The Coast News Group
Life, Liberty and Leadership

Encinitas and its ARTful dodgers

After the city heard the recommendations for use of community grants and then offered half of what was asked for, some residents are asking, “Where are our tax dollars going?”
Encinitas has a program where the city grants money to support community groups out of the general fund. A panel of residents makes recommendations on how much money should be used.
This year the panel recommended funds amounting to $121,326, but by the time the council was finished, community groups only received $64,000 from the city.
Thankfully, the Mizel Family Foundation made a donation matching the $64,000, making $128,000 in total grants funded. We owe the Mizel Foundation our thanks.
The community groups seeking grants helps thousands. Many groups addressed the council July 13.
Wendy Morris of the Assistance League of San Dieguito asked the council for an additional $1,000. The Assistance League has helped more than 700 kids in Encinitas in the past year. The Assistance League runs a store called Fabulous Finds at 1542 Encinitas Blvd. to raise money and will host a golf event this fall.
Judy Thume and Lucy Ziska spoke on behalf of the Coastal Communities Concert Band. The band has 80 people, puts on concerts at the San Dieguito Academy, and works to promote music in schools at a time when music programs have been cut. The band visits third grade classes and met over 1,100 students last year while raising money for high school scholarships. They requested $2,250 to support their own fundraising efforts and only received $750.
Joe McNally of the Hutchins Concert Series asked for more money saying 75 percent of their budget funding comes from Orange County. The Hutchins series of nine free concerts are performed at the Encinitas Library.
Lauren Pause represented the Community Resource Center on 2nd street that helps families through their Holiday Baskets program. Last year they helped 6,400 people. They also work with the Rancho Coastal Humane Society to help pets in need with a pet pantry.
Anne Night of the La Jolla Playhouse is involved with the POP tour series to fill the gaps in theatre resulting from cuts to school budgets. Her group performed plays to some 2,700 Encinitas students last year covering subjects like diversity and civility that apparently left students singing in the hallways.
Last to speak was Paula Kirpalani, who heads the 101 Mainstreet Association. She talked about the recent success of the Summer Fun on the 101 event.
There would be more money for community groups, and the people they help, if the City Council had not frivolously wasted our tax dollars.
There is the unearned extra paycheck of $8,300 dollars the council approved for former City Manager Phil Cotton. When residents and councilwoman Teresa Barth opposed extending Cotton’s $15,000 monthly consulting contract saying the money could be saved, the council majority of Mayor James Bond, Deputy Mayor Stocks, and councilwoman Kristin Gaspar ignored the residents who spoke and voted to extend Cotton’s contract costing taxpayers $45,000.
Last week, community groups requesting $500 to $1,000 dollars were told there was little money available for them. It looks like the available money went to Cotton’s extra paycheck and extended contract.
Encinitas is fortunate to have many community groups supporting residents. It is unfortunate these groups are getting short-changed by the council majority. At Encinitas City Hall it seems there is taxpayer money for special interests, but little money for taxpayers or the community groups that serve them.
Note: All of these groups provide a valuable service to the community. If you can help them, they could all use our support. Please look them up.


zi xiu tang March 29, 2012 at 6:34 pm

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What Do THEY Get? August 14, 2011 at 9:46 am

Certainly the gift of funds for various city programs is always greatly appreciated, and I appreciate that this donation helps to support community services. In most cases, I would not assign any thought of suspicion.

However, given our city’s long history of illegal campaign contributions from developers, a developer who funded Dan Dalagar’s mortgage in exchange for a vote by Dan to for a tax break, the recent ERGA golf course deal that benefits the Carltas Company at the expense of Encinitas Ranch homeowners, and the many, many deals that were better hidden and still deserve research, a question must be asked. What do they get in exchange?

inthecommunity August 13, 2011 at 12:35 pm

A big thanks to Larry Mizel, CEO of Richmond American Homes and President of the Mizel Family Foundation in Denver, Colorado and his brother for giving the $64,000 to Encinitas. The 5 year agreement between the Council and the Foundation just changed the name of the grants from Encinitas Community Grant Program to Encinitas and Mizel Family Foundation Community Grant Program.

moredevelopermoney July 28, 2011 at 11:37 am

Unknown to the public it’s been a quiet unpublished fact in city hall that the Mizel Family Foundation is controlled by a large homebuilder in the USA. Who is actually benefitting from the $64,000 gift? Why doesn’t city hall disclose the actual business identity of the donor?

W.C. Varones July 23, 2011 at 10:23 pm

The city would have a lot more money for all services if Jerome Stocks and Maggie Houlihan hadn’t given a 35% pension increase to all employees — on top of a double-digit pay increase.
Stocks and Houlihan have left pensions vastly underfunded and the city is broke because of their mismanagement. Good luck getting any money from this bankrupt city for any worthwhile civic endeavors.

PensionClawback July 23, 2011 at 7:36 pm

This is only a small portion of the war spoils that Phil Cotton got away with in time as Encinitas City Manager.

I seriously doubt if the Council members who voted so their fellow Rotarian could keep what he helped himself to is the actual final say when they and Phil’s family are the only ones who think this is acceptable.

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