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Local News January 28th, 2010

Escondido’s Budget SubCommittee Says: Close The Arts Center, The City Pools, The Library Branch

In what most observers say would be devastating to the city, the Escondido City Council will receive a recommendation to reduce annual expenses from $80 million to $71 million by cutting some of the sacred cows of the community.

No one would think of cutting the California Center for the Arts, or a branch of the library, or the city’s swimming pools. Or would they?

They would.

Those are the hard decisions the city’s budget subcommittee consisting of Mayor Pro Tem Dick Daniels and Councilmember Olga Diaz came up with. In addition to the arts center, city pools, and library branch, the cuts would close three city parks, and the East Valley Community Center.

$9.1 million per year would be saved and would call for the laying off of 44 full-time employees and 23 part-timers. It would also cut the police force from 168 to 164 and we won’t see any new city vehicles for awhile either. Look for non-profit agencies to have their city support slashed to the bone, code enforcement will become a thing of the past, as will graffiti removal and pothole repairs.

Both Daniels and Diaz said the cuts were excruciatingly difficult to recommend and will be even more painful to make, should the council support the recommendations. They point out, however, that due to the steep drop in sales tax revenue, the city has already spent up to $19 million in reserves and they simply have no choice but to make some difficult cuts. March 3 will be the date everyone will be looking at. That’s when the full council votes on the recommendations.

There have been those who have called for the art center to be shut down for years. Lately, however, it appears the center is beginning to draw decent crowds thanks to professional promoters who have brought in entertainment that actually draws a crowd. For years, critics say, the Center, when it was doing its own programming, was programming to far too elite of a crowd and drawing small audiences. Now that this appears to be turning around it would be a shame to shut the operation down, according to supporters of the center.

Shutting the center down is estimated to save the city $1.9 million, $1 million for utilities and almost $900,000 in salaries and programs. Closing the East Valley library branch would save about $1 million in cuts to the library's overall budget of $3 million. Critics say this would leave but a shell of a library. Over $2 million would be cut from the Police Department's $34 million annual budget by a hiring freeze.

It is expected there will be a lot of discussion with city staff in the weeks leading up to the council vote in March.

TV Personality Carol LeBeau to Promote Palomar Pomerado Health

Well known TV personality, Carol LeBeau has been signed by Palomar Pomerado Health for $50,000 per year to act as a spokesperson for the hospital. district. Some who had been critical of the District’s paying Ladanian Tomlinson for his $2 million over five years agreed that the fee for LeBeau’s services were quite reasonable.

LeBeau has long been associated with KGTV, Channel 10, and had also hosted a number of tv segments dealing with health issues. It appeared to be a natural fit.

“Take Charge with Carol,” a new website featuring LeBeau will serve as a primary vehicle for the District to promote its fitness and wellbeing message.

The Web site --- --- will provide an interactive forum where viewers can pose questions to LeBeau and she’ll provide answers.

LeBeau recently retired after a 28-year career in tv.

Schwarzenegger says “Send Illegal Immigrant Inmates to Mexico!”

Up to $1 Billion a year could be saved if California would simply send 20,000 illegal alien inmates to Mexico, even if we pay to build the prison and pay Mexico to house them. So says Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as he continues to seek ways to reduce the huge budget deficit California faces.

It would ease its crowded prison system by sending thousands of undocumented inmates to specially built jails in Mexico. Speaking to reporters at the Sacramento Press Club, Schwarzenegger said California could ease its strained finances by a billion dollars if 20,000 illegal immigrants currently held in the state were housed across the border.

"I think that we can do so much better in the prison system alone if we can go and take, inmates for instance, the 20,000 inmates that are illegal immigrants that are here and get them to Mexico," Schwarzenegger said.

"Think about it -- if California gives Mexico the money. Not 'Hey, you take care of them, these are your citizens'. No. Not at all.

"We pay them to build the prison down in Mexico. And then we have those undocumented immigrants down there in prison. It would be half the costs to build the prison and run the prison. We could save a billion dollars right there that could go into higher education."

Schwarzenegger's remarks come as California prepares for the latest in a long line of state budget crises. Schwarzenegger declared a fiscal emergency earlier this month, warning severe cuts were necessary to stem a 19.9-billion-dollar deficit. California has some of the most overcrowded prisons in the United States, with an estimated 170,000 inmates housed in facilities designed for 100,000 people, according to 2007 figures. Schwarzenegger said he believed the financial burden of California's prisons could be eased if the private sector moved into the industry.

"I think that there is no reason why we should have just state employees and public prisons," Schwarzenegger said. "Why shouldn't we have private prisons and private prisons competing with public prisons?

"I don't want to go and get rid of public prisons, not at all. It's not an attack on their labor union even though they may take it as such.”

Continuing Increase of Smuggling of Aliens By Sea Noted

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials report a steadily growing problem with small fishing boats from Mexico, known as pangas, being used to smuggle illegal aliens on to North San Diego County beaches.

The boats are usually overloaded and without even the most basic of safety equipment. Several deaths have been reported and more are likely, given the minimal precautions taken.

Officials also say it’s a sure bet that if and when the smugglers are able to regularly penetrate our coastal defenses they won’t stop at smuggling illegal aliens but will also begin smuggling illegal drugs. These same officials say that the increased effort by smugglers via the ocean is a direct result of the heavier security provided at the land border area. While patrol boats and crews have increased, there are still a number of boats that get through, drop their cargo, and the crew flees, leaving an abandoned boat behind.

Further, the frequency of smuggled aliens by sea is increasing substantially. High fees per illegal alien makes it attractive to the smuggler to take the risks. He collects up to $5000 per alien, multiplied by an average of 15 aliens, that generates $75,000 per trip. With those odds, chances are, officials say, that it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

There appears to be a continuing demand and as long as that demand is there, and the aliens have the requisite funds, the smugglers will still be there to supply the demand.

Oceanside to Hold Public Meeting on Circulation Element Update

The City of Oceanside is currently updating the Circulation Element of the City's General Plan. The update will establish Goals and Objectives for the Circulation Element, and the recommended Policies needed to support and achieve them. A public meeting regarding this update will be on Monday, February 8, from 6pm to 8pm in the City Council Chambers. It will be an informal meeting with a brief project presentation and a series of exhibits, and will provide the public with information about the update. Forms will be available for the public to document issues to be addressed. For more information, contact the Project Manager, John Amberson, at 760.435.5091.

Vista Boy Scout Patrol Assists With Wounded Warrior Project

On Saturday evening, January 16, 2010, Boy Scouts from Troop 709’s Duct Tape Patrol proudly performed the flag ceremony for an event to raise funds and awareness for the research and rehabilitation of our troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with Traumatic Brain Injury. The event, hosted by the Wounded Warrior Project and Oceanside Marriott Residence Inn, was a 50’s Party including dinner, dancing, auction, and celebrity concert at the QLN Conference Center in Oceanside, CA.

The seven Scouts from Duct Tape Patrol who helped at the event are 11 to 13-year-old boys. Each in their complete field uniform, greeted guests, handed out information and performed a flag ceremony to assist the Wounded Warrior Project and to honor our troops.

“Service projects, like this one, are a way for us to be involved in our community. An important part of being a Boy Scout is doing a “Good Turn” to help others,” said 13-year-old Patrol Leader, Aurven Murrell.

Troop 709 meets at the Vista United Methodist Church in Vista, CA, and for 25 years has been a part of the San Diego-Imperial Council and its predecessor, the Desert Pacific Council, of the Boy Scouts of America. For more information, please contact Troop 709 Scoutmaster, Mr. Lance Fisher, at 760-758-6384.

Health & Fitness Seminar to Raise Funds for Ivey Ranch Park Able and Disabled Children

‘How to Make 2010 Your Best Year Ever,’ will be the theme of a community awareness and fundraising event for the Ivey Ranch Park Association. The event, to be held at the Oceanside Public Library Community Room, 330 N. Coast Hwy, Oceanside, will begin at 6pm on February 9th.

Two leading Oceanside Health, Fitness and Personal Care Professionals will deliver the seminar, The purpose of this event is to kick-off 2010 by teaching Oceanside and surrounding residents a proven strategy for achieving their New Year’s Resolutions of health and fitness, and raising money for a great charity.

Coach Berry is a certified fitness and nutrition professional with over 30 years experience in the North San Diego County area. “Most people set health and fitness goals for the New Year, and start off with full momentum, but burn out quickly and never reach their goals. At this seminar, we will reveal how anyone with the desire can make 2010 the year their weight loss and fitness goals are finally achieved,” says Coach Berry. “The line-up of health, fitness and personal care experts I’ve assembled is formidable. We’re all very confident we can have a real impact on the health of our community – and raise money for a worthy cause at the same time. We intentionally chose the name of the event because of its implicit promise. Oceanside residents have supported our businesses over the years, and now we want to give back by showing them how to really make 2010 their best year yet,” explains Coach Berry.

Coach Berry CEO of Dare to be Fit, Dr. Wayne Scheller of Chiropractic 1st, and two massage therapist’s will also be in attendance to share tips and information on their programs for the New Year.

All North County residents over 15 years of age are invited. There is no cost to attend other than a small, tax-deductible $20 donation to Ivey Ranch Park for Able and Disabled Children, at the door.

Over $3,000 in Prizes will be given away at this event. Additional information about the event and registration is available by contacting Coach Berry’s Studio at 760-522-1805 or 760-967-6747

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