Sunday, December 25, 2016

Testing the New President After Inauguration Day

Trump lost the popular vote by 2.9 million votes. He won in the Electoral College, an unrepresentative, undemocratic institution that should never have been formed and, having been, should have been abolished long, long ago. It makes a mockery of democracy.

Trump’s transition approval rating is 27 percentage points below Barack Obama’s, 17 below George W. Bush’s and 19 below Bill Clinton’s. He’s not a popular president-elect. He’s not even a legitimate president-elect. Fifty-four percent of the electorate voted for a candidate other than Trump.

As we fearfully wait, there’s little doubt terrorists are plotting attacks to test Trump. An attack on American soil would be a far more serious provocation than one overseas.

Bush ignored intelligence briefings that warned of terrorist attacks using passenger planes. The 9/11 attacks followed weeks later. The US invasion of Iraq, a country that had nothing to do with 9/11, came 18 months after the attacks. The resulting destabilization of the Middle East, countless thousands of deaths, maimings and refugees, and ISIS continue today. Trump doesn’t even want to hear or read intelligence briefings.

Trump is a dangerous demagogue, a low-life bully, a crass blowhard. He is not qualified in any way to be president of the US and the leader of the free world. To consider how he’ll react to a domestic terrorist attack and what the consequences will be is truly frightening.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

A Tragedy of Immeasurable Proportions

Weep for America and the world.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Will Encinitans Deny Three Letters of the Alphabet at the Polls?


Measure A is SANDAG’s bid to raise the sales tax countywide by half a percent. SANDAG already spends far too much money in ways that are against the best interests of most county residents. Encinitans can help deny SANDAG the two-thirds majority needed to impose the tax increase.


The proponents of Measure B, the massive Lilac Hills housing development in remote Valley Center, say the project will ease the county’s housing crisis. Their message is a manipulative sham. Building more high-end suburbia in a rural area far from any job-rich urban center would do nothing to relieve housing problems. Rather, it would ruin a huge swath of back country, add thousands of daily car trips to the I-15 corridor and increase the already high amount of greenhouse gas emissions. Encinitans can help send the message that county voters won’t be fooled again.


Measure T is an enormous gift from the city of Encinitas to a relatively few developers and property owners. It’s disguised as compliance with state law. The purpose of the law is to provide affordable housing. Measure T does not require even one affordable housing unit. The city has spent years and millions of taxpayer dollars to produce a plan that can’t achieve the state law’s purpose. While failing in that regard, Measure T would allow market-rate high-density three-story buildings in the city’s five communities. Encinitans can reject further urbanization of our beach town and demand that the city develop a plan that preserves community character while meeting the requirements of the state law. Beyond that, Encinitans can join the local choruses telling the state to stop shoving developer-driven unworkable mandates down our throats.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Encinitas Mayoral and City Council Candidates Leave Impressions

Running for Mayor

Catherine Blakespear   Seems to have dose of integrity along with spunk and grit. Doesn’t automatically swallow and spew party line. Switched position on rail trail alignment per public pressure, or saw San Elijo alignment as electoral liability? Well-spoken, rational, together. Prepared. Seems to want to represent majority of residents rather than developers and other special interests. Has generational Encinitas roots, says wants to protect them. Inexplicably voted for scam development between Shell station and firehouse on Orpheus Avenue. Will be irreparably vilified if doesn’t live up to “Preserve Paradise” campaign slogan. Not as knowledgeable as should be on rail corridor and Leucadia Streetscape.

Paul Gaspar  Transparent opportunist. Selfish motives. Claims to know more about Encinitas government than just about anybody. Bogus. Clumsy campaigner, rank amateur. Unprepared. Tied to sham We Love Encinitas charity, Jerome Stocks, David Meyer. Is physical therapist, not medical doctor as campaign implies.

Running for City Council

Tony Brandenburg  Only candidate against Measure T, but voted for it as planning commissioner. Not as knowledgeable on issues as should be. Scant fire in belly.

Phil Graham   Came out of nowhere to run for City Council. Claims to be local but is unknown in city government. Dropped out of state assembly race earlier this year. Appears to be using potential council seat as short-term stepping stone to higher political office.

Tasha Boerner Horvath  Headstrong young woman. Talks too much, listens too little. Has personal agenda to pursue if elected. Reminds people of retiring one-term council member. Not good omen.

Tony Kranz  Doesn’t live up to “deep community roots” claim. Tells heartwarming boyhood stories from dais, votes opposite point of stories. Wanted to kill Prop A but seems to have had timely change of heart. Denied being tree hugger in failed 2010 campaign, said was tree hugger in 2016 when ficus trees were threatened. Hoodwinked into paying $10 million for Pacific View. Rode into office on Lisa Shaffer’s coattails in 2012. Displayed lack of courage and leadership as City Council member. Doesn’t represent majority of residents.

Mark Muir  Affable. Collects $180,000+ city pension after 30-something years in fire department. Appeared with wife in campaign mailer walking on local beach, both fully clothed and wearing street shoes. Disarms with self-deprecating humor. Likable. Doesn’t automatically vote straight Republican line. Friend of Gaspars and Jerome Stocks. Hard to figure why on council unless to protect pension. Gets more lively in campaign season.

Bonus Content: Running for District 3 County Supervisor

Kristin Gaspar  High-functioning airhead. Runs meetings well. Out of her depth as Encinitas mayor. Not equipped for higher political office. Tagged as Princess Narcissus years back. Underhanded, two-faced, shameless. Protégé of reviled Jerome Stocks. Characterized as game-show host on local blog. Embarrassing.

Dave Roberts  Despite office problems with employees months back, good record of serving District 3 constituents. Peripatetic. High energy. Positive outlook. Not typical slick politician. Seems genuine. Stays in touch with constituents.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

He’s Not a Medical Doctor, but He Plays One During His Mayoral Campaign

“I’m here to address the doctor issue, specifically the use of the prefix ‘Dr.’ before the name of mayoral candidate Paul Gaspar on yard signs distributed throughout the city. Simply put, you get more votes as a doctor than as a physical therapist.

“I’m here out of respect for Encinitans and for the democratic processes we have paid for. Every election cycle we rely on the candidates to convey their vision, ethics and qualifications clearly and accurately, and to represent themselves truthfully. We have a problem here with Mr. Gaspar.

“Gaspar’s use of ‘Dr.’ is a clear misdemeanor and a violation of two California criminal code sections that specifically and unambiguously address this.1 It also runs counter to his own industry’s official policy and position statement on this.2 
“It’s intentional and cannot be dismissed as accidental or incidental. You cannot at once tout your leadership experience on behalf of your industry at the state and/or national level but then claim ignorance here at home. It’s also evidenced in Gaspar’s reference to “prescribing” in campaign literature. Physical therapists cannot write prescriptions. That’s for medical doctors.

“Regarding voters and all Encinitans, you cannot at once claim to respect any person or group while deceiving them in any way. Respect and lying or deceiving are mutually exclusive. Period. You should not gain the privilege to represent those you would misrepresent yourself to. If you lie on your résumé for Mayor, you should be shown the door immediately. The interview is over.

“It’s a free country and we are allowed free speech, but we should also be told if we are being lied to, especially at election time. I’m disgusted that Gaspar is getting away with this because I know hes duping older Encinitans and less sophisticated voters in town, and that will change the vote count. The insidious nature of it is that voters instinctively trust candidates, even those who are not honest about who they are.

“Lying in any way is unethical and immoral but particularly when voters have to choose between two candidates. It becomes a flipped vote. Remember, there are only two people running, not three or four.

“I want to emphasize the importance of having highly ethical people occupy City Council seats. Good government is like currency in that it works best when trusted most. No $3 bills and no mislabeled, genetically modified turkeys for Thanksgiving. Gaspar’s misrepresentation also opens the door for greater lies from future candidates.

“Finally, I see signs from Mayor Gaspar that say ‘Ethics Matter.’ Ethics do matter, as does character, and this issue goes directly to character. I also want to emphasize that this is not only about the use of the prefix ‘Dr.’ It’s about a person’s ethical compass. It’s about how you were raised and owning the choices you make, but most of all it’s about respect for Encinitans. Let’s be mindful of whose house this is.”

1. CA Business and Professions Code CA 2054(a) and 2633(b)(2)

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Fits Encinitas Deputy Mayor Lisa Shaffer to a Measure T

In the following, we use “the city” to mean the Encinitas City Council, staff and consultants.

In her September 29 newsletter, Deputy Mayor Lisa Shaffer wrote, “Unfortunately, it seems to take a big public outcry to get our staff to go beyond ‘business as usual.’”

Shaffer let the cat out of the bag, but she seems unaware of the irony in her statement. For many years, the core problem has been that it takes a big public outcry, a lawsuit or a citizen-generated ballot initiative for the city to go beyond business as usual. The city has demonstrated its adversarial relationship with the community time and again. The staff serves not the citizenry but the special interests and itself, while the council is in league with the staff as leader or follower. The city has forsaken the public trust.

In the same newsletter, Shaffer makes the absurd assertion that members of the community should have developed alternatives to what became Measure T. It’s not local citizens’ responsibility to develop a plan that meets the state affordable housing mandate and is acceptable to a majority of the voters. That’s what we pay city staff and consultants outrageous sums to do, only to see them repeatedly fail.

The city has wasted years and millions of taxpayer dollars to develop land use plans designed to serve developers and a relative few large property owners. Those plans also benefit the staff and are backed by the council, but they don’t serve the community as a whole, so there’s a big public outcry and the residents reject them.

With Measure T, the city didn’t mend its habitually corrupt ways but doubled down instead. Early versions of what became Measure T completely nixed Prop A, the 2013 citizen-generated initiative that mandated a public vote on land use changes. The city failed to sneak that cancellation past residents, yet the Measure T that’s on the ballot weakens Prop A. The city does not respect and seeks to undermine the will of the voters. Of the five sitting council members, none supported Prop A and all support Measure T.

Shaffer declared enthusiastic support for Measure T from the dais at a recent City Council meeting, saying it would produce a diversity of housing. The Housing Element Update (HEU, Measure T) is supposed to meet the state mandate for affordable housing, that is, housing for people who earn below the region’s median income. If passed by voters, Measure T will fail to do that. Shaffer supports a measure that doesn’t achieve its purpose.

That position is particularly galling coming from Shaffer, who has spent the past four years betraying her supporters. She gets points for consistency. Her supporters expected an advocate, a reformer who would fight to straighten out the city’s errant ways. Instead, supporters got a bureaucrat who joined a club composed of other bureaucrats, people who serve themselves and special interests rather than the public at large.

All this seems to be lost on Shaffer. She appears clueless, bent on pursuing her personal agenda and exercising power that’s against the interests of the people she was elected to represent. Shaffer wrote, “a representative democracy means that voters elect representatives and expect us to get into the weeds and make decisions on behalf of the community.” But that’s not what Shaffer has done for four years, and it’s not what she’s doing by supporting Measure T.

If Shaffer were working on behalf of the community, she would have seen to it that the city produced an HEU that satisfied the affordable housing mandate and would pass at the polls. Because Measure T fails to do the former, it looks as if it will fail to do the latter.

If so, the city will have painted itself into a corner. That won’t be the residents’ fault. The city itself will be to blame, but the taxpayers will foot the bill — again. Don’t cry lawsuits. If the city had produced an acceptable HEU years and millions of dollars ago, there wouldn’t have been any non-compliance lawsuits.

Public outcry indeed. When will the city hear it?