Thursday, March 31, 2016

Everett Delano on density bonus

Desert Rose attorney Everett Delano writing in Voice of San Diego:
State Law to Boost Affordable Housing Is Good in Theory, Not So Much in Execution

It should come as no surprise that many people in Encinitas have expressed concern about projects that appear to be more about lining developer’s pockets than improving people’s lives.

Reading Voice of San Diego’s recent article on housing in Encinitas, one is left with the distinct impression that local developers are doing their best to push through affordable housing, but Encinitas City Council members and residents are fighting every step of the way.

Quoting a representative of a local housing advocacy group about the importance of the density bonus law, the article claims that both City Council members and residents want to make the law impossible to use in Encinitas.

But the reality is not nearly so stark.

It is, of course, hard to quarrel with the premise of affordable housing. In a state and a county where housing costs consume a substantial portion of a household’s income, affordability is an important factor. But blaming the high cost of housing on residents who advocate for protections of their community and the environment is like blaming the customers who insist on a clean supermarket for the high cost of food – sure, there’s a relationship, but there are several other economic factors at play.

The state’s density bonus law allows private developers to build more homes on a property than city restrictions allow if they agree to build some low-income units. But the sad truth about the law is that it’s not really a vehicle that ensures what most of us would consider to be affordable housing. For one thing, the calculation of affordability is based on the median income in the immediate area, so when a project is proposed in a wealthy area, the affordable unit is suddenly not affordable the way most of us would think.

And to make matters worse, the law does not require leaving existing affordable units on the project site, so a project can be built that actually ends up reducing the amount of affordable housing.

The hard-fought battle over the high-density Desert Rose project in Encinitas proved that point. The project site is located in rural Olivenhain, accessed by a winding series of roads, and is bordered on two sides by open space with a creek running through it. The developer used the density-bonus law to double density by agreeing to build just one affordable unit, but since the site is located adjacent to Rancho Santa Fe, the so-called affordability of that one unit will not be something most lower-income earners can afford. Plus, the project will remove the existing affordable units on site that are associated with existing on-site horse stables.

It should therefore come as no surprise that so many people in Encinitas have expressed concern about this and other proposed projects that appear to be more about lining developers’ pockets than improving people’s lives.

Our society can and should do more to ensure adequate housing for all income levels. And while the density-bonus law may have a good premise, its execution leaves much to be desired – it’s like telling someone they can drive twice the speed limit as long as they transport one lower-income rider. Sure, we want to ensure all income levels have adequate opportunities, but there are better ways to achieve these goals.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

3/30/16 Special 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.

On tonight's agenda: hiring consultants for the housing vote, and reconsidering the ill-considered Cardiff Rail Trail.

Please use the comments to record your observations.

Marine sues county, Encinitas deputy over beating, false arrest

NBC 7:
“I started walking toward them, waved saying, 'Hey' and trying to say it was a big misunderstanding. Before I could get arms-length reach of them, they grabbed me and then a bad beating happened,” he said. “While I was on the ground one of the [deputies] put his foot on my head and grinded it in the pavement and at this point I was bleeding pretty bad.”

Moore said he heard the deputies laughing saying, “Oh got another [expletive] Marine off the street.”

“That hurt my feelings. I just got back from abroad. I was gone for eight months and to be out there protecting the civil liberties that I hold true. That you hold true. That everyone holds true and to get back here and get those civil liberties robbed from you from the very same people sworn in to protect them is just so disappointing. It broke my heart,” he said.
Derek Sanders is a long-time Encinitas sheriff's deputy, and was one of the deputies who raided Francine Busby's 2009 Cardiff fundraiser.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Friends of Cardiff Rail Trail encourage community turnout on Wednesday

From the Inbox:
This is the Big One: The City Council Meets on March 30 to Reconsider the Cardiff Rail Trail and Montgomery Crossing

Below is a letter sent to Mayor Gaspar and the Encinitas City Council in advance of the March 30 meeting to reconsider the Cardiff Rail Trail and Montgomery crossing projects (which starts at 6pm). We are going wide with our Council input because the Mayor was unwilling to schedule the meeting so that the founder of the Friends of the Cardiff Rail Trail could attend and speak, leaving the group's leadership feeling disrespected and unheard. Even a week's delay would have worked. Our group has over 1,700 supporters at this point, so we don't understand the slight. Another member of the group will speak on our behalf at the meeting.

Please attend the March 30 meeting regardless of how you feel about the rail trail and crossing projects. Anyone who's been following our group knows we are conflicted about elements of the current plan - but the underlying community needs that were answered by the trail and the crossing are still very much there. We want to make sure that the Council hears about these needs and addresses them with any new plan or change to the existing plan. So... go to the meeting. Speak. Tell the Council what you think. If you have any feelings at all about the rail trail, the Montgomery crossing, and the current state of the Cardiff Rail Corridor, then this is the one meeting you should attend.

If you are intimidated by the idea of attending the meeting and speaking, don't let that stop you. The process is not that scary. The City building is across Vulcan from the Encinitas train station (to the east). Simply show up a little early (at 5:30p or 5:45p), ask for a speaker slip, fill it out, and hand it to the clerk before the meeting starts. You'll be called up and will have three minutes to address the Council. Watch some of the video on the City web site from previous meetings if you feel shy... speakers are not always super articulate or polished in their presentations. However, they do speak from their hearts because they care about their community. What matters is that you are there, that you are heard, and that you are on the record.

Below is our official input to the Council meeting, sent to the City Council, press, and a core group of our supporters in the form of personal emails.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Encinitas classic Roxy Restaurant to get hipster makeover

San Diego Reader:
Opened in 1978, the Mediterranean-style vegetarian restaurant downtown on Coast Highway 101 is going through a remodel. “I’ve taken on another partner,” said [owner Shoja] Naimi. “I'll still be actively involved as a consulting partner.”

Naimi said he thinks things started to change when Whole Foods went in a few years ago. Located only a block away, it wasn’t that Whole Foods was much competition but that the high-end grocery store started attracting a new type of crowd to Encinitas.

The downtown Encinitas vibe has changed, with several mom-and-pop businesses forced out by higher rents. Naimi’s rent is now above $10,000 a month.

Naimi said he sees younger people walking by, looking inside, and not coming in, perhaps judging the wood siding and ocean mural interior as too old. Yelp reviews may say the food is great but the restaurant needs an upgrade, or the new crowd doesn’t really trust that Roxy’s nine-page menu is all truly “fresh” meals, but, Naimi said, “We still make everything fresh, right here….
Next they'll be coming for Cap'n Keno's....

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

3/23/16 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.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Saturday, March 19, 2016

County GOP snubs Gaspar in Supervisor race

Times of San Diego:
The Republican Party of San Diego announced Wednesday that it voted Monday night to endorse [Escondido Mayor Sam] Abed over fellow Republican and Encinitas Mayor Kristin Gaspar, who is also running for the supervisor seat currently held by Dave Roberts, who is seeking re-election.

Abed, who has been a polarizing figure during his two terms as mayor in Escondido, secured the coveted party endorsement by receiving more than two thirds of the committee’s votes, the threshold required for a candidate to receive the endorsement over a fellow party member.

“Endorsing one Republican over another requires a 2/3 vote threshold — and rarely happens,” GOP Chairman Tony Krvaric said. “Clearly Sam Abed’s long-time and steadfast commitment to Republican principles and values earned him the support of committee members and we are proud to endorse him.”
We initially thought that Gaspar could edge Abed in the primary to make it into the runoff, but that was dependent on Gaspar getting the support of the party machine.

Gaspar could still run for Encinitas mayor again, whether she changes races before the June primary or comes in third in the Supervisor primary.

Prediction: Abed will lose to Roberts in November. The county supervisors have taxpayer-funded discretionary slush funds that they use to buy political support from community groups, which makes it almost impossible for a supervisor to lose re-election.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Council to reconsider Cardiff Rail Trail; Blakespear changes position

Encinitas  Advocate:
The future of the Cardiff rail trail is in question.

At the request of Councilwoman Catherine Blakespear on March 16, the Encinitas City Council will reconsider its controversial decision to put the rail trail between the train tracks and San Elijo Avenue in Cardiff.

Blakespear was part of a council majority last spring that approved the rail trail — a biking and walking path that’s designed to appeal to casual cyclists and families. Her about-face at the March 16 council meeting opens the door for potentially moving the project west onto Coast Highway 101 or nixing it altogether.

“We supported a concept 10 months ago, and in that 10 months, new information has come to light that makes it so I no longer support that plan,” Blakespear said in an interview before the council meeting.

Michigan State Kook

The #2-seeded Michigan State Spartans play Middle Tennessee State on Friday at 11:45 am Pacific Time.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

3/16/16 City Council open thread

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

Please use the comments to record your observations.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Head seeks ride from Kook to Virginia

"My name is Head. I'm trying to get home to Bluemont, VA.  Can you help me?  If you or a friend are heading east, please take me with you as far as you go.  Then leave me with someone else who can help me get to Bluemont.  Take a picture, and email it to  Tell my website about my journey -- where you got me, where you left me, and what happened?

I'm trying to get to Porkchop who lives at:

2008 Morgan Mill Road
Bluemont, Virginia 20135

See my journey at:

Please treat me well..."

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Rudloff reportedly ousted as Parks and Rec Director

A source tells Encinitas Undercover that Parks and Recreation Director Lisa Rudloff has resigned in lieu of being involuntarily terminated.

Rudloff, a 2011 hire by former City Manager Gus Vina, faced criticism on several fronts.  As Parks and Recreation Director, Rudloff would have had authority over the 2013 backroom deal to give away a 10-year lease option on the Ecke YMCA Little League fields, a decision the public learned of only a year later.  To this day, no one has ever been publicly held accountable in the scandal.

Rudloff was also criticized for hiring controversial consulting firm Green Play, who produced an handful of poorly-attended public information meetings and an underwhelming report suggesting the city raise park use fees.

Additionally, Rudloff has been criticized for cutting the Parks and Recreation Commission out of the decision-making process for parks and recreation issues, and for attempting to ban the responsible consumption of beer and wine in all Encinitas parks.

More recently, the Parks and Rec department has come under fire for its botched handling of grant requests for the Leo Mullen soccer fields.

Is Encinitas for sale?

Commentary by former Mayor Sheila Cameron in the Coast News:
Is everything in our City for sale? Even our integrity? Why is it that the rich can pay their way onto any building — whether it is a library, community park, or ball field?

Is this not what is partly wrong with Congress today? Lobbyists and people of means can give money and own people as well as places?

I never thought I would see this in Encinitas, but why not?

We are merely a microcosm of the larger picture of the way government unfortunately operates in this country.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, former president of the United States put it this way: “Government by Organized Money is as dangerous as government by an Organized Mob.”

The Encinitas Library went through a controversial ballot initiative over the site for our library. The current site was chosen overwhelmingly by 66 percent of the voters. During the construction phase of the library, tours were available to people who paid $500 each for the privilege.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Happy 2nd Anniversary, Pacific View!

It's been two years since the city council decided to buy the abandoned Pacific View elementary school.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Voice of San Diego slams Encinitas' housing intransigence

City leaders haven’t been bashful about their attempts to circumvent the law. They’ve routinely said one of their top priorities is finding ways to disobey it.

Encinitas is unique in its defiance, according to people throughout the state. While other cities may have issues with the state density bonus law, no other city has tried so hard to evade it.

For instance, in both 2014 and 2015, city staffers listed this among their top legislative priorities at the state level for the year: “Seek opportunities to regain local control over state-imposed density bonus law.”

HT: Anonymous

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

3/9/16 City Council open thread

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

Please use the comments to record your observations. Sorry for the late posting.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Thursday, March 3, 2016

City Council to seek professional help

... selling the housing plan to the public, that is.

Coast News:
Nearly a year after the council suspended its web-based Housing Element outreach efforts, the City Council agreed they need professional assistance as its housing element efforts hit a critical set.

The council voted on Feb. 24 for city staff to search for an election consultant that would, among other things, potentially conduct scientific polling that would help them develop a strategy for public outreach on the Housing Element, which voters will be voting on in November.

“I think understanding what the needs are is important and the only way to get there is through a scientific approach that looks across demographics and communities,” Mayor Kristin Gaspar said.
It's way too late for the November election cycle to develop a new plan that incorporates new public input, so this is really about persuading the public to accept the current plan, which is a fourth plan developed by staff after the three plans discussed in public last year were deemed inappropriate for traffic and other reasons.