Encinitas’ Old Pacific View Elementary School – A new Julian school site?

The old Pacific View Elementary School is up for grabs again after the initial plan to rezone it and allow the sale to a non-school entity fell through.  The location is ideal (see Google maps link above), right in Encinitas.    The school was built in 1953 and was closed in June 2003 due to declining enrollment.

The future of the school will be discussed at this Wednesday’s Encinitas City council meeting. The city of Encinitas is considering purchasing the old school. Could we possibly make this the new permanent site for Julian charter schools in Encinitas (Innovation and Phoenix)? Undoubtedly this would be  a dream come true for many (most?) of the families.

  • View Photos of the school HERE
  • You can view the school’s location HERE
  • Articles related to the old school HERE
  • Encinitas school info:  HERE

As parents of Innovation (and Phoenix) schools, it would be in our best interest to let our voices be heard at the meeting and to call/email our council members to let them know that:

  1. We want the old Pacific View Elementary to remain a school
  2. We want the school to be available for charter schools (rent/lease/sale)
  3. Our children are citizens of Encinitas and we want them to attend a charter school locally AND in a real school building.

You will find the current list of city council members and their contact info here:

PLEASE EMAIL/CALL the city council members NOW!

Jennifer Cauzza, the Executive Director of Julian Charter School is planning to attend the meeting.   Please feel free to attend the meeting as well.

Agenda: Encinitas City Council to Discuss Pacific View School

Encinitas city council meeting: WEDNESDAY, APRIL 10, 2013 – 6:00 p.m. 
Council Chambers
Council Chambers, 505 South Vulcan Avenue
Encinitas, California 92024


Live feed of the meeting and to download the full agenda  visit:    http://webcasts.encinitasca.gov/

  • To view the live broadcast:  “Click for Live Video!”
  • To download the agenda: click on the link “Agenda” for April 10th 2013 – 6pm) (or click directly HERE)

Here is the relevant extract from the agenda:

8. Encinitas Union School District (“EUSD”)  correspondence regarding sale of former Pacific View School Site  (“PACIFIC VIEW”).  Contact Person:  City Attorney Sabine. STAFF RECOMMENDATION:  Staff is requesting that the Council provide direction in response to the Correspondence. The options for Council action include the following:
a. Direct Staff to agendize consideration of the possible purchase of PACIFIC VIEW;
b. Direct Staff to work with EUSD to restart the application process for a General Plan Amendment (“GPA”), Local Coastal Plan Program Land Use Amendment (“LCPA”) and Downtown Encinitas Specific Plan Amendment (“SPA”) necessary to rezone PACIFIC VIEW as proposed;
c. Provide alternative direction to Staff in response to the Correspondence; or
d. Take no action as this time.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Keep it Green and Clean

In Sept 2012, EWG came up with a great new report on the toxicity of household cleaners. As usual it was shocking… the short version:  you are poisoning yourself with all your household cleaners, including most of the green, the eco and the groovy ones.

Here is the link to EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning:


The report give ranks 2000 cleaning products from A (good) to F (nasty!).
The provide a list of “Top Products” which can be useful for quick shopping

However, upon visiting my local Whole Foods Market, I came to realise that even armed with the “Top Products” list, I could easily end up purchasing a nasty “F” ranking version of a product that looks almost identical to the clean “A” version I was looking for.

Let me illustrate the point with an example:
I had on my list to buy the clean, “A” rated detergent:

Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value 2x concentrated Laundry detergent, unscented 
[EWG review]

but this one was available on the shelves instead (“F” rated):

Whole Foods Market 2X concentrated laundry detergent with enzymes, unscented 
[EWG Review]

Now just to make my point, see the two product name side by side:

Whole Foods 365EverydayValue 2x concentrated Laundry detergent, unscented
Whole Foods Market           2X concentrated laundry detergent with enzymes, unscented

And that’s just the “clean” brands.  The law doesn’t require companies to list the ingredients in the cleaning products. The mainstream commercial stuff like resolve/spray and wash offers a dozen variation on the same product with different ingredients and almost identical labels.  Moreover, since they are not required to divulge their ingredients, you never know what toxic soup you are really buying.

My next thought is:  I will stick to “clean” brands instead of trying to find an individual clean product from a certain brand, I will pick a “clean” brand and will therefore avoid confusion when trying to buy a product.

Looking up the main “green” brands at Whole Foods brought up some interesting findings:

Link to EWG review
Biokleen 0 0 2 17 6 EWG review of Biokleen Dirty Brand!
Ecover 1 7 4 13 0 EWG review of Ecover All over the map – choose carefully!
BabyGanics 0 0 0 2 16 EWG review of BabyGanics NASTY brand!
Simple Green 3 2 1 7 13 EWG review of Simple Green Mostly dirty Choose product carefully if you must
Planet 0 0 0 2 2 EWG review of Planet Nasty brand
Seventh Generation 8 3 4 14 2 EWG review of Seventh Generation All over the map – choose carefully!
Whole Foods Market 3 4 1 0 3 EWG review of Whole Foods Market All over the map – choose carefully!
Whole Foods
365 Everyday Value
2 2 2 0 0 EWG review of
WF 365 Everyday Value
Mostly clean
Only a very small subset of prod lineup was tested
Whole Foods Market
2 3 0 0 0 EWG review of WF green MISSION Very clean
Don’t know if product line-up is vast or small.
Mrs. Meyer’s
Clean Day Products
0 8 12 26 19 EWG review of Mrs. Meyer’s Mostly DIRTY brand
Dr. Bronner’s 3 0 0 0 0 EWG review of Dr. Bronner’s Only tested the liquid soap
Green Shield Organic 10 4 0 0 0 EWG review ofGreen Shield Organic This is a CLEAN BRAND!

NOTES on product review table:

  • A lot of surprises with brands with a “green” marketing but dirty products.
  • Whole Foods Market offers 3 product products lines:
    • Whole Foods Market
    • Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value – (some clean stuff.  Pick very carefully)
    • Whole Foods Market green MISSION   (WFM “clean” label)
  • Of course Dr Bronner’s liquid soap is divine (and clean!)…. too bad they only tested the liquid soap
  • Green Shield Organics is my new favourite goto company for any type of cleaning product.


To facilitate my shopping and avoid accidentally purchasing a dirty look alike version a cleaning product, I have created a short pick list of cleaning products. It is mostly based on products available at my local Wholefoods and which should be available in your local “Eco Groovy” market.



My Green Clean Cleaner Pick List

Product Selection Strategy:

  • Try to purchase everything I can from Green Shield Organics (all their products are clean and I want to encourage them)
  • If purchasing from another company, try to select an “A” or “B” rating product and make sure the company only offers one product of this type (to avoid purchasing a nasty look alike product).


  • Dish soap (for hand washing dishes):
    • Whole Foods Market liquid dish soap, unscented or mandarin ginger (only two “model” who both rank well.)
    • Not the 365 every day model (ranks “C”)



  • Stain Remover spray:
    • Not a whole lot of “clean” selection for this type of product.
    • Most products are ranked “D” or “F”
    • OxiClean has a number of almost identical looking products ranking from C to F.
    • The “Baby” stain remover is the only one with a “C” ranking that is also easy to distinguish from the others.

A similar issue is prevalent in medicine as well. Not many people consider alternatives to conventional medicine, and at times they can prove to be safer and more effective. It just does not seem to be common knowledge at this point for some reason, even though the information is very easy to find. A good example you can use can be found here if you find yourself reviewing alternative medicine.

Posted in Green Home | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Installing new disks and preparing to use in Linux Software RAID

A Linux Software RAID (using mdadm) creates a new virtual media on top of which we create partitions  and format partitions (ext3/4, FAT32 etc…).    Here we describe how to initialize the underlying disk(s) to be ready for inclusion / addition to a software RAID.   Repeat the instructions for each (new) disk.  The commands here are based on Ubuntu Linux but should apply to all Linux systems. Continue reading

Posted in Linux, NAS, Software | Leave a comment

Simple outgoing email on Ubuntu Server using sSMTP

Many of us have some sort of Linux/Ubuntu server running some sort of service.   When all is running smoothly all is good.  But there are times when the server would want to notify you of some warning or serious problem (Disk getting full,  cron job failure,  raid disk failure…).

The reason why many of our servers do not send us email with those notifications is that your basic mail server can be intimidating to setup (and frankly overly complicated for the simple task at hand).

Enter sSMTP which will allow you to setup OUTGOING email quick and easy!   In this post, we will learn how to install sSMTP on a Ubuntu server and configure it to send email through one of the following email service provider:  Gmail, Cox.net, Dreamhost and Rackspace mail. Continue reading

Posted in Linux, NAS, Software | 1 Comment

Setting up Samba server on Ubuntu

This is a quick instruction on how to install Samba (CIFS / windows share) on a Ubuntu system.   This basic setup works on Ubuntu 8.x to 11.04 and presumably subsequent versions.

The information in this post is mostly extracted from a post on another site.   I wanted to collect all the information necessary for putting together my NAS project in one place.  Continue reading

Posted in Linux, Software | 2 Comments

Configuring Ethernet Jumbo Frames on Ubuntu

Ethernet jumbo frames are reported to speed up transfer of large files.    From my online research,  Ethernet Jumbo frames increase the payload from the standard 1500  bytes to up to 9000.   The the idea behind it is to minimize the overhead of packet preparation by sending fewer, larger packets.

While this holds true systems with older CPUs or extremely high throughput systems (high end routers), a modern system with a modern CPU under a normal network load doesn’t seem to break a sweat in packet preparation.  In my limited tests, I have not measured any performance enhancement by applying Jumbo frames on my little DYI Atom 510 based NAS box. Continue reading

Posted in Linux, Software | 1 Comment

Setting up a static IP address on ubuntu

When you install a new Ubuntu release on your system, it sets things up to using DHCP by default.   It’s a handy default that will work for most people but if you intend on running this particular machine as a serer (NAS box, squeezebox server, print server…), you may find more convenient to have a static IP address which can easily be mapped to a name without the use of a DNS server.    The instructions below are based on ubuntu (10.x / 11.x and older/newer versions).  Continue reading

Posted in Linux, Software | Leave a comment

Building a Fast, Energy Efficient NAS box – Part 6

Part 6 – Choosing the right case for your NAS

The sixth installment in our NAS building project we will review potential  choices for a case.   The case selection is dependent on the type and size of NAS you want to build:

  • Boot, 0 RAID disk + eSATA and external disk expansion module
  • Boot, 2 RAID disk with or w/o eSATA and external disk expansion module
  • Boot, 4/5+ RAID disks with or w/o eSATA and external disk expansion module

It is generally best to keep the boot device as small and power frugal as possible such as a 2.5″ sata disk, a Mini-PCIe SSD or a USB thumb drive.  Here are number of accessories that can help you save previous spaces for your 3.5″ RAID disks. Continue reading

Posted in Linux, NAS | 2 Comments

Building a Fast, Energy Efficient NAS box – Part 5

Part 5 – PSU Selection

In this installment of our NAS building project we learn how to choose the right PSU for the job.    We see how to estimate the power needs for an Atom based NAS box, the meaning of 80PLUS certifications and calculate an estimate of the annual electrical cost of running a NAS with a sample array of available PSU.

Atom NAS power usage survey:

My own little NAS box has the following specs:

  • Chembro box with built-in 120W PSU (not certified 80 PLUS)
  • Supermicro D510 based motherboard
  • a WD scorpio blue series 80G 2.5″ hard drive (1-2W power usage)

Plugging in power, video console and networking, boot the machine and see:

  • Peak power usage 22-23W during boot
  • 21W idle
  • Note that the “naked” NAS box actual power usage is a little lower than that since the measurement taken included any amount of power (heat) loss from the PSU unit.

Continue reading

Posted in Linux, NAS, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Building a Fast, Energy Efficient NAS box – Part 4

Part 4 – Motherboard Selection

In this fourth post of the “Building a Fast, Energy Efficient NAS box”,  we build on our chipset evaluation/selection (see Part-2),  and review available motherboards (as of March 2010) for potential use in our NAS box.

Instead of just showing you the one or two finalist models, we go through our evaluation process and mention both desirable and undesirable features so that you can later use the same criteria as the basis for your own evaluation. Continue reading

Posted in Linux, NAS | Leave a comment