Inland Edition, April 26, 2024

Page 1


Changes afoot

A VISTA HIGH SCHOOL athlete competes in a race at the school’s stadium in 2019. The Vista Unified School District will carry out a $5.5 million renovation of the track and field facility this summer. STORY ON 9

CSUSM students reject recreation fee hike

SAN MARCOS — Students at Cal State San Marcos have struck down a referendum proposing a major increase in student recreation fees to fund a new wellness and recreation center on campus.

More than 50 student ambassadors from Cam-

pus Recreation and Associated Students Incorporated led the “Be Well. Be You.” referendum campaign, which proposed raising students’ per-semester recreation fees from $35 to $265 starting in 2025 with a 3% annual increase.

The increased fees

would fund the lease of a 60,000-square-foot space next to The Quad along Barham Drive for the new Wellness and Recreation Center, the purchase of new furniture and equipment, staff hiring and training, and the development of branding and materials.

Around 1,300 students, or 9.7% of the student population, participated in the three-day referendum vote in early April. The university confirmed Monday that just under 60% voted against it, and 38.6% voted in favor, causing the proposal to fail.

Escondido council again OKs police military equipment policy

City Council has once again approved the Escondido Police Department’s military equipment use policy and annual report, following a state mandate that first went into effect two years ago.

Vista eyes homeless camp limits

VISTA — The Vista City Council has expressed interest in establishing new restrictions regarding homelessness encampments to prohibit individuals from setting up camp within certain distances of property, including schools, playgrounds and public waterways.

“While this wasn’t the outcome some students were hoping for, I am happy that our students exercised their right to vote and that their voices were part of this process,” said Viridiana Diaz, Vice President for Student Affairs at TURN TO CSUSM ON 8

Vista Mayor John Franklin brought forward the discussion at the council’s April 23 meeting, stating that children and families need to be protected from individuals showing severe signs of drug addiction and mental illness at schools and on public property such as parks. He also argued that law enforcement needs additional tools to deal with “shelter-resistant” individuals who may not recognize that they need help.

As part of the discussion, the council reviewed the terms of the encampment ban implemented by the city of San Diego. The ban prohibits camping on public sidewalks and other areas regardless of whether shelter space is available and issues citations for violators.

Franklin emphasized that he is not interested in citing individuals if shelters are full, nor is it productive for homeless residents to rack up citations they cannot pay. Instead, he said the city attorney’s office should offer violators a diversionary route to a fine or jail time where they can instead obtain mental health and substance use treatment.

A governing body like a city council decides to approve or deny the report based on the department’s compliance.

Escondido first approved the implementation

Signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2021 and taking effect in 2022, Assembly Bill 481 requires law enforcement agencies to develop policies and include an inventory of their military-grade equipment. Under this law, police agencies must provide information through an annual report to their respective city councils regarding the purchase, use and funding source of equipment that falls under the military-grade classification.

of its policy in 2022 and re-approved it last year, doing so again this year by a 4-0 vote on April 17. Councilmember Consuelo Martinez was absent.

The Police Department’s military grade inventory covered by the law includes drones, robotic platforms, incident command vehicles, armored personnel carriers, breaching equipment, patrol and SWAT ri-


More than 40 years since the California condor population dropped to a low of just 22 birds, the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance has welcomed the 250th California condor to hatch at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

“Living outside when shelter is available and offered is evidence of mental illness and disorder,” Franklin said. “We could offer a diversionary agreement to an individual living unsheltered, who we have offered shelter to and they have declined, where we ask those people to participate in a rehabilitation or mental health program as a diversion to prosecution.”

After a lengthy and, at times, emotionally charged discussion, the City Council voted 4-1, with Corinna Contreras dissenting, to direct staff to begin drafting an ordinance and bring back the debate once the U.S. Supreme Court issues a decision in a case regarding

VOL. 11, N0. 9 ApriL 26, 2024
T he CoasT News
Photo by Frank Lopez Photo by Trent Townsend
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Jimenez steps down as CSUSM women’s head coach

Move to D-I UCSB comes on heels of Final Four run

Renee Jimenez has stepped down as the head coach of the Cal State San Marcos women's basketball team to accept the same position at NCAA Division I UC Santa Barbara.

Jimenez led CSUSM to four consecutive NCAA West Regional appearances, capping this season with its first NCAA Division II West

Regional Championship Title and a Final Four appearance. In the semifinals, the Cougars lost to eventual national champion Minnesota State, 70-68.

CSUSM finished the season ranked No. 5 in the WBCA Top 25 Coaches Poll and set a new program record in wins with a 27-7 overall record.

“I have been incredibly lucky to coach such a special group of kids over the years” Jimenez said. “It has been such a fun ride with so many incredible moments, huge victories and the most fun celebrations.0

“As a coach, your job is

to leave places better than you found them, and I am proud to say we have all been able to do that here.”

In 2023-24, Jimenez collected her fourth career CCAA Women's Basketball Coach of the Year award, her third as CSUSM's head coach.

Under Jimenez's leadership, CSUSM has won three CCAA regular season championships and two CCAA tournament championships. CSUSM tallied 20 or more wins for the fourth consecutive season while appearing on top of the CCAA standings the entire season, finishing with an


Law enforcement is investigating a wrong-way vehicle collision on Sunday in San Marcos that involved three cars and injured four people. Just before 8 p.m., witnesses called 911 to report a blue Honda SUV going the wrong way in the eastbound lanes of South Santa Fe Avenue near Rancho Santa Fe Road. The vehicle collided head-on with two other cars, according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, with deputies arriving on scene quickly afterward. One of the cars struck by the Honda contained a family of three. The mother and father, both in their 20s, were taken to Palomar Medical Center with serious but non-lifethreatening injuries. An infant, who was secured in a car seat, was taken to Rady Children’s Hospital for a medical evaluation. The other car struck contained a driver in his 40s; he was evaluated by paramedics at the scene and released. The 29-year-old male driver of the Honda also suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries and was taken to Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, according to deputies. Investigators are looking at alcohol as a factor in the collision. Courtesy photo/NBC7

Parolee suspected in Escondido break-in

A paroled sex offender was arrested after allegedly breaking into an Escondido family’s home April 11, waving a machete and threatening to kill everyone inside — instead winding up with a serious stab wound inflicted by one of the victims in self-defense.

Jesse Angel Martinez, 29, allegedly forced entry

to the house in the 1000 block of Camellia Street and began terrorizing the residents about 1:30 a.m., according to the Escondido Police Department.

Patrol personnel responding to a 911 call reporting the home invasion arrived to find some of the victims running from the residence, shouting for help and two others struggling with Martinez outside, try-

Crash leaves customer trapped under gas pump

By City News Service

ESCONDIDO — An out-of-control vehicle veered off an Escondido thoroughfare and crashed into a fuel pump at an adjacent gas station on Tuesday, knocking it over and leaving a man trapped underneath it until emergency crews could free him.

The accident occurred shortly after 10 a.m., when two vehicles collided at East Valley Parkway and North Rose Street, according to Escondido police.

The impact caused one of the vehicles to smash into a pump next to a man putting gas into his vehicle, Lt. Joshua Langdon said.

The fuel pump fell onto the customer, causing a head injury and leaving him trapped underneath it.

Paramedics took both to Palomar Medical Center along with the other driver involved in the wreck. Their injuries were all believed to be minor, Langdon said.

The accident did not cause a fuel spill or fire.

ing to hold him down, police said.

After the officers joined the fray and took the suspect into custody, they discovered that he had a knife that one of the victims had wielded against him protruding from his neck.

Three of the victims suffered various non-life-threatening injuries during the ordeal, ac-



fles, flashbangs, a long-range acoustic device, non-lethal 40-millimeter launchers and chemical agents.

“We use this equipment to protect the community — that’s the basis of our need,” Escondido Police Lt. Erik Witholt said. “It’s acquired with intention and consideration, and when there's no reasonable alternative using equipment not considered military grade for the purpose of citizen and officer safety.”

Witholt noted the Police Department’s military equipment inventory does

cording to police. Martinez was hospitalized and also was expected to survive.

Upon his release from medical care, Martinez — a registered sex offender serving a parole term, according to police — is expected to face charges of burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, making threats with intent to terrorize and attempted murder.

not include mine-resistant, ambush protected vehicles; humvees; tracked armored vehicles; weaponized aircraft, vessels or vehicles; firearms or ammunition of 50 caliber or greater; or firearms designed to launch explosive projectiles.

The annual report also included information on how many times the equipment was used last year.

The department's drones were used in 151 mission flights totaling 14.64 hours; incident command vehicles were used 13 times; armored personnel vehicles are used three to six times per month; breaching equipment was used once; flash-

18-4 conference record.

Jimenez was hired as CSUSM's head coach in 2015 and has been the program's winningest head coach in terms of victories (145) and winning percentage (.641) since the team's inception in 2011-12.

“It has been really special to watch Renee take over our young program over nine years ago during a transition into NCAA Division II, to becoming a top regional and national program,” said Morod Shah, interim director of athletics.

A national search for CSUSM’s next head coach will begin immediately.

Homeless camps bill stalls in state Senate

By City News Service REGION — The California Senate's Public Safety Committee last week put a pause on a Senate bill to clear homeless encampments written by Senate Minority Leader Brian Jones, R-Santee, and Senator Catherine Blakespear, D-Encinitas.

“California’s homelessness crisis is dangerous, inhumane, and unacceptable,” Jones said. “Our bipartisan SB 1011 would have provided a compassionate solution for clearing homeless encampments, ensuring both the safety of our community and the dignity of homeless individuals.

“This is not a partisan issue, which is why we have Democrats, Republicans, homeless advocates, and mental health experts in support of this bill,” he said. “I’m disappointed in the closed-minded opposition from the majority party members of the Senate Public Safety Committee to new approaches and their kneejerk support of just throwing more money at the problem with no real plan.”

Modeled after San Diego’s controversial “Unsafe Camping Ordinance,” SB 1011 would have prohibited homeless encampments near “sensitive community areas” such as schools, open spaces and transit stops. The bill also would have prohibited camping on sidewalks and streets if shelter space is available.

“I am disappointed that

bangs were used 17 times; 40-millimeter launchers were used eight times and used for display-only 15 times; and chemical agents were used once.

The department did not use its robotic platform, patrol and SWAT rifles or its long-range acoustic device in 2023.

The department said it did not receive any complaints regarding its use of military-grade equipment.

As part of the report, police requested the purchase new “pepper ball” launchers.

No one from the public spoke on the Police Department’s annual report and military equipment invento-

this bipartisan legislation, which is modeled on a program that is working well in the city of San Diego, is not moving forward this year,” Blakespear said. “We need to do better on homelessness, and the current state of affairs — the lack of housing, the homelessness encampments in public spaces in our cities — is not acceptable.”

Additionally, the bill would have required enforcement officers to give a 72-hour notice before an encampment sweep and requires enforcement officers to provide information about sleeping alternatives, homeless and mental health services and homeless shelters.

Aisha Wahab, D-Hayward, said she appreciated the intent of the bill, but found it was an overly punitive, criminalizing measure when many homeless people are on the street because of high cost of living and not through personal choices.

She said a bigger priority for her was to keep people in homes rather than to clear encampments.

The bill’s co-sponsors included several Democrats and more than a dozen Republicans. The April 16 hearing featured testimony ies from Vista Mayor John Franklin.

SB 1011 stalled in the Senate Public Safety Committee on a 1-3 vote, but it was granted reconsideration and is eligible to be voted on again in committee before today’s deadline.

ry at last week's City Council meeting. The department held a public meeting to hear from residents about questions or concerns regarding the equipment prior to the council meeting, but no one attended.

Councilmember Joe Garcia noted that no public speakers meant the police had done well in carrying out its military equipment policy last year.

“It’s clear here in the staff policy that the desire from the Police Department is to de-escalate,” Garcia said. “I’ve seen it happen… it’s because our officers use the equipment they have in a proper manner.”

April 26, 2024 T he C oas T N ews - I N la N d e d ITI o N 3
RENEE JIMENEZ led Cal State San Marcos to the Division II Final Four this past season and leaves as the program’s winningest coach. Courtesy photo/CSUSM Athletics








Deception behind the computer screen

TClaire Strong Encinitas

Chris Ahrens (Waterspot)

David Boylan (Lick the Plate)

E’Louise Ondash (Hit the Road)

Jano Nightingale (Jano’s Garden)

Jay Paris (Sports Talk)

Scott Chambers (Cartoonist)

Frank Mangio & Rico Cassoni (Taste of Wine & Food)


Samantha Mason

he average person believes they would never fall for a scam that would rob them of their life savings and their dignity, but the truth is that in San Diego County, deceptive schemes trick consumers into giving up banking, credit card information and other personal data every day, and it’s getting worse.

Bad actors often use sophisticated methods to mimic legitimate businesses that consumers deal with regularly. Before you click on an unsolicited link that appears to be urgent, stop to think it through. You could be dealing with a scam.

financial ruin.

Another relentless scam begins as a tech scam and quickly turns into a banking scam. Here are common ways this scam works:

• It starts with bad actors sending phony Microsoft pop-up ads warning that the user’s computer has been hacked.

• This quickly turns into a banking scam, with the same bad actor pretending to be from a financial institution.

• They trick victims

tained funds. Couriers most commonly pick up money from victims and deliver it to another person in the network, or they convert the cash to cryptocurrency and send it out of the country. In most cases, once the money is sent by the victims, it cannot be recovered.

If you or a loved one receive a message prompting you to click on a link, stop. Do not click on unsolicited links and do not deal with the person sending the message.

Instead, directly con-

Before you click on an unsolicited link that appears to be urgent, stop to think it through. You could be dealing with a scam.

Common phishing scams include:

• A delivery notice purporting to be from Amazon, UPS or FedEx saying a delivery is late or can’t be made.

• A utility shut-off message from SDG&E saying services are scheduled to be shut off.

• A computer pop-up or email message saying your anti-virus subscription, such as McAfee, has expired and must be renewed today.

• Pop-up ads purporting to be from Microsoft warning your computer has been hacked.

These scams trick innocent people into going to phony websites that look legitimate, leading unsuspecting victims to click on links that download malware and give access to private information.

This could lead to extortion, identity theft and

into believing their bank accounts have been compromised and they must pull out their money to keep it safe during the ‘investigation.’

• Criminals convincing victims that their financial advisors are under investigation and cannot be trusted.

• The victim is coaxed into giving their money to the fraudster for safekeeping.

• The fraudsters warn the victim not to say anything or risk being harmed or going to jail.

In a local case that robbed a San Diego senior of $200,000, the scammers were part of a transnational criminal network that use couriers to pick up money from victims.

Several times a week, couriers come into San Diego County to collect funds from elderly victims who are scammed out of their life savings.

The criminal network uses ride share companies to pick up fraudulently ob -

How a deal could reform Prop 47 fast

Ask almost any police chief the reasons behind the last year’s rash of well-organized and orchestrated “smash-andgrab” robberies around California and chances are they will say it’s largely because of the 2014 Proposition 47.

Most would cite a need to change or reverse Prop. 47’s raise in the minimum theft value considered a felony to $950, or at least suggest a lower limit.

But that “solution” ignores the reality that police don’t like dealing with the trivial. Set the limit too low and large numbers of shoplifters could get off scot-free, with not even a misdemeanor conviction because many police departments won’t fool around with “minor” crimes.

This could create an even larger cadre of thieves than now plagues California stores of many types.

But at last sound thinking on how to fix Prop. 47’s flaws has arrived. It comes from legislators, Gov. Gavin Newsom and the sponsors of a new initiative that seems sure to qualify for the fall ballot.

So how to speed their useful ideas into law? The answer is for the business and consumer leaders behind the initiative to deal with Newsom and the Legislature soon, then have Sacramento make laws of what they all agree on.

This is possible under a little-used decade-old law allowing initiative sponsors to pull their measures from the ballot if they reach agreements with lawmakers.

approaches this slightly differently, allowing felony prosecution for low-value theft if the perpetrator has two prior drug or theft convictions. California could use both tactics.

Some state legislators also favor restraining orders on low-value thieves, thus increasing penalties for repeaters.

All these tactics make sense, and California can have them all. There’s no need for rivalry among interests wanting to solve the same problem.

Almost unbelievably, it’s taken 10 years to come up with potential changes like these. Why not aggregate what thieves take, rather than allowing them to shoplift $949 in goods as often as they like without becoming felons? It’s also sensible to target repeat offenders.

Plus, Newsom called for expanded criminal penalties on those profiting from retail theft and auto burglaries.

The state has already begun cracking down on Internet sites where stolen goods are fenced, and in 2023 spent more than $250 million to increase arrests for organized smash-and-grab raids. Dozens of thieves have been caught.

tact your financial institution or the company the bad actor may be impersonating.

Don’t click, call or answer if:

• You get a phone call you didn’t expect saying there is a problem with your computer.

• You get a message that a foreign spammer attacked your system and you need to pay to protect your banking information.

• You are asked to make payment in Bitcoin or wire transfer; it is a scam.

Never, under any circumstances, allow anyone to install remote access software onto your computer or device.

To report a consumer complaint, you can call (619) 531-3507 or email

If you have been the victim of elder abuse, report it to Adult Protective Services: (800) 339-4661.

Summer Stephan is district attorney for the County of San Diego.

Here’s where things stand: Newsom notes that many other states have far higher felony-theft thresholds than Prop. 47’s $950. But most of them prosecute repeat offenders as felons. Texas, for one, has a $2,500 threshold.

So, proposes Newsom, don’t lower the felony theft standard, set partly to spare police from dealing with mere nuisances, and also to avoid piling criminal records onto desperately poor persons driven to steal for survival.

Newsom wants to let addition solve the problem and cut repeat thievery.

“We can do it without (changing) Prop. 47,” he said in a budget message. “I want people to know the (current level of theft) is unacceptable. Folks need to be held to account.”

His idea: When thieves whose take is below $950 are caught, before releasing them record how much they stole. If they steal again, add the amounts.

When they reach a new threshold level, it becomes a felony. Newsom suggests $2,500.

The ballot measure

Kevin McCarty, a candidate for Sacramento mayor who now chairs the state Assembly’s public safety committee, has said he likes Newsom’s ideas but made no promises about specifics his committee might advance.

It’s up to voters to let their elected officials know this kind of ho-hum, itcan-wait attitude won’t do when myriad stores including prominent brands from Nordstrom to Walgreens to 99 Cents Only have closed partly because of thievery.

The sooner legislators and initiative sponsors meet and consolidate their ideas, the sooner they can become law. Sponsors could then take the proposed measure off the ballot, letting new laws put most of the currently proposed changes into effect sooner. That’s the quickest way to clean up what voters passed in 2014.

One thing for sure: Something serious has to change or the rash of smash-and-grabs will not stop. No merchant or store will feel safe again until it does.

4 T he C oas T N ews - I N la N d e d ITI o N April 26, 2024 Subscriptions: 1 year/$75; 6 mos./$50; 3 mos./$30 Send check or money order to: The Coast News, P.O. Box 232550, Encinitas, CA 92023-2550. The CoasT News P.O. Box 232550 Encinitas, CA 92023-2550 531 Encinitas Blvd #204/205 760.436.9737 The Coast News is a legally adjudicated newspaper published weekly on Fridays by The Coast News Group. The Coast News is qualified to publish notices required by law to be published in a newspaper of general circulation (Case No. 677114). Op-Ed submissions: To submit letters and commentaries, please send all materials to Letters should be 250 to 300 words and commentaries limited to no more than 600 words. Please use “Letters” or “Commentary” in the subject line. All submissions should be relevant and respectful. To submit items for calendars, press releases and community news, please send all materials to or Copy is needed at least 10 days prior to date of publication. Stories should be no more than 300 words. To submit story ideas, please send request and nformation to OWNER/CEO Jim Kydd PUBLISHER Chris Kydd MANAGING EDITOR Jordan P. Ingram ACCOUNTING Becky Roland COMMUNITY NEWS EDITOR Samantha Nelson ADVERTISING SALES Sue 0tto Sandy Elliott LEGAL ADVERTISING Becky Roland Samantha Nelson Oceanside, Carlsbad, Escondido Laura Place Del Mar, Solana Beach, San Marcos
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california focus tom elias

Group: Community safety act to make ballot

REGION — Californians for Safer Communities Coalition announced last week in San Diego it will submit over 900,000 voter signatures to qualify the Homelessness, Drug Addiction, and Theft Reduction Act for the November general election ballot.

Small business owners, fentanyl victims, social justice leaders, community organizations and elected officials held press conferences across the state April 18 to announce the signature turn-in. To qualify the measure for the November ballot, the law requires 546,651 valid signatures.

“We need responsible reform that allows judges to incentivize lifesaving treatment for those struggling with severe addiction, holds repeat offenders accountable but also gives first, second, and even third chances for those who commit theft or possess hard drugs to be treated for addiction or mental illness. Voters should have the opportunity to debate and weigh in on this important initiative.”

The Prop. 47-related bipartisan measure is focused on improving safety in every community and neighborhood in California, the coalition said.

The mayors of Carlsbad, Vista, San Marcos, Solana Beach, Encinitas, Escondido, Coronado, Chula Vista, National City, Oceanside, Poway, El Cajon, La Mesa and Santee all supported the signa-

“This is a balanced, commonsense initiative that addresses the fentanyl crisis by going after drug dealers who are killing our loved ones and imposes stronger penalties for repeat offenders of organized retail theft, which is hurting far too many families and local businesses,” San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan said in a statement.

ture-gathering effort.

The initiative focuses on accountability measures for repeat offenders of theft and drug traffickers of drugs like fentanyl, while incentivizing and encouraging more individuals to participate in and complete drug treatment programs, according to the group, which said the measure creates a deterrent for repeat offenders and redirects addicts toward treatment rather than incarceration.

Passed in 2014, Prop. 47 achieved success in making California's criminal justice system more equitable. However, according to the coalition, it led to unintended consequences over the past decade — repeat and often organized retail theft, inner-city store closings, and difficulty convincing people to seek drug and mental health treatment.

“It is time for meaningful reforms to our justice

system, including to Prop. 47, that ensure our communities are safe,'' Californians for Safer Communities said in a release.

According to the coalition, the proposed ballot measure will:

— Hold those who are committing repeated retail theft and fentanyl sales crimes accountable, for the safety and health of our communities;

— Create accountability for repeat smashand-grab offenders who are driving up costs for all Californians and chasing retailers out of state; and

— Bring back incentives and accountability that are needed for individuals to get into necessary drug treatment and job training programs — helping them begin new lives. People arrested multiple times for hard drug use currently have no incentive to choose treatment with no consequences, the group said.

New Legoland attraction approved

The Carlsbad City Council unanimously approved a site development plan and coastal development permit on April 9 for Legoland California to build a new space-themed attraction. The new attraction, “Lego Galaxy,” will replace the park’s existing Driving School and Junior Driving School with an indoor “galactic exploration” roller coaster, a spinning ride featuring four rotating gondolas at each end and three cantilevered arms that go

up and down, retail space, and a children’s spacethemed play area — all inside a 32,319-square-foot, 43-foot-tall, manufactured steel building.

Park developers had to request the City Council’s approval because the Carlsbad Ranch Specific Plan mandates that any proposed structure over 35 feet must do so first.

The current and proposed attractions are on 2.38 acres in the inner portion of the park and won’t be easily visible from outside the park borders, the

staff report noted. The project previously received the Planning Commission’s unanimous blessing to go ahead.

“When Legoland came to Carlsbad, there was a huge outcry of people concerned it was going to ruin the city,” said Mayor Keith Blackburn. “I think they have proven themselves to be a great neighbor.”

Going forward, Legoland must submit applications to the city for review of grading and building permits. Construction is anticipated to begin in the fall.

It’s been a big year for the resort and theme park in the heart of North County.

Last month, Legoland unveiled “Dino Valley,” a new dinosaur-themed land featuring a Duplo Little Dino Trail, Explorer River Quest, Coastersaurus and Interactive Dino Area.

Legoland was also recently named Best Place to Work at the 2024 Carlsbad Business Achievement and Distinction Awards hosted by the Carlsbad Chamber.

Brothers plead guilty to holding migrants hostage

Two brothers who kidnapped a trio of migrants and held them for ransom at an Escondido home have pleaded guilty to federal charges, prosecutors said April 23.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says Virves Pablo-Francisco, 22, and Nicolas Pablo-Francisco, 20, held a 16-year-old boy from Afghanistan, as well as a 41-year-old father and

19-year-old son from Ecuador, hostage and demanded thousands of dollars from their families.

According to court documents, the siblings demanded between $4,000 and $10,000 for each person’s release.

Prosecutors say the abductions came to light on June 13 of last year, when the 16-year-old boy's family in the United States was contacted by his kidnappers.

The family reached out to law enforcement and according to a probable cause statement filed in federal court last year, investigators obtained cell phone records for a phone the kidnappers used to call the family.

Records showed Nicolas Pablo-Francisco was the phone’s user, with a listed address in Escondido, according to the statement. Virves Pablo-Francisco was listed as the billing party for

Vista launches e-bike trainings

An e-bike safety training and rebate program is set to launch within the city of Vista next month, providing increased opportunities for residents to learn safe riding skills and receive funds to cover the cost of a bike.

The program is funded by $100,000 in cannabis tax revenue that the Vista City Council agreed to set aside last fall.

City staff presented the details of the program last week, explaining that it will be implemented in May to coincide with National Bike Month.

At an April 9 meeting, members of the City Council said the rising number of e-bikes as well as e-bike accidents in the county are what spurred the need for the program. Mayor John Franklin expressed concerns, especially to younger riders.

“This is something that I’ve been calling for after seeing, unfortunately, the deaths of young people in our neighboring communities. I’m thankful to God that we haven’t had any young people who have yet been killed in our city, but with the increase in the prevalence of these e-bikes, we have a lot of concerns ahead of us for young riders,” Franklin said.

The city will partner with the San Diego County Bike Coalition to provide two safety trainings: one virtual training covering the basics and a 3-hour in-person training course with a hands-on curriculum regarding e-bike operation and safety.

Training attendees who also provide proof of an e-bike purchase will have the opportunity to apply for a rebate, with a redemption limit of $450 per household.


City staff said this program is unique in its offering of rebates along with safety training.

“This is great. I’m not aware of any other cities along the 78 corridor that are doing something like this,” said Councilmember Corinna Contreras. The city is really taking the initiative not only to ensure that folks are well trained for e-bike safety in the community but also to provide folks who can’t afford a new e-bike with a pretty significant discount.”

The trainings offered through the city’s partnership with the bike coalition is distinct from those the Vista Unified School District already provides.

The school district requires all students who ride bikes or e-bikes to school to obtain a permit, first by participating in safety training and then passing a quiz.

Family Bike Education Nights — in-person safety training options for students — include presentations from the San Diego County Bike Coalition, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, the Oceanside Police Department, Scripps Hospital and Palomar Health.

Members of the Vista City Council said they would like to see more bike safety training available for youth in the city.

Franklin also expressed concerns about how the city would publicize the program, stating that he did not want the city to spend money on a program that did not get used.

The City Council also directed staff to start the process of creating a graffiti abatement program to address the increasing issue of graffiti in the city.

the account.

On June 14, agents searched the home listed on the phone’s account and found all three kidnapping victims, court documents state. Nicolas Pablo-Francisco was arrested at the home, while Virves Pablo-Francisco was arrested at a later time.

Virves Pablo-Francisco pleaded guilty, while his brother pleaded guilty in February.

Attendees of the virtual session would qualify for a $50 rebate.

Attendees to the handson session are eligible to receive rebates of $100 if they purchased their e-bike online, $200 if purchased from a North County business, $300 if purchased from a City of Vista licensed business, and $400 for any of the aforementioned places of purchase if they meet low-income criteria.

Helmets will also be distributed as part of the

The council discussed various methods for decreasing graffiti and beautifying the city, including creating more public art and murals in public spaces and more resources for the city’s graffiti abatement team.

Councilmember Joe Green also mentioned the possibility of creating a community graffiti wall, where residents can graffiti whatever they want instead of putting it elsewhere. Other council members said they would not support this, noting free speech issues.

April 26, 2024 T he C oas T N ews - I N la N d e d ITI o N 5
THE CITY will increase opportunities for residents to learn safe e-bike and bicycle riding skills and receive funds to cover the cost of a bike. File photo
A RENDERING of the new Legoland space-themed attraction that will replace the theme park’s Driving School and Junior Driving School attractions. Courtesy photo/KSWB Design

Who’s NEWS?

Business news and special achievements for North San Diego County. Send information via email to community@


The Encinitas Chamber of Commerce hosted its final Rising Star of the Month program for the 2023-2024 school year on April 10, honoring the following students: Angela Aguirre of Canyon Crest Academy, Jina Moon of La Costa Canyon High School, Blake Harris of San Dieguito High School Academy, Kaede Ward of Sunset High School and Marley Wexler of Torrey Pines High School.


The Army and Navy Academy in Carlsbad has hired Patrizia Zary as the private school’s new dean of academics.


Chloe Roehr of Escondido and Hannah Larson of San Marcos are two of 43 students selected to be inducted into the Epsilon Kappa Epsilon (EKE) honor society at Biola University.


The Cal State San Mar-

cos Alumni Association has received the 2024 Alumni Association Inclusive Excellence Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the largest and oldest diversity and inclusion publication in higher education. The award honors alumni associations’ pioneering programs, culture and initiatives that encourage and support diversity, inclusion and a sense of belonging for all alumni, irrespective of racial or ethnic background, sexual or gender identity, religion, socio-economic status, world view and beyond.


MiraCosta College part-time faculty member

Edwina Williams earned the 2024 Regina Stanback Stroud Diversity Award from the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges. The award celebrates faculty members who significantly contribute to fostering intercultural harmony, equity and diversity across their campuses.


Maia Nilsson of San Marcos received the Kristine M. Bartanen Ensemble Award, presented to an individual or group who emulates the true spirit of collaboration, from the University of Puget Sound in Washington.


Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas has been named among the top 100 hospitals in the nation based on a study by health care technology and services platform PINC AI.


The California Fish and Game Commission unanimously approved adding the Southern California steelhead trout as endangered under the California Endangered Species Act.


The Grauer School’s senior class of 2024 raised $311 at their annual “Pie A Senior” fundraiser on March 22 where they sold whipped cream pies to any students wanting to pie a senior in the face. The funds will be used for their Disneyland Grad Nite trip.


Renee Jimenez has stepped down as the head coach of the Cal State San Marcos women's basketball team and has agreed to accept the same position at NCAA Division I UC Santa Barbara. She received her fourth career CCAA Women's Basketball Coach of the Year this year – her third as CSUSM's head coach.


The Vista Irrigation

District is encouraging its customers to be civically engaged in their communities and local government during Special Districts Week from May 19 to May 25.


Scripps Clinic Jefferson in Oceanside recently introduced a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that provides a new alternative to back pain relief. Called basivertebral nerve ablation (BVN ablation for short), the procedure involves a surgeon inserting an instrument into the vertebrae and essentially burning away the pain-transmitting nerves within the spine.


The De Anza Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution celebrated its 90th anniversary with more than 40 members at the Encinitas Community Center this month. The chapter has a long history of supporting local organizations like the San Dieguito Heritage Museum, Shelter to Soldier, Casa de Amistad, San Diego VA, Surf Clinic, Wreaths Across America and the Alpha Project, among others, as well as giving awards in the areas of American history, good citizenship and community and service to veterans.

Stretch U: Enhancing mobility and wellness in our community since 2019

Stretch U, established in 2011 with the San Marcos location opening in 2019, specializes in 1-on-1

Assisted Stretching to enhance flexibility, alleviate pain, and promote overall well-being. Their services include Myofascial Release, PNF Stretching, and Neural Flossing, offering sessions of varying durations to cater to individual mobility needs.

Meet Cobi Hopkins, Director of Training and Education.

What does your business do? We provide 1-on-1 Assisted Stretching to help people INCREASE Flexibility, DECREASE Pain, and FEEL Amazing! What services and/or specialty products do you provide? Whether you’re struggling with aches & pains, lacking flexibility, or simply looking for a relaxing experience that FEELS GOOD, then you have come

healthy connective tissue and improve your mobility from head to toe. We use a comprehensive, full body approach that addresses not only your symptoms… but the entire system.

What question are you asked most frequently by clients? Q: Can Stretch U help my low back pain/ sciatica?

A: Yes, many of our stretches directly target the hips, hamstrings, and sciatic nerve which can absolutely help with sciatica and back pain.

the community!

As someone doing business in San Marcos, what are you looking forward to accomplishing with the Chamber? With the help of the Chamberwe are hoping to establish Stretch U as the trusted solution to San Marcos resident’s mobility needs!

EUHSD trustee sworn in after special election win

Union High School District school board swore in David Vincent on April 16 as the next elected official to represent Trustee Area 5.

Vincent was originally appointed last July to fill the board vacancy left by Jon Petersen, who resigned a few months after serving nearly 23 years on the school board to take over as the district’s superintendent.

Vincent ran in a March 5 special election and won 60% of the votes. He will serve the remainder of the term through 2026.

Vincent has lived in Escondido for 27 years, where he and his wife, Franora, raised three daughters through the school district. He has a bachelor’s degree in industrial microbiology and a master’s and doctorate in public health.

Vincent is also the co-owner and chief executive officer of VTI Life Sciences, which helps pharmaceutical companies meet regulatory requirements. He has spent his career in San Diego’s biotechnology industry and has served as a consultant and board member for several startup biotech firms in the region.

programs and provide consultation on global disease prevention with the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

During his campaign, Vincent gathered “valuable feedback” from his neighbors regarding the district’s career technical education (CTE) programs. He plans to focus on modernizing them as he continues serving on the school board.

“I have heard their concerns and understand how important it is to continue modernizing these programs and implementing life skills training,” Vincent said. As their elected official, I am committed to working closely with the board members and administrative staff to ensure that our CTE programs are relevant to the technological and trade demands of the 21st century.” Vincent also plans to focus on teaching students essential life skills, including financial literacy and workforce readiness.

to the right place! Stretch U specializes in Myofascial Release, PNF Stretching and Neural Flossing. We offer 20, 40, and 60 minute stretches to address your mobility needs!

What sets you apart from others in your industry? Our combination of Myofascial Release with PNF Stretching is THE most effective way to restore

What is your favorite business success story? All of our client’s reviews and testimonials. We have thousands of 5-star reviews across our 9 locations and each client has a unique story about how we changed their life.

What motivated you to join The San Marcos Chamber? We wanted to become more involved with

What’s your best piece of business advice? “Take a minute out of your day to look into the faces of the people we manage and realize that they are our most important resources.” — Spencer Johnson (“The One Minute Manager”)

Business website:

Business Instagram: stretchu_sanmarcos/

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In addition to his career as a scientist and businessman, Vincent was a San Diego State University professor, teaching in the regulatory affairs master’s program.

Vincent and his family have volunteered for local programs, including Meals on Wheels for seniors and supporting veterans in need through the Veterans Association of North County and AMVETS. They have also traveled abroad to protect endangered species, support public health initiatives, support UNICEF and Worldwide Hungry

“By expanding programs such as money management and financial literacy, interpersonal communication, and job interview preparation, we can better equip our students for success after graduation,” he said. “I am committed to ensuring our students receive the best possible education and are prepared for their future careers.”

Vincent thanked those who elected him and his donors, endorsers and campaign volunteers.

“Together, we can work towards creating a brighter future for our community,” he said.

Trustee Area 5 covers the north and northwestern portions of the school district, extending as far north as the Hidden Meadows community down to El Norte Parkway and some parts of central Escondido.

6 T he C oas T N ews - I N la N d e d ITI o N April 26, 2024
Visit us in person, or online or on social media. 251 North City Drive, Suite 128G, San Marcos 760-744-1270 SAN MARCOS FARMERS MARKET every Tuesday from 3-7 pm Located on North City Drive in San Marcos.
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CHATTER San Marcos Chamber
COBI HOPKINS, Director of Training and Education at Stretch U San Marcos.
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DAVID VINCENT will continue to represent Trustee Area 5 on the Escondido Union High School District school board after winning a special election on March 5. He had served as an appointed member since July. Courtesy photo

SoCal-to-Vegas high-speed rail breaks ground


News Service REGION — A highspeed rail line between Southern California and Las Vegas moved one step closer to reality this week when ground was officially broken to mark the start of construction on the project.

U.S. Transportation

Secretary Pete Buttigieg was among the dignitaries on hand for the April 22 ceremony south of the famed Las Vegas Strip.

“This day is a major milestone in building the future of American rail and the jobs that come with it,” Buttigieg posted on X, formerly Twitter, ahead of the event. “We’re supporting this pivotal project with bil-

lions of dollars from President Biden's instrastructure law.”

The $12 billion Brightline West project will be a fully electric, zero-emission system that officials say will be one of the greenest forms of transportation in the United States. The project is expected to bolster tourism, create 35,000 jobs, ease traffic on I-15 and cut more than 400,000 tons of carbon pollution each year, Brightline officials said.

The line will include a flagship station in Las Vegas, with additional stations in Apple Valley, Hesperia and Rancho Cucamonga. The Rancho Cucamonga Station will also connect

to Southern California’s regional Metrolink service, allowing for connectivity into downtown Los Angeles and beyond.

The 218-mile rail line will primarily run along the Interstate 15 median with trains capable of reaching 186 mph or more, cutting the trip to 2 hours, 10 minutes — half the time to travel by car, officials said.

The U.S. Department of Transportation in January announced $2.5 billion in bond funds for the project. The DOT previously approved a private activity bond allocation of $1 billion for Brightline West in 2020.

In December, the DOT awarded a $3 billion grant

from Biden’s infrastructure bill to the Nevada Department of Transportation for the project, and last June, the DOT awarded a $25 million grant to the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority through the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity Program that will be used for the construction of Brightline West stations in Hesperia and Victor Valley, California.

The tentative goal is to have the line open by 2028, in time for the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

More information about the project can be found at

Mello-Roos set for new developments

construction of the Eclipse and Mountain House projects nears completion, the Escondido City Council is taking the final steps toward establishing a Mello-Roos tax to pay for public infrastructure improvements at the new developments.

During its April 10 meeting, the council unanimously approved the issuance and sale of special tax bonds for the Eclipse/Mountain House community facilities district (CFD).

The bonds will not cost the city any money because the district’s property owners will pay for them through extra taxes.

Established by the Mello-Roos Act in 1982, a CFD or Mello-Roos is a special tax district that provides developers with an alternative method of financing the cost of building and maintaining public infrastructure, such as sidewalks, streetlights, and other amenities and services.

Like other tax assessments, the CFD will appear on the homeowners’ property tax bill. According to Finance Director Christina Holmes, the estimated principal amount of the tax is $3.36 million.

In 2021, the City

Council authorized a deposit account and reimbursement agreement between the city and developer CalWest Living for both developments, taking the first steps to establish a special tax district.

The following year, the council agreed to establish a Mello-Roos district and promised to postpone the issuance and sale of tax bonds until construction was near completion.

The Eclipse is a 113unit, three-story townhome project located at 461 Carina Glen off Centre City Parkway, located within an urban area near the southern end of town.

Mountain House is a 36-home, single-family development atop a mountain off Mesa Rock Road in Woodland Heights Glen.

The gated neighborhood, which is 1,500 feet above sea level, overlooks Interstate 15 on the city’s north end.

According to Livabl. com, Eclipse homes sold for between $618,000 and $835,000, and Mountain House homes are currently listed between $1.3 and $1.9 million.

Holmes said out of Eclipse’s 113 homes, 97 have closed, with the final 16 currently in escrow and due to close within the next month.


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CHIMNEY SWEEPS, INC., one of San Diego’s leading chimney repair and maintenance companies, is here to protect you and your home from losses due to structural damage and chimney fires.

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For a limited time, readers of this paper will receive a special discount on our full chimney cleaning and safety inspection package with special attention to chimney water intrusion points in preparation for the rainy season.

April 26, 2024 T he C oas T N ews - I N la N d e d ITI o N 7
THE 218-MILE rail line between Rancho Cucamonga and Las Vegas, officials say, will boost tourism and create 35,000 jobs, in addition to environmental benefits. It’s expected to open by 2028. Courtesy rendering/Brightline

Pigs and bobcats and slime, oh my!

March 29 wasn’t a typical Friday at Monte Vista Elementary in Vista. As a reward for raising over $30,000 for the school’s Jog-a-Thon, the kids were treated to Principal Kerry Perez puckering up to a pig and Vice Principal Aaron Acosta getting slimed, Nickelodeon-style.

From left ... As the kids chanted “Kiss the pig!” Perez leaned down and gave a smooch to JJ, a kunekune pig from Dirty Bird Ranch in Bonsall;

The newest addition to the Bobcat family, Bobby the Bobcat, made his first appearance;

Sitting front and center in a kiddy pool,
 Acosta was slimed by the winning classes from TK-2 and grades 3-5. 
A couple of big buckets were dumped from overhead for the shock factor.

— Photos by Gina Cates

Cal State San Marcos.

Proponents of the referendum emphasized that it would be the first of its kind in the California State University system, meeting the need for more fitness and wellness opportunities that students have pushed for repeatedly over the past decade.

However, arguments against the referendum contended that the $230 fee increase was simply unaffordable for most students, many of whom are on financial aid, especially with tuition costs increasing.

According to the university, the center, which is proposed to open in 2026, would provide student-oriented spaces and services promoting “the eight dimensions of wellness” (emotional, physical, social, spiritual, financial, intellectual, environmental and occupational).

This would include dedicated wellness areas with lounge seating and

massage chairs, a rooftop deck with a turf field, two full-sized indoor courts with a spectator viewing area, multipurpose rooms for Zumba, yoga, Pilates, meditation and other activities, esports facilities, and an outdoor courtyard with hammocks.

Plans also proposed a 10,000-square-foot fitness equipment area, which would be more than triple the size of the one in Clarke Field House, the current location of recreation and fitness programming at Cal State San Marcos, which also offers a half-court gym, a full-sized outdoor basketball court, and a sand volleyball court. The Be Well. Be You. campaign and the Campus Recreation Department did not respond to requests for comment from The Coast News about the referendum results.

Average county gas price drops

By City News Service REGION — The average price of a gallon of selfserve regular gasoline in San Diego County dropped 1 cent Wednesday to $5.359, the third decrease in five days following a run of 31 increases in 32 days totaling 43.8 cents that boosted the average price to its highest amount since Nov. 2.

According to figures from the AAA and Oil Price Information Service, it is 1.7 cents less than one week ago

but 34.5 cents more than one month ago and 45 cents higher than one year ago.

The average price has dropped $1.076 since rising to a record $6.435 on Oct. 5, 2022.

The national average price dropped for the fourth time in five days following a run of 15 increases in 17 days totaling 14.4 cents.

The national average price has dropped $1.356 since rising to a record $5.016 on June 14, 2022.

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NEARLY TWO-THIRDS of Cal State San Marcos students who voted in a recent referendum rejected a proposal to raise per-semester recreation fees to fund a new recreation and wellness center, shown in a rendering. Courtesy photo/CSUSM

Vista High track revamp among bond projects

— After analyzing various potential timelines, leaders in the Vista Unified School District agreed this week to proceed with a $5.5 million track and field replacement project at Vista High School this summer.

The Measure LL-funded project will restore the track and field facilities from top to bottom, including new field drainage and turf, a new multi-lane track, ADA improvements, and new fencing.

Architects involved in the project said these major repairs are needed to complete long-overdue updates and address the drainage issues that have caused the field to flood when it rains.

“We need to remove the track, and we need to remove the turf. We can’t just overlay these elements anymore; they have reached their end of life, and we have to basically start over with them, so we are removing them fully,” Josh Eckle of AlphaStudio Design Group told the district board of trustees on April 18.

The track and field renovation will be the latest Measure LL project completed at Vista High School, which has completed two new campus buildings totaling $76 million since the beginning of 2024.

In January, the district completed the two-story Building S, housing 20 classrooms for the school’s En-

glish department. This was followed by the three-story Building T (directly adjacent to the stadium), which was completed earlier this month and offers a weight room, JROTC facilities, and additional classrooms for history, science and social science.

Vista Unified originally planned to begin the track and field renovations in 2022 but faced delays after needing to majorly revise the project scope to comply with new standards imposed by the Division of the State Architect, officials said.

At their meeting, the district board was asked to consider various timelines for the project besides this summer, including the upcoming fall and winter or the summer of 2025. District

Chief Operations Officer

Shawn Loescher said there are no good times to renovate a field at a high school and that there would be student impacts on band and athletics regardless of the schedule.

However, Loescher warned that later timelines could drive up the cost and delay other dependent projects at Rancho Buena Vista High School, including a planned $1.7 million softball field project and long-overdue gym renovations totaling around $2.5 million.

Trustees opted for the sooner timeline, noting that costs for the track and field renovation could rise by around 10% by next summer.

“The cost impacts that go with a $5.5 million job —

if we wait, that turns out to be $550,000,” said Trustee Martha Alvarado.

Loescher said the project will take about six months to complete, pending weather conditions. The project will be advertised for bids in the coming weeks, with an exact timeframe to be determined once a contract is awarded.

Updates to the field will also bring it into compliance with CIF (California Interscholastic Federation) standards, with new striping to account for multiple sports, including lacrosse, women’s flag football, and soccer. The lifespan of the new turf is predicted to be around 10 years.

“The programs that are being played on the field are fundamentally different

than when the field was constructed,” Loescher said.

During the project, athletics and band programs that depend on the stadium will use other fields on campus and facilities at other district schools.

Other projects, future bond

Vista Unified has also been busy with other Measure LL projects outside Vista High School. In February, Rancho Buena Vista High School celebrated the opening of its approximately $14 million Career Technical Education facility, a 9,000-square-foot space serving students pursuing careers in construction and welding.

The district is consider-

ing other major bond projects, including the Bobier Elementary School rebuild. While previously anticipated to cost around $57 million, pricing for the project will be finalized by August.

However, district leaders are also considering placing another bond measure on the November ballot to fund even more facilities projects. The board of trustees will decide in July whether to officially place the bond, currently proposed at $364 million with a rate of 4 cents per $100 of assessed value, before voters.

The board agreed last week to send draft bond language to the San Diego County Taxpayers Association for their endorsement, although it is not required for the bond to move forward. Trustee Rena Marrocco opposed the idea, saying she felt it was too soon and did not have enough information.

The draft language proposes using bond funds to “repair and upgrade classrooms, science labs, school facilities, and instructional technology to support college/career readiness in math, science, technology, engineering, arts and skilled trades; fix deteriorating roofs, plumbing, sewer, and electrical systems; and improve school safety and security.”

In the meantime, the district is also awaiting the results of a community survey regarding bond feasibility.

AN AERIAL VIEW of the Vista High School stadium and the new Building T, constructed with Measure LL bond funds and completed this month. Courtesy photo/Vista Unified School District

Traveling to the heart of daytime darkness

The grand total solar eclipse of 2024 has come and gone, and everyone has moved on, but I’d like to linger on the experience a bit longer.

Seeing a total solar eclipse had been on my wish list for a long time. That wish was reinforced after hearing MiraCosta College astronomy professor Rica French give a presentation just prior the October 2023 annular solar eclipse.

“Experiencing a total solar eclipse is like nothing else you’ll ever do,” she enthusiastically told her audience. “If you have the chance, do it!”

hit the road

Our chance came because longtime friends who live in Austin, Texas, in the path of totality for the April 8 event, graciously and generously agreed to let us stay with them after we invited ourselves.

One problem that

plagued us right up until the eclipse began: the weather forecast. Cloudy with a chance of rain. Not good.

I lowered my expectations and was resigned to settle for a nice visit with friends and two minutes of daytime darkness that would happen even it rained.

As the passage of the moon across the sun began, we parked our chairs on our friends’ driveway, waited, and then…the clouds parted partially during the hour leading up to total darkness. Then, several minutes

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before the moon completely blotted out the sun, a wind arose and the clouds dissipated.

The eclipse lived up to the hype and I can die happy. Witnessing this celestial event was a thrill, but the solar show also connected us with friends, family and strangers who experienced the same thing. We texted with relatives in Cleveland, Ohio, and Chester, Ill., and Palos Verdes, and with North County neighbors who had flown to Vincennes, Ind., which boasted it had “the longest darkness” in the state — four minutes and five seconds.

My neighbor even brought me a souvenir coffee mug, made by her friend in Vincennes, but said, “Total Solar Eclipse, April 8, 2024, Austin, Texas.”

Getting to Austin was a breeze; getting out, not so much. We can thank Texas barbecue for helping us to just make our flight.

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Thinking we’d avoid the airport crowds, we made return reservations on Southwest Airlines two days after the eclipse. Unfortunately, the spectacular thunder-and-lightning storm over Austin the night before, which was great entertainment for Californians, meant that a whole bunch of planes had been grounded.

We were blissfully un-

aware of this the next day when we headed to the airport four hours early because my husband craved Texas barbecue. Our preflight destination: Salt Lick Restaurant, voted one of the 10 Best Airport Restaurants in the country.

We arrived to find thousands of Southwest passengers waiting in the bag-check lines; stressed travelers working their cellphones; cars three-deep jockeying for drop-off positions; toddlers balancing on top of suitcases piled high on dollies; thoughtful Southwest employees distributing bottles of water; and a truck loaded with

plastic orange barriers cruising by, contemplating where to funnel the endless queues.

Three-plus hours later, we sprinted to Gate 22, thanks to a Southwest employee who randomly pulled us from the line and sent us ahead. With but two minutes to spare and somewhat breathless, I glanced up and saw the neon sign just above my husband’s head that said, “Salt Lick.”

“So near yet so far,” my husband sighed.

Next time, Texas.

For more photos and discussion, visit

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THE FOLEY FAMILY from Carlsbad, Vista and Vincennes, Ind., gathered in Vincennes for the April 8 total solar eclipse. The town, in southwest Indiana, claimed the state’s “longest darkness” — four minutes and five seconds. Courtesy photo
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WWII bunker a hidden relic in Solana Beach

As the waves crash against the rugged sandstone cliffs of Solana Beach, an unassuming concrete bunker quietly stands testament to a pivotal chapter in American history — a hidden relic built in the early 1940s waiting to unveil its secrets.

Solana Beach Civic and Historical Society historian Richard Moore, a retired nuclear physicist and Army veteran, has helped The Coast News uncover this mystery structure near a private driveway off Marview Lane, just west of Glencrest Drive.

So, what is it, and what was its purpose?

First of all, Moore says it’s not a bunker. The reinforced concrete dugout was one of many base-end stations and fire control structures used during World War II to identify enemy ships on the horizon and provide precise coordinates to gun batteries at Fort Rosecrans to the south.

During this time, enemy ships along the California coastline were a real threat. In late February 1942, a Japanese submarine surfaced and shelled the Ellwood oil refinery off the coast of Santa Barbara, destroying a derrick and pumphouse.

Although the attack, known as the Bombardment of Ellwood, caused minimal damage, it invoked “considerable panic” among Americans that the Japanese would continue to attack the West Coast.

In response, the Army Corps of Engineers constructed the “Santa Fe” baseend station, and the engineer’s plans and blueprints are located in the Records of the Adjutant General’s Office in the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

According to the documents, the Santa Fe station is 8 feet tall and 12 feet wide, with only 3 feet above the ground that was visible from approximately 75 yards.

The station had no heating, lighting, running water or bathroom but was equipped with a small commercial auxiliary generator capable of producing 125 volts. A separate concrete structure nearby contained

a backup generator. Moore said the fire control structures were solely for observing and reporting target information via telephone to a plotting room for gun batteries at Fort Rosencrans. “The Solana Beach bunker never had artillery,” Moore said. “Most people mistakenly assume it did, but that’s not the case.”

Moore said fire control structures came in varying sizes, including a two-compartment unit, and one was even built into a fake water tower.

The Santa Fe station resembles other coastal defenses along the Point Loma Peninsula, namely a fire control station at Fort Rosecrans Battery Ashburn near the entrance of Cabrillo National Monument Park.

In addition to the Santa Fe, the military’s northernmost fire control structure in Solana Beach, the Army Corps of Engineers built 12 additional units along the San Diego County coastline, stretching as far south as the U.S.-Mexico border. These defenses formed the Coast Artillery Corps, headquartered at Camp Callan on Torrey Pines Mesa, now Torrey Pines Golf Course: Site 1: Solana Beach (fire control structure); Site 2: Soledad Mountain (fire control structure); Site 3: La Jolla Hermosa (fire control structure); Site 4: Theosophical/Sunset (fire control structure); Site 5: North Fort Rosecrans (fire control structure); Site 6: West Fort Rosecrans (gun battery Ashburn); Site 7: Cabrillo-Fort Rosecrans (fire control structure and gun battery); Site 8: Point Loma (fire control structure);

Site 9: East Fort Rosecrans (searchlights); Site 10: North Island/Coronado (patrol); Site 11: Coronado Beach/ Silver Strand (fire control structure);

Site 12: Fort Emory (fire control structure); and Site 13: Mexican Border (fire control structure).

Before radar became available, fire control structures were strategically crucial for coastal defense.

“Fire control” is defined as “technical supervision of artillery or naval gunfire on a target” or “controlling” artillery “fire” by relaying

detailed target range and elevation data to nearby gun batteries.

Fire control operators used sophisticated observation tools to determine a seafaring enemy vessel’s precise distance and direction, helping ensure coastal artillery rounds hit their intended targets.

One of these tools was a depression position finder, which consisted of a sizeable telescopic lens that calculated the range or distance to a target using a triangle and trigonometry.

The instrument even accounts for the Earth’s curve and how light bends. For stability, the depression position finder was mounted atop a large octagonal concrete column inside the station.

One side of the triangle is how high the instrument is above sea level (which changes with the tides and

must be adjusted frequently), one angle is always 90 degrees (angle of depression), and the other is how much the instrument points downward (range to target).

Once these angles are determined, the observers will know the distance to a ship up to 12,000 yards away.

The other tool was the azimuth scope, a mounted telescope used to determine an enemy ship’s position and track its movements. Further augmenting the fire control operators’ target-finding tools were six searchlights on bluffs above the beaches in Cardiff, Solana Beach, Del Mar’s Dog Beach and near Scripps Pier.

The military triangulated targets based on information relayed via telephone from multiple fire control sites to Fort Rosecrans Battery Ashburn, one of many coastal defense batteries in

California. Battery Ashburn was equipped with heavy artillery — 16-inch guns mounted on large turrets — capable of engaging enemy ships at long ranges.

During the same period, a popular local legend states that an artillery battery was located at Fletchers Cove, with a rectangular cement building serving as ammunition storage.

In 1990, the North County Blade-Citizen newspaper erroneously reported this legend, further cementing the tale into local history.

However, Moore said that was a myth. After the news article was published, retired U.S. Navy Commander Alvin H. Grobmeier wrote a letter to the publisher thoroughly debunking the newspaper’s report.

In his letter, Grobmeier also confirmed the existence and purpose of the Santa Fe

station, one of the few remaining WWII-era military structures in North County.

In the decades following the war, many fire control structures were either lost to time or destroyed by homeowners. The number of structures still in existence is unknown.

Today, Santa Fe sits along a private road in a quiet Solana Beach neighborhood overlooking the ocean, a silent witness to the city’s historical events. The Solana Beach Civic and Historical Society plans to help share the structure’s story and significance with the community for future generations.

Jordan P. Ingram contributed to this report. A special thanks to Kathleen Drummond of the Solana Beach Civic and Historical Society and local historian Richard Moore for their contributions to this article.

April 26, 2024 T he C oas T N ews - I N la N d e d ITI o N 11
DURING WORLD WAR II, the U.S. military built fortifications along the San Diego County coastline to protect against a potential attack from the Japanese. Base-end stations and fire control structures (above right, an exterior view of Battery Ashburn’s fire control structure) were installed to help identify enemy vessels in the Pacific. Inside a fire control structure, service members used depression position finders (above left) to triangulate a target’s location and report coordinates to nearby gun batteries at Fort Rosecrans. Courtesy photos/NPS/Public domain
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Know something that’s going on? To post an event, visit us online at



Belmont Park is hosting its third annual park-wide hiring festival Jobapalooza. Free, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 26 at Belmont Park, 3146 Mission Blvd, San Diego.


Jarabe Mexicano captures the nostalgic spirit of their border roots by featuring an eclectic mix of genres, from Mexican Folk, Rock & Roll, and Norteño/Tex-Mex to Latin Rock, Trio Romántico, and popular Cumbia. Free-$30, 7 to 9:30 p.m. April 26 at California Center for the Arts, 340 N Escondido Blvd, Escondido.


An evil corporation controls where citizens of a water-starved town can legally relieve themselves, and the corruption and abuse it imposes causes the society members to revolt. $15-$25, April 19 to May 4 at David H. Thompson Performing Arts Center, 1 Maverick Way, Carlsbad.


The Rancho Santa Fe Senior Center’s 9th Annual Healthy Aging Conference will feature several geriatric specialists as speakers, a lunch and opportunities to meet with providers. $40, 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. April 26 at Fairbanks Ranch Country Club, 15200 San Dieguito Rd, Rancho Santa Fe.


Comedian Brent Pella (Funny or Die, MTV, Comedy Central) with Wyatt Cote and Kimble Hume opening. $17. Performances on April 26 and Apri 27, at Grand Comedy Club, 340 E Grand Ave, Escondido.


North Coast Repertory Theatre will perform “Sense of Decency,” a play based on the book, “The Nazi and the Psychiatrist,” about the aftermath of WWII during the Nuremburg trials. $49$74, through May 12 at North Coast Repertory Theatre, 987 Lomas Santa Fe Dr, Solana Beach.


Discover easy movements to release and reset the tension baseline in your body that is causing you pain and limiting your quality of life. Free5 to 6:30 p.m. April 26 at Ocean Beach People’s Food Co-op, 4765 Voltaire St, San Diego.


Disney’s Aladdin JR. is based on the 1992 Academy Award-winning film and the 2014 hit Broadway show about the “diamond in the rough” street rat who learns his true worth lies within. $18-$30. Runs from April 26 to May 5 at Star Theatre Company, 402 N Coast Hwy, Oceanside.

ration, crafting, and. $10$20, 4 to 6 p.m. April 28 at Coastal Roots Farm, 441 Saxony Rd, Encinitas.


Casa de Amparo hosts

27th annual Meet the Chefs to help fight child abuse and neglect. $150-$250, 1:30 to 4 p.m. April 28 at Del Mar Hilton , 15575 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar.




Come dressed in a swimsuit and enjoy the swashbuckling activities which include diving for treasure, ship raider race, walking the plank, and other fun pool activities and floating obstacles. $10, 5 to 8 p.m. April 27 at Alga Norte Aquatic Center, 6565 Alicante Rd, Carlsbad.


Dixon Lake is stocking 4,500 pounds of rainbow trout in April in preparation for the Escondido-Hidden Valley Kiwanis Club’s semi-annual trout derby. Permits are $18/adult and $12 for youths and seniors. 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 27 -28 at Dixon Lake, 1700 La Honda Dr, Escondido.


Registration and proof of residency required for Carlsbad residents. Free, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 27 at Carlsbad location provided upon registration, 92009, Carlsbad.


The 39th annual Encinitas Spring Street Fair returns to downtown Encinitas. Coast Highway will be clsoed from D Street to J Street for the fair featuring 450 vendors, a beer garden and three stages. Free, 9 a.m. at Downtown Encinitas, 1403 Encinitas Blvd, Encinitas.


STEM-ED, Inc. is hosting its annual Aerospace Robotics “drone” competition for the region’s high school students. 8:30 a.m. at Escondido Charter High School , 1868 E Valley Pkwy, Escondido.


Celebrate Children’s Day and Book Day with bilingual stories and songs from Mexico and around the world. Create traditional paper flower bouquets and other crafts. Free books for children. 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. April 27 at Escondido Public Library, 239 S Kalmia St, Escondido.


This class is for three

Saturdays — April 20, 27 & May 4 — and is for women ages 14 and up. Free, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 27 at Palomar College, 1140 W Mission Rd, San Marcos.


The Palomar Cactus and Succulent Society is hosting its annual Spring Show and Sale with workshops on cactus and succulents. Free, 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 27 at Park Avenue Community Center, Park Ave, Escondido.


The Sandpipers Square Dance Club is honoring its 52nd anniversary dance with an introduction for new dancers. Free, 6 to 7 p.m. April 27 at St. James Parish Hall, 625 S Nardo Ave, Solana Beach.


Immerse yourself in a musical experience that soothes and elevates the soul with Maurice Duruflé’s iconic Requiem. Free, 4 to 5:30 p.m. April 27 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral, 2728 6th Ave, San Diego.


Ready to let go, connect, and unleash your creativity? Join us for a fun journey of laughter, spontaneity and endless possibilities. $175, 5 p.m. at The Brooks Theatre, 217 N Coast Hwy, Oceanside.


Stop by the family-friendly celebration at the Vista Buddhist Temple. Free, 12 to 7 p.m. April 27 at Vista Buddhist Temple, 150 Cedar Rd, Vista.


Woman’s Club of Carlsbad is holding an upscale rummage and plant sale. Proceeds will be given back to the community. Free, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 27 at Women’s Club of Carlsbad, 3320 Monroe St, Carlsbad.



Join Coastal Roots Farm for an intergenerational afternoon celebration of the crossing of the Red Sea. There will be Passover-inspired delights, engaging discussions, garden explo-

Kalmia St, Escondido.


Join the Oceanside Public Library for a special storytime to celebrate the opening of the newest mini-library. Free, 4 p.m. at Joe Balderrama Recreation Center, 709 San Diego St, Oceanside.


This event will raise money to help save the lives of countless pets while enjoying a day of shopping for fabulous handbags and stunning jewelry. $125, 1 p.m. at Rancho Santa Fe, 92067, Rancho Santa Fe.


Jazz Evensong will feature a blend of Anglican prayer and American jazz. Music begins at 4 p.m. followed by church service at 4:30 p.m. Free and open to the public. 4 p.m. at St. Michael’s-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church, 2775 Carlsbad Blvd, Carlsbad.



Build a custom Star Wars droid from upcycled materials during Star Wars Week. Ages 8-12. Free, 4 to 5:30 p.m. April 29 at Escondido Public Library, 239 S

Three former First Ladies will be sharing secrets in the unforgettably vivid one-woman show, TEA FOR Lady Bird, Pat & Betty, at North Coast Repertory Theatre. $42, 7:30 p.m. at North Coast Repertory Theatre, 987 Lomas Santa Fe Dr, Solana Beach.



Build a support system with people who share the same situation in the Alzheimer’s Association Support Group hosted by At Home Nursing Care. To register, call 800-272-3900. 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. May 1 at At Home Nursing Care, 531 Encinitas Blvd, Encinitas.


In 2019, Susan Wade started working with the Rotary Club, discovered the Maasai Mara tribe of Kenya and realized they were desperate for some assistance. 9:45 to 11 a.m. May 1 at

Carlsbad Senior Center, 799 Pine Ave, Carlsbad.


Learn about vaping and youth mental health while enjoying free tacos. 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. May 1 at San Marcos Community Center, 3 Civic Center Dr, San Marcos.



Celebrate culinary flavors and locally crafted libations that make the downtown Cardiff district unique. Free, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. May 2 at Cardiff Town Center , 2033 San Elijo Ave, Cardiff.


Interested in the farmto-table food movement and knowing your local farmers?

If you enjoy tasting locally sourced bites and beverages while learning more about ag in San Diego then Graze is for you. $65-$85, 6-8:30 p.m. May 2 at Carlsbad Flower Fields, 5704 Paseo del Norte, Carlsbad.


Join us every Thursday at the Howard Brubeck Theatre on the San Marcos Campus for a live concert hour performance. Free, 1 to 2 p.m. May 2 at Howard Brubeck Theatre at Palomar College, 1140 W Mission Rd, San Marcos.

April 26, 2024 T he C oas T N ews - I N la N d e d ITI o N 13
Buying is a Journey
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LUCY DAVENPORT and Brendan Ford star in “A Sense of Decency” about the aftermath of WWII during the Nuremberg trials. Through May 12 at North Coast Rep. Photo by Aaron Rumley

FROM KING FEATURES WEEKLY SERVICE, 628 Virginia Drive, Orlando, FL 32803

CUSTOMER SERVICE: 800-708-7311 EXT. 257

TRIVIA TEST #12345_20240422


1. LITERATURE: What are the names of the four sisters in “Little Women”?

2. U.S. STATES: Which northeastern state has a desert?

3. MOVIES: Which long-running movie series features the character Legolas?

4. ANATOMY: What does the lacrimal gland produce?

5. GEOGRAPHY: Ellesmere Island belongs to which nation?

6. SCIENCE: Which of the human senses is most closely related to memory?

7. LANGUAGE: What does the Latin phrase “ad meliora” mean?

8. TELEVISION: Which TV sitcom features a mom named Rainbow Johnson?

9. THEATER: Who wrote the play “A Little Night Music”?

10. MUSIC: Which alternative rock band went by the name of The Warlocks before becoming famous?


1. Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy.

2. The 40-acre Desert of Maine.

3. “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” trilogies.

4. Tears.

5. Canada.

6. Smell.

7. “Toward better things.”

8. “Black-ish.”

9. Stephen Sondheim.


1. LITERATURE: What are the names of the four sisters in “Little Women”?

2. U.S. STATES: Which northeastern state has a desert?

3. MOVIES: Which long-running movie series features the character Legolas?

4. ANATOMY: What does the lacrimal gland produce?

5. GEOGRAPHY: Ellesmere Island belongs to which nation?

6. SCIENCE: Which of the human senses is most closely related to memory?

7. LANGUAGE: What does the Latin phrase “ad meliora” mean?

8. TELEVISION: Which TV sitcom features a mom named Rainbow Johnson?

9. THEATER: Who wrote the play “A Little Night Music”?

10. MUSIC: Which alternative rock band went by the name of The Warlocks before becoming famous?


1. Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy.

2. The 40-acre Desert of Maine.

3. “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” trilogies.

4. Tears.

5. Canada.

6. Smell.

7. “Toward better things.”

8. “Black-ish.”

9. Stephen Sondheim.

10. The Grateful Dead.

© 2024 King Features Synd., Inc.

14 T he C oas T N ews - I N la N d e d ITI o N April 26, 2024
EXT. 257 TRIVIA TEST #12345_20240422 FOR RELEASE APRIL 22, 2024 By Fifi Rodriguez 1. LITERATURE: What are the names of the four sisters in “Little Women”? 2. U.S. STATES: Which northeastern state has a desert? 3. MOVIES: Which long-running movie series features the character Legolas? 4. ANATOMY: What does the lacrimal gland produce? 5. GEOGRAPHY: Ellesmere Island belongs to which nation? 6. SCIENCE: Which of the human senses is most closely related to memory? 7. LANGUAGE: What does the Latin phrase “ad meliora” mean? 8. TELEVISION: Which TV sitcom features a mom named Rainbow Johnson? 9. THEATER: Who wrote the play “A Little Night Music”? 10. MUSIC: Which alternative rock band went by the name of The Warlocks before becoming famous? Answers 1. Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. 2. The 40-acre Desert of Maine. 3. “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” trilogies. 4. Tears. 5. Canada. 6. Smell. 7. “Toward better things.” 8. “Black-ish.” 9. Stephen Sondheim. 10. The Grateful Dead. © 2024 King Features Synd., Inc. FROM KING FEATURES WEEKLY SERVICE, 628 Virginia Drive, Orlando, FL 32803 CUSTOMER SERVICE: 800-708-7311 EXT. 257 TRIVIA TEST #12345_20240422 FOR RELEASE APRIL 22, 2024 By Fifi Rodriguez 1. LITERATURE: What are the names of the four sisters in “Little Women”? 2. U.S. STATES: Which northeastern state has a desert? 3. MOVIES: Which long-running movie series features the character Legolas? 4. ANATOMY: What does the -lacri mal gland produce? 5. GEOGRAPHY: Ellesmere Island belongs to which nation? 6. SCIENCE: Which of the human senses is most closely related to -mem ory? 7. LANGUAGE: What does the -Lat in phrase “ad meliora” mean? 8. TELEVISION: Which TV sitcom features a mom named Rainbow -John son? 9. THEATER: Who wrote the play “A Little Night Music”? 10. MUSIC: Which alternative rock band went by the name of The -War
Answers 1. Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. 2. The 40-acre Desert of Maine. 3. “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” trilogies. 4. Tears. 5. Canada. 6. Smell.
better things.” 8. “Black-ish.” 9.
Sondheim. 10. The
The Grateful Dead. © 2024 King Features Synd., Inc.
Virginia Drive, Orlando, FL
locks before becoming famous?
7. “Toward
King Features Synd., Inc.

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encampment bans in Grants Pass, Oregon.

The Grants Pass case centers on whether cities should be able to fine or jail individuals for sleeping on public land when there is not adequate shelter space available. Franklin said he didn’t believe the Supreme Court decision would have a large bearing on a proposed local policy since the city is not proposing to cite individuals if shelter is available.

Other council members said they preferred to wait for the outcome of the Grants Pass decision — expected at the end of June — to be safe and research the specifics of the proposed restrictions.

Council members who supported the motion said they generally supported banning encampments within two blocks of schools and shelters and a certain distance from playgrounds.

The proposed restrictions and many of Franklin’s comments elicited concern from individuals who said they would further criminalize homelessness and be ineffective in actually helping people become housed. Several individuals from the San Diego County organization Lived Experience Advisers spoke about their own experiences with homelessness

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and the need for compassion.

Rachel Hayes said she was homeless in San Diego for 10 years before recently being connected to permanent supportive housing. While out on the street, she said she was in “24/7 survival mode” due to the trauma and having to be aware of her surroundings constantly.

“If you are a human being, you have to be somewhere,” Hayes said. “I saw the start of the encampment ban, and it was cruel and unusual punishment. It destroyed my community … An encampment ban is just a way to harass and criminalize the homeless.”

Natalie Rashki, who said she previously lived out of her car with her four children and husband in San Diego County, challenged Franklin’s assertions that the city should focus on those who say yes to shelter. She said there are many reasons why women and families choose not to go into shelter spaces.

“Just because we become homeless doesn’t mean we take whatever you have to offer. There’s a lot of factors that go into trauma and dignity,” Rashki said.

Others noted that even though the city’s new low-barrier Buena Creek Navigation Center, which opened in March, is better than many other shelter op-

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tions, it can only house so many people.

Capt. John Boyce of the Vista Sheriff’s Station said deputies are focused on providing resources to unhoused individuals. Boyce said citation and arrest are a last resort for individuals who refuse services, refuse to leave a restricted area or pose a safety threat.

“We are not going to arrest ourselves out of this unhoused issue,” Boyce told the council.

Councilmember Joe Green said the definition of “encampment” needs to be clarified, asking whether it includes anyone laying down or setting up a blanket in a park. He said he would not favor banning camping in public parks during the day.

“I don’t want to 86 an entire park because there’s a lot of green space, there’s a lot of trails,” Green said.

Deputy Mayor Katie Melendez agreed.

“I have lots of concerns about punishing people sleeping in the parks. I would hate to enforce something that is not for safety, and just appears to be for safety, but is actually restricting the freedom of our community,” she said.

Melendez also mentioned the possibility of establishing a safe camping site, similar to what is offered in San Diego, where

residents can go while awaiting space in a shelter.

Franklin lambasted this suggestion, saying it would establish an equivalent of Skid Row in Vista.

Contreras shared concerns that a two-block radius banning encampments near schools would infringe upon private property rights, stating that some individuals may choose to allow safe camping areas on their private property.

“I would rather us speak with certainty when we look at the possibility of somebody’s private property being encroached,” Contreras

said. “I don’t want to rush into something that we have zero clarity on.”

After discussing the encampment ban, the council voted 3-1-1 to table Franklin’s proposed policy statement on homelessness. Franklin opposed postponing his statement, and Melendez abstained.

The statement emphasized that the city prioritizes homeless individuals in Vista to receive services before residents of other cities and stated that a housing-first approach is ineffective and removes funding from sober shelter facilities.

Franklin said the policy also recognized that addiction is a major driver of chronic homelessness.

The language in the policy also drew concerns from residents, stating that it stigmatized homelessness and those who have substance use disorders. Some objected to the use of the word “transient.”

“The proposed policy statement fundamentally misunderstands the nature of both homelessness and addiction,” said Michael Bronner, president of Vista-based national soap company Dr. Bronner’s.

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