Retrial ordered in $1.5 million Oceanside sexual harassment case

Superior Court Judge Jacqueline Stern made factual findings that "the law does not allow the recovery of litigation distress, the plaintiff's counsel made impermissible arguments, and Hirst staged some of her testimony," according to an August 23 Coast News article by Promise Yee. According to that article, Hirst's trial lawyer, Dwight Ritter disagrees, stating, "The court inserted its opinion in the place of 11 jurors. We're shocked and astounded." Anyone who's been involved in litigation knows that court proceedings can add to stress already inherent in any conflict, any alleged civil wrongdoing. Judges are not gods, although some of them think they can act as judge, and jury. The jury is to be the trier of fact, not the judge. The jury is able to determine in a more objective and balanced manner, whether testimony is "staged." Judge Stern's unilateral decisions are unfair. She was originally in Family Court, where juries are not allowed, so she's used to being "the final authority." This power has corrupted her. Judge Jacqueline Stern is not honorable. In our experience, Judge Stern is one of the worst judges in North County. She is not objective, but favors cities or other "higher authorities" over the people she should be serving. She doesn't honor the Rules of Court when it comes to discovery. She struck out our motion asking that she should step down, rather than verifying, under oath, that she is not prejudiced. Please, when she comes up for reelection, vote against Jacqueline Stern. Judges usually run unopposed, but I hope some qualified lawyer will step up to the plate so that Stern can be voted out of judicial office. She has reached her highest point of inefficiency and lack of accountability to the people above whom she sits on high issuing inequitable judicial opinions, giving out orders that fly in the face of the rule of law, disregarding human suffering.
— August 24, 2013 12:11 a.m.

Garden of Dreams

When Encinitas Ranch was developed, the Quail Gardens site was part of land given to the City so that a school could be built there. However with declining enrollment, no school is needed. That land should still be for public use, as was intended. The three men on Encinitas City Council, Jerome Stocks, Dan Dalager and James Bond are presently so enmeshed, so "in bed" with developers that they cannot "see the forest for the trees." They seem to feel that the primary value of land is profit, for the developers and through the developers, for the city in fees and property taxes. To them, the highest value is money. However, quality of life is the true value for ourselves and future generations. To have a public garden at the Quail Gardens site would be beneficial for the entire community, allowing more people to walk or ride bikes there, contributing to much needed open space. Having a community garden at the Quail Gardens site would be an asset to the City and to all the residents here, also attracting tourists. Another possible site could be the former Pacific View elementary school site. Just over .85 acre could be purchased there for 25 cents on the dollar of the appraised value for that piece, through the Naylor Act. Any appraisal report for the Pacific View site must take into consideration the CURRENT ZONING, which is public, semi-public, not residential, and the fact that no new water meter permits are being issued for residential or commercial use in our city due to the Stage II drought which we are now in. That beautiful site, over four fifths of an acre, should be able to be purchased for under one million dollars. This is essentially "chump change" for a City such as Encinitas which spends millions on contractors and consultants, even when the economy is in a recession. Recently a non-profit foundation was set up, in cooperation with the City to purchase the Boathouses, here, as historical landmarks, for low income housing. A similar foundation could be set up for the City to purchase a portion of the surplus school property, whether Pacific View, or to develop the Quail Gardens site as a community garden, WHICH SITE WAS GIVEN TO THE CITY TO BE USED FOR A SCHOOL, so that the City already owns it! Developing a community garden at the Quail Gardens site and/or the Pacific View site would be a wonderful gesture on the part of all Council Members who support it, and part of their legacy. Dan Dalager often brags about his friendship with Bob Nanninga, recently deceased, passing away this past Valentine's Day. Bob was an environmentalist, strongly promoted a community garden, including, specifically, saving the Pacific View School and the Quail Gardens sites for open space, gardens and for greener, sustainable community areas where we, the voters and taxpaying citizens, would be able to grow more of our own food, and to enjoy fresh air and enhanced community character. This issue can and should be reagendized.
— July 16, 2009 2:31 p.m.

Rumor, Innuendo, and Dumpster Diving

I'm really glad Encinitas City Council had decided to go ahead with a RDA, some years back, when some on Council, including Dan Dalager and Jerome Stocks, were really pushing it with respect to Leucadia. I feel Encinitas continues to hire too many high priced and usually out of area contractors and consultants, and continues to give staff yearly wage increase, and more lucrative pension benefits, every year for four years at a time, currently, when the economy is now in a very shaky position, to say the least. As more people begin to retire with fat pensions from within our city government, we will begin to see some of the same problems San Diego is having. In Encinitas, we also do have to pay for trash, and other fees for which people who live in San Diego are not charged, or are not charged as much. For example, one can look to also steadily increasing sewer fees in the Encinitas and Cardiff Sanitary Divisions, where the average residence in ESD pays over $500 per year on our property tax bill, and the average in CSD is over $700 per year. These are going up, on average, over 3.4% per year through 2012! Leucadia Sanitary District residences, which, fortunately for them, do not have our City Council as its board of directors, pays a flat fee of only $250 per year, which fee was only recently raised to that level. Our numbers are truly "out of whack" and discriminate against retirees and those on a fixed income. If public utilities such as SDG&E and the phone companies must give lifeline allowances, so should sanitary districts be required to do so. Also, the City should have some kind of fee waiver or fee reduction for low income residents who want to appeal a city decision. The fee to appeal was raised 150%, as was the fee to set up a low income affordable housing unit through official channels, in Encinitas. Our council could and should do better. We feel that Jerome Stocks and James Bond were reelected because of voter apathy, lack of information, misinformation, and the fact that a bare plurality was required when three are elected in a field with ten candidates on the official ballot. We hope that we can finally enact term limits and that candidates could be vetted in the primaries, narrowing the field. Also, the sanitary divisions and San Dieguito Water District should not have City Council Members as their boards of directors. Currently we have very few checks and balances, and no separation of powers.
— December 20, 2008 8:35 p.m.

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