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Encinitas is facing more heat over its failure to adopt a plan to add affordable housing in the city.

The Coast News reports that DCM Properties, headed by David Meyer, is asking the Superior Court to enforce a settlement agreement that was the result of a 2016 lawsuit by the firm against the city.

The city has struggled to adopt a plan for where to add more new housing for years – an effort that was complicated by the adoption of Proposition A in 2013, which gave voters a say over any major zoning changes. In November, voters rejected Measure T, the city’s latest housing element.

One stipulation of the settlement with Meyer was that the city had to get a measure on the November 2016 ballot, and at the time, Meyer said he reserved the right to “seek judicial sanctions” if voters rejected the plan.

After voters defeated Measure T, the city formed a task force to develop a plan that was more palatable to voters and would meet state law.

DCM Properties’ attorney Christian Abasto called the city’s efforts a “sham,” according to The Coast News.

The city hasn’t held a meeting since May, and the next scheduled meeting is in August.

Encinitas officials, including Mayor Catherine Blakespear, maintain that the task force is making a good-faith effort to craft a housing element that voters will embrace.

The Building Industry Association also sought to have the court enforce a similar provision of a separate settlement. That effort was denied, which prompted the BIA to file a new suit last month.

The Union-Tribune reports that the BIA says the city failed to meet its obligations under its settlement and state law, and wants the city to adopt the housing element as it appeared on the November ballot.

Affordable housing advocates San Diego Tenants United also filed suit against the city in April, on behalf of residents who say they have struggled to find housing due to a lack of supply.

“Encinitas hides under a guise of protecting community character and the environment, but the city’s real goal is evident: keep out the working class people of color,” Rafael Bautista, president of Tenants United, told The Coast News.

Race Organizers Champing at the Bit to Raise Attendance and Revenue

Years of headlines about horse deaths at the Del Mar Races have put the Thoroughbred Club in a bit of a bind. Over the past decade, the club has spent about $15 million to improve track conditions, while the revenue generated by the races has plummeted.

KPBS reports that attendance is also down, mirroring an industry-wide trend, despite efforts to bring in a younger demographic through non-race events, like concerts and beer festivals. As a result, the revenue produced by the racetrack is no longer enough for the public fairground, operated by the 22nd Agricultural Association, to make its bond payments on the grandstand that was built for the horse races.

The fairground has turned to using money from concessions, which typically go to the fairground’s general fund, to bridge the gap.

One fairground board member expects this year will buck the trend, since Del Mar will host the Breeder’s Cup this fall.

“I suspect that all the revenues we will receive from the Thoroughbred Club will dramatically increase for 2017 and there will be a positive benefit from the Breeders’ Cup. The question is, how will that be sustained after 2017?” David Watson told KPBS.

District Maps Could Pit Incumbents Against Each Other

Carlsbad has adopted a map for its City Council districts, and an election schedule that sets the stage for a potential showdown in District 1.

The schedule allows Council members to finish out their current terms, with Councilman Mark Packard and Councilman Michael Schumacher up for re-election in their districts in 2018. Under the new map, Packard shares a district with newly elected Councilwoman Cori Schumacher (no relation to Michael), who faces the choice to either run against Packard to represent the district, or finish her term as an at-large Council member.

If Cori Schumacher choses to finish her term in 2020 as an at-large Council member, she would have to move to another district to run for re-election.

The Union-Tribune reports that no Council members have said whether they will run again.

A similar situation exists in Oceanside, where Deputy Mayor Chuck Lowery and Councilwoman Esther Sanchez share the district covering downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods. Lowery is up for re-election in 2018, but Sanchez is currently running for county supervisor. Should she lose, she would continue to serve on the City Council as an at-large representative.

Also in the News

• Oceanside reviewed some of the measures meant to revitalize one of the main corridors into downtown. The takeaway: People don’t care about the changes as long as there’s free parking. (The Coast News)

• Construction to widen Escondido’s East Valley Parkway, one of the city’s main thoroughfares, is set to begin this fall. (Union-Tribune)

• Carlsbad has joins Encinitas and Del Mar in exploring community choice aggregation. (The Coast News)

• Sheriff’s Deputy Christopher Villanueva was named as the officer who shot an unarmed gang member in Vista. Villanueva was also one of the two deputies involved in a fatal shooting of a gang member last year. (Union-Tribune)

• Attorney Mike Levin, who is running against Rep. Darrell Issa for the 49th Congressional District, has raised more money than any other challenger to an incumbent across the state. (Los Angeles Times)

• With his seat as vulnerable as ever, Issa is trying to come off as a moderate, despite the many theatrical investigations into the Obama administration, and a straight record voting in line with President Donald Trump. Issa did, however, speak critically of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ plan to ramp up civil asset forfeiture. (Los Angeles Times)

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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