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Op-Ed: City Council Needs to Help Curb Downtown Drinking

A Cardiff resident says the issue will also impact how she votes in the upcoming local election.

Dear Editor,

I have lived in Encinitas for more than 25 years and have been a homeowner in Cardiff since 1991. I love this area, and for the most part I've appreciated the way the city has grown. Many difficult decisions have been made by the City Council, even amidst controversy, with most of them resulting in positive change. However, there has been a recent disturbing trend with the increase in alcohol-serving establishments in downtown Encinitas: Four formerly quiet restaurants that closed between 9 and 10 p.m. have turned into bars that remain open after midnight or 2 a.m. This trend has caused a formerly safe, quiet downtown neighborhood to transform into a late-night/early-morning party scene.

One of the nicest things about Encinitas has always been—aside from the ideal weather and beaches—­the wholesome character of the town. I truly cherish the unique surfer/healthy/spiritual/yoga vibe here. The downhill slide seems to have started with the opening of the ninth bar in our 7-block downtown last year. 

Perhaps it is the open-air ambiance or late-night hours, but there has never been such a high level of rowdy activity in the southern part of downtown Encinitas (most of the bars previously had been clustered in the northern part of town). This stretches the drinking and carousing throughout the entire district. Rumor has it that we are turning into a destination-drinking hot spot, like Pacific Beach. 

No thank you! That's not why I live here.

We are looking to our elected officials on the City Council and elsewhere to take the leadership position. Many (but not all) are concerned, so what are the results? Having meetings to discuss the issues is a feel-good measure and sending more police to the area can help after a crime has been committed—but will this alone lead to a real reduction in crime? Are the bars over-serving alcohol, or are there simply too many bars?

In the best-case scenario, our local government officials would assume responsibility to protect the citizens of Encinitas and our properties, to return our town to the serene, safe environment that we are used to.

It is important for citizens to vote in the city council election on November 6 for those candidates who will act in favor of the residents’ needs rather than those who think there is no problem or who are supporting the businesses contributing to the problem. Please, City Council members, candidates and citizens, don't let this downward spiral continue! Let’s proactively respond to our community’s issues before this goes any farther.

Thank you for your attention, 

Lynn Jaffe

Concerned citizen in Cardiff-by-the-Sea

If you would like to submit a Letter to the Editor, please email it to marlena.medford@patch.com.

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BW October 04, 2012 at 02:08 PM
Thank you Lynn for writing this letter. I walk downtown Encinitas frequently in the mornings, and what I have noticed particularly is the filthy sidewalks and general area around the various bars. Clearly there is no power washing done, and at the very least the butts and other trash should be cleaned up at the time the establishment closes. I would definitely like to see DEMA or the City put some pressure on the restaurateurs to keep the area scrubbed up. It's disgusting.
Judd Handler October 04, 2012 at 03:35 PM
BW, I totally agree with you: Part of my morning routine is going to the Java Hut to fuel up my brain with caffeine. I am absolutely disgusted walking by The Union and seeing the plethora of cigarette butts littering the ground, some of which end up in sewage outflow. Beachside Bar & Grill has the same problem. I live west of Coast Highway and numerous times have been woken up by rude, drunk people walking home from bars. Paradise Lost? It's chipping away....
Deborrah Henry October 04, 2012 at 04:30 PM
I've been amazed at the activity in Encinitas after 9p.m. Plus, evidently the crime has gone up considerably with stabbings, loitering, and car crashes. What's with the side swiped car on Vulcan. I imagine a drunk driver ran into it? Now it's just trash! Too bad our local politicians don't care....
BW October 04, 2012 at 05:28 PM
Between DEMA and the City Concil there should be more oversight and requirements concerning the sidewalks, litter etc. which clearly comes from the bars.In addition, there are the "public" benches on the west side of 101 which are invariably filthy and the sidewalk areas around them are an eyesore. Not appealing to a local or a tourist, and I personally would never consider sitting on one.The benches are frequently used as sleeping places for the homeless and drunks, and the immediate area reflects this. We know the City is always looking for ways to encourage tourism - just making sure Encinitas is clean would be a good start. Don't we all notice a clean city when traveling?
Tiffany Fox October 04, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Would it be possible for the downtown bars to band together to hire private security that would patrol the 7-block strip she mentions? It would be a gesture of good faith toward the community, and it would likely lead to a drop in the nuisance factor.
Robert Sizer October 04, 2012 at 06:35 PM
As a village resident & volunteer litter removal specialist, I strongly concur with the above! The village, which relies heavily on tourism would be well served by DEMA, the city counsel & our citizens proactively addressing the smoking & littering policies, & subsequent enforcement thereof. Not only is second hand smoke a offensive & deadly, butts & waste litter our streets & sidewalks, which is incredibly disrespectful to our guests & residents alike! Regulations & enforcement my not be the only option, DEMA could also contract with a daily street/sidewalk sweeping service to clean up the butts & trash. It's a known fact that people who see trash & butts strewn about will most likely do the same. Let's clean up our act Encinitas!
Jay Berman October 04, 2012 at 07:45 PM
I think the cops need to start doing their jobs ... its not a big area, how about a walking beat of the area between 11 and 2 ? If they fine and arrest enough people for littering, urinating, doing dope .. the word will get out and the behavior will be curbed ... Or ... maybe the owners of these establishments can get together and hire an armed private security firm that roams between these establishments ...
Jay Berman October 04, 2012 at 08:31 PM
The sheriff's waste a lot of time and money on these DUI checkpoints that get few people .. I would think if they would divert those resources to where the problem is .. you can get these people before they get in their cars ... but that is not revenue enhancing, ya know ?
Colin rawson October 04, 2012 at 09:50 PM
Colin Rawson 38 years old, Married with a 4 year old daughter and 7 year old son. Encinitas resident for nearly 4 years and I Love Encinitas, I think the redevelopment of down town has been done incredibly well,The addition of the bars and restaurants has brought vitality to the town, its busy with thriving businesses. If through the growth that's proving to be an economic success, the council should be controlling any issues through extra police etc, the answer is not to cut back. To relate down town Encinitas to to PB is like comparing Chalk and cheese. The bars are full of the 30 something / 40 something crowd, not the 20's crowd. I regularly frequent the bars and restaurants with my Family and friends, to-date I've seen no trouble, Down town has a great atmosphere, its really friendly, I for one am a big fan. Growth is coming to Encinitas, and so far I think its been done really well, we have a thriving town, we are lucky...We should all be thank full for that, This is not a retirement community...
Jay Berman October 04, 2012 at 10:06 PM
Well said, I agree completely ...
Bob Aronin October 05, 2012 at 07:00 AM
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Jay Berman October 05, 2012 at 03:57 PM
This election in Encinitas is a weird one for me. I am a conservative and I see the city spending wild amounts for the projects underway, a 6000 SqF firehouse for Cardiff for almost $5m Why so big ? Why so expensive ? How about another $4.8m for a small bathroom and concession building and a small garage on Moonlight Beach ? Why so much ? $19M for a lousy park with only a couple small restroom / concession buildings ? $5.5 for a 30' wide pedestrian underpass at Swami's ?? Why not an at grade crossing or a pedestrian bridge for much less ? They want to cut lanes from 101 in Leucadia ? Why ? Encinitas is a member of http://ICLEI.org which is all about sustainable development or UN Agenda 21 which is very, very bad for all of us, Mr. Stocks is chairman of SANDAG which is implementing Agenda 21 - funneling more money out of highways and into public transit that only 3% of San Diego County uses ... look at all the empty buses on the street here in North County, Stocks is also on NCTD board .....
Jay Berman October 05, 2012 at 04:00 PM
I am all for responsible development based on the needs of the people, only the private sector can make that decision, not some hacks trying to force the way it wants growth to happen, UN Agenda 21 wants ultra high density housing around transit and rail corridors .. that brings me back to firestation 2 in Cardiff .. did they more than double the size of that because the plan is to cram high density housing in Cardiff ? In Leucadia ? Good luck with that ... So I'm a conservative that is a little confused now and may vote for the more liberal candidates ..
sheila October 05, 2012 at 09:14 PM
Personally, I like the vibrancy of downtown Encinitas... and even though I don't participate, I like that the young people (30-40) enjoy our town... I think pub crawls are great... but, I begged the City to not provide a liquer license to Hapi Fish (just north of Enci Blvd on the 101) for the sole reason that it backs up to a residential street. Unfortunately, even though I got a hearing at the ABC Board, The City told me the liquor license tranfers with the new owner and their hands were tied (huh?!) So... in a residential neighborhood I am constantly subjected to loud, drunk patrons, urination on my sidewalk, thumping music as they load and unload into their cars... and a total lack of parking (because the restaurant has inadequate parking) in front of my house. When reviewing the restrictions by the ABC Board... I was in my rights... but, the City would not back me up.
Jay Berman October 06, 2012 at 12:47 AM
The cops need to be foing what we pay them to do .... businesses do their best but can do nothing out of their establishments, that is what law enforcement is for ...
Love Cardiff October 11, 2012 at 01:12 AM
So how about another terrible form of pollution these days? Noise pollution on coast hiway. Can you believe how loud a lot of the cars, trucks and bikes are? It's annoying and illegal!
Jay Berman October 11, 2012 at 02:34 AM
Yeah ! Make everyone WALK !!! :)

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