Escondido

Thumbnail image for Escondido Mayor Abed Paves Over Inconvenient Facts

Escondido Mayor Abed Paves Over Inconvenient Facts

by Source 08.01.2014 Business

By Don Greene / Escondido Democrats

In the past month, much ado has been made over a parking lot located at 540 W. Grand Ave. The blog, Escondido2014.com, ran two posts on the parking lot and the potential of some funny business involved in the paving of that lot.

The owner of the lot is Escondido Mayor Sam Abed. He owns not only the vacant lot in question, but the adjacent office building at 562 W. Grand (the corner of Grand and Quince). The office was recently home to a fitness business that used the unpaved lot next door as a track area for outdoor exercise. Now that the office building is vacant, the formerly dirt lot has become a paved parking lot.

The paving of this lot has raised many questions and they were addressed in the posts on Escondido2014.com. Did the Mayor overlook – or get a pass on – state storm water regulations? City storm water regulations state that any lot being paved over 5,000 sq feet must conform with state storm water regulations. The actual city document is 130-pages long and covers a variety of mitigation factors which appear not to have been implemented when this lot was paved.

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for Gone with the Wind Escondido Style

Gone with the Wind Escondido Style

by At Large 07.27.2014 Activism

Many expressed their sense of shame of living in a city that is fearful of Brown people and children.

By Fredi Avalos, Ph.D.

The City of Escondido, California represents a civilization gone with the wind. Well, almost. The shifting political winds were easy to observe at the City’s planning commission meeting July 22. In front of more than 200 people and an estimated 250 who rallied outside City Hall, the commission reaffirmed their previous vote not to allow a foster care facility to operate for refugee children fleeing their countries’ violence and repression in Central America.

The children would have been housed in a vacant elder care facility in a quiet semi-rural neighborhood. The facility has its own parking and would be funded entirely by federal money. It is estimated the facility would bring in at least 100 jobs paying well over minimum wage and would increase revenue for the city a total of $8.5 million a year. Escondido tax payers would pay nothing but would gain a great deal fiscally. So what is the problem?

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for A Proud Day of Activism for Labor, Refugee and Environmental Advocates

A Proud Day of Activism for Labor, Refugee and Environmental Advocates

by Doug Porter 07.23.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Tuesday, July 22 was a remarkable day for San Diego. Starting with an early morning prayer vigil at San Diego City Hall in support of a higher minimum wage and ending with hundreds of Escondido residents calling for a humanitarian response to the border refugee crisis, people stood up for causes they believed in.

At noontime a broad spectrum of supporters of organized labor rallied in Mission Valley, vowing to support workers for Food-4-Less should they go on strike. And in the afternoon environmental activists testified before the city council, urging Mayor Kevin Faulconer to move ahead with a review process needed to consider an ordinance curtailing the use of plastic shopping bags.

People chose to make a stand on issues that were important to them. They faced off against institutional and political hostility, along with a corporate media all-too-willing to give a platform to those willing to spew ridicule (the UT’s Greenhut) and venomous language (Escondido’s nativists). They stood up and said “we’re not going to take it any more” (UFCW’s Kasparian). They testified that now is the time to protect the environment (representatives of Coastkeeper, Surfrider and the Sierra Club).

It was a great day to be an American. It was a great day to be an activist.

Read the full article → 8 comments
Thumbnail image for ACLU Investigating Escondido’s Hasty Decision on Shelter

ACLU Investigating Escondido’s Hasty Decision on Shelter

by Source 06.28.2014 Activism

Requests records from Planning Commission

By ACLU Sandiego-Imperial Counties

SAN DIEGO – Concerned that the City of Escondido may once again be undermining the rights of immigrants in its community and possibly violating the law, the San Diego ACLU requested a number of records related to the Escondido Planning Commission’s decision Tuesday evening to reject a proposed shelter for unaccompanied immigrant children.

In an official California Public Records Act (CPRA) request, the legal director of the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties, David Loy, requested copies of all reports and records submitted to the commission relating to the proposed facility, the permit for the construction and operation of the intermediate care facility, and any video, audio, or written record of the Planning Commission meeting on June 24, 2014.

Read the full article → 3 comments
Thumbnail image for What’s at Stake with the Proposed Escondido Charter?

What’s at Stake with the Proposed Escondido Charter?

by Source 06.20.2014 Business

By Don Greene, President, Escondido Democrats

In a 4-1 vote, the Escondido City Council approved the draft of the proposed city charter to be put on the November ballot. Incredibly, the charter was approved with at least two of the council members not understanding the document that they were approving.

Case in point:  During the June 18th hearing, Council member Ed Gallo very magnanimously told the assembled crowd and those watching at home that the council “could have done themselves, but they chose to put it on the ballot.”  Um, no.  Charters must be approved by a majority of the residents of the affected city according to state law.  Mr. Gallo also stated that “this is the same document that we started with in May” and that the city had gone through “4 public hearings” on the matter.  Neither of those points is correct. It would be nice to be sure that our Council members actually understood what they were voting for.

Read the full article → 1 comment
Thumbnail image for Riot Control Drone Comes with Pepper Spray, Paintball Guns and Blinding Lasers

Riot Control Drone Comes with Pepper Spray, Paintball Guns and Blinding Lasers

by Doug Porter 06.19.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

The BBC released a story today trumpeting the initial sale of a remotely controlled octo-copter built specifically for crowd control situations. South African manufacturer Desert Wolf says its eight rotored “Skunk” can fire 80 doses of pepper spray per second from a storage tank holding 4000 pepper spray paintballs, plastic balls or other “non-lethal” ammunition.

Call them drones, RPVs, UASs, UVAs, SUAs or whatever. Remotely controlled robots are a big business in San Diego. A recent Voice of San Diego series covered the nascent industry’s impact on the local economy (more than a dozen companies),along with the uncertainty surrounding their use and development.

While I’m sure these machines can and should be be used for good purposes, the BBC story brings to light yet another moral dilemma facing society as technology continues to advance.  

Read the full article → 4 comments
Thumbnail image for The Bahati Mamas : Seeds for Change

The Bahati Mamas : Seeds for Change

by Source 05.31.2014 Activism

Chasing Freedom and Opportunity

By Binti Musa / AjA Blog

The Bahati Mamas are a group of five Somali Bantu women living in City Heights who started their own farming business. The women are Somali Bantu Refugees who were forced to leave their home in 2004 to seek refuge in the United States because of the civil war in Somalia.

The Somali Bantu refugees had to leave everything they knew. As part of their resettlement, the International Recuse Committee (IRC) helped the refugee families find jobs, learn English and help their children get an education. The refugees faced many challenges while learning American customs; one of these challenges was finding good, quality, organic produce for the families in their community. This served as an impetus for people of the Somali Bantu community to begin efforts to farm like they did in their old home.

Read the full article → 2 comments
Thumbnail image for The ‘Big Deal’ about Prevailing Wage in Escondido

The ‘Big Deal’ about Prevailing Wage in Escondido

by Source 05.28.2014 Activism

By Don Greene / Escondido Democratic Club

At the final public hearing on the proposed city charter, Mayor Abed was cavalier enough to admit that he was “championing the charter proposal” and that while it was about home rule, mostly it was about preventing the city from having to pay prevailing wages. What’s the big deal with prevailing wages, anyway?

In a report issued by the Center for Policy Initiatives (CPI), the outlook for working families in San Diego county is bleak. For a family of 4 with a preschool aged child and infant, both parents need to make an hourly salary of $20.06 for the family to be self-sufficient. That’s not a combined minimum hourly wage; each parent must make the $20.06 to live a basic life in San Diego without relying on public or private assistance.

County-wide, there are 13,395 workers in the agricultural industry, with 65.2% of these workers living below the standard of self-sufficiency. This is the population hardest hit by salary inequality. 40.9% of those in construction are below the self-sufficiency standard and 37.7% of those in retail sales positions also fall short. In terms of ethnic groups, Latinos (who make up 49% of the population of Escondido) are effected the most with 58.9% of those workers living below the self-sufficiency threshold.

These numbers are particularly telling for Escondido.

Read the full article → 2 comments
Thumbnail image for “We Are More Than Just Workers — We’re People.”

“We Are More Than Just Workers — We’re People.”

by Source 04.17.2014 Activism

By Lisa Maldonado Robinson/ Escondido Democratic Club

It takes an hourly wage of $13.09 and a full-time job to be able “to make ends meet” in San Diego County, according to Lisa Maldonado Robinson of the Interfaith Center for Worker Justice (ICWJ). Robinson spoke to Escondido Democrats at their April 12 meeting about the ICWJ’s ongoing program in San Diego County in which religious leaders strive “to lift workers out of poverty.” The program has a North County component and Robinson described efforts to organize workers at Casino Pauma and Northgate Markets.

Read the full article → 1 comment
Thumbnail image for Geo-Poetic Spaces: The Battle for Mule Hill

Geo-Poetic Spaces: The Battle for Mule Hill

by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes 03.20.2014 Books & Poetry

By Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

Surrounded
by houses malls
the ghosts of Mule Hill
pinned down by charging Interstate
under fire from lancing nine irons
shooting 18 holes

Read the full article → 2 comments
Thumbnail image for Escondido Charter Proposal Offers Few Benefits, Many Hazards

Escondido Charter Proposal Offers Few Benefits, Many Hazards

by Source 03.17.2014 Business

By Rick Moore /Escondido Democratic Club

City charters offer few benefits and many hazards, according to Kyle Krahel-Frolander, who spoke to Escondido Democrats at their March 2014 meeting. Krahel-Frolander is a Community Outreach Coordinator for Smart Cities Prevail, a California non-profit that provides information, research and education on how prevailing wage standards on public construction projects benefit taxpayers, local governments and working families.

Krahel-Frolander, who hails from Oceanside and worked as an aide to Council member Esther Sanchez when that city changed to charter status, monitors charter city proposals in Southern California.

Most California cities are created under state law and are known as “general law” cities. About one-third of California cities, including most larger cities, switched to charter city status in the past, when there were significant differences between the powers granted to charter cities.

Read the full article → 4 comments
Thumbnail image for Escondido State of the City Address Brings Much of the Same Rhetoric

Escondido State of the City Address Brings Much of the Same Rhetoric

by Source 02.27.2014 Government

By Don Greene/Escondido Democratic Club

In his fourth State of the City address, Mayor Abed continued to tout successes brought to the city by its “forward thinking council.” After playing yet another campaign informational video, produced by the city’s media department at taxpayer expense, the Mayor presented slides demonstrating the success stories that Escondido has and will experience.

All in all, the success of the newly renovated Westfield Shopping Center and Palomar Hospital continue to be at the top of the Mayor’s list of accomplishments, only this time he got it right to say that private industry was behind these things, not the city council. He even showed an artist’s conception of the pie-in-the-sky, tech park that they are calling Cross Roads Business Park, on the site of the Public Works yard and the rest of the area that was set aside for the construction of a ball park.

Read the full article → 1 comment
Thumbnail image for More Business as Usual With Developers in Escondido

More Business as Usual With Developers in Escondido

by Doug Porter 02.03.2014 Battle for Barrio Logan

By Doug Porter

You have to give Escondido credit; just when you think the city’s politics couldn’t get any skunkier, another malodorous whiff emerges.The city was forced to adopt district voting after getting sued under the California Voting Rights Act for its poor record of electing Latinos. And there’s the infamous “are you brown or have you ever been” checkpoints. And the failed attempt to force landlords to check citizenship papers…

Last week it was the announcement of a recall election for the City Councilwoman Olga Diaz, who just happens to be the first self-admitted person of Hispanic descent (the city is 49% Latino) to be elected in the 125 year history of the city. The reason given by recall proponents is that Diaz, who was first elected in 2008, is “too liberal.” Riiight…

This week we’ve learned about what would seem to be a pay to play combination involving reduced developer fees and campaign contributions. Given the history of “business as usual” in Escondido, this will probably be interpreted as perfectly legal and proper.

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for Recall Petition Seeks Removal of Escondido’s Olga Diaz

Recall Petition Seeks Removal of Escondido’s Olga Diaz

by Source 01.29.2014 Politics

By Rick Moore / Escondido Democratic Club

Escondido Deputy Mayor Olga Diaz was handed a copy January 27 of a ‘Notice of Intention to Circulate a Recall Petition’ that begins a legal process to recall her as the third district representative to the City Council.

The petition was apparently drafted by Robroy Fawcett, a local civic activist who has opposed district elections and the district-drawing process at every turn. The petition complains that those signing do not want to be represented by Diaz and feel that waiting until 2016 for an opportunity to elect someone else is too long. It also asks that any future Council vacancy in district three be filled by election, not appointment.

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for Escondido Mayor Abed Railroads New Charter Proposal

Escondido Mayor Abed Railroads New Charter Proposal

by Source 01.17.2014 Encore

Eds Note: The City of Escondido is at the epicenter of a power struggle focused on the future direction of the North County. After losing a battle to have city council members elected by district (which opens up the possibility of fair representation for the Latino population), the right-wing is seeking to make Escondido a charter city and thus exempt from California’s prevailing wage statutes. 

After listening to eight residents who urged citizen input into any charter proposal, and after sparring with Deputy Mayor Olga Diaz over the need for a charter, Mayor Sam Abed instructed city staff January 15 to lay the groundwork for placing a charter proposal before Escondido voters in November 2014.

Abed dismissed suggestions that the city create a charter commission or committee to allow a document that reflected the needs and desires of residents. “A commission would derail the process and have a different charter than the Council majority wants,” he said. “It is our constitutional right to do it (bring forward a charter) and we’re going to exercise it.”

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for Commemorate Día de los Muertos throughout San Diego – Long Live the Dead!

Commemorate Día de los Muertos throughout San Diego – Long Live the Dead!

by Brent E. Beltrán 10.24.2013 Arts

Día de los Muertos Commemorated for Thousands of Years in the Americas

By Brent E. Beltrán

Los días de los muertos have been commemorated for thousands of years in the Americas. It started in what is now México and has spread throughout the United States and the world. Today these days are celebrated by people of many different colors and cultures.

November 1 is Día de los Inocentes (Day of the Innocents) when deceased children are honored and November 2 is known as Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) where we pay tribute to adults who have passed away. These dates correspond with the Christian holidays of All Saints’ Day and All Soul’s Day.

Read the full article → 6 comments
Thumbnail image for County Supervisors Key to Rural Development

County Supervisors Key to Rural Development

by Source 09.16.2013 Activism

By Rick Moore Escondido Democratic Club

San Diego County’s new General Plan is “light years more progressive” than its predecessor, said County Planning Commissioner Michael Beck in remarks before the September 14 meeting of Escondido Democrats. The good news is that there are far more restraints on semi-rural and rural development than before. The bad news is that aggressive developers have chosen the political route to work around those restraints, and the Board of Supervisors is being asked to grant exceptions for dozens of projects.

Beck said 47 such exceptions, known as “amendments,” have been grouped together and are being brought before the board. First, however, he said taxpayers will have to pay for a lengthy review process “that will take us through the next election.”

Read the full article → 2 comments
Thumbnail image for Blackfish: The Documentary Asking Questions SeaWorld Doesn’t Want You to Think About

Blackfish: The Documentary Asking Questions SeaWorld Doesn’t Want You to Think About

by Doug Porter 07.22.2013 Columns

By Doug Porter

By the time the documentary film Blackfish opens on Friday (Hillcrest/ Landmark Theatres) the SeaWorld public relations campaign should be reaching a crescendo. The way I look at it, any film that provokes this kind of backlash prior to its release is worth checking out.

The questions raised in the movie, which builds a narrative about the captivity of orcas (also known as killer whales) around the death in 2010 of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau, cut deeply into the wholesome public image that the mega chain of water /oceanariums /marine mammal parks seeks to promote.

While spokespeople with SeaWorld refused to cooperate in any way with Gabriela Cowperthwaite during filming, the resulting film is, by all accounts (including SeaWorld’s) a disturbing look at the living conditions of the nearly half of the world’s orcas in captivity owned by the company.

Read the full article → 1 comment
Thumbnail image for The Starting Line – Protestors Claim Closing La Jolla Beach at Night to Protect Seals is Unconstitutional

The Starting Line – Protestors Claim Closing La Jolla Beach at Night to Protect Seals is Unconstitutional

by Doug Porter 03.21.2013 Columns

That’s right. A group calling itself Friends of the Children’s Pool has denounced Mayor Filner’s decision to restrict nighttime access to the La Jolla Beach for the duration of seal pupping season, which ends May 15. They even staged acts of civil disobedience Wednesday night when a dozen ‘supporters of beach access’ showed up and crossed the rope barrier. One individual received a citation for refusing to leave after sunset.

The Mayor’s decision to issue an emergency order to close the beach came in the wake a video that “captured people breaching the rope barrier at night, kicking, punching and sitting on top of the mother seals and their pups, and driving them from their resting places.”

“The behavior was shocking, reprehensible and certainly not a reflection of how most citizens in our fine City believe animals should be treated,” said Mayor Filner.

His actions drew an immediate response, via an unsigned opinion piece published in the La Jolla Patch on Wednesday

Read the full article → 14 comments
Thumbnail image for A Helping Hand to a Needy Group

A Helping Hand to a Needy Group

by Judi Curry 02.19.2013 Activism

When my husband was alive, he belonged to a wonderful organization entitled “Veteran’s for Peace.” As the title suggests, the group was made up of veteran’s from many “conflicts” and they all had one purpose – “Peace.”

Although not a member myself, I am still on the VFP mailing list and received this message today that I would like to share with you. The world for veterans today is so bleak; the feelings about the homeless population is shameful in so many areas that this report may shed a light on what is happening in our world today.

Read the full article → 5 comments
Thumbnail image for Public Hearing Today on Gregory Canyon Landfill in Escondido

Public Hearing Today on Gregory Canyon Landfill in Escondido

by Staff 01.31.2013 Activism

A public hearing is being held today – Thursday, Jan. 31 – at 6pm on the Gregory Canyon Landfill, and it will be at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido.

The site proposed Gregory Canyon Landfill would negatively impact a sacred site of the Luiseño tribes of Pala Indians. San Diego County’s environmental impact report for the landfill admits that these impacts cannot be fixed. The proposed landfill site is also on a natural aquifer and near the San Luis Rey River, both important sources of drinking water for North County.

Landfills are an outdated way of handling waste. With higher recycling rates than ever and improved waste reduction strategies, the county does not need another place to bury its trash.

The hearing is at the California Center for the Arts, at 340 North Escondido Blvd. in Escondido.

Read the full article → 2 comments
Thumbnail image for Filner Cites FDR on Anti-Poverty Pledge: “I agree with you, now make me do it.”

Filner Cites FDR on Anti-Poverty Pledge: “I agree with you, now make me do it.”

by Doug Porter 12.05.2012 Columns

Challenged by a local activist at the District 4 inaugural party on Monday night to make fighting poverty a priority in his administration, newly elected Mayor Bob Filner responded by quoting President Franklin Roosevelt’s rejoinder to activists in the early days of the New Deal: “I agree with you, now make me do it.”

And that’s exactly what the Center for Policy Initiatives (CPI) is doing. They’ve launched a letter writing campaign seeking to gather 500 letters over the next week urging the Mayor to make poverty a priority in San Diego.

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for The Starting Line— DeMaio Campaign Tactic Backfires, US Atty Under Investigation as Calls for Resignation Mount

The Starting Line— DeMaio Campaign Tactic Backfires, US Atty Under Investigation as Calls for Resignation Mount

by Doug Porter 10.26.2012 Columns

It all started with “a staff member” from Carl DeMaio’s mayoral campaign leaking an email from U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy, who was unhappy with Congressman Bob Filner for lashing out in response to attacks by the City Councilman, who had just re-stated his oft disproved claims about Filner’s pension.

This ‘leak’ was to be yet another salvo in a last ditch campaign to portray Filner as too unreasonable and hostile to be Mayor of San Diego. Instead, it’s blown up in his face. Questions about whether Duffy was in violation of the Hatch Act, which restricts the activities of government employees in partisan political campaigns, are now at the forefront of the controversy.

Now this action by the DeMaio campaign has led to calls for the U.S. Attorney to resign and a review of her actions by Justice Department officials

Read the full article → 1 comment
Thumbnail image for Escondido Mayor Promises Controversial Check-points Will Be “Strengthened” While Police Chief Placed on Leave

Escondido Mayor Promises Controversial Check-points Will Be “Strengthened” While Police Chief Placed on Leave

by Frank Gormlie 09.20.2012 Activism

Local Residents Rally in Support of Police Chief While Mayor Disputes Connection with Check-points

Politics inside the City of Escondido continue to confuse and confound outsiders. But we know several things:

  • Police Chief Jim Maher was placed on administrative leave over some kind of personnel matter last week.
  • Chief Maher has been a controversial figure within Escondido for leading the police department in holding traffic checkpoints – which have become hotly controversial as the Mexican-American community claims they are used to ferret out undocumented migrants who don’t have drivers licenses.
  • There are calls for the removal of Chief Maher from a number of advocacy groups.
  • Escondido Mayor Sam Abed said Tuesday that the checkpoints and Maher’s leave are not related.
Read the full article → 2 comments
Thumbnail image for The Starting Line –San Diego Teachers’ Union Leadership Faces Recall

The Starting Line –San Diego Teachers’ Union Leadership Faces Recall

by Doug Porter 09.18.2012 Activism

A caucus within the San Diego Education Association (SDEA), the union that represents teachers within the San Diego Unified School District, is calling for the immediate resignation of labor leader Bill Freeman and five other board members. This morning’s announcement, made via an internet newsletter, called upon union members to circulate and sign recall petitions aimed at forcing a change in the SDEA leadership.

Read the full article → 3 comments