3/1/20: Good Things Come in Small Packages

“Bad news travels fast. Good news takes the scenic route.”
– Doug Larson

Remember my last newsletter, when I told you about the bumpy city council meeting we had all experienced? Well, last week’s meeting at Encinitas City Hall was a refreshing turnaround.

I felt the gratitude that comes from a series of small but important encouraging developments and comments from community members. We have such a vital and engaged community in Encinitas that it’s nearly impossible to be involved with the city government and not recognize the wealth of positive energy we’re blessed with here.

Here are a few highlights:

  • Single-use plastics are one of the most wasteful and ecologically damaging problems that our land and oceans now endure. In our ongoing effort to dramatically reduce the amount of single-use plastic in Encinitas, we’re following the leadership of our Environmental Commission by instituting a comprehensive “Plastics Initiative” using a phased process.

    Starting Sept. 1, 2020, little plastic water bottles and other plastic bottled beverages won’t be allowed to be distributed at city facilities and at special events permitted by the city. The goal is to eliminate the distribution of hundreds of single-use drinks at community runs, festivals and meetings at the community center. There are some exemptions, including when plastic bottles are brought by individuals for personal consumption. 
  • We heard a great presentation from the 5th and 6th grade student leaders at Ocean Knoll and Park Dale Lane Elementary Schools (seen above) about their effort to eliminate single-use plastics on campus, including a waste audit that focused on packets of sporks wrapped together with napkins inside plastic. The resulting audit determined how many times students threw away the entire packet unopened, or opened it to get only the spork or the napkin and threw away the rest.

    Now the students at Ocean Knoll use metal forks which are sent back to the kitchen and sanitized with the other kitchen items, which has eliminated the plastic altogether. And at Park Dale Lane, students are collecting extra reusable water bottles from families and bringing them to the district kitchen to be sanitized. They’re then given to students to be used instead of single-use plastic water bottles.
     
  • We entered into an agreement with the San Diego Botanic Garden to implement our Habitat Stewardship Program in the Cottonwood Creek drainage areas and park. The agreement includes the use of volunteers from the Botanic Garden, the Cottonwood Creek Conservancy and other local groups, which is a great way for local plant lovers to be involved with plant propagation and rehabilitation of our local watersheds.

    None of the eucalyptus trees will be removed as part of the invasive plant and weed removal. In fact, no large trees are being removed at all. The Botanic Garden is a fantastic local gem, with world class expertise. It’s fantastic that they’re helping us with the ecological management in this sensitive area of Cottonwood Creek.
     
  • We approved a contract amendment to construct a missing piece of sidewalk on the south side of Leucadia Blvd. between Hymettus Ave and Fulvia Street as part of the construction of the third roundabout on Leucadia Blvd.

    It was great to hear the support of Bike-Walk Encinitas at our meeting. I thank the Planning Commission for highlighting the need for better sidewalk connectivity as part of the roundabout project. If we had infinite resources, we would replace the entire sidewalk along the corridor. But given that we don’t, this missing segment will augment the admittedly older existing sections of the sidewalk.  
     
  • We approved “Environment Day” to be held at the Encinitas Community Park on Sunday, May 17 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Up to 2,000 visitors are expected. This is a great event, and this year it will be located in our largest (and one of our loveliest and newest) parks! 
  • Encinitas resident and visually impaired distance runner Joel Gomez, 16, was named the 2019 USATF Male Junior Para Athlete of the Year, and we proudly recognized him for his outstanding para athletic performances. Despite his impairment, Joel has excelled beyond expectations.

    “If he continues to improve on his times and does well at the U.S. Paralympic Team Trails coming up in June, I’m confident that Joel could be named to Team USA and compete in Tokyo,” says Rich Robert, Chairman of the USATF Para Athletics Committee. The 2020 Paralympic Games are being held in Tokyo, Japan, August 25 to September 6 following the Olympic Games. Go, Joel!

Each of these seemingly little actions add up to a significant step in making our quality of life in Encinitas even better!

Encinitas State of the City Address coming March 31 

The Encinitas Chamber of Commerce invites you to the 31st annual State of the City event on Tuesday, March 31st at the Encinitas Community Center. A reception begins at 5:30 p.m. followed by a “taste-of” type dinner with multiple local food booths, then I’ll give a 20-minute presentation about where we are and where we’re headed, entitled “Greener, Greater and Grannier.” 

Individual tickets as well as tables for eight are available here. If you need more info, you can contact the Encinitas Chamber of Commerce here

Don’t forget to vote Tuesday!

Vote election campaign badge button.

I know you don’t need to be reminded, but please indulge me: this is a crucial time to strengthen our democracy by making your preferences known!
 
Leucadia trees recycled as dog park benches 

Cody Harrison’s dog Maui (@thisismauishouse) enjoys our recently installed dog park benches in New Encinitas made from salvaged trees. (Photos by Tree San Diego Project Manager Cody Harrison.)

Have you ever been to the Power Lines Dog Park between Mountain Vista Drive and Encinitas Blvd., otherwise romantically known as Trail Segment 72? It’s our most rustic off-leash dog recreation area, and it’s also very popular precisely because of that.

Well, now it’s an even better place to romp and rest, thanks to a coordinated effort between city staff, the city’s arborist from DudekTree San DiegoWest Coast Arborists, the Leichtag Foundation, and Lumbercycle.

Eucalyptus trees taken down from Highway 101 because of internal rotting were milled just a few miles away from the park, and now they’ve become very welcome benches that fit perfectly into the bucolic Power Lines Park environment.

In closing, I guess that Forrest Gump’s mom was right when she said “life is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re gonna get.” What an adventure we’re all on! I hope you’re enjoying it, too.

In ongoing service,

P.S. Your chances of being exposed it are very small at this time, but here’s some common-sense info about how to protect yourself against the threat of coronavirus.