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Video surfaces of deputies roughing up suspects in Vista, Escondido is working with the homeless to reduce their population in a park and more in our weekly roundup of North County news.
A group of Encinitas residents has filed a lawsuit against the city, arguing in part that reducing vehicle lanes to add bike lanes in Leucadia would look bad, hurt air quality and make it harder for residents and people trying to enjoy the beach due to traffic.
The Del Mar Times reports that the lawsuit, filed by Encinitas Residents Coalition, follows their appeal to the Coastal Commission, which seeks to delay or cancel the Leucadia Streetscape Project that the Council approved in March.
The plans call for reducing the current four-lane road down to one lane in each direction, converting intersections to rotaries and adding bike lanes and parking along a 2.5-mile section of Highway 101.
Other North County cities have considered similar reconfigurations along Highway 101, otherwise known as a “road diet.” Del Mar recently approved its long-awaited downtown changes, intended to slow traffic without reducing the number of vehicle lanes.
Oceanside is planning a road diet on Coast Highway but extended its environmental reviews of the project until the end of the year, after fielding complaints similar to those lodged against the Leucadia Streetscape Project. Some residents said it would affect traffic, views and beach access, while Caltrans wanted to see how the plan would affect access to Interstate 5.
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department is conducting an internal review after a video posted to Facebook shows deputies manhandling two suspects in Vista.
In the 22-second video, a suspect is being escorted when suddenly he’s smashed face-first into a fence. Another suspect, who’s being restrained on the ground, is struck in the head, appearing to scrape his face along the sidewalk.
The Union-Tribune reports that the Sheriff’s Department opened an internal review of the incident and would examine the footage from the deputies’ body cameras.
Luxury tents and other facilities along the shore of Lake San Marcos are at the center of two legal battles.
The county has been warning the developer for years that the platforms and trails were built without proper permits, but has yet to levy fines, which could total more than half a million dollars, inewsource reports.
A spokesperson for the developer told inewsource that the company would try to bring the structures up to code and that the current camping structures are being used only for picnic tables, which fits their original permitted use.
At the same time, a neighboring homeowners association is suing the developer because the facilities were built partly on their land. “We went to the county and complained while it was under construction,” one neighbor told the news site.
Grape Day Park in Escondido had a very visible homeless population until the city recently began a combined effort to crack down on code violations and connect people with homeless service providers.
The U-T reports that one homeless advocate, Greg Anglea, of Interfaith Community Services, is praising the city for extending help.
A large part of the change in approach has been Bill Wolfe, the city’s deputy city manager, who came on last fall. Wolfe was tasked with dealing with the homeless population, and his response was guided, in part, by his experience as a criminal defender.
“Wolfe said his years representing criminal defendants taught him to concentrate on the individual and not on the crimes they commit,” the U-T writes. “If they will accept the help, they are directed to a bed and a shelter, given a shower and new clothes and food and then put on a bus with a free ticket to head toward family that has been contacted and wants to reconnect.”
Miracosta College held a forum for 76th Assembly District candidates last week, and The Coast News’ Aaron Burgin reports that all but one opposed the state’s gas tax increase.
Encinitas Councilwoman Tasha Boerner Horvath was the lone supporter of the gas tax, breaking with fellow Democrat Elizabeth Warren, Burgin writes.
“If we do not have roads and bridges and the infrastructure we need to get from A to B, we will have major costs for businesses and major costs and delays for individuals,” Boerner Horvath said.
Warren, meanwhile, said the state was “nickel and diming” people into poverty.
The forum also touched on the so-called sanctuary state law, the California Environmental Quality Act and the cost of higher education, among other topics.
As I wrote last week, with six Republicans and two Democrats in the running, the race for the 76th has been overshadowed by other high-profile races in the area, including the 49th Congressional District race.
And if money is any indication, Republican Phil Graham and Boerner Horvath have emerged as the frontrunners.