About the same time that Encinitas missed a state deadline in 2013 to come up with a plan to accommodate more housing, voters in the city passed Proposition A, giving themselves a direct say in changes to the city’s land-use and zoning ordinances.

As I wrote this week for VOSD, it’s ultimately the voters who have final say over whether the city comes into compliance with state law, and the plan the City Council will send to the ballot has a few very unpopular provisions, like increasing density and building heights in over a dozen locations around town.

But in a new lawsuit, an Encinitas developer contends the city has to adopt a housing plan whether the voters are OK with it or not. Additionally, the city risks re-opening a lawsuit it settled in 2015, which said it would give up its building permitting to a court if it doesn’t adopt a housing plan.

Poseidon Wants Its Own Straw

The Carlsbad Desalination Plant is looking ahead to 2017, when the neighboring Encina Power Station will be decommissioned. As it turns out, the desal plant currently uses water drawn by Encina to cool itself, and is seeking a state permit to begin drawing its own water directly from the ocean.

As Ry Rivard writes this week, that could affect the price of the desalinated water the County Water Authority buys from Poseidon, the plant’s operator, which it resells to local agencies. Local water officials maintain that even if prices go up, it’s worth it to have a steady supply of water.

In addition, the Coastal Commission is raising concerns that Poseidon isn’t doing its part to offset greenhouse gas production from the energy-intensive process of desalinating water. Poseidon says it’s not getting credit for the process the Coastal Commission agreed to eight years ago.

(Disclaimer: I work in IT at the Surfrider Foundation, which opposes the desalination plant.)

San Marcos Considering New Voting System

A few years ago, Escondido became the first North County city to elect its City Council members by district, rather than at-large, after the city faced a lawsuit that said the process disenfranchised Latino voters.

Now, the city of San Marcos has been threatened with a similar lawsuit, the Union-Tribune reports, and is moving toward district elections as well.

Nearly one-third of the population is Latino in San Marcos, but the last time a Latino served on the City Council there was 20 years ago. The city is looking to approve districts and rules by September and have the first election using them in 2018, but the attorney who sent the letter to the city calling its election “racially polarized” wants to see a change happen in this year.

Also in the News

The power plant in Escondido may have been the result of improper deals between Sempra Energy and SDG&E, and was overseen by the embattled former chairman of the Public Utilities Commission, Michael Peevey (inewssource.org)

Encinitas launched a map to help the public track public works projects. (ArcGIS)

Oceanside is catching up to Vista as the brewery king of the north. (Union-Tribune)

Rep. Duncan Hunter on Donald Trump: “I think he’ll be a great president. I think he’ll make good decisions on the economy, on the border, on national security, but it doesn’t mean we endorse what he says. I think what he says and what he’ll do are two different things.” (Washington Post)

The Carlsbad City Council punted plans for public trails on the south shore of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon. Rick Caruso, the developer of the luxury mall that was defeated in Measure A, offered to pay the estimated $500,000 cost of the trails, but of course then the trails would’ve been stuck with a view of the backside of a mall. (Union-Tribune)

 Carlsbad will pay $1 million to residents of the Rancho Carlsbad mobile-home park, over a deal that was struck in 1997, to pay for flood-control measures. (Union-Tribune)

Ruarri Serpa

Ruarri Serpa is a freelance writer in Oceanside. Email him at ruarris@gmail.com and find him on Twitter at @RuarriS.

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