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Local News July 12th, 2007

Vista Sheriff’s Deputies Found At Fault for False Arrest

$400,000 awarded by jury to victims

Teenage brothers Ilijah and Fred Johnson were sent to the movies as a reward for their accomplishments of getting their homework done as well as their chores.

Upon leaving the theatre they were confronted by sheriff’s deputies who asked them if they were aware of the curfew laws. Testimony from the trial confirmed that curfew had not yet arrived. Deputies allege the two brothers were hostile and resisted arrest. According to the brothers the deputies handcuffed Elijah and Fred was pinned to the ground by deputies. Both were taken to Juvenile Hall.

Fred spent 53 days in Juvenile Hall awaiting his trial. Elijah was not prosecuted. Superior Court Judge Kenneth So dismissed the charges after the prosecuter had presented the case. The judge ruled the deputies had no lawful basis for detaining the brothers.

Subsequently, DeJoyce Johnson, the boys mother, filed a federal suit in December, 2005. After hearing the evidence, the jury awarded $400,000 in damages against San Diego County, the four deputies involved for false arrest, unlawful detention, using excessive force and violation of the brothers civil rights.

The county has not yet decided whether to appeal the ruling or not.

This case may well escalate tensions in the Vista community where members of the minorities (the Johnson’s are black) claim that there is heavy discrimination against people of color by the Sheriff’s Department.

The Johnsons have since moved to North Carolina, partly Mrs. Johnson says, due to the incident. Fred is preparing to enter the Air Force, Elijah will be a junior in high school.

A Plea to Feed the Animals

AniMeals is in need of pet food, particularly senior food for both dogs and cats. The popular AniMeals program offers free pet food for the dogs and cats of elderly or disabled people throughout San Diego County. AniMeals helps keep people and their companion pets together to ensure that clients will always be able to provide nutritious meals for their beloved pets. For many homebound individuals, a dog or cat is more than a pet; it can provide friendship, joy, and a reason for living. The program, works in cooperation with Meals-on-Wheels and other organizations. You can help by donating food at Helen Woodward Animal Center or by dropping your donations in the AniMeals bins at various PETCO stores in San Diego County. You can also hold your own AniMeals pet food drive. This is an ideal project for your office, family, school, church or temple group, scout troop, or civic organization.

Find out how you can lend a helping paw today. Contact AniMeals Manager Cheryll Anders at 858-756-4117 x 341 or email cherylla@animalcenter.org

Carlsbad Bar Scene Under Control?

Cooler heads appear to have prevailed in an ongoing dispute between Carlsbad bar owners, city officials, neighboring residences and businesses and the Carlsbad Police Department.

Rowdiness, excessive drinking, fights, public lewdness and other complaints were fairly common in the recent past. The city believes a new entertainment ordinance may well quiet things down to a manageable state.

The ordinance would require all alcohol-serving businesses to get an entertainment license. Clubs would be required to close between 2am and 4am, restrict noise levels after 10pm and require members and servers to complete a “responsible beverage serving training course.”

Clubs would also have to provide security, with a minimum of one security guard for every 100 patrons and to submit a security plan to the Carlsbad police for approval.

No public consumption of alcohol would be allowed in the downtown village area or in Rotary Park. The ordinance is set to go before the City Council later this month.

Lake Hodges Green Water Could Be a Problem

It’s entirely possible a lawsuit may be filed by the Olivenhein Water District to block the movement of water from Lake Hodges to its water reservoir. The reason? Lake Hodges Water has a greenish cast to it, brought on by a combination of sometimes high levels of decaying matter and manganese that will foul Olivenhein water treatment equipment. Rains wash sediment, oil and fertilizers into Lake Hodges from 250 square miles. Plus, the water level has flucutated greatly in the past years; during the drought years the lake level lowered and willow trees took root and grew. Then came water, the lake filled, and there was an overabundance of plant matter in the water, forming algae and the greenish cast.

Millions of dollars are involved in the dispute. Olivenhein’s engineering studies say that it may cost $40 to $50 million to upgrade their water treatment plant to handle the Lake Hodges water. Meanwhile, the pump station presently being constructed at Lake Hodges is expected to make money - about $5 million per year, by pumping water uphill at night, when electricity rates are low, then allowing the downhill gravity flow to generate electricity during the day.

The Olivenhein Water District is concerned that the ‘tainted’ water will mix with the wter it presently serves to Encinitas, Carlsbad, Rancho Santa Fe and 4s Ranch.

A draft plan is due in November that will address the issue(s) and offer potential solutions to stave off a law suit and reach agreement.

Sunrise Powerlink Meetings Get Underway

For the next month a series of meetings will be held dealing with the proposed, and highly controversial, $1.3 billion Sunrise Powerlink project, offered by San Diego Gas and Electric and opposed by many citizens and organizations.

The hearing will cover the purported need for the project, as outlined by SDG&E, and more affordable alternative measures for keeping energy levels at a comfortable and manageable level.

The hearings could determine whether California’s Public Utilities Commission will grant permission to build the project or not. The next meeting is July 16-20, SDO Regional Energy Office, 8690 Balboa Avenue, Suite 100, San Diego.


 

 

 

 


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