Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Public Hearing For Encinitas Hall Property on 9/3 at 6:00

The Encinitas Planning Commission will hold a special hearing on Wednesday, September 3 to hear community input regarding plans for the Hall Property. The Hall Property is a 44 acre parcel just west of I-5 in Cardiff acquired by the city of Encinitas in 2001 for the purpose of a community park. Controversy exists as to what type of park will best serve community needs. The final EIR has just been released (available on the City website under "View Public Documents"). As currently planned, the park will be developed as an intensive use park, including 5 soccer fields, with potential for water quality degradation to San Elijo Lagoon and ocean. Community groups are attempting to enter mediation to find an acceptable alternative to all parties. More information available at:

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Encinitas Residents to Consider Tax for Beach Sand Replenishment

The Encinitas City Council has decided to place a measure on the November 2008 ballot which would require short term vacation renters to pay a 2% Transient Occupancy Tax designated for beach sand replenishment and stabilization projects. A similar proposition (Proposition G) was rejected on June 3, 2008 even though 65% of voters supported the measure (a 2/3 vote was required). Councilmembers Houlihan and Barth opposed the motion to place the measure on the ballot on the grounds that (a) Proposition G was rejected by the voters and (b) they believe additional time is needed to garner support for this new measure. However, Major Stocks and Councilmembers Gallagher and Bond supported the motion. A citizens committee was formed, which includes Mayor Stocks, Councilmember Galagher, Steve Aceti, and the Chairman of the Parks Commitee.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Groundbreaking Legislation Passed in California State Assembly

The California State Legislature today passed legislation aimed at greatly reducing the use of single-use plastic bags. The bill would require a 25 cent fee on single-use plastic and paper bags at large grocery stores and pharmacies statewide, if a 70% reduction in bag usage is not achieved by the end of 2010. Similar fees in other countries have had extreme success, reducing bag use by upwards of 90%. Paper bags have been included in the fee provisions of the bill, further encouraging the use of reusable bags by shoppers. Surfrider Foundation supports the strengthening of the bill to include biodegradable bags in the bill as these bags do not decompose in the ocean and present the same hazards as other bags to marine life. The groundbreaking legislation, which can set a national precedent, now moves onto the California State Senate. Check these pages for further updates on the bill which is entitled AB 2058, Recycling: plastic carryout bags, paper carryout bags.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Save Trestles: It's Far from Over and WE NEED YOUR HELP

They are still coming after us. They want that Toll Road so that they
can build more sprawl in Orange County. I was at the Karl Strauss Beach
to Brewery Festival yesterday and got to speak to hundreds of folks
about Trestles. You'd be surprised at how many people said something to
the effect of "Trestles, I thought that was over and 'they' rejected
that." Ummmmm, no, it's not over people and as long as the TCA has
millions of dollars of cash in their coffers and the support of
spineless politicians, they'll keep fighting. They're appealing this
decision to the US Secretary of Commerce and are hoping that he will
overturn the California Coastal Commission. We need to let him know
that we do not want a toll road through a state park. Please help us by
taking a few minutes for this alert.

Thanks much!


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Encinitas EAC report

The newly formed Encinitas Environmental Advisory Committee met tonight, 4/24/08. They completed the drafting of their mission statement and then moved on to a brainstorming session. There was discussion of several topics of interest to Surfrider, including watershed restoration, expanding marine protected areas, and addressing stormwater runoff and marine debris. The committee members will each select their top priority items to discuss further at the next meeting. The EAC also decided to hear presentations from various city departments at future meetings regarding environmental matters of interest to the committee.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Forum: Water crisis can be solved

North County Times By TONY BOGAR - commentary | Thursday, April 17, 2008

California has enough water. Surprised?

We hear endlessly about the "water crisis." Politicians like Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sen. Dianne Feinstein are pushing to build more dams, at a cost of several billions dollars each. Even the Peripheral Canal has resurfaced as a solution to our crisis.

But do we really need to pile on to the state's debt and wait decades for these "solutions" to be built? Isn't there a quicker, cheaper, smarter answer to our problems?

Let's be clear. California certainly faces major water challenges like global warming and increased demand. So some people are rushing to build dams ---- expensive 19th-century solutions to 21st-century problems.

We don't need solutions that are expensive, destructive and useless. A little common sense shows us that the real answers to our problems are easy, efficient and smart....

Common sense can help to save water. Conservation really does work. California has cut its per capita water use by 50 percent during the past 40 years, even as the state has boomed.

Simply using the tools we already have (new appliances, drip irrigation), we can easily cut our water use another 20 percent and still support a growing population and a bigger economy.

Recycling water is efficient. Why spray clean, clear drinking water on our golf courses and median strips? We can use the rainwater than runs into our storm drains and recycle our wastewater. Through reclamation and recycling, we can save enough drinking water each year for 1.5 million households ---- roughly all of Los Angeles.

Click here for the entire article.

Water supply threats worsen in San Diego County

North County Times – 4/12/08. By Bradley J. Fikes, staff writer

San Diego County has long had to worry about drought. It imports nearly all of its water from sources hundreds of miles away. Now it's struggling with what has been called a "man-made drought," a cut of up to 30 percent from Northern California rivers.

Local water agencies have created numerous programs to encourage saving water. For example, the region's water wholesaler, the San Diego County Water Authority, is promoting a "20 Gallon Challenge" to cut household water use by 20 gallons a day. And the authority recently adopted a model drought conservation plan for its member agencies, who directly provide water to customers.

However, other water-deprived areas outside of California have done even more to conserve water. One of the most notable examples is the Las Vegas area, renowned for its creative management of a water supply that's far more limited than San Diego County's.

Las Vegas has managed to produce an economic boom despite drought, and even decreased its water use in the bargain. This has been done mostly through conservation. By contrast, most of San Diego County's efforts have focused on getting more water, particularly its landmark water transfer deal with the Imperial Irrigation District.

That supply, however, is contingent upon there being enough water to transfer, and Mother Nature has shown herself to be a fickle provider. Conservation and reclamation of already used water doesn't rely on the vagaries of the weather. So the Las Vegas area, a desert like San Diego County, provides an example for what can be done locally.

Total water consumption in the Las Vegas area dropped by 13 billion gallons from 2002 to 2007, said Doug Bennett, conservation manager for the Southern Nevada Water Authority, the water wholesaler for the region. During the same period, the area's population has increased by 400,000.

Las Vegas has had no choice but to become more efficient in conserving and reusing water. The landlocked area doesn't even have the desalination option available to coastal San Diego County.

Click here for the whole article.

All that water, every drop to drink

'The SUV of water' By Mindy McIntyre

With all the growing limitations on freshwater, it is easy to see why people would look to the Pacific Ocean as a potentially unlimited new water supply. However, the reality is that despite the industry-fanned hopes, ocean water desalination remains largely impractical in California.

Many people mistakenly consider ocean desalination a harmless way to get water to growing cities without the effects associated with damming rivers and over-pumping groundwater. The truth is, desalination is one of the most harmful and expensive water options in California. When compared to other available strategies, ocean desalination just doesn't pencil out.

Consider that ocean desalination is the most energy intensive way to get water. That's right -- it requires more energy to desalinate a gallon of ocean water than it does to pump water rom Northern California over a mountain range all the way to Southern California. All of that energy means more greenhouse gases, which would cause more problems for our snowpack and groundwater, not to mention other resources.

Ocean desalination also requires that massive amounts of sea water, carrying millions of fish, plankton and other ocean life, must be sucked up and filtered everyday -- with 100% fish mortality. Those who care about the ocean know that these types of diversions can destroy miles of already stressed coastal habitats. In fact, people have been working for decades to stop power plants from this kind of water filtration.

Ocean desalination also fails the cost test. It is the most expensive source of new water for California, thanks to the very high energy requirements. Despite the claims that desalination will get less expensive as time goes on, you do not have to be an economist to understand that $4 gasoline means that all forms of energy will be much more expensive in the future, not cheaper.

We should also be aware that many of these desalination plants would be owned by private companies, including subsidiaries of multinational corporations. That raises concerns about transparency and accountability.

Locally controlled water conservation, water recycling and brackish water desalination are all far cheaper than ocean desalination. Coincidentally, these options are also less energy- and greenhouse-gas intensive, and less environmentally damaging.

Ocean desalination, quite frankly, is the SUV of water. We have better options. Communities need to decide whether they want their water sources to generate massive amount of greenhouse gas, cost a fortune and destroy the environment. I suspect that in most cases, Californians would reject that offer.

Mindy McIntyre is the Planning and Conservation League's water program manager.

From the LA Times.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Oceanside Robertson's Concrete Update

From super activist Marty Benson.....

I attended that meeting with a "No Robertson's" button and I am of the opinions that

- a full EIR should have been required;
- a site in the flood plain, right on an already impaired body of
water that feeds into a popular beach suffering from regular closures
is not the place for a concrete plant;
- a site located within a quarter mile of a new mass transit stop
(Sprinter) is better utilized as a mixed use property, and such a use
would create more jobs and benefit for the city and pollution in
- O'side city council should more closely abide by the Oceanside
Boulevard Corridor Vision on which it spent $600k; and
- a worthwhile council would listen to the preponderance of its
constituents when making a decision.

These points were hit by the resident and enviro group opponents who far outnumbered the project proponents. Unfortunately, Oceanside is run by a 3-2 majority of pro-development people masquerading as conservatives.

For more info, you can go to

Friday, April 4, 2008

Trestles Update

We need your help contacting the Secretary of Commerce by asking him to grant a public hearing regarding the TCA's recent appeal. We need to ensure the Secretary of Commerce comes out to California to hear concerns of the public. Thousands of Trestles supporters swayed the Coastal Commission in February--now, we need to make sure a hearing is granted and the Federal government upholds the Coastal Commission decision.

To sign the action alert and learn more about the appeal process: click here

As you may have heard, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has dismissed fellow actor Clint Eastwood and his own brother-in-law, Bobby Shriver, from the State Park and Recreation Commission. Eastwood and Shriver had spoken out publicly against a senseless plan, supported by the governor, to put a six-lane toll road through San Onofre State Beach--one of the state's most popular parks.

Thanks in large part to their courageous stand--and a powerful outcry from thousands of concerned California citizens like you-- this disastrous proposal was recently dealt a major blow when it was rejected by the California Coastal Commission. Now the Governor has sent a chilling political message by failing to reappoint Eastwood and Shriver.Gov. Schwarzenegger claims to be committed to environmental protection. But by backing the toll road scheme, he is endorsing the destruction of one of the last unspoiled stretches of California's coastline.

According to the Governor, this road "has to go through somewhere. We can't stop progress." Please express your outrage to Gov. Schwarzenegger (see letter template below). Tell him to reverse course and vigorously oppose any attempt to revive the toll road plan. Tell Governor Schwarzenegger to support his appointees-- even those who disagree with him--and to join the State Park and Recreation Commission and the California Coastal Commission in opposing the toll road.

To see recent new coverage: click here

You are welcome to use the below letter template:

To contact Governor: click here

On the drop down menu select:"Parks and Recreation".
Dear Governor Schwarzenegger,

I am outraged by your decision to dismiss Clint Eastwood and Bobby Shriver as vice chair and chair, respectively, of the California State Park and Recreation Commission. Your reported justification for terminating their appointments--– to infuse the Commission with "fresh legs"-- rings hollow. They had the courage to oppose the San Onofre toll road, which violates numerous California coastal policies and is one of the most destructive infrastructure projects in our state today.

I vehemently oppose your decision to dismiss two state parks commissioners who have done exactly what they were appointed to do: weigh the facts and exercise their independent judgment in the best interest of California. Please reverse course and join the State Park and Recreation Commission and the California Coastal Commission in opposing the toll road. I count on you as governor to represent all Californians, just as you did when you stood up to the Bush Administration when it sought to build roads in wild national forests in California. But all too often you have chosen to silence voices that disagree with your own--whether they are on the Coastal Commission, the Fish and Game Commission, the Air Resources Board or the Reclamation Board.

This pattern of dismissing appointees who dare to disagree with you sets a dangerous precedent. Public officials shouldn't be constrained in their performance by fear of losing their positions. Our state parks face an onslaught of threats. When it comes to protecting our natural heritage, Californians deserve to be represented by stewards like Clint Eastwood and Bobby Shriver. They were right to oppose the toll road through San Onofre, and so was the California Coastal Commission. We need you to do the same.

Sincerely,[signature block]

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Coronado City Monitor Report

From Barbara Denny:

I attended the Coronado City Council meeting on Tuesday, March 4. There was one potentially relevant issue:

Navy opposes proposed tunnel. As part of the regular business of the city council, the agenda item known as the Coronado tunnel project generated a fair amount of discussion among all the city council members, except the mayor who was absent from the meeting.

As a traffic mitigation effort, the eight member Coronado tunnel commission proposed the building of a 1.4 mile, two-lane reversible tunnel beginning at the base of the Blue Bridge in Coronado, running under Fourth Street, and surfacing directly inside NASNI (Naval Air Station North Island).

In response to the submitted draft EIR (environmental impact report), the Navy leadership commented that it strongly opposes such a tunnel because it is an obvious terrorist target.

According to a slideshow presentation by one of the city council members who also is a tunnel commission member, Coronado leaders have been working on the tunnel project since 1999. The Navy's opposition to the proposed tunnel is a major setback.

The city council members, in the absence of the mayor, did not decide on any action to take at this time. It remains to be seen what will become of the Coronado tunnel project.

Coronado City Council generally meets on the first and third Tuesday of every month at 3 pm in Council Chambers at the south end of City Hall located at 1825 Strand Way, Coronado, CA 92118. City Council meetings are also telecast live on cable channel 19. Check city website at for meeting date changes due to holiday schedules.

Latest in Encinitas

Here is the summary from the 3/12/08 Encinitas City Council Meeting:

(1) The City Council adopted Ordinance 2008-02, which prohibits smoking at beaches, parks, trails, outdoor eating areas, etc.

(2) The City Council approved the recommendation by the Shoreline Preservation Working Group to support the Coast Share Methodology for sand replenishment.

Submitted by City Monitor Aran Wong.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

California Coastal Commission Under Attack

The California Legislature is considering a bill that would dramatically undermine the ability of the Coastal Commission to protect our coast and ocean.

California Senate Bill 1295 (Ducheny) would strip the right of Coastal Commissioners to appeal development permits granted by local governments.

This oversight by the Coastal Commission is critical to fair and consistent enforcement of the Coastal Act. Senate Bill 1295, if enacted, would dramatically undermine this function and potentially allow numerous violations of the Coastal Act to “slip through the cracks.”

Tell the California Legislature that you oppose the weakening of the Coastal Commission’s oversight role and oppose Senate Bill 1295.

Click here to take action

Monday, March 3, 2008

Encinitas City Council Meeting Report 2/27/08

From Aran Wong:

(1) The San Dieguito Water District gave a presentation to the City Council. Because of the current drought, the Drought Response Work Group was formed to prepare for a supply cutback. It is currently working on a model ordinance and considering limiting landscaping and washing of hardscape. The model ordinance should be ready in March.

(2) The Council had a public hearing to discuss water rates and meter service charges. Water costs have more than doubled, and the Council is considering increasing rates and encouraging conservation.

(3) The Mayor gave his State of the City speech. A Cardiff Specific Plan is being prepared, which will be forwarded to the City Council. An EIR for the Hall property will be completed and submitted for certification by the summer of this year. The City will place a measure on the ballot to require short term rentals to pay a transient occupancy tax to help pay for beach replenishment, public services and other benefits to the community.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Watershed Forum - February 28!


February 28, 1:00-4:00 p.m.

San Diego Water Department Employee Development and Training Center, 5510 Kiowa Drive, La Mesa CA 91942

The California Department of Conservation (DOC), the City of San Diego and the San Diego River Park Foundation are hosting a public forum to discuss the needs, opportunities and structure for a new California Watershed Program. Plan on attending this important meeting to help shape the State's Program and discuss local needs and priorities!
Preliminary documents are posted at

Watersheds have proven to be an effective management unit for natural resources, yet no single agency or other entity can effectively manage watersheds. It is in the state's interest to develop and support a statewide watershed program to promote and conduct effective stewardship of natural resources in a watershed context. That stewardship should include local communities and state and federal agencies in an organized Program of collaborative watershed management.

The Resources Agency has asked DOC to take a lead role in developing the new California Watershed Program. This effort will include strong interaction and cooperation with other state, federal and local agencies. The structure and roles developed to guide public and agency involvement in describing the new strategy include a committee of up to 24 non-agency stakeholders who meet regularly to provide liaison between the Watershed Program and the Regions and to help synthesize and organize the ideas and advice received through the regional forums.

Regional Forums: Open meetings are being organized in each major hydrologic region of the state to gather public input and recommendations on Program development and implementation appropriate for the region of focus. These meetings will to provide an avenue to include local interests in setting and tracking Program priorities and implementation actions. For more information, please contact John Lowrie at (916) 324-9013 or by e-mail at or you may contact Iovanka Todt at (619) 507-0653 or by e-mail at

Low Impact Development Workshop Announced

The County of San Diego, in coordination with Filterra, is providing a free seminar on Low Impact Development (LID). This seminar features Larry Coffman, the pioneer and nationally recognized expert on Bioretention and LID Design Guidelines for new and existing commercial and residential developments. Topics will include:

A comprehensive overview of LID principals and design techniques.
Detailed discussions on LID Guidelines designed for San Diego County and other regions throughout the USA. Design details and project examples using the latest advancements of the Filterra Bioretention Treatment System.

Tuesday, March 25th, 8:00 am - 12:00 pm

County Operation Center, Ruffin Annex
DPLU Hearing Room
5201 Ruffin Road, Suite B
San Diego, CA 92123

You must register for this program. Email me if you want the registration form sent to you:

More info:

Friday, February 22, 2008

Smoking Ban for State Beaches Proposed

February 21, 2008

Oropeza targets parks, beaches for smoking ban

Sen. Jenny Oropeza has introduced new legislation to further restrict smoking in California. The bill would ban lighting up a cigarette at any of California's state parks or beaches.

Oropeza introduced the legislation on Thursday, after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill she authored in 2007 making it illegal to smoke in a car, if there is a child passenger.

The bill, SB 1418, is not yet in print online, but Oropeza's office reports violating the would-be law could result in a $100 fine. That's the same fine level Schwarzenegger agreed to in signing the 2007 ban on smoking in cars with children.

Oropeza, in a statement announcing the legislation, couched the bill in environmental terms. “Caring for the environment and protecting public health are goals worthy of California’s policymakers,” said the Long Beach Democrat. “Safeguarding state parks and beaches from cigarette butts, protecting fish and helping prevent fires reflect the values of most Californians.

This also shows we are good stewards of our environment.”

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Encinitas City Council Meeting Report 2/13/08

The purpose of my posting our City Monitor reports is to let our members know that we are reviewing matters at a very local level, to determine if projects and decisions will have an impact on our oceans, waves and beaches. Here is a report from Aran Wong, one of our Encinitas City Monitors, on the Encinitas City Council Meeting of 2/13/08:

(1) Smoking Ban Ordinance: The proposed Encinitas Smoking Ban Ordinance was taken off calendar and is set to be heard on February 20, 2008. According to Deputy Mayor Houlihan, the City Council apparently had some minor changes that it wanted to make to the language before voting on it. I will attend the meeting on behalf of Surfrider in support of the ban.

(2) Applications for the Environmental Committee: The City Council heard applicants for the Environmental Committee explain their qualifications and interests in serving on the commission/committee. There were several qualified “green” applicants, and it will be interesting to see who the City Council chooses.

(3) Informational Presentation of the Streetscape Project: Various speakers discussed their visions for the North Coast Highway 101 Streetscape Project. No decisions were made regarding the project.

Next Policy Meeting is April 8

The next meeting of the Policy Subcommittee will be April 8 at 6:30 p.m. Location to be determined. If you plan to attend, please email me at and let me know from what part of town you will be coming. Thanks!

Mayors Initiative to Combat Global Warming

Seven Mayors in the San Diego area have signed an agreement promising to meet or exceed Kyoto Protocol targets, but few have concrete plans of how they will achieve those reductions in their communities. Urge your Mayor to sign The U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. If they have already done so, encourage them to fulfill the promise.

More information can be found at

Or email Julia for more information

Cities that have already signed the initiative:
Chula Vista, Del Mar, Imperial Beach, La Mesa, San Diego, Solana Beach, and Vista

link to relevant article

Friday, February 15, 2008

Thank You Coastal Commissioners!!!

Here is a link to an online "THANK YOU" to the California Coastal Commission. Stefanie Sekich will personally had over the thank yous from this online petition to the Commissioners at their next meeting. Please check it out and and join in our giving thanks!

Hearing on Robertson's Cement Plant in O'side



More information coming soon. If you would like to circulate letters for signatures, please e-mail Nadia at

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Solana Beach Report from Jim Jaffee

Here is my Solana Beach update.

1) The Coastal Commission staff has returned comment on the draft
LUP/LCP. They are pretty extensive. I am going to meet with the city on the
26th to try to establish a response to the comments.

Some highlights:

-They want to see how we will utilize the mitigation fees collected
from seawalls and other such structures.

-They are concerned the LCP does not have enough policies in areas
other thatn the shoreline like the lagoons etc...

-They want the prohibition in the CONDOTELS added to the LCP. This is

-They have concerns about allowing a minimum house inside the setbacks.
I agree but the property owners will have issues with this.

-They rejected the safety improvement argument associated with
seawalls. This is very good. The property owners want a credit on fees for
mitigation because they are improving the safety with seawalls. They also
want to waive certain review on this basis.

2) Sand replenishment - SANDAG is proposing a comprehensive sand
replenishment program. It will be more than just Solana Beach. The entire
coast will be affected. Solana Beach approved funding for the program
studies and construction matching funds. The major issue is they really do
not detail the after replenishment conditions.

3) Army Corps Project - Encinitas Solana Beach - The first project was
rejected. They are bringing back a second project with less sand but
still advocating federally funded seawalls or notch fills. We are concerned there has been no formal response to comments in the DEIS from 2005.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Border Sewage Update

On December 18, 2007, Congress passed a spending bill to aside up to $66 million to improve treatment of sewage from the Tijuana River. However, the spending bill did not specify how this would be done. Congress instead required the IBWC to study the 2 best options and continue to negotiate with Bajagua LLC while it evaluates whether the Bajagua project or the an upgrade of the ITWP will be the best option. The IBWC must report back to Congress after analyzing the two plans.