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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR



CONCERNS ARISE ABOUT DOWNTOWN DESALINATION PLANT

Editor, Times-Advocate:

Escondido Mayor Abed held a Town Hall Meeting during April 2016, when a Neighborhood Group president and neighbors expressed opposition to City’s newest location for proposed construction/operation of a Membrane Filtration/ Reverse Osmosis (MFRO) facility to distribute desalinated water to agricultural growers. Audience questions generated responses from Chris McKinney (Utilities Director), and Graham Mitchell (City Manager), and Mayor Abed. Residents identified concerns about land use compatibility, noting project is still described in City Manager’s Weekly Update Report under category of ‘industrial pending projects’.

Resident concerns at Mayor’s Town Hall meeting:

-Potential property value reduction on neighboring properties, from locating large intensive public infrastructure, near densely populated neighborhoods and disabled seniors.

-Safety, intensity and operational concerns from proposed use of Hazardous Materials;

-Use and delivery of toxic chemicals, traffic congestion, frequency;

-Superficially examined alternatives – Expand analysis to locate infrastructure on other City-owned properties located in industrial zones, where 2012 updated General Plan designates industrial land use.

Mayor Abed responded the Conditional Use Permit, environmental review and public hearing applies assurance potential impacts will be carefully analyzed, and mitigation measures will be defined to offset potential impacts. Zoning restrictions will apply operating limits and performance measures. Professional plans for engineering, architecture and landscape treatment will minimize potential impacts through layout, location, design features will blend with architectural features typical in upscale commercial buildings Decorative block separation wall on eastern property line, and dense perimeter landscape provides screening.

Unconvinced stakeholders suggested the City apply same mitigation measures to other City owned property located in Escondido’s industrial zones instead. Mayor Abed indicated public concerns about City’s second location choice for MFRO will be carefully considered through the public hearing for Conditional Use Permit (CUP); Planning Commission will ensure specific conditions are applied to provide appropriate mitigation.

Since then, Water Utilities hosted two (2) public community meetings which were well attended. Public notices were sent to property owners within 500’ feet of proposed location (southeast vacant parcel at Washington and Ash.) The two public meetings had City staff from Planning, Engineering, Fire and Police to respond to questions. During the two public community meetings (October and Novemsee ber 2016) feedback was mostly community driven opposition from senior residents living adjacent at “The Springs”, Cedar Neighborhood Group, other surrounding residential neighborhoods, and some commercial properties.

City of Escondido released Mitigated Negative Declaration (environmental analysis) for 30 day public review period, which closes Monday November 28, 2016. Planning Commission’s target date is December 13, 2016.

PATRICIA BORCHMANN, Escondido
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FOCUS CHANGE NEEDED?

Editor, Times-Advocate:

While looking for my favorite programs in another city, I had to preview all that is offered on TV. What a depressing experience. There were lots of people finding original ways to destroy other human beings, to chop them up, to be cruel, to imprison them in novel ways. Yet we are shocked when we hear about mass murderers chaining people in sheds in inhuman conditions, in real life.

There were lots of people protesting the outcome of the election, but they weren’t even registered to vote. Why do we tolerate their poor behavior when they refuse to take part in the process? Why do we televise it? It seems just another way to get their fifteen minutes of fame, for bad behavior. Where is the reward for good behavior?

Now I’m hearing all sorts of info about the selection of Trump’s team. Why have I never heard that sort of information about past presidents? Usually it is very quiet between the election and the inauguration, a time to recover from all the negative ads.

Then, there was a story about a woman who after helping her own children get into college, decided to help some poor children get through the same process. It was a wonderful story! I wanted to cheer. We need more stories about people finding novel ways to help others – that don’t want money from me.

Let’s hear about the specific flaws of Obamacare and how they can be patched, or does no one have a clue? Why can’t we hear a debate about how to fix the problems at the post office? What are the tax change options and what are the good and bad points of each? With computer college possible why can’t we hear a discussion of how that can be used to decrease the cost of college education? Why aren’t there shows discussing issues and possible solutions, spotlighting problem solving?

With so many people displaced from jobs, why can’t we hear about the new jobs being created and what it takes to qualify for them? My granddaughter asked me what she should take in college or what careers she should consider. What does a retired person know? One of her friends had a summer job being a “scribe” in the emergency room. After a 36 year career in medicine I had never heard of that job. Why not?

When I questioned my mother about why she only watches game shows on TV, she said, “I don’t want to see ugliness!” Maybe it is time for all of us to filter out the murder, mayhem, violence, and ugliness. Maybe it would teach our children there are other ways to solve problems without seeing how many people they can kill or stores they can destroy.

BARBARA SAAD, Escondido
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*Note: Opinions expressed by columnists and letter writers are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the newspaper.

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