Places I’ve Visited – Map Where You’ve Been!

By Lee | March 21, 2012

I need to add: Hong Kong, Stuttgart, Baden-Baden, Munich,Frankfurt, Dachau (that was a tough one), Ghent, Glasgow, Shannon, Limerick, Madison, Cozumel, Guanaja, Mexico City, Guadalajara, and several more. I was lucky enough to live in Geneva, Switzerland for 3 years, and in Paris and Villefranche-sur-Mer for several months each so I did a lot of traveling. Lived in Hawaii and Hong Kong too, and now spend time enjoying beautiful Carlsbad while living in Encinitas. Click on the links above and you can create your own map. It brought back some fond memories of great experiences.

Don’t Text and Drive!

By Lee Sterling | February 10, 2011

Please click on this link! Don\'t Text and Drive!

A friend of mine, Robert Sizer, sent me this video to share with others. Rather than just send it to my family and friends I thought it was important enough to post here for, hopefully, lots of people to see it and send it on.

Carlsbad Needs More Places To Go…So To Speak

By Lee Sterling | December 18, 2010

I get emailed information pertaining to Carlsbad almost daily. Today I got the following link about a place you might be able to use. Go to the “browse” directory of the site, and you can search all over the country! Do you have places you can add?

What will people think of next to put on the Internet?

Carlsbad – Adopt A Family – Urgent

By Lynn and Lee Sterling | December 3, 2010

The North County Times announced today that the Carlsbad Christmas Bureau is seeking donations of food, school supplies and toiletries for the Adopt-A-Family Project. Money donations are also accepted to buy gifts and food for families. Donate nonperishable foods, toys, school supplies, toiletries and more at these collection sites through Dec. 8:

— City of Carlsbad Community Development, 1635 Faraday Ave.
— Carlsbad City Hall, 1200 Carlsbad Village Drive
— Carlsbad Library, 1775 Dove Lane and 1250 Carlsbad Village Drive
— Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce, 5934 Priestly Drive
— Carlsbad Senior Center, 799 Pine Ave.
— Fire Stations: 1275 Carlsbad Village Drive, 1906 Arenal Road, 3171 Catalina, 6885 Batiquitos Drive, 2560 Orion Way and 7201 Rancho Santa Fe Road
— That Pizza Place, 2622 El Camino Real
— California Bank and Trust, 675 Carlsbad Village Drive
— Vinaka Cafe, 300 Carlsbad Village Drive, Suite 211
— Leucadia County Water District, 1960 La Costa Ave.

Call 760-599-7567 or visit .

Now’s the time to help others. Please join us in adopting a family through this great service.

Carlsbad Game Company’s Telestrations

By Lee Sterling | November 8, 2010

Telestrations™ is a fun new game developed by USAopoly®, headquartered here in Carlsbad. My son, Tony, is head of the Art Department, which had a big hand in designing the game’s graphics. He also recruited his family and me to play the game and appear in a video version for YouTube.

That’s Tony explaining the game, my granddaughters, my daughter-in-law, me, and a lady recruited to play the grandmother because my wife, Lynn, looks too young! It’s a fun game, and you can see some independent reviews on YouTube indicating how much fun you can have playing the game with or without scoring. We usually play without scoring because we’re laughing to hard to keep track. Click on Telestrations™ to see another great video showing how much fun it is to play Telestrations™. It would make a great Christmas or Hanukkah gift, and you can order it from the video or buy it at Barnes & Noble, Borders Books, Go! Games, and Amazon. HAVE FUN!

Carlsbad Christmas Coming

By Lee Sterling | November 7, 2010

Mark Stone, of our Sterling/Stone,REALTORS® real estate company, sent me some great advice about being safe this Christmas. It’s such good advice that I thought I’d pass it on so you can be safe too!

Holiday Lights
Electric holiday lights and displays sparkle and wow children and adults alike. But because too many homeowners don’t know how to perform safety checks on light strings and ornaments, they’re also potentially dangerous. In fact, last year 1,114 people suffered injuries by mishaps related to electrical holiday decorations, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

Typical injuries like electric shock or burns result from too many light strings strung end to end, low-wattage ornaments burning high-wattage bulbs or overloaded extension cords. As part of their Operation Decoration, the CPSC and the National Fire Protection Association have composed a safety-watch list for this holiday season. Key points include:

• Before stringing lights, inspect for cracked sockets, frayed, loose or bare wires or loose connections. Unplug light strings before replacing bulbs or fuses.
• Replace damaged ornament parts with manufacturer-specified items. Bulbs with too-high wattage are a fire hazard.
• Check light strings to see how many strings can be safely joined end to end. As a rule of thumb, don’t string together more than three midgets (push-in bulbs); strings with screw-in bulbs (C7s and C9s) should have a maximum of 50 bulbs total.
• Never run extension cords through water, even those labeled for outdoor use.
• Always turn off electric decorations before leaving home or going to bed, and be sure all smoke detectors are in working order.
• Brown or brittle needles are prone to fire, so always buy a fresh wreath or tree. Place the tree in a no-tip stand, and keep it watered. With an artificial tree, make sure it’s flame-retardant. Place your tree at least 3 ft. from the fireplace or any other heat source.

Mark has been in the real estate business in North County for more than 20 years, and has seen previous ups and downs in the real estate market. He can answer your questions about what to do in this kind of market. He can be reached at, and he adheres to the policy of not revealing your information to third parties. You can also call him at 760-415-3251 for a “no obligation” consultation.

Crucial Carlsbad Constituents

By Lee | October 26, 2010

Matt Hall For Mayor

This morning I had the pleasure of introducing Matt Hall to a group of business people who live, work, or have clients living here in Carlsbad. We reviewed his service as a Vietnam Vet, with a Purple Heart Award, his successful business career as an independent business owner in the Village for more the 40 years, his 10 years on the City Planning Commission, and his 16 years on City Council. We also mentioned his service on the Board and Executive Committee of SANDAG. We didn’t go into all of his great achievements, but we also discussed his endorsement to be Mayor of Carlsbad by the San Diego Union Tribune, the North County Times, by scores of both State and local office holders, and, perhaps, most telling, the endorsement of Matt Hall by our long-serving Mayor, Bud Lewis. (For a lot more good information click on Matt Hall For Mayor)

Matt also had a chance to explain Proposition G, and the importance of its passing to the citizens of Carlsbad. Proposition G ensures that any increase to the pension system for public safety employees of the City will have to be approved by the Crucial Calrsbad Constituents – you the voter. (See my previous Blog post with “Retire” in the headline!)

In addition to supporting Proposition G and Matt Hall for Mayor, we also believe that re-electing Mark Packard and electing Farrah Douglass for City Council members would ensure the continued good government of Carlsbad. We hope you’ll support the passage of Proposition G, and the election of Matt Hall for Mayor, along with Mark Packard and Farrah Douglass for City Council. You can do that by VOTING ON NOVEMBER 2 and by forwarding this message to your family, friends, and acquaintances who live in Carlsbad and urging them to vote accordingly!

Retire in Carlsbad At 55 & Get Paid $76,440 Per Year

By Lee Sterling | October 21, 2010

According to Carlsbad city officials, the average police officer or firefighter retires at age 55 after 28 years of service in Carlsbad. In the past, the City and public safety officials had negotiated what was called a “3 at 50” plan, which lets some 50-year olds retire at 90 percent of their highest salary. Someone earning an annual salary of $91,000 and retiring at age 55 after 28 years of service would earn $76,440 per year! Carlsbad pension costs have gone up from $2.5 million per year a decade ago to $15.2 million since the “3 in 50” plan began.

In May of this year our Carlsbad City Council, on a 4 to 1 vote, approved a plan to help control pension costs by providing that public safety employees hired after October 4, 2010, would qualify for pension benefits on a “2% at 50” and “2.7% at 55” plan. Existing employees, of course, are still entitled to their original plan benefits. The sole no vote on the new plan was Keith Blackburn, a former police officer, who has heavy backing from the public safety employee unions, and who, after just one year on City Council, is running for Mayor to replace our long-serving Mayor, Bud Lewis.

Matt Hall, a proponent of the new plan, and a 16-year member of the Carlsbad City Council, has also strongly backed Proposition G on this November’s ballot. He’s running for Mayor against Keith Blackburn, and Matt has the support and endorsement of Bud Lewis. Passage of Proposition G would provide that an amendment of the City’s Charter to increase the new “2% at 50” and “2.7% at 55” plan of public employees pension system would require a vote by the citizens of Carlsbad. This puts control of the situation in the hands of the voting public rather than in the hands of elected officials who may be influenced by union backing or union pressure in the future.

The language of Proposition G is not as clear as one would wish:

Shall the Charter of Carlsbad, California be amended to add Section 502 Retention of Benefits limiting increases in safety retirement benefits without an amendment to this section?

What that means is what I’ve indicated above. An increase to the public safety pension percentages would require your vote! So, to keep control of pension costs Vote “YES” on Proposition G on election day, November 2, AND vote for Matt Hall for Mayor; he has the experience, knowledge, and understanding of what’s best for Carlsbad! And, tell your family, friends, and acquaintances that they too should vote YES on Proposition G and they, too, should vote for Matt Hall. Or to make it simple, just send them the link to this blog post!

Carlsbad Debt Crisis Explained

By Lee | October 14, 2010

Here’s the best explanation I’ve seen for the current debt crisis:

The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.

We have another debt crisis looming here in Carlsbad involving the pension obligations for our public safety employees. I’ll discuss that in another post, but suffice to say that it’s important that Carlsbad citizens vote YES on Proposition G on November 2.

Carlsbad Developer’s Transfer Tax On Home ReSale

By Lee | September 9, 2010

 9-UncleSam Tax There have been some newspaper and Internet articles about the move by some developers to impose a private transfer fee (tax) on the resale of the new homes  they are selling (if they’re selling any!)  The transfer tax would be charged each time a home is then resold. The tax would be paid to the developer or would be paid to an entity which purchased the “tax rights”.  The “tax” would last for 99 years.

Let’s say you purchased a home today for $600,000. In 5 years you sell the home for $650,000, and there’s a 1% private transfer tax. That’s $6,500. The proponents of the private transfer fee tell you, the buyer of the new home, not to worry because the buyer is the one charged the transfer tax!  And, when your buyer resells the house at $700,000, there’s $7,000 due for the transfer tax. And so on and so forth!

Now, these transfer fees are not federal, state, county, or municipal taxes, but PRIVATE fees(OK, so I call them a tax)  paid to private entities. I’ve read the articles about these fees, but the best explanation I’ve seen is in a video that I found through a Facebook friend, Robert Sizer. You can watch the video by clicking on the website below:

Tell us what you think of this transfer tax idea by commenting below. We look forward to your thoughts, and, if we get enough of a feedback, we’ll let our state and federal representatives know how our readers feel about this private transfer tax.