North County Report: A Problem Property in Oceanside | Voice of San Diego

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North County Report: A Problem Property in Oceanside

An illegal marijuana field near Palomar Mountain, Escondido residents riled over proposed desalination plant , backing dead candidates in Oceanside and more in our weekly roundup of news from North County.

“Assaults. Robberies. Vandalism. Drugs. Electrical outages and fires. Sewer back-ups that result in human waste flowing onto the lawn. Mold. Rats and roaches”: That’s how current and former tenants and city officials describe conditions at an 84-unit apartment at 415 Grant St. in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Oceanside, writes VOSD’s Maya Srikrishnan this week.

The property has a long history of problems, including multiple code violations and two lawsuits filed against the owner by the city.

Deputy City Attorney Annie Perrigo says the violations and safety issues continued, though, and now the city is trying to build a nuisance case against the property’s owner.

“They did the bare minimum to comply with the agreement for a while and then they started backsliding,” Perrigo said. “There wasn’t much as far as enforcement in court that we could do. So now we’re evaluating other enforcement options, because obviously the settlements didn’t work.”

The difficulty, she said, is in not causing innocent residents, who are mainly low-income, to lose their housing.

The property owner also talked to Srikrishnan and says that since he purchased the property, he’s gone above and beyond to make it safe.

Oceanside Official Wants Dead Candidate to Win

A longstanding bitterness between different factions in Oceanside politics is playing out in a race for a part-time position that doesn’t normally steal the spotlight.

In the election for city treasurer, incumbent Gary Ernst was being helped by Councilman Jerry Kern, while his opponent Nadine Scott is a close supporter of Councilwoman Esther Sanchez.

On Friday, Ernst died of natural causes. City Clerk Zack Beck said that because his death was so close to the election, he’ll still appear on the ballot.

Scott is a neighborhood activist who has served as vice president of the Resource Conservation District of Greater San Diego County, and on and off as its treasurer. Scott is also a frequent flier at Council meetings, where she laces her opposition to agenda items with sharp-tongued criticism aimed at the Council.

Mara Srikrishnan writes that Kern, who is one of Scott’s favorite targets, is doing everything he can to make sure Ernst still beats her in the election.

“Even though Gary passed away, he is still better qualified than she is,” he said.

Scott, however, thinks voters should know that her opponent is dead.

“I find it 100 percent unethical for anyone to promote a deceased candidate over a highly qualified candidate simply so they can alter and frustrate the process,” she said.

Supes Candidates Address Homelessness

County supervisor candidates in District 3 have been talking a lot about homelessness in the district, and how they plan to combat it.

Encinitas Mayor Kristin Gaspar is touting a program that her city launched to fund a full-time social worker at a local nonprofit, who works with homeless individuals to match them with services.

Supervisor Dave Roberts says his record of devoting more resources to the homeless ‒ by establishing a service center in Escondido, and steering mental health funds specially toward homeless ‒ is part of a multifaceted approach toward dealing with the situation.

Regardless of the approach, local experts in dealing with homelessness say the county has an especially important role.

“What they’re doing right now is pretty groundbreaking,” said Greg Anglea, the executive director of Interfaith, the largest homeless service provider in North County. “The county and the supervisors are uniquely positioned to bring together resources from throughout the county to address a countywide issue.”

Another provider added that the county should be looking at adding more affordable housing, and focusing on preventing homelessness.

“We force people to be literally homeless before they qualify for services,” she said. “County leaders need to look at how to prevent it – it’s creating programs that are available and accessible to people who are on that thin line before rock bottom.”

Also in the News

• San Marcos residents are opposing a housing development over – you guessed it – traffic and views. (The Coast News)

• The Bureau of Land Management found a marijuana field growing on public land just northeast of Palomar Mountain. (Union-Tribune)

• A suds accelerator is looking to create ready-made locations on Hops Highway in Carlsbad, which allow new breweries to just move in, and focus on the business and the beer. (Union-Tribune)

• The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a suit against a Valley Center pharmacy for paying its female employees less than a male employee, while performing the same work. (Union-Tribune)

• Oceanside is looking to control short-term vacation rentals a little tighter. (Union-Tribune)

• A proposed desalination plant in Escondido has residents riled over concerns about noise and chemicals. (The Coast News)

• A Poway man was killed by a train in Del Mar while stargazing. (10News)

Ruarri Serpa is a freelance writer in Oceanside. Email him at ruarris@gmail.com and find him on Twitter at @RuarriS.

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