Page 1

January 2014

On the Internet at

Volume 1 – Number 2


U Daley Double Saloon. Photo by Joe Tash

nruly bar patrons have landed at the center of a brewing debate between residents and business owners in downtown Encinitas that will soon come to a head. Residents want the City Council to pass new regulations

that would give Encinitas more options for dealing with problem bars. Bar and restaurant owners say the approach is heavy handed and would hurt local businesses that are still recovering from the Great Depression. Since the issue came up last year, they said, they have already acted to reduce the problems. Called a “deemed approved ordinance,” the regulations

would essentially allow the city to declare an establishment a public nuisance if its patrons caused problems. It also outlines possible enforcement actions that could include fines or revoking a city permit allowing alcohol. The proposed rules, which are still being tweaked, will most likely go before the Planning See BARS page 2

Making do with a dearth of tourists

For motel operators such as Todd Derr, winter is a balancing act. By Jonathan Heller for the Seaside Courier


e goes full-bore during the summer, trying to maximize occupancy at the Leucadia Beach Inn, where he’s general manager. That’s not so hard when the sun shines and people come from all over to visit the shoreline. But then he has to switch gears in the fall, trying to drive traffic to his motel through deep discounts catering to families of locals in town for the holidays. Then, as winter takes hold, he hangs on and hopes for the best. Typically, about one of every two rooms is unoccupied in the winter. “We definitely try to do our biggest months in June, July and

Segments along the planned 44-mile Coastal Rail Trail bike lane planned from Oceanside to San Diego, such as this link in Encinitas, have already been completed. Photo by Tom Roebuck Independent motels in coastal North County, such as Leucadia Beach Inn, often struggle for business during the slow winter months. Photo by David Ogul

August,” Derr said. “That helps us in the winter months for sure.” That’s the plight of virtually all independent mom-and-pop motels in coastal North County,

which typically see occupancy – and profits – plummet with the temperature. Some spend the See MOTELS page 14

San Luis Rey River getting a makeover By Joe Tash for the Seaside Courier


he Army Corps of Engineers has undertaken a five-year, $5-million vegetation management plan designed to keep the water flowing while protecting endangered species such as the least Bell’s vireo, a small insectPhoto by Joe Tash eating bird. The plan covers a 7.2-mile stretch of the river from The Army Corps of Engineers has undertaken a five-year vegetation manageCollege Boulevard to the ocean. ment plan at the San Luis Rey River in Oceanside. Photo by Joe Tash This fall, the Corps brought in contractors to water and giant reed that have choked the maintenance road that follows maintain native vegetation that waterway. the river through Oceanside has was planted in the spring of Since September (the end of been closed on alternating weeks 2013, after the removal of inva- the nesting season for the least See RIVER page 16 sive, non-native plants such as Bell’s vireo), the bike path/

Bike trails expanding along the coast By Tom Roebuck for the Seaside Courier


etting commuters to consider alternate forms of transportation has been a challenge for years - especially in car-crazy California. But with increasing traffic congestion and concerns over its impact on the environment, transportation planners are working to get people to choose two wheels instead of four. Slowly taking shape in North County is the Coastal Rail Trail, a series of bike paths that will eventually run 44 miles from Oceanside to San Diego, mostly beside the railroad tracks used by the Coaster and Amtrak. The project is part of a $200 million initiative approved by the San Diego Association of Governments in September See TRAILS page 5


Sea Creatures Column



Sea Creatures: Winter’s migration By Chris Ahrens for the Seaside Courier


very year at this time surfers from around the world leave the comfort of their homes for the agony and ecstasy of Oahu’s North Shore. Dubbed the “Seven Mile Miracle,” the waves are so good that even below-average days are better than our best. Rocky Point, Velzyland, Pipeline and Sunset are packed with the most talented surfers in the world carving their initials on the face before getting barreled and launched from the tube like human cannonballs. Kids will make their careers there this winter. Others will run home without proving themselves. Some will get hurt. Some, such as Carlsbad charger Kirk Passmore – who died recently when he was eaten up by a 20-foot wave – will never return. My first trip to the North Shore was in 1967 when my brother-inlaw, Lee, drove me down a nearly vacant Kam Highway, where we picked up California transplant and soon-to-be superstar Sam Hawk on the side of the road. We drove past Waimea to see power plumes blotting out the sun. At Sunset Beach we watched bigwave legend Jose Angel cross himself reverently before com-

mitting to the raging rip. Lee and I both knew we were in over our heads and sat quietly until he broke the tension saying, “I know a nice little spot just around the corner.” When we arrived, however, there was the crown prince of Pipeline, Jock Sutherland, in that famed lineup without company. This was the Pipeline and I sat on the beach, eventually locating the courage to paddle out. I merely watched from the channel on my California noserider as Sutherland did what only he could do at that time, disappearing for endless seconds on a wave that made him as famous as he did it. Motoring back to Haliewa we watched massive walls of water implode as some hot Australian

surfers on shorter, faster boards portended the shortboard revolution and ripped harder than anyone we had ever seen. Lee, who didn’t have a board with him, asked to borrow mine, and I gladly obliged, watching from shore as he paddled up and over what looked like upended city blocks of water. Like my trip to Pipeline, Lee never caught a wave that day. Still, we had seen the North Shore up close and neither of us ever forgot it. Of course none of this is unique

to me. Surfers have been answering the call of the North Shore for generations. It happens as soon at the Aleutian pump turns on; sending northern winter swells toward the Islands. On the plane to Hawaii every kid’s plans include killing Pipeline and smashing the lip at Sunset. Reality hits when the ground shakes (yes, the surf really does shake the ground at times) and you realize that this is one of the few places on Earth where you cannot fake it. Some kid right now is reading this, wondering if he or she has what it takes. Others, such as Kelly Slater and Mick Fanning, who proved themselves many winters ago, will compete for a World Title at Pipeline. Here’s to you Mick and Kelly. And here’s to every kid and seasoned veteran who has saved their pennies to share a onebedroom roach motel with six others, waking up all night to see if that horrible rumbling is big water approaching. The North Shore will test all of you, and some of you will pass. Just keep in mind; there is no graduation day.

This was the Pipeline and I sat on the beach, eventually locating the courage to paddle out.

Bars, from page 1 Commission in January and could come before the City Council for consideration as early as February. “This just gives everybody a framework. We give everyone our expectations and standards. You work within them, then we have no problem,” said Mayor Teresa Barth, who supports the tougher regulations. Councilman Mark Muir says something needs to be done, but he wants to let business owners and residents to find a solution on their own before getting the government involved. “I think the first step should be for owners to sit down and work out a mutual agreement and see what they can come up with. If they can’t do that, then you move on to something else.” Bar owners agree. Dale Polselli, owner of the Daley Double and Shelter bars, said business owners have already begun paying for nighttime security patrols downtown during the busy summer months, in addition to hiring crews to clean up and haul away trash. They’re also trying to educate their customers to be more respectful of neighbors. The efforts have resulted in fewer calls for police service and kudos from the Sheriff’s Department, Polselli said. “The business community is engaged and more than prepared to address these issues on our own.” Beverly Goodman, a downtown See BARS page 9

3 NORTH COUNTY NEWS BRIEFS College classes set for new Tours set for The Grauer School Carlsbad high school



The Grauer School in Encinitas will host tours of its campus for families of prospective students on three separate Thursdays in January and February. The one-hour tours start at 9:15 a.m. and will be held on Jan. 9, Jan. 23 and Feb. 6. A maximum of eight families per tour, which means reservations are required. Reservations can be made by calling the campus at 760-274-2116 or by visiting and clicking the “Discover Grauer” box on the upper right-hand corner. “Discover Grauer tours are an excellent way to learn about The Grauer School’s programs and view classroom dynamics in action,” said Elizabeth Braymen, who serves as director of admissions. The Grauer School is accred-

Seaside Courier Carlsbad’s new Sage Creek High School has turned into a college campus. Carlsbad Unified has agreed to let the MiraCosta Community College District use several empty classrooms at the $95-million campus that opened in August, enabling high school students to take college courses while enabling college students to take required classes at a more convenient location. Sage Creek High School sits Campus. It was funded through at Cannon Road and College the Carlsbad school district’s Boulevard, about three miles south Proposition P, which voters of MiraCosta College’s Oceanside See SAGE CREEK page 8

The Grauer School’s award-winning robotics team. Photo courtesy Grauer School

ited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and is a member of the California Association of Independent Schools. Students at the independent college preparatory school founded in 1991 must complete the “A-through-G” admission requirements of the

University of California system and must contribute dozens of community hours before they can graduate. The school, which has a teacher/student ratio of 6-to-1, says nearly 90 percent of its students are accepted into their first choice of colleges.

Carlsbad schools, Cal State San Marcos, ink deal Students who graduate from Carlsbad high schools and meet certain academic standards will be guaranteed admission to Cal State San Marcos under a new deal reached between the two education systems. The agreement, which takes effect for the class of 2017, includes increased college preparation and ongoing academic support to qualified graduating seniors. The university has similar agreements with seven other school districts in northern San Diego and

Solana Beach looking to fill seats on city commissions


three seats with terms that expire in January of 2016. That commission meets on the second Thursday of each month at 4 p.m. The Public Arts Advisory Commission has four vacancies for seats with terms that expire in 2016. The commission meets on the second Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m. The Public Safety Commission

has vacancies for three seats with terms that expire in 2016. The commission meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. Applications must be submitted by Jan. 14 at 5:30 p.m.. The City Council is scheduled to fill the seats at its Jan. 22 session. For further information, contact the City Clerk’s office at 858-720-2400.

southern Riverside counties. Deals are also in place with the San Pasqual Academy, which instructs foster youth, and with social service agencies in San Diego and Riverside counties and a Native American tribe.

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Solana Beach is looking to fill several vacancies on a number of its citizen commissions. Among them: The city’s Budget & Finance Commission has openings for two seats with terms that expire in January of 2016. The commission meets the third Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m. The Parks & Recreation Commission has vacancies for

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4 S C — NEWS BRIEFS AMR taking over LAWSUIT TARGETS I-5 EXPANSION coastal North County ambulance service EASIDE OURIER.COM

American Medical Response is now the exclusive emergency medical provider for much of coastal North County under a new contract with the county. The contract took effect Jan. 1 and calls for AMR to provide service to the San Dieguito Ambulance District in County Service Area 17. A spokesman for AMR said fees that residents pay for ambulance service would not change under the new pact. Rural/Metro had been the area’s emergency medical provider. AMR also provides ambulance service to a wide swath of

East County and South County, including Chula Vista, Imperial Beach, National City, La Mesa and Lemon Grove. The San Dieguito Ambulance District includes Del Mar, Solana Beach, Encinitas, Rancho Santa Fe and parts of Elfin Forest. The area covers 150 square miles and is home to 150,000 residents. AMR’s new pact is a 2-year deal with two, 3-year options.

Coastal North County rentals remain tight Vacancy rates for rentals in coastal North County are among the lowest in the county, with rates in Encinitas and Del Mar well below 1 percent, according to the latest survey by the San Diego County Apartment Association. Only Carlsbad, at 4.3 percent, had a vacancy rate higher than the county average of 4.1 percent., which is on par with national figures. Oceanside had a vacancy rate of 2 percent and Solana Beach registered a rate of 2.5 percent, according to the Apartment Association’s Fall 2013 Vacancy Survey. Although conducted by the Apartment Association, the survey solicits responses from a range of rental housing types that include apartments, duplexes, condominiums and single-family homes, said the organization’s spokesman, Tony Manolatos.

A vacancy rate measures the percentage of unoccupied rentals. A vacancy rate of 2 percent, for example, would mean there that just two of every 100 rentals are unoccupied. The countywide rate fell from 4.5 percent in the fall of 2012, and the rate in San Diego was recorded at 3.4 percent, the same level it was at in the fall of 2012. The average rent was measured at $1,311 countywide, virtually unchanged from the spring, but up 2 percent from the same time last year.

An environmental group is suing Caltrans to stop a project that would add four lanes to an increasingly congested Interstate 5 in coastal North County. The Cleveland National Forest Foundation says a report mandated by the state to look at the project’s environmental impacts is woefully lacking and fails to take into account the freeway expansion’s impact to “nearby residents, schoolchildren and employees.” It wants a San Diego Superior Court judge to halt any construction until those issues are resolved. The stretch of freeway from La Jolla Village Drive in San Diego to Harbor Drive in Oceanside – with an estimated 200,000 trips daily – can be a commuter’s nightmare during rush hour traffic – and it isn’t much better on weekends. Caltrans wants to add four new express lanes open to carpools, buses, motorcycles and fuel-efficient autos, in addition to people willing to pay a toll. Construction, which could get underway as early as next year, is projected to cost about $3.5 billion and is part of the larger North Coast Corridor Project that calls for other trans-

portation improvements in the area. Caltrans officials say the widening project is crucial if the freeway is to handle the estimated 300,000 additional weekday trips projected by 2030. “The I-5 Express Lanes Project is needed to keep pace with expected population and economic growth in the North Coast Corridor,” reads an analysis on KeepSanDiegoMoving. org, which advocates for projects funded by a voter-approved, halfcent sales tax increase that’s expected to raise $14 billion by the time it expires in 2048. It argues the Express Lanes Project “is just one component of the North Coast Corridor


Program, which offers a balanced transportation system to provide travelers with choices for the future while enhancing the quality of life for residents.” The $6.5-billion North Coast Corridor Project, of which the freeway expansion is a part, also calls for better bike routes, upgrades to area rail lines and improved access to the coast. Officials still need to acquire needed permits from the California Coastal Commission. The project’s first phase, estimated to run from 2015-2020, would extend the existing carpool lane in each direction from Manchester Avenue in Cardiff to state Route 78 in Oceanside.

Change would allow for mail balloting in elections

County supervisors are pushing for a change in state law that would enable Solana Beach, Encinitas and other `general law’ cities to hold all-mail voting in special elections. “Clearly, this is a more fiscally responsible and efficient way to conduct an election,” Supervisor Dave Roberts said in a statement. “It is a huge savings to the taxpayer. Additionally, mail ballot

elections make it easier for citizens to vote.” Michael Vu, the county’s Registrar of Voters, said he favors the move. “I’m excited that Supervisor Roberts advocated for the expansion of voting by mail for local city initiatives. This makes eminently good sense.” Any changes, though, would not come in time to allow for mail balloting on the Fletcher

Cove Community Center election. At issue in that election are competing visions on how to use the 1,237-square-foot structure. After months of debate, the Solana Beach City Council in 2013 approved a pilot project allowing private rentals of the center where alcohol could flow. Among the restrictions are that no more than one event could be held every two weeks, no more than 50 people could attend and no more than two glasses of beer or wine could be served to each guest. A group calling itself Friends of the Fletcher Cove Community Center says that doesn’t go far enough. It submitted enough signatures to force a special election through an initiative demanding up to two parties every weekend with up to 100 people per event and alcohol limited only by state Alcoholic Beverage Control rules.



Former Carlsbad city treasurer arrested Seaside Courier


arlsbad police have arrested the city’s former treasurer on suspicion of grand theft and misappropriation of funds in connection with his role as volunteer treasurer with the annual ArtSplash event. James Comstock, 53, had been ArtSplash’s volunteer treasurer since 2003. He was elected city treasurer in 2010, but resigned last February, citing personal reasons and saying he was too busy. He also is the former chair of the city’s Park and Recreation Department and he served on a number of local nonprofits in the past. Police emphasized that Comstock’s Dec. 18 arrest was related to his role as ArtSplash treasurer. Police say the arrest resulted from an investigation launched Jan. 31 when City Attorney Celia Brewer notified authorities of accounting discrepancies. Police also said that an ArtSplash board member had identified a potential problem with the nonprofit’s financial records and brought the matter to the attention of Mayor Matthew Hall. The city helps fund ArtSplash, a free, two-day event that raises money for music

and art in North County schools and showcases the region’s cultural richness. It is run by a nonprofit organization. Police secured a search warrant affidavit in February that enabled investigators to search all financial records and documents of financial transactions involving Comstock’s Bank of America accounts during the period of Jan. 1, 2009 through Jan. 31, 2013. “Investigators have worked hard to collect the necessary evidence in this case,” said Carlsbad Police Investigations Lieutenant Marc Reno. “The next step was to submit the case information to the DA for review which has resulted in this arrest.” Comstock was taken into custody without incident in Carlsbad and was booked into the Vista Detention Facility. Bail was set at $120,000.

Trails, from page 1 that will build bike paths across the county. Highway 101 is a popular route for cyclists, but the heavy traffic and parked cars can make for a less-than-inviting environment for the casual rider. The goal of the Coastal Rail Trail is to provide a safe route separate from vehicle traffic that can take people on bikes where they want to go. “It’s really about wanting to provide more choices to more people,” said Chris Kluth, senior active transportation program manager at SANDAG. At a recent public meeting at Encinitas City Hall to discuss a planned segment of the trail, SANDAG transportation planner Chris Carterette identified three groups of people: avid cyclists who will ride their bikes in any road conditions; people who don’t ride at all and never will; and a large group in the middle who would consider riding a bike if it is safe and convenient. “You really want to get to that big segment in the middle that is interested but concerned,” Kluth said. “It’s about 65 percent of people.” Portions of the Coastal Rail Trail are already complete, including a mile-long segment in Solana Beach and shorter ones in Oceanside and Carlsbad. Construction is currently under way on a segment between Oceanside Boulevard and Wisconsin Avenue, and community outreach and conceptual planning have begun on a twomile segment between E Street


Discover the secret to educational happiness. Take a tour with us and learn about Grauer’s outstanding educational program, our students’ extensive access to teachers and administrators, and our robust extracurricular choices. For 23 years, our unique balance of academic rigor, expeditionary learning, and Socratic teaching has gotten results. Grauer graduates from the Class of 2013 were accepted to 89% of the colleges to which they applied. Sign-up for a Discover Grauer Tour on our website. Choose from tours on 1/9, 1/23, and 2/6/2014. Or call to schedule a private visit. At Grauer, you’ll discover that the school of your dreams actually exists right here in Encinitas, California. | (760) 274-2116 | enrolling grades 7-12

in downtown Encinitas and Chesterfield Drive in Cardiff. A tiny portion of that segment has already been built along the Santa Fe Drive railroad undercrossing. Having bike paths that are physically separated from vehicle traffic greatly reduces the dangers for cyclists, and most of the Coastal Rail Trail will built as a Class I bikeway away from a road. However, in certain areas cyclists will have to share the road with cars and trucks. “There are some portions, like some of the lagoon crossings, that are not feasible at this time for a Class I path,” Kluth said. “So there are portions that are on-road. We’re trying to make as much of it Class I as possible.” The North County Transit District owns the property along the railroad tracks and is working with SANDAG during the planning phase, including setting requirements for fencing, lighting and other safety concerns. The trail will be at least 50 feet away from the train tracks where possible, Carterette said. The Coastal Rail Trail is part of SANDAG’s Regional Bike Plan Early Action Program, a project that also includes the Inland Rail Trail alongside the Sprinter tracks, the San Diego River Trail and the Bayshore Bikeway that loops around San Diego Bay. Construction should be completed next spring on the segment

“We’re trying to get all the tools we can together to give the region every advantage we can.”

See TRAILS page 9





WELL, THERE YOU GO By David Ogul Seaside Courier

A new study by an international hotel chain has found that its guests prefer coffee to sex as the ideal wakeup call. In fact, more than half of the respondents from around the world who were surveyed by Le Meridien Hotels, which is owned by the Starwood Hotels & Resorts group, said they would prefer coffee to sex – at least in the morning. It further found that nearly 8 of 10 respondents would rather give up alcohol,

social media or sex with their spouse rather than forfeit their caffeine fix for a year. Left unsaid, of course, is whom the respondents are having sex with. Le Meridien said it surveyed frequent travelers in the United States, China, the United Arab Emirates and three other countries. One in four people said they fell less creative without caffeine, and 22 percent said they couldn’t even get out of bed unless it was for a good cup of coffee. …Meanwhile, over in China, scientists are giving new meaning to the term `potty mouth,’

claiming they’ve succeeded in growing teeth from urine. I’m not making this stuff up. According to a recent study published in Cell Regeneration Journal, researchers said they were able to grow new teeth using stem cells derived from human urine. Scientists are hoping the finding could lead people to replace lost or damaged teeth. The scientists said they har-

vested cells normally passed through the body and were able to turn them into stem cells. The new cells were mixed with other material from a mouse. A few weeks later, something resembling a tooth had been formed. “The tooth-like structure contained dental pulp, dentin, enamel space and enamel organ,” wrote the researchers. The teeth, however, were not as solid as natural teeth. Worry not, my friends. The teeth can’t be as bad as some of the other garbage coming out of China. …And finally, from the HowLow-Can-You-Go Department, coaches at a high school football power in the town of Destrehan, La., have been busted for breaking into an opponent’s computer account that housed its playbook. The St. Charles School District, which oversees Destrehan, issued

a statement condemning the team’s actions: “As soon as the concerns were brought to our attention, and internal investigation was conducted… Any actions that jeopardize the integrity of the school system or Destrehan High School will not be tolerated.” South Lafourche High, the victims of the unsportsmanlike conduct, distributed a news release that read: “The alleged violations involve improper and unauthorized access by certain Destrehan coaches to practice video of the South Lafourche team during the week of practice prior to the game.” The viewing, the school said, “gave Destrehan an unfair competitive advantage and was a violation of sportsmanship, ethics and fair play, and potentially exposed South Lafourche High School players to an increased risk of injury.” Said Kenny Henderson, executive director of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association: “We’ve never dealt with anything like this before.”

The history of beer on display at San Diego Museum of Man By Andy Cohen for the Seaside Courier

Did you know that the ancient Egyptian workers who built the pyramids were paid in beer? Or that the beer the Egyptians made actually contained antibiotic qualities? Did you know that tribes in South America for more than a thousand years have included a “spit beer” – yes, it’s just what it sounds like – as a staple of their diet? Or that the first beer was brewed in China some 9,000 years ago? The San Diego Museum of Man sets out to explore both the ancient and modern history of beer making in its BEERology exhibit with artifacts from around the world; from Asia to South America, to Africa and Europe; from primitive to more advanced cultures. The exhibit has been a long time in the making for the museum’s chief operating officer and exhibit curator Rex Garniewicz, an archaeologist by trade who himself is an avid home brewer. Garniewicz said that it took four months just to write the script for the exhibit. “I’ve always been interested in beer as an adult. I’ve been brewing myself for about 20 years, and when I came here a couple of years ago and looked at the collection of all of these beer related artifacts, I thought that would be a great story because it’s sort of a lens to look at people through.” “All of these cultures, what they have in common, they all have beer in common,” said Garniewicz. In addition to the museum’s extensive collection, the exhibit features many artifacts on loan from the Smithsonian Institution. The showing features some of the earliest discovered beer mugs

and pint glasses, including a solid gold Incan kero once owned by an Incan king, and a rare hand carved wooden kero in pristine condition thought to be between 450 and 500 years old. There are brewing and storage vessels of varying ages from around the world, as well as a beer cup once belonging to Akhenaten, the Egyptian Pharaoh and father of Tutankhamen. One side of the entry to “BEERology” is a wall of beer bottles from the various breweries around the microbrew mecca of San Diego County, and an example of a more advanced homebrew kit (donated by Home Brew Mart). Behind the homebrew kit is a word wall – literally a wall of words – featuring different terms used by different cultures for beer. Lift the hinged panels and you’ll find a detailed description of the origin and meaning of each word or type of beer, including “Lum,” the adult beverage of choice in the “Star Wars” movies. Upon entry, visitors will find a display of tools used by indigenous people in the Peruvian Amazon, purveyors of the “spit” beer made from chewed up cassava roots that if not prepared properly contains cyanide and is deadly to the cook. As a part of the yearlong exhibit, the museum will host periodic beer tastings that will feature examples of ancient brews. Check the museum’s website,, for the full schedule of events and tastings.

7 Carlsbad middle schoolers learn High school students getting a break on about leadership at camp college classes



By Stacy Brandt San Diego County Office of Education

Seaside Courier

A group of Carlsbad eighth graders are joining dozens of their peers from around the county in mentoring younger middle schoolers as part of a burgeoning junior counselor program at Camp Cuyamaca. The older students help run activities and experiments and perform at group events at the sixth-grade camp. “For many of them, it’s their first leadership opportunity, and they’re so proud of themselves,” said Greg Schuett, principal of the camp outside of Descanso in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. The camp is part of San Diego County Office of Education’s Outdoor Education program. The idea to have eighth graders return to the sixth-grade camp as junior counselors came from a student from a student in La Mesa. She was among the first group of junior counselors in the spring of 2010. Since then, the program has grown from about 20 junior counselors to about 100 this year. That growth has been largely though the help of corporate sponsors. This year, the Ford Motor Company Fund in partnership with the San Diego County Ford Dealers is sponsoring the pro-

gram. The scholarships cover half of the cost of the weeklong trip, which includes food and board. The eighth graders come to the camp the same week as the sixth graders from their school. “I chose to be an eighth grade junior counselor because I wanted the sixth graders to be comfortable at camp,” said Pierce Rough, who attends Valley Middle School in Carlsbad. “Also to support them in every way I could.” Pierce added that he learned a lot about leadership during his recent stay. “You need to take control sometimes and sometimes be serious and not just joke around.” The junior counselors also learned that effective leaders can be caring, said Christina Bui, another Valley Middle School student. “You don’t have to yell and be bossy to be a leader,” she said. Valley Middle School student Carter Peterson said he was motivated to become a junior

counselor when he was at sixth grade camp. “I thought it would be really cool to be back and be that awesome eighth grader.” Carter said his favorite experience at camp was being able to solve problems on his own. He said he learned more about selfcontrol and respect.  An outdoor education program specialist or camp instructor coaches the junior counselors and meets with them twice a day to review strategies for working with and mentoring the sixth graders, and to discuss possible solutions to issues that arise at camp. The program encourages civicmindedness in the older students, said Tina Chin, executive director of SDCOE’s outdoor education program. They can earn 40 hours of community service credit for participating. “We really encourage them to take that mindset back to their community,” Chin said.    

New fire chief hired in Encinitas Seaside Courier Deputy Chief Mike Daigle, who served as interim head of the Encinitas Fire Department after Chief Jon Canavan resigned unexpectedly, was appointed chief of the department on Dec. 19. The Encinitas fire chief oversees fire protection in Solana Beach and Del Mar as part of a shared operations agreement. “I’m thrilled and very excited to continue moving us forward with the cooperative effort between the cities of Encinitas, Solana Beach and Del Mar, and I’m thankful for

New fire Chief Mike Daigle

the opportunity,” Daigle said. Daigle, 54, began his public safety career with the Orange

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County Fire Department in 1985 as a standby firefighter who was paid by the call and was notified of assignments via pager. He was hired as a reserve firefighter in Encinitas two years later and as a full-time firefighter the following February. He has been with the Encinitas Fire Department since. Daigle lives with his wife in Oceanside. They have six children and three grandchildren. Canavan resigned in early December after just two months to return to his previous post as fire marshal in Poway. Canavan is a resident of Poway and spent much of his career with the inland North County fire agency.

High school students can now take college courses for free at MiraCosta College, thanks to a new policy approved by the college district’s board of trustees. Starting with the spring semester that gets underway Jan. 13, high school students who also are enrolled in less than 12 units at MiraCosta College will no longer have to pay tuition – though they still will have to pay for books and supplies, in addition to parking and other fees. The change came after MiraCosta College signed an agreement to offer college-credit courses at Carlsbad’s newly opened Sage Creek High School. “This is great news for local high school students and their parents,” said MiraCosta College Superintendent/President Francisco Rodriguez. “It removes a substantial financial barrier while giving them a chance to earn college credit, get a taste of college life and inspire them to continue their education.” The National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships says that concurrent enrollment – those enrolled in high school and college at the same time – “facilitates close collaboration between high school teachers and college faculty that fosters alignment of secondary and postsecondary curriculum.” While the state Education Code states that concurrent enrollment is part of an effort “to provide educational enrichment opportunities to

high school students” and “also to help ensure a smoother transition from high school to college for pupils by providing them with greater exposure to the college atmosphere.” Approximately 175 concurrently enrolled students were taking classes at MiraCosta College in the fall, a high number of them from Canyon Crest Academy and Carlsbad High School. With the recent agreement to have college courses at Carlsbad’s Sage Creek High School, the district is expecting a boost in that number. Founded in 1934 as OceansideCarlsbad Junior College, the MiraCosta Community College District stretches from Camp Pendleton south to Carmel Valley and Rancho Santa Fe. It serves about 14,500 students in credit courses at its San Elijo and Oceanside campuses, in addition to some 2,500 students taking noncredit classes at the Community Learning Center on Mission Avenue in Oceanside.

“It helps ensure a smoother transition from high school to college for pupils by providing them with greater exposure to the college atmosphere.”




Carlsbad moves to reduce class sizes



elly Momeyer thought she’d grow up to become a veterinarian. That is, until her senior year of high school. Her sisterin-law recommended her for a position as an after-school tutor at the school where she worked, and Momeyer fell in love with helping kids. “It was a great job and I loved it,” she said. “I worked with them for a whole year and I just fell in love with the job...I went off to college knowing that that’s what I wanted to do.” Momeyer, 31, teaches sixthgrade English and social studies and eighth-grade social studies at Aviara Oaks Middle School in Carlsbad. She’s been teaching for nine years and recently was named teacher of the year for her school. “I was really surprised,” she said of learning she’d been selected. “I’m really proud of my accomplishment. I put a lot of hours in my classroom to make the kids’ educational experience one that they look back on fondly, so it was just a nice recognition of what’s possible if you put forth the effort.” That pivotal experience during her senior year showed her how students could achieve their goals if they were given enough time and support, and she wanted to do that for them. She loves getting to know her students and

Seaside Courier

S Kelly Momeyer, left, is an eighth-grade teacher at Aviara Oaks Middle School

sharing a subject she’s passionate about—history—with them. “I find that when you make that connection with the kids and make them feel comfortable in the classroom environment, they let down their guard and they’re open to learning about English and history or whatever it is I happen to be teaching,” she said. “And especially at that young age, I feel that you can have a lifelong impact.” The challenge over the years has been trying to meet each individual student’s needs, from the young kids who may be only 10 years old and need more guidance, to the 14-year-olds who want to be treated more like adults. It’s important to teach them about setting goals and analyzing their own learning, becoming advocates for their own education, Momeyer said. She wants them to be able to realize when they don’t understand something and to have the con-

fidence to approach her about it. In the classroom, she’s calm and relaxed, but maintains high standards so that her students feel comfortable while also being challenged. She wants learning to be fun for them, which she works toward by doing things like teaching them to use iMovie on their iPads to make videos about China during a segment in class about ancient China. Or making maps of Egypt out of salt dough and locating the rivers and fertile valleys. “Making learning fun is always my best moment. Any time they can feel like it’s something they like doing, but they’re engaged,” she said. And teaching has “taught me to be flexible. I think most people would describe me as very, very organized. Almost to the point of OCD organized... and (teaching has) taught me to kind of let loose a little bit, and if something doesn’t work out, find a different way to do it. Use multiple methods to reach my goal.”

maller class sizes are coming to Carlsbad schools. Thanks to additional money coming from Sacramento because of Proposition 30’s tax hike last year, the Carlsbad school board in December gave the go-ahead to begin reducing class sizes to no more than 20 students, starting with kindergarten to third grade. The effort will expand from there, officials say. “Personnel Services is working with the elementary principals to identify which grade levels will be targeted, resulting in the least amount of disruption,” reads a statement released by the district. “The goal is to make the transition as seamless as possible” with all changes in place by semester break on Jan. 24. “The (school) board is committed to reducing class size averages for all Carlsbad students, K-12, over the next few years as state revenues increase,” the statement concluded. The district, squeezed by budget cutting in Sacramento during the Great Recession, abandoned it 20-to-1-class size reduction program for kindergarten through third grade and increased the number of students in classes for other grades. By

Sage Creek, from page 3 passed in 2006. Sage Creek opened with about 300 freshmen, but the campus has enough room to enroll up to 1,500 students, leaving room for MiraCosta College to move in. Many had argued that the Carlsbad district could save money by holding off on opening Sage Creek until more students enrolled, but the Carlsbad school board opted otherwise. Initial plans called for the school to open this year with a sophomore class, but only about 100 sophomores signed up, putting the kibosh on that vision. By the time the school opened Aug. 28, many of the objections had died down. Carlsbad school district policy allows organizations or associations that promote youth and school activities to use its facilities without charge. Because Carlsbad students will benefit from the college courses, MiraCosta won’t have to pay anything. “I think this is a terrific opportunity—a win-win for MiraCosta College and the Carlsbad Unified School District,” said MiraCosta College board member Leon Page during a discussion just before a vote approving a deal between the two districts. Page said sharing facilities among various districts is “a smart use of public assets” and will become more common as govern-

2011, student-to-teacher ratios hit 32-to-1 at the elementary school level, 33-to-1 at the middle school level and 34-to-1 at the high school level. Parents last fall began circulating a petition to reduce class sizes, saying the Carlsbad Unified School District had one of the highest student-to-teacher ratios in the county. A landmark Tennessee study showed that to have the greatest impact on academic achievement, classes should be limited to 15 students.

ment agencies face leaner budgets. “I hope this becomes a model,” Page added. “I see this as the basis for further opportunities to work together.” MiraCosta College will start teaching courses at the school when the new semester begins Jan. 13. Classes are set to be held from 4 to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday. MiraCosta College will be responsible for security and insurance costs while college courses are taught.  Enrollment fees will be waived for all concurrently enrolled Carlsbad Unified students taking courses from MiraCosta College, whether at Sage Creek or at MiraCosta College’s campuses in Oceanside and San Elijo. “The opportunity for high school students to take collegelevel courses free of enrollment fees is a huge incentive for students and families to choose to attend MiraCosta College and an incredible service to the community,” said MiraCosta College Superintendent/President Francisco Rodriguez.  MiraCosta College’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved the arrangement at its Sept. 17 meeting.  The Carlsbad Unified School District’s Board of Trustees gave its blessing to the partnership at an Aug. 14 board meeting.

MiraCosta College will start teaching courses at Sage Creek High School



Solana Beach beat

By Gerri Retman-Opper for the Seaside Courier


he holiday season is over, but it’s not too late to make a meaningful gift that will benefit you, your family and future generations of those fortunate enough to call Solana Beach home. Over the past two years the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy and many volunteers have worked tirelessly to raise $2.9 million from more than 1,200 contributors for The Campaign for Gateway Park. Now the Lagoon Conservancy is in the final stretch, but more money is needed to complete the job. And this is where your contribution can be critical. Whether you’ve been living here for decades or just a few years, you’ve no doubt passed by the vacant 3.44-acre lot off Coast Highway at the north end of town more times than you can count. Residents who have been here for years have seen storey poles tell of proposed hotel projects go up and storey poles come down. You may have shared a vision with

your friends and neighbors to preserve the panoramic view of San Elijo Lagoon, Seaside Beach and Swami’s. You may have been among those who showed up to meetings, wrote letters, donated money and helped elect council members who shared our goal to see a public park on this very significant property known as the Gateway. Now think back to when you heard that the nonprofit San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy was stepping up to raise $3.75 million to purchase the Gateway property. How happy and relieved were you to know the land was secure? Considering how hard we worked as a community to reach this goal, I’m guessing you

were very happy. I was ecstatic! It’s hard to believe that was two years ago last month. The purchase means the Gateway site will remain a natural, open-space park in perpetuity. The hope is to remove and replace non-native plants with native species, add trails, benches and an overlook. Most importantly the land will never be developed. The views will remain open and the land will be accessible to the public - forever. Local artist Betsy Schulz, known for her tile art on the Coastal Rail Trail arches and the retaining walls at Fletcher Cove Park and Community Center, is currently designing a tiled welcome entrance for the south end of the park. Major donor tiles will recognize contributions starting at $2,500. There are a limited number of tiles still available. Lets finish the job we started. Give a lasting and meaningful gift to family members and friends by making a contribution in their honor to The Campaign for Gateway Park. In doing so, you, your family and friends will all be a part of the legacy that saved a part of California’s coastal heritage. Contribute Now. Conserve Forever. For more information and to make an online donation, visit, or call (760) 436-3944 ext. 708. Gerri Retman-Opper is a 30-year resident of Solana Beach who has managed numerous local political campaigns, served as chair of the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission and played a critical role in the successful effort to preserve the Gateway property for open space


Canyon Crest Academy students (from left) Audrey Gascho, Casey Moylan and Rosa Brotherton with their winning art installation outside the construction site of the new Critical Care Building at Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas. Students from the Carmel Valley school recently installed seven works of art representing various San Diego County landmarks. Voters selected three winning installations, which will be displayed as part of the building’s grand opening celebration in mid-2014. The new Scripps facility will include 27 emergency room beds, more than doubling the size of the hospital’s current ER.

Trails, from page 5 from Oceanside Boulevard to Wisconsin Avenue. The cost is pegged at $1.8 million, according to SANDAG, with about $1.52 million coming from a federal program and an additional $331,000 from the voter-approved, TransNet, half-cent sales tax. The design for the downtown Encinitas to Cardiff segment is expected to be complete by next spring, followed by an environmental review. That segment is expected to cost almost $6.9 million. Part of the planning process for each segment of the trail includes public outreach meetings that allow people to review the plans and offer suggestions to SANDAG officials. Meeting schedules are posted on Keep San Diego Moving website and SANDAG’s Facebook page. Kluth said that securing funding and completing big projects like the Coastal Rail Trail on time helps SANDAG when they compete for state and federal funds for future projects. “We’re trying to get all the tools we can together to give the region every advantage we can,” Kluth said.


Bars, from page 2 merchant and property owner, is not a fan of toughened regulations. “I see such a big improvement,” she said at a Dec. 16 workshop to get input on the ordinance’s wording. “They look after my property, they move the drunks away.” But backers point out it’s not the responsible bar and restaurant owners that are of concern. It’s the irresponsible ones. “We appreciate the efforts of some local bars to pick up trash and provide security services in a few downtown locations in recent months,” John Balogh of the Encinitas Citizens Committee said at the workshop. “But we need more than that. We need consistent and uniform standards that all liquor-serving establishments must adhere to — with the force of the law behind them.” Residents contend downtown Encinitas has become party central, a hub of drinking fast turning into another Pacific Beach, a popular San Diego spot that has earned a reputation for attracting a younger crowd hell-bent on having a good time. Putting up with a bevy of drunks is not what See BARS page 11






A word about faith

A parent’s view By Cindy Gray for the Seaside Courier As the parent of elementary and middle-school aged children, I have found myself perplexed by the fuss being made about the adoption of the new federal standards known as Common Core that are being rolled out in our local schools. So I spent some time delving deeper Common Core standards – and I have found some disturbing facts. One of my biggest concerns is the loss of not only local authority over our educational content and teaching methods, but also the loss of our state’s ability to make changes to the standards. I also am disappointed to find out that states were asked to adopt the Common Core standards before educators and lawmakers even knew what they would be. How could this happen? The federal government offered cash-strapped states cash and waivers/protection from penalties of No Child Left Behind legislation in exchange for accepting (sightunseen) these new standards. There is a lot more to it, but it basically boils down to the states wanting funding and the government wanting more federal control of education in terms of both content and teaching methods. As a result, if our teachers encounter problems with the content standards or required teaching methods, it will take the federal government to address it. When evaluating the standards themselves, parents are left wondering what impact this shift will have on their children. From what I have learned, there is a shift toward developing graduates who have better critical thinking skills and are more inclined to question

By Pastor Bill Harman for the Seaside Courier


Cindy Gray is a mother of two school-aged children and has been involved within the Encinitas Union School District and the San Dieguito High School District. She served for eight years within the Encinitas Educational Foundation and has also served on the local PTAs at her children’s schools. and dig deeper. That all sounds great, but how do you evaluate a student’s ability to think deeper? We are moving toward a more subjective evaluation system. As a parent, this is concerning when we are no longer evaluating knowledge based on children learning facts (i.e. 2+2=4). My concern is that children failing to grasp important content will be more easily pushed along without any accountability or evaluation of their deficit. Another concern relates to children’s developmental readiness for some of these new standards. In a brief presentation I attended at my child’s elementary school, it was mentioned that our students are two years behind the standards in some cases. This has caused concern among teachers, and the administration is working on a way to get kids on track with the new standards. This is not to say the kids are not doing well locally, but just that some

of these new standards introduce concepts at a younger age. This also concerns me as there is already enough stress on our children and I am not convinced that these standards were found to be developmentally appropriate for each grade level before being adopted. When you impose content that children’s brains are not developmentally ready to receive, you create stress for those children. There also are a few other interesting things that states agreed to do in exchange for the benefits they received. For example, every state must create and maintain a database that tracks personal data for every child from preschool through about age 20. This data is not only related to educational performance, but extends into personal information such as health history, behavioral data, religious affiliation and more. I encourage you to learn more about Common Core.

n the mid 1980’s the first female rabbi in the San Diego area arrived to serve Temple Solel in Encinitas. At the same time a Lutheran pastor, an Episcopal priest, a Roman Catholic deacon and a lead monk from the Self Realization Fellowship were considering the formation of an Interfaith Association. This is how the San Dieguito Ministerial Association of Christian ministers was transformed to become the San Dieguito Interfaith Ministerial Association (SDIMA) nearly 30 years ago. In the years since, rabbis, pastors, priests, monks and lay ministers have worked together to be a voice of the faith community from Del Mar to Carlsbad. Among other things, the San Dieguito Interfaith Ministerial Association has supported the Community Resource Center in Encinitas (now Interfaith Services of North County) and a homeless shelter, which rotates in the winter between various churches and temples. Rabbi Lenore Bohm and I, two of the founders of SDIMA, recently shared this message at the annual community interfaith Thanksgiving Eve service to commemorate our common history. And the San Dieguito Interfaith Memorial Association recently presented a peace pole to that the city of Encinitas placed in Cottonwood Creek Park to memorialize former Encinitas Mayor and City Council member Maggie

Houlihan, a consistent supporter of SDIMA. Each Encinitas mayor has also cooperated with SDIMA to offer an interfaith prayer breakfast for the city each year on the national Day of Prayer. Faith communities make a significant contribution to social services and community life in a variety of often-unrecognized ways. SDIMA has been a positive contribution to the San Dieguito area by bringing together diverse faiths such as Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Baha’i, Sikhism and other spiritual communities such as the Self Realization Fellowship, New Thought and Religious Science, Unity, and other interfaith expressions. Encinitas and surrounding communities have been truly blessed over the years by the tolerance, acceptance and affirmation of a variety of religious and spiritual expressions, which have been a significant part of the history of our San Dieguito area. Bill Harman is a retired pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and he remains active in interfaith activities and community organizations. He also teaches at The Grauer School in Encinitas.

director of educational services at the San Dieguito Union High School District, at the district’s board meeting on Dec. 12. As a result of the lackluster offerings, especially among high school math books, the San Dieguito Union High School District may postpone textbook adoption until something better comes along. In the interim it can rely on the existing textbooks in combination with other resources online and in print. Many of the fears about Common Core have nothing to do with anti-capitalist or anti-government sentiments. For many parents, fears about Common Core boil down to fears about whether their kids will still be able to get into Stanford, Cal, MIT or whatever institution they need to get into to get on the fast track to fabulous wealth and comfort in life. For example, the current sequence of math classes through middle and high schools in California begins with algebra, then geometry, then algebra II, then pre-calculus or trigonometry and ultimately calculus, if the student chooses to go that far. The expectation under Common

Core, however, is that the various branches of mathematics will be taught together rather than one after the other. Many parents are asking whether the new approach to mathematics will still allow their children to reach the AP Calculus level before college. District officials are working with teachers now to develop a sequence of math classes that enables students to reach AP Calculus by their junior or senior year in high school, Viloria said. We’re heading into a new paradigm for K-12 education. A healthy dose of skepticism is certainly warranted. Our system of free, public education is one of the most important foundations of democracy in the U.S., so any systematic change should be thoroughly examined to ensure it does no harm. The decent body of empirical evidence that supports the underpinning philosophies of Common Core should add to our confidence, but we must realize that our collective effort over the next several years will finally determine whether this new paradigm holds the same value in practice as it does in theory.


From the classroom By Jeremy Ogul Seaside Courier


ike any major change to the status quo, the coming transition to Common Core standards in K-12 public schools has inspired fear, anger, hope, excitement, confusion and more. Much of it so far has been based on speculation, conjecture and, quite frankly, political posturing. (If you listen close enough you can hear echoes of the reaction to the Affordable Care Act in the voices of those reacting to Common Core. Both are colossal changes to the normal order of things, handed down from the federal government.) Beginning this past fall, however, teachers and administrators in local schools have been tackling the changes head on. They won’t begin to adopt the new standards until the fall of 2014, but educators have begun preparing for the shift to Common Core with training sessions, practice

lessons, group planning and collaborative development of the new curriculum. If all goes according to plan, students will emerge from schools with a better handle on the things that really matter in society today, namely critical thinking, reading and practical math skills. There are some who believe Common Core is just a way for corporate interests to tighten their rapacious tentacles around our core foundation of free public education for all. It is true that many businesses, especially textbook publishers, will find a way to capitalize on the changes.

You have to admit, though, businesses have been capitalizing on education as long as anyone can remember. This is nothing new. But administrators are not stupid, at least not in the San Dieguito Union High School District. They have already noticed that many of the “new” textbooks out now are full of the same content publishers have been selling for years. Some of these publishers have simply slapped the words “Common Core” on the front and incorporated some new design features, leaving most of the text intact, said Jason Viloria, executive



Bars, from page 9 attracted them to the beach town, they say. The city has been wrestling with the issue for more than a year. Last summer, the City Council considered a temporary moratorium on new businesses that would serve alcohol, but the motion failed to get the necessary four-fifths vote. The council did approve new rules requiring a public hearing before the Planning Commission when a business seeks permits to begin or expand alcohol service. In the past, the city’s planning director had the authority to issue the permits. Businesses are also required to file a plan detailing their pro- recent workshop, adding that the city already has effective tools posed operations with the city. According to a city staff report, needed to clamp down on problem there are 29 establishments (up bars and restaurants. Bar and restaurant owners, from 26 in 2008) with licenses to sell alcohol in downtown Encinitas, who have formed a group called the Encinitas including bars, Hospitality nightclubs and restaurants. There are 29 Association, said the city Barth said establishments (up would be going the area is far if it from 26 in 2008) with too considered “overadopts the new saturated” with licenses to sell alcohol rules. alcohol serving “What the establishments in downtown Encinitas. city is trying to based on state do is take a tool standards. But the new rules could cover all 111 alcohol-serving busi- that’s used in blighted, heavily nesses in the city, depending on a crime ridden and impoverished final draft, said Planning Director areas and apply it to Encinitas. It just doesn’t fit,” Polselli said. “We Jeff Murphy. One issue of concern, said Barth, just don’t have the same probis when established restaurants lems they do. The city is taking “morph” into nightclubs that stay a heavy handed approach, it will be expensive and hurt the busiopen until 2 a.m. Residents such as Shirley ness community and the city as Finch, who lives near Third and I a whole.” A statement issued by the streets, said the new regulations Hospitality Association says, are needed to stop Encinitas from becoming another Pacific Beach, “Since its inception, the EHA an area of San Diego where has worked with both the city numerous bars and nightclubs and Encinitas community to implement a number of mechaflourish. Finch said she’s awakened as nisms aimed at reducing noise, late as 3 a.m. by the loud voices of drunk driving and other disrupbar patrons. During walks around tive behavior.” Ordinances similar to the one the neighborhood, she encounters such unsavory sights as trash, being considered in Encinitas have been approved in a number vomit and used condoms. “You just name it and there it is, of cities in California, including on our sidewalks, alleys, around Oakland, El Cajon and San Luis our homes. It is no question, a dis- Obispo. Polselli accused some supportruption to the area,” Finch said. ers of the proposed regulations Some 400 residents have signed as simply being opposed to bars a petition asking the city to take action. They want the city to and nightclubs on moral grounds. prevent more bars from opening “What they’re trying to do is downtown, and they want new really legislate morality.” Barth said legislating moralrules to regulate existing estabity is not an option. The city, the lishments, Finch said. “We want it to be strong enough, mayor said, is simply looking for there’s enough teeth in it that it enforcement options. “People think it’s about shutting down has real meaning,” she said. Marco Gonzalez, an Encinitas the businesses and rolling up the lawyer with the Coast Law Group, carpet at 9 o’clock and it definitely said the proposal is flawed. “The is not.” performance standards are sufficiently unclear,” he said at the






A case for alternative transportation By Marco Gonzalez for the Seaside Courier


he Cleveland National Forest Foundation recently filed suit against Caltrans, challenging the validity of the environmental review document for its proposed expansion of Interstate 5. The I-5 North Coast Corridor Project would add four “managed lanes” to a 27-mile stretch of the freeway from San Diego up through Del Mar, Solana Beach, Encinitas, Carlsbad and Oceanside. Unfortunately, this project promotes a 20th century approach to transportation. San Diego County residents are ready to embrace true alternatives to our inefficient regional transportation that promotes gridlock, air pollution, and economic waste. Caltrans’ fragmented approach to planning does not serve the best interest of local residents – or our cherished natural environment – in the long run. The fiscally and civilly responsible thing to do is to prioritize investments in transit over widened freeways. Caltrans’s paltry environmental analysis of the I-5 project follows in the footsteps of San Diego’s own regional transportation planning agency, SANDAG. When SANDAG released its most

recent Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) it declined to evaluate the health effects of this freewayfirst option, stating that health impacts would be analyzed at the project level. But the North Coast Corridor is one of the projects included in SANDAG’s Regional Transportation Plan,

and Caltrans now argues it does not need to analyze the health effects of the project. San Diegans must simply not allow these agencies to pass the buck in this way. The Cleveland National Forest Foundation, among others, also sued SANDAG over its flawed transportation plan, arguing that it set the region on a course that would increase climate changeinducing emissions – in conflict with state law. The Superior Court agreed that SANDAG had flouted state law aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions. The case is now before a California appellate court. Expanding freeways before

investing aggressively in transit is irresponsible. San Diego continues to suffer some of the worst air quality in the state. Poor air quality increases regional healthcare costs and indicates air pollutants, including those that directly contribute to climate change, are too high. It’s not too late for our region to change course. But we must make a serious commitment to invest in transit today, not at some theoretical future moment. Los Angeles is in the process of investing 30 years of transit dollars into creating a robust light rail system within a 10-year span. San Diego County should also eschew wider freeways, which studies show invite more cars onto the roads

rather than relieve congestion. Caltrans should embrace cost-effective investments like double-tracking rail lines and promoting development in city centers that encourages walking, biking, and includes robust transit options. It’s time for us to say enough is enough. Enough to failed policies that intensify climate change, harm air quality, and reduce quality of life. We can’t keep our heads in the sand any longer. Marco Gonzalez is a cofounder and Managing Partner of Coast Law Group LLP, where he oversees the firm’s Environment & Land Use practice. He co-represents the Cleveland National Forest Foundation in its case against Caltrans.



Lou’s Records a local institution By Jen Van Tieghem Seaside Courier Music Writer


usic collecting has changed dramatically over the last several decades. But while the ease and ubiquitous nature of digital remain appealing to the masses, the nostalgic charm of vinyl has seen a resurgence in recent years. And Lou’s Records, with a treasure trove of vinyl and CDs, has weathered the storm of fickle music buyers and is standing strong in Encinitas more than 30 years after opening. Founded in Cardiff and once occupying three separate buildings, Lou’s treasures now sit in one space on North Coast Highway 101. The modest spot is brimming with tens of thousands of records, CDs, DVDs, and more. Ask any collector where they like to shop for records and Lou’s tops the list. Of course, one reason is the large assortment of music to peruse. Contemporary LPs are found alongside classic favorites from a wide range of genres. There are sections for independent releases, soundtracks, and comedy albums as well. At the back of the store lies one of my favorite areas, the 99-cent, bins challenging collectors to leaf through and find a hidden gem. A recent trip to Lou’s with a fellow vinyl junkie proved what an eclectic haul you can expect

to bring home. Between the two of us we added to our collections a `90s era Pearl Jam record, Vitalogy, a lightly worn copy of The Beatles’ White Album, a recently released Trouble Will Find Me by The National, and the soundtrack for Jesus Christ Superstar. Like many other patrons I observed how easy it is to spend many hours at Lou’s, and many dollars, as well. Luckily the prices are reasonable as noted by many frequent shoppers.

Another feature I noted at the shop was the availability of music by local bands. In the CD section With Us by The Burning of Rome was showcased. The

release won “Album of the Year” at this year’s San Diego Music Awards. And it’s nice to see an establishment that relies on local support returning the favor. Lou’s history and reputation doesn’t go unnoticed. Just last year the shop was featured in AAA’s Westways magazine piece on great record stores in Southern California. Over the years it has been known as a destination for fans and collectors as noted by local music blogger Cody Thompson of “Years back, to my buddies and I, Lou’s wasn’t just a record store. It was the record store,” Thompson reminisced. “In San Diego it was the main place to go for vinyl, CDs, you name it. WE would drop everything for a Lou’s trip. And it wasn’t out of the question to take the long way to work just to stop in and shop for some gems. Anytime I think of Encinitas, I think of Lou’s.” As the resurrection of vinyl continues, Lou’s Records will continue to be rewarded. Their friendly staff is quick to look into ordering items not in stock and will help you navigate the store upon your first trip. And if you’re a real newbie they carry turntables and all the accessories needed to convert music-lovers into bonafide record collectors.

Music Calendar Jan. 17 - Tommy Dubs and Seismic Leveler at Mr. Peabody’s. Free. 9 p.m. A unique fusion of reggae and hip-hop with just a bit of pop makes this group easily accessible and fun to listen to. Each song has a different flavor pulling from genres as diverse as punk and electronic music. Jan. 23 – White Buffalo at Belly Up Tavern. $20. 9 p.m. The smoky, resonant vocals of singer-songwriter White Buffalo (née Jake Smith) are mesmerizing on his folk-rock tunes. The country-laced music paints a picture of the old west and each sultry line adds a new brush stroke. This intoxicating music has garnered rave reviews and White Buffalo has had several songs featured on FX’s “Sons of Anarchy.” Jan. 23 – Brothers Gow at Boar Cross’n. Free before 9 p.m./$5 after 9 p.m. This band is known for its custom built light shows, which accompany live performances. The music varies from psychedelic rock to funky reggae and features wailing guitar solos and deep grooves. Boar Cross’n usually features a $1 beer special on the patio before shows so arrive early to enjoy some cheap drinks and free cover.

Out of the Woods Pick of the Month Jan. 10 – Brothers Weiss EP release show with Strange Vine, and Buddy Banter at Soda Bar. $8 adv./$10 day of show. The tightly weaved indie-rock tunes of Brother Weiss make them a group to watch in the new year. Singer Miguel Ramirez conveys deep emotions with his raw and powerful vocals. Helping the band celebrate its EP release is Strange Vine from Fresno and local band Buddy Banter. Strange Vine is a blues-rock duo that manages to create rich, lush sounds with only two members. Drummer Ian Blesse pulls double duty often hitting the skins with one hand while plucking out rhythms on his Rhodes with the other. Kicking off the night, Buddy Banter will open with their punk-inspired garage rock sounds. All around a great lineup of bands and worth the venture to Normal Heights’ prime music venue.





A letter from the superintendent

Motels, from page 1 down time cleaning and renovating. Others, like Derr, switch marketing tactics and double down. Derr also offers deals for weekly or monthly renters. The success of the few remaining independent beach community motels these days – and there are fewer than one might think – depends on how well their operators behave like squirrels during the summer and horde nuts for the long, cold winter. “You have to do really well in the summer,” said Jerry Morrison, a hotel industry consultant based in Encinitas. “You have to cut back in the winter as best you can while still maintaining a viable lodging product. That means you have to reduce staff, but not to the point a guest will notice.” In other words, it’s a balancing act. And it’s especially tough for what Morrison calls “non-flag properties,” the independent operations not affiliated with nationwide chains such as Best Western and Holiday Inn Express. “They are really just eking out a living,” Morrison said. “When you get to the point where you don’t have money for renovations, the property gets more worn down and loyal guests stop coming.” And yet, it’s a hardy bunch. The number of independently owned motels in Oceanside, Carlsbad and Encinitas collectively has held steady at 21 since 2007, according to Smith Travel Opinion


San Dieguito High School Selection program By Rick Schmitt Superintendent SDUHS District Research, which tracks the lodging industry nationwide. That means they make up about half of all motels and hotels in those cities. They average 38 rooms and tend to be upwards of 50 to 60 years old. Some like Derr at the Leucadia Beach Inn capitalize on the age of the property, which was renovated in 2005. The 1920s-era inn’s website encourages visitors with visions of the past: “Go back in time, before the arrival of the freeways, and relive the quiet beach-inspired elegance that drew Bing Crosby, Jimmy Durante, Charlie Chaplin and Spencer Tracy to the picturesque North Coastal area of San Diego County.” But it’s harder than ever to compete with big chains that come in, renovate a motel and add corporate suites and kitchenettes that have year-round appeal for business travelers, Morrison said. It’s a trade-off. The same great location by the beach that helps you sell out your rooms in the summer puts you farthest away from the commercial centers east

of I-5, Morrison said. The Surf Motel in Carlsbad, which is spitting distance from the sand and offers kitchenettes, still is hit hard in the winter. “It’s about a 50 percent drop,” said Bob Bhanushali, general manager of the Surf Motel. “November and December are the lowest times.” Bhanushali is not alone. While most motels in coastal North County have no trouble maintaining an occupancy rate of 90 or more during the height of the summer, their numbers typically plummet below 50 percent occupancy in the winter, according to statistics from the San Diego Tourism Authority. The numbers from the Authority factor in all lodging properties from Del Mar to Oceanside. For some, the toughest time is September. “The first two weeks after Labor Day, it really drops,” said Iva Carvajal, who owns a management company that runs the Beachwood Motel in Oceanside.


and families have three options: 1) To attend their boundary school; 2) To apply for an intradistrict transfer to attend the other boundary school (either Torrey Pines or La Costa Canyon); 3) To apply to attend one of the academy schools. Each year all eighth grade students, students new to the district and students wishing to change high schools must declare which of the four high schools they would like to attend through the High School Selection Process. Students

ne of the unique features of the San Dieguito Union High School District is our High School Selection program. Through this program, families in the district may choose to send their children to any of our four excellent high schools – Canyon Crest Academy, La Costa Canyon High School, San Dieguito Academy or Torrey Pines High School. Each of our high schools offers a comprehensive college preparatory curriculum, which differs in unique and distinct ways. We believe that offering students a choice of unique schools helps families select a school that best meets the unique needs of each individual Canyon Crest Academy student. All students in the district live in the atten- may select only one school for dance area for either Torrey Pines attendance. Students currently or La Costa Canyon high school attending the high school of their are guaranteed attendance at choice do not need to make a new their “boundary school.” Canyon selection unless they wish to Crest Academy and San Dieguito change schools for the following Academy do not have attendance year. Historically, more students have boundaries and are open on an applied to Canyon Crest Academy equal basis to any student residing within our district, regardless and San Dieguito Academy than of where within the district the there have been spaces availstudent resides. With the High able. When this occurs, a lottery School Selection Process students is conducted to determine, in an equitable manner, who is admitted. The lottery is random and students may not earn priority status for any reason other than having a sibling who already attends and will continue to attend Canyon Crest Academy or San Dieguito Academy. If a student applies to attend one of the academies and is not admitted due to lack of space, that student is automatically enrolled in the “boundary school” of residence. For the 2014-15 school year, students will make their selections online from 8 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 3, through Monday, March 3, at 4 p.m. If students do not declare which high school they want to attend during this selection window, they will automatically be enrolled at their “boundary school.” If applications exceed available space at one or both of the academies, a lottery will be held on March 18 and families will be notified of the results by March 25. In order to assist students and families in making a thoughtful and informed high school choice, each of our high schools provides information to prospective students online and through campus tours and information nights. For more information about each of our high schools or the High School Selection Process, go to the district’s website at http://www.




By Sari Reis Owner of Mission Valley Pet Sitting Services

Carlsbad fire chief tapped for United Way

Seaside Courier

Saying goodbye humanely O

ne of the most difficult, yet loving decisions pet owners have to make is the merciful ending of the life of an animal companion. Sometimes we are not given options; life’s circumstances take them away from us through tragic accidents. More often, however, we are faced with having to make the ultimate decision to let them go. For many of us, this is a call we have to make over and over again as we continue to bring more animals into our lives. Despite knowing we are going to lose them, and despite knowing that it is going to be painful, we cannot imagine our lives without the joy and unconditional love our “furry kids” give to us. Personally, I have had to euthanize four of my own furry kids over my many years of pet ownership. It never gets any easier and yet I keep inviting more animals into my life. Besides the actual loss of our beloved companion, the hardest part is deciding the “right” time to let them go. Sometimes our pets make the decision for us. Their bodies shut down before our eyes. None of us wants to see our pet in pain or suffering, so the choice becomes obvious. But, if they don’t appear to be in pain, we don’t want to say goodbye before it is necessary either. If it is unclear whether your pet is ready, look for these quality of life signals: Is your pet still eating and enjoying his food? Is he able to move around? Can he relieve himself outside, in the litter box or on a potty pad? Does he still enjoy going on his walks? Is he still enjoying interacting with you and other canine or feline pals? Does he still like affection, belly rubs or being brushed? If you answer no to most of these questions, then it is likely that his quality of life is greatly diminished and it may be


time to say goodbye. Today we are fortunate to have procedures that make this process as easy and humane as possible. Generally, your veterinarian will give two injections. The first, completely relaxes the animal. The second stops his heart. It is all over in a matter of moments and is very peaceful. Although veterinary offices, emergency clinics, and the Humane Society offer euthanasia services, there is also the option of having in-home euthanasia. The veterinarian will perform your pet’s transition at your home so that you can keep your pet as comfortable as possible in his/ her own surroundings. This also gives all human family members and any other animal companions their chance to say good bye to their friend. This can be very important as other pets will sometimes search for their disappeared friends for days or even weeks if they are unable to see and smell them pass “over the rainbow bridge”. Although it’s hard, when the time comes, the most loving thing you can do is to let them go. For more information on in-home euthanasia, pet grief programs, etc. please contact me. Sari Reis is a Certified Humane Education Specialist and the owner of Mission Valley Pet Sitting Services. You can reach her at 760-644-0289 or

arlsbad’s interim city manager and longtime fire chief is taking over the United Way of San Diego County, the nonprofit agency announced. The agency selected Kevin Crawford, who has been serving as interim city manager since Oct. 31, after a national search. “Kevin has a deep understanding of United Way’s role in the community and our strategic vision.” said United Way board chair Jon Vance. “He’s the ideal candidate to propel us forward.” Crawford takes over from retiring president and chief executive officer Doug Sawyer, who has served on United Way’s board of directors for five years and most recently acted as its edu-

cation vision chairman, helping determine areas of focus and investment strategies. Crawford will earn a salary of $235,000 annually, according to U-T San Diego. He will remain in his interim city manager position in Carlsbad until a nationwide city manager search concludes early 2014. “Leading the United Way of San Diego County is a rare opportunity to cap my public service career with a national organization that improves the lives of people throughout the San Diego region,” Crawford said in a statement released by the nonprofit. Crawford said he plans to further the 93-yearold organization’s goals in the areas of education, financial self-sufficiency, health and homeless-

ness. The United Way’s revenue during the last fiscal year was $18 million. “This is an incredibly dynamic time in United Way’s history,” he said. As Carlsbad Fire Chief for the last 11 years, Crawford is credited with creating strategic partnerships with 10 North County fire departments to increase disaster response capabilities, standardize systems, enhance communication and reduce operating expenses. He also led a capital campaign for Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas and is a board member at several other nonprofits, including LEAD San Diego, 211 San Diego, Jammer Family Foundation and Hospice of the North Coast. Fire Division Chief Mike Davis was appointed interim fire chief when Crawford became interim city manager. Crawford took over for John Coates, who resigned in November shortly after he was placed on paid leave because of an undisclosed “personnel matter.”



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to allow crews to water newly planted vegetation with large tanker trucks. The water tankers are hooked up to temporary networks of plastic irrigation pipes installed in the river bed. Workers then hook up hoses to the pipes to reach the planted areas, containing saplings two to three feet tall. The weekday closures were slated to end in early December. Whether the watering will need to continue in the future is up to Mother Nature. “If we get a good rainfall year, we might not ever need to water again,” said Pete Tomsovic, with San Diego-based Recon, the habitat restoration contractor. “We’ve got to get (the plants) established so they’re self-sustaining.” Project coordinators are doing whatever they can, from crossing their fingers to rain dances, in hopes of a wet winter season, Tomsovic said. The bike trail was closed between Interstate 5 and Benet Road, primarily for the safety of workers, said Tom Keeney, a biologist with the Army Corps of Engineers. Before the decision was made to close the path, Keeney said, a worker was assaulted as he hooked up his water truck. In another incident, a bicyclist ran into a barrier, then flung his bike at a worker. In earlier phases of the vegetation management project, workers sprayed herbicides and used large mowers to cut down and mulch non-native plants. This spring, workers planted some 58,000 black willow, sandbar willow, arroyo willow, Freemont cottonwood and mulefat plants along the river bed, with the intent of recreating the watershed’s native plant palette to attract native bird species. The work seems to be paying off, at least in the eyes of the least Bell’s vireo. Surveys showed three or four territorial males in the project area in 2012, a number that has jumped to nine in 2013. “That tells us the habitat is coming on line and the birds are able to use it,” said Keeney. “If you build it they’ll come.” Other endangered species found along the river include the California gnatcatcher, the southwest willow flycatcher and the arroyo toad. In February, the Corps plans to begin another phase of the habitat restoration project at Whelan Lake, west of the intersection of Douglas Drive and North River Road in Oceanside. The river runs 55 miles from Palomar Mountain in the east to the Pacific Ocean, and in recent decades, the western end of the waterway has received lots of attention. In the 1990s, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spent some $100 million on levees along the river’s path to protect nearby homes and businesses from flooding.

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Seaside Courier - January 2014  

The January 2014 edition of the Seaside Courier

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