Lynn Autumn

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  • in reply to: Paid too much but #1211
    Lynn Autumn

    You offer good ideas, Beverly. My husband, Russell, was born in Virginia Beach. We used to fly back every year to visit his mother, who is now on the west coast. So I appreciate your bringing up the Virginia Beach Arts Center as an excellent example of what we could accomplish in Encinitas.

    The City is paying too much, over three times more than the only appraisal using local comps, in the current time frame and current zoning. But it’s not too late for the City to negotiate terms of purchase that would be beneficial to the school children, EUSD administrators and the Board of Trustees, the City of Encinitas, taxpayers, artists, art lovers, those who would love to enjoy community gardens, and future generations.

    Superintendent Tim Baird and past Superintendents DeVore and King, had long said that they were going to exchange Pacific View, after getting Council to rezone it, for a commercial property so that EUSD would have an ongoing revenue stream. If EUSD would agree to carry the $10 Million loan for 30 years, at zero percent interest, that would accomplish this long desired revenue stream, would greatly benefit all parties of interest, and would mitigate the cost, tremendously, because the City would not have to pay for additional debt service on another lease revenue bond.

    I agree with Deputy Mayor Mark Muir’s agenda item, which is to be heard this coming Wednesday evening, at the May 14 City Council Meeting. Incidentally, that’s the night of the full moon! Because Pacific View is such an expensive purchase, and because the City is adding to debt, which is increasing, yearly, with unfunded pension liabilities, because the backlog of deferred road maintenance is increasing, the City should enact a hiring freeze as our Deputy Mayor has proposed. I would ask, additionally, that City employees making over $100,000 per year, would take a 20% decrease in their compensation, down to $100,000, so that if an employee were making less than $125,000, he or she wouldn’t see a full 20% pay cut. Council should also consider increasing City employees’ compensation to their own pension benefits, which pensions are far in excess of what the vast majority of private sector employees receive upon retirement.

    At the Community focused Strategic Planning Special City Council Meeting this past Wednesday, May 7, there was much discussion of “sustainable growth.” Our city cannot sustain growing debt without cutting back on operating expenses. The general public does support the purchase of Pacific View. But we do not want to bankrupt our city, or to force unwanted densification on the citizens who reside here, so that the City can rake in more development fees, property taxes and sales taxes. Expansion at any cost is not sustainable, with respect to taxpayer dollars, or our infrastructure, including traffic, road repair, and water resources.

    What is so wonderful about Pacific View is that it could begin producing a revenue stream without too much work, or too much more time elapsing. If the City leases out Pacific View to a non-profit foundation through the Artists Colony and the Historical Society, much of the work of rehabbing the existing classrooms could be done by community volunteers. A revenue stream could be produced without having to wait years and years, for a bureaucratic process to catch up with the desires of caring citizens, and the intention of J.S. Pitcher, who donated the land for the early settlers’ children.

    We sincerely hope that with the pressure of the upcoming election, and with strong negotiations by Council, the Board of Trustees will agree to the proposed terms of purchase. It’s rare for someone or some entity to agree to zero percent interest, but this is comparable to a loan made between family members. We are all neighbors in this community, like family. What is being proposed is public land, which was donated to Encinitas School District, 60 years before EUSD was formed, being transferred between one public agency and another, to benefit locals without incurring unnecessary additional debt service fees, which debt service would go to a bank, a for-profit institution, NOT to the general public.

    Besides “monetizing our public asset,” EUSD has the duty to uphold the public trust. We want to support EUSD school children, and are paying off two School Bonds, O and P, for 30 years, each, on our property tax bills, in order to do so. Citizens also voted for Prop 30, statewide, to support our schools.

    EUSD should not try to gouge the taxpayers, now, but should be reasonable, agreeing to carry the $10 Million loan for an ongoing revenue stream, cooperatively and compassionately offering reasonable terms of purchase. Council and City Manager Gus Vina should ask, and insist, that Superintendent Tim Baird and EUSD do the right thing: carry the loan for 30 years at zero percent interest, to benefit the children, and the taxpayers, by helping to mitigate the excessively high $10 Million purchase price agreed upon for Pacific View.

    in reply to: Reviving Pacific View #1172
    Lynn Autumn

    Thanks, Moku, keeping food involved in the arts and learning center is another wonderful idea. The idea of a venue for farmers’ markets at Pacific View might also work one day per week.

    But the two farmers’ markets Encinitas already already has, at Paul Ecke Central and in Downtown Encinitas, could each donate one third of their vendors’ rents received to the non-profit foundation that leases the arts and learning center. That would help provide another revenue stream, to repay the debt, and to support using organic-local foods, providing opportunities for teaching world-class culinary and horticulture arts.

    in reply to: the Arts for All… #1148
    Lynn Autumn

    Judy, you’ve got some wonderful ideas! Thanks for sharing. I would also like to see opportunities for learning experiences in horticulture and landscape design, as well as opportunities for staging and planning small weekend weddings, which could be afforded through beautiful community gardens, also providing another revenue stream.

    When I go to the Del Mar Fair, some of my favorite places to cruise through are the small gardens created by talented exhibitors. I also love fine arts, graphic design, woodworking, and hobbies and crafts. There could be a kind of year round rotation in these fields at Pacific View.

    Also, Pacific View could be a fantastic venue, an opportunity for the public to see some of the artists at work; that would be wonderful. People would certainly be willing to pay a stipend not only to take classes, but also to take a tour of various artists creating their wonders. Artists could rent space, at a realistic rate.

    I also appreciate your idea about large storage lockers. Pacific View would be a great place for performers to practice, too. Our former neighbors were stilt walkers; they would practice on the streets, sometimes, and perform at various fairs and events. But I think Pacific View could provide a plethora of opportunities for so many. We can turn this magnificent location into a true jewel of creativity and community spirit.

    in reply to: Reviving Pacific View #1147
    Lynn Autumn

    Judy, my understanding is that if Pacific View is leased to a non-profit foundation, then volunteer work should be acceptable at all stages of rehab and maintenance. I believe a licensed contractor might need to oversee? To start, the main thing that would need to be demolished would be some of the excess blacktop, to create open space, and community gardens.

    A wonderful example of what can be accomplished for the community is Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter’s work with Habitat for Humanity …

    Thank you, also, for appreciating my suggestions about Encinitas Farmers’ Markets. I would volunteer to help with clean up, as well, once the rehab is underway!

    in reply to: ya gotta start somewhere… #1141
    Lynn Autumn

    Great comments! Mary, I love your idea of beginning with removing excess blacktop and starting a community garden ASAP, using some of the broken-up asphalt for raised beds.

    in reply to: Start Smart, Small and Low-Cost…But Start! #1140
    Lynn Autumn

    Agree, Steve. Thank you for your great ideas. The existing classrooms and equipment on site should be surveyed and inventoried. The most logical process would involve rehabbing the classrooms, removing excess blacktop, and getting underway ASAP.

    in reply to: Too Expensive #1139
    Lynn Autumn

    I am grateful that the City is purchasing Pacific View, we hope for a true community arts and learning center. But because the City is paying so dearly, and because EUSD never offered the property to public agencies at a discounted price, as required by the Naylor Act, which tolls from when the property was first leased to the City of Encinitas, effective December of 2003, after the auction is cancelled, the City should renegotiate the MOU, or add to it, as enumerated, below.

    EUSD didn’t do it’s homework, over the years. Pacific View is 2.82 acres; .846 acre of the former school site should have been offered to the City and County at 25% of the fair market value of the donated land, when the City paved over the playgrounds and playing fields. The State Legislature enacted the Naylor Act to preserve public open space on surplus school sites, which open space is to be made available at a very reasonable cost to cities, counties, recreation departments, etc, according to Education Code.

    Up until February of 2012, past and present superintendents of the school district have insisted that the Naylor Act doesn’t apply, because it was the EUSD’s intention to exchange Pacific View, after first upzoning it, for a commercial property with a revenue stream. In February of 2012, Superintendent Tim Baird put out a Request for Proposals, asking for proposals for lease or purchase of Pacific View in the current public/semi-public zoning.

    Envision the View, with the cooperation of the Artists’ Colony and DEMA, submitted a proposal to lease the property, whereby volunteers would rehab and maintain the existing classrooms, which are in good shape (rain gutters need repair, etc., but the buildings are structurally sound, don’t contain asbestos, or problematic asbestos has already been removed), and don’t need to be retrofitted for earthquakes, either. But Baird rejected that proposal and another proposal from a Charter School to lease the property, and accepted a proposal to purchase the property after John DeWald and April Game got the City to create an entirely new zoning classification, mixed use/commercial/residential/art center.

    When the City Council didn’t vote begin the process of upzoning, before John DeWald’s deadline to get back his $100K deposit, on a $7.5 Million escrow, DeWald dropped out of escrow, before October 31, 2012. He was then able to get back his entire deposit and didn’t have to pay into Escrow, and additional $200K, with the entire $300K non refundable.

    The point is, a series of baits and switches were pulled. The Naylor Act tolls from when the property was initially leased. The “exchange, not sell” excuse that the Naylor Act didn’t apply was a red herring. Now, the claim is that “it’s too late,” for the Naylor Act to apply. That’s also untrue. Also, the zoning, for Baird’s February RFP was to REMAIN within public/semi-public. That was the other bait and switch. Baird/DeWald/Game’s plan was to upzone to construct monolithic structures that were not in keeping with our community character. The planned design would have obliterated an irreplaceable, historical asset, which includes not only the Old Schoolhouse, but the land that it sits on, which was donated for the children of our early settlers in 1883, to Encinitas School District, which had been formed to raise money through an initial school bond of $600, a huge amount in 1883, and to accept the generous land donation of J.S. Pitcher. 1883 was 60 years before Encinitas Union School District was formed.

    The bottom line is not always about short term profit. The greatest value, and the greatest common good, would be for a true community arts and learning center to be opened at Pacific View. Because EUSD failed to abide by the intention of the State Legislature, to preserve open space on former public school sites, and because the purchase price the City is paying is so outrageous, over three times the only appraisal in the current time frame, using local comps, the City of Encinitas and EUSD should negotiate to add the following terms of purchase to their existing Memorandum of Understanding:

    1) EUSD shall carry the $10 Million loan at zero percent interest for 30 years, so that the district will receive its long desired revenue stream, and the taxpayers will not be burdened by more bond debt, which is likely to reduce the City’s credit rating.

    2) .846 acre will remain open space in perpetuity, which can include fields, trees, and community gardens, which could also provide a revenue source as a venue for small weddings on weekends, for example; the gardens could also provide opportunities for teaching horticulture and landscape design. This mandated .846 acre open space, according to Education Code, which contains the Naylor Act, shall not include on-site parking.

    3) Our historic Old Schoolhouse shall remain on site in perpetuity

    4) The land shall remain in the public domain in perpetuity; the public/semi-public zoning shall not change.

    in reply to: Reviving Pacific View #1138
    Lynn Autumn

    One of the first things that should be done is that the excess blacktop should be removed that we citizens paid for, when the City leased Pacific View, effective December 1, 2003, and thereafter paved over the playing fields and playgrounds. The plan should be for 30% of the Pacific View, or .846 acre of the 2.82 acres site, to be open space, in perpetuity. This open space could include fields, and beautiful community gardens, which could offer an opportunity for horticulture and landscape design learning experiences, as well as provide a venue for small weddings on weekends, enhancing Pacific View’s revenue stream. While the blacktop is being removed, the former school grounds should remain closed to the public, but after that, when the community center is open to the public, the entire grounds should be open to the public during daylight hours.

    One or more of the classrooms could be converted to a studio/living space for an artist in residence/caretaker, with a minor use permit, through Planning. If a temporary trailer for a caretaker is allowed while the excess blacktop is being removed, and possibly while classrooms are being rehabbed, that seems like a good idea, but this arrangement shouldn’t be permanent. Parking space will be at a premium, as the case at Cottonwood Creek Park. That caretaker’s trailer is taking up three or four parking spaces. When there are special events at the park, that many more people have to park in the dirt on the east side of the RR tracks, and walk to the park. But it is a good idea to have security.

    Fred has a lot of excellent suggestions. However, at the enormous price the City is paying, I feel that the City should auction off the contents of the classrooms. Some of the contents could be useable at the envisioned arts and learning center, as well. So, no auction should be contemplated until there is a complete inventory and a decision as to what kind of desks, etc. will be required.

    I also think that there could possibly be a separate Saturday Farmers’ Market event at Pacific View. Also, the way it is divided, now, for the Sunday Farmers’ Markets at Paul Ecke Central School, one third of the rent from the vendors there goes to the PTA, one third goes to the Manager, Ron LaChance, and one third to Leucadia 101 Mainstreet Association. I feel that the one third of the rent from vendors, which now goes to either Leucadia 101 for the Sunday Farmers’ Market or the one third that goes to Encinitas 101 for the Wednesday Farmer’s Markets, could instead go to a special fund for a revenue stream for Pacific View. All three of the 101 Mainstreet Associations are directly subsidized by the City, for at least $70,000, annually, in total. They also get subsidized by taxpayers and consumers through numerous citywide events such as the Street Fair, currently going on in Downtown Encinitas. I hope that L101MA and E101MA would be willing to help rehabilitate and maintain Pacific View by allowing a new contract to be drawn up for their Farmers’ Markets.

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