Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Please Support our GoFundMe Campaign to Protect our Wildlife

We have learned that the Oak Creek project now includes long 5-foot high glass walls next to the sensitive habitat on the site.  This is untenable!  These wall will cause the death of many birds that will collide with the glass walls.  Collisions with windows and glass surfaces cause the death of millions of birds each year.  We have to stand up for wildlife!  Please consider supporting our GoFundMe campaign.  Any amount will help a lot.
Local wildlife brings so much beauty to our lives, it needs our support!  Please check it out!


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

ENU proposes revisions to new Oak Creek Proposed Plan Alt4

Escondido Neighbors United (ENU) learned of NUWI's request to change the Oak Creek plan to  NUWI New Proposal Alt 4 last month. While the new plan removes homes from near the freeway, it merely concentrates those homes into the farmland/open space worsening the impacts we are so concerns about.  We met and discussed this proposal and developed a request for revisions and have communicated it to the city.  ENU Request for Revisions to Oak Creek Plan 
Our ENU Reduced Density Alternative A  is our attempt to find a solution that will address some, but not all, of our concerns.    ENU Plan A significantly reduces loss of Oak Trees, impacts to wildlife habitat, impacts to water quality and quantity of runoff, impacts to community character, and traffic. We appreciate city staff's willingness to meet with us.  We believe our proposed revisions could form a compromise that would address many community concerns and allow the developers to do a project.

We hope everyone has a Gratitude filled weekend.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Chatham Barrel Yard Tops READER List of most Polluted sites

Released today READER San Diego Most Polluted Sites and Chatham has the dubious honor of being first on a list of terrible pollution issues. A must read.  Please stay engaged on all of these issues.  They all need an engaged and diligent public voice in the debate if we are ever to secure a change in the status quo.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

ENU Requests Revisions to Felicita Park Users Notice, Supports Clean Water Act Rule for ephemeral streams

Escondido Neighbors United filed two letters this week that you may be interested in.

1.  ENU Request for Revised Notice to Park Users  We requested a revision to the Notice to Park Users.   Escondido Neighbors United requests that DTSC revise the Notice to Park Users to state that normal exposure is anticipated to pose a low risk or even a very small risk under expected user patterns, instead of stating a categorical “no” risk under any use conditions. 
Although the regulatory agencies are using the drinking water standards (ingestion risks) for the cleanup, there are also dermal and inhalation risks.

2.  ENU joined 56 environmental, environental justice, and community organizations to Clean Water Act Rule Comment letter  This is an important rule-making effort on the part of Federal EPA to ensure that headwaters, ephemeral, and intermittant streams are protected under the Clean Water Act.  We have these waterbodies in Escondido and they need protection.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Free Bird Walk this Saturday with Palomar Audubon Society

Our local Palomar Audubon Society offers free birding walks in some of the best birding areas in our County. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned birder, you are welcome to join in.
The next one is close to us.
Saturday, November 8 at 8:30 am Tom Trowbridge will lead a walk at Lake Hodges East and Bernardo Bay area.  Meet at the Ed Brown Senior Center at 18402 West Bernardo Drive.  You will see things you have never seen before, we promise! And, you'll have a wonderful morning with our local wildlife and natural areas.

Fun Event to Bring in the Holidays

The holidays will soon be upon us.  Here is an event that you might be interested in in Escondido.

The Women of St. Timothy,
Christmas Boutique and Bake Sale November 8th and 9th.
Saturday from 12- 7pm and Sunday from 8am to 1pm
Church of St. Timothy is located at 2960 Canyon Road, Escondido
They will be offering handmade gifts, food, and many other items.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Please Remember to Vote Tomorrow Nov. 4th

Tomorrow is the day that the future course of our city will be set for the next 4 years and beyond.  It is important that every voice be heard.  We wanted to re-post some past blogs relevant to the election tomorrow as they relate to the goals of ENU.

Olga Diaz Supports ENU and Community Goals 

Mayor Abed fails to comply with environmental rules

It is significant that we requested meetings will all Councilmembers  and Olga Diaz was the only one who agreed to meet with us.  When you vote please remember who has demonstrated openness to learning about and considering our issues.

If you want more information on endorsements and how to vote and where, Escondido 2014 has a lot of good information worth reading.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween News: World's Largest Bat Colony Saved TODAY!

Every now and there there is some GREAT news on the environment!
We just learned that Bat Conservation International has helped save the largest Bat colony in the world.  Largest Bat Colony Saved!  The Executive Director is a friend of ours.  If you love bats, maybe you want to join Bat Conservation International.


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Escondido Mayor Abed failed to comply with water quality regulations--Implications for Escondido

Issues around water quality and regulation continue to worsen here in Escondido.   Please review this important information regarding Escondido Mayor Sam Abed's violation of the stormwater permits    Escondido 2014.  

This is serious and is very troubling for the region. Please watch the video clip at the end which includes the comments of  Mayor Abed and then Deputy Mayor Marie Waldron (now in the Assembly) about their views on the stormwater permit and regulation.  This a key reason we have lost confidence in the city’s ability to achieve compliance with stormwater regulations.  We thank the Regional Board for their diligent action in investigating this issue

This information has major ramifications on the water quality goals of Escondido Neighbors United.

1.    We learned late last week that the Oak Creek developers have changed their project to locate even more homes on to sensitive lands next to Felicita Creek.  We have raised repeated concerns about how stormwater is planned for that project.  More homes closer to the creek means more hardening and more runoff potential.  Now, those impacts will be even worse.    In our comments on the DEIR, we raised several concerns about the future enforcement of standards.  The environmental review of that project stated repeatedly that impacts would not occur from the project because there would be compliance with the stormwater regulations.  We are not so sure.

2.   Now we learn that Mayor Sam Abed, the leader of the city, has failed to comply with stormwater quality laws and is currently subject to an on-going investigation by the Water Quality Control Board regarding his paving is property at 540 W. Grand Ave. This evidence of his lack of commitment to our important water quality and environmental laws should be of concern to everyone in our region.    The Mayor's disregard of regulations has financial impacts as well-- creating unfair competition and costs all of us, the city, the state, additional money to  bring him into compliance. 

3.   The source of the violations is clear in Mayor Abed's comments about his lack of respect and commitment to stormwater regulations when he offered his opinions in January, 2011 in excerpt--: For me, I’ve seen this several times. It’s another mandate…the EPA has a history of over regulation....there is no question of the over-regulation in this..." …the most cost effective way is mother nature, that will take care of it without regulation without paperwork…”  (emphasis added)

There are many troubling aspects to these statements.  Since Mayor Abed is in a position of leadership, he has a responsibility to learn how the environment actually works.  The reason Mother Nature can’t ‘take care of it’ herself is that we are constantly paving it over—hardening the surface with parking lots and development causing pollution and runoff to flow off the sites which in turn erodes our creeks and degrades our water quality.  Because of this, we all pay the price of polluted water, stream erosion, and flooding.  If the EPA had been over-regulating, we would have clean water now!  The reason the stormwater permit continues to get more stringent is that we are under-regulating and, in this case, under-complying. 

This has only heightened our significant concerns about the runoff issues in Escondido.  As it, now stands we cannot rely on the city  to secure and ensure compliance with the stormwater rules for new development.   There are many such developments proposed for Escondido, such as at Oak Creek, Amanda Estates, Safari Highlands Ranch, and others that will need very strong implementation of stormwater requirements or our environment and water quality will suffer.   
Mayor Abed does not seem to understand the critical role the stormwater pollution permit has in cleaning up our local waters.   That he, himself, does not comply is a significant problem and sends a troubling message about his commitment to environmental protection rules. 

We urge the Mayor to take the time to get educated on water quality and environmental issues-- and comply with them-- so that we can all have more confidence in the actions of the city he leads as we face more and more development threats to our water quality in the region.

As for the regulators, we actually agree with Ms. Waldron who speaks at the end of the video clip, the Water Board is government at its finest, we appreciate the Water Board's firm hand and diligence in upholding and defending our water quality regulations.  We urge the Water Board to continue to ensure compliance at this site.  We will have additional recommendations soon about future actions the Board should take to ensure full-compliance in Escondido.

More later. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Channel 10 update story on contamination in Felicita Creek

Yesterday, Channel 10 ran a story on the posting of the Notice to Park Users in Felicita Park.
Channel 10 on signs in Felicita Creek  We would like to thank Channel 10 for continuing to cover this story and in helping achieve this result.  Escondido Neighbors United will continue our work to ensure that the public is aware of the issue.  More importantly, we will continue our work to secure cleanup of the creek as our top priority.

We want to ensure that every kid who wants to play in the creek can do so.
It is the promise of the Clean Water Act.
It is our commitment too.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Felicita Park NOTICE TO PARK VISITORS released by DTSC- ENU recommendations

In response to Escondido Neighbors United and community requests, Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) released a Notice to Park Visitor on their website regarding the contamination in Felicita Creek.

We are happy to see that a notice has finally been offered and we will be looking to the County to ensure that it is posted where the visiting public can see it.  This Notice is a commitment the DTSC made to the public at the September 30, 3014 public meeting and we appreciate their following through on this.

While we are glad the information in some form is being provided to the general public, there are a couple points that the reader should keep in mind-- especially regarding potential risks.

ENU Requests revision of language in Notice regarding risks from the contamination
As the Notice states, the evidence shows that the level of volatile organic compounds, (VOCs) in the creek exceed the cleanup levels of the Maximum Contaminant Levels or MCLs.  These are the agreed upon cleanup levels for the Chatham pollution.  The Notice goes on to state that there are no risks and it will not cause any health concerns.  To say, so uncategorically, that there are no risks, in our view, overstates the situation.  It is surprising, given the uncertainties and unknowns of the exposures, individual differences, chemical concentrations, modeling, changes in cancer slopes etc... that DTSC affirmatively states that there is no risk.

Our understanding is that where 1) a contaminant that impacts health is present and 2) a pathway of exposure exists—then a risk of  impact exists.  It may not be a high or even a medium risk but how an individual reacts to exposure to a chemical is a large unknown and cannot be fully predicted.  The creek is only measured every 4-6 months so the levels could go up and down during that time.  There are also more than one contaminant in the creek and people of all ages, pregnant women, children may be exposed to the creek.  There are many uncertainties related to risk and exposure.  Even the DTSC Human Health Risk Memo discusses conditions of use under which there may be potential risks. However, the Memo fails to acknowledge that the pools near FC-7 (the most southern monitoring location) are not the only pools that children play in. The area near the northern playground, and the highest monitoring results, also has pools and water year round. Felicita Park is not only a Park that people occasionally visit, but it is the 'backyard' to lots of homes and families and there are people who use it every day.

Further, it is important to know that MCL is not the "safe" level.   But, rather there is a significant cost-benefit analysis used to set the MCL based on risk and cost.


It is somewhat confusing that DTSC makes hard and absolute statements about some aspects of the site even where uncertainties exist and equivocates on others.

The Notice states that contamination in the creek is ‘likely caused’ by the Chatham Barrel Yard.  If based on all of the accumulated data and knowledge of the site history, hydrogeology, and cleanup actions, DTSC is unable to state the source of the contamination is from the former Chatham Brothers Barrel Yard, it is unclear why are the agency seems more certain of the risk where far less evidence exists to make the claim.  We would suggest that it would be in the public's best interest if DTSC would be consistent with its disclosure of uncertainties. 

We suggest that DTSC revise the Notice to State that normal exposure is anticipated to pose a very low risk or even a very, very low risk instead of stating-- what cannot be proved-- “no” risk. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Escondido Alliance/ Alianza Escondido NEW EDITION Features election and Felicita Creek

Our monthly Escondido local newspaper has released its Election Edition.  Please take a look.  You'll also find an article on our own Felicita Creek-- A Creek Worthy of our Affection--and Protection! Check it out!
Escondido Alliance Latest Edition

Monday, October 20, 2014

Just in Time for Halloween-- NATIONAL FOOD DAY-- October 24th

Something just for fun...and for health.  You might be interested in National Food Day which is celebrated around the country on October 24th.  Learn more here. National Food Day Website.  Food Day has an amazing collection of political and organizational support and a clear platform of action.  You can find a Food Day event near you on the website. There will be one at the World Beat Center in Balboa Park as well. We have a super-delicious Carrot Soup recipe we'll share later.Here is what they are working on

Food Day Priorities

Food Day's national priorities address overarching concerns within the food system and provide common ground for building the food movement. Food Day aims to:
  • Promote safer, healthier diets: The foods we eat should promote, not undermine, our good health. Yet, every year we spend more than $150 billion on obesity-related health care costs, plus another $73 billion in reduced productivity.
  • Support sustainable and organic farms: Currently, sustainable farms receive little to no federal support and often lack market access to keep them competitive. Meanwhile, the largest 10 percent of industrialized farms—which contribute to poor health and severe environmental degradation—receive 75 percent of all farm subsidies.
  • Reduce hunger and improve food access: Currently, around 50 million Americans are considered "food insecure", or near hunger, and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) participation is at an all-time high. SNAP is vital to reducing hunger, but the program’s budget is under constant attack while federal measures to increase food access are minimal.
  • Reform factory farms to protect the environment and farm animals: Today, most farm animals are confined in “factory farms”—sometimes containing as many as 50,000-100,000 cattle, hens, or pigs. These practices result in needless animal abuse and illness, environmental degradation, and harm the people who live in and around those facilities.
  • Support fair working conditions for food and farm workers: 20 million workers throughout the U.S. food system harvest, process, ship, sell, cook, and serve the food we eat every day. And yet, many farmworkers earn well below poverty levels while the tipped minimum wage for restaurant servers has remained at $2.13 per hour for the last 21 years.
Click on the priorities for facts, resources, and actions you can take to help work towards a healthy, sustainable, affordable, and fair food system!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Vote NO on PROP G-Escondido Charter proposal on November 4th

Escondido Neighbors United urges Escondido voters to VOTE NO ON PROP G- The Escondido Charter City proposition.  Not all Charters are all bad, but this proposal is not in the interest of the people of Escondido.  Here is a good analysis by Charter Watch Escondido Charter Watch which outlines the many arguments against Prop G.
Please remember to Vote by November 4th and Vote NO on Prop G.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Deputy Mayor Olga Diaz Supports Community Goals of Civic Engagement and Environmental Safety

We have important news!  Olga Diaz, a candidate for Mayor of Escondido, has stated her support for important community goals.  In a time when it is common to feel like elected officials don't listen to the community- we are lucky in Escondido to have a representative like Deputy Mayor Olga Diaz. When we first approached her, she was willing to meet, discuss, ask questions.  She took the time to listen to local folks, learned about the issues, and is supporting Escondido Neighbors United Goals for our Felicita area.  Please see this flyer. Olga Diaz Support Community Goals
We are so lucky to have her in office!  We will be even more lucky when she is elected MAYOR OF ESCONDIDO.  Please support candidates like Olga Diaz who support the community.  You can learn more about her at www.olgadiaz.com.  If you have your absentee ballot--please fill it out and VOTE. If you don't vote absentee, please remember to VOTE NOVEMBER 4th.
Elections matter.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Escondido Neighbors Follow up Letter to DTSC

Here is our letter following up to DTSC.ENU to DTSC Oct 2  We will keep you posted.
Have a great weekend!

Letter from Supervisor Dave Roberts

Here is a letter on the Chatham site from Supervisor Dave Roberts who is providing thoughtful leadership on the important issue. Letter from Supervisor Dave Roberts dated Sept. 29th, 2014. This is a complex site and there is room for many perspectives.  Supervisor Roberts is skillfully leading the dialog on this situation and we are very grateful.

Watch this Fox5 Story on Chatham

We're catching up after a busy, busy time...here is another great story on the Chatham issue--this one my Fox Channel 5.  See here Fox5 Story on Chatham
Check it out!  Thanks Channel 5!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

REMINDER Public Meeting TONIGHT on Chatham Barrel Yard Cleanup 6:30pm at the Center for the Arts Escondido

Please attend and help us cleanup our Park and Neighborhood!

It’s Time for More Action on Chatham
 Residents to Request New Strategy for Cleaning up State Superfund Site
at Tuesday Meeting in Escondido

The meeting will be held, Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 6:30-9:00 pm at the California Center for the Arts Escondido, 340 N. Escondido Blvd., Escondido.

Please attend this meeting Meeting info

The Chatham Barrel Yard, located at 2257 Bernardo Avenue in southwest Escondido, is the largest site in the region contaminated with toxic chlorinated hydrocarbon pollution.  Pollution at Chatham was discovered in the 1980s and it was deemed so highly contaminated that it was designated a ‘State Superfund’ site.  Over 11,000 tons of highly toxic soil was removed from the site and a groundwater treatment system was put into operation at the site. 

However, during the past several decades, plumes of contamination from the site have migrated in groundwater over a mile from the site (see map.) Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the site have contaminated local water wells and groundwater. 

The plumes are also discharging pollution into Felicita Creek at levels that violate water quality plans.  The contaminated plumes are now under most of Felicita Park, existing homes, and farmland   In addition, the plumes are migrating to the south in the direction of Lake Hodges, a drinking water storage area.

This is a tragic situation that has not been resolved in almost 20 years of remedial action.  In spite of the significant off-yard contamination problems, no active cleanup of the plume has occurred.   Local resident Ryan Salazar stated, “We have waited long enough and I would like to see the Department of Toxic Substances require more action.  It is time to do more, before it gets worse.”    Residents will be calling for a new strategy for cleanup.

The meeting will be held, Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 6:30-9:00 pm at the California Center for the Arts Escondido, 340 N. Escondido Blvd., Escondido.

Escondido Neighbors United formed this year in response to environmental and community issues in the Escondido area.  Our mission is to advance protection of communities, protection of natural resources, ensure sustainable planning and development, secure cleanup of contamination, and support of environmental justice in the Escondido area. www.escondidoneighbors.org or follow @EscoNeighbors on Twitter.


Monday, September 29, 2014

Watch CHANNEL 10 NEWS Report on Chatham Barrel Yard Contamination

Watch this fantastic in-depth reporting on the Chatham Site.  10news Investigates Toxic Chemicals in Creek, Park, Wells  Please join Escondido Neighbors United at the Public meeting tomorrow, Sept. 30 at 6:30 pm at the Center for the Arts Escondido.  We need more Action on Chatham!!!  Thanks Channel 10 for covering this important issue!

FINAL REMINDER Oak Creek Comments due TODAY by 5pm

Please remember to file your comments to TODAY!!!

Mr. Bill Martin, Principal Planner
City of Escondido, Planning Division
201 North Broadway
Escondido, CA 92025-2798

Fax 760-839-4313   bmartin@escondido.org

Friday, September 26, 2014

Comments DUE MONDAY on Oak Creek Housing DEIR . Please comment

Just a quick reminder that MONDAY SEPT. 29TH 5 pm is the deadline for commenting on the DEIR for the Oak Creek housing development.  Please comment on any concerns you have about the project or improvements you would like to see.  ENU is also supporting a better alternative that reduces traffic, protects wildlife, reduces traffic, and is consistent with community character...Oak PARK Alternative.  Here is a link to some of our concerns and alternatives for the project.
Issues and Alternatives to Oak Creek

Please take time to read about this and comment on it.  Your Neighborhood needs your Input!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

REMINDER Candidate Forum Tonight! Come ask questions of the Escondido Candidates

I know we've had a lot of meetings lately, but this is a dynamic and critically important time in the future of our City!  A lot will be determined by the results of the next election.  Our future is hanging in the balance.  Come tonight to City Hall Council Chambers and hear from the candidates for Districts 1 and 2 and the Mayor's race.  Submit questions to be asked!!!  Here is our opportunity to get our issues the attention they need!  6pm tonight!!!!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

REMINDER Public Meeting MONDAY at 6pm on Oak Creek Housing development

Just a quick reminder about the Escondido Public Meeting tomorrow
Monday, September 22, 6 PM:  Escondido Public Meeting on Oak Creek Housing Development Draft EIR in Council Chambers, 201 North Broadway. 

 Please attend.   This is a good opportunity to learn about the project, ask questions, and provide input.  
ENU does not support the project as currently proposed.  Come and urge the city and the developers to work on a less dense alternative that is more appropriate for the area. We are hoping that improvements will be made so that the project impacts on the neighbors, future residents, and the environment will be reduced.  Please see our Action Alert here http://escondidoneighborsunited.blogspot.com/2014/09/action-alert-please-attend-public.html

Friday, September 19, 2014

Support Escondido Alliance Event September 24- 5-8PM

Escondido Alliance is a local, bi-lingual monthly newspaper focused on issues in Escondido area. They are sponsoring an event premiering a photo-documentary at the Municpal Gallery in downtown Escondido.   Event is on Sept 24th.  Check out Escondido Alliance  for more information.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Chatham Barrel Yard Fact Sheet Released, Public Meeting set

Here is a copy of the new Fact Sheet on the Chatham Barrel Yard received today from Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) Chatham 2014 Fact Sheet.
While we appreciate that DTSC states that they are directing the PRP Group to "investigate potential contaminant migration pathways from the Yard to Felicita Creek in an effort to stop or decrease the release of site contaminants to the creek", we will be calling on DTSC to direct them not only to 'investigate pathways', but to actually take action.  We now know that TCE and other contaminants have been known and measured to be discharging into Felicita Creek since 1995. Twenty years is long enough to know that we need to do more!
Further, we are very disappointed that the Fact Sheet does not show the size or the migration of the off-site plumes. Most disappointing, it does not appear that DTSC is planning to direct any additional cleanup measures to actively clean up and stop migration of the contaminated plumes as they move through our neighborhoods.
Here is a graphic we developed based on the contour maps in the record that shows the size and migration of the 10 and 100 ppb contours. Change in Chatham related plumes 1997-2014.
It is important to remember that the level is supposed to be achieved through remediation is 5 ppb for TCE and 6 ppb for PCE.  None of this contamination is supposed to be discharging into Felicita Creek.

We will have more comments on this but we wanted to make sure you all had this information.  We urge everyone to look into this issue and attend the meeting on September 30!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

ENU September Update with Key Dates and Events

Escondido Neighbors United
September 2014 Update

Hi Everyone,

We hope you are able to stay cool in the heat.  Everyone is back to school, and a lot is going on this month.  We wanted to update you on several of our projects.  If you want to share this update with others, you can find a printable copy here: ENU September Update

This month, we have been busy reviewing the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the Oak Creek project.  The public comment period will close Sept 29, so please look at the document and comment to the city.  There are several serious problems with it.  Due to the close proximity of the site to the Park, we think an expansion of Felicita Park (supported by goals in our local County Subarea plan) should be included in any adopted plan.   Further, we don’t think that homes should be put in areas where there are potential health risks to future residents,  all data on contamination should be available, and any clean up implemented before projects are reviewed or approved.   

We are proposing an alternative that includes an expanded park, healthful housing locations, reduced traffic impacts, and housing.  

We did a couple tours of the area with local residents and our County Supervisor Dave Roberts.  We discussed areas of impact and several issues facing our area.  We have produced, courtesy of our wonderful member, some graphics showing the movement of the plumes.   We have also responded to multiple media requests for information about the site so, Stay Tuned!  There is a public meeting on this topic set for September 30, 2014.  See info below.

We have collected over 200 signatures on our petition demanding More Action on Chatham!

We received a response from City Manager Clay Phillips to our recommendation on public participation.  The City also agreed to hold a public meeting on Oak Creek and requested a public meeting from DTSC on Chatham.  These are all positive steps and we appreciate them.  We still wish the city’s website was user friendly and that automatic notification would occur and we will seek a meeting with city official to discuss.

ENU continues to try to secure a ‘Priority designation’ for Felicita Creek in the San Dieguito Water Quality Improvement Plan (WQIP).  There will be another consultation committee meeting at the end of October on this issue.  We have requested a meeting with City Stormwater staff .  We will share more information on this as we receive it.

There are several opportunities for community and civic engagement this month.  

1.     Oak Creek Analysis Needs Improvement

September 22, 6 PM:  Escondido Public Meeting on Oak Creek Housing Development Draft EIR in Council Chambers, 201 North Broadway. 

This is a good opportunity to learn about the project, ask questions, and provide input.  ENU does not support the project as currently proposed.  We are hoping that improvements will be made so that the project impacts on the neighbors, future residents, and the environment will be reduced.  Please see our Action Alert here http://escondidoneighborsunited.blogspot.com/2014/09/action-alert-please-attend-public.html

2.     Talk to the Candidates: 

September 25, 6 PM:  Escondido Candidate Forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters in Council Chambers, 201 North Broadway.

A great opportunity to learn about the candidates for Mayor and City council in this critical election year. http://escondidoneighborsunited.blogspot.com/2014/09/escondido-candidates-forum.html

3.     The Future of our Neighborhood Needs Your Input!   

Monday, September 29, 5PM:  Comments due on the DEIR for Oak Creek. 

You can file electronic email or written letter with:

Mr. Bill Martin, City of Escondido, Planning Division, 201 North Broadway, Escondido, CA 92025-2798, Fax 760-839-4313   bmartin@escondido.org  

Here is the Executive Summary https://www.escondido.org/Data/Sites/1/media/pdfs/Planning/oakcreek/CD/VolI-Chapter1-ExecutiveSummary.pdf  and comment to the city on your position. 

4.     We Need More Action on Chatham!

Tuesday, Sept 30, 2014, 6:30-9:00 pm:   CHATHAM BARREL YARD PUBLIC MEETING  California Center for the Arts Escondido, 340 N. Escondido Blvd

Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) and Regional Water Board will hold an informational meeting on the status of the remediation of the Chatham Barrel Yard. During the past several decades, the plumes of contamination have migrated in groundwater over a mile from the site and have contaminated local domestic water wells and groundwater.  The plumes are also discharging pollution into Felicita Creek in violation of water quality plans. 

Please join ENU in making the following requests:
·        DTSC require additional actions to actively remediate pollution in groundwater and stop discharges to Felicita Creek.
·        County designate Felicita Creek as a Priority for Action in its Water Quality Improvement Plan.
·        Post of signs in Felicita Park about the presence of pollution in the creek so that users can make informed decisions.
·        Update Health Risk Assessment to reflect new standards and conditions.
·        Create a Community Technical Review Committee that meets regularly to improve communication and understanding about contamination from the site.  

If you want to share this update with others, you can find a printable copy here: ENU September Update

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Escondido Candidates Forum Thursday,SEPTEMBER 25TH. 6-9 pm

Hear from local candidates for office in this important Escondido Candidates Forum hosted by the League of Women Voters.  Ask candidates about issues important to you.  The Forum will be held Thursday, September 25 in the Escondido City Council Chambers at 6:00. Escondido Candidate Forum Flyer  Learn more and hear from our local candidates!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

San Diego Water Board Response to Chatham recent Monitoring Report

IMPORTANT. Here is yesterday's response from the Regional Water Board to DTSC about the recent submittal on Chatham. Water Board July 10 2014 Response Letter  There is some important information in here that supports several of the comments made in our Escondido Neighbors United comment letter ENU Comment Letter on July 11, 2014 submittal.

Among many important comments, the Water Board recommends and affirms that:

  • Contamination trends are increasing in downgradient wells;
  • Site related constituents continue to discharge to Felicita Creek above water quality objectives;
  • TCE is not the only site contaminant of concern and others should be plotted;
  • Well owners with detected contamination must be notified quickly;
  • DTSC should require more investigation and evaluate actions to stop the discharge into Felicita Creek;
  • Discharges to the Creek are causing direct human and ecological exposure to site related constituents;
  • Additional wells, including near the school, should be sampled;
  • decades to centuries was not the agreed to timeframe for the remedy to work; 
  • Process of natural attenuation is not yet proved; and,
  • The Chatham PRP Group continues to be in violation of discharge prohibitions of the Basin Plan.

PLEASE REVIEW if you are interested in this site!  We remain very grateful to the Water Board's involvement in this issue and for continuing to engage and stand up for water quality in our region!
A public meeting is expected SEPTEMBER 30, 2014.  We will share more information when we receive it.

A fun thing to do: Wren Nest Box Building with the Escondido Creek Conservancy

If you're looking for a fun activity for the family, try building  a nest box for wrens.  Place near your organic garden and they will keep the insects down! Sept 21 at 3:00 pm See info here  wren-box-building-workshop 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Action Alert Please Attend Public Meeting on Oak Creek Housing Development Sept 22 6 pm

Here is an action alert about the September 22 6 pm Public Meeting on the DEIR for Oak Creek. We hope you will attend.  Please come and share your questions and views.  We appreciate the city providing this opportunity.

Escondido Neighbors United

Action Alert

Public Meeting
Oak Creek Housing Development and Annexation
Monday, September 22, 2014
6:00 pm
Escondido City Council Chambers
Escondido will hold a public meeting on the findings and comments of the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for Oak Creek.  Oak Creek is a proposal by Santa-Monica developers to build 65 homes in a gated community on existing open space and farmland adjacent to Felicita Park on the ‘duck pond’ property in a rural area.  It will annex over 40-acres to the city.

Escondido Neighbors United (ENU) has the following objections to the project.
·         New homes should not be built on contaminated or unhealthful areas for future residents.
·         New homes should not be built or permitted while area is in a major drought.
·         Project is too dense for the rural character of the area.
·         The City should not annex contaminated land.
·         Impacts to the mature native trees, creek, and habitat should be avoided.
·         Loss of over 25 acres of quality farmland.
·         New development should require state-of-the-art energy efficiency, solar, and low-impact design features to reduce stormwater pollution.
·         Flooding and traffic increases are underestimated in the DEIR.

We OPPOSE Oak Creek as proposed. 
ENU supports cleanup of the site and
use for a significant expansion of Felicita Park.
Comments are due on Sept 29, 2014 to Mr. Bill Martin, Principal Planner, City of Escondido, Planning Division, 201 North Broadway, Escondido, CA 92025-2798,Fax 760-839-4313   bmartin@escondido.org

Please join us.  Visit our Website for more information www.escondidoneighbors.org

Saturday, September 6, 2014

County Upgrades Felicita Park, ENU repeats call for Creek Cleanup

We all know that Felicita Park is a jewel in the North County.  The County agrees and celebrated significant upgrades to is for wedding and playground use in an event yesterday.  This video, featuring our own Kate Orf, tells about the upgrades. County Park Upgrade video  This commitment of the County to Felicita Park is ever more reason why the contamination issues in Felicita Creek need to be addressed and soon.  Felicita Park, and its users, deserve a safe and clean place to enjoy nature.  We continue our request for Felicita Park to be designated as a high-priority water body in the County and City's Water Quality Improvement Plan.   This is a problem we can fix and we should take action now.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Public Meeting announced on Oak Creek Draft Environmental Impact Report Sept. 22

The City has tentatively planned a public meeting for Monday evening, September 22 in the Council Chambers.  Everyone is urged to attend and put your comments on the record.
Please tell your friends and neighbors!!!!
Here is the text of the City Manager's report from August 27, 2014
Oak Creek (NUW) – The public review period for the Draft EIR is underway, with comments due on 9/29/14. The document is posted on the City’s website at the following link  http://www.escondido.org/Data/Sites/1/media/pdfs/Planning/oakcreek/CD/INDEX_-_Report_Navigatoin.pdf 
In response to requests from community members, a neighborhood meeting has been tentatively scheduled for Monday evening, 9/22/14, in the City Council Chambers to discuss the project and the findings of the Draft EIR.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Support Compassion in Escondido-Support the ACLU appeal on housing children in need

The San Diego ACLU has appealed the Escondido Planning Commission denial of a Conditional Use permit to house unaccompanied immigrant children.  The City Council is expected to hear this on Sept 10th.   Please look into this issue and send a letter to the Mayor and Council asking them to approve the permit. Here is More Information.
This issue is one of many litmus tests regarding what kind of city we want to be-- exclusive and callous or inclusive and compassionate.
You can find the emails and contact info for the Mayor and Council emails.  (Scroll down)
The ACLU examined numerous arguments made against approving the youth care facility and addressed each one; the key points are included here:
  • Residential character: The proposed facility would have the same number of residents and provide services similar to the previous use. In fact, the neighborhood would be improved by preventing the vacant building from becoming an eyesore due to decay or vandalism.
  • Traffic: The youth shelter would generate less traffic than the previous use, and the Escondido city staff’s report raised no concerns about traffic.
  • Parking: The commission’s general concerns did not address how 53 parking spaces would prove inadequate, or why any concerns could not be addressed through appropriate and reasonable conditions.
  • Security: Since the police department’s statement on the youth facility said there were “[n]o apparent law enforcement concerns at this time,” and requested—and Southwest Key agreed to—only that a 6-foot fence be constructed, there is no plausible basis for the commission’s statement that “the fencing for the site appears inadequate for the anticipated security needs of the proposed facility,” especially given the undisputed fact that only 0.004 percent of approximately 9000 children served by Southwest Key made unauthorized departures in the previous year.
  • Noise: The Escondido city staff’s report raised no concerns about increased noise, and acknowledged that most of the activities would occur indoors; outdoor recreation would take place at nearby parks and schools.
  • Size: The commission inexplicably determined that the proposed facility had “too many people” in “too small a space” but gave no reason to believe that the staff or resident population would be greater than the previous use.  The proposed facility would have no more residents than the nursing home had.

Friday, August 29, 2014

City Manager Letter in response to ENU public participation recommendations

Our thanks to City Manager Clay Phillips for responding to the ENU letter of  recommendations for improving public participation in Escondido.  You can see his letter here City Manager Letter to ENU August 11.
It is good news to hear that there will be a public meeting during the comment period for Oak Creek! We hope to learn the date soon and request that there will be a formal structure including a presentation that is provided to the attendees together so that everyone has the same information.  We also request that there be an opportunity to put oral comments on the record verbally as most hearings provide. We note that a Scoping meeting was held for Oak Creek, but our point was that it was only after a regulatory agency requested it and not as a matter of policy or in response to public requests.
We also shared in our letter that the RSS feed that the city has on the website has proven elusive for most (all?) of us to use.   We hope the City will consider an automatic email notice for people who request is such as is done by the city of Chula Vista with great success.
We also appreciate that, while the city may do more than other jurisdictions related annexation (e.g a pre-vote on annexation), in our view, if the notice to the public is insufficient the Council does not have the adequate input to make the decision regarding to whether or not the effort should go forward.  The pre-vote for Oak Creek for example, did not provided adequate notice to impacted communities so the Council did not the benefit of the full public perspective .  We hope the city and County will work together for a better solution in the future that is not so heavily reliant on a public outreach strategy directed by developers.  Minimally, all 'sphere-of-influence' residents impacted should be notified and local public areas (like Felicita Park) should be posted of any contemplated annexations.
We appreciate the comments in the letter and we hope to have a meeting with the city to discuss our recommendations in full.  Here is our original letter. ENU letter to City on Public Participation

Monday, August 18, 2014

ENU comments to DTSC on Work Plan to investigate contamination on Oak Creek development site

We filed a comment letter today requesting clarifications, improvements, and additional agency review on the Homeland/Oak Creek Site Assessment by DTSC.  This is a very important regulatory oversight action that is directing the sampling and analysis of the contamination on the Oak Creek site and it is just beginning now.   The site suffers from both historic, on-site contamination and from the migration of contaminants onto the site from the Chatham Barrel Yard.  We feel that this assessment should have been completed prior to the DEIR for the housing development on Oak Creek being released.  We are requesting additional agency review of this work plan due to its high importance for current and future residents in the area, workers, and the environment. You can see our comments here:   ENU Comments to DTSC on Oak Creek Site Assessment Workplan
We urge others to review and comment on this document as well if you are interested.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Supervisor Roberts Visits Quiet Hills Farm Little Free LIbrary

Our Supervisor, Dave Roberts joined Mia and Carla at the Quiet Hills Farm Little Free Library for a visit last week.  If you'd like to build a Little Free Library, you can do it too!!! There is room for more than one in our neighborhood.  Stop by and check it out!Little Free Library

Saturday, August 16, 2014

PSA: Boil water notice for Rincon water district

Date: August 15, 2014

Este informe contiene informaci├│n muy importante sobre su agua potable.
Trad├║zcalo o hable con alguien que lo entienda bien.
  Routine Sampling in Rincon del Diablo Municipal Water District’s ID 1, Pressure Zone 3, indicated a presence of Coliform Bacteria. Although Coliform Bacteria arenaturally present in the environment, its presence is also used as an indicator that other, potentially-harmful, bacteria may be present. Pending further testing,Rincon del Diablo Municipal Water District is advising residents to use boiled tap water or bottled water for drinking and cooking purposes as a safety precaution.
Rincon del Diablo Municipal Water District has two sources of water that is delivered to customer according to specific geographic boundaries.  This Boil Water Notice is specific to customer with account numbers starting with:  01 through 48, 94, 96, and 97. 
DO NOT DRINK THE WATER WITHOUT BOILING IT FIRST. Bring all water to a boil, let it boil for five (5) minutes, and let it cool before using, or use bottled water. Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking and food preparation until further noticeThis is the preferred method to assure that the water is safe to drink.
Alternative methods of disinfection for residents that who do not have access to gas or electricity:
  • Use fresh, unscented, liquid household bleach (Clorox, Purex, etc.).  To do so, add 8 drops (or 1/8 teaspoon) of bleach per gallon of clear water or 16 drops (or 1/4 teaspoon) per gallon of cloudy water, mix thoroughly, and allow it to stand for 30 minutes before using.  A chlorine-like taste and odor will result from this disinfection procedure and is an indication that adequate disinfection has taken place. (Clorox, Purex, etc.)
  • Water disinfection tablets may also be used by following the manufacturer’s instructions.
 Failure to follow this advisory could result in stomach or intestinal illness.
Rincon del Diablo Municipal Water District will inform you when tests show that water is safe to drink and you no longer need to boil your water. The minimum duration is expected to be no less than forty eight hours.
For more information call:
Rincon del Diablo Municipal Water District
Julia Escamilla
Public Information Officer
1920 North Iris Lane, Escondido, CA 92026
 For updates, please visit: www.rinconwater.org - Breaking News

Map of affected areas: (click here for larger)