10/23/20: Streetscape Phase One Approved, and the Campaign Heats Up!

October 23, 2020

This week’s City Council meeting was especially notable because we authorized a contract for the first phase of Streetscape, with the project limits indicated in blue in the map below. You can click the image to see a larger version.

We approved a contract not to exceed $7.3 million after an RFP process where we selected Granite Construction Company, which is the same firm chosen to do the nearby El Portal underpass. They were the lowest responsive bidder.

The top photo above shows the current state of the Coast Highway by Athena St. near the Pannikin, and beneath it is a rendering of how the same scene will look after the Streetscape improvements.

The top photo is how the road near El Portal St. looks today; below is how it’ll look after the project is completed. Note the new pedestrian undercrossing to the right, which will provide a safe way to cross the tracks to and from Paul Ecke Central School.

Originally designed to be completed all at once, Streetscape will now be finished in phases because of the city’s less-predictable financial situation due to the pandemic. We’re moving forward, but in a practical and judicious manner. 

As an important reminder I support these community improvements for Leucadia, and my opponent does not. She has campaigned against continuing Leucadia Streetscape. 

Encinitas ‘granny flats’ get a boost

The second item we addressed in depth during Wednesday’s City Council meeting was the progress on our accessory dwelling unit (ADU) program. We also updated our city’s ADU ordinances to be compliant with state laws.

One of the interesting changes to state law that I expect will positively affect Encinitas is that ADUs, or granny flats, cannot be prohibited by homeowner’s associations. This will likely mean that more ADUs will be built in the suburbs that are a large part of New Encinitas. 

By streamlining the permit process, providing free plans, waiving city fees and more, Encinitas has led the way in helping residents add ADUs, as you can see in the chart above. The number of permits since I became mayor in 2016 has increased substantially. Granny flats are a wonderful way to organically add housing that is naturally more affordable.

Of the ADUs built so far this year, 26% of them have been affordable for those in the “low income and very low income” category and 29% have been priced by the owner in the “moderate” income category. A full 26% were non-responsive to the city’s inquiry, so we don’t know what they are being rented for.

Overall this is very good, because it means that the ADU housing being built in our community is in the needed income categories, and it’s occurring naturally, not because it’s deed restricted by the government.

The city’s ADU program remains something I’m very proud of! We can say “yes” to some housing in Encinitas, and granny flats are a fantastic way to get it done!

The State of the City address goes virtual on Tuesday

The annual State of the City address hosted by the Encinitas Chamber of Commerce is being held virtually at 6 p.m. this Tuesday, October 27. I’ll be giving the address at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets to watch it live and participate in the virtual networking and the goodie bag can be purchased here for $25, which goes to fund the Chamber. You can also watch it on the Chamber’s website for free starting Wednesday.

The State of the City remarks are a great opportunity for a broad reflection on our unquestionably wonderful city, which is prosperous and headed in the right direction. 

The numbers are in, and the competition is real

Things are really heating up in the last few days of my campaign to be re-elected as your mayor. My opponent raised a substantial amount of cash last month, more than I raised, actually. It looks like at least some are taking her fear-mongering and lies seriously. 

In addition, a new PAC from the Deputy Sheriff’s Association has entered our city, with more than $25,000 to support my opponent. Who is funding this PAC? Consistent with her previous PAC supporters, it’s pro-development interests, including $10,000 from the BIA of San Diego County (Building Industry Association), $10,000 from CA Real Estate PAC and $5,000 from Build SD PAC. You can see the filing here

Now here’s another striking example of her blatant hypocrisy. It’s deeply disingenuous for her campaign to be supported by development interests, for her to personally profit from development interests with her own family’s business, and then to point fingers at me as the one beholden to developers.

In my four years as mayor, nothing I’ve done has indicated an overly cozy relationship with developers. I’ve focused on granny flats, which gives the value to the landowner and not developers, as a way to add needed housing. In fact, I recently led the City Council in a unanimous rejection of a development project on our northern border with Carlsbad. 

I have a reasoned and modest approach to housing and development. We can’t stop change, we can only manage it responsibly. We need more affordable housing. We finally have a state-compliant housing plan after 27 years and millions spent in lawsuits we can’t win. And we’re suing the state over protecting residents’ right to vote.  

To continue our progress together in Encinitas, we really need your help with contributions and personally getting the word out to your friends and neighbors about our positive, forward-facing campaign!

We don’t want to dismantle the important social, economic and infrastructure strides we’ve made in Encinitas.

40% of Encinitas voters have already turned in their ballots. These are the final days when you can make a difference. Here’s how you can help:

Donate with a contribution of up to $250 ($500 per couple)!

Volunteer for sign-waving!

Help distribute door hangers!

Will common sense and truth prevail? It’s up to all of us. We’re working hard to get the word out during these final, intense days of the campaign. Please do what you can to be a part of our success!

With much appreciation,

P.S. Watch the latest candidate forum

Last Monday, we had a very informative and well-attended candidate forum with me, Deputy Mayor Kellie Hinze, and Councilmember Tony Kranz, that was organized by the three of us.

The moderator was CoCo Smith, a longtime Encinitas resident who until recently wasn’t very familiar with Encinitas politics, so the questions reflect her semi-outsider’s perspective.

Topics include affordable housing, short-term vacation rentals, Leucadia Streetscape, climate change, PACs, the Safe Parking Lot, how the council works together, their vision for the future, and more.

You’re welcome to watch it here!

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