Friday, December 21, 2012

Saying Good Bye

Our Mayor Stocks - The End

All 285 posts will be available. There may be another blog devoted to the Encinitas City Council and other Encinitas political drama.  Time for a bit of a break.  Updates or redirects will be posted here if something new develops. 

A month ago a "Clean Slate" post announced the plan to end on Dec. 21.  Read here for some further explanation.

Thursday, December 20, 2012


Update 12/20/12, 5pm, 5:30pm
Despite what seemed like a victory for the middle class with the Nov. 6 election results, our Capitulator-in-Chief is rumored to be considering cuts to Social Security.

Today there is the story in Coast News about  Rancho Santa Fe individual campaign contributions being $4.1 million this year.
Why were campaign contributions higher this year?

In regards to Rancho Santa Fe, UC San Diego political science professor Gary Jacobson said the large percentage of high-income individuals in the area likely played a role. President Barack Obama has insisted taxes go up on this bracket, fueling their opposition.

“This election was framed along economic lines,” Jacobson said. “In a wealthy area like Rancho Santa Fe that’s historically voted Republican, there was even more reason to be active.”

99% from zip code 92091 and 90% from 92067 went to Republican-backed candidates and organizations according to the FEC (Federal Election Commission). That’s according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which runs, a nonpartisan and nonprofit website dedicated to tracking money in politics.
Those in the "I've got mine, screw you" crowd didn't win as they planned. Even so, millions of people who believed that social security and other cuts would not be handed away are protesting. This list of Democrats from tracks your legislators' stands, and suggests you call if they are "Weak-kneed" or "Wavering" on cuts. With more from Esquire's Charles Pierce on "The Grand Sellout."

Our California Senators are on the Wavering List.  Give them a call.

Update Thurs., 5 pm:

Sen. Bernie Sanders Thursday on Senate Floor.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich on floor of House Thursday.

But of course, none of this is a big surprise for those of us who have been looking at President Obama's actions before the last campaign started. Senator DeFazio in June 2011.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Where, after all, do universal human rights begin?

“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home - so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt

Our New Mayor Teresa Barth and the rest of this new city council brought a flesh and blood example to Eleanor Roosevelt's quote to the Dec. 19th meeting. Starting with the mayor requesting a moment of silence for the women and children murdered in Sandy Hook School shootings and deliberating over safe walks to schools it felt very close to home.  In the planetary scheme of things, this little city council is a very small place close to home. But in item after item we got to hear conscientious regard for individuals and neighborhoods, schools, boards and community volunteer groups. The city clerk, city staff, city manager and city attorney were helpful and efficient. Yes, I'm gushing because I'd begun to think this simple reality might never be.

Concerted citizen action gave us this excellent opportunity of a council bent on dignity without discrimination. Even when this council disagreed with a public speaker, the speaker's ideas were regarded in discussions and future agenda suggestions. There is no clip because the entire meeting is worth a resident's time.

Golden Oldie - Developer vs Theatre

Tonight's city council meeting includes the agenda item for  General Plan Update (GPU) of the Kristin Gaspar construct, ERAC (pronounced erase here):
Council Discussion and Direction regarding the  regarding the Element Review Advisory Committee (ERAC) vacancy, attendance and quorum; and the Housing Policy Report presentation schedule.
This prompted thoughts of how deeply embedded key commercial development companies are in Encinitas city government.  (What Gaspar defines as the city stakeholders). The relationships are all intertwined with the past council majority.

And the dance that was the pretense of doing the public's business while actually serving these key players simply spells ERAC to this writer.

So Encinitas thought they were promised a theatre?  That was not going to happen with this crew.  Not ever . . .

Betrayal is part and parcel of so many city decisions over the years.  Remember this summer's cartoon from Mary Fleener, 2nd oldest profession?

Not for nothin', betrayal looms large in Washington, DC right now with lies that are the fiscal bluff.  

Friday, December 14, 2012

We Shouldn't Forget This Date

So It Begins . . .  On this auspicious date, our new Mayor Teresa Barth's very first agenda item invited open discussion of the much coveted, sometimes powerful, often lucrative regional board seats. This is shorthand for all city and regional committees and boards for calendar year 2013.

Confusing, mysterious, shrouded in power brokering and alliances that seemed weighted stronger than Encinitas public service responsibilities these regional board seats were ripe for discussion.

The public speakers offered practical, experiential advice and they were listened to as attested by the video clips of council members.

Mayor Barth explained her reasoning and facilitated a completely open discussion throughout. Notice how she doesn't dominate the discussion, censor or inhibit, but encourages full discussions. She follows through on details too. We note all of these as it is a refreshing change from past examples.  She will be making her selections at the next council meeting, Dec. 19th, the last meeting of 2012.

Deputy Mayor Lisa Shaffer offers a wealth of information and suggestions related to her perspective and that of the community and region in a couple of minutes.

Councilwoman Kristin Gaspar spoke quite a bit longer on her one choice for herself. She then offered her choices for the primary seats amongst the rest of the council.

Tony Kranz had one serious preference to be on NCTD board. His verbal gaffe (difficult to hear on the tape) "Mark's flop",rather than Mark's change, was laughed off for what it was - a goof.

Mark Muir presumes he will be first choice as both the water and fire or public safety guy.

You be the judge, the following high points from the three public speakers are included here. Do you think Mayor Barth and Deputy Shaffer and other council members were listening? In fairness, Mark made comments following the speakers that seemed to justify the status quo (not included in any clip here). He was essentially saying there were too many positions to effectively communicate to the public.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Magical Minute: Heads Up City Attorney

Like scratching and itch that had been just out of reach, the new Deputy Mayor Lisa Shaffer seized on a future agenda request that felt perfectly timely satisfying to this person watching.  It is time to assess the legal contracts within the City of Encinitas.

Boy Howdy! This is well overdue. Let the bright lights of open government shine on all of the legal services and effectiveness of these very highly paid services in house and outside. Glenn Sabine, not shown on camera, was said to have looked livid with eyes flashing and he began rocking back in his chair.  This is quite a different look from the face devoid of feeling, his regular demeanor.

Related News Update: Calaware has an article on government attorney billings being public.
An appellate court has concluded that bills submitted to state or local public agencies by attorneys for legal work are open to public review and copying and are not exempt from disclosure under the California Public Records Act’s protection for “records pertaining to pending litigation,” reports Kenneth Ofgang for the Metropolitan News-Enterprise in Los Angeles. The decision of the California Court of Appeal to that effect in County of Los Angeles v. Superior Court (Anderson-Barker) upheld the lower court’s ruling on the “records pertaining” exemption. The county chose not to appeal the lower court’s ruling that the billings were not protected by the attorney-client privilege either.

Our New Mayor Teresa Arballo Barth

Lisa Shaffer (new Deputy Mayor), Tony Kranz & Mark Muir with Kathy Hollywood, City Clerk. Patch

Photo via Dave Roberts Twitter. 

(Patch video removed because of autoplay feature.)
Update: encinitasyouneedus video clips and links to more local news stories. First, Stocks and Bond leave and the newly elected council members are sworn in and serenaded.

Teresa Barth addressed the old ways of disrespect and hurt and what the new approach will mean. Unlike the treatment of her where she was accused of not being a team player when she didn't vote with the majority, she spoke about the choice for someone to vote against the other four was a good thing.  It meant a person was willing to stand up to what he or she believes.  She speaks candidly about what she had thought this decision would be and turned to her colleagues for the nomination. The room erupted at the final unanimous vote.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Here Comes the Sun

The long cold winter of our voices, Teresa Barth's voice being frozen out is over. Tonight Stocks and Bond leave and Lisa Shaffer and Tony Kranz become our new city council members. Like Barth, they are committed to the sunshine of open government.

Thought it fitting to let Nina Simone's version be the song of the day.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Stocks Detox Continued

SANDAG Ex-Chairman Stocks & Executive Director Gallegos
Jerome Stocks is being removed from everything he controlled in Encinitas and the region.  Stocks falling from grace has come at a pretty steep price tag of misguided notions of legacy in his mayoral capacity and now in his chairmanship of the San Diego Association of Governments primary project.

The most recent failure relates to his trumpeted claims to fame with SANDAG's 250 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) and Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS), the first of California's Regional Plans to address transportation over the next 40 years. This plan was supposed to comply with the state law requiring its transportation plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next 25 years.

On January 21, 2012 the governor's office and state Attorney General Kamala Harris said "the SANDAG plan didn't go far enough to get San Diego drivers off the road and into buses, trolleys or bike lanes." This reported in Voice of San Diego by Rob Davis.

Next, Senator Kehoe addressed the Attorney General's and the public's criticism in her bill which would have, among other things, put transportation budget monies into the mass transit first.  All of the Interstate 5 widening posts written for Our Mayor can be found here.  The final one from April 27, 2012 meeting speaks to the Kehoe bill opposition Stocks single-handedly muscled through the Encinitas city council via his compliant cronies.
Within a week and despite outdated, non-relevant information, no staff analysis and even after almost 20 public speakers who waited up to 5 hours, some with expert testimony delivered around midnight, the resolution he wrote passed. This whole five hour meeting is the Encinitas machine in motion.
Fast forward to this week's news that San Diego County Superior Court judge upheld a lawsuit challenging the SANDAG
Tuesday's ruling, which mirrored a tentative ruling issued before Thanksgiving, said Sandag’s plan failed to clearly define its effects on greenhouse gasses, how to mitigate them and didn't adequately explain decisions within the plan.

Specifically, Sandag’s environmental review didn’t conform to an executive order issued by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2005.

This is a vindication of the well informed Encinitas citizens who attended meetings and challenged Jerome Stocks and the SANDAG and CalTrans plans to ignore quality of life, community character, public health and climate change in order to maintain the status quo that serves Big Oil above all else.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Big Media Shouldn't Get Bigger

Douglas Manchester buying The San Diego Union Tribune a year ago and then the North County Times and then bragging about wanting to buy LA Times was bad news for Encinitas.  "This is a GOP donor who took a respected paper and turned it into a corporate shill." Media Matters posted this title for an article on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012.

We were fortunate to have a local publisher, Jim Kydd, who knows what is going on in our local government, within the local education system and in our business community.  He involved himself in this last election and was smeared for it by Mayor Stocks and his supporters. But, Kydd was honored at a local party this season.

No matter what one's political background, there is agreement that the FCC needs to do it's job to disallow monopoly ownership like we have now with Rupert Murdock or or local version, Douglas Manchester.

Yes, the video above is from 2007. It is a sad testimony to the complete and utter melding of corporate business and government that now, during President Obama's administration, the FCC is not even allowing any public hearings as it meets secretly regarding Murdock's expansion plans. Bernie Sanders, (I)Vermont, met with Bill Moyers to discuss this and the following appear Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012.  At this blog and at EYNU, we believe this garbage journalism issue is fundamental in our community's understanding of what is broken, what must be fixed for the sake of democracy.
"In 1983, 50 corporations controlled a majority of American media. Now that number is six. And Big Media may get even bigger, thanks to the FCC’s consideration of ending a rule preventing companies from owning a newspaper and radio and TV stations in the same city. On this week’s Moyers & Company, Senator Bernie Sanders, one of several Senators who have written FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski asking him to suspend the plan, joins Bill to discuss why Big Media is a threat to democracy and what citizens can do to fight back. Watch and share two preview clips below." [editor: emphasis mine as we are in the middle of an unfolding story]
In the first clip, Sanders explains how letting Big Media have its way would limit discussion of “the real issues that impact ordinary people.” Sanders also expresses his dismay that such a move would come from an Obama appointee. “Why the Obama Administration is doing something that the Bush Administration failed to do is beyond my understanding,” Sanders tells Bill. “And we’re gonna do everything we can to prevent it from happening.”

In this second clip, Senator Sanders shares his belief that, unlike previous attempts, the FCC is trying to suspend the rule more secretly and without much public input. Sanders also talks about the effect of this action on minority- and women-owned media in particular.
Watch the full interview this weekend on Moyers & Company. Click here to find show times and channels in your area. 
Check out our “Fight Media Monopoly” spotlight page for the latest interviews, insight, and information on Big Media’s power play.

© 2012 Bill Moyers Media copied in its entirety from Common Dreams.

Additionally, our local Patch Online includes this article, "Local Media 'Dropped the Ball' in Covering Judge Candidate, KPBS News Chief Says." 
KPBS Senior News Editor Mark Sauer says “far right-wing” hopeful Gary Kreep was overlooked. [ . . . ]
Sauer admitted “failure” in KPBS not telling its radio and TV audiences (and website readers) about Kreep’s background, which included representing the birther movement as it challenged President Obama’s U.S. citizenship. 
The San Diego County Bar Association gave Kreep, a Ramona lawyer, its lowest rating—“lacking qualifications,” Sauer noted. 
Kreep defeated deputy district attorney Garland Peed 50 percent to 49.6 percent for judge office 34—winning by 1,739 votes out of 407,209 cast.
Addressing the thrust of this post, this failure of Big Media to serve it's democratic duty to inform the electorate, Sauer could expand on the U-T failures as he was a reporter for 27 years.
Sauer noted that the U-T newsroom boasted 285 people at its peak about seven years ago. Today, he said, he’d be surprised if 80 worked in the newsroom.
 [ . . . ]
As a result of the “terrible loss” of many respected reporters such as environmental writer Mike Lee—now a “flak for the Water Authority”—the U-T can’t do the kind of reporting necessary to keep readers informed on democratic institutions, he said. 
He said the U-T under current publisher Doug Manchester probably wouldn’t expose the kind of bribery case that led to Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham being convicted—which won the paper a Pulitzer Prize. 
Sauer said he hasn’t watched U-T TV for more than 10 minutes at a time, and “they’re not doing an objective newscast.” 
KPBS—with an audience of 350,000 a day—has a half-dozen reporters who do investigations, Sauer said, and also teams with Investigative News Source run by former U-T editor Lorie Hearn. 
But “we don’t do nearly enough,” he said, calling broadcast news coverage “a mile wide and an inch deep.”
Today, it takes a real commitment for people to wade through and reject a lot of superficial and fact free pap to find news and information to trust.   Blogging is one way those of us who care about making more independent and first hand news available feel we can contribute.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Our Mayor Stocks, Sore Loser's Sour Grapes

Jerome Stocks just can't stop himself.  I guess it is no surprise that this politician who seems to struggle with self control and monitoring his own words and behavior would yet again embarrass himself days before his last official duty - to resign.

He once again sneered to his peeps at SD Rostra about Tony Kranz.  This time he couches a reasonable request from a newly elected council member for a 3D rendering of the community park.  He throws out a number without any sliver of a citation.

Reality is that this is not out of bounds in the universe of architectural or engineering design.  Moreover, the city's planning department has the requisite software (bought with taxpayer money at a pretty huge expense) which can accomplish this without extensive skill or time.  It simply hasn't been done.

And no, I'm not providing all the research for a change.  He or his cronies can provide facts to refute or back his hyperbolic claims - with their creepy threatening undertones no less.

Please, Jerome, be still.  Knock it off and show some modicum of good grace. You lost.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Switching Gears - End of an Era

The end of the year is a time to reflect on one's life and legacy.  It is a particularly compelling time, in view of climate change realities becoming more apparent every day, that what we say and do is shaping our immediate future, not just the distant future for grandchildren.

For this reason the end of Stocks & Bond majority reign over Encinitas city government make future plans and our legacy feel more urgent than past election years. This deserves thinking that rises above facile political maneuvering or infotainment or cheap shots borne out of a social culture of marketing. It's governing time, not campaigning time.

Having an arch nemesis like Jerome Stocks turned out to be a rallying point and organizing platform for many in the last election. Even though the new council members Lisa Shaffer and Tony Kranz did not campaign as anti-Stocks candidates, thousands of Encinitas voters were interested in removing Jerome Stocks above all other concerns. Our Mayor blog was created to acknowledge legitimate disgust with Jerome Stocks' behavior as a so-called public servant. The years of city council meetings contained enough clips of this behavior as evidence for the electorate. The idea was that more people needed to be able to witness first hand – via these clips and linked stories, commentaries and some background information – what critics of Stocks had been saying for years.

Whatever factors were involved it is a fait accompli now and time to switch gears. Is it possible we can still capture the motivation the anti-Stocks group had with a formidable problem we all can identify with versus a person or group of people? Can we cultivate an educated electorate unafraid to voice public opinions for fear of seeming stupid or simply wrong? Is it possible to encourage awareness and still identify as a savvy, social being?

It is easy to see from some of the current community voices reacting to the We Love Encinitas organization (and ethically dubious campaign fliers) in the online news posts and one blog's comments sections, Kristin Gaspar is a likely target to transfer anti-Stocks energy. We get it. Our Mayor blog has 3 or 4 dozen examples of Gaspar's behavior along with Stocks or solo that deserve condemnation. No doubt the new year will bring more.

But, this personality focus is really toxic stuff. It too easily morphs into character assassination, body policing, misogyny and other community-killing divisive words. This invites lazy thinking and other vitality sucking habits. Besides all that it brings out our worst rather than our best natures. Critical thinking asks more.

What if we instead switched gears to the three things that repeatedly come up in Encinitas politics as problems or omissions;
1. finance (economy, budget, pensions, etc.),
2. open government (sunshine ordinance, transparency, civility, accessibility, etc.)
3. environment (land use, community character, resources, climate change)
4 traffic (could fit in environment, but some very big issues ahead need deliberation)

Let's demand of this new council – so they in turn will demand it of city manager and city attorney and city staff – a clear direction of where we are going in any of these areas. Not only must we insist on this, we should demand comprehensive research, comparisons to other cities and emerging trends from our well paid staff. Let's demand that deliberations by the council be more than unsupported platitudes, rambling monologues, throwing out a bunch of buzz words, personal memories, rehearsed staff exchanges and other time-wasting talk.

They will make mistakes, council and staff alike. We will find some council members and city employees lacking at any given time. Hell, we'll continue to have community members who annoy us. We will disagree. This editor will try to catch the kinds of things that illustrate dissent and controversy. This isn't a good news, community events calendar, party line place. Our city government's corruption and incompetence demands vigilance. We don't have to make things up. Video clips, quotes, news coverage and the whole works will apply. The former super majority clearly served the few of their overlords. There is a new game in town. The mandate is genuinely from the majority of our community so there are more eyes watching.

And, if a blogger can be allowed to dream. Just imagine a city council becoming relevant to the disengaged, the young, the non-white people, the renters, the low income residents of Encinitas. It is a myth that when all people enjoy a higher quality of life and feel security and engagemed it means something is diminished from another's quality of life. If this new city council wants continuous improvement, they should think big.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Big Weekend Big Fun

The largest turnout in history some say. Great weather and a real desire to celebrate the surf culture too. Besides Council woman Barth going strong both Saturday at the parade and Sunday at Kringle Mingle in Cardiff, this was the first semi-official appearance of the newly elected Council Members Elect Lisa Shaffer and Tony Kranz and their spouses. Also included here are some enthusiastic bike riders and the Leucadia Town Council's giant rickshaw.

All photos from Facebook sources.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Serious Giving

Some opt out altogether from the historically recent custom of buying Christmas gifts. Some because their family and familiars have plenty of stuff, so the holiday has changed with the seasonal generous urge fulfilled with one of the hundreds of alternatives. This isn't a new concept.