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The Paper - Escondido San Marcos North County
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Serious Injury Traffic Accident in Escondido

On Thursday, December 16th 6pm, the Escondido Police Department was notified of a serious injury collision involving a pedestrian at Ash Street south of Grand Avenue. A male juvenile pedestrian was crossing Ash Street between Grand Avenue and Palomar Terrace and was struck by a north bound vehicle. The vehicle was driven by a 54 year old male resident of San Diego. The juvenile was transported to a local hospital. His injuries are considered serious. It does not appear that alcohol or drugs are involved. Officer S. Christensen is the lead Traffic Investigator in this case. Anyone with information concerning this case is asked to contact him at 760.839.4962.

Escondido Saturation Patrol Nets three Arrests

On Friday, December 17th, the Escondido Police Department planned to conduct a DUI Sobriety / Drivers License Checkpoint like many other agencies across the State. This was a part of the Winter Mobilization effort against DUI. Due to inclement weather, State approval was granted to all agencies to conduct Saturation Patrols instead of checkpoints. The following are results of the event:

  • Four field sobriety tests were administered
  • Three drivers were arrested for DUI, one of those was a felony because he had three prior DUI’s
  • One driver was arrested for driving on a suspended license, and being in possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Seven vehicles were impounded, 2 drivers had a suspended drivers license and 4 drivers did not have a drivers license

Nominations Sought For Escondido City Council Awards

Each year at the State of the City meeting, the Escondido City Council recognizes individuals who have improved the quality of life in the community through volunteer service. Nominations now are being solicited for these awards. Categories include, but are not limited to: Arts, Business, Charity, Community Beautification, Diversity, Education, Environment, Heroism, Historic Preservation, and Youth. The deadline for nomination is 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 12, 2011.

If you know of an Escondido resident who has made a significant impact to the community, please obtain a City Council Awards nomination form by calling the City Manager’s Office (760-839-4631) or you may download a copy from the City’s web site:

A sub-committee of the City Council will review all nominations and make its final selection in January. The awards will be presented at the Annual State of the City presentation on Wednesday, February 9, 2011.
Escondido Mayor Salutes Unicel Corp. For Participation in the ICE “Image” Program

As one of his first official acts, newly elected Escondido Mayor Sam Abed met to honor corporate officials of the Unical Corp., located at 1449 Simpson Way, Escondido, as the first business in Esconido to participate in the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) “Image” Program. The acronym “Image” stands for ICE Mutual Agreement betweeen Government and Employers.

The IMAGE Program ensures best hiring practices, including E-Verify, to make sure that employers comply with all federal laws and that no unauthorized workers and illegal immigrants are employed.

The program is provided free to employers.

MajorMayor Outlines Program to Republican Club

Speaking to the Escondido Republican Club this Monday, Mayor Sam Abed reviewed his plan for the coming four years.

He expressed great pleasure at the new council makeup, citing the addition of Ed Gallo, the re-election of Marie Waldron, and the appointment of Mike Morasco, as providing the city of Escondido with four conservatives that, together, could help change Escondido’s financial and demographic fortunes.

He pointed out that Escondido, once the “Hub of North County” now holds title to the demographic thats shows 20% of its population being at the poverty level, whicyh is measured at $46,000 a year for a family of four. This compares to between 9 and 10% in other cities, he said, and that had to change.

He plans to do that, with council support, by cutting way back on social welfare programs, making Escondido less attractive to poor people, as well as illegal immigrants who move her for free or low cost food programs, health care, and housing.

We are mandated by the state to spend about $5 million every year on low income housing,” he said. “But we’re not going to build new low income housing. We’re going to rehab our existing low income housing, making for a more attractive city on focus on improving what we have, not developing more low cost homes to attract yet more people at the poverty level.”

Another area of attack is to get the budget balanced. “I will ask the council to direct our City Manager, Clay Phillips, and our department heads to come back to us with a balanced budget. We are presenty at about $5 million in the red. I don’t want them to lower the deficit. I want the budget balanced. Not a $2 million deficit, not $1 million, not $100,000, not even a $1 deficit. It hs to be balanced. If that means totally cutting back on social welfare programs, on recreation programs, so be it. Our budget will be balanced.

Yet another area the Mayor addressed was pension reform. “The average police and fire employee makes $100,000 a year; they retire at almost 90% and when they die, their wife continues on that pension. That is unaffordable and unfairs and must be fixed! The unions can elimiante how ever many and whatever items they wish to both balance the budget and reform the pension plans.

The pension plans we have caused us to be in major debt to the state for $87 million in additoion to our $18 million in annual oblications, our portion of existing pensions. That has to stop. New hires will be at a reformed pension plan. We will still compensate our fire and police officer new hires, but at a fair and reasonable cost, not the system we presently have.

As to the ballpark issue, he held to his support of an agreement with the Moorad group, contingent upon them being more flexible, and investing more money in the project. He claims that talks appear positive with Moorad that might lead to his investor group putting in approximately $20 to 25 million. At one point Abed claimed Moorad would approach having $50 million invested but it was pointed out to him that the $20 million Moorad would spend in buying the Portland AAA baseball team was not a fair comparison to the Escondido ball park because that cost would fall to Moorad whether he put a ballpark in Tucson, or any other city. Abed quickly agreed but claimed the investor group was buying up about $10 to $15 million worth of property surrounding the ballpark and that would bring in high paying industry and commercial houses that would increase our jobs and higher salaries.

This position is in contrast to his good friend and colleague, Councilmember Ed Gallo, who has maintained he will support the ballpark only if and when Moorad agrees to invest an amount equal to the city’s investment.

A number of obstacle remain to determine if the ballpark is able to proceed; availability of property, ability to buy the property at a fair price, availability of financine, environmental issues, and several other key provisions that would allow either party to terminate any preliminary agreements or understandings.

Mayor Abed’s remarks were met with strong supportive applause, though a number of the attendees were skeptical about the ballpark. One audience member asked, “What is happening with the California Center for the Arts, Escondido, speaking of losers . . ” Abed said, it’s improving with new management plans.

Ongoing Narcotics Investigation Yields Major Seizures

Dollar BIllsIn May 2010, the Mobile Enforcement Team (MET) from the San Diego Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) began Operation Hidden Valley in the City of Escondido aimed at targeting major drug traffickers and gangs in the City of Escondido and the North County Region. MET was partnered with the Escondido Police Department’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) and Special Enforcement Team (SET) in order to conduct a large scale, joint operation.

Machine PistolsMET and EPD personnel began an aggressive investigation into multiple drug organizations operating within the City and North San Diego County area. Intelligence was gathered and large quantities of narcotics and firearms have been purchased and seized to this point in the operation. To date, approximately 86 suspects have been identified and over 1,300 items of evidence have been seized.

In November 2010, both MET and officers from EPD began the process of arresting the named suspects in this case. Over the course of a month, 59 defendants were taken into custody and 27 arrest warrants were issued. Defendants are being prosecuted either federally or through the state depending on the severity of their charges or the quantity of narcotics and/or firearms sold.

To date, Operation Hidden Valley has yielded the following results:

  • 35 firearms have been seized
  • Automatic Rifle 35.5 pounds of Methamphetamine (street value $639,000)
  • 1.44 pounds of Cocaine (street value $14,400)
  • 4.33 pounds of Marijuana (street value $12,990)
  • 0.6 pounds of Heroin have been seized (street value $13,440)
  • 250 hits of LSD have been seized (street value $5000)
  • 3000 prescription pills have been seized
  • 40 Ecstasy pills have been seized (street value $600)
  • $99,281 of U.S. currency was seized

The operation is ongoing and additional narcotics, firearms and money seizures, as well as additional arrests are anticipated. The names of the arrested persons will be made available once all of the suspects in this investigation have been arrested.

The Escondido Police Department would like to extend its sincere appreciation to MET for their countless hours of investigation during this deployment.

Workshops on Water and Wastewater Rates

The City of Escondido will hold the following public workshops to provide information and answer questions on the proposed water and wastewater rate adjustments:

Tuesday, January 4, 2011 Workshop for Agriculture customersitchell Room, 201 N. Broadway 6:00- 7:30 pm

Thursday, January 6, 2011
Workshop for all customers
Mitchell Room, 201 N. Broadway,
6:00 pm – 7:30 pm

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