Sunday, December 29, 2019

Oak Creek poor construction practices significantly erodes into Felicita Creek

We hate to say 'we told you so', but there it is.  One of our major concerns about this development was the risks it posed to the creek, the park, and downstream residents.

Now that the rains have come, the construction site of 'Oak Creek', having cut the oaks, is now damaging the creek.

Downstream neighbors have spent the week cleaning up the creek, removing debris, and loads of sand from Felicita creek. The creek in the Park is brown, even days after the last storm.

ENU documented just some of the problem which we believe is a violation of the storm water regulations.  Here are the documents filed on the Oak Creek erosion complaint

ENU letter filed

Photos of problem 

We attempted to report to the city (as it is Escondido's storm water permit which covers this site) but were unable to.  The website for reporting still says that 'Oak Creek' is not in the city of Escondido.

As we brace for more storms, ENU has reported this situation to the Regional Water Board and the County.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

23 Environmental, Climate Coalition join forces to Oppose Harvest Hills in Escondido

Today, more than 20 environmental, conservation, and climate organizations sent a letter to the Escondido City Council urging opposition to the proposed Harvest Hills Development. 

The groups noted that, in spite of a new marketing position, the project formerly known as Safari Highlands Ranch is substantially the same when it comes to key impacts, namely location in a high-risk fire zone, high evacuation hazards for new and existing residents, and thousands of new cars on the roads in already traffic constrained areas. 

The groups noted that, in spite of a new marketing position, the project formerly known as Safari Highlands Ranch is substantially the same when it comes to key impacts, namely location in a high-risk fire zone, high evacuation hazards for new and existing residents, and thousands of new cars on the roads in already traffic constrained areas.

Also of concern are traffic and long-term climate impacts from the addition of 67,000 daily vehicle miles traveled in a time when we need to be reducing VMT in order to comply with climate protection goals. The destruction of critical habitat areas key for successful adopted and proposed Habitat Management plans are also a significant impact.  

Fire is one serious concern. Dan Silver, Director of Endangered Habitats League said, “Experts have shown that this project cannot be safely evacuated if threatened by a fast-moving wildfire, and it will endanger the ability of the surrounding community to evacuate as well.  Elected officials need to prioritize public safety and not create a fire trap.”

George Courser, Conservation Chair of the San Diego Sierra Club stated, “This sprawl project is one of the worst we have seen proposed. This area is more appropriate as key wildlife habitat for local adopted conservation plans. As the state burns, we hope the elected officials will search their conscience before locating more housing in an extreme fire risk area.”  

Speaking on the relationship of development and climate impacts, Sophie Wolfram of the Climate Action Campaign stated, "Sprawl development is one of the key culprits driving the climate crisis. At a time when we have to be doing everything in our power to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, denying this project, which will vastly increase vehicle trips and tailpipe emissions, is just a no-brainer."

The groups call out the fact that the change in marketing of an old proposal fails to address the fundamental concerns. “Safari Highlands Ranch may have a new name but it remains the embodiment of reckless urban sprawl and the antithesis of Smart Growth. When we know better, we must do better. Bottom line: Harvest Hills is the Wrong Plan in the Wrong Place,” said NeySa Ely, President of the San Pasqual Valley Preservation Alliance, a local community group.

The organizations signed on to the letter include Sierra Club San Diego, Endangered Habitats League, San Pasqual Valley Preservation Alliance, Escondido Neighbors United, Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation, Environmental Center of San Diego, San Diego Audubon Society, Preserve Calavera, San Diego Democrats for Environmental Action, California Chaparral Institute, Buena Vista Audubon Society, Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association, California Native Plant Society, Friends of Rose Creek, Friends of Agua Hedionda Creek, Escondido Chamber of Citizens, Endangered Habitats Conservancy, San Diego Coastkeeper, Climate Action Campaign, North County Climate Action Alliance, The Chaparral Lands Conservancy, Palomar Audubon Society, and San Diego 350.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Environmental Action Meeting, Thursday, November 14, 7:30 PM

North County
Environmental Action Meeting
Thursday, November 14, 2019, 7:30- 9:00 PM
2324 Miller Ave. (Chalice UU Congregation)

Come learn about:
  •            Escondido Creek restoration
  •            Plans to OPPOSE Harvest Hills sprawl development
  •            Plans to SUPPORT more housing density at Palomar Heights
  •            Plans to SUPPORT a Regional Transportation Plan that protects the climate

Take action on important issues

Join together with others.

Contact for more information, or just come!

Sponsored by North County Group of the Sierra Club.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Four Days of Dia de los Muertos at the Center for the Arts

Perhaps the very best event in Escondido all year, Dia de los Muertos is happening at the Arts Center and Grape Day Park November 1-4.

If you have never been, you'll want to check it out.

Click here for info from the center

Friday, October 18, 2019

Check out the Escondido Library Watchdog

Escondido Neighbors United received this message about the library.  If you care about public libraries, please take a look and help provide the oversight needed to ensure our library serves the public, even if operated by a for-profit corporate interest.

Dear Supporters of the Escondido Library,

We are happy to report that we have launched a new effort to oversee our library-- The Escondido Library Watchdog.  The website was launched today at the regular meeting of the Board of Library Trustees.  Please see the statement of Brenda Townsend below.

Statement Announcing the launch of the Escondido Library Watchdog, October 10, 2019

Good Afternoon.

As some of you know, as long as I have lived in Escondido many years. I have been passionate user and supporter of our library.

Then, from the time I marched to and hand-delivered over 4,000 signatures to the City Clerk’s office in 2017 in opposition to LS&S, I became a dedicated defender of our library and committed to quality library services for our city, in spite of its operation by a for-profit corporation.

I’m happy to be here today to announce the launch of a new website the Escondido Library Watchdog.

Why a Watchdog?

Some of you will remember on January 14 of this year, a meeting was held.  Several of you were in attendance along with the Mayor and John Masson.  Without going into the details of that difficult meeting, we were told that we should engage with the public and the Trustees in the oversight of LS&S and the contract.  We took this directive to heart and the result is the new Escondido Library Watchdog website launched today. 

This kind of independent oversight is needed now. Since LS&S has taken over our library, many people have complained to us about its operation, the low staff morale, loss of books, high staff turnover rates, and many other problems.  When told them to file a complaint with LS&S, they replied they did not think it would do any good, that no one ‘will hear us’.

Since the Trustees have the obligation and desire to oversee the performance of LS&S in its contract, we are sure you will all agree with us that public input and involvement is highly desirable and necessary to have a library worth the residents of this city—and worth the tax-dollars we spend on it.

The Watchdog will be a clearinghouse for concerns, information, important links, and other information easily accessible to the public.  Importantly, it will have a form that can be submitted raising questions or concerns related to library services in Escondido.

The Library Watchdog will vet those concerns to the best of our ability and share those most relevant with you, the public appointed trustees of our library, for response and action. We would like to offer our first Community Concern today.  Several of our members are very concerned that while the library has a 3-D printer, no one gets to use it.

We request that the Trustees respond to the Notices of Concern in the public venue of these meetings so that your oversight is visible and known to the public.

We are very excited about this new public tool and we wanted to come to you first to announce it.  We hope you will check it out at

We can be contacted with questions should you have any at

Thank you

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

DTSC's Carefully Worded letter on Oak Creek and contamination issues

Recently, the Department of Toxic Substances Control released a carefully worded letter to the Oak Creek developers KB Homes Sept 11, 2019 . 

While ENU fully supports the permanent prohibition on future uses of groundwater at the site (for obvious reasons), DTSC makes a very interestingly worded statement in this Removal Completion Report letter.- bold added for emphasis.

"During investigation activities, it was determined that releases from the Chatham Yard do not appear to represent an environmental concern to the Site of future occupants, as contaminate concentrations appear to be naturally attenuating."

The way it is worded it seems to mean that in some time in the future when the natural attenuation is complete there won't be an environmental concern. Our concern is that DTSC's opinion is based on future conditions, not current conditions; ie, future occupants, attenuating.  
We have long-asked the agency when do they expect the attenuation to be complete (actions have been on-going for 20 years).  Here, they still don't say when the process of natural attenuation will be complete so that when the future occupants move in they will be protected.  
So, does this mean that prior to issuing occupancy permits the developer will need to do additional testing to demonstrate that the process of natural attenuation is complete?

Monday, March 4, 2019

Say Good Bye to our Friends- Decimation of Oaks for 'Oak Creek' in full gear

Oak Creek-- never was there a more wrongly named development. The decimation of the Oak Trees is in full swing as you can see if you drive on Felicita Road near the Park. The chainsaws and bulldozers are hard at work, indiscriminately destroying hundreds of oak trees on site.
It is too late to save them.

The former Mayor and Council majority (Thank you Olga Diaz for voting no) refused to even examine modest changes to the plan that could have saved many of these trees. This is happening in Escondido in Mike Morasco's district, who supported it.

Even the staff agreed with us that a bike path alignment that reduced the tree cutting was possible.  But Abed and his supporters Morasco, Gallo, and Masson ignored it all.

So, while (under new leadership) we develop a new climate plan that calls for planting of new trees, Oak Creek developers are busy cutting down established, threatened, and healthy oaks on their site and in the park. Neighbors downstream are concerned about flooding with good reason. It is a terrible result from a bad process to facilitate an ill-advised development.

So, please take a moment to say good bye to these beautiful trees who have offered their air, beauty, greenery, and carbon sequestration for us for so long. Our neighborhood will be forever degraded as a result.

All we can do is bear witness and remember this legacy of Mike Morasco and John Masson and former elected officials Sam Abed and Ed Gallo.

Please send your photos and videos to us.  We may need them in the future.    Video below

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Escondido wants to hear from you- Great opportunity!

The city is asking for your input and best ideas for our future.  Please communicate your thoughts to them.

On the City Council Action Plan.  Submit Your Form    The City Council's collective vision for Escondido's future and the key activities that will be used to achieve that vision. It is developed every two years following a workshop where key policy interests are identified and discussed by the City Council and City Staff.Please be sure to use this opportunity to let your leaders know what you value! Fill out this form to let the city know your thoughts!   Submit Your Form You can also contact your Councilmember by clicking here.   

Please support our requests. We will ask

  • the city to require the developer of Oak Creek Development to reexamine the stormwater and transportation aspects of the project to reduce oak tree loss and stormwater flooding!
  • city should stop annexations that increase fire risks, worsen traffic, impact the climate, cause habitat losses.
  • city should partner with state and County to take more action on the Chatham Barrel Yard remediation!
This is a great opportunity!  Please exercise your rights!  As the last flood showed so clearly, (and the tens of thousands of dollars we have to spend fixing our bridge) demonstrates very clearly, even if you are in the sphere of influence and not the city direct, what they do impacts us greatly so please comment.

2.  On the city budget  click here
All residents are also invited to attend the City of Escondido will be holding two community workshops in March and June:

  • The first will be on Wednesday, March 6 at the East Valley Community Center, Vineyard Room, at 6 p.m., regarding how the City develops the annual Operating Budget and Capital Improvement Program and Budget. This meeting will provide an overview of what is included in these budgets and how the information directly affects the community.

      • The meeting on June 3 will be at the Escondido City Library, Turrentine Room, at 6 p.m. and will provide an overview of the preliminary budget documents for fiscal year 2019/2020.

      Monday, February 4, 2019

      City wants your input on Escondido City Action Plan

      Everyone in Escondido has an opportunity to help the Escondido City Council shape the vision and set priorities for the 2019-2020 Council Action Plan.
      The City Council Action Plan represents the City Council's collective vision for Escondido's future and the key activities that will be used to achieve that vision. It is developed biennially following a workshop where key policy interests are identified and discussed by the City Council and City Staff.
      Fill out this form to let us know your thoughts! File comments here.

      Or contact your Councilmember by clicking here.
      This is a great opportunity to let the City Council know what you think. Please let them know what their are doing that you like and other things you hope they will work on or prioritize/ or move off the list. 

      Escondido Neighbors United will be asking for the city to add the following to the priority list:
      1. Support local community efforts to secure more cleanup action on the Chatham Barrel Yard plume. 
      2. Revisit the Oak Creek development stormwater retention infrastructure in light of climate change and expected and extreme flooding events.
      3. To support the adoption of a North County Multiple Species Conservation Plan (MSCP) to protect sensitive species in our area.