7/19/20: Helping Encinitas Businesses Survive by Moving Outdoors

July 19, 2020

I hope you’re enjoying the beautiful weather in Encinitas right now. Ocean temperatures are supposed to reach 75 degrees this weekend. Wow! There’s no better time to take a dip in our beautiful local oasis.

Dining in the fresh summer air

In light of recent state decisions that shut down indoor restaurant dining once again, the city is busy helping restaurants move their operations outside. We know how painful it is for businesses to be open, then forced to close again, so we’re working to support our local merchants as much as possible by making it easier to serve customers al fresco. 

In May, the City Council passed a resolution to fast track no-cost temporary use permits allowing businesses to expand into patios, private parking lots, streets and sidewalks. During a special meeting in July, we voted to temporarily allow the service of alcohol in the outside seating areas so people can have a glass of wine or a beer with their meal.

As you can see from the above two photos, local restaurants are creatively figuring out ways to make this work. 

My family and I ate at Best Pizza & Brew in Cardiff last week where the restaurant set up tables in the parking lot, as seen in the top photo. I was happy to observe 100% mask compliance when people walked inside to order, and good physical distancing outside. A couple who tried to enter without masks politely returned to their car to retrieve them when asked by staff to do so.

We each need to do our part to get the overall infection numbers down, so pleasewear a mask, respect employees asking you for this accommodation, and consciously keep your distance from others. 

If you’re a restaurant or other business looking for help with moving outdoors, please contact the Encinitas Development Services Department at (760) 633-2706, or email [email protected] to explore options for continuing to serve your customers.

For more information from the city on what businesses are now closed, click here

Sidewalk sellers pop up

Also, you may have seen one of the above pop-up vendors selling merchandise on the sidewalks of Encinitas. They’re unaffiliated with any nearby brick-and-mortar store. It’s actually legal and not a guerilla project. I’ve received several direct complaints or inquiries from Encinitas residents about this recent phenomenon. Today I witnessed counter-protesters too. 

In 2018, the State of California passed SB-946, which allowed sidewalk vendors to sell merchandise in the public right-of-way. I’ve been told that the bill was aimed at allowing more food cart vendors.

The vendors are required to maintain ADA access and the city’s code enforcement is verifying this. The city staff has said that we can create a sidewalk vending ordinance that allows us to regulate directly when it comes to objective health, safety and welfare concerns. That’s something I expect that we’ll be doing.

False reports of a stabbing at the Cardiff pop-up location last weekend have been circulating. 

I asked Captain Taft of the North Coastal Sheriff’s Station about the rumors and he replied, “There was no stabbing as talked about on Next Door. We did have a street vendor who was the victim of a crime. A passerby knocked the Trump merchandise off the table. When the vendor reached out to grab the suspect, he ran away. During this incident the vendor suffered a cut finger that did not require any medical attention. It is unknown how the vendor injured his finger. No knife was seen and there was definitely no stabbing.”

Running’s getting real

Last week at City Hall, I officially pulled the papers to run for re-election as your mayor. The process involves gathering at least 20 signatures to get onto the ballot, submitting disclosure forms, writing a 200-word ballot statement, and paying about $1,000 for printing costs associated with being on the ballot.

If you are interested in running for local office, or just want more information, please make an appointment with City Clerk Kathy Hollywood at [email protected] to discuss the requirements. More information can be found here.

And if you like our progress in Encinitas and want to support my re-election, I’d be very grateful! You can donate here. All contributions of any amount up to $250 (or $500 per couple) are gratefully appreciated. Thank you so much to all of you who have already donated.

City Hall improvements coming soon

Elsewhere at City Hall, there’s construction going on in the council chambers. City Hall is admittedly modest and somewhat dated, but it’s perfectly functional.

The above photo shows the dais on the right, and the extensive rehabilitation work underway to make Encinitas City Hall more accessible, safe and efficient for everyone.

Instead of pursuing an expensive rebuild, we’re tackling critical improvements, including dealing with mold, asbestos and replacing pipes in the ceiling that have leaked and caused damage.

The improvements also include installing ceiling sprinklers, an ADA-compliant lectern, a re-designed audio system, integrated video conferencing equipment for better remote “Zoom-style” meetings, and improved functionality related to re-broadcasting, streaming and scheduling of programming.

Distance learning ordered until numbers improve

Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Friday that all public and private schools in San Diego County, as well as other schools in counties on the state’s monitoring list, will need to stay closed to in-person instruction until the number of coronavirus cases in the county goes down. The county is on the monitoring list because it has a case rate greater than 100 per 100,000. All San Diego County statistics can be found here.

Our children’s education continues to be among the many casualties of the pandemic. There’s no question that for many kids, distance learning is sub-par, and unfortunately, the negatives will disproportionately affect those who are less well-off. 

Many families with two working parents will find alternate learning locations during school hours where their children will be indoors with adult supervision while learning online in a non-school environment. It’s a sad situation.

Safely reopening schools must be a top priority for all levels of government. This will depend on all of us committing to getting the COVID-19 infection rate down. This San Diego Union Tribune article explains the school situation well. 

And another opportunity if you want to be part of the solution in the fight against coronavirus … consider becoming a “case investigator” as part of the county’s “Test, Trace, Treat” response. They’re hiring, and you’d be paid $25 an hour to help protect your community from COVID-19. This is important work! You can apply here

Crossing under I-5 in style!

The photo above shows the progress being made on one of the mosaic panels slated for installation under the freeway at Santa Fe Drive. All the art pieces are scheduled to be displayed by the end of August. The panel shown above was designed by San Dieguito Academy (SDA) student Marina Alberti in a creative process overseen by her teacher at SDA, Jeremy Wright.

I enjoyed participating in an early stream-of-consciousness creative design process – sketching and talking that eventually led to what you are seeing emerge here. In this photo, SDA art students are assembling the many different elements, including clay flowers from my son.

Adjacent to the location where the artworks will be displayed, I’m excited to see the finished Caltrans road improvements that have emerged at Santa Fe Drive and Encinitas Blvd.

Both of these east-west roads under the freeway now have wide, protected bike and pedestrian paths. Clear new striping has upgraded the safety and feel of these areas. This is another example of the many projects around the city making it safer, easier and more fun for all of us to get around town outside of our cars. It’s exciting!

Happy Sunday and enjoy what’s sure to be another beautiful day in paradise!

In ongoing service,

COVID-19 Resources

Sorry, you are not in the 38th Senate District.
You are in the 38th Senate district!