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Letter: Wasting money, wanting more

I found it interesting to receive in the mail a flyer from the City of Encinitas touting a 1-cent sales tax increase ostensibly to cover the costs of infrastructure projects in the city.

This was interesting because the city had just completed a totally unnecessary project and, in my humble opinion, a severe waste of resources. 

This project, known as Leucadia Streetscape, had languished for decades because nobody saw a pressing need. Suddenly, a crucial issue was resurrected to fix something that wasn’t broken. 

This project forever changed and upset traffic flow on Coast Highway 101 through Leucadia. It reduced the number of lanes on the highway and added a useless roundabout on a noncritical intersection (Coast Highway 101 and El Portal Street), seemingly solely because roundabouts are trendy. 

This intersection never had a stop sign or posed a traffic issue; now, there is an annoying, superfluous roundabout. If they absolutely had to have a roundabout, the busy four-way stop at Marcheta Street by Juanita’s Restaurant would have been the logical choice. 

This $65 million-plus boondoggle not only messed up Leucadia but also put Encinitas in debt for a $20 million loan. The real catastrophe here is that this project should have looked at the severe and decades-old problem facing Leucadia. 

For years, whenever we had an El Niño year or intense rains, Leucadia flooded. Stormwater submerged the highway and turned it into a muddy quagmire for weeks. And it still does. 

It seems to me that solving real problems trumps frivolous, non-essential and cosmetic nightmares every time. 

I do not wish to begrudge the city of the 1-penny sales tax increase. However, it’s regressive and marginally unfair. Infrastructure repair is, by its nature, expensive. Just the streets and alleys in Cardiff alone will attest to the need. 

But safeguards must be in place to stop frivolous, ego-driven, so-called improvements from being repeated. We can’t afford it.

Dave Fletcher

Cardiff-by-the-Sea

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