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North County Roundup: Encinitas Mayor, Lilac Hills, Homeless Shelter, Oceanside Beaches

Encinitas Mayor Kristin Gaspar and her husband, Paul Gaspar, candidate for Encinitas mayor,  July 2016.
Kristin Gaspar
Encinitas Mayor Kristin Gaspar and her husband, Paul Gaspar, candidate for Encinitas mayor, July 2016.

North County Roundup: Encinitas Mayor, Lilac Hills, Homeless Shelter, Oceanside Beaches
North County Roundup: Encinitas Mayor, Lilac Hills, Homeless Shelter, Oceanside Beaches GUESTS:Alison St John, North County reporter, KPBS News

From sand dredging to a raft of politicians husband's running for office there's some interesting news coming out of North County. Joining me is North County Bureau chief Allison St. John. Kristin Gaspar is running for Dave Robert seat on the County Board of Supervisors, now her husband has started something of a rush among spouses to run for mayor. He jumped in saying he would like to fill his wife's leadership shoes, he's assuming that she will get picked on County. She's known to all observers to be wearing high heels, other husbands have jumped in, the husband of the former male -- Mayor is willing to fill his wife's Birkenstocks. We have third husband Steve Bertram from current city council member leave -- Lisa Schaper. Neither have returned their papers yet, Paul Gaspar, is running for mayor. What if any political experience does Gaspar have text He doesn't have any direct. He has been a prominent member of the California physical therapy Association, he's lobbied quite a bit in Sacramento. He's familiar with Sacramento politics and some say this is the first step in his goal to make a career in politics. He's worked to make it easier for customers to see a physical therapist without going through a primary Doctor. Are people taking the two other husbands seriously, that they will run? Everyone is confused about the political math. If they do one, they would be deluding -- diluting the support of the other main sustainable growth candidate, Catherine Blakespear was running against Paul Gaspar who's more pro-business candidate. If our second two has been runs we will have three people running for the slow sustainable growth against Paul Gaspar who's more pro-business. Land development, land activity is a central issue in Encinitas, we've talked about the proposed Lilac Hills development, that is land development in the North County. This weekend report comes out on the project. What will it tell us? This is a key project, the report will tell us how it differs from the plan that was approved by the county's planning commission last year. This plan does not conform with the county's General plan at all, it it puts the town in the middle of a semi rural area. The report has been released and will be spoken of will tell us how hundreds of pages of the report that the voters will consider, is in fact benefiting the developer by not fulfilling the conditions the planning commission set last year. This will be the last time the supervisors get to weigh in on this issue, normally they are the ones that vote. This time the initiative process will bypass the elective body and go straight to the boaters -- voters. You will be reporting more on that later in the week here on KPBS. Vista marks the opening of its first year-round homeless shelter for families, unfortunately it comes on the heels of another emergency shelter possibly closing soon. Tellis. This is so ironic, the homeless situation is in North County is getting worse. The rate of getting worse is faster North County than anywhere else in the County. There is one time for "Operation Hope" has managed to get private funding to go year-round starting today. That is very good news. They already have a waiting list of 40 people. They are going to be in demand. How many beds? It got 50 beds, there are kids, they don't keep them there permanently. They work with them so they don't have to stay. You also have the organization which is planning to possibly close, Solutions for Change because of funding guidelines that have changed to say, you have to accept people whether they are off of drugs or not. This is an organization that is clearly said they will only take people who are clean. They may have to give up the government funding and close next week putting another couple of dozen of women out on the streets. Let's go to the sand dredging program that opens the harbor channel and replenishes sand. It's doing that two months after it's usually complete. What's going on with that? Normally, you would expect Oceanside sells itself is family-friendly and they are packed. Sand dredging is important to replace the sand that's been washed away, it's still midway through. There taking sand from the mouth of the Oceanside Harbor and using it to build up the beaches. The company that was hired by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had only does -- done lakes and streams, their equipment was overwhelmed and they are behind. How is it affecting Oceanside beaches in the middle of the summer? The boats getting in and out of the harbor, the harbor is supposed to be 25 feet deep, it's nowhere near that. The other thing is that the beaches are packed and there is this big metal pipe that says danger, keep up running right through all the beachgoers with their umbrellas. There have been other problems, in terms of boating and the machinery on the beach. It's not appropriate for the middle of the summer. Now they're saying they will wrap up at the end of August? This week the Army Corps is working to ask the end -- extend the permit.

Encinitas mayor’s race

Now that Encinitas Mayor Kristin Gaspar is running for Dave Robert’s county supervisor seat, her husband, Paul Gaspar,decided lo launch his own political career by running to fill her shoes.

Within days, Steve Bertram, the husband of Encinitas Councilwoman Lisa Shaffer, also took out papers to run for mayor, saying he would walk in her Birkenstocks.

And Don Barth, the husband of the previous mayor, Teresa Barth, declared his intention to throw his hat into the ring.

But if Bertram and Barth decide to follow through on their plans and go toe-to-toe with Gaspar, they may simply give him a head start by diluting support for his main rival, Councilwoman Catherine Blakespear. She is running on a smart growth platform that is more likely to challenge developers' demands, in contrast to Paul Gaspar's pro-business approach.

One of the main issues in the Encinitas race on the November ballot, as in many North County cities, is land use and new development. Many coastal cities are digging in their heels and resisting higher-density housing.

Lilac Hills

The site of the proposed Lilac Hills Ranch, a master-planned community of 1,700 homes near Valley Center, March 8, 2016.
Matthew Bowler
The site of the proposed Lilac Hills Ranch, a master-planned community of 1,700 homes near Valley Center, March 8, 2016.

Over on the east side of San Diego’s North County, in the unincorporated areas, new development is trying to get a foothold where the county's General Plan called for preserving agriculture and open space.

Accretive Investments has collected enough signatures to put their plan for 1,700 new homes near Valley Center on the November ballot.

County staff has produced a report in record time (less than ten days) to highlight how the initiative differs from the project the County Planning Commission approved last year. After years of reports and debate, the County Board of Supervisors, who normally rule on such major projects, has been effectively taken out of the equation by the initiative. It takes the project straight to the voters countywide.

But the report, and the comments the supervisors make at their meeting on Tuesday, will be key for voters to consider when they make the precedent-setting decision of whether to approve this project in November.

North County opens second year-round homeless shelter

Rhonda Edwards and her daughter Lyric at Operation Hope's emergency homeless shelter in Vista, Dec. 9, 2015.
Nicholas McVicker
Rhonda Edwards and her daughter Lyric at Operation Hope's emergency homeless shelter in Vista, Dec. 9, 2015.

The battle over where to build is one reason affordable housing is so hard to find. And homelessness is a by-product of the lack of affordable housing.

North County’s “Operation Hope” has run a winter shelter for homeless women and children for more than a decade, but has finally raised enough money to go year-round, starting Monday.

Ironically, at the same time, another Vista-based organization for the homeless, Solutions for Change, may have to close its emergency shelter for women and children because of the new federal “Housing First” policy.

Oceanside sand dredging operation disrupts summer beaches

Beachgoers use an access ramp to cross dredge pipes at an Oceanside beach north of Surfrider Way, July 22, 2016.
Promise Yee
Beachgoers use an access ramp to cross dredge pipes at an Oceanside beach north of Surfrider Way, July 22, 2016.

The annual sand-dredging project on Oceanside beaches has gone badly awry this year. Usually sand is pumped from the mouth of the harbor, leaving it deeper, and dumped on the beaches, leaving them higher, in time for Memorial Day and the summer crowds.

But this year, the operation started late and was plagued by delays, as high swells over-whelmed the equipment of a new contractor, hired by the Army Corps of Engineers. The metal pipes to pump the sand are still spread along parts of the beach, and some boats have had trouble navigating the silted up harbor mouth.

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