12/22/19: Welcome ‘Olympus Park’ to Encinitas!

Just in time for the holidays, the City of Encinitas officially has a newly named park in Leucadia!

The 3.14-acre site on the southeast corner of the intersection of Piraeus and Olympus streets in Leucadia will be called “Olympus Park.” For the last 20 years or so, this park-to-be has been referred to as the “Standard Pacific Park site,” after the name of the developer who dedicated the land.

Thanks to all 135 of you who participated in the naming process by submitting a total of 90 suggestions during the last half of October.

An ample array of potential monikers was sent in, including naming the park after Barbara Boxer, Sheila Cameron, Charlie Chaplin, Tony Hawk, Tasha Boerner Horvath, Morgan Mallory, Eddie Vedder and Weidner.

And Encinitas wouldn’t be Encinitas without whimsical entries like Blorkenwhistlesnork Park, Helicopter Mom Park, Keep it Funky! Park, and of course, Parky McParkFace Park. All of the park name suggestions, the number of votes each received, and other information from the staff report are here.The City Council settled on the name “Olympus Park” in part because it references a bordering street and uses a Greek name, a longstanding Leucadia tradition. And as my 12-year-old daughter who reads Percy Jackson reminded me, it’s perfect because “Olympus is the mountain of the gods, mom.” 

This project is also noteworthy because it’s been refreshingly controversy-free. In the past, building parks and naming community spaces have generated lots of controversy, such as the cases of Encinitas Community Park and the proposed renaming of the library a while ago. Olympus Park incorporates all sorts of features requested by the nearby community, including a pump track for wheeled vehicles of all types to go around and practice skills.

It’s great to be able to accomplish the creation of this great community addition without heartache. I love having a happy community! And it’s satisfying to complete and check off the “to do” list that we inherited from before I took office. Thank you to community historians, especially Kathleen Lees, for advocating tirelessly for the construction of this long-promised park.

Like all construction-related projects, the cost of building continues to climb, with a current price tag for this project of around $4 million. We’ve set aside a large portion of the construction cost already. Even though interest rates remain low, the ever-rising cost of construction is a sobering reality these days.  

Construction of Olympus Park is scheduled to start in the spring of 2020 and should be ready for us enjoy by year-end (our actual mileage may vary)!

You can participate in the future of Encinitas

Longtime Encinitas resident Tom Cozens addresses the Encinitas Planning Commission last February.

Encinitas City Commissions

Serving on a city commission is a wonderful way for you to gain governing experience and personally contribute to the future success of Encinitas.

Applications for appointment to city commissions are now being accepted. There are openings on the Commission for the Arts, Environmental Commission, Parks and Recreation Commission, Planning Commission, Senior Citizen Commission, and Traffic & Public Safety Commission.

Application forms are completed online here. You must be a registered voter in Encinitas. Planning Commission and Traffic & Public Safety Commission have geographic requirements, as noted in this Public Notice.

The deadline for incumbents wishing to reapply is Thursday, January 9, 2020 at 5:00 p.m., and the deadline for all other applicants is January 16, 2020 at 5:00 p.m.

All applicants will be asked to attend the February 12, 2020 City Council meeting to briefly discuss their qualifications and interest in serving on a commission. Appointments are scheduled to be made at the City Council meeting at 6:00 p.m. on February 26, 2020 (meeting dates are subject to change). Terms will begin March 1, 2020.

If you’d like more information, call City Clerk Kathy Hollywood at (760) 633-2603 after Jan.1. 

Census-taking jobs – $21 an hour

And the once-every-decade national census is happening in 2020. It’s very important to get an accurate count, because the results determine elected representation in Congress, eligible funds for important projects and many other things that affect each of us for the next 10 years.

Temporary census-taking jobs paying up to $21 an hour are now being filled. Here’s a chance for work that is above minimum wage and you don’t need to commute a far distance. The Census Bureau wants to hire local people to work in the community they know best — their own. Preference is given to U.S. armed service veterans who were honorably discharged. You can find out more in the article here and the link for job applicants is here.

A disconcerting development

It’s deeply disturbing to see the emergence of hate rhetoric and attempts to degrade, insult and terrorize members of our Encinitas community. I’m alarmed to learn of vandalism in the bathroom during school hours at an Encinitas high school. Here’s the article from the Coast NewsAnti-Semitic and Homophobic Vandalism at San Dieguito Academy.

I support the public condemnation and commitment to discover who is responsible; it’s crucial to call out this horrific behavior before it happens again or escalates. 

School reports and projects

(Top photo by McKenzie Images)

Each December, sixth grade students at Ada Harris School unveil their months-long efforts to create, build and market a toy prototype. Shown in the top photo, my daughter Ava and her team made a multi-cultural doll house. Parents had the chance to view all the toys last week, hear presentations and watch student-created commercials. Really creative stuff!

In the photo below, my son Oliver displays a report he wrote about Enrico Fermi, the physicist who created the world’s first nuclear reactor, along with his painted portrait of Fermi. The fifth grade students wrote and memorized first-person autobiographical speeches about the person they researched.

An inspiring gift

Finally, gratitude goes to an anonymous Encinitas resident who gifted me a lovely holiday present, a book entitled A Bottom-Up Revolution, Strong Towns to Rebuild American Prosperity, which I’m excited to start reading over the break between now and the new year.

It’s nice when constituents think of ways for me to help educate myself to be a better representative. Sometimes people recommend a movie, or a documentary or a news article. I so appreciate that, and I always try to absorb the information offered. 

I hope that you enjoy your holidays with the things that sustain and inspire you, whether your holidays be Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or whatever you choose to celebrate in our blessedly free country.

See you in the next decade!

In service,