||September 13th, 2007|
Study on cost to County of San Diego of Services Delivered to Illegal Aliens Shows Huge Impact
Fifth District Supervisor Bill Horn has received results of a called-for study detailing the cost of services delivered to illegal aliens. The estimated drain on County services is more than $250 million a year.
“The study not only confirms my suspicions,” said Supervisor Horn, “but the findings are worse than I could have imagined. While more than $100 million in taxpayer’s dollars is drained from our budget every year to provide services to people who are in this country illegally, there is another $154 million in costs for unreimbursed emergency medical care. While this is not a direct County cost, it is a huge hit on the community.”
Supervisor Horn called for action on the financial impact of illegal aliens to County services in his State of the County Address as Chairman of the Board in 2006. He is preparing a response to the study and will present his findings to the entire Board of Supervisors at its meeting on September 25, 2007.
Last Wednesday morning, (September 5th), at approximately 1:50am, the Escondido Police Dispatch received a call of a shooting victim in the parking lot of the Circle K convenience store located at 1061 W. El Norte Parkway. Upon arrival, officers discovered a male suffering from an apparent gunshot wound to the shoulder.
At approximately the same time, a man called Escondido Police Dispatch to report he was a victim of an attempted robbery, while walking in the area of Country Club lane and Capistrano Glen. The victim stated he was confronted by a black male adult who pointed a handgun at him and demanded his money. The victim, who is a retired police officer and carrying a handgun, shot at the suspect. The suspect fled on foot towards El Norte Pkwy, while the victim ran into a nearby complex and asked a resident to call the police. The victim's description of the suspect matches the description of the man found in the parking lot of Circle K. The gunshot victim was taken to Palomar Hospital. The victim of the attempted robbery was uninjured. The Escondido Police Department is continuing to investigate this crime. Any witnesses to this crime are asked to call the Escondido Police Department Investigations Bureau at (760) 839-4717.
Kiwanis Food Poisoning Followup
Last week, The Paper reported over 20 Kiwanians had come down with severe symptoms of probably food poisoning following a recent convention in Reno, Nevada. As a result, Peter Horton, District Secretary for the California, Nevada, Hawaii District of Kiwanis International, has emailed all Kiwanians that attended the convention, asking them if they had developed an illness during or subsequent to the convention, and, if so, to contact the Nevada State Health Department for an interview. These interviews are the beginning point of an investigation to determine what caused the fairly widespread outbreak of what may well be food poisoning.
In addition to the 20 or more Kiwanians from North County, Brenda Wilson, with the Nevada State Health Department, confirmed to The Paper that they had received 25-30 Kiwanian complaints. She felt they may have enough information by the end of this week to determine whether or not food poisoning had occurred and, if so, from where it originated.
The Silver Legacy Hotel, which served the food, is closely cooperating with the Health Department. There are several possible causes: there could have been a virus picked up on the plane(s) . . . it could have passed in the hotel via other than food by simple contact, or it could have been by employees who did not wash hands.
The Paper will monitor this story and report back.
Followup on Escondido Police Department Comments on RedFlex Traffic Photo Plan
Last week, in a conversation with an Escondido Police Sergeant concerning the amount of revenue and expenses generated by the RedFlex intersection photo plan, we were told that “the city has no way of tracking that information.” They may have red light revenue but what percentage of that figure is from RedFlex, he claimed he did not know how to access. We expressed surprise at this lack of a basic accounting procedure, being able to measure revenue against expenses on what is a rather expensive system.
It took us five minutes to locate the information. We called the Escondido Finance Director, Gil Rojas, who, in a matter of minutes, had the information available. The city of Escondido took in, since the inception of the RedFlex system, a total of $1,055,214. It cost the city $1,048,056, for a net gain of around $7058. The city roughly breaks even on the system, at least thus far.
See our Commentary on Page Five of this issue.
More Money For Political Coffers?
At its regularly scheduled Escondido City Council meeting last night the issue of whether to increase the amount of donations political supporters could contribute to council candidates was considered.
At issue: whether the amount would increase from $250 to $300. The $50 increase was a compromise figure suggested by Mayor Lori Holt Pfeiler after a sometimes contentious debate at an earlier hearing.
The Escondido Chamber of Commerce not only supported an increase of up to $500, but they were the ones who brought the suggestion of an increase to the Council. Councilmembers Ed Gallo and Sam Abed supported the increase of up to $500; Councilmember Marie Waldron opposed any increase, and Councilmember Dick Daniels felt an increase was appropriate but also suggested $50 was not much of an increase. Whether he would form the swing vote to pass a higher amount is not known as of press time. The $50 figures was one proposed by Pfeiler.
In addition to the proposed $50 increase, there would be additional automatic hikes every two years based on increases in the consumer price index. The amount a candidate could loan their own campaign would also increase, from $20,000 to $100,000.
Daniels, who spent nearly $31,000 on his campaign last year, said, “It’s a much bigger job that you’d think. You have to place ads and you have to pay for direct mail."
Pfeiler said Monday that she considers the proposed amendments an appropriate compromise.
La Jolla Children’s Pool - For Kids? Or For Sea Lions?
More battles loom on the horizon following a recent court ruling requiring the city of San Diego to restore a controversial La Jolla beach for human use by forcibly removing a colony of about 200 seals (actually, sea lions) who have asserted squatters rights on the Children’s Beach.
While one might think a court order, particularly from an appellate court, would end the battle, one would be wrong. The next obstacle is the California Coastal Commission. They are known to support the seals and may make it difficult to obtain the necessary permits to remove the sand from the beach. Even though the vote was by unanimous vote of all three judges on the state Court of Appeals, opponents will likely argue that the deed restrictions place on the beach in 1931 are contravened by state laws protecting wildlife, and by federal laws which prohibit “annoying marine mammals.”
The cove was given to the city of San Diego in 1931 on condition it be maintained as a swimming area for kids. In 1941 a concrete, crescent shaped breakwater was built to protect the cove from waves and currents. Kids since the early 40’s have learned to swim in this cove.
In time, however, the seas filled in the cove with sand . . . and the seals soon followed. Aside from the potential conflict with annoyed seals that might take a bite out of humans swimming in the area, there is the rather large concern about coliform bacteria, due to the large amount of excrement the seals leave on the beach and in the water.
Beach proponents have long argued that the beach should be dredged, removing the excess sand, and restore the saltwater circulation in the cove which would then flush out the offending collection of excrement and return to its natural and healthy state.
The Fourth District Court of Appeals has ruled that the city of San Diego must restore the beach under the terms of that 1931 deed and to maintain the pool for the exclusive use of San Diego's children.
The appellate court affirmed what a trial judge had already held. Now comes the potential battle. The city will have to get permits from the state and federal governments.
Just one thing the city will have to do to accomplish this is to declare the seals, which are not endangered, to be a public nuisance and health threat.
Beach proponents and seal proponents are certain to mount some lively debates in the near future.
Wanna Run An Airport?
Area pilots and supporters of the Oceanside Municipal Airport anxiously await news as to whether a private operator for the small airfield can be found.
Lots to expect from such an operator. Like paying the airport’s $1.2 million debt, build more hangers and tie-downs for aircraft . . . and build an admin building with restaurant. On top of that, pay the city 10% of the gross profit, if any. There have not been a lot of takers.