Friday, December 30, 2016

Brandenburg, Mosca, Marotta apply for vacant council seat

Coast News:
Planning Commissioner Tony Brandenburg, Parks and Recreation Commissioner Joseph Mosca and retired technology executive Daniel Marotta have submitted applications for the vacancy, according to the Encinitas City Clerk’s office.
We've suspected that former LA-area politician Mosca was eyeing a council seat ever since he surfaced in Encinitas in early 2015.

UPDATE: Some discussion of Mosca's history on the Sierra Madre City Council here. And Mosca donated the maximum $250 to everyone on the council majority: Catherine Blakespear, Tony Kranz, and Tasha Boerner Horvath.  Well played, Mosca!  It looks like the fix is in, and this is what we have to look forward to:

There's a very lively Mosca discussion going on in the comments today at the Sierra Madre Tattler.

UPDATE 2: The Tattler refutes a pro-Mosca statement posted in the comments below.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Readers question Voice of San Diego's slant on housing, Measure T

Former Supervisor Pam Slater-Price over at Encinitas Votes:
This article is a piece of poorly researched trash presented as factual information when it's nothing but a whiny apologia for cry baby developers. Facts are utterly ignored in order to make the citizens look like the bad guys when the truth is that greedy multimillionaire development interests are attempting to monetize every square inch of SD county to enrich their bottom line and destroy OUR quality of life! There is NO AFFORDABLE HOUSING produced by these schemes and VOSD has been shown the facts repeatedly but they refuse to listen. Then they keep dunning the reader for donations throughput their insults. Let Lilac Hills Randy Goodson and Encinitas David Meyers and their ilk support VOSD! Don't give them a stinking dime! And tell them why!
Most recent VoSD article here, which refers to earlier reports by Maya Srikrishnan.  We have no idea where she got her ax to grind, or why she has repeatedly written articles telling only one side of the story.

UPDATE: Here is Maya Srikrishnan's view on "journalism" (highlighting in original):

She doesn't have to tell Measure T opponents' side of the story because she's already decided they're all like Trump.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

CalPERS to charge cities much more; still not enough to cover pension obligations

... starting in 2018 and then phasing in over 8 years, at which point they'll still be extremely underfunded.

Sacramento Bee:
The cost of that government pension is about to go up again, for California taxpayers as well as some public employees.

CalPERS moved to slash its official investment forecast Tuesday, a dramatic step that will translate into billions of dollars in higher annual pension contributions from the state, local governments and school districts.


CalPERS’ Finance and Administration Committee voted 6-1 to lower the forecast from 7.5 percent to 7 percent in phases over three years, starting next July.


The move is a recognition that investment returns are falling and that the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, which is just 68 percent funded, needs higher contributions from government agencies to solve its long-term problems.

“We’re in a low-growth (investment) environment, and it’s expected to remain that way the next five to 10 years,” board member Henry Jones said.

CalPERS adviser Wilshire Consulting has predicted the fund will likely earn just 6.2 percent a year over the next decade, and critics such as Dan Pellissier of California Pension Reform said Tuesday’s move doesn’t go far enough.

Board members, however, defended the action as a compromise; it will help stabilize the fund while giving municipalities and other government agencies some breathing room before they absorb the impact. Richard Costigan, chairman of the finance committee, said CalPERS officials will continue to look at the fund’s investment strategies over the next year.

“This is just a start,” Costigan said.

The state will start to absorb the impact of higher rates with the start of the new fiscal year next July. Municipalities and school districts won’t start feeling the effect until a year later. All told, the higher contribution rates will be phased in over eight years.
The average Encinitas career retiree (30+ years of service) gets $98,700 per year for life, more than the median household income, and retires many years earlier than private sector workers (source: Transparent California).

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Council majority promised developers something it couldn't deliver

The settlement agreement:
Defendants will adopt an Updated Housing Element in accordance with the Housing Element Law no later than the date that the City Council adopts the resolution required by Elections Code Section 10263 declaring the results of the November 8, 2016 election.
The council majority (Kranz, Blakespear, and Shaffer, with Muir and Gaspar opposed) promised this to developers, knowing that the massive upzoning to three story mixed-use and 48-foot-high buildings without adequate parking would be highly unlikely to be approved by voters.

The city of Encinitas is now in an extremely difficult legal position, being in default of a settlement the council had no right to make nor reason to believe could possibly be fulfilled.

... which leads us to wonder: is this just gross incompetence, or is the council colluding with developers? Outgoing councilwoman Lisa Shaffer's comments would seem to support the latter view as she said:
I think we should be finding the cheapest and fastest way to get this to a judge.

Washout at beach tower site

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.
- Matthew 7:24-27

Looks like big trouble at the city's $3 million lifeguard tower.

From the Inbox:
I was talking to a contractor that mentioned the wash out at the lifeguard tower construction site on Moonlight Beach. He claimed the runoff from the adjacent streets overwhelmed the flimsy drainage set-up at the site and has done damage. The caisson holes were drained and there are large gullies within the fenced off area, which can't be part of the plan. He suggested this will stall the project some and involve added costs. The specific details would probably have to be revealed by the contractor building the tower. Don't look for the city to publicize this incident, as someone forgot about winter rains.

The little black pipe was supposed to handle the run-off; the orange fencing is where the torrent actually tore thru. The other shots are erosion damage.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

David Meyer threatens legal action again

Developer David Meyer, husband of Ecke heiress Lizbeth Ecke, is threatening to take the city to court yet again, and wants the council to overturn the will of the voters on Measure T.

Threat letter here.

Friday, December 16, 2016

City contractor parks on flower garden at Cottonwood Creek

From the Inbox:
I took these pictures at 1pm today on Wed. Dec 14th 2016. On the corner of
Vulcan and Encinitas Blvd., city hired workers adjusting the flags decided
to simply park on the flowers and whether or not they were crushed was of
no concern to them. They could've parked and walked to the flagpoles to do
their job. 

The city manager was notified, and the next day the tire tracks were brushed away, but the smashed flowers haven't been replaced.  

Before and after:

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

12/14/16 City Council meeting open thread

Please use the comments to record your observations.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Progressives to take supermajority on city council; will they revive push for sales tax increase?

Progressives have taken a 3-1 majority on the Encinitas city council, and will be able to appoint a kindred spirit to the vacancy created by Catherine Blakespear's election to mayor.

In 2014, the Barth-Shaffer-Kranz majority pushed for the hiring of a sales tax increase campaign manager, but was thwarted only by the lack of a fourth vote to put a tax increase on the ballot when Mark Muir and Kristin Gaspar made it clear they would not go along.

Now the progressives have their fourth vote.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Bar patrons arrested after closing time seek $15 million in lawsuit

San Diego Reader:
According to the lawsuit, Bernardo Villanueva and some friends went to a bar with friends in downtown Encinitas in January of this year. Villanueva had two mixed drinks at the bar and was not intoxicated, claims the lawsuit. After the bar closed, the group of men walked to the 7-Eleven on D Street to buy beer and wait for an Uber driver to pick them up and take them home. Sheriff's deputy James Steinmeyer arrived at the store parking lot as the men waited for their ride.

According to the complaint, Steinmeyer and his partner were patrolling Encinitas streets on the lookout for those who were disturbing the peace on their way out of the bars.

Reads the complaint, "At that time, and in the moments prior, Steinmeyer had been accosting random pedestrians on the sidewalk, near bars in the vicinity of downtown Encinitas, for no apparent reason, other than to enforce a 'zero tolerance' ban on bar patrons being 'drunk in public.'"
Here's the court case. The presiding judge is Gonzalo Curio, recently famous for being called "Mexican" by Donald Trump.