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Local News February 28th, 2008

Escondido Police Nab 15 Criminal Illegal Immigrants

Escondido police took 15 criminal illegal immigrants into custody last week, the result of a sweep targeting formerly deported individuals who have returned from their home countries.

The sweep was a result of a new department policy that allows officers to check the immigration status of almost any suspect.

Escondido police say this is the first time a local police force in the region has specifically targeted the criminal illegal immigrant population, although regional law enforcement agencies have worked previously with federal authorities to deport gang members in the country illegally.

The six officers assigned to the detail worked from a target list of about 70 people. Every person targeted had a criminal record and had been banished from the U.S. following a criminal conviction. Escondido police detained people on the list and either turned them over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents or arrested them for new offenses or outstanding warrants and notified ICE.

Chief Jim Maher said the sweep's purpose was to eject repeat criminals from Escondido. He described the targets as some of the department's "most frequent customers." He said the department plans to conduct similar operations in the future.

Mayor Lori Holt Pfeiler said she supports the Police Department's work, which she sees as effective crime fighting.

Escondido Police Nab Drug Suspects and Illegal Aliens in Raid

Escondido police nailed Jesus Castillo Larios, 34, with 36.4 grams of methamphetamine, valued on the street at $5,800, as well as $6,711 in cash and a scale, according to Escondido police Lieutenant Craig Carter. They also arrested 56 year old Jessie Jesus Garcia, on suspicion of heroin posession and possession of heroin for sale. A search warrant led to the recovery of an additional 64 grams of heroin, valued at $10,760.
Police nabbed another illegal alien, 38 year old Edelmiro Lorenzano, who had previously been deported. From Acapulco, Mexico, he was arrested for an immigration violation and released to federal immigration officials.

Wyland Introduces Legislative Package to Expand Civics Education in Public Schools

Senator Mark Wyland (R-Carlsbad) this week introduced a trio of bills that will increase understanding of American government, history and citizenship in public schools, completing his civics education package to strengthen civics education in California.

“It’s unfortunate that everywhere we look, civic participation amongst students is non-existent. Students are more interested in voting for American Idol than they are for President,” Wyland said. “We can no longer continue allowing students to graduate from our public school system without a basic understanding of American history and government.”

A daily patriotic exercise is currently required in schools and while the Pledge of Allegiance satisfies this requirement, existing law does not specify what that exercise must be. Senate Bill 1274 would instead require students at public elementary and secondary schools to recite the Pledge of Allegiance everyday as part of those exercises, while still respecting exemptions for those students who are religiously or philosophically opposed to reciting the Pledge. The bill also requires that upon finishing 3rd grade, students will have memorized the Pledge of Allegiance and the United States National Anthem, so by 6th grade words like “pledge,” “allegiance” and “republic” are understood.

Senate Bills 1275 and 1254 would improve upon the California High School Exit Exam, addressing the need for an additional section that covers American history, government and civics. Because recent research shows that only 49 percent of 8th graders can link religious freedom to the Bill of Rights, and only 5 percent of 12th graders can explain checks on the President’s power, Wyland took action.

“Studies show that most students lack a proficient understanding of civics and American history, yet civics education continues to be low on the totem pole in our classrooms,” said Wyland. "By increasing awareness of what it means to be an American, we affirm the importance of patriotism and civics in our education system.”

SB 1274 was introduced this week in the Senate and is currently awaiting committee assignment.

Senator Mark Wyland represents the 38th Senate District, which includes cities in north San Diego County and south Orange County.

Modern Loan & Sales Group Celebrates 15th Anniversary - Offers New Source of Cash

While the employment layoffs, price increases and credit crunch affect the lives of more and more people each week, a lot of folks are discovering for the first time that a much-overlooked source of quick cash and bargains sits down the street, ready to help. Today's pawn brokers are quite different from the seedy image of pawn shops many solid citizens have in mind. They offer an opportunity for the respectable middle class family to borrow some cash in a few minutes. Money can be obtained quickly without a refinance mortgage or the embarrassment, hassle and wait of a small loan application at the bank, which will probably be refused. Banks are not set up to handle small loans like the pawn broker offers.

15th Anniversary of GemsN'Loans

One upscale pawn broker company, GemsN'Loans, headquartered in Oceanside, is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. It has all the attributes of today's "new look at the pawn shop." Three stores serve San Diego County - in Oceanside, Vista, and Escondido. First time customers who walk in any of the stores are surprised and marvel at the clean, organized look and feel inside the store. It feels more like a nice jewelry store than a place to go and hock your guitar or necklace.

Many families have assets stored around the house which can be pawned in return for immediate cash, then retrieved up to four months later. The interest charged is regulated by the state. Things such as jewelry worn infrequently, gems and precious stones resting in the safe deposit box at the bank, musical instruments the kids left at home as they went off to college and work, and countless other items that have collateral value at the pawn store.
About 80% of items pawned are later retrieved. Of the twenty percent not retrieved, the best merchandise is put out on the counters for sale. Nothing for sale has been stolen. Vigorous laws in effect force the pawn store to report all items in detail, including serial numbers. The GemsN'Loans shops do not deal in guns.

More and more people are discovering the value and good sense of obtaining money from a pawn shop, as well as shopping there for genuine bargains.

GemsN'Loans Headquarters and primary store is located at 3753 Mission Avenue in Oceanside. Phone 760-722-2762. The other two stores are at 925 South Santa Fe in Vista, 760.732.3999, and at 327 West Mission Road in Escondido, 760.722.PAWN.

San Marcos Families Frustrated Over Student Transfer Plan

Parents of students who live in the Old Creek Ranch area are crying ‘foul’ over plans to move about 200 of San Elijo Elementary School’s 940 students to other schools in the district.

Many parents complained that one of the reasons they bought where they did was the opportunity to be close to San Elijo Elementary school which is less than a mile from much of the neighborhood.

Another elementary school was to have been built to serve the area back in 2005. The first school, which was to have cost $6.5 million, ultimately cost $20 million, officials said. The skyrocketing real estate prices prevented the school district from acquiring the second parcel of land, they said.





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