Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Chaos at the Kwik-E-Mart

It was pandemonium at the corner of Mountain Vista and El Camino Real yesterday as a 77-year-old woman mistook the gas pedal for the brake pedal and plowed into the Quickie Food Store, causing an estimated $100,000 in damage.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Phil Graham running on fiscal responsibility, doesn't mention pensions

Graham for Council:
We should be proud that the City of Encinitas has had balanced budgets for many years. This fiscal prudence is important because our state and national economies ebb and flow. By planning for the long term and spending the city's revenue as carefully as we would our own, we can stop wasteful spending, abuse of our citizens' tax dollars, and plan for unexpected economic downturns.
Don't almost all California cities run nominally balanced budgets even as they let pension liabilities balloon and infrastructure decline? Is that really something we should be proud of?

Does Graham know anything at all about Encinitas finances or is this just a generic, feel-good statement suggested by his campaign consultants?

The same vagueness and vapidity applies to the rest of the issues on Graham's site. Graham may be an intelligent guy and may have some good ideas about Encinitas, but you certainly wouldn't know it from his web site.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Encinitas Forward launches blog

A new blog has popped up covering the Encinitas election: Encinitas Forward. Though the creators are anonymous, it's professionally designed and, so far, quite even-handed in its treatment of candidates and issues. The creators are paying for sponsored Facebook links, so somebody's investing at least a little money in this.

Here's the blog's first poll: Do you support or oppose Measure T, the Housing Element Update?

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Shaffer: dirty tricks and debate-dodging cowards

Lisa Shaffer's newsletter:
Well, campaign season is in full swing, with several campaign kickoff events last weekend. Accusations of dirty tricks are already being made. Let me offer my view: telling the truth is not negative campaigning. Comparing one candidate's position and record against another, if done accurately, with sources noted, is not a dirty trick - it's educating voters. Distorting your opponent's record and misrepresenting votes - that's dirty politics. Claiming you're taking the high road while anonymous PACs spend enormous sums sending hit pieces on your opponent IS negative campaigning. Candidates are clever enough to maintain plausible deniability about negative mailers on their behalf, but if they wanted to keep things clean and positive, they could publicly disown the negative efforts and ask anyone who supports them to stop.

I also believe that refusing to participate in a debate organized by the League of Women Voters, even after being given a variety of dates to choose from, is cowardly and disrespectful of voters.
UPDATE: Though Shaffer weirdly refuses to tell anyone what she's talking about, Shaffer supporter Dennis Lees writes in the Coast News that Kristin Gaspar is refusing League of Women Voters debates.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

8/24/16 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.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Prop T impact on Old Encinitas

Having previously written about the impact of Prop T's upzoning on Leucadia, the Waves to Ride blog now turns its attention to Old Encinitas:
In Old Encinitas, the parcels proposed for upzoning line both sides of Highway 101 from Encinitas Boulevard to K Street, include City Hall and its parking area, and four lots between Quail Drive and Quail Gardens Drive on the north side of Encinitas Boulevard.

Note these adjustments to the Highway 101 specifics: The parcels on the east side stretch from Encinitas Boulevard past K Street to where the open ground becomes the railroad right-of-way. The parcels on the west side stretch from the bluff above Cottonwood Creek in Moonlight Park to the north corner of K Street.
WtR doesn't think City Hall will be turned into condos; we disagree. Sell that property to a developer to put a huge 3-story luxury condo building, and the windfall will help cover up quite a bit of past fiscal mismanagement.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Here come da judge!

Judge Tony Brandenburg joins the city council race.

There are now five candidates for three seats, with a fourth seat opening up if Blakespear wins the mayor position.

Tony Brandenburg is a retired Superior Court commmissioner, current planning commissioner and long-time Olivenhain community activist. Unlike the other four candidates, we're not aware of his partisan affiliation.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Waves to Ride blog analyzes Prop T's impact on Leucadia

Waves to Ride:
The HEU doesn’t require three-story buildings to line Highway 101 in Leucadia, but if the commercial strip there is upzoned to allow them, you can bet at least some will be built.

Anyone who doubts that should check the six three-story mixed-use monstrosities that march north from the corner of Phoebe Street. They were allowed under the city’s North 101 Corridor Specific Plan before voters passed Proposition A.

After June 2013, Prop A required buildings above two stories or 30 feet to be approved by a vote of the people. Hence, only two stories since. The proposed HEU, affectionately called “At Home in Encinitas” by city staffers and council members, effectively cancels Prop A in designated areas of the city’s five communities.

If approved by voters, the HEU will upzone every parcel fronting on 101 from the Leucadia Creek Apartments at address 1786 to the north corner of Leucadia Boulevard at addresses 902/914 with two exceptions: Sea Bluff and Pacifica condos.

North of Diana Street, the HEU identifies the zoning as both AHE-GC-X30 and AHE-101SP-X30. As far as we can tell, the two codes mean the same thing: At Home Encinitas-General Commercial-Mixed Use 30 Housing Units Per Acre; 101SP = 101 Specific Plan.

North of Diana, the zoning will let property owners build three-story buildings that can be either all residential, or commercial on the first floor and residential on the second and third floors. Although the building heights will be limited to 38 feet, stuff on the roofs can push the heights to 48 feet. Developers of buildings with five or more housing units who invoke the state Density Bonus Law can raise the density from 30 to 41 units per acre.
Click on over and read the whole thing. They don't allow comments, but you can comment here.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Mountain Vista area homeowner with kitchen knife chases away burglar

10 News:
An Encinitas woman told 10News she confronted an intruder in her garage and chased him away, but she now regrets her actions.

When Amy Kong saw images of a man inside her garage, there was no hesitation. She grabbed a kitchen knife and went after him.

Just before midnight on Monday night, she got a push alert on her phone that let her know the surveillance camera in her garage had caught movement.

"I saw that there were six images of a gentleman breaking into my car," said Kong.
That was no gentleman.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

T is for Too Tall

From the Inbox:

Measure T on the November ballot is the HEU is At Home in Encinitas (AHE). This graphic explains the huge building height ​ ​increase proposed by Measure T.

Today, all Encinitas developments, except certain medical and school buildings, are limited to a maximum of two stories or 30 feet. This includes the peak of a pitched roof, the equipment on top of flat-roofed buildings and all other structures. This is a true maximum limit.
Measure T misleadingly describes an increase of height to 38 feet.​ ​However, this is only to the midpoint of a pitched roof or the flat surface on a commercial building. The pitched roof can extend above 38 feet ​ ​as much as the eaves are below. ​ ​flat-roofed building can have up to a 6-foot parapet around the entire building, extending its height to at least 44 feet. Elevator shafts and stairwell structures are allowed to cover 25 percent of the roof and can push the total height to 48 feet.

Measure T also allows an attic to not be counted as a floor if less than half of the attic ceiling height is greater than 7.5 feet. This is a loophole to avoid counting the habitable attic floor as a fourth floor.

There is a similar exemption to avoid counting a basement as a floor. From Chapter 30.36.070D "Height" (Page B-35) At Home in Encinitas Zone, City of Encinitas Zoning Ordinance

Vote NO on Measure T

Too Tall, Too Dense,​ ​Too Much Traffic

Encinitas Residents Allege City Council Violations of CEQA and Prop A Municipal Code

From the Inbox:
On August 17th the Encinitas City Council plans to adopt a new land use ordinance designed to maximize the number of density bonus units allowed on a parcel, in violation of its own Municipal Code and CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act), and in spite of pending, related litigation.

By increasing the number of houses permitted under the “base density” calculation the City is attempting to increase density without the public vote required by “Prop A,” passed in June 2013 and now part of the city’s Municipal Code. The City violates CEQA law when it claims that an effective citywide upzone would not have a significant environmental impact.
Full press release here.

UPDATE: City Council delays action on density bonus in response to Encinitas Residents Alliance's challeng..

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

8/17/16 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.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Asian restaurant to replace El Callejón

Press release:
Encinitas restaurateur and chef, Wade Hageman, and his wife Kristi announce plans to open a new Asian-inspired restaurant called Open House Asian Kitchen in Moonlight Plaza at the corner of Encinitas Boulevard and South Coast Highway 101 in early 2017. The Hagemans have estimated they will be hiring about 50 employees for the new neighborhood eatery.

The restaurant brings an innovative twist to Asian style food and will draw inspiration from Thai, Korean, Chinese and Japanese cuisines. The restaurant will feature a craft beer selection, handcrafted cocktails and wines that pair perfectly with Asian-inspired dishes.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Sale of library naming rights, housing ballot argument on next council agenda

Encinitas Votes:
Here is a partial list of what will be going on at the next Encinitas City Council meeting, August 17, 2016. It includes the Argument in Favor of the HEU, as well as the renaming of the Encinitas Library, to the Pat Mizel Library. The Mizels are offering $1.5 million for the renaming of our library.
Background on the Mizels here.

Monday, August 8, 2016

What if they threw an election and no one ran?

At this point in 2012, there were already seven candidates for three seats on the council (Shoja Naimi, who pulled papers, didn't file, but Thomas Brophy subsequently joined the list).

In 2014, there were five candidates for mayor and four candidates for one council seat.

This year with the mid-August filing deadline rapidly approaching, there are only four announced council candidates for three council seats: two incumbents and two party establishment candidates.  And if Blakespear wins mayor, there will be a fourth open council seat (presumably appointed by the majority).  Are we going to have even any protest candidates to vote for?

Sunday, August 7, 2016

High-density opposition launches Facebook group

Save Our City:
“At Home in Encinitas” - Good for developers, bad for residents.

Here's what the City of Encinitas is NOT telling you about what the Housing Element Update - aka "At Home Encinitas" - will bring:

• Up to 4,000 high-density housing units
• Gridlock from 25,000 more cars per day
• Building height increases from 30’ to 48’
• Crammed construction – up to 41 units/acre
• No guarantee of affordable housing
• Lack of onsite parking requirements forces cars onto adjacent streets
• 90% of all development approved by one city staff member

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Man drives off bluff at F Street, dies

Fox 5:
A man was killed Saturday after the vehicle he was driving went off a bluff in Encinitas, landing on the shore below, a San Diego County Sheriff’s Department official said.

The incident was reported at 6:50 a.m. The vehicle, a Hyundai sedan, went off the bluff near Fourth and H streets, Lt. Jim Walker said.

No further details were available
It actually happened at F Street, in the vacant lot next to the big condo building construction site.

UPDATE: Suicide à la Thelma & Louise. Nice place to do it, if you gotta go.

Seaside Courier rips Blakespear

Seaside Courier editorial:
Then there’s the Coastal Rail Trail controversy. Blakespear initially supported building the Cardiff segment of the trail on the east side of the railroad tracks, but recently flip-flopped after massive opposition from residents and environmentalists who correctly charged that building the trail along narrow San Elijo Drive would not only take away parking and coastal access with a 6-foot chain link fence, but also destroy sensitive natural habitat.

Now, the switch appears nothing more than a political ploy. A consultant recommended 15 names for a nonpartisan citizens committee to oversee the project as it progresses. Blakespear came up with her own list, heavily loaded with her campaign contributors and supporters of the original east-side-of-the-tracks proposal, which her political allies on the city council approved in a 3-2 vote. How do you spell partisan politics and cronyism?

Thursday, August 4, 2016

It's Beacon. Not Beacon's.

San Diego Reader:
For years, Leucadian Doug Fiske has been pointing out that the City of Encinitas has the wrong spelling on one of its popular beaches — Beacon’s. Until now, his plea for historical accuracy has fallen on deaf ears.

Years ago, Fiske started doing research on Beacon’s when he found a 1963 "Surfing Guide of Southern California Beaches." It did not use the possessive "Beacon’s"; it was "Beacon Beach." He searched local museum records and even the state’s library in Sacramento.

His research showed the beach got its name from an aeronautic beacon mounted on the bluff, overlooking the ocean. Fiske found a 1939 aeronautical map showing seven such beacons in use from Dana Point to Point Loma. They flashed every ten seconds, as a navigational guide to airplanes.

1948 USGS topographical map

“It's not supposed to be Beacon’s,” says Fiske emphatically. “It's Beacon.”

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Encinitas band driven out by gentrification

San Diego Reader:
Lo-Fi Nipple was created by Reynolds and Finkbiner for a one-off Fourth of July party in their native Encinitas in 1997. That kicked off a ten-year run playing bars “along Highway 101 from O.B. to Hollywood.”

The project has been dormant partly because the funky Leucadia scene that nurtured them has changed.

“We played the Leucadian on Halloween right before they lost their music permit,” says Reynolds of the Coast Highway venue that pulled the plug on live bands four years ago. “That was our go-to location. We could roll our amps there from our homes. We once broke their one-night alcohol-selling record. We lost our home-court advantage....”

As Greater Encinitas has become overrun with more upscale hangouts, Reynolds says its hard to find the funk.

“Peabody’s [in Encinitas] wanted us to sign an agreement that we wouldn’t do the shenanigans that trashed the Leucadian: no throwing tortillas at ceiling fans...and they are still trying to kill music at the Kraken [in Cardiff] and that place has been there 40 years.”

NCTD to rain down great fury upon track-crossers

The North County Transit District announced last week that it is "significantly increasing" its enforcement against trespassing along its Coaster rail corridor, which runs from Oceanside to San Diego through Carlsbad, Encinitas, Solana Beach, Del Mar and La Jolla, and along its Sprinter rail corridor, which runs from Oceanside to Escondido through Vista and San Marcos.

Those crossing the track illegally or trespassing on the railroad right-of-way will face criminal penalties for their violation of the law by NCTD’s Transit Enforcement Division Officers, or the San Diego County Sheriff’s Transit Enforcement Services Unit, NCTD officials stated in a news release. The penalties for trespassing on the railroad right-of-way can result in fines up to $500 and/or six months in jail, according to NCTD.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Planning Commission to explore "community character areas"

Is that like "free speech areas?"

From the Inbox:
The Planning Commission meeting for Aug. 4 has "study" items. One of them is the beginning of the design guidelines (2014) that was finalized into the At Home in Encinitas ordinance.

This is from page 2:
Other guideline revisions resulted from comments provided by the Planning Commission, project applicants, and consultants. These comments pertained to confusion over the definition of study areas to be evaluated and the high cost of the studies. In order to clarify the definition of broader community study areas for evaluation, staff is now proposing to use the community character exhibits (Attachment PC-1) previously prepared for the City’s Housing Element Update. These exhibits portray “community character areas” throughout Encinitas and allow for a more loosely defined study area that can be used to define the broader community study areas for analysis. In addition, staff removed the need to conduct land use analyses as provided in the guidelines. This deletion allowed the analyses to provide a greater focus on community character and scenic resources while lowering the cost of the studies.

At this time, staff will receive input from the Planning Commission, incorporate any necessary revisions, and return to the Planning Commission with a finalized version of the guidelines for additional review and comment.
Here is the link: