Thursday, December 6, 2018

Chatham Responds to ENU, Open House on Dec 12th 4-8 PM

DTSC responded to our comment letter.   DTSC_response_ENU_28NOV2018. As usual, we have disagreements with many of their comments.  However, we think it is important that the letter states, "DTSC acknowledges that this remedy has not reached the offsite RAPs sent in the RAP.  We are not there yet."  On this we agree.

Escondido Neighbors United encourages everyone to attend the DTSC Public Workshop on Chatham Wednesday, December 12, 2018 from 4:00 p.m. to 8 p.m., located at: California Center for the Arts Escondido (Theater Lobby) 340 N. Escondido Blvd., Escondido

ENU will, again, be raising concerns about the failure to monitor all of the required wells, the lack of action on the toe of the plume, and other issues we have raised before.

Further, per this new letter, which states "Before site certification, a final allowable level will be established [for 1,4-dioxane] to ensure that an appropriate risk-based health protectiveness level is achieved." (DTSC at 5)  We will want to know how that will be done.

Again, we will ask for more appropriate posting of the worst part of the creek and more action to address the releases into the creek.

Last, it states that, "DTSC has not found a 'silver bullet' that would have allowed us to reach the RAOs by today". (DTSC at 2)   To this comment we want to reassure that we are not so unsophisticated to think that a highly complex situation such as this would respond to a simplistic, single action 'silver bullet'. It will take many actions. Further, we do not see the finding of  these strategies, as DTSC's job.  It is the job of the PRPs to propose additional actions needed to get us to the RAOs to be reviewed by DTSC.  We will be asking what new and innovative technologies they have proposed to address our site. It is incumbent on them to bring options to the regulatory agencies as they are 'potentially' responsible.

But, it is incumbent on all parties to estimate when, if ever, this will be remediated.  We have waited long enough.

The post about our original letter is here.

Monday, November 26, 2018

IMPORTANT Escondido Climate Plan Update WEDNESDAY City Council 4:30 Nov 28

The City Council will hear and update on the Escondido Climate Plan Update.  Please attend if you care about this issue.  Please see the Sierra Club blog for more information here. 

Since it is clear the Escondido will have a new Mayor, Paul McNamara and District 1 Councilmember Consuelo Martinez, this issue should be delayed until they are seated on December 12. 

It will be important to make the following requests:
  1. Given the significant change in leadership in just 2 weeks, the Council should put off any decisions or direction until this issue can be heard by the leaders who will vote on it and will be responsible for implementing it.  The current leaders have made clear that they support ‘the minimum possible’.  Our situation demands much more action than this.
  2. The E-CAP should adopt 100% clean energy as a goal.
  3. The E-CAP should commit to developing a transportation master plan for biking, walking, and transit.
  4. The E-CAP must not rely on out of region mitigation.
  5. The E-CAP must include a social equity element.
  6. The E-CAP must be measurable and enforceable.
The meeting will be held in City Council Chambers at 201 N. Broadway, Escondido City Hall.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Jewel of Escondido: California Homemades of Escondido, good tasting, good for you, good for the planet

Our most recent 'Jewel of Escondido' recognition goes to California Homemades at 138 W. Grand Ave.  California Homemades has many options of delicious lunches and snacks that are fully plant-based.  Here you can have soups, roll-ups, wraps, and lots of other things and protect the climate and animals at the same time.  Plus, eating a more plant-based diet is better for your health.  
So check them out!  Delicious.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Chatham Waste Site Cleanup Open House, Wednesday, December 12th, 4-8 PM

It is somewhat ironic that the same day that we will install a new Mayor and a new Councilmember,  (who actually care about the environment and public health), DTSC will hold their next public open house about the Chatham Barrel Yard waste site.  Please plan to attend if you can.

Important letters have been filed by local organizations.  Please read these before you attend the meeting.

Escondido Neighbors United
Sierra Club North County Group

You can get background info here: 

Chatham Open House:  Wednesday, December 12, 2018
 Please come and join DTSC at a community meeting to be held Wednesday, December 12, 2018 from 4:00 p.m. to 8 p.m., located at: 
California Center for the Arts Escondido (Theater Lobby) 340 N. Escondido Blvd., Escondido, CA 92025

For further information about the upcoming public meeting, and if you require disability meeting access information, please contact the DTSC Project Manager Hossein Nassiri at  (714) 484-5384

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

ENU Files letter on Chatham Waste Site--Demands more action

This week Escondido Neighbors filed ENU Comment Letter on Chatham Remedy Review August 2018.  The Public Fact sheet is here and the full 5-year Remedy Review Report is here. 

The letter raises many issues about the lack of progress of the cleanup, the failure to stop contamination from entering Felicita Creek, and the need to add treatment wells to stop further expansion of the plumes, among other issues.

If you are interested, please submit comments to DTSC by Sept 6th.  This is a serious issue for our region and one that needs additional action.

If you are new to this issue, here is some background.

The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has oversight of the remediation of hazardous waste released to the environment by the Chatham Brothers Barrel Yard.  As a brief background, members of the Chatham family owned the property at 2257 Bernardo Ave, Escondido and ran a hazardous waste processing and collection business for decades. 

In the early 1980’s, massive pollution of the site was discovered and the facility was closed. The Chatham Barrel yard was listed as a state superfund site and emergency soil removal action was conducted. Additionally, on-site water remediation has been on-going for over 20 years.

However, in the intervening decades, the groundwater pollution has spread significantly and can now be found under Felicita County Park and many area homes.  Further, the contamination is now entering Felicita Creek in a public area where the public is unwittingly exposed.

In spite of over 30 years of remedial action, much of it passive through the adoption of a passive strategy called ‘natural attenuation’, the cleanup objectives have not been met.  It is clear that more proactive measures must be taken.

Escondido Neighbors United has filed comments on the Review.  The requests include that DTSC:

1.      Direct additional proactive measures to achieve the remedial objectives;
2.      Require additional action to stop unbated discharges into Felicita Creek;
3.      Require signs at the creek warning of the presence of pollution in public areas;
4.      Establish and timeline of performance for meeting the objectives.

More information about this site can be found here  DTSC Chatham Barrel Yard Link Envirostor 

Monday, May 21, 2018

Great News! Invasive Palm Trees REMOVED from Felicita Creek- Thank you County of San Diego Parks and Rec

We are so happy to report that the County Parks and Recreation Dept successfully removed all the large palms trees (and most of the small ones) from Felicita Creek!  This is wonderful news.

While palms are an attractive and welcome plant in their own habitat, they do not belong in our near a creek!  When they invade our local riparian streams they are a HUGE problem. The photos below are notable for what you don't see--large palm trees clogging up the creek and stealing water from the oaks, sycamores, and willows.

Now that these palms are gone, we strongly encourage any landowners in the area to PLEASE remove palm trees (especially washingtonia) from your property.  This can help de-contaminate our creeks and waterways from the invasive presence of palm trees.

Big thanks to the County for this major effort to help and restore our creek!  Stop by the park and check out the new creek landscape. 

And, as always, if you'd like to join the Weeders and Seeders we are pulling weeds, planting natives, caring for our park native habitats every week. Join us!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

North County Group Sierra Club files comment letter on Escondido Climate Action Plan

The NCG of the Sierra Club filed this comment letter with the city of Escondido.  If you are interested in being involved or notified about this process, please email your contact info the Mr. Mike Strong at the city  .

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Great Opportunity to Learn Your Birds! Palomar Audubon Society Annual Birding Class starts April 24th

We are lucky to have such a great Audubon Chapter in our region.  Palomar Audubon Society is offering their amazing beginning birding class.  Everyone who has taken it before love it.  And, you can always repeat too.

See info below.  

Palomar Audubon Society is again offering bird classes on consecutive Tuesday evenings beginning Tuesday April 24th. The first three classes will be for beginners and the last three (starting Tuesday May 15th) will be for intermediate birders. The classes will be integrated for beginners taking both classes. There will be three Saturday field trips, May 12th, May26th,and June 9th.

Classes will start at 6:30 pm and run for 90 minutes. They will be held at the Glassman Recreational Center at 18448 RB Community Center Drive off West Bernardo Drive (the large Casa De Las Companas Retirement Home is on the east side of this intersection).

The classes will cover the classification of birds, field markings of local birds, behavior, vocalization, tracking, and the different habitats in San Diego County.

Cost for either class is $ 60.00 and the cost for both is $ 90.00.

The course will be led by Phoenix Von Hendy, a long-time birding leader in North County and a certified tracker naturalist. 

For questions about the course contact Richard Fowler at To register complete the form below and send with check to: Palomar Audubon Society, P.O. Box 2483, Escondido, Ca. 92033-2483 by April 20th.
You can use the form below or go to the PAS website to sign up at 


Name(s):___________________________  Phone:______________________________


____ Beginner/novice $60.00 each
____ Intermediate      $60.00  each
____ Both classes       $90.00 each               Total inclosed : __________________

Mail form and check to Palomar Audubon Society, P.0. Box 2483, Escondido, Ca.
92033-2483 by April 20th, 2018.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Library Update: Library Outsourcing Opponents Announce New Actions

The most recent update from the Save Our Escondido Library Coalition.  Please sign their library petition!

Library coalition outlines to continue campaign to restore Escondido Public Library to public control.

January 15, 2018, Escondido: On the day the Escondido city council handed over the Escondido Public Library to an out-of-state corporation to operate, library outsourcing opponents announced new initiatives geared to restoring the Escondido Public Library to public hands and to help other communities defeat Library Services and Systems (LS&S) from taking over other libraries.

“While we were disappointed that the judge failed to allow the temporary restraining order, the lawsuit is still viable and we hope it will prevail,” stated frequent library user and Escondido resident Victoria Tenbrink , “We take heart in the news from Santa Clarita which just ousted LS&S from their library.  It is interesting that the Santa Clarita Council estimates they will save almost $400,000 in doing so,”  in reference to the news that the Santa Clarita City Council unanimously voted to end the LS&S contract last week.  Santa Clarita Votes Unanimously to Take Back Library. Another recent news report found poor performance by LS&S led to their ouster, a sad harbinger for Escondido’s library.  As Escondido prepares to outsource, another city drops firm.    

In response to the transfer of the Escondido public library into private hands, the Save Our Escondido Library (SOEL) coalition announced five actions in response to the transfer of management from the public to a private corporation

LIBRARY DISTRICT PETITION DRIVE: No Bond without an Independent Library District.  Building on the success of the petition drive to oppose privatization of the library, which garnered over 4,000 signatures and mobilized residents, a new petition drive has been launched.  The petition reads, We, the undersigned, are calling for the creation of an independent library district that would remove all control of the library from the Mayor and City Council. Further, we will oppose any library bond until management of our library is returned to public control and a plan is in place to re-open an East Valley branch library.” Save our Escondido Library Coalition is urging all residents of Escondido to sign this petition.   Escondido Library District Petition 

COMMUNITY LIBRARY MONITORING PROGRAM: SOEL announced a program of community library monitors. These volunteers will visit the library regularly and evaluate the operations of the library. Visits will be unannounced. 

COMMUNITY LIBRARY COMPLAINT SYSTEM:  A particularly revealing exchange during the October contract hearing at city hall was when city staff could not answer the simplest question from Councilmember Olga Diaz about how complaints will be handled.  It was clear to SOEL that the city did not know how complaints would be addressed.  Slow response to problems was also cited in the reasons LS&S was dropped from Santa Clarita. SOEL will also encourage people to report any complaints to the city and to SOEL so that resolution of them can be tracked. Complaints can be filed here Community Library Complaint Form

STOP LIBRARY OUTSOURCING WEBSITE—A Community Guide to Protecting your Library from Privatization.  Sadly, the story of the hostile takeover of the Escondido Public Library is not an isolated one.  SOEL fully believes that LS&S will use the Escondido takeover as a launching pad to attempt to control other county and state public libraries. This new website shares information SOEL has found during our fight and makes it available for other communities who will be forced to fight to keep LS&S from taking over their library.  “I wish we would’ve had access to information in a website like this when we began our struggle, so we hope it will help other communities.” stated Escondido resident Christine Nava.  The website can be accessed here:  Stop Library Outsourcing: A Community Guide for Saving your Library

VOTER REGISTRATION DRIVE:  SOEL will be initiate an Escondido voter registration drive. “It is now obvious to everyone, Mayor Sam Abed and Councilmembers Ed Gallo, John Masson, and Mike Morasco do not listen to the public and are not worthy to care for our public services, said Brenda Townsend, a long-time Escondido resident.  Abed, Gallo, and Masson are up for re-election in November, 2018.  SOEL is urging all eligible residents of Escondido to register to vote. (click link) Voters can also check their status here.

While we are disappointed in failure of the TRO,” stated Laura Hunter, an organizer with Escondido Indivisible, “we are even more energized, committed, and focused on Election Day, November 6, 2018 to achieve a new mandate for change in Escondido.”

Please email  to be added to the Save Our Escondido Library Coalition information list.  You can also visit Stop Library Outsourcing for more information.


About Save Our Escondido Library Coalition: The coalition was formed by local Escondido community groups and local residents in response to the outsourcing of the Escondido Public Library.   The Coalition now works to restore the library to public control.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Reminder why we need a Felicita Creek Cleanup Strategy

Urban runoff.  It's real.  Today's storm is just a reminder that storm water runoff is a large source of pollution.  If you were out today you saw the large amount of foamy pollution in Felicita Creek...and the poor egrets trying to feed out of it.
Escondido Neighbors United (ENU) has repeatedly asked for our creek to be prioritized for a comprehensive clean up strategy. So far, no success. These photos should make clear that this pollution is a problem and needs to be addressed. We will post more on this later.  These photos taken between 10:50 and 11:10 am, January 9th, 2018 at various points along the creek and in the park.  The white is soapy foam.