The City of Encinitas is divided. Half its residents tilt left, half tilt right, but all love the beach.
Background. In 2006, the California State government was persuaded by an NGO called the ICLEI to create a cookie-cutter ‘one-size-fits-all’ series of environmentally sensitive mandates that at their essence force cities to plan for future low-income growth and this mandated growth needs to be adjacent to transportation hubs.
The Idea. The idea behind AB32 and SB375 is that when low-income housing is very near mass transit, fewer personal automobiles will be driven and the carbon footprint of California will be reduced.
While Sacramento’s heart might be in the right place, this one-size-fits-all approach has proven a disastrous approach for Encinitas; which is literally a bedroom community where 90% of adults that work 40 hours a week or more work outside of Encinitas, meaning they commute.
So, what happens when the Planning Staff and Councilperson appointed with bringing the City of Encinitas into compliance with AB32 and SB375 take advantage of their assignment by the City Council and spend over a million dollars to create a completely ‘new’ or ‘updated’ General Plan that not only does not reflect the culture or wishes of contemporary Encinitas, but slowly buy surely phases the personal automobile out of usage in Encinitas and purposefully uses the creation of ‘gridlock’ on El Camino Real and Encinitas Boulevard in a conscious
Program designed to exasperate commuters into either driving ‘around’ Encinitas or abandoning their cars altogether to and this is a quote “transform” El Camino Real into a walk-able’ community.”
Who asked the Planning Staff to do this? Not the Council. No, they are answering to the international funding and planning group ICLEI.
What follows is the three-year history of a minority Councilperson and radicalized Planning Staff that has spent a tremendous amount of taxpayer’s money to try to create according to Executive Planner, Patrick Murphy, “A Plan for moving Encinitas beyond the automobile.”
The problem of course, is that if you design a general Plan that is hostile to commuters and the use of a personal automobile, you severely curtail or retard the commuter’s ability to drive to work and bring back his/her paycheck to Encinitas, while at the same time severely limiting the sales tax generated by the two commercial corridors. The ‘Draft’ created by Councilwoman Teresa Barth, her choice for a consultant, MIG and the Planning Staff never changed from the day it was approved ‘in concept’, the million dollars plus that the was expended on ‘updating’ the General Plan was used in a Delphi Method manner that spent the money trying to convince the electorate that the ‘Draft’ posted on 9-1-2011 was culled from ideas generated by the public; and today, the Council, the City Manager, the town councils, members of the GPAC, ERAC and a growing number of citizens acknowledge that nothing could be further than the truth.
Barth/MIG/Planning Staff created a plan that can not financially support the growing needs of Encinitas and the startling part for the Network, was the realization that A) They understood what they were doing and B) They are still trying to find a way, any way, to retain the ‘Land-Use’ and ‘Housing’ Element that place 95% of future low-income growth be located in New Encinitas.
Much has happened in now almost the fourth year of ‘updating’ the General Plan: and it’s only since July 16, 2012 that the City Council has finally forced the Planning Staff to comply with its direction to return to using the 1989 approved General Plan and to begin truly ‘updating’ it: nearly three years later.
Year One, New Encinitas is Targeted
Acting at the direction of the State of California; decisions are made in Sacramento to force most cities
To ‘Update’ their ‘Housing Element’; this means that the City must develop a ‘Map of Opportunity’ that would demonstrate ‘where’ future ‘low-income’ growth (to the tune of 1300 multi-family units plus more at higher income levels) be located. This plan was hatched in Sacramento in 2006; before the recession.
After receiving a RHNA number (Regional Housing Needs Association), 1300, from the regional group, SanDag (San Diego Association of Governments). While the “Housing Element’ was mandated to be ‘updated’, the 1989 General Plan was not scheduled to be ‘updated’ until 2014.
In 2009 the Planning Staff suggested to the Council that the ‘Housing Element’ and the General Plan could be ‘updated’ at the same time as the ‘Housing Element’ following the appointment of a ‘Climate Action Plan’ that was determined without citizen participation and which followed was a blue-print for reducing the City’s overall carbon footprint.
The City Council appointed a subcommittee to ‘head-hunt’ for a consultant to help update the ‘General Plan’ who would be required to hire the already chosen ‘Housing’ Specialist, Veronica Tam.
Chaired by Councilwoman Teresa Barth, the ‘Search’ Committee found its consultant, a Professor from the University of California at Berkeley; a Specialist’ in ‘Sustainability’ and ‘New Urbanism’. Councilwoman made the motion to pay Daniel Iacofano over a million dollars to ‘Update’ the General Plan and ‘Housing Element’. NOTE: Only the ‘Housing Element’ was required to be ‘updated’, not the General Plan.
On August 18, 2009, the Planning Staff brought a plan before the City Council that targeted the commercial corridors and shopping centers for ‘renovation’, the focus being that a ‘mixed-use’ overlay (map) would be lain over the to commercial corridors and any future low-income housing would be shoe-horned into or onto commercial properties along El Camino Real and Encinitas Boulevard.
On the same evening of 8-19-09, the City Council also approved a $110,000 allocation to a ‘traffic’ consultant, whom would ‘update’ the ‘traffic’ modeling for the City. There were 7 speakers against this allocation, because it put out for bid with a statewide RFP (Request for Proposal). When questioned by the public, then Mayor Houlihan explained to the speakers that she had spoken at length with the ‘traffic’ consultant and they had discussed ‘How’ to undue the damage to the City’s traffic of having made Encinitas too ‘comfortable’ and ‘convenient’ for commuters. The gist of her explanation called for allowing intersections to ‘fail’ as a way to ‘train’ commuters to drive around Encinitas rather than through Encinitas. NOTE: The Planning Department was so confident that they would prevail with their preferred plan of consciously created gridlock and a reduced LOS (traffic level of Service) that after the Council approved the allocation to the traffic consultant; the $110,000 ‘update’ traffic modeling based on ‘gridlock’ was, in fact, executed by the Consultant; which now doesn’t match up with the council Land-Use element ‘rejected’ by the City Council on 3-7-12. Planning Staff states that the ‘modeling’ isn’t ‘”complete” yet.
Finally, also on 8-19-09, the City Council approved $12,000 in allocated funds to ‘join’ the ICLEI; the International Commission for Local Environmental Initiatives; an NGO, or a non-government organization that ‘shares’ data with members with cities that that wish to address climate-change. Who funds this group and pays the many climate engineers and planners? In reality, nobody knows; yet, our city, like hundreds of others in California have chosen to accept their data as a ‘fact’. Why? Because it was cheaper.
Planning Staff told Council that MIG, Daniel Iacofano was chosen because he had the most experience in ‘sustainability’; which sounded great, but when it was detailed in the first update ‘Draft’, the Barth/MIG/Planning Staff ‘Draft’ was neither a plan to sustain our local culture nor anything the General Plan Advisory Committee had actually approved. NOTE: Planning Staff had used the ‘DELPHI” Method during the three citywide workshops which gives participants the illusion of participation, but in reality, the Planning Staff’s predetermined destination of targeting the commercial property owners in New Encinitas as the unknowing recipients of unwanted low income growth.
Patrick Murphy, Department Head for Planning Staff decides the ‘map of opportunity’ will show almost all future growth will be located along El Camino real and Encinitas Boulevard; this focus, from Day One of this long process. This is documented in the Staff recommendations from 8-19-12.
By the 10th of January 2010, when the General Plan advisory committee was chosen and only 1 out of 23 committee members was representing New Encinitas.
A year later, in January of 2011 the Barth/MIG/Planning Staff updated ‘Draft’ is posted online; 95% of future low-income growth detailed in the ‘map of opportunity’ is located along El Camino real and Encinitas Boulevard. Not one owner of any of the commercial properties targeted by Murphy and Project Manager Diane Langager have been apprised that the million dollar plan is predicated upon their reinvesting in their own properties, which are also ground zero for Staff-created gridlock, “during peak AM and PM’ hours.
On May 11, 2011, the Planning Staff and MIG continue to ‘update’ the City Council by quoting GPAC members when, in fact, not only had their never been consensus on the GPAC, any true and in depth evaluation had never been allowed.
Network Informs New Encinitas Private Property Owners
18 months into the process, February, 2011, the New Encinitas network began contacting the commercial property owners to inform them that their properties had been targeted for the mixed-use overlay and the planned gridlock to help turn El Camino Real into a ‘walk-able’ community. When confronted with the fact that they had been carefully excluded from the 18 month process, Planning Staff answered by claiming they sent a post card to everyone in the City. Not only did not one property owner recall receiving the notice, a careful reading of the postcard distributed citywide said absolutely nothing about 1300 low-income units, mixed-use or the conscious degradation of traffic level of service along El Camino real and Encinitas Boulevard.
YEAR 2, the ‘Update’ Is Revealed, Public Responds
In March of 2011, the New Encinitas Business Network hosted a meeting for the commercial property owners with Patrick Murphy, Update Leader Diane Langager and Associate Planner, Mike Strong.
The video of the meeting at The Grauer School records Mr. Murphy stating that the Comprehensive General Plan Update was “A plan for Encinitas to move beyond cars…” When a property owner stated that this was the first she had heard of this and asked where they could object to this ‘Update’ that focuses on her property, Mr. Murphy answered, “Unfortunately Phase One and Phase Two of the ‘Update’ are closed to any further input.” Meaning, that while the property owners have been carefully excluded from this process while targeted, now that the owners were aware, it was too late for them to participate.
‘New Urbanism’ Planned For Beachtown Suburb
In June of 2011, the property owners met with Mr. Murphy, Ms. Langager and Mr. Strong to discuss the State mandates AB32 and SB375 that again are at the root of the ‘map of opportunity’ mandate by HCD, the State’s Housing and Community Development.
MIG Reports GPAC “Excited” About Gridlock
May 11, 2011 when MIG/Daniel Iacofano told the City Council that the GPAC members were “excited” about the possibilities in creating gridlock during “peak AM and PM hours” for the express purpose exasperating commuters to the point to which they give up driving their cars; just as Patrick Murphy described at the The Grauer School public meeting, the ‘Draft’ is a plan to abandon automobiles.
Planning Staff Continues Obfuscation
When asked to explain WHY the foundation of the ‘Updated’ General Plan was ‘New Urbanism, Complete Streets and Place-based Zoning’, Mr. Murphy claimed he didn’t know much about it and referred to Mr. Strong who also claimed little knowledge of the terms, though he did state that he had read “an article in a magazine” but didn’t remember much about it. The date was June 23, 2011.
The Truth Is Out
On Thursday, September 1, 2011, the Planning Staff posted over a thousand pages of the completed
Barth/MIG/Planning Staff ‘Draft; which was completely based on the principles of ‘New Urbanism’, Complete Streets and Place-based Zoning; 68 days after claiming little to no knowledge of the terms/concepts.
On September 13th, 2011, the Network contacted the New Encinitas Town Council to inform them about the Barth/MIG/Planning Department ‘Draft’. The next evening, 16 speakers, alarmed by an e-mail/alarm from the Network to 1800 Encinitas recipients addressed the City Council. Not one member of the GPAC, not one member of a town council, not one home-owner from New Encinitas addressed the Council.
90% of the speakers before the Council were members of the Network.
Planning Makes Public ‘Update’ Hearings Disappear
A month prior to the September 14th, 2011 City Council meeting, the Planning Staff, without the new City Manager’s or City Council’s knowledge, arbitrarily cancelled public hearings about the GP ‘Update’, that Diane Langager had described to the City Council on May 11, 2011.
Year Three, Council Struggles To Control Planning Staff
On September 14th, 2011, the Encinitas City Council attempted to take back control of the ‘process’ for updating the ‘Housing Element’ and “General Plan’.
The City Council voted unanimously to ‘Reboot’ the update process. A Subcommittee to suggest ‘How’ to form another Ad Hoc Committee is approved, only this time, the committee would have representation of and by the New Encinitas private property and business owners that had been selectively excluded in the GPAC process.
Barth, Murphy and Langager Attempt a Coup
Before the Subcommittee could return its recommendations to the full Council, Patrick Murphy, Diane Langager led by Councilwoman Teresa Barth, held private meetings and attempted to usurp the process and kill the ‘Reboot’. When Councilwoman Gaspar reported out to the full Council about the coup attempt, Barth contacted the press and tried to foist a phony Brown Act violation on Gaspar. Despite the attempt by the authors of the Barth/MIG/Planning Staff’s attempt to retain the Barth/MIG/Planning Staff ‘Draft’, the Council voted to create the Element Review Advisory Committee.
Planning Staff Mutinies in March
In March of 2012, the Planning Staff advised the City Council that regardless of the merits of any ideas created by the ERAC, there was no time left to evaluate their ‘Draft’ and that if the City Council did not heed their warning, the Council would be guilty of ‘defiance’ of the State of California.
Staff’s ‘Draft’ Land-Use’ Element Rejected
In response to the hubris of the City Staff, the City Council voted to reject and repudiate the ‘Land-Use’ Element created by Barth, the Planning Staff and MIG. In fact, the Council gave direction that there would be no further work for MIG with the City of Encinitas.
Instead of the process continuing under Murphy, Langager and Strong, an Independent Facilitator, Mr. Peder Norby was directed to lead the ‘Reboot’.
The ERAC began to meet and prepare recommendations on ‘How’ to fulfill the mandated ‘map of opportunity’ for HCD.
Planning Staff Brings Discredited GPAC Back To Life
Distraught at the lack of control Staff now had over the ‘Update’, without City Council permission they reconstituted the GPAC, even though over half the original members either refused to return or refused to fill out the newly required #700 Statement of Income’ forms and were replaced with new members who were without two years of experience.
Barth Endorsee Forwards Video Clips of ERAC To Anonymous Blogs
Meanwhile, Barth endorsed a ‘Sustainability’ candidate for one of the three city council seats ‘up’ in the Fall of 2012. This candidate, Lisa Shaffer, who came to possess a ‘death-bed’ video endorsement from the late Councilwoman Houlihan, began to attend ERAC meetings and video tape members and attendees of the ERAC meetings and then forward them to two anonymous websites that would post the videos and disparage those video recorded by Ms. Shaffer and thereby interrupt the successful operation of the ERAC.
Barth’s Actions Are Louder Than Words
As summer 2012 began, Barth political allies: Shaffer, Audet, Lindeman and the Turneys declare Jihad on the ERAC and all other endeavors that would fairly disperse any future growth elsewhere throughout the City, rather than just New Encinitas. GPAC member, Rachelle Collier, also prominent in the Leucadia Town Council, publishes a letter in the North County Times decrying the fact that the private property owners in New Encinitas have been able to achieve the ‘Reboot’. Collier opines that there could have been a ‘compromise’; but other GPAC members acknowledge that when New Encinitas was excluded from the GPAC meetings, the property owners weren’t there to compromise. Collier recently had an active city council election campaign committee, though the proponent of needle exchanges in Leucadia hasn’t pulled papers for the 2012 race to this point. While mildly confusing, Colliers point appears that the future growth should main in New Encinitas and not be shared by Leucadia.
Coast News Opinion Writer and Turneys Declare War on Peder Norby, Facilitator of ERAC.
A Bonde-like coordinated attack on the credibility of Peder Norby begins mid-May of 2012. Several letters of inquiry from Barth endorsee Lisa Shaffer to the City Manager appeared, questioning the appointment of Norby to assistance on the ‘Reboot’; followed swiftly behind her inquiry in June of 2012, was an attack on Norby’s reputation by a member of the ‘Encinitas Project’, Jim Kydd’s lead opinion writer for the local weekly periodical, The Coast News, Andrew Audet. Audet was assisted by Leucadia Camellia-growers and Shaffer supporters, Susan and Dean Turney; who donated six minutes to Audet to allow him to present a videotape in attempt to besmirch the reputation of Peder Norby, in another attempt to remove Norby from the ‘Reboot’ equation. This Audet/Turney video purported to ‘show’ that Norby had misrepresented the results of the Cardiff Specific Plan. The video was so informationally incoherent that it did not successfully convince the Council not to renew Norby’s contract. Though it did bring to light a serious Fair Political Practices Commission violation finding questioning Andrew Audet, Herb Patterson and Gerald Sadomka about Bob Bonde’s private post office box? A violation that at the time of the public hearing had never been answered by the Coast News’ Audet.
Leucadia Activists, ‘Encinitas Project’ Attack New Encinitas Network
As soon as members of the ‘Encinitas Project’ failed to destroy the ERAC progress by removing the Facilitator, one member of the agitators, spurred on by the anonymously authored ‘Encinitas Underground’ blog which copies and pasted the list of members belonging to the new Encinitas Network and intimated that maybe someone should contact (interrupt) the businesses listed on the Network website. One example of ‘harassment’ by the ‘Encinitas Project’ members, Leucadian Kathleen Lindeman, involves Lindeman repeatedly calling one of the Network Member/business owners at their business; but not succeeding; Chagrinned perhaps Lindeman began calling the Network member at home to complain about the Network/Andreen and the ERAC. When asked ‘How’ Lindeman had been able to contact her at home, Lindeman explained to the Network member that they both worked for the same school district and that she had used the personnel telephone directory. Lindemann is retired from teaching.
Unable to remove Norby or ruin Andreen, frustrated that for over a decade they have not been able to get a ‘Majority’ of extremists on the City Council, the members of the ‘Encinitas Prohect’ have taken action to take any and almost all decision-making responsibilities from the Encinitas City Council. The ‘Encinitas Project’ has registered with the City a notice to circulation a petition that will require roughly 6000 signatures of registered Encinitas voters, that if passed, the Initiative would require any commercial property owner that would seek to reinvest and renovate their commercial property, that they would have to expend between $350,000 to $500,000 the cost of a special election: to ask permission of the electorate every time a new business moving to Encinitas, the Special Election costs, at times, a half million dollars would have to be expended by the property owner, the request to renovate put on a ballot and left to the judgment of the voters; requiring 50% of the voters plus 1.
Example: if the ‘Encinitas Right To Vote’ were currently the law and the owners of the McDonalds that burned down in the Sprout’s Center wanted to rebuild it exactly as it was in the 70’s, they would have to underwrite a Special Election of the half million dollars before they have spent one nickel on plans, materials labor etc…
Two other cities have passed a financial ’death sentence’ Initiative such as the ‘Encinitas Project’ is asking folks to sign on to this summer, Escondido and Yorba Linda. (The Initiative is based on Yorba Linda’s 2006 Special Election) Investment capital for renovation of their commercial real estate is non-existent and consequently their city’s finances are in freefall. Oh, one other quick note; if this Initiative does make it to 6000 signatures, that half million dollars for a Special Election comes out of your pocket book. That’s right, the homeowners and taxpayers of Encinitas get to underwrite a plan to condemn the City to financial suicide. If the Initiative passes or is adopted, Encinitas will become a ‘second class’ citizen/city; just like Escondido and Yorba Linda. No businessperson or group will invest a half million dollars into a Special Election to ask “permission” to renovate a property; therefore, this is a completely ‘no growth’ Initiative; period.
As Ms. Collier would say, be aware!
Latest Hubris and ‘Sleight of Hand’ by Staff
Also in June 2012, at the end of an ERAC meeting that was putting the finishing touches on a three month ‘Housing Exercise’, the ‘Update’ Planning Associate in charge of the ‘Update’, Diane Langager stated that not all of the ‘Draft’ Land Use Element rejected and repudiated publicly by the entire City Council on March 7th, 2012 had been thrown out.
Members of the ERAC that had attended the 3-7-12 City Council meeting were not surprised to hear this from a member of the Planning Staff, as they had seen the Staff in action for several years now.
GENERAL PLAN UNCHAINED
At the formal request of the New Encinitas Business Network, the City Council clarified for the Network that Ms. Lanager and the Planning Staff were mistaken; in fact, the City Council again repudiated the ‘Land-Use’ Element created by Ms. Langager and agreed with the Network’s formal request to direct the ERAC to return to the 1989 current General Plan and unanimously directed Staff to create a strike-though/redlined version of the ‘Draft’ so citizens could read and recognize what the Planning Staff intended.
Now, 35 months plus, since the Planning Staff knowingly targeted both El Camino Real and Encinitas Boulevard for low-income housing and reduced levels of traffic service, a ‘real’ updating of the General Plan can begin.
Pasted below is a letter from Ms. Langager informing the ERAC members of a pause in the process caused by the new requirement of a strike-through/redlined version of the 1989 or current General Plan.
From: Diane Langager [mailto:DLangag@encinitasca.gov]
Sent: Thursday, July 19, 2012 1:40 PM
To: Diane Langager
Cc: Peder Norby; Laurie Winter; Michael Strong; Patrick Murphy; Gus Vina
Subject: July 26, 2012 ERAC meeting is Cancelled
To ERAC committee members,
Based on Council direction given to staff at the July 18, 2012 Council meeting, additional time is needed to fully prepare for the next ERAC meeting; therefore, we are canceling the upcoming ERAC meeting scheduled for Thursday, July 26, 2012.
Council directed staff to have the ERAC further address housing methodologies before presenting the final report to the city council. Council also directed that, as part of the Element review, ERAC is to use the existing Encinitas General Plan as the base document for editing, and use the draft General Plan as a resource document with the understanding that zoning/land use changes in the draft is off the table.
As part of the new direction, we will provide you with a hard copy of the existing General Plan; if you prefer to work electronically and do not want a hard copy please let us know.
Additionally, given the new direction, you do not need to complete the homework assignment given at the last meeting related to review of the draft General Plan.
Again, the ERAC meeting scheduled for July 26, 2012 is cancelled. As we further prepare we will inform you when we will reconvene.
CODA: Make no mistake, those who are bound and determined to locate most of the State mandated future growth solely in New Encinitas will not be deterred, whether they are part of the Barth/MIG/Planning Department group who formed and misled the GPAC, or whom write supposedly fact-based opinion pieces for the local weekly, will stop trying to return the ‘map of opportunity/capacity’ focus to New Encinitas.
Neither will the Network fail to continue to defend private property rights, residential and commercial, throughout the City.
Now that the current 1989 General Plan is finally going to be in a strike-out/redline version by the ERAC, perhaps the entire public will now be able to recognize just how far afield the Barth/MIG/Planning Staff went in creating their preferred future without personal automobiles; because, in fact, the Planning Staff took advantage of the City Council, instead of updating the General Plan, they attempted to reinvent Encinitas according to their own and ICLEI’s environmental agenda.
Barth Calls for Transparency While Secretly Endorsing Just The Opposite
Finally, its puzzling and amusing that the very people who purport to cherish ‘transparency’ and flood the media, support and endorse individuals who attempted to deceive the City Council with not so cleverly edited videos, support the interrupting of hard working business owners attempting to quash first amendment rights and endorse candidates that surreptitiously videotape volunteers and forward them to anonymously hosted blogs that belittle their work and efforts at her behest, or candidates who attempt to impugn the actions and honesty of council members/political opponents with the help of Watch Dog reporters and when proven wrong, attempt to stop the reporter from reporting the truth of their participation in impugning an opponent’s actions or motives.