The man was pronounced dead around 5:40 a.m. Technicians from the county Medical Examiner's Office were also at the scene.

The surfer was not taken to the hospital. It was unclear what caused his death.

This week's high surf may have contributed to the man's death, Encinitas Lifeguard Capt. Larry Giles said.
Update: Surfer identified as Kenny Mann.

And now for something completely different

From the Inbox, from the Encinitas Citizens Committee (downtown residents group):
​The City Council Meeting last night ​brought encouraging results. Three members voted to have the ​new Sheriff Department ​Captain research ways to continue the 2-deputy patrol ​on foot downtown from​ ​​his existing staff and two members voted for hiring a new Deputy. In the case of a new hire, all 5 members of the City Council must agree [actually, a 3-2 majority would suffice].

​Another piece of good news is that Encinitas​'s new Captain Maryon will head up the Encinitas Sheriff's Department. He has worked ​a beat ​in Encinitas in the past and so is "hitting the ground running." He ​is eager to continue ​former ​Captain Hydar's 2-deputy team and will be working on ways to show City Council how that can take place -- both with and without a new hire. Either way, it's a win/win situation for the Encinitas Citizens Committee.

Also good news is the City's hire of Karen Burst who is now the City Manager. She impressed us as someone who will have an emphasis on public input, and will meet with citizens to listen to their concerns. The ECC will schedule a meeting with her soon.

We are encouraged that the City seems more committed than ever to protecting its citizens and to take necessary actions to curb the disturbances that plague Encinitas.

For instance, ​the City recently issued citations to Shelter/Saloon. The owner disputed the citations the Bar was given for excessive noise and obstruction of the sidewalk. An administrative hearing by an independent hearing officer determined that the owner's defense was baseless. He had to pay the $300.00 for the three fines and comply with direction to follow the codes in the future. Surely this will serve to set the example to bar owners that the City means business.

Stay tuned for more encouraging events.......

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Sheriff Captain replaced

Encinitas Advocate
John Maryon, who previously served as the Sheriff's Department homicide lieutenant, recently took the reins as captain of the Encinitas Sheriff's station.


He replaces Theresa Adams-Hydar, who could not be reached for comment. Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Jan Caldwell in an email said that Adams-Hydar has been "rotated to oversee more of an analytical component of the department."

"This is a routine movement of managers and several have been rotated," Caldwell said.
The personnel change comes after Adams-Hydar's recent awkward and unpersuasive pitch for a new daytime beach patrol position.

10/28/15 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.

Desert Rose ruling overturned on appeal

Developer attorney Marco Gonzalez wins a unanimous decision, meaning the 16-unit density bonus project will go forward. Background here.

Ruling here.

HT: Anonymous.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Downtown residents want extension of Sheriff foot patrols

From the Inbox:

                  Please come to the City Council Meeting 
                          10/28/15 at City Hall, at 6:00 pm  

***Learn what happened when a Special 2 Deputy Patrol canvased the downtown area this summer and

***Show your support when the ECC requests City Council make this patrol permanent

The ECC has been asking City Council to take action to eliminate the ongoing problems downtown. We're thankful that in July they assigned two deputies to patrol downtown Encinitas on foot from July 24 - September 12, 2015.

(See Report and Analysis that will be presented to City Council) 

ECC members recently emailed that they noticed that things improved while the deputies were downtown but quickly went back to the way they were as soon as the patrol ended. What have you noticed?

Please send us an email and share your experiences since July 24th. The Sheriff, Code Enforcement, and the Council members are influenced when citizens speak up! 

It would also be helpful for you to send an email to City Council at You can tell them of your experiences, say you appreciate the fact that they assigned a Special 2 Deputy Patrol and ask them to make it permanent. 

Your presence at the upcoming meeting is vital. It will show the City Council two things: (1) ECC members appreciated the  recent patrol and (2) We request the Patrol be assigned on a permanent basis as we already see problems escalating​.
It's unclear how this request for (presumably evening) downtown patrols can be reconciled with the Sheriff's Department preference for daytime beach patrols.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Taxi driver appeals to Shaffer to squash competition

From Council Member Lisa Shaffer's latest newsletter:
I had an interesting discussion with a local taxi driver (who, after waiting 3 weeks for a response from the mayor, asked the Council secretary for any elected official to call him, and I did.) He is concerned that while taxis are required to have Encinitas business licenses, annual inspections, and carry $1 million in liability insurance, Uber drivers are not licensed by the City and thus have no fees, and have only Uber's insurance requirements which are much less. He said the Uber ap showed 37 Uber cars in Encinitas last Friday and 42 on Saturday evening. I told him I would talk to the City Manager and staff, confirm what our policies and practices are, and then request that the City Council consider whether any changes are called for. In my view, we don't want to be choosing among competing business interests, and we don't want to discourage safe options for bar patrons who have enough sense not to drive while intoxicated, but we do want to ensure that we are being fair and looking out for public safety, not sanctioning unfair or unsafe business practices. So the first step is information collection and understanding, and then we can move to deliberation on whether anything needs to change.
The taxi cartels have been trying this with cities all over the country, trying to remove their cleaner, cheaper, friendlier, more convenient competition. For the other side of the story on Uber, please see UCSD Economics Professor James Hamilton.

Oh, and Uber has $1.5 million liability insurance, by the way. Maybe those taxis should be forced to increase their coverage to match.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Attempted abduction reported at San Dieguito Academy

Two men tried to pull a 17-year-old girl into their pickup in Encinitas Thursday morning, but the school-bound teen was able to fight them off, a sheriff’s official said.

The girl was walking to San Dieguito High School Academy just before noon when the men in a white truck drove up next to her at the Melba and Nardo roads intersection, sheriff’s Capt. John Maryon said. The men tried to drag her inside, but she broke free and ran home.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Not all developers pack 'em in like sardines

Check out the huge new lots on Lake.

UPDATE: Silly us. Of course they go to the maximum possible density. Still, density bonus is a lot more tolerable when you're talking about 1-acre zoning to start with. One acre is 10 McMansions behind La Especial Norte!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

10/21/15 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.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Iconic Surf Cleaners sign bites the dust

San Diego Reader 2009:
This very cool old sign for Surf Cleaners in Encinitas has been there since I was a little kid and it's probably been there a lot longer than that. I hope they never change it.
Never change it?  Pshaw!

Check out the suburb-a-licious new conformity!

UPDATE 10/21/15: The San Dieguito Heritage Museum has obtained the sign. Glad to hear that loving hands will preserve it if the city won't allow it to remain in its rightful place.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Encinitas Community Park closed session

From the Inbox:
The Hall property park may be under construction—again.

The closed session meeting on October 14 at 4 p.m. had, in addition to the usual items, a regular City Council item to discuss the sale of parts of 8 parcels comprising the park on its eastern edge to Caltrans for the I-5 widening and realignment of the MacKinnon Bridge.

What was so unusual about this item was the fact that there was no agenda report, no map, and no discussion. The Council really has no choice about selling because the property can be condemned by the state.

What are the possible consequences of this sale?

* Reconstruction of the eastern portion of the park
* Rerouting of parking and roadways
* Freeway pollution brought even closer to the playing fields
* Additional costs to an already very expensive park

The City knew in 2010 that Caltrans was going to be taking land from the park, back when they could have designed for it. But Jerome Stocks was in such a hurry to get the thing built in time for his council run in 2012 and avoid reopening the EIR to analyze the changes, that he ignored what he knew at the time and got the rest of the Council to go along with him.

It appears that the reason for the oddly-timed agenda item that should have been on a regular 6 p.m. Council meeting agenda was to obscure it from public view. This screw up comes on the heels of overspending on the illegal Rossini Creek discharge fines, the multi-million dollar Moonlight Beach lifeguard tower, and the over-priced Pacific View property. Was the Council trying to hide this latest from the wider public?

If an EIR is required because of the significant changes, especially bringing the freeway lanes closer to the playing field and exposing children to the toxic fine particle pollution, we can tack on several hundred thousand dollars in addition to reconstruction costs. At minimum, air monitoring equipment needs to be installed, as this equipment is now being required along freeways in Southern California.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

New Leucadia mixed-use project at 101 & Avocado

From the Inbox:
Strange how no one I know has mentioned this mixed-use Medical Center project at Avocado St & N 101 being advertised online. Found it by accident today.

More pictures, pricing, and layout here.

Election season starts

The election is more than a year away, but it's never too early for Encinitas politicos.

As we predicted, Catherine Blakespear has picked up the papers to file for mayor. And new Planning Commissioner Tasha Boerner Horvath has filed for city council.

And here come the robocalls! This one's reminiscent of last year's Barnyard robocall.

From the Inbox, here's a rough transcription of the latest robocall making the rounds:
Hey Encinitas, wake up! Three members of our City Council want to rezone our neighborhoods to allow chickens, goats, and bee hives in our backyards, and then allow them to sell their products outside in front of their homes. CLASSY! Tell Council members Kranz, Shaffer and Blakespear that we don't want the smells of barnyard animals in our nice upscale town we worked so hard to afford. Tell Council members Kranz, Shaffer and Blakespear that we don't want pigs, chickens, goats farms and beehives next to our homes. (Barnyard animal noises). "Hey, get those bees out out of here!"

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

10/14/15 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.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Blakespear: No densification without circulation!

Encinitas' main thoroughfares, such as El Camino Real and Encinitas Boulevard, are already straining with current traffic loads.

As we've pointed out before, it makes no sense to make plans for high-density development without at the same time considering the congestion impacts on the streets. But that's exactly what your City Council has decided to do.

Deputy Mayor Catherine Blakespear, who was elected after the high-density development plans were already put in motion, now adds some common sense to the discussion.
Many Encinitas residents work full-time outside the city, driving to and from the freeway every workday. Any discussion of additional housing density needs to go hand-in-hand with a re-evaluation of the roads that will carry those new residents. We haven’t made much progress toward updating the city’s “Circulation Element,” which is the blueprint for all roads. Maintaining high quality pavement is also a priority.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Roundabout gridlock!

One August afternoon in Leucadia.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Gaspar, Shaffer spar on Pacific View costs

Last, the Council unanimously chose the Encinitas Arts, Culture and Ecology Alliance as the proposed operator for the former Pacific View School site, which the Council purchased in March 2014. We also learned that unfortunately it would take about an additional $4 million to prepare the site for occupancy. While I opposed the $10-million purchase price for Pacific View because the appraised value of the property was only $3.3 million, now that we own the property we must consider the best future use that will enrich our community.

We must move forward with the challenge of raising the $4 million dollars needed to renovate the existing facilities and offset the current approximately $70,000 per month in debt service to repay the bonds used to acquire the property. I commend Garth Murphy and his entire team for pulling together a diverse community coalition, including, but not limited to the band, Switchfoot, and Rob Machado, whose activism and foundation work have touched the lives of many Encinitans. I look forward to helping the Encinitas Arts, Culture and Ecology Alliance clear the high hurdles in front of them.
Shaffer's newsletter response:
First, I feel compelled to offer some clarification in response to recently published commentary by the mayor regarding Pacific View. She wrote that "it would take about an additional $4 million to prepare the site for occupancy." This is not true. The architect hired by the city presented a plan to rehabilitate the building in several configurations, the most expensive of which was close to $4 million. However, the Encinitas Arts, Culture, and Ecology Alliance (EACEA), who we unanimously selected to move forward in developing an operating plan and agreement with the City, has its own architect and plans, which are much less expensive and will be financed by the Alliance. The financing costs for purchasing the property are already incorporated into the City's operating budget (which, by the way, has a handsome surplus this year, as it did last year). EACEA will be presenting its fund-raising plans and financial strategy soon, and I have no doubt that the community-based coalition will be successful in creating a vibrant and innovative space that will benefit the entire City for years to come.

The record is clear that Mayor Gaspar opposed the purchase of the property at the price that the school district was willing to accept. She lost that vote, and like all of us, is bound by the decision of the majority. So it would be nice if we could move on without having to rehash that decision. It's done. The bonds were issued and the site activation is underway. Let's work together to make the EACEA proposal a success.
So, Lisa, if city finances are so great, what was that whole sales tax increase thing about? You've still never explained that.  And why are you still underfunding road maintenance according to your own consultant?

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Apathy kills Olivenhain Oktoberfest

Olivenhain, an east Encinitas community founded by German immigrants in the late 1880s, has canceled its annual Oktoberfest primarily due to a lack of volunteer labor.


[T]he community-based Town Council has found its hard-core volunteer labor pool has greatly diminished in recent years, mirroring national trends. The continuing evaporation of civic engagement and face-to-face social interaction were highlighted in the 2001 book, “Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community.”
Is civic engagement dying in Encinitas?

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Draconid meteor shower tonight and tomorrow

Take a look to the northern sky this evening.
Beginning in the evening hours of Oct. 8 and continuing through Oct. 9, the peak of the Draconid meteor shower will become visible to eager stargazers.

The Draconids are one of the more unique and unheralded meteor showers that occur throughout the year. What sets them apart from other events is that the best time to view them is around nightfall, as opposed to the predawn hours, according to Earthsky.

Due to their location near the head of the constellation Draco the Dragon in the northern sky, Draconids are best viewed from the Northern Hemisphere, Earthsky states. The best direction to look is due north.
Best in those "dark skies" neighborhoods like Olivenhain.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Encinitas Ranch gets all stabby

On Thursday there was a stabbing on one of Encinitas' most expensive streets:
A trail of blood spotted by citizens led to the arrest of three men in connection with a stabbing that injured a man in Encinitas earlier this week.

The Sheriff's Department said that a passer-by found a man with stab wounds early Thursday morning at Calle Magdalena and Encinitas Boulevard. He was taken to a hospital and treated for his injuries.

Several hours later residents spotted a blood trail on Lynwood Drive and called deputies. They followed the trial to a home on the street. Deputies spoke to an occupant of the home at the door, and noticed "what looked like a crime scene inside the residence." After detaining the occupants of the house they summoned detectives, who got a search warrant and after executing it, arrested three men.

They were arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, conspiracy and destruction of evidence.
Days later, there's still no word what the motive was or what these stabby folks were doing in one of Encinitas' toniest neighborhoods.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

CalPERS admits failure; will charge taxpayers billions more to pay for broken promises

"Oops... I did it again!"

LA Times:
California taxpayers have never paid more for public worker pensions, but it's still not enough to cover the rising number of retirement checks written by the state's largest pension plan.

Even before the stock market's recent fall, staffers at the California Public Employees' Retirement System were worried about what they call "negative cash flows."

The shortfalls — which totaled $5 billion last year — are created when contributions from taxpayers and public employees who are still working aren't enough to cover monthly checks sent to retirees.
Encinitas' annual pension costs have more than doubled since 2005, and were more than $3.5 million (and rising) per year in 2013-14, so that city workers can have early retirement collecting more than median household income for life. But get ready to pay much, much more:
But even its staff acknowledges in a recent report that despite fast-rising contributions from taxpayers, the pension fund faces "a significant amount of risk."

To reduce that financial risk, CalPERS has been working for months on a plan that could cause government pension funds across the country to rethink their investment strategies.

The plan would increase payments from taxpayers even more in coming years with the goal of mitigating the severe financial pain that would happen with another recession and stock market crash.

Under the proposal, CalPERS would begin slowly moving more money into safer investments such as bonds, which aren't usually subject to the severe losses that stocks face.

Because the more conservative investments are expected to reduce CalPERS' future financial returns, taxpayers would have to pick up even more of the cost of workers' pensions.
Despite Encinitas' skyrocketing pension costs, the City Council has in recent years voted repeatedly to expand the bureaucracy, making the problem even worse. The city now spends more money on pensions for workers' early retirement than it does on its underfunded road maintenance.