Support Compassion in Escondido-Support the ACLU appeal on housing children in need

The San Diego ACLU has appealed the Escondido Planning Commission denial of a Conditional Use permit to house unaccompanied immigrant children.  The City Council is expected to hear this on Sept 10th.   Please look into this issue and send a letter to the Mayor and Council asking them to approve the permit. Here is More Information.
This issue is one of many litmus tests regarding what kind of city we want to be– exclusive and callous or inclusive and compassionate.
You can find the emails and contact info for the Mayor and Council emails.  (Scroll down)

The ACLU examined numerous arguments made against approving the youth care facility and addressed each one; the key points are included here:
  • Residential character: The proposed facility would have the same number of residents and provide services similar to the previous use. In fact, the neighborhood would be improved by preventing the vacant building from becoming an eyesore due to decay or vandalism.
  • Traffic: The youth shelter would generate less traffic than the previous use, and the Escondido city staff’s report raised no concerns about traffic.
  • Parking: The commission’s general concerns did not address how 53 parking spaces would prove inadequate, or why any concerns could not be addressed through appropriate and reasonable conditions.
  • Security: Since the police department’s statement on the youth facility said there were “[n]o apparent law enforcement concerns at this time,” and requested—and Southwest Key agreed to—only that a 6-foot fence be constructed, there is no plausible basis for the commission’s statement that “the fencing for the site appears inadequate for the anticipated security needs of the proposed facility,” especially given the undisputed fact that only 0.004 percent of approximately 9000 children served by Southwest Key made unauthorized departures in the previous year.
  • Noise: The Escondido city staff’s report raised no concerns about increased noise, and acknowledged that most of the activities would occur indoors; outdoor recreation would take place at nearby parks and schools.
  • Size: The commission inexplicably determined that the proposed facility had “too many people” in “too small a space” but gave no reason to believe that the staff or resident population would be greater than the previous use.  The proposed facility would have no more residents than the nursing home had.

City Manager Letter in response to ENU public participation recommendations

Our thanks to City Manager Clay Phillips for responding to the ENU letter of  recommendations for improving public participation in Escondido.  You can see his letter here City Manager Letter to ENU August 11.
It is good news to hear that there will be a public meeting during the comment period for Oak Creek! We hope to learn the date soon and request that there will be a formal structure including a presentation that is provided to the attendees together so that everyone has the same information.  We also request that there be an opportunity to put oral comments on the record verbally as most hearings provide. We note that a Scoping meeting was held for Oak Creek, but our point was that it was only after a regulatory agency requested it and not as a matter of policy or in response to public requests.
We also shared in our letter that the RSS feed that the city has on the website has proven elusive for most (all?) of us to use.   We hope the City will consider an automatic email notice for people who request is such as is done by the city of Chula Vista with great success.
We also appreciate that, while the city may do more than other jurisdictions related annexation (e.g a pre-vote on annexation), in our view, if the notice to the public is insufficient the Council does not have the adequate input to make the decision regarding to whether or not the effort should go forward.  The pre-vote for Oak Creek for example, did not provided adequate notice to impacted communities so the Council did not the benefit of the full public perspective .  We hope the city and County will work together for a better solution in the future that is not so heavily reliant on a public outreach strategy directed by developers.  Minimally, all ‘sphere-of-influence’ residents impacted should be notified and local public areas (like Felicita Park) should be posted of any contemplated annexations.
We appreciate the comments in the letter and we hope to have a meeting with the city to discuss our recommendations in full.  Here is our original letter. ENU letter to City on Public Participation

ENU comments to DTSC on Work Plan to investigate contamination on Oak Creek development site

We filed a comment letter today requesting clarifications, improvements, and additional agency review on the Homeland/Oak Creek Site Assessment by DTSC.  This is a very important regulatory oversight action that is directing the sampling and analysis of the contamination on the Oak Creek site and it is just beginning now.   The site suffers from both historic, on-site contamination and from the migration of contaminants onto the site from the Chatham Barrel Yard.  We feel that this assessment should have been completed prior to the DEIR for the housing development on Oak Creek being released.  We are requesting additional agency review of this work plan due to its high importance for current and future residents in the area, workers, and the environment. You can see our comments here:   ENU Comments to DTSC on Oak Creek Site Assessment Workplan
We urge others to review and comment on this document as well if you are interested.

PSA: Boil water notice for Rincon water district

Date: August 15, 2014
Este informe contiene información muy importante sobre su agua potable.
Tradúzcalo o hable con alguien que lo entienda bien.
  Routine Sampling in Rincon del Diablo Municipal Water District’s ID 1, Pressure Zone 3, indicated a presence of Coliform Bacteria. Although Coliform Bacteria arenaturally present in the environment, its presence is also used as an indicator that other, potentially-harmful, bacteria may be present. Pending further testing,Rincon del Diablo Municipal Water District is advising residents to use boiled tap water or bottled water for drinking and cooking purposes as a safety precaution.
Rincon del Diablo Municipal Water District has two sources of water that is delivered to customer according to specific geographic boundaries.  This Boil Water Notice is specific to customer with account numbers starting with:  01 through 48, 94, 96, and 97. 
DO NOT DRINK THE WATER WITHOUT BOILING IT FIRST. Bring all water to a boil, let it boil for five (5) minutes, and let it cool before using, or use bottled water. Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking and food preparation until further noticeThis is the preferred method to assure that the water is safe to drink.
Alternative methods of disinfection for residents that who do not have access to gas or electricity:
  • Use fresh, unscented, liquid household bleach (Clorox, Purex, etc.).  To do so, add 8 drops (or 1/8 teaspoon) of bleach per gallon of clear water or 16 drops (or 1/4 teaspoon) per gallon of cloudy water, mix thoroughly, and allow it to stand for 30 minutes before using.  A chlorine-like taste and odor will result from this disinfection procedure and is an indication that adequate disinfection has taken place. (Clorox, Purex, etc.)
  • Water disinfection tablets may also be used by following the manufacturer’s instructions.
 Failure to follow this advisory could result in stomach or intestinal illness.
Rincon del Diablo Municipal Water District will inform you when tests show that water is safe to drink and you no longer need to boil your water. The minimum duration is expected to be no less than forty eight hours.
For more information call:
Rincon del Diablo Municipal Water District
Julia Escamilla
Public Information Officer
1920 North Iris Lane, Escondido, CA 92026
 For updates, please visit: – Breaking News
Map of affected areas: (click here for larger)

Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) released for the Oak Creek Housing Development.

The draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) has been released for the Oak Creek Housing Development on Felicita Road. The 45-day comment period begin s on August 15, 2014 and all comments are due on September 29, 2014.   You can access the DEIR here:  Oak_Creek_DEIR
This is your opportunity to comment on this project and on the adequacy of the EIR.

Comments should be addressed or emailed before September 29 to:
Bill Martin, Deputy Planning Director
City of Escondido
201 North Broadway
Escondido, CA 92025

We have many concerns about this project and urge everyone to review and comment on this document.

Final Site Assessment Workplan for Oak Creek Development site released by DTSC

The revised and final workplan for the Homeland/Oak Creek site has been released today and posted to the DTSC website on ENVIROSTOR.  This will guide the testing of the site for contamination and to determine if additional remedial action is necessary or if the site is appropriate for the use intended  It is a bit hard to find so you can find it on our website under Document Archive, Oak Creek folder and look for  2014_August_6_NUWI_Oak Creek_Final_Site_Assessment_Workplan_REVISED.   It is ENUs position that the City of Escondido should wait until this study is completed and the data and findings available, before a a draft EIR is released. We may have comments on this in the coming days. If you have comments, feel free to post.