SD Rostra

The Day The Music Died

“The Kraken” is an iconic part of Cardiff-By-The-Sea, a community of the City of Encinitas. Separated from the beach by Coast Hwy 101 on the west and the residential neighborhoods by the outlet of the San Elijo Lagoon and San Elijo Avenue to the east.

But although they have always had the ability to allow their patrons to enjoy live local music and dancing, the management has had to shut down the live music, hopefully only temporarily, due to the actions of the City of Encinitas Department of Code Enforcement. Code enforcement in Encinitas has traditionally been a “responsive” agency, meaning that if the neighbors aren’t upset the city shouldn’t get involved, even if there was a technical violation occurring. The only exception was in matters of public safety.

But it’s a new day and there’s a new City Council in charge, and they have empowered a specific, new, and focused part of the Code Enforcement Department to go after the “alcohol serving establishments” in particular. Call the special phone number and hear for yourselves: 760-633-2633. The recording is informative.

The Kraken, a 39-year-old establishment which has not changed its business practices, received citations from code enforcement officer Mario Morales on June 26, July 16, July 17, and yet another in July of this year. The issue? Noise. Code Enforcement Officer Morales said he could hear music emanating from inside the business and that constituted a violation. He took no decibel readings, he didn’t consider the sound levels of Coast Hwy 101, the ocean, or the trains and their whistles that blow by the place 52 times per day. None of the citations were initiated from citizen complaints. This was “proactive” staff initiated enforcement.

When I interviewed City Council Member Mark Muir yesterday about the citations issued to the Kraken in such short order, he said he only learned about it via emails from the public he received that day. Mayor Gaspar was out of town and unable to respond.

Ron, the owner of the Kraken, said he had to make the painful decision to eliminate live music until he could get this straightened out with the City. Numerous citations, regardless of their validity, is a concern of the ABC which is the state agency in charge of liquor licenses.

It’s difficult to imagine a policy direction more in opposition to the “laid back” and “beachy” good vibe community that Encinitas has always considered itself than this aggressive form of code enforcement.

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