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Local News March 5th, 2009

Founder of Adopt-A-Highway Program Blasts CalTrans for Bowing to Political Pressure

In a strongly worded letter to Will Kempton, Director, California Department of Transportation, Larry Stirling. a former member of both the California state senate and state assembly took CalTrans to task for bowing to political pressure in putting the Adopt-A-Highway on hold.

Stirling was the author of Assembly Bill 2330 in 1985 that was successfully chaptered as California Streets and Highway Code Section 91.5 authorizing California's AAHP. (Adopt A Highway Program).

In his letter Stirling claims it was madness for the director to shut down this productive and popular volunteer program. He goes on to suggest this happened “because of the inappropriate and unfounded intervention of a few hysterical legislators who are unfamiliar with the United States Constitution and lack common sense. What good did they do in assuring the eventual lay off of hard working young men and women who have families to support? What good does it do to strangle the financial viability of various small enterprises that make their living picking up trash free to the State of California? And what good did it do the thousands of potential volunteers and hundreds of small businesses who want to advertise their services and stay in business to resulting in not only jobs but tax revenues to the State? None whatsoever.”

He points out further, “The operation of this program was authorized by the legislature and signed by the governor. Unless and until the legislature and governor by law amend the relevant statute, the Director has no lawful reason to suspend a program that has been so successful for so many years."

He argues that the ‘Adopt A Highway” signs offer many businesses the opportunity of very low cost advertising to as many as 350,000 exposures per day and, at the same time, providing clean highways at no cost to the state of California.

Stirling, who is a veteran attorney and judge as well as a legislator, points out there is no legal reason justifying the halting of the Adopt a Highway program and suggests that CalTrans has bowed to pressure from the Hispanic caucus who tried to pressure CalTrans into withdrawing permission for The Minutemen to Adopt-A-Highway. That issue has led to litigation and is in federal court presently.

Oceanside Drug Dealers and Gang Members Busted

After six months of working undercover, a task force arrested 31 in a drug sting in Oceanside. In addition to taking a lot of drugs off the street, law enforcement officials were pleased to be able to take violent gang members off the street.

Hundreds of officers from several agencies nailed 29 arrests in Oceanside, and two in Escondido. The DEA (Drug Enforcement Administtration) partnered with area law enforcement agencies to target the suspects and conduct the investigation.

The arrests went smoothly, and no officers were hurt. Almost everyone arrested is accused of possessing drugs for sale. Fifteen had gang ties and about the same number had a history of violent crimes.. Police confiscated one handgun, two cars, 500 Ecstasy pills, a half-pound of crack cocaine, marijuana and a small amount of methamphetamine during the operation.

Most of the gang members were associated with the Crips street gang, according to authorities.

Hooker’s Corner Report

On Friday, February 27, 2009, members of the Escondido Police Department's Special Investigations Unit conducted an undercover sting operation. Detectives acted as "Johns" and were quickly approached by the women who began to solicit sex acts for money.
As a result of the detail, three arrests were made. They are as follows: Nicole Holmes, 22, of Daly City, Ca., Arien Pauls, 20, of Fresno, Ca. and Shanika Vandyke, 24, of Las Vegas, NV. were all arrested for violation of 647 (b) PC Solicitation of prostitution. All three women were processed and booked into the Vista Detention Facility.

Nicole Holmes
Arien Pauls
Shankika Vandyke


City of San Marcos Names New Public Works Director

City officials have announced that Richard Cook has been named public works director for City of San Marcos. Cook has been serving as the interim director since November following the retirement of former Public Works Director Mike Mercereau after 24 years of service.

Cook has over 33 years of local agency public works experience including construction and project management. He has worked for the cities of Long Beach and Carlsbad and has spent the past seven years as a private consultant.

As San Marcos’ public works director, Cook will oversee a $9 million operating budget and a department of about 80 full- and part-time employees that make up five divisions including administration, fleet maintenance, street maintenance, park maintenance and storm water/utilities maintenance.

“Richard was the logical choice to fill this position given his successful background in local agency public works and his work directly with San Marcos’ capital improvement program,” said City Manager Paul Malone. “That, combined with his excellent project management, communication and customer service skills, makes him a great fit for this important position.”

Escondido Police Arrest Alleged Gang Member in Stabbings

Witnesses disarmed a documented gang member last Saturday night, but not before he stabbed three people at a party in Escondido. Rodrigo Figueroa, 28, was arrested by police when they arrived. Figueroa had arrived at the party, uninvited, being held in the 500 block of Aster Street.
Witnesses say he was “looking for a fight.”

Three adults were stabbed in a confrontation started by the uninvited guest. Two victims required surgery at Palomar Medical Center. Figueroa was booked into the Vista jail on suspicion of attempted murder and participating in a street gang. Figueroa was being held without bail as of Sunday.

Gang Enforcement Gets More Attention from Oceanside Police

Two new officers have been added to a street unit charged with the responsibility of getting a handle on Oceanside’s gangs. They’ll be patrolling regularly in known gang neighborhoods.

Eight officers now make up the unit who are devoted to identifying and tracking every gangster, gang affiliate and gang wannabe in Oceanside. Typically, gang suppression units develop contacts and develop intelligence information that allows them to pretty much know what’s going on in the area. The gang-crimes unit also includes four plainclothes detectives and a supervising sergeant.

The gang officers patrol in pairs for safety and work almost exclusively in neighborhoods such as: Mesa Margarita; the Back Gate/North Valley area; Tri-City; an area north of Mission Avenue and east of Interstate 5 near Balderrama Park; and Crown Heights, south of Oceanside High School.

The goal of the gang officers is to know all the gangsters in the neighborhoods, where they live, and whether they're on probation or parole; and also to know when someone gets out of prison or jail and returns to the neighborhood.

Oceanside is said to have about 1,000 identified gang members and associates, and perhaps twice as many gang affiliates who haven't been identified.

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