Monday, September 30, 2019

City Sues Citizens

On September 6 the City of Encinitas filed a lawsuit against Encinitas residents, naming 100 [John] DOEs as defendants along with “other unknown persons or entities claiming any interest in the subject of this litigation as DOE defendants.”  At Council direction, the City is effectively suing its own residents for their participation in Proposition A “Right to Vote Initiative” (Prop. A), Measure T, and Measure U elections. 

The City seeks to overturn the results of the 2013 election that passed Prop. A and replace the current requirement for voter approval of Housing Element Updates (HEU) with a simple Council majority.  These required updates represent the bulk of all upzoning in Encinitas. 

Citing the failures of Measures T and U, the City claims that Prop. A interferes with its ability to comply with state housing law.  Residents who voted against Measures T and U maintain that the City far exceeded State housing requirements in its desire to provide maximum profits to developers.  Voters viewed these measures as gifts to developers and the reason for their majority No votes.  Examples of these gifts included: low percentage of affordable housing; Prop. A nullification clauses; and greater building heights than necessary.

The City further alleges that it negotiated Measures T and U with HCD (Department of Housing and Community Development) yet despite claims of transparency failed both times to provide requested verification to the public of such negotiations through minutes, emails, and recordings.  The City also maintains that it considered resident input in crafting Measures T and U; however, no proof of this input having been incorporated is evident in either plan.

Prop. A was a single issue Special Election with 12,873 people taking part in the vote.  It is unclear from the lawsuit how many of the people who participated in the Prop. A, Measure T, and Measure U elections are named in the lawsuit.

Click the link to view the lawsuit: Complaint for Declaratory Relief

Fire burns Mozy Cafe, Shatto & Sons, Peace Pies, Cali Life

Fox 5:
A blaze ripped through a well-known Encinitas cafe and three attached businesses early Monday morning.

The fire broke out at Mozy Cafe, off North Coast Highway 101 and Daphne Street in the Leucadia neighborhood, some time after midnight.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Blakespear vs. 5G

Encinitas Votes:
In pandering to a pressure group, and misleading them about what the city can do to help their cause, she has actually done material harm to that cause. And by quoting the email contents publicly, the group STOP 5G Encinitas itself has shot itself in the foot. If the mayor actually planned to wield the restored decision powers in the wake of a legal victory over the FCC to slow and block the expansion of 5G, then she would have considerably more latitude to do so without everyone knowing about this email.

And now that Encinitas is a party to the lawsuit, the mayor’s email may become evidence in court that the FCC could use to demonstrate that municipalities should not have restored local powers, because they plan to abuse them. Ironically, Encinitas joining the suit may hurt plaintiffs’ chances of winning.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

9/25/19 City Council meeting open thread

Tonight’s hot topic: Blakespear vs. the cyclists!

Please use the comments to record your observations.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Blakespear pleads for public support for bike lane removal

Mayor Blakespear’s newsletter:

Let me start this newsletter with a big thank you to everyone who has written an email in support of the barrier-protected bikeway along Highway 101 through Cardiff. The City Council will consider the proposal this Wednesday. Please keep your supportive emails coming to our Encinitas elected officials at! And importantly, please come out Wednesday to speak to the City Council at City Hall, located at 505 S Vulcan Avenue. The meeting starts at 6 p.m., but I would predict that this item won’t be heard until after 7 p.m.
Blakespear’s proposal would eliminate the existing bike lane and force cyclists to choose between a 45 mph car lane and a pedestrian walkway full of families with beach gear.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Neptune land owners lose seawall and setback appeal

4th Appellate District ruling:
The Commission's appeal challenges the trial court's disapproval of the special conditions requiring (1) the home to be set back 60 to 62 feet from the edge of the bluff, instead of the 40-foot setback approved by the City of Encinitas (the City); and (2) a waiver by the Lindstroms of any right to construct a shoreline protective device, such as a seawall, to protect the home from damage or destruction from natural hazards at any time in the future.
Result: no seawall, 60 foot setback.

Analysis here.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

9/18/2019 City Council meeting open thread

Please use the comments to record your observations.

Will the Cardiff Bike Obstacle Course go the way of our innovative mayor's other inventions like jazz hands and mandatory mediation? The vote isn't until next week, but we're likely to get an earful from cyclists tonight.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Blakespear pushes Cardiff separated bikeway over objections of cyclists

Mayor Blakespear’s newsletter:
I’m excited to tell you about a proposal to create a protected bike way, sometimes called a cycle track, on Highway 101 through Cardiff and across the lagoon, from Chesterfield Drive south to the border with Solana Beach. A cycle track is a physically separated bicycle-exclusive path along a road.

This project would upgrade the existing Class II Bicycle Lane to a Class IV Cycle Track, as shown in the graphic below, effectively connecting our 1.3-mile Cardiff Rail Trail to the 1.7-mile Solana Beach Rail Trail.

Bike advocacy groups and individual cyclists of all stripes are reportedly adamantly opposed, as this idea would take away the current bike lane which works well and put cyclists in danger of collision with people crossing from parked cars carrying surfboards and other beach gear to the beach.

The idea was pushed through by staff against the recommendation of the Traffic Commission.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

CCC not buying what developer is selling

The California Coastal Commission cited "environmental justice concerns and public waterfront access issues" when it rejected its own staff's approval of developer consultant David Meyer's density bonus project.  

Lagoon housing plans flagged

The 48-unit density bonus project is located on a prime blufftop along La Costa Avenue west of I-5, overlooking Batiquitos Lagoon.

Commissioners objected to the clustering of the four low-income houses and their location on top of contaminated nursery soil.  They took issue with the much-touted overlook that does not allow access to the lagoon.

In contrast to Coastal Commissioners, the Encinitas City Council did not hesitate to unanimously approve the project when it came before them.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Belated 9/11/19 City Council meeting open thread

What did we miss?

Surfer dies at Moonlight Beach

KUSI: The body of a surfer was found floating offshore from Moonlight State Beach Wednesday afternoon. The death in the ocean off the coast of Encinitas was reported as an apparent drowning shortly before 4:30 p.m., sheriff’s Lt. Michelle Craig said.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Not that there's anything wrong with that

A man brandishing a black handgun and wearing a wig and yellow dress robbed a U.S. Bank branch in Encinitas Saturday afternoon, authorities said.
Thanks for the tip @_Torqued.

City celebrates participation trophy for financial statements

City of Encinitas press release:
Monday, Sept. 9, 2019

Highest honor in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting

Encinitas, CA - An Award of Financial Reporting Achievement has been awarded to the City of Encinitas Finance Department for their role in preparing the award-winning comprehensive annual financial report. The City was awarded a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for its Fiscal Year 2017-2018 comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR). The Certificate of Achievement is the organization's highest form of recognition for governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.

"The City of Encinitas prides itself on the critical role and responsibility it has to properly manage and report the City's finances," said Mayor Catherine Blakespear. "Encinitas residents and business owners deserve the best accounting and financial reporting available. This honor demonstrates our commitment to manage the City's finances in the most transparent and efficient way."

The City's CAFR was judged by an impartial panel of GFOA members and staff to meet the high standards of the program, which includes demonstrating a constructive "spirit of full disclosure" to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate potential users and user groups to read the CAFR.

For more information about the GFOA Certificate of Achievement, please contact Michele Mark Levine at (312) 977-9700 or

Government Financial Officers Association:
GFOA congratulates the 4,328 organizations awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the fiscal year ended 2017.
UPDATE: 67.46% of cities in Encinitas' size range get the award. It's unclear whether any of the other 33% of cities participated, but the correlation of award rate and size of city is strongly suggestive that many cities don't bother to participate.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Public-transit-pushing SANDAG boss gets $1,000/month car allowance

Well, that's embarrassing.

Last week's post about SANDAG Director Hasan Ikhrata wanting to make driving and parking prohibitively expensive and difficult brought this question:
How does Hasan get to and from work?

Does he park?

If so, what does he pay?
Thanks to a tip from Twitter user @_Torqued:

The compensation is a significant increase from what Gallegos had been making, about $310,000 a year. The position also comes with a vehicle allowance of $1,000 a month, participation in the CalPERS pension plan, a supplemental SANDAG retirement plan, four weeks of vacation and $10,000 in relocation assistance.

Ikhrata downplayed the compensation package on Friday, saying that he was motivated to take the job because of the potential for improving the region’s transportation system.

Pro skater Rob Lorifice pleads guilty in federal drug case

Robert Lorifice, a North County professional skateboarder, and his then-girlfriend Elizabeth Alexandra Landis, pleaded guilty in federal court today to possessing methamphetamine and heroin with the intent to distribute.

Lorifice and Landis admitted to possessing the methamphetamine, heroin and other controlled substances with the intent to distribute them and that Lorifice, with Landis’ assistance, coordinated deals utilizing phone calls, text messages and communication through other apps; and they admitted to selling methamphetamine, heroin and other controlled substances for money.
Each of the two counts carries a maximum of 40 years in prison.

Lorifice has owned his home in a quiet neighborhood of New Encinitas since 2007.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Another bluff collapse in Leucadia

A section of bluff collapsed in Encinitas Sunday night but no injuries were reported, a sheriff’s official said.

The collapse was reported around 8:30 p.m. An hour after the incident, the department said it still was light on details other than the area had already been cleared and was somewhere near Neptune Avenue, which runs the length of the beach.