This month in coastal North County history….

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(First in a recurring series)

25 Years Ago

April 1992

More than 150 people jammed a meeting of the Old Encinitas Community Advisory Board to boisterously oppose a bus and train station proposed for downtown. The City Council, which has conceptually approved the station, has “sold out the citizens of Encinitas,” said Rachele McFarland, a resident who opposes the transit center because of the “pollution and transients that it would attract.” Another resident, Alan Matez, told the board, “I bought my house with the idea of not having a home across the street from a bus station.” That’s how it went long into the night as citizens, some of them jeering, told the board how they feel about the station, which is proposed for behind the La Paloma Theatre near Vulcan Avenue and D Street. The North County Transit District is negotiating to buy the site from the Santa Fe Railroad. The station would handle city buses as well as commuter trains planned for the future. Many audience members, parents with children attending Pacific View Elementary School a few blocks from the station site, were worried that the increased bus traffic to and from the station would pose a safety hazard. Their view was echoed by Virginia Cartwright, chairwoman of the advisory board, who protested the idea by declining to formally participate in the meeting. “I am not at all objective,” Cartwright said outside the meeting hall. “I am offended by the plan. I think lives will be lost.”—Los Angeles Times

Visibly shaken, beleaguered New York artist Andrea Blum met her critics and firmly refused their demands to remove the controversial 8-foot-high fence from her Split Pavilion sculpture at the beach in Carlsbad. However, Blum, whose work has ignited a community furor, told a special peacemaking committee and 100 audience members she would change the landscaping and consider pulling out a smaller side section of the offending fence. But she wouldn’t yield on the most unpopular part of the sculpture, the high galvanized fence running along Carlsbad Boulevard, saying “The whole piece is designed as a puzzle, and, if one thing is taken out, then the whole thing goes away.” The 42-year-old, internationally renowned artist told the gathering she is unhappy that, after five years of laboring on the Split Pavilion, the work has provoked such a hostile reaction. Petitions with more than 7,000 signatures call for the “bars” to be removed.—Los Angeles Times

The foreman of a Vista jury says he will write a letter to Oceanside city officials complaining that one of their police officers may be racist. The letter comes on the heels of the jury’s verdict that the Oceanside Police Department did not rough up a 27-year-old black man when he was arrested two years ago, as the man alleged in his lawsuit against the city. Jury foreman John Tullis said that, although Allen Pettis was unable to prove that he was abused by police, he heard enough testimony as a juror to raise concern that at least one of the officers involved in Pettis’ arrest may have been racist. “Two or three of the jurors said after the trial that we need to write a letter to someone (about the officer) and I said that, as foreman, I’ll write it,” Tullis said.—Los Angeles Times

Locals are still reeling from the shooting death a month ago by police of a 150-pound mountain lion in Oceanside who led cops on a three-hour early morning chase across yards, balconies and rooftops of homes in beachfront neighborhoods. The cat was reported to officers in a passing patrol car about 2:15 a.m. Saturday by three men in a pickup truck. After finding nothing, officers surmised that the men had been drinking and had just imagined seeing the animal, said an Oceanside police spokesman. Then, half an hour later, a police car was flagged down by a man who had been sitting on the beach. The man told officers that the animal had run past him in the darkness. A posse of Oceanside police, state Fish and Game and county humane society officers, and a professional animal trapper joined the hunt. The creature was spotted heading north over fences, through back yards and onto balconies and the rooftops of pricey beach condominiums, sending domestic cats fleeing. The pursuers cornered the mountain lion on the edge of a bluff but said they were unable to get close enough to capture it. At 5:15 a.m., five police officers opened fire, wounding the animal. The wounded lion then ran off and hid under a porch. It reportedly charged a pursuing officer, who killed it with nine shots from his handgun. The lion collapsed and died less than six feet from the officer, police said.—Los Angeles Times

20 Years Ago

April 1997

The Del Mar Race Track Authority OK’d another $1.5 million for the Environmental Impact Report for the 22d Ag District Master Plan. While most of the projects are in line with the 65 recommendations of the 2000 Master Plan, a new condo-hotel is put on a fast track and a new fire station, of great interest to the people of Del Mar, were approved for planning, $500,000 was approved for creation of a plan and design of a 300-room condo-hotel. This 40-foot-high hotel would be built west of Jimmy Durante Boulevard on the north side of the San Dieguito River with the 100-foot setback from the river required by the Coastal Act. This hotel is planned despite the economic analysis included in the Master Plan that states that a hotel on the Fairgrounds is not crucial to the Fairgrounds’ success. The reasons given in this analysis are that the Fairgrounds’ activities are mostly for drive-in rather overnight visitors, that the nearby 245-room Hilton Hotel adequately services the overnight needs of Fairgrounds visitors, and that, in the year 2000, there already were about 7,000 hotel rooms in North County. Several new hotels are planned in the area. Were such a condo-hotel to be built on the fairgrounds, the sales taxes on the condominiums and the hotel transient occupancy taxes could benefit the city of Del Mar.—Del Mar Sandpiper

10 Years Ago

April 2007

A series of workshops are being held this month to discuss the future of Carlsbad Village. In late January 2007, the CLUE Group submitted a Business Development and Marketing Plan to the Carlsbad Redevelopment Agency for the Carlsbad Village Area. This is the third report in a series of four, commissioned by the agency, as related to a retail analysis of the Village. The fourth and final report will be a summary of implementation workshops that will be conducted within the next few months. In the Business Development and Marketing Plan, the CLUE Group notes that, “the City of Carlsbad enjoys a robust economy that most communities would envy and, with concerted and collaborative action, the Village can pursue any of a number of paths to become more economically prosperous and culturally dynamic.” The proposed economic development strategy for the Village is to build on existing strengths and strategic advantages; reflect both market demand and consumer desire and reflect the community’s personality. The three recommended market development strategies for the Village are: 1) Strengthen the Village role as a neighborhood-serving commercial center that provides basic goods and services to the people who live and work in and nearby. 2) Make the Village into a vibrant arts, cultural and entertainment district. 3) Cultivate several clusters of specialty businesses in the Village that offer products and services unique within the community and region. The next step in the process is to hold workshops with Village stakeholders, which include property and business owners, community organizations and others, to share the strategies, decide who will implement each and identify a timeline for implementation.—Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce

The Encinitas City Council has approved permits for Pacific Station, one of downtown’s biggest developments in decades. Proposed by John DeWald & Associates, the project will be on 1.4 acres at 687 S. Coast Highway 101, the former site of the Coast Dispatch newspaper and Redsand clothing company. The three-story project will include a Whole Foods Market, which the grocery company this week said will open in summer 2009 or 2010. The project also calls for 47 condominiums, underground parking, retail stores and offices.—San Diego Union-Tribune

5 Years Ago

April 2012

Carlsbad is a hot bed of video game development companies. These include small startups and large developers alike. Rockstar Games, a large studio on Faraday Avenue, won game of the year at last year’s Game Developers Conference ceremony for its hit console game “Red Dead Redemption,” a Wild West action-adventure game. Another Carlsbad-based company, Razer, made headlines in December when it landed $50 million in venture capital from IDG-Accel China Capital Fund. Razer manufactures high-performance hardware for gaming applications. “People don’t think of Carlsbad the way they think of Silicon Valley, but there is a lot of high tech down here,” said Paul O’Connor, brand director for Appy Entertainment. Appy exemplifies the newest dimension of video game developers. It makes apps, or programs, for Apple’s iPhone and iPad in a second-floor suite in an unexpected location, the Old World Center in Carlsbad Village.—Carlsbad Business Journal

Images of the late Councilwoman Maggie Houlihan will now be allowed to appear on banners that line Highway 101 from the downtown to Leucadia, Encinitas City Council members decided this week. In a 4-1 vote with Councilwoman Kristin Gaspar dissenting, the council told the arts group 101 Artists’ Colony to resubmit its application to post about 100 banners along Highway 101 with the image of Houlihan, who died last year of endometrial cancer. The city’s planning department approved the resubmitted application, clearing the way for the arts group members to remove blue vinyl squares that have covered Houlihan’s image since February. The move also means the city has avoided a free-speech-related lawsuit that was threatened by Ian Thompson, Houlihan’s widow. City Manager Gus Vina had intially decided to bar Houlihan’s photo from the banners hung by 101 Artists’ Colony. He said they were more a political statement than a memorial. The images were then covered by pieces of blue vinyl. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Encinitas-based Coast Law Group submitted letters to the city in March notifying officials that they believed Vina’s decision infringed on First Amendment rights…. About 10 others spoke in support of removing the mylar from the banners before the council voted to approve the motion. Encinitas residents, such as Lauren Michaels, told the council they believed [the] special meeting wouldn’t have happened unless Thompson had brought forward the possibility of a lawsuit. “You have done absolutely nothing to honor Maggie,” Michaels said. “It’s as if you think by ignoring her contributions … you can simply erase her memory.” Houlihan often clashed with a three-member majority of the council during her 11 years on the dais. She and Councilwoman Teresa Barth generally found themselves outvoted on issues by an alliance formed by former Councilman Dan Gallagher, Mayor Jerome Stocks and Councilman James Bond. Gaspar said that while she did not object to the photos of Houlihan, she would rather have seen the council stand by the city manager’s decision made in December. Allowing the group to resubmit an application for banners that are already hanging goes against the standards of the city and smacked of “pandering to threats of litigation,” Gaspar said.—San Diego Union-Tribune

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