Hear what’s buzzing in Encinitas and beyond!

January 30, 2022

The new year in the City of Encinitas has started out well – optimism is in the air! I hope you and your family are staying safe and weathering the strange times we live in.  

Here are a few updates from Encinitas and beyond …

Big changes unlikely for City Council voting districts

This map depicts the general boundaries of our existing four districts and lists the councilmembers and when each seat comes up for a vote.

The Encinitas City Council is moving forward with the legally required redistricting process. Spoiler alert – based on initial feedback from the community and statements from the elected officials at our meeting, it looks like the districts will likely stay relatively the same, with some minor adjustments.

All councilmembers and the public who came out to comment seemed to express a preference for maps that created the least amount of disruption for voters and that kept our core communities of Leucadia, Cardiff, and Olivenhain together. 

The city created the four separate districts in 2017 and their populations have changed only a little since then – meaning that there may be some small line adjustments to equalize population.

The demographers are going to crunch the numbers and get back to us based on feedback. Thanks go to the great number of citizens who submitted almost 70 maps. The demographers tell us that’s a very high response – something I’ve come to expect from the highly engaged citizenry of Encinitas! 

It’s always going to be difficult to divide a city that has five core communities into four council districts, and I recognize that there are some who would like us to district in a way that is dramatically different from the current maps. But considering all factors, it appears that our current districts have a lot to recommend them. 

We’re working to eliminate ghost guns in Encinitas

This polymer ghost handgun seized by police in Berkeley uses a 30-round magazine, and is untraceable.

The City Council unanimously supported Councilmember Joe Mosca’s and my proposal to follow the county in banning ghost guns in Encinitas. Ghost guns are homemade firearms assembled from 3D-printed and/or mail order parts that escape registration and detection by authorities because there are no sales records or serial numbers.

Ghost guns are increasingly being used in crimes across the nation, and constitute an emerging threat that’s frustrating law enforcement agencies, including the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, which serves Encinitas.

This local ban will make the county and the city of Encinitas safer for everyone. Having illegal, unregistered guns in our city is dangerous and we need to do everything possible to cut off this black market. 

Here’s the story from the Coast News.

Citizen group suggested to help plan El Camino Real’s future

The Council also heard an update on the El Camino Real Specific Plan, which is the beginning planning phase of reinvesting and revitalizing that corridor. It’s an area of our city that will benefit by modernizing and adapting to our changing lives. It will be more easy to walk around and enjoy the area if the plan succeeds.

Councilmember Tony Kranz wisely suggested that we form a citizen group to be engaged in this planning effort, which is something the city has had for every similar planning update in our history. It’ll also help ensure that the proposed changes are reflective of the community. 

I’m looking forward to the positive changes the plan will bring to what is essentially the Main Street of New Encinitas!

Helium balloon ban will help wildlife, reduce beach trash

Treb Heining, who told the Council he’s been working in the balloon industry for more than 50 years, brought some helium-filled animals with him as he argued against a ban. Mark O’Connor of the Surfrider Foundation was in favor of the ban, displaying a jug of over 180 balloons he said he’d collected on the beach. (Photo by Scott Chatfield.)

The Encinitas City Council also voted unanimously to approve a proposed city ordinance that will ban the use, sale and distribution of “lighter-than-air,” or helium-filled, balloons.

Runaway helium balloons kill the wildlife that ingest them, and contribute to the litter problem – especially on our beaches. Mylar balloons have also been blamed for shorting out power lines and causing wildfires. There’s already a state law prohibiting the release of helium-filled balloons, but it hasn’t had much effect on limiting the negative effects.

Encinitas has been on the cutting edge in banning and restricting other plastic waste, including Styrofoam, single-use plastic utensils and straws, and single-use plastic bags. This is another step in the effort to make our city cleaner and our habits more sustainable. 

Here’s a more detailed article from the Encinitas Advocate, and a story from Fox 5 News.

Visit the ‘hidden art alley’ of Encinitas

This colorful mural is behind Better Buzz (of course!) Coffee in downtown Encinitas. (Photo by Richard Schulte.)

Former Mayor Teresa Barth just linked to a fascinating blog post with photos by Richard Schulte about Encinitas’ “amazing hidden art alley” just west of the Coast Hwy. between D and E Streets downtown. I think you might find it interesting.

As locals, it’s funny how things creep up on us over time – one or two murals have turned into a veritable alfresco gallery that adds to the delightful charm of our city.

Even though she’s no longer an elected public servant, Teresa continues to serve Encinitas by creating her free weekly Community Connections email newsletter. It’s always full of great info on local news and events, and Teresa sometimes comments from her perspective as a savvy, longtime resident and activist.

I almost always learn something new or thought-provoking from Teresa’s newsletter, and I encourage you to subscribe here.

Ending offshore oil drilling is complicated

Workers search for oil in the sand at the northern end of Huntington Beach on Tuesday, October 5, 2021. A leak in an oil pipeline caused 126,000 gallons of oil to spill into the ocean, some of which ended up on beaches in Orange County and north San Diego County. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register.)

After the disastrous oil spill in the ocean off of Orange County a last October, efforts to shut down offshore drilling have intensified. A hearing in Sacramento last week about retiring oil production facilities revealed difficulties ranging from minimizing lost jobs to deciding what happens to shut-down oil rigs.

Eight rigs of the 27 off the California coast are being shut down now. This is something I’m closely following.

Tax dollars making a difference along the our coast

(Photo by Scott Chatfield.)

I was pleased to join our Rep. Mike Levin at the interchange of Hwy 78 and I-5 to highlight one of the many benefits our district will receive from the newly passed Infrastructure and Jobs bill. Long-term plans are for a major upgrade that will eliminate the current bottleneck and traffic signal when heading south on the I-5 freeway from the 78 freeway.

Congressman Levin has also helped secure $30.5 million in federal funding for the Encinitas-Solana Beach Coastal Storm Damage Reduction Project and $1.8 million for the Oceanside Special Shoreline Study.

The long-planned sand project will put 700,000 cubic yards of sand in Solana Beach and 340,000 cubic yards on Encinitas beaches. This will widen the beaches to reduce storm damage, improve safety, and expand recreational benefits for the public.

After the $30 million in federal money, the city needs to secure the non-federal portion of the project, which is around $13 million. We will apply to the state for most of this money but each city, Solana Beach and Encinitas, will need to come up with its local share of about $1 million apiece. 

Join us for a Valentine tea to fight homelessness

I’d like to invite you to join me for a Valentine Donor Appreciation Tea in Carlsbad on Saturday, February 12 to help us envision the solutions needed to prevent and end homelessness.

It’s hosted by a great local group called Rapid Response Housing Solutions. They’re a non-denominational volunteer organization dedicated to helping those who are at the greatest risk of being unsheltered in North County San Diego.

It’s happening Saturday, February 12 from noon to 3 p.m. at the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation, 1580 Cannon Rd. in Carlsbad. You can get your tickets here, and learn more about Rapid Response Housing Solutions at rapidresponsehousingsolutions.org.

It’ll be great to see you there!

There’s always so much going on in Encinitas and environs that it can be tough to decide what to highlight in my newsletters. I really work hard to whittle it all down to something you’ll find worthwhile and readable. Thanks for reading, and enjoy your day!

In service,

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