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Opposition to I-5 expansion takes shape
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8/14/10
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(From the San Diego Union-Tribune)

SOLANA BEACH — Two citizen-based groups have emerged to oppose a huge expansion of Interstate 5, potentially giving a central voice to what largely has been scattered opposition so far beginning with a public forum Thursday.

The groups are guided by residents who live near portions of the freeway, which is targeted for widening from from Del Mar to Oceanside to as many as 14 lanes.

And while the rhetoric of opposition is often strident, Steve Goetsch, a founder of one of the groups, says the meeting in Solana Beach Presbyterian Church’s Debin Hall at 7 p.m. will be about information and giving citizens a platform.

“This will be respectful, no shouting or demonizing,” he said.

Goetsch, a Solana Beach resident since 1997, leads a group that goes by the acronym CAFÉ (Citizens Against Freeway Expansion). It is an outgrowth of the Santa Fee Hills Homeowners Association which represents 408 homes just east of I-5, of which 55 have the highway as their backyard, he says.

The town hall’s co-sponsor is the Del Mar-based PLAGUE, or Prevent Los Angeles Gridlock Usurping Environment, founded by attorney Noel Spaid.

The catalyst for the rise in citizen groups is the release in June of the 1,000 page draft Environmental Impact Statement by Caltrans, the state transportation agency.

Caltrans is in the midst of hosting five informational workshops along the I-5 corridor at which the public can view a video and documentation on the proposal, talk one-on-one with a 30 staffers and submit their own questions and concerns in writing to Caltrans and the federal Highway Administration. The two sessions so far have drawn up to 300 residents each. A third is set for Aug. 17 in Carlsbad.
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Recent Scuttlebutt Headlines
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I-5 expansion PLAGUE
Town Hall Meeting Sets the Stage for I-5 Expansion Battle
1/15/10
From Oceanside to La Jolla, the I-5 freeway is one of the most scenic and vital corridors in the state, traversing several coastal lagoons in San Diego's North County...   read more...
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Another Torrey Pine Topples
City Council Chronicles
1/29/10
A few highlights from this week's Solana Beach City Council meeting:

Another Torrey Pine Topples...   read more...
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The Seagull has Landed
1/29/10
Some say "eagle." Some say "seagull." Either way, most of the visitors at Fletcher Cove seem to approve of the new bird sculpture that was recently installed near the park entrance...   read more...
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Acacia Avenue Flooding Puts Focus on Storm Drain Capacity
3/1/10
Their alleyway gets flooded every time a hard rain falls, say Acacia Avenue residents, "but this year was the worst." Several homeowners...   read more...

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Time Travelers: Historic Train Steams Through Solana Beach
5/3/10 - Dozens of railfanners gathered at the Solana Beach train station this weekend to catch a glimpse of a vintage steam locomotive (the Santa Fe 3751) on a special trip from Los Angeles to San Diego and back. This "mountain type" engine was designed and purchased by the Santa Fe Railroad in 1927 to handle the steep grades of the Southwest, with a 5,000 horsepower boiler that burned coal (later converted to oil).

In the early 1950s, the locomotive handled runs between LA and the Del Mar Racetrack, and pulled the last steam powered passenger train from San Diego in 1953. read more...
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Fiesta del Sol Goes Around the World and Off the Grid
4/27/10 - Over 50,000 people are expected at the Solana Beach Fiesta del Sol this year, making it one of the largest street festivals in the county. Centered around Fletcher Cove Park, the free, two-day event will span several square blocks with a diverse musical lineup of 14 bands, including rock, reggae, soul, funk, jazz, blues, Latin and worldbeat. (See full music schedule) read more...
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green chamber san diego belly up
Eco-Business Gets Fired Up at New Green Chamber Kick-off
04/15/10 - A throng of green evangelists, entrepreneurs and local officials filled the Belly Up Tavern on Tuesday night to help initiate the new Green Chamber of San Diego County.

The featured speaker, Stone Brewing CEO Greg Koch, used a bullhorn to broadcast his message to the crowd, exhorting the "sinners" to repent for their environmentally unclean ways and proselytize the message of sustainability.

Escondido-based Stone Brewing World Bistro is the largest restaurant purchaser of local, small-farm organic produce in San Diego County, said Koch. They also happen to be one of the fastest-growing businesses read more...
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Easter earthquake Solana Beach
Easter Sunday Earthquake Shakes Southern California
4/04/2010 - A magnitude 7.2 earthquake rocked Northern Baja and Southern California today at 3:40 pm, sending millions of residents on a roller coaster ride for 30 - 60 seconds. According to the USGS, the epicenter was near Guadalupe Victoria in Mexico, at a depth of 6.2 miles.

The quake was felt strongly in Solana Beach and throughout San Diego County, with aftershocks continuing throughout the afternoon. Although the event rattled nerves, chandeliers and china cabinets, no serious damage or injury has yet been reported in the U.S.
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PACE sustainable green solar CaliforniaFIRST
Building an Emerald City: New Programs Encourage Green Growth
3/08/10 - Spring is here, and bright "green" growth is sprouting up all over Solana Beach. The city has recently adopted new Green Building standards, taken a greenhouse gas inventory, hatched a new Green Chamber of Commerce and designated March as "Sustainability Month."

And this week, the City Council will consider a new "Property Assessed Clean Energy" (PACE) financing program that will enable local property owners to finance many energy-saving improvements (including solar systems) through their property taxes. Under California State Assembly Bill 811, cities can create assessment districts wherein property owners can finance 100 percent of the upfront capital costs ... read more...
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Solana Beach business tax
New Business Tax Goes to June Ballot
3/1/10 - The Solana Beach City Council approved an ordinance this week designed to raise roughly $500,000 from a new business tax. The measure will go on the June 8th ballot for a citywide vote.

The City says it has no choice but to levy the new tax. With much lower sales and transient occupancy tax (TOT) revenues, Solana Beach faces a shortfall of up to $557,000 this fiscal year (from a $14 million budget), and even more dire projections for the future. Solana Beach is one of only three cities in the county that currently has no business tax. read more...
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Acacia Avenue Flooding Puts Focus on Storm Drain Capacity
3/1/10 - Their alleyway gets flooded every time a hard rain falls, say Acacia Avenue residents, "but this year was the worst." Several homeowners brought their concerns to the City Council last week and said they've had enough of the property damage and safety hazards caused by inadequate street drainage. read more...
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Fletcher Cove seagull sculpture
The Seagull has Landed
1/29/10 - Some say "eagle." Some say "seagull." Either way, most of the visitors at Fletcher Cove seem to approve of the new bird sculpture that was recently installed near the park entrance.

The sculpture was donated to the City by Solana Beach resident and philanthropist Peter House. Several different sites and installation designs were considered over the past two years before this location was finally chosen. The bronze bird is mounted atop a large black base that's designed to weather gracefully and blend in with the surroundings.
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City Council Chronicles
1/29/10 - A few highlights from this week's Solana Beach City Council meeting:

Another Torrey Pine Topples

Councilwoman Heebner noted that another Torrey Pine tree has tumbled near the south end of the Coastal Rail Trail. City Manager David Ott said the fallen tree presents a public safety hazard because it overhangs the railroad right-of-way read more...
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Storm Deluge Causes Damage Citywide
1/22/10 - Torrential rain, thunder, lightning, hail, heavy surf and high winds ripped through Solana Beach this week, flooding streets, toppling trees, slowing trains and causing power outages in some areas. (See Slide Show) Wind gusts exceeded 50 mph at times, and well over 4 inches of rain fell in a four-day period. read more...
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I-5 expansion PLAGUE
Town Hall Meeting Sets the Stage for I-5 Expansion Battle
1/15/10 - From Oceanside to La Jolla, the I-5 freeway is one of the most scenic and vital corridors in the state, traversing several coastal lagoons in San Diego's North County.

If Caltrans has its way, this 27-mile stretch of road could be expanded, up to 16 or even 22 lanes in some areas. An environmental impact report (EIR) is expected this spring.

While commuters may applaud the idea, many North Coastal neighborhoods are concerned about the impacts of this $1 billion undertaking. And they won't go down without a fight. read more...
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"Tree Trimming" Season Continues at Local School
12/30/09 - The corner of Cliff and Rios is a special place in Solana Beach. This is where thousands of locals come to enjoy activities at the Child Development Center (CDC) preschool and playground.

It's also a property that's graced by eight stately Torrey Pine trees. Until last week, there were 10 trees. Two of them had to be removed because they posed a risk to the CDC students and buildings. (See video) read more...
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New Foundation Seeks Funds for Community Center Renovation
12/10/09 - The newly established Solana Beach Community Foundation is launching a fundraising campaign to help with the renovation of the Fletcher Cove Community Center. The building, a WWII Army barracks that was moved to this bluff-top location decades ago, needs to be brought up to current ADA standards for accessibility, including changes to the parking, bathroom and other areas. The Center will also be updated with new green building features read more...
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Del Mar fairgrounds expansion EIR
Solana Beach reviewing "Massive" Fairgrounds Project EIR
11/03/09 - UPDATE: The public review period for the Fairgrounds draft EIR has been extended to February 8, 2010 -

A four-story 330-room hotel and convention center, new restaurants, a new sports facility, new parking garages, much larger exhibit halls, three rooftop soccer fields, new offices, a 48-foot electronic billboard, a relocated fire station, a new train platform and more. It's all a part of the Del Mar Fairgrounds Master Plan, and it could mean big changes for local residents. read more...
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