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Preserving Agriculture one subdivision at a time

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
October 7, 2005


Paul Ecke Ranch and the Carltas Development Company want to back out of their end of a development agreement made with the City of Encinitas in 1994. As part of the Encinitas Ranch Development Agreement, was the Ecke concession to preserve the 67 acres on Saxony in perpetuity as agricultural zoning--the very same land they're now asking to rezone a portion of for residential development.

There are looking to generate $60 million from the zoning change. The Ecke sponsored advisory vote on the November ballot is a step in that direction.

By now, it is safe to say every household in Encinitas has received the glossy propaganda mailed to them by the Paul Ecke Ranch financed Keep Flowers in Encinitas, Yes on Prop A campaign. Slick and shifty, the mailer was pretty propaganda complete with poinsettias and promises.

The best spin money can buy; the Ecke mailer is little more than the proverbial lipstick on a proverbial pig.

Keep Flowers in Encinitas has the ring of extortion to it. Orwellian in its attempt to the confuse the issue with half-truths, wishful thinking and downright mendacity, Ecke claims of needing to develop agriculturally zoned land in order to "preserve agriculture" are almost comical. Crying poor is a downright lie.

Considering Paul Ecke Ranch is currently growing more flowers in Guatemala than Encinitas, their promise to keep flowers in Encinitas is a hollow. As it is Prop A is a blatant, attempt to break a development agreement made in trust with the people of Encinitas. Confusing the issue with an advisory, non-binding vote the Encinitas city Council is trying to straddle the fence of public opinion while dodging the responsibility of leadership.

Embracing Clintonian ethics, Team Ecke and their water carriers in City hall have decided circumstances allows them to redefine terms words like perpetuity and public service. Two current council people have been very vocal in their unwavering support of the Ecke proposal to back out of their 1994 Encinitas Ranch Development agreement obligation.

Others have other ways to undermine the Development agreement. The Encinitas Public works yard planned for Saxony Dr. represents more agricultural land claimed for non-agricultural uses. Suffice it to say both parties in the development agreement have decided it's time to sell out and abandon any hope of agriculture sustainability. Looking at the Keep Flowers in Encinitas campaign mailer I noticed something quite telling on the back. The list of Prop A supporters includes a nefarious cast of former mayors. The three of note, and of any relevance, Lou Aspell, John Davis and Chuck Duvivier were all members of the Encinitas City Council in 1994 when the development agreement was made.

Is it any wonder voter turn out is so abysmal at the polls. How does one trust government when the rules can be changed at the whim of wealthy business owners or their pocket politicians? I have already predicted that regardless of the public vote the Paul Ecke Ranch rezoning request will be granted. Councilman Jerome Stocks has been steering this development scheme though the political processes since it's inception.

Hence the advisory vote.

The advisory vote is insurance the will of the people does not interfere with business as usual in the mendacity capital of the world. Imagine if City Council elections were only advisory votes, and given the same respect as development agreements. Imagine if voters could take votes back from politicians who failed to uphold civil agreements. Imagine a city where government no longer holds the public trust. It wasn't hard was it?

Prop A will never pass, nor will it fail, because the members of the Encinitas City council have decided, at the behest of Team Ecke, the voters of Encinitas can't be trusted with a binding vote. If the proponents of Prop A thought they could win honestly, they would be screaming at the very concept of an advisory vote, denouncing it as subjective democracy. But they no better, so an advisory is O.K. "This time."

Encinitas is not being served by a climate of corrupt cronyism, currently posing as civic leadership. Prop A is nothing more than a corporation trying to get one by the people of Encinitas with the assistance of the ethically challenged, and those to ignorant to know they are being screwed with the promise of poinsettias, long after the poinsettias have been relocated to beautiful San Miguel Duenas, Guatemala.

Vote no on advisory votes. Vote no on subjective democracy. Vote no on broken development agreements.

Vote no on Prop A.

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