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Encinitas celebrates 25 years of incorporation

ENCINITAS — Thousands of residents celebrated the city’s 25-year anniversary Oct. 1 with a party that recalled the past, spoke to the present and looked to the future.
The event theme Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow was evident as the city’s pioneering history was on display at the San Dieguito Heritage Museum. The grounds surrounding the museum were filled with local organization and business booths touting information about upcoming events and programs.
The San Diego Botanic Garden, adjacent to the museum, offered free admission throughout the day. “This is great to be able to come to the gardens for free with the entire family,” said Patricia Sunhil, as she watched her four children scamper up the tree house in the children’s garden. “I’ve never brought them all at once because the cost just adds up,” she said.
In addition to live entertainment and assortment of food vendors, the third annual Lima Bean Festival was part of the celebration. The cook-off featured a cornucopia of unique dishes made from a legume that was grown in abundance in the region. Two varieties of lima bean hummus were a hit with many of the tasters who paid a small fee for the opportunity to have a sampling.
“By far my favorite is the Indian lima bean dish,” Cynthia Peterson said.
“I really had no idea you could do all of this with a lima bean,” she exclaimed. Her son, Connor, 4, was partial to the lima bean infused cookies, applesauce and chocolate cake. “He has no idea there’s something good for him in there,” Peterson said with a smile.
Local resident Bob Bonde was on hand with others who helped the city gain control over its affairs from county officials in 1986. Bonde was president of the North Coast Incorporation Coalition, which spearheaded the movement. Previous efforts to extract control from the county of San Diego failed in 1959, 1974 and 1982. In 1986, however, an overwhelming majority of voters agreed to create a city of five communities: Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Old Encinitas, New Encinitas, Leucadia and Olivenhain.
Michael Ott, Director of the Local Agency Formation Commission, a state agency that oversees incorporations, said that the difficulty in achieving cityhood could not be underestimated. “This went all the way to the Supreme Court,” he said. Legislation enacted shortly after 1986 made incorporation much more cumbersome.
By all accounts, county run government was unbearable for the residents of the area collectively known as Northern San Dieguito prior to incorporation. According to Bonde’s spiral-bound historical account of the effort, “October 1, 1986: Independence Day for the Communities of Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Encinitas, Leucadia, Olivenhain,” the county failed to fairly represent the citizens of the area, allowed developers unfettered access to land to facilitate a construction boom, collected millions of tax dollars only to spend the money elsewhere and skimped on sewer and fire services to the residents.
By 1986, Bonde said residents of the unincorporated area were ready to form their own government. “They were cognizant of the advantages of incorporation by then,” Bonde said.
Nearly 70 percent of voters agreed to the ballot measure that created the city of Encinitas.

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