SEIU 221, the union that represents county social service employees, filed a workplace safety complaint against San Diego County after employees at the North Inland Live Well Center in Escondido received multiple threats of gun violence.

The union members allege that the county didn’t follow the safety and security protocol it adopted after the San Bernardino shooting.

“Our facilities are at risk now more than ever,” said Linda Correa, an SEIU 221 member, who does client intake at the North Inland Live Well Center. “The employees are very impacted by what they hear and management and the county doesn’t seem to make it a priority. We serve so many people, so many families, so many children and disabled – it’s a huge concern.”

The North Inland Live Well Center, which opened in September 2015, is a family resource center for people who need health insurance or food assistance, and child welfare services. It also has resources for veterans and meeting spaces for community groups.

The union gathered at least five instances since May in which clients or members of public behaved erratically and threatened to shoot employees and other people in the center.

“Management did not follow protocol in any of these incidents, only one incident was reported to the police,” said SEIU 221 spokesman Adam Ward in an e-mail.


We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?

The county disputes the assertion that it hasn’t handled the situations well.

“The safety of our employees and the residents we serve in our facilities is the top priority for the Health and Human Services Agency,” said county spokesman Craig Sturak. “We take threats to our staff very seriously, and have procedures in place to respond immediately when they happen.”

The county said it is aware of fewer incidents that what the union members report and that since last October, there have been three incidents in which threats of gun violence occurred in County Health and Human Services facilities, two of which were at the Escondido center.

In both of those instances, Sturak said the county followed procedure. The Escondido Police Department responded to the situation where someone threatened gun violence in the facility after being called by security. Management met with staff and supervisors to debrief and ordered an additional temporary security guard immediately following the incidents. Then the County said its Human Resources Department conducted a follow-up review.

Sturak said that nearly 300 employees at the center attended a training about active-shooter situations held by the Sheriff’s Department in 2017, and roughly 100 employees from the North Inland facility also attended workplace violence prevention training in August, which also covered active-shooter situations. He also said that the facility has a security manager, security coordinator and on-site security guards “to help ensure the safety of staff and the public we serve.”

“I work in intake, so I do face-to-face interviews,” said Correa. “So anyone could come in. It’s always in the back of my head. We want to know that the safety of their employees is at least one of their top priorities.”

SANDAG Deception Dates Back at Least 13 Years

In his latest investigation into the San Diego Association of Governments, VOSD’s Andrew Keatts found that the regional planning agency misled voters on its 2004 TransNet tax measure.

SANDAG knew a year before the 2004 election that TransNet wouldn’t collect $14 billion, but it didn’t tell voters. This is the third instance Keatts has discovered where the agency has either overstated how much money it could collect to pay for transportation projects, or understated how much projects would cost to complete.

• Carlsbad City Councilwoman Cori Schumacher wrote a long Facebook post in support of AB 805, a proposed state bill by San Diego Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher that would reform SANDAG.

• SANDAG’s board has also indicated that it will consider a 2018 ballot measure to counter the state bill.

• This KPBS article looks at how SANDAG compares to its peer planning agencies across the state.

North County News Roundup

The California Supreme Court dealt a blow to two Encinitas property owners, who were suing over an unwanted aspect – a 20-year limit – of a permit from the Coastal Commission to repair the seawall along their coastal property. (City News Service)

• Rep. Darrell Issa helped an immigrant father in Escondido whose son was found chained, starving and beaten in Mexico City last month. (Union-Tribune)

• Vista High School is poised to become a high-profile national test run of whether personalized learning can succeed in a large public school. (The Atlantic)

• There’s 1,800 tons of lethal radioactive waste from the San Onofre nuclear waste plant that has nowhere to go. (L.A. Times)

• Del Mar is investigating its chief lifeguard, who has been put on paid administrative leave after complaints from two other lifeguards. But nearly 200 residents have demanded the city reinstate him immediately. (The Coast News Group)

• There’s a new speakeasy in Carlsbad, but you’ll need a password to get in. (Union-Tribune)

• San Marcos Unified School District has a new superintendent. (Union-Tribune)

    This article relates to: Must Reads, News, North County

    Written by Maya Srikrishnan

    Maya Srikrishnan is a reporter for Voice of San Diego. She can be reached at maya.srikrishnan@voiceofsandiego.org.

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