Community Park) is finally being realized,” said longtime friend Laurie Michaels. “Maggie loved and protected those that needed it most.” Much has happened in the city that Houlihan called home for decades and Michaels had a sense about how she would have felt. “She would not have been surprised that the council did not appoint her choice to replace her after her death,” Michaels said. In fact, the City Council voted 3-1, with Teresa Barth opposing, to appoint Mark Muir rather than several other applicants for the position, including Houlihan’s choice, Lisa Shaffer. Shaffer is now a candidate in this year’s City Council election. Just before her third successful bid for the council, Houlihan clarified some of her platform and the issues she was passionate about. Houlihan said she was motivated to continue serving the community to maintain her strong record of accomplishment in encouraging citizen participation, transparent government and fostering partnerships between community groups in the city’s best interest. She cited the revitalization of the Cultural Tourism Committee, which puts on the annual garden tour and festival as an example. Houlihan’s primary issues in that race, which proved less contentious than her 2004 bid, centered on development and community. “Preserving the quality of life and the character of our five distinct communities is paramount,” she said. She said she believed the path to community character leads through good planning.“We’ve got to close development loopholes and review our ordinances to make sure the kind of development that overwhelms the community isn’t allowed,” she said in a previous interview. “Maggie was for managed growth and development, a transparent government that was responsive to the people and she always showed respect to her constituents,” Michaels said. “She really was the most
attentive council person who always did her homework and knew exactly what the issues were and what impacts the council’s decisions would have on the community.” Always a champion for the environment, Houlihan called for acquisition of open space for park land and habitat preservation. She remembers purchasing the Hall property for a “community park.” “We are moving through the process and that involves public opinion,” she said during her last campaign. “I think we’re going to end up with a community amenity.” Indeed, Houlihan lived long enough to see several of her predictions come true.The council in fact named the former Hall property “Encinitas Community Park” and recently broke ground on construction. Houlihan was adamant about preserving the community character of the city by ensuring habitat corridors were maintained to provide traffic relief and serve as a part of the high quality of life in the city. “Environmental quality and economic vitality go hand in hand,” Houlihan said. Houlihan promoted transparency in government. “It is important that when you are doing the public’s business it’s done in the public arena,” she often said. Houlihan supported the live webcasts of City Council and Planning Commission meetings that began in 2008. “I’ve said we have to minimize the amount of closed sessions the council has,” she said. “Now we have occasional closed sessions on potential litigation, personnel issues and land purchase negotiations.” The City Council had been criticized in the past for holding sessions not open to the public almost weekly.Some saw it as a violation of the state’s Brown Act that requires a transparent municipal government. “Leaders need to focus on bringing people together, to facilitate civic participation,” she said. That’s something I’ve always championed.” Ian Thompson, Houlihan’s husband and friend of nearly 30 years, described her as a natural facilitator in a previous
interview.“She had a huge and very vibrant network to employ politically to discuss issues,” he said. “She had an amazing ability to bring people together.” Despite being one of the most visible council members, Houlihan was often the driving force on many projects that she didn’t take credit for, according to Thompson. “She was very effective behind the scenes,” he said. “She would never just say no to people or an idea. She would always do research, talk to people. She didn’t claim credit for it but was often a support vehicle in that she would get the right people in the right places to come together, and then she would step back and get out of the way.” Thompson said Houlihan moved at a brisk pace to serve the community. “She pursued all of her interests in the same capacity. Everything was always a hundred and twentypercent,” he said. Despite her failing physical heath, Houlihan remained committed to her family, friends, work and community until the end Thompson said. She phoned in on Sept. 7, 2011, just over a week before her death to attend the council meeting. “She was essentially immobile at that time but she was still very astute,” Thompson said. “She would not give up her contribution to the council and to serving the public.” “She always got the greatest satisfaction from fighting for causes, it was as much the process as the victories that she enjoyed,”Thompson said. He cited a smoking ban on the beach, downtown improvements, purchasing open space as well as the Hall property and addressing issues impacting seniors as some of her major achievements. “She was definitely one for the underdog. Unfortunately, the environment and the ones most vulnerable are the ones at risk. Those are often the ones she would fight for,” Thompson said. “I think about Maggie everyday,” Michaels said. “She is physically not with us but her spirit is very much alive in Encinitas.”
slow-moving, unstoppable bulldozer pushing this proposal forward despite all of the negative impacts,” Kelly Harless said. “These are not inconsequential impacts — noise, traffic, neighborhood character and … children’s safety with 100 people drinking alcohol. “I still can’t wrap my head around why we’re here discussing it at this point,” she said. “Since when does donating money for a public building guarantee a private use for that building?” Nichols said he opposes private party rentals because that was never a proposed use. He watched a 2007 council meeting held before the renovation began during which Councilman Dave Roberts said, “I do not want to build a party facility here.” Nichols said at that meeting all his other colleagues agreed unanimously with that statement. “This should be a community meeting place,” Nichols said. “In 2007 the City Council
was very clear as to what our expressed intent was for the future of the community center and it was not to have private parties. “To say that was an intended use, in my opinion, is trying to rewrite history,” he said. Councilwoman Lesa Heebner didn’t dispute that claim but said “a large portion of our community” asked council to consider other uses. “I think it’s beholden upon us … to listen to them, to be open-minded about that and to do what we have been doing, which is consider that,” Heebner said. “I don’t want to see a neighborhood overrun with noise and drunk people,” she said. “I don’t believe that we’re creating a party place. … No one’s talking about six hours of drinking.” Council members and those who live near the center said they weren’t necessarily concerned about inappropriate behavior by the proponents of the new uses, many of whom are former council members.
“You know that after the word gets out that this facility is available … there’s going to be a rowdy group that’s going to blow the lid off this place,” said Jacobs, who referred to the proponents as “pillars of the community.” “We are here to listen to the … entire community,” Mayor Joe Kellejian said, recalling that he held a party at the facility after his daughter’s christening 30 years ago. “It wasn’t a wild party,” he said.We did have a little bit of wine there. … It was a wonderful, memorable event.” Kellejian then announced he just learned that same daughter is pregnant and he hoped to be able to hold the christening party at the center. The required California Environmental Quality Act study is estimated to cost between $15,000 and $25,000 and will take about three months to complete. Nichols said it could end up costing more but his colleagues instructed staff to return to council if it comes in one penny over that amount.
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familiar with the proposed district overlay for south Oceanside that would help preserve the character of the neighborhood. Oceanside resident Richard Staszak said the debate put too much focus on how to provide community services and did not offer enough solutions on how to improve the city’s economy. At least one more debate is for mayor and city council is planned for From left: Mayor Jim Wood, former mayor Terry Johnson and October. Councilman Jerry Kern face off in second mayor debate. Photo by Promise Yee
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lanes that would be built in the middle of the freeway from La Jolla to Oceanside. The new lanes, which are modeled after the nearly finished Interstate 15 express lanes, would be open to buses, carpoolers, motorcycles and solo drivers willing to pay a fee. In addition, the Caltrans project calls for double-tracking San Diego’s existing coastal railway. Innis said he also wanted to learn more about plans for bridges over the lagoons impacted by the I-5 expansion, especially the San Elijo Lagoon. Some believe the project would be detrimental to the habitat and wildlife at the lagoons. In response to concerned comments from an earlier draft impact report, Caltrans proposed widening bridges
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THE COAST NEWS
SEPT. 21, 2012
over the lagoons to increase tidal range and water flow, which the organization said would benefit wildlife. “I still need to study the project, but I’m hopeful after looking at the lagoon plans,” Innis said. Resident Jim Meredith said he’s also vested in the San Elijo Lagoon. “The lagoon is very important to our community,” he said. Last year, Caltrans selected from four I-5 expansion plans. The organization settled on the express lanes, the smallest and least intrusive of the four options. The express lanes will reportedly cost less to install and would impact the fewest homes, according to Caltrans. Some have argued Caltrans should have just expanded the freeway with four regular lanes. Others, like Shirley Klein, who was at the Mediterranean Sea. I love the Northern parts of Arizona and New Mexico is mystical. I even enjoyed the Gulf down near Brownsville and back up to Gulf Shores in Alabama. I haven’t been to Guatemala or Costa Rica but people swear by it. Still slidin’ surfers may look at the South Sea Islands. It doesn’t matter. Just think about it. I’m afraid of the way our country is headed. It isn’t just our politics but the world is getting ugly and the feelings people have about Americans is a bit weird.We’re the people that save all their asses. I digress …. Go find peace where the people are nice and they respect who we are and for God’s sake, go live! And live in peace.
did in Puerto Vallarta (seventh safest tourist destination in the world). It’s an emerging Third World country, but PV is truly a new city since Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton’s “Night of the Iguana”was filmed there in the late ‘50s. The two built a home there as well. In my very first article in The Coast News, I said I’ve been lucky enough to get a taste of some of the finer places in the world including most of the United States. While visiting those places I was subconsciously picking my retirement home away from home or possibly permanent home. I happened to choose Puerto Vallarta because of its easy access and proximity but I loved the Gili Islands in Bali Joe Moris may be contacted at (760) and the cave homes south of 500-6755 or by email at joe@coastalMonte Carlo overlooking the country.net.
meeting, contend more funds should have been allocated to buses, trains and other alternative transportation. “Widening freeways is not the answer to gridlock,” Klein said. Klein said she was also concerned about noise associated with the freeway expansion. As part of the project, SANDAG plans to build 22 noise-mitigating walls. Caltrans is slated to submit a final environmental report to the California Coastal Commission next year. If approved, the first phase of construction will begin late 2014.
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use said they felt the matter should be returned for council input. Adoption of a use policy wasn’t on the Sept. 12 agenda but speakers used the opportunity to share their opinions. “A vast majority of your constituents, many of whom gave money for the remodel of the building, are waiting for a test run of weekend use,” Margaret Schlesinger, the city’s first mayor, said, noting that a summer had come and gone with no opportunity to use the center. “How much longer do they have to wait?” she asked. “Now is the time to bring the use of the Fletcher Cove Community Center back to the activities associated with the center prior to the time it fell into disrepair,”Tom Golich said. “Spending … as much money as we have … and not using the building is like buying a very expensive car and parking it in the garage.” “I’m still trying to understand what feels to me like a
Published on Sep 21, 2012