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Local News May 14th, 2009

Escondido Police Chief Jim Maher Comes Out in Support of Driver’s Licenses for Illegal Aliens

In what came as a major surprise to many political observers and strong sujpporters of the Escondido Police Department, this city’s chief law enforcement officer announced he supported driver’s licenses for illegal aliens.

Chief Jim Maher, whom some Latino activists have criticized for his department's policy of conducting frequent checkpoints to crack down on unlicensed drivers, said Monday that the checkpoints reduce the city's hit-and-run crashes. He also said making sure that everyone has a driver's license, including illegal immigrants, is a matter of public safety in the city.

"It would mean that many, many people who are on the road (driving without a license) today would have proof that they've passed the written and driving test, and that they can read and understand traffic laws and traffic signs, and that they can easily obtain insurance," Maher said.

Maher made his comments at a press confrence he called in response to a press conference earlier called by El Grupo, one of the Chief’s antagonists.

I clearly outlined that my endorsement of this idea was only under certain strict circumstances and I have stated this many, many times at every group to which I have spoken. First, we have far too many people driving on the streets without licenses; until the feds enforce immigration law, we have thousands of immigrants on the road, unlicensed. My endorsement of this idea is conditional upon:

(a) Illegal immigrants have to get a full set of fingerprints.
(b) They have to submit to a full criminal history investigation.
With this, we can exclude and deport anyone who has a criminal history. Also, once officers stop drivers, if they don’t have a license, there is a clue as to why they did not apply.
(c) They would have to pass all the written and practical tests.
(d) The license itself must be significantly different than that of a citizen.
(e) This license could not be used to obtain any other benefits.

That’s the key.

As an alternative, the state could issue some type of extension on the licenses they have from their country of origin but they’d have to submit to all the other requirements, fingerprints, etc.

Maher was asked if this would not open a data base that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents could use to round up and deport all illegal aliens as they would now have home addresses and other data by which to track them. He responded: ICE does not have the time or resources to go to all illegal immigrants homes and arrest them. Plus all ICE could do is normally have them “voluntary return.” There’d be no teeth in such an activity. Whenever the feds get around to deciding immigration law, who is going to stay, who is going to leave, we do already have a data base of illegal immigrants. It then becomes a federal issue . . . if they would only enforce the law. I’m not sure that will ever happen, but the data is there. Maher went on: Our government needs to decide what the immigration law requires . . . and then do it. Not just build fences, but decide how to deal with those illegals who are already here.

Mayor Lori Holt Pfeiler: If your goal is to supply a safe driving community then his response is appropriate. You have to decide what the goal is . . . if it’s to improve the safety of drivers, this is one means to that end.

Councilmember Sam Abed responded: This is a state issue. I believe illegal immigrants should have human rights but civil rights is against the law of the land. This has become a civic entitlement issue and I totally am against it. I can see Maher’s point of view in terms of public safety, but it simply opens up a Pandora’s box. We don’t want to get involved in state business, we don’t want them getting involved in our business.

Escondido Councilmember Marie Waldron, a staunch anti-illegal immigration activist, did not return our phone calls.

We were unable to reach Councilmember Dick Daniels; Councilmember Olga Diaz did not return our phone calls.
On average, the Escondido Police Department has conducted nearly two checkpoints a month to check driver's licenses. This has been in force since 2006. In 2008, the department conducted 17 checkpoints.

Thousands of vehicles have been impounded because the drivers were unlicensed. It has been illegal to give undocumented people driver's licenses in California since 1993, when the Legislature approved Senate Bill 976 requiring applicants to provide proof of legal U.S. residence.

Maher said he supports state Senate Bill 60, a measure written by Sen. Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, that would give illegal immigrants driver's licenses. Critics say that giving illegal immigrants licenses would reward unlawful behavior.

Cedillo has attempted to pass bills overturning the license law in recent years. Former Gov. Gray Davis vetoed bills overturning the ban in 2001 and 2002. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed several license bills because, he has said, the measures would undermine national security.

Most North County and Southwest Riverside legislators oppose efforts to give illegal immigrants licenses. Assemblyman Martin Garrick, R-Carlsbad, said he has heard the public safety argument before, and is unmoved in his opposition to such bills.

Senator Mark Wyland said: “We should not reward those in this country illegally, and the granting of driver’s licenses does just that. Particularly in a time when many of our citizens are losing their jobs, we should not do anything to encourage undocumented immigrants to compete with our citizens for work.”

"I have not, do not and will not support that," Garrick said in a phone interview Monday.

Cedillo's bill is in the Senate appropriations committee. It is opposed by several anti-illegal immigration groups and the American Civil Liberties Union, which says that the bill could lead to discrimination and racial profiling because the licenses for illegal immigrants would look different.

Search Warrant Results in Two Arrests

On Thursday, May 7, 2009, a search warrant was served at a home in the 400 block of E. Washington Avenue by members of the Escondido Police Department's Special Investigations Unit. As a result of the search, detectives recovered approximately two and a half ounces of marijuana, approximately one gram of methamphetamine, and various forms of narcotics paraphernalia.

SIU detectives arrested Barbara Jean Lasure, 43, of Escondido on multiple narcotics related charges as well as commiting a felony while on bail. Detectives also arrested Michael Wayne Pringle, 53, of Escondido on similar charges. Pringle also had outstanding warrants for his arrest. Lasure and Pringle were both transported and booked into the Vista Jail.

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Michael Wayne Pringle

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Barbara Jean Lasure

Local Author, Paul C. Gardner, to Speak at Escondido Republican Club

On Monday, May 18th. Paul C. Gardner will be discussing his debut novel, ‘2014.’ A former United States Army paratrooper, Gardner was born in Norfolk, Virginia, raised in New York City, and how lives in Escondido, California. The Paper gave a very favorable review to his novel ‘2014’ (see: http://www.thecommunitypaper.com/archive/2009/01_29/review.php)

The meeting will be held at Cocina del Charro, 525 N. Quince, Escondido, CA. Check-in begins at 11:30 AM with the luncheon meeting beginning at noon. To RSVP for the meeting, please call Sharon Wood at (760) 741-5060. For more information about TERC, visit: www.escondidorepublicanclub.org.

Another Tax Revolt In the Making

This Saturday, May 16th, several groups are meeting for a Tax Revolt Rally at Spanish Landing in San Diego. STOP TAXING US, the organization behind the Oceanside, California Tax Day Tea Party, is joining forces with the Southern California Tax Revolt Coalition for a rally against Propositions 1A-F.

Event organizers have lined up several community speakers to motivate and educate the voters about the importance of rejecting all six ballot measures in the May 19th election. According to Dr. Gary Gonsalves, “51% of likely voters say they will be voting NO on proposition 1A. However, when educated about proposition 1A, the percentage of NO voters increases to 71%.”

Rhonda Deniston, the Oceanside Regional Director for STOP TAXING US, is on the phone with volunteers to coordinate rally transportation. Rhonda notes “Preliminary interest indicates that we may need to charter several buses for our members who want to attend both events.”

According to Dr. Gonsalves:

“Propositions 1A – 1F are attempting to disguise themselves as a “rainy day budget, education reform, higher lottery payouts, children’s services, mental health funding and elected officials salary reform. This is nothing more than Public Employee Unions trying to increase taxes in California in order to forgo any type of reform.”

“California is broken. You can’t begin to fix the problem until we defeat these ill-planned propositions.”

Ditto says U.S. Rep. Brian Bilbray, R-Calif. “Nobody has been able to convince me that any of these will benefit Californians.”

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Associated agrees with other watchdog groups. “This giant tax increase is disguised as a ‘spending cap’ and ‘budget reform,’” says Jon Coupal of HJTA. “Don’t be fooled by this outright deception.”

The Paper opposes all propositions, 1A-1F.

Accountability seems to be on most taxpayer’s minds and these watchdog groups are working overtime to make sure these propositions are voted down.

Perhaps Gonsalves summed it up the best, “all we can do is keep going. California’s problems aren’t going to be solved overnight, but stopping the bleeding would be a great start.”

For more information please contact Rhonda Deniston (760) 622-1150 or Dr Gary Gonsalves (602) 791-4279, or see the Contact Us page at www.StopTaxingUs.com

Vista Checkpoint nets 17 Vehicles Impounded

Vista deputies set up a traffic checkpoint on the 900 block of Sycamore Avenue from 8 p.m. Saturday to 2 a.m. Sunday, according to Sgt. Mike Petrofsky.

During that time four people were arrested for suspicion of drunken driving and 25 citations were handed out. Along with the four DUI arrests, one person was arrested for allegedly displaying false vehicle registration evidence, the sergeant said.

A total of 501 vehicles passed through and 373 were inspected, with seventeen cars impounded. State law allows police to impound cars driven by unlicensed drivers for up to 30 days.

Sergeant Ryan Kahlor, Hit by Six Bombs in Iraq, Honored by Hidden Valley Kiwanis Club

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Liz Mangum and Sgt. Ryan Kahlor

Army Sgt. Ryan Kahlor and his girlfriend, Liz Mangum, enjoyed a housewarming at their home in Escondido as they said thank-you to members of the Hidden Valley Kiwanis Club for the work they did on his house in Escondido. The club picked Kahlor, who did two tours in Iraq, as their Operaton Hero recipient and, in addition to presenting him with a check for $500, presented on the club’s behalf by Mayor Lori Holt Pfeiler, they did major renovations to his home.

Ryan Kahlor enlisted in the Army, was injured in combat many times, six times by IED (Improvised Exposive Devices), and saw many of his close friends die. Kahlor still has inner-ear damage that has left him with balance issues, severe nerve damage to his arms and hands, and post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the horrific scenes he witnessed while serving in Iraq.

Kiwanian Dave Geary, owner of Dave's Computer Repair in Escondido, led the charge in enlisting the help of area tradesmen and business people in finishing the house. Denis Royer of The Carpet Club put in flooring for the whole house, Alex Vahabi did about $15,000 worth of plumbing, the electrical system has been rewired, new drywall has been hung, the interior and exterior have been repainted, the roof has been repaired, and new granite countertops have been installed in the bathrooms, Geary said. The entire house has been refurbished and recarpeted with donated labor and materials.

"Nobody that I asked refused to help out in one way or another," said Geary. "It was the fact that he is a disabled veteran, who has been to Iraq, served his country, was blown up six times and is still alive. The outpouring was incredible. They were all proud he served his country."

"I was overwhelmed," Kahlor said Saturday of the help he has received. "I was almost to the point where I couldn't accept it. It's a huge blessing and a big head start for me. Now I can concentrate on finishing school and finding a new job."

Geary is a disabled U.S. Air Force veteran of Operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield who was injured while working as a flight engineer on a C-130 in 1988.

"I'm proud to be able to help out other veterans," he said. "I will continue to do this type of work."

He is now helping a bilateral amputee in Oceanside, Geary said, and he continues to look for other veterans in need of assistance. To contact Dave Geary, call 760.432 2095. For more information on the Kiwanis Club of Hidden Valley, go to www.hvkiwanis.org or call (760) 747-7119.

Another Operation Hero Award

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L-R, George Lentulo, Club President, Sergeant Dane Kaimuloa, and Lyle Davis, founder of Operation Hero and board member of Hidden Valley Kiwanis Club of Escondido

Yet another Operation Hero award was given out at last week’s Hidden Valley Kiwanis Club of Escondido meeting. Sergeant Dane Kaimuloa was a member of the California Army National Guard for eight years with four years of prior Navy Service. He was activated as a National Guardsman in August 2005 and deployed to Iraq as a Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) operator in August 2006.

Sgt. Kaimuloa was medically retired as a result of PTSD, (post traumatic stress syndrome) anxiety/depression, uncontrolled high blood pressure and other health conditions. Although he did not suffer physical injuries he suffered as a result of witnessing several close friends die tragically in Iraq.

Sgt. Kaimuloa is a 1984 graduate of Oceanside High School. Sgt. Kaimuloa was a guard member with a wife and five kids and found himself deployed in Iraq for two years.

Sgt. Kaimuloa explained he saw things he did not plan to nor wanted to see through the high resolution camera of his drone. He went on to say the things he saw were very hurtful for him. When he returned to his family (after a two year absence) he found that "home was not home any more". He explained that he is torn up on the inside even though he has not lost any limbs.

Sgt. Kaimuloa explained his drone ("The Shadow") flies at four thousand feet. The drone is a single engine turbo prop aircraft. Sgt. Kaimuloa explained some drones can be flown from literally a thousand miles away, whereas The Shadow is flown by an operator within fifty miles of the aircraft.

At the conclusion of the program, Sgt. Kaimuloa was presented a check for $500 by George Lentulo, president of the Hidden Valley Kiwanis Club.

Lake San Marcos Residents Oppose Condo Complex

Folks from Lake San Marcos aren’t bashful about making their wants known . . . or their ‘don’t wants,’ either. A group of LSM residents banded together to express their displeasure about a developer’s plans to build a large condo complex just inside the main entrance to Lake San Marcos. They claim there would be both traffic and safety problems.

The County Board of Supervisors was scheduled to hold a public hearing on the project, called Lago de San Marcos, at 9 a.m. Wednesday (yesterday) in the County Administration Building, 1600 Pacific Highway in San Diego.

If approved, the project, known as Lago de San Marcos, would add 42 condominiums to 2 acres on the southeast corner of Rancho Santa Fe Road and Lake San Marcos Drive which would be built by D.R. Horton.

Long-time Lake San Marcos resident Marianne Plank said recently that she and about a dozen others will ask the supervisors to reject the plan because it is too dense for the unincorporated community. D. R. Horton’s headquarter offices are in Texas and a spokesperson was unavailable.

The man-made Lake San Marcos and the resort community that surrounds it, was built in the 1960’s and has about 2,300 homes clustered around it. Most of the community's residents are seniors.

The developer is asking for a zoning reclassification that would allow the condo complex to be three stories high instead of the two stories that zoning allows. That plan got the county Planning Commission's blessing in March.

Plank and other Lake San Marcos residents subsequently collected about 1,500 Lake San Marcos residents' signatures on a petition that opposes the project. While the petition was to have been presented to supervisors Wednesday morning, the results were not available to The Paper at press time.

Police Union Comes Under Fire For Recorded Telephon Campaign

Following on the heels of a highly controversial mailer that clearly irritated many of the City Council members as well as the general public, the Escondido Police Officer’s Association has now embarked on a telephone “survey” that seeks to determine if the respondents would support a recall campaign against any of the sitting city council members.

The union is in the midst of contentious negotiations with the city over compensation cuts the city is asking for, and which the union does not want to consent to. It’s all part of the city’s plan to cut the increasing deficit in the city budget.

Earlier, 17,000 flyers were mailed to Escondido residents claiming that “gang members outnumber police officers by almost 6 to 1.” While the current campaign is less offensive to city councilmembers, three of them felt it was nothing more than pressure tactics and felt it was an inappropriate tactic.

The phone calls featured the recorded voice of union president Mike Guerrero who argued that listeners should be upset about how the city is allocating funds to the developer of a $60 million downtown Marriott, and the continued supporter of a consistent money loser, the Center for the Arts, Escondido, while paring away the funding needed to maintain a secure public safety organization. The message went on to ask that respondents press a button indicating which councilmember(s) should be recalled, or, one buttons said, “all of the above.”

Several political observers opined that the EPOA was simply doing more damage to itself with a continuation of a negative marketing campaign. What it is, is a negative public relations program . . . and it’s not working. It’s alienating the city and the residents. So said several individuals The Paper spoke with.

Vista Unified School District Recommends Another Delay in Magnet School Opening

Vista Unified School District officials are recommending the district wait another year to open its beleaguered magnet high school in eastern Oceanside.

The school board is set to decide tonight (Thursday) whether to follow the recommendation or move forward with a different plan. The meeting is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. tonight at Foothill Oak Elementary School, 1370 Oak Drive in Vista.

Principal Rodney Goldenberg said Monday that he would still be ready to open the school in August if the school board decides to go that way. At one time, 350 freshmen had registered to attend Mission Vista in the fall, but that number dropped down to 238 after officials announced last month that the campus wouldn't be ready in time, Goldenberg said. District officials had considered 10 options for starting classes this fall at other district campuses, but said in a staff report last week that waiting another year made the most sense. The report said pushing back the school's opening would save the district money and save students the inconvenience of moving mid-way through the school year.

The campus was initially expected to open last year near the intersection of Highway 76 and Melrose Drive in Oceanside.

North County German-American Club Picnic

A Wandertag und Picknick will be held by the North County German American Club at Dixon Lake on Sunday, May 17th. Hikers shoud arrive a 9 a.m, non hikers at 11 a.m. at the Lakeshore Picnic Area at Dixon Lake, 1700 La Honda Drive. Oak Picnic For information, call Monique at 760.727.8358 or Norman at 760.726.5482.

• • • • •

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