23 Environmental, Climate Coalition join forces to Oppose Harvest Hills in Escondido

Today,
more than 20 environmental, conservation, and climate organiz
ations sent a letter to the Escondido City Council urging opposition to the proposed Harvest
Hills Development. 

The
groups noted that, in spite of a new marketing position, the project formerly
known as Safari Highlands Ranch is substantially the same when it comes to key
impacts, namely location in a high-risk fire zone, high evacuation hazards for
new and existing residents, and thousands of new cars on the roads in already
traffic constrained areas. 

The
groups noted that, in spite of a new marketing position, the project formerly
known as Safari Highlands Ranch is substantially the same when it comes to key
impacts, namely location in a high-risk fire zone, high evacuation hazards for
new and existing residents, and thousands of new cars on the roads in already
traffic constrained areas.
Also
of concern are traffic and long-term climate impacts from the addition of
67,000 daily vehicle miles traveled in a time when we need to be
reducing VMT in order to comply with climate protection goals. The destruction
of critical habitat areas key for successful adopted and proposed Habitat Management
plans are also a significant impact.  
Fire
is one serious concern. Dan Silver, Director of Endangered Habitats League
said, “Experts have shown that this
project cannot be safely evacuated if threatened by a fast-moving wildfire, and
it will endanger the ability of the surrounding community to evacuate as
well.  Elected officials need to
prioritize public safety and not create a fire trap.”
George
Courser, Conservation Chair of the San Diego Sierra Club stated, “This sprawl
project is one of the worst we have seen proposed. This area is more
appropriate as key wildlife habitat for local adopted conservation plans. As
the state burns, we hope the elected officials will search their conscience
before locating more housing in an extreme fire risk area.”
 
Speaking
on the relationship of development and climate impacts, Sophie Wolfram of the
Climate Action Campaign stated,
“Sprawl
development is one of the key culprits driving the climate crisis. At a time
when we have to be doing everything in our power to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,
denying this project, which will vastly increase vehicle trips and tailpipe
emissions, is just a no-brainer.”
The groups call out the fact
that the change in marketing of an old proposal fails to address the
fundamental concerns. “Safari Highlands Ranch may have a new name but it
remains the embodiment of reckless urban sprawl and the antithesis of Smart Growth.
When we know better, we must do better. Bottom line: Harvest Hills is the Wrong
Plan in the Wrong Place,”
said
NeySa Ely, President of the San Pasqual Valley Preservation
Alliance, a local community group.
The
organizations signed on to the letter include Sierra Club San Diego, Endangered
Habitats League, San Pasqual Valley Preservation Alliance, Escondido Neighbors
United, Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation, Environmental Center of San Diego,
San Diego Audubon Society, Preserve Calavera, San Diego Democrats for Environmental
Action, California Chaparral Institute, Buena Vista Audubon Society, Southwest
Wetlands Interpretive Association, California Native Plant Society, Friends of
Rose Creek, Friends of Agua Hedionda Creek, Escondido Chamber of Citizens,
Endangered Habitats Conservancy, San Diego Coastkeeper, Climate Action
Campaign, North County Climate Action Alliance, The Chaparral Lands
Conservancy, Palomar Audubon Society, and San Diego 350.
###

Environmental Action Meeting, Thursday, November 14, 7:30 PM

North County

Environmental Action Meeting

Thursday, November 14, 2019, 7:30- 9:00 PM

2324 Miller Ave. (Chalice UU Congregation)
Escondido

Come
learn
about:
  •            Escondido
    Creek restoration
  •            Plans
    to OPPOSE Harvest Hills sprawl development
  •            Plans
    to SUPPORT more housing density at Palomar Heights
  •            Plans
    to SUPPORT a Regional Transportation Plan that protects the climate

Take
action
on important
issues

Join
together
with
others.

Contact conservation@sierraclubncg.org for more information, or just come!

Sponsored by North County Group of the Sierra Club.

Check out the Escondido Library Watchdog

Escondido Neighbors United received this message about the library.  If you care about public libraries, please take a look and help provide the oversight needed to ensure our library serves the public, even if operated by a for-profit corporate interest.

Dear Supporters of the Escondido Library,

We are happy to report that we have launched a new effort to oversee our library– The Escondido Library Watchdog.  The website was launched today at the regular meeting of the Board of Library Trustees.  Please see the statement of Brenda Townsend below.

Statement Announcing the launch of the Escondido Library Watchdog, October 10, 2019

Good Afternoon.

As some of you know, as long as I have lived in Escondido many years. I have been passionate user and supporter of our library.

Then, from the time I marched to and hand-delivered over 4,000 signatures to the City Clerk’s office in 2017 in opposition to LS&S, I became a dedicated defender of our library and committed to quality library services for our city, in spite of its operation by a for-profit corporation.

I’m happy to be here today to announce the launch of a new website the Escondido Library Watchdog.

Why a Watchdog?

Some of you will remember on January 14 of this year, a meeting was held.  Several of you were in attendance along with the Mayor and John Masson.  Without going into the details of that difficult meeting, we were told that we should engage with the public and the Trustees in the oversight of LS&S and the contract.  We took this directive to heart and the result is the new Escondido Library Watchdog website launched today. 

This kind of independent oversight is needed now. Since LS&S has taken over our library, many people have complained to us about its operation, the low staff morale, loss of books, high staff turnover rates, and many other problems.  When told them to file a complaint with LS&S, they replied they did not think it would do any good, that no one ‘will hear us’.

Since the Trustees have the obligation and desire to oversee the performance of LS&S in its contract, we are sure you will all agree with us that public input and involvement is highly desirable and necessary to have a library worth the residents of this city—and worth the tax-dollars we spend on it.

The Watchdog will be a clearinghouse for concerns, information, important links, and other information easily accessible to the public.  Importantly, it will have a form that can be submitted raising questions or concerns related to library services in Escondido.

The Library Watchdog will vet those concerns to the best of our ability and share those most relevant with you, the public appointed trustees of our library, for response and action. We would like to offer our first Community Concern today.  Several of our members are very concerned that while the library has a 3-D printer, no one gets to use it.

We request that the Trustees respond to the Notices of Concern in the public venue of these meetings so that your oversight is visible and known to the public.

We are very excited about this new public tool and we wanted to come to you first to announce it.  We hope you will check it out at www.EscondidoLibraryWatchdog.org

We can be contacted with questions should you have any at EscondidoLibraryWatchdog@gmail.com.

Thank you

DTSC’s Carefully Worded letter on Oak Creek and contamination issues

Recently, the Department of Toxic Substances Control released a carefully worded letter to the Oak Creek developers KB Homes Sept 11, 2019 . 

While ENU fully supports the permanent prohibition on future uses of groundwater at the site (for obvious reasons), DTSC makes a very interestingly worded statement in this Removal Completion Report letter.- bold
added for emphasis.

“During investigation activities, it was determined
that releases from the Chatham Yard do not appear to represent an environmental
concern to the Site of future occupants, as contaminate concentrations appear
to be naturally attenuating
.”
The way it is worded it seems to mean that in some time in the
future when the natural attenuation is complete there won’t be an environmental
concern. Our concern is that DTSC’s opinion is based on future conditions, not current
conditions; ie, future occupants, attenuating.  
We have long-asked the agency when do they expect the attenuation to be complete (actions have been on-going for 20 years).  Here, they still don’t say when the process
of natural attenuation will be complete so that when the future occupants move
in they will be protected.  
So, does this mean that prior to issuing
occupancy permits the developer will need to do additional testing to
demonstrate that the process of natural attenuation is complete?

Event to learn about the 5 Big Moves for regional transportation-Sept 12-Vista Library 5:30pm

Amazing things are happening (or may happen) in our regional transportation planning. The old, scandal-ridden San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) was purged and a new, bold, visionary Executive Director Hasan Ikhrata was hired.  Now, the staff of SANDAG is developing a new vision for workable, effective, transportation in our region.  Thanks to our friends at the North County Climate Change Alliance the following event is being held.

This issue is one of the most important issue for our region and our future!  Please learn more and attend if you can.

Our
Changing Climate Series
Thursday,
September 12th 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM
Vista
Library 700 Eucalyptus Ave., Vista, CA 92084
A Bold New Transportation Vision in 5 Big Moves!
Presentation by
The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG)

Join us for
this presentation about SANDAG’s bold new vision for building a world class
transportation system for San Diego!
“SANDAG is developing a bold new vision
for San Diego Forward: The 2021 Regional Plan with the goal of
transforming the way people and goods move throughout the San Diego region. The
region’s population is anticipated to reach four million by 2050, which will
lead to new challenges in maintaining an efficient, equitable, sustainable, and
accessible transportation system. Our approach needs to evolve.”
This
talk will discuss this new vision and the 5 Big Moves. The 5 Big Moves are the
key strategies that will outline a path forward that builds upon existing
infrastructure, enhances connectivity, increases safety and sustainability, and
improves quality of life.
Complementary light refreshments will be
provided by Elaine Byran from Body and Soul Nourishment. This free event is
hosted by the North County Climate Change Alliance and the Vista Public Library.

Say Good Bye to our Friends- Decimation of Oaks for ‘Oak Creek’ in full gear

Oak Creek-– never was there a more wrongly named development. The decimation of the Oak Trees is in full swing as you can see if you drive on Felicita Road near the Park. The chainsaws and bulldozers are hard at work, indiscriminately destroying hundreds of oak trees on site.
It is too late to save them.

The former Mayor and Council majority (Thank you Olga Diaz for voting no) refused to even examine modest changes to the plan that could have saved many of these trees. This is happening in Escondido in Mike Morasco’s district, who supported it.

Even the staff agreed with us that a bike path alignment that reduced the tree cutting was possible.  But Abed and his supporters Morasco, Gallo, and Masson ignored it all.

So, while (under new leadership) we develop a new climate plan that calls for planting of new trees, Oak Creek developers are busy cutting down established, threatened, and healthy oaks on their site and in the park. Neighbors downstream are concerned about flooding with good reason. It is a terrible result from a bad process to facilitate an ill-advised development.

So, please take a moment to say good bye to these beautiful trees who have offered their air, beauty, greenery, and carbon sequestration for us for so long. Our neighborhood will be forever degraded as a result.

All we can do is bear witness and remember this legacy of Mike Morasco and John Masson and former elected officials Sam Abed and Ed Gallo.

Please send your photos and videos to us.  We may need them in the future.
esconeighborsunited@gmail.com    Video below