North County Report: Democratic Candidate Drops Out of Supervisors Race
Oceanside settles lawsuit involving the death of a boy, Vista denies a housing nonprofit's request for a $5 million loan and more in this week’s roundup of North County news.
After weeks of signs that she wasn’t actually running for District 5 County Supervisor, Oceanside Councilwoman Esther Sanchez quietly let her supporters know on Facebook know the truth that she was giving up her bid.
Sadly, she wrote on Tuesday, “my mom’s unexpected illness and passing took me away from that campaign for too long. I took care of her night and day. I left to make room for another candidate, as it is definitely a winnable seat for someone other than the 2 now running.”
As late as Friday, Sanchez was still giving tepid assurances that she was running for supervisor. Her announcement this week gives the Democrats until the filing deadline on March 9 to find another candidate.
Applegate and Chávez Lead in New Poll
For those Democrats concerned that too many candidates in the 49th Congressional District race would end up helping Republicans, a poll commissioned by the Union-Tribune and 10News, may provide some relief.
The poll found Democrat Doug Applegate and Republican Rocky Chávez were clearly leading among the 12 candidates. Applegate polled about 18 percent, with voters saying President Donald Trump was their biggest issue. His closest Democratic rival was attorney Mike Levin, who polled at 8 percent.
On the Republican side, Chávez was favored by 17 percent of those polled, who mostly said they were concerned about the economy. Diane Harkey came in second, with 10 percent, but did best among voters who said a wall on the border with Mexico was their biggest concern.
It’s important to note, though, that 27 percent of voters were undecided. Of those folks, 37 percent identified as liberal, while 29 percent identified as conservative.
Among undecided voters, the Union-Tribune reported that healthcare and the status of Dreamers — immigrants who were brought to the country illegally as children — were their most important issues.
Oceanside Settles Lawsuit Involving Death of Boy
The city of Oceanside settled a lawsuit with the parents of the boy who was killed riding his bike to school along Coast Highway in 2015, the Union-Tribune reports.
Gregory Lipton and Ericka Seale claimed that dangerous road conditions contributed to the death of their 12-year old son, Logan Lipton, whose death fueled a debate about pedestrian safety along Coast Highway. For their part, the city agreed to pay $650,000, according to the Union-Tribune, though an RV Park and tire shop were also defendants in the suit.
Logan Lipton was riding his bike on the sidewalk when a driver pulled out of the RV park, striking Lipton.
On one side of the debate were those who said Logan Lipton never should have been on the sidewalk — that he should have been riding in the bike lane.
On the other was a coalition of the Liptons’ friends and bike safety advocates who said the bike lanes themselves were dangerous because they were too narrow and had an uneven seam between pavement and concrete running down the middle. They said the sidewalks were also dangerous because the driveways and the cars exiting were blocked from view.
Oceanside was already in the middle of a plan to reduce the number of vehicle lanes on Coast Highway to make room for better bike and pedestrian infrastructure, but in response to Logan Lipton’s death, the city began a “pilot study” of the changes along the section of road where he was killed.
The city will consider later this year whether to reverse the changes or make them permanent along more of Coast Highway.
Housing Nonprofit Denied $5 million request
After making the rounds of North County cities , the cash-strapped housing nonprofit Solutions for Change has asked the city of Vista for a $5 million loan to help it compete for a public grant.
The City Council declined last week, saying it was too short of notice to consider such a large request, which would also drain the city’s affordable housing fund, the Union-Tribune reports.
The nonprofit was looking to demolish its 15-unit center in Vista and construct a 32-unit building on the same site, according to a letter by Solutions’ CEO Chris Megison. He proposed that the loan be repaid over 55 years and said it would help the organization compete for a grant from the county’s new Innovative Housing Trust Fund.
Solutions’ budget problems stem from the federal “housing first” policy, which conflicts with the organization’s model of requiring its residents to be sober.
But the county’s Innovative Housing Trust Fund was created without a similar requirement, making it possible for Solutions’ to compete for county funds – so long as the organization was in a position to ensure the project would be completed.
Also in the News
• Santa Fe Christian School in Solana Beach discouraged parents from applying because their child has two fathers. (The Coast News)
• Escondido toughened its already strict stance on marijuana, prohibiting all forms. (KUSI)
• The Carlsbad City Council deadlocked on a vote over a four-story building in Carlsbad Village, with opponents saying it was just too tall. (The Coast News)
• El Cajon’s Mayor Bill Wells will challenge Rep. Duncan Hunter in the 50th Congressional District. (Union-Tribune)
• Encinitas has passed an ordinance making the construction of granny flats easier. (KPBS)