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Local News August 14th, 2008

Hooker’s Corner

Prostitution Sting Nets Ten Arrests

On Thursday August 7, 2008, members of the Escondido Police Department's Special Investigations Unit and Special Enforcement Bureau conducted a two prong prostitution detail that focused on prostitutes and "Johns" (men who solicit sex acts from prostitutes).

As a result of the detail, ten arrests were made. They are as follows:
For violation of 653.22 (a) PC Loitering for the purpose of prostitution.

Amber Brinsfield, 24, of Las Vegas, NV
Kimberly Heaberlin, 24, of Las Vegas, NV

Heather Fritz, 26, of Omaha, NE was arrested when she entered an undercover detective's vehicle and subsequently exposed her genitals to him, a violation of 314.1 PC - Indecent exposure.

photo\The John Squad

Arrested for violation of PC 647 (b) (Solicit prostitution) were (see photos in order of appearance, l-r, top to bottom::
Juan Hernandez, 40, of Escondido
Alfredo Gallegos-Chavez, 52, of Escondido
Efrin Salvador-Florean, 38, of Escondido
David Loucks, 45, of Vista
Andrew Diaz, 45 of Manhattan Beach, Ca.
Jose Sanchez, 35, of La Habra, Ca.
Alberto Martinez, 27, of Escondido



Tri-City Hospital Bans The Paper
Confiscates Delivered Papers

Following last week’s cover story in The Paper that strongly opposed Measure A, an apparent serious First Amendment violaton occurred when Tri-City Hospital personnel took what The Paper’s editor and publisher, Lyle E. Davis, alleges was an illegal action by confiscating all copies of The Paper that had been delivered to the hospital waiting rooms.

The bond measure for which Tri-City Hospital District seeks support from the electorate would provide $589 million in funding for Tri-City Hospital. The bond issue is at the center of much debate in North County. Two similar measures have been turned down by voters in the recent past.

Bob Allred, a driver for The Paper reported to Davis that while delivering papers he had been accosted by a young woman in the lobby of the hospital who told him she had been instructed to pick up all copies of The Paper and that he was not to deliver any others. Allred responded that he had been given instructions to deliver the papers and that’s what he intended to do.

Under the law, Davis contends the hospital, being a public hospital, has no legal authority to deny distribution of The Paper, based on content, under the 1st Amendment of both the state of California constitution and the Federal Constitution. “It’s a clear violation of Freedom of Speech. There is substantial case law that supports that position,” said Davis, who has turned the matter over to his attorney, John Smylie, of San Marcos, with instruction to vigorously pursue the legal rights of The Paper.

“I think it’s a silly action to take,” Davis went on. “One would think they want to focus attention on Measure A; instead, this is likely to become a cause celebre’ . . . a major repression of Freedom of Speech. A weekly community newspaper is the eyes, the ears, sometimes the voice, of the people. To try and deny its constitutional rights is a denial to the very people the hospital district is trying to persuade to support their bond issue."

Bulletin: Twenty minutes before this edition went to press we received an email from Jeff Segall, spokesman for Tri-City Hospital, offering to allow The Paper to be distributed at the front of the hospital, outside. The Paper has indicated a willingness to meet and discuss the matter further with Mr. Segall.

San Marcos Groups Form to Oppose Slow Growth Initiative

A formidable war chest is being put together by some of San Marcos’ movers and shakers, all to do battle with the proposed slow growth initiative scheduled to go before the voters in November. To date $35,000 has been spent and there is more to come. A political action committe has been formed, assignments made, and tasking has begun.

They call themselves the San Marcos Association of Residents and Taxpayers and they’ve assembled not only the more prominent movers and shakers but a solid cross section of San Marcos. They feel that the proposed San Marcos Growth Management and Neighborhood Protection Act 2007 will cripple the city’s economic growth by bringing new development to a halt.

Steve Kildoo, Chairman of the San Marcos Planning Commission said, “Controlled, planned and smart growth is all in the community’s best interest. We don’t want to see an initiative that does to San Marcos what Proposition S did to Escondido.

One of the political action committee members, Carrie Cleavers, a long time San Marcos resident, expressed the fears of many when she said, “there are enough rules and regulations and hoops to jump through now to keep the negative developers out. You put a lot more restrictions and the more desirable developers will stay away. You have a group like this slow growth group create more obstacles for the good developers and they’ll take a hike, and quickly.”

Cynthia Skovgard, a San Marcos chiropractor who has led the slow growth initiative group, says she doesn’t have the money to fight the other group and will plan on carrying on the fight via a door to door campaign.

Linda Bailey Opts to Not Run for Reelection to Palomar Pomerado Health Board

photoNine months ago, community-relations expert Linda Bailey was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Palomar Pomerado Health district board. Her short-term seat, which will expire in 2010, will be on the Nov. 4 ballot. Initially, Bailey had said she would run for the seat. She now says her job and community activities will prevent her from continuing on the seven-member board, and she won't seek re-election.

Two other people have expressed interest in Bailey's board seat. Lee Thibadeau, a former San Marcos city councilman, and Jerry Kaufman, a former Escondido city councilman, have qualified for the ballot.

Three open board seats with four-year terms also will be up for grabs in November. The three incumbents, Nancy Bassett, Linda Greer and Dr. Marcelo Rivera have qualified to run. Three additional candidates, Evelyn Madison, John Amodeo, and Donald Brust have also qualified.

Because Bailey, an incumbent, has decided not to run, the deadline for that seat will be extended to Aug. 13. Areas served by the district include Escondido, San Marcos, Valley Center, Poway, Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Peñasquitos, Ramona, and Julian.

Political Races Forming Up

Last Friday was the final filing day for most political races. Here are the candidates for the various offices in North County:

Palomar Pomerado Health District - three four-year term seats, one two-year term:

Four Years:
Linda Greer (incumbent)
Nancy Bassett (incumbent)
Marcelo Rivera, MD (incumbent)
Evelyn Madison
John Amodeo
Donald Brust

Two Years:
Lee Thibadeau
Jerry Kaufman

City of Escondido - two seats, four year terms:

Ed Gallo, incumbent
Sam Abed, incumbent
Olga Diaz
Chuck Voelker
Richard Barron
Dennis French

City of San Marcos, two seats, four year term:

Hal Martin, incumbent
Rebecca Jones, incumbent
Dean Nelson

City of Vista, two seats, four year term:
Steve Gronke, incumbent
Frank Lopez, incumbent
John J. Aguilera
Gene Ford

City of Oceanside: - for Mayor:
Jim Wood, incumbent
Rocky Chavez, City Council Member

For Council: two seats, four year terms:
Jack Feller, incumbent
Esther Sanchez, incumbent
Zack Beck
Jim Gibson
Rick Kratcoski
Charles "Chuck" Lowery
Michael Lucas
Rex Martin

City Treasurer - one seat, four year term:
Rosemary Jones, incumbent
James "Jimmy" Knott III

City Clerk: - one seat, four year term:
Barbara Riegel Wayne, incumbent, unopposed.

City of Carlsbad: Filing deadline extended to August 13th. Thus far, candidates include:

Farrah Douglas
Keith Blackburn
Thomas K. Arnold
Glenn R. Bernard
Evan Delaney Rodgers

Bond Issues:

Measure A - $589 million bond issue for Tri-City, vote by mail-in ballot only.

EUSD $98 million school bond issue.

The Paper will be monitoring the above races and reporting on them on a weekly basis.

Escondido Checkpoints Are Working

The checkpoints by Escondido police, which involve screening hundreds of drivers, is paying off in terms of getting unlicensed drivers off the street. From 2005 to July 2008, the city impounded more 1,600 vehicles at its checkpoints, a majority of them from unlicensed drivers. That figure does not include vehicles that may have been impounded during random traffic stops.

The city conducted 40 checkpoints from 2005 to 2007 and seized 1,243 vehicles. That number of seized vehicles has grown steadily from 2005, when the city impounded 292 vehicles, to 2007, when it impounded 643. A majority of the vehicles impounded during checkpoints were due to people driving without a license. For example, the police impounded 61 vehicles during a checkpoint July 5 ---- 46 from unlicensed drivers. So far this year, the city has conducted about a dozen checkpoints resulting in 416 vehicles towed, according to the Escondido Police Department.

The number of vehicles impounded by Escondido in recent years ---- 1,243 ---- is more than four times as many as other North County cities. From 2005-07, Oceanside conducted 13 checkpoints, leading to 296 seized vehicles. San Marcos conducted 12 checkpoints and seized 205 vehicles, according to records provided by those cities.

Escondido City Councilman Sam Abed said that the purpose of the checkpoints was to get unlicensed drivers off the street. An attractive by-product of these checkpoints is that the towing and storage fees for impounded cars generate a substantial amount of revenue for both the tow truck operators, the storage yards, and the city of Escondido.

Abed has even suggested the city explore establishing a storage yard as a means of acquiring additional revenue for the cash strapped city. He raised that issue at a September 2007 council meeting when the towing service contracts were renewed. Towing and storage companies pay the city of Escondido in advance for the right to tow and store impounded vehicles. In 2008-2009 each company had to pay the city $100,000 each.

The companies appear willing to pay because of the lucrative returns from the towing and storage charges. The companies that contract with the city are Al's Towing, A-Z Enterprises, Allied Gardens Towing, and El Norte Towing.

On average, the checkpoints are conducted twice a month in what police officials say is an effort to crack down on drunken, unlicensed and uninsured drivers and to reduce hit-and-run accidents.

Some activist attorneys are protesting the checkpoints. Immigrant rights activists say the practice unfairly targets illegal immigrants, who are ineligible for state driver's licenses. This comment leaves many local observers scratching their heads in wondermen at the statement itself. “How do they intend to justify that illegal immigrants should become eligible for driver’s licenses,” they ask. They’re here illegally. Why should they not be targeted? If they’re not legal, they can’t have a license. If they don’t have a license they haven’t passed the safety test you and I have to pass. I just don’t understand the logic of their argument.”

Sheriff’s Deputies and Escondido Cops Drop the Hammer on Taggers

Sheriff's deputies and Escondido police worked together last week to catch two people suspected of multiple acts of graffiti, an Escondido police lieutenant said Saturday. Deputies contacted Escondido police Thursday about an arrest they made of 18-year-old Escondido resident Christopher Robles, Lt. Bob Benton said. Robles was suspected of tagging property at the San Marcos Wal-Mart that day.

Escondido detectives recognized Robles and connected him to multiple acts of vandalism in Escondido, Benton said. He was charged with eight felony counts and 25 misdemeanor counts of vandalism. Police estimate he is responsible for $11,000 in damage. Escondido gang detectives arrested Nicolas Kuenzi, a 20-year-old Vista resident Wednesday on suspicion of committing numerous acts of graffiti in Escondido over the last three years. Sheriff's deputies were investigating Kuenzi for numerous acts of graffiti in Vista and participated in the arrest, Benton said.

Kuenzi was charged with 11 counts of felony and nine counts of misdemeanor vandalism, Benton said. Police estimate he is responsible for $8,500 in damage.

City may cut some subsidies for center

Financial statements are said to be in “dire shape.” Two illnesses of major stars that had sold out houses before they had to cancel may have been largely responsible for the sea of red ink the Escondido arts center finds itself in.

The city of Escondido, at Wednesday’s 4pm meeting, discussed cutting the security net. What is being proposed is that the city no longer make good on losses suffered by shows presented by the California Center for the Arts, Escondido, and that the Arts Center try to generate revenue by renting the venues to private promoters.

The Center has been struggling ever since it opened in 1994. Every year since, the city, which owns the building and contracts with the Center for the Arts Foundation to manage it, pays for the center's operations and absorbs its losses, even in tight financial times.

The city owns the 12-acre arts center campus next to City Hall and Grape Day Park downtown. The city pays the center staff's management fees, which amounted to $1.2 million last fiscal year, and utilities and maintenance costs, which came to $840,000 last fiscal year. Until now, the management agreement also called for the city to absorb the center's losses when tickets for shows don't sell well. That loss in fiscal 2006-2007 came to $400,000.

The tally for fiscal year 2007-08 is not ready yet, but it could be even larger because the center canceled two near sellouts scheduled for its 1,500-seat concert hall. Singers Julio Iglesias and Peter, Paul and Mary came down with illnesses and had to cancel.

Dick Daniels, an Escondido City Councilman said . . . “these financials are going to be looking rather dire. It’s time to rethink the city’s financial risks because it means the taxpayers are absorbing the risk.”

Adding to the Center’s woes is that they have to compete with area casinos that can easily afford to bring in top name acts that are more expensive than the Center can afford to offer. Pala, Rincon, Pechanga, Harrah’s, Valley View, all compete for the entertainment dollar. In the meantime, the center has maxed out its city-guaranteed loan of $1.5 million, she said.

Mayor Lori Holt Pfeiler last September appointed Dick Daniels and Councilman Ed Gallo to a committee to study the center's financial restructuring. The committee met with the center's board and trustees, and last week it recommended that: the city stop absorbing the center's losses by changing its management agreement. Beginning July 1, 2009, the center would no longer have to put on its own shows but would rent its concert hall and 406-seat theater to production companies.

The city continue to pay for the center's management, operations and maintenance but would offset the expenses with the rent collected. Staffers will begin redirecting the center's marketing efforts in the next two weeks, she said.

Construction set to begin on Civic Center complex

Vista residents and visitors will note plenty of activity this week. This past Monday Vista entered its construction mode and took the first steps toward building a new Civic Center complex.

The City Hall parking lot closed down Monday, and preparations began to begin the building of a new $55 million, 100,000 square-foot Civic Center/City Hall Complex, scheduled for completion by July 2010. The new municipal complex is being built next to the existing City Hall at 600 Eucalyptus Ave.

By the end of this month, a fence encircling seven acres will be erected, asphalt within that area ripped up, a tennis court and a skate park removed, and former engineering offices demolished. Preliminary work has started. Departments such as finance, fire inspection and communications are now encamped across Escondido Avenue at the Lincoln Annex campus owned by the Vista Unified School District.

The most popular city offices – business licenses, planning, permits, city clerk, city manager, City Council, human resources, economic development, Moonlight Amphitheatre tickets and the City Council chambers – are staying until 2010 when they will move into the new Civic Center. The new Civic Center/City Hall, will be a modern three-story building of brick, stone and glass, standing where the main parking lot is now and face Escondido Avenue.

Public parking is moving to a lot along Alta Vista Drive, just a half block north of where the now closed parking lot is and next to city offices. There also is two-hour parking along Escondido Avenue and additional parking for City Council meetings.

The Civic Center project is being funded by a half-cent sales tax increase that Vista voters approved in November 2006. Four other community projects – two fire stations, a $17.7 million sports park and $11.5 million in improvements to Moonlight Amphitheatre – are also being financed by the tax increase.

Oceanside to lose “Tiki Trees?”

While city officials have not yet made a final decision, its’ arborist said the Tike trees should come down. Steven Tustison, an Oceanside resident who took it upon himself to display to the world what a great Tiki artist he was by carving city owned trees on the city owned parkway, has mixed feelings about his art work now. Tustison, who lives on Freeman Street in Oceanside decided to carve the trees into Tiki works of art. The Tikis did draw a lot of attention, including from city officials.

There were two towering palm trees that Tustison worked on. Calling himself Tiki Daddy and using the word “dude” a lot, Tustison claims he thought the parkway was his as well as the trees since he mowed the parkway and watered the trees. Not so, say city officials. Both belong to the city and Tustison was out of line.

City officials want to check it out a bit further before deciding whether to have the trees cut down or not. The artist, Steven Tustison, continues to defend his work and promised to fight if the city brings out the chain saws.

"I'm going to go buy handcuffs, dude," Tustison, 44, said Monday. (Remember, we told you he used the word “dude” a lot). "I got a couple dozen people ---- a whole ring ---- that wants to handcuff themselves to this thing."

Officials say the trees belong to the city. Removing and replacing them would cost about $2,500. Tustison would likely be charged the fees related to the action. Tustison filed papers last Friday to run for mayor. He did not qualify, however, as more than half his signatures could not be verified as registered voters.

Escondido To Crack Down on Code Violations

Authorities conducted a code compliance sweep this past Tuesday in eastern Escondido in the area bordered by Oak Hill Drive, Kenora Drive, Rose Street and Midway Drive. The effort included the city's code enforcement division who issued notices for illegal garage conversions, property maintenance violations, polluted or unfenced swimming pools, and other municipal and zoning code violations.

The Fire Department also inspected fire lanes, safety and accessibility issues. The Police Department will handle code violations involving criminal activity. City maintenance and operations staffers will remove graffiti. And maintenance and operations staff will clean up litter and debris in public areas, retrieve abandoned shopping carts and sweep the streets.

While this has become a routine code enforcement procedure, the action in this neighborhood appears to have been prompted by numerous complaints to city hall by area residents. The response was part of the city's ongoing Appearance and Compliance Team efforts to make the city look better. Tuesday's sweep was the 28th conducted by the team since it was established in spring 2006.

More Domestic Violence in Oceanside

Oceanside led the pack, by a considerable amount, for showing the highest rate of domestic violence in San Diego County last year. Oceanside Police officials suspect the figures are skewed a bit because they report verbal arguments as well as physical ones. Other police departments tend not to report verbal altercations. Even so, the high ranking surprised veteran Oceanside police officers who work domestic violence cases.

There were 40 domestic violence incidents reported per 1,000 households in Oceanside, compared with four in Del Mar, which ranked the lowest, according to 2007 statistics from the San Diego Association of Governments.

Officials said Oceanside's rate appears to be nearly twice what it should be. In the future the department will stop including verbal arguments and has advised the San Diego County District Attorney's Office of the change.

Domestic violence calls are some of the most dangerous for law enforcement, in part because the officer is obliged to make a judgment within minutes about an argument that may have simmered for years.

Arguments between couples turn violent for many reasons, ranging from money problems to infidelity to drugs and alcohol abuse. Many couples lack the skills to cope with anger, frustration and stress. For those people, there are resources to turn to:

Resources for Victims of Domestic Violence

San Diego County Domestic Violence hotline: (888) 385-4657

The Women's Resource Center hotline: (760) 757-3500

Web site: womensresourcecenter-wrc.org

YWCA Domestic Violence hotline: (619) 234-3164

Shelter and referrals for men and women

The Oceanside Police Department has a “pro-arrest policy.” If both parties are on scene and a domestic violence incident has occurred, then someone's going to jail, according to police officials.

Get Your Butts Off the Beach!

The Surfrider Foundation has gotten involved in a campaign to persuade beachgoers to knock off throwing their cigarette and cigar butts on the beach. “They mess up our sewer systems,” their spokesman, Chris Lydick, said as he waved to people in cars and pedestrians in Mission Beach. “Critters mistake them for food and the plastic filters get caught in animals' digestive tracks.”

Lydick, an insurance broker, and fellow members of the Surfrider Foundation worked last weekend for its seventh annual “Hold Onto Your Butt” awareness campaign.

A number of other reasons to not dump the butts on the beach were given. One, they become litter and burn sunbathers who step or lie on one in the sand. When they end up in the ocean, they cause long-term environmental damage because they don't rapidly decompose, others said. Lydick said about 200 sign-waving volunteers had come to beaches in Carlsbad as well as in metropolitan San Diego area beaches.

The volunteers distributed tins that can be used as portable ashtrays, and bumper stickers with a Surfrider toll-free number, (877) 211-BUTT, to report anyone throwing a cigarette out a car window. The organization gives the information to the California Highway Patrol, which sends a letter to the car's registered owner warning that littering is illegal. The nonprofit Surfrider Foundation says it has about 4,000 members in the San Diego County chapter, which is among 60 in the United States.

Concrete Batch Plant Bows To Public Pressure - Again

A concrete batch plant that stirred up controversy by proposing to expand production in Escondido even before it was built has bowed to pressure from its neighbors. The Corona-based Robertson's Ready Mix has abandoned its expansion plan and will stick to the originally approved production of 750 cubic yards a day. The company had hoped to increase to 950 cubic yards a day.

This is not the first time Robertson's encountered rejection. In 2004, Robertson's tried to build a plant in San Marcos but withdrew its application after strong opposition from residents. It then tried to build in Vista in 2005 but was turned down by the City Council after residents protested.

In 2006, Robertson's came to Escondido. The Planning Commission voted against it, but Robertson's appealed to the City Council, which approved the plant on 2 acres at 1310 Simpson Way. Nearby businesses protested, citing heavy truck traffic as a reason. A city staff report said that, at a production rate of 750 cubic yards a day, the facility would generate 474 trips by concrete and delivery trucks per day.

Although the facility was approved, Robertson's never built it.

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