5/6/18: Good Housing News, Plus Grand Canyon Adventure Photos!

Before I share photos of our recent exhilarating backpacking adventure through waterfalls on a tributary of the Grand Canyon, I want to highlight the good news on our housing struggles. (Protein before dessert in this newsletter!)

Encinitas residents will get to vote on the latest version of a housing plan in this November’s election.

This may not seem like excting news, but actually it is.

This week, Superior Court Judge Ronald Frazier (seen above during oral arguments) agreed with the city’s position that Encinitas voters should have another shot at passing a housing plan, instead of the city being forced by lawsuits to adopt the plan rejected by the voters in the last election, or being forced to halt development permits until we have a compliant housing plan.

The court wisely postponed discussion of those forced remedies – called injunctive relief – until after the voters have their say in November.

Although Encinitas hasn’t had a state-approved housing plan for multiple decades, the voters have only rejected one single plan, in 2016.

Judge Frazier narrowed in on this during the hour-long court hearing in Vista last week, which I attended. He pointedly and rhetorically asked one of the plaintiffs, “Are there cases that say, “only one bite at the apple and that’s it?” He already knew the answer because he had closely read the case law, but he didn’t indicate how many “bites at the apple” he would give Encinitas. He did go on to ask, “If this (housing plan) doesn’t pass, the question is at what point have you had enough time?” One of the plaintiff’s attorneys muttered “36 years” under his breath, but the judge ignored this.

The court’s decision is the best possible development for Encinitas, given the reality of our situation. We have been working very hard to come up with a plan that the voters can support. I remain hopeful that this November we’ll see a positive result.

Read about this development in the Coast News, the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Encinitas Advocate, and my Mayor’s Minute from the Coast News.

Volunteering for Habitat!

Speaking of housing, together with about 40 other women, I volunteered with Habitat for Humanity during its first annual “Women of Influence Build” event. My team built the framing for a soffit – cutting the metal, measuring precisely and using a screw gun to attach it to the ceiling above my head. Building homes is hard manual labor! I had the chance to meet the family that will be moving in; the mother and her son worked alongside us.

Habitat for Humanity homes are available to families who put sweat equity and a percentage of their income into their housing. Volunteers like me with very little construction expertise are guided by volunteers who work in the trades. It’s an excellent program! If you’d like to volunteer, click here for more information.

Friends of the Arts celebrates Brazil

The Encinitas Friends of the Arts provides such a vital cultural addition to our city. Here, President Naimeh Woodward and I enjoy Passport to Brazil, another great event, with food, dancing, capoeira performances, drumming and conviviality. The volunteer network in Encinitas is really thriving. (Photo by Jonathan Woodward)

An inspiring interfaith breakfast

The City of Encinitas and the San Dieguito Interfaith Community Services hosted 140 people this week at the 25th Annual Mayor’s Interfaith Community Prayer Breakfast on the National Day of Prayer. Our diversity of beliefs, and our shared commitment to improving the lives of our fellow humans, united us on this morning as the keynote speaker Reverend Meghan Cephalu from the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Dieguito challenged us with her topic, “Poverty and Privilege.”

Joe Mosca’s 4th District campaign kickoff is today

My City Council colleague Deputy Mayor Joe Mosca is having his campaign launch party today at 2 p.m. at a home in Olivenhain. He’ll share his ideas for the city, the things he’s been working on, and attentively listen to any concerns you have. Please join us! More information about the event can be found here. Feel free to come even if you didn’t RSVP. The address is 2890 Crystal Ridge Road. Children are welcome!

Register to vote in the primary!

The primary is literally here, with mail ballots arriving in mail boxes this week! The actual election is June 5, and several pivotal regional decisions will be made. The deadline to register is Monday, May 21 if you want to vote in the June 5 election. If you have moved recently or changed your name, make sure to re-register. See additional information from the San Diego Registrar of Voters here.

Finally, I received about 20 original thank-you notes from the motivated and engaged class of 5th grade students at La Costa Heights Elementary School – they’ve been advocating for a statewide bill aimed at helping homeless children. They ended their letters with a quote from Aesop, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is wasted.” Now it’s my turn to thank them for that important reminder!

In service,

 

And now the backpacking trip!

Here we are at the beginning of the 10-mile hike, where we descended 2,000 vertical feet into a tributary of the Grand Canyon. I’ve got 25 pounds of food, clothes and gear in my pack, while my husband Jeremy is carrying 42 pounds. (Flying our packs in by helicopter was another option, but we passed.) The other four adventurers in our party came a bit later on and didn’t make the photo.

The above ladies are a subset of a neighborhood group that weekly climbs ten sets of stairs at the beach in Cardiff for exercise. We kicked it up a notch by booking this three-night backpacking trip to Havasu Falls on the Supai Indian Reservation, commonly known as “Havasupai.”

After the switchbacks, we snaked along the path through the desert, happy that we got an early start as the temperature rose. (Photo by Sidney Merritt)

It’s stunning to come out of the hot desert, round a corner and behold this slice of Eden, with people swimming and wading beneath Havasu Falls.

The water was remarkably warm, but one of the best things we did was bring our wetsuits! They allowed us to play in the water for hours without getting cold. And a great side benefit was that my wetsuit kept me cool in the desert heat after getting out of the water!

That turquoise water is the real color! This unbelievable picture just says it all.

Yes, that bridge did hold me!

Jeremy hiking! (Photo by Sidney Merritt)

I can’t say enough great things about this trip! With 300 available campsites and 250 of them reserved for outfitters, we found ourselves very pleased with our outfitter BG Wild. The trip also started me thinking about more ways to help connect the residents of our city with the outdoors. Stay tuned for updates here!