We’ve got the Encinitas Silver Anniversary Blues

“We got 44 acres, We got an old vacant lot we can’t use, We got these 44 acres, We got this $46 million dollar contaminated lot we can’t use, We ain’t got no park or no band for our 25th birthday, We got us the Encinitas Silver Anniversary Blues”

As Encinitas approaches its 25th birthday, residents aren’t listening to the city’s song, painting a rosy financial picture, and instead are singing The Encinitas Silver Anniversary Blues.
The city’s finances are judged by what can be seen. What residents see is a 44-acre vacant lot that we can’t use, bought in 2001 costing nearly $46 million dollars with total interest and fees. In 2008 it was reported the park would cost another $36 million to build and $500,000 to operate.
That year, the city only had $9 million for construction and last week, the city said it has $172,000 to operate the park in late 2012. If finances are great, why hasn’t the park been built? If finances are good, why is the operating budget going backward? The park cleared all hurdles and could have been built two years ago. Mayor Bond, Deputy Mayor Stocks and the council promised us Phase One and have delivered Phase None.
It looks like Bond, Stocks and the council spent all our money. The city finance department says they have money but the council’s actions say otherwise. Stocks is trying to sell the parks naming rights. Some are saying maybe Stocks can sell the naming rights to the new library to pay for the shoddy HVAC system and to the future Olivenhain fire station residents want because the city can’t deliver timely services. Councilwoman Teresa Barth said the skate park and dog park need sponsors, and Councilwoman Kristin Gaspar is talking with a group called “Patrons of Encinitas Parks.” If the city didn’t have the money to complete the park when they bought it, the residents should have been told.
After spending $46 million with nothing to show for it, the council seems to be saying they need a sugar daddy and a financial bailout to fund the park. Some fear everything in Encinitas is for sale. Stocks recently suggested auctioning off the Surfing Madonna to whoever raises the most money. Self-reliant taxpayers who want control of their own park are asking, “where’s our money, where’s our park, who’s our daddy?” What’s next, the Hall Property park bake sale?
The Silver Anniversary Celebration Committee presented a budget of $5,750. Councilwoman Maggie Houlihan said, “the Silver Anniversary only comes around once.” Residents are concerned there’s no money to pay a local band. She suggested the committee work to stay within budget and asked council for a contingency increase of $1,750, if needed, saying the 25th anniversary “needs to be as special as our history.”
In denying the $1,750, Bond said, “staying within the budget is appropriate.” Stocks said, “give us the bare essentials” and Gaspar asked, “why are we paying for a band?” saying the committee should seek volunteers.
Houlihan thought the city should support residents and pay local musicians. Gaspar thought local musicians should support government and play for free. Is it the role of government to serve the people, or should the people serve the government? All five council members supported working with volunteer groups.
The penny pinching of the council is notable. A few years ago Stocks and the council increased pensions and raised city salaries. In 2008, lacking confidence in Stocks and former Mayor Dan Dalager to represent the city before the Coastal Commission, the council paid a lobbyist $25,000 to lobby for the very same park the city now can’t afford to build.
More recently the council hired a new city manager for close to a quarter million dollars and gave an outgoing city manager an extra $8,300. For many, $1,750 for a local band seems modest, 30 minutes of the high priced lobbyist’s time or a day-and-half of the extra pay that Stocks, Bond and Gaspar approved for the outgoing manager. It seems, in Encinitas, there is taxpayer money for special interests, but little money for taxpayers.
As for the new city budget near $48 million, it looks like 52 percent of our tax dollars goes to city payrolls and another 44 percent goes to contract employees, leaving very little for discretionary spending, such as building a park.
It looks like without a financial bailout from private patrons and volunteers, the city won’t have funding for the Hall Property Park or a band for the 25th Silver Anniversary. Let’s hope the community can come through, since the council has not. Otherwise we all might soon be singing the Encinitas Silver Anniversary Blues.


Filed Under: Life, Liberty and Leadership

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  1. trains acoming says:

    Thank you, Mr. Audet.
    As the freight trains rumble pass Pacific Station and over the Madonna, the train whistles will echo the Encinitas Silver Anniversary Blues.

  2. Tony Allegretti says:

    Lame crap like your newspaper. I’m going to sue your ass.

  3. anonymous says:

    What about the cost of a 2nd lawsuit to try to fight against the order a judge gave the City when Glenn Sabine lost another frivilous lawsuit to deny citizens access to public records? Now he wants to go back and go a second round at our expense.

    Sabine is among the worst lawyers in San Diego. Why can’t we find someone who is at least average to represent us?

  4. Namenames says:

    Just who was the rip off coastal lobbyist? Name names please. Let’s hold people accountable. This type of local government rip off lobbying at the Coastal Commission is unneeded and virtually useless. Check this out: http://www.newtimesslo.com/cover/6113/consulting-waste/

  5. Jackson A says:

    Wow! There are so many factual errors in this particular column, one is not sure whether to try correct the record or wrap fish?
    Apparently the Coast News doesn’t do fact checking, because by stating that the City has hired a new City Manager for $25 million dollars, (much like the Anti-Prop A Opinion Piece Jim Kydd published on his front page that was off by several hundred million dollars) has no one at the Coast News ever discovered a calculator? Or is it more likely they just don’t care?
    Nest, there is no ‘Silver Anniversary Celebration Committee’and, have none of the scribes at The Coast News discovered just how ridiculous they appear to the public by inconsistently arguing for more money for Houlihan’s favorite band to get paid a couple grand of taxpayer’s green at a 25th Anniversary Party in the same column he is decrying the expense of developing the park that the Cardiff haters have been responsible for holding up the process on for 8 years?
    Mr. Audet, its clear that you wish you had Jerome Stock’s power/position; (Luckily this week you didn’t liken yourself to Gandhi or MLK as you have recently in public on a mic)but weekly diatribes with only the barest of facts interconnected by homilies about your mom and dad and ONLY designed to destroy another human being do not a successful column make.
    Journalism Professor’s Grades on this specific column.
    Style, grade F
    Content Veracity, grade F
    Research, grade F minus
    Envy, grade A
    Responsible to reading public, F minus
    Semester grade composite: D minus
    What? No disclosure of the profits Mr. Audet made off of campaigning against certain city council Members in the last Encinitas election?
    Check out his political paperwork on the City’s website.

  6. Gotta Disagree says:

    I think it is a low blow to suggest that Andrew Audet or anyone else would aspire to be Jerome Stocks!! Give us a break!

  7. Local yokel says:

    The Coastal Commission lobbyist that the city hired is indeed Susan McCabe. The city paid $25,000. The city also hired the Sohagi law firm in Los Angeles and paid $100,000 for the legal assistance.

    This is all public information. Mr. Audet has it right. We will all be singing the Silver Anniversary Blues when the city can afford hundreds of thousands of dollars for high-priced legal and technical help, and not the paltry $1000-$2000 to hire a band. Jerome Stocks was particularly aggressive by insisting the public should step up for free. We have highly paid staff, and Stocks is one of the cheerleaders always saying we need to pay higher salaries and benefits to stay competitive. Yet our staff frequently fails us and has to be supported by expensive consultants.

    It’s time for a second chorus of the Silver Anniversary Blues.

  8. FIA says:

    I just read a few minutes ago that serial loser, and Encinitas City Attorney Glenn Sabine was paid over $1,000,000 for his part-time employment with our City. Could we file a Freedom of Information Act request to find out??

    Oh, right! He just lost a lawsuit on that topic and was ordered by Judge Timothy Casserly to turn over the records, and he announced that the City would be filing an appeal to this decision prior to the Friday meeting that the council held to decide the matter!

    I’m sure that the $50,000 that he charged us for and the $30,000 that Encinitas now owes the other attorney were worth it– For Sabine!

    I wonder how much San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith makes by comparison? It must be at least $20 million if Glenn gets paid for a City of 64,000.

  9. cubbysmom says:

    Maybe we can sell Dalagers appliances on Craigs list and pay for the band. Thanks for this column and for keeping it real.

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