As an immigrant from England I embrace the founding democratic premise of America: no taxation without representation. Therefore, it was with a certain amount of excitement and expectation that in September I embarked on a journey to put this axiom to the test. My goal was not overly ambitious or impractical; it was merely for the city of Encinitas Traffic Department to do something about the chronic speeding along San Elijo Avenue. Over the years I have contributed $100,000 in property taxes to the city coffers, and I wanted to know the answer to this question: how much bang for the buck 100k would buy?
Since September I, along with local residents, have religiously attended City Council meetings, solicited the support of local organizations such as MiraCosta College, and presented compelling evidence to the powers that be of our legitimate concerns. Last Monday night, after months of persistent pressure, we finally got on the agenda of the Traffic Commission and allotted our day in the sun. Actually it wasn’t quite 24 hours, in fact we were given three minutes. However, after we were given this privileged 180 seconds we had to listen to the fascinating analysis of the Traffic Department headed by Rob Blough.
Mr. Blough informed the commission that the problems that local residents were facing were overstated and were in fact caused by clumsy Japanese tourists. Clumsy Japanese tourists? Yes, according to Mr. Blough, many, if not most, cars careening across the median of San Elijo Avenue are driven by Japanese visitors dropping their cell phones. I for one was shocked at such a revelation. Who had any idea that Cardiff-by-the-Sea was being invaded by hordes of such klutzy tourists? Mr. Blough’s insightful analysis then went on to provide the commission with actual traffic accident data. Apparently, according to his thorough research, there have been only eight accidents at the junction of San Elijo Avenue and Manchester Avenue in the last 10 years. This statistic surprised me, for I have witnessed three accidents at this location in the past month (all logged by the local Sheriff’s Department). Such a statistical aberration could leave me with only one conclusion: it was a sign — the Mayans were off by three years and the end of days were finally upon us. Mr. Blough’s riveting presentation then ended with a bizarre flashback to the Cold War. When asked about the modest traffic calming measures proposed by local residents he morphed into Khrushchev and could only respond,“Niet!” This too came as a surprise as one of the remedies was in fact one he had designed and implemented in another area of the city.
Notwithstanding Mr. Blough’s persuasive rhetoric, the Traffic Commission chose to side with the local residents and enact some traffic calming measures. However, happy endings are a little uncommon these days, and the same is sadly true for this particular tale. Local residents had requested that there be a 25 mph enforced speed limit in our neighborhood based on the recent traffic study. Yesterday, we learned that the traffic study could not be used because it was placed on a curved section of the road. Who do you think put the equipment there? Yes, you’ve guessed it — the marvelous Mr. Blough.
My brief but eventful journey through American democracy is now reaching its conclusion. Sadly, it ends at a cul-de-sac called the Traffic Department of the city of Encinitas. In regard to my original question, I have a clear and unequivocal answer. How much representation does $100,000 buy? Not much fellow citizen, not much.
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