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County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar, right, hosted a forum at the Encinitas Library on Jan. 9. Courtesy photo
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Encinitas residents question proposed homeless parking lot

ENCINITAS — Two standing-room-only forums have been held over the last week in response to a proposed safe overnight parking lot in Encinitas for homeless people living out of their cars.

On Jan. 9, a forum, hosted by County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar and Encinitas City Councilman Tony Kranz was held at the Encinitas Library. On Jan 14, a forum, led by city staff, filled up a room at the Encinitas Community Center.

The proposal was presented to the Encinitas City Council in November, with members voting 4-1 to move forward with the Safe Parking Program. Kranz voted against it.

The program, funded through a state grant and operated by the Jewish Family Service, would operate on a portion of Leichtag Commons, a 67.5-acre farm located at 441 Saxony Road. It’s located near residences and the Magdalena Ecke Family YMCA.

The City Council will vote on the contract for the lot at its meeting Jan. 22.

“To me, I think it’s important that we’re implementing a program that prioritizes people in Encinitas,” Kranz said to the crowd at the library last week.

The consensus at both recent forums was that residents are not against the program, but they’re concerned about safety, the location of the lot, and that it will be like a “magnet” attracting a homeless population from outside of Encinitas. They also feel the city didn’t do enough to notify them or keep them informed about the program.­­

One opponent who spoke at the community center Jan. 14 said she was angry about the program and raised the question that if the lot was such a good idea, “Why did every other city in North County reject this program?”

The woman added that “we want to help the homeless, we know there are solutions out there, but this is not the solution.”

Another woman said before the crowd of about 200, that she wanted the city to gather the facts, do its research and “stop rushing things.”

One proponent of the program addressed the crowd saying the people who would be served by the lot aren’t “rapists and robbers” but families.

The Safe Parking Program would be the fourth lot of its kind — and the first in North County — run by Jewish Family Services. The other three lots operated by the nonprofit are in the city of San Diego.

The lot will be a resource for the estimated 350 people who live out of their cars in North County. It will have space for 25 vehicles and be open from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. It will have overnight security, bathrooms, hand-washing stations, food and resources to help people get back into permanent housing.

Everyone is screened as to rule out anyone on the registered sex offender list or those with violent criminal convictions. Drugs and alcohol are not allowed on the lot.

The Leichtag Foundation organized a neighborhood forum at Leichtag Commons on Jan. 12 to address questions about the program.

On Jan. 13, Charlene Seidle, executive vice president of the Leichtag Foundation, said the organization said yes to hosting the lot because they felt they could easily accommodate it on their site with minimal impact and it would be helping those in need.

“We know from our community organization partners that there are single parents with children, community college students, seniors, veterans and others already living out of their cars in our community,” Seidle said. “We felt that if they are sleeping in a car anyway, sleeping in a safe place is preferable to sleeping in an exposed place.”

Seidle said the location of the proposed lot is in the very interior of the property, not visible from any street, and with a very large buffer between the parking lot, streets and residences.

Seidle added that safety and security is a paramount concern and the lot will be closely monitored in real-time. She pointed out that with Leichtag being a Jewish organization, and the reality of modern times, they have to be extremely attentive to security and safety. She said Leichtag Commons is completely gated with locked gates at night, they already employ full-time security, and have cameras placed all over the property with security and law enforcement access.

“For the program, we have mandated overnight security who will patrol the lot itself, so security personnel will be present on site 24 hours a day, every day … for the entire duration (the Safe Parking Program) exists on our site.”

Resident Crista Curtis, who attended both community forums, said she believes a parking lot is a terrible “solution” for homelessness, as it simply takes people living in cars from the street and into a parking lot.

“They are still sleeping in their cars. How can that be a sane and compassionate solution?” Curtis asked, adding that “for $256,000 a year, that money is better served putting homeless into a warm, safe bed with a roof over their heads.”

Curtis said the fact that they would be pushed out of the lot every morning at 7 a.m. is also problematic because then “where will they go? No one can say for sure, and therefore, there is an accountability concern that has not been addressed. How can a mom in the neighborhood feel that her safety, or her child’s safety concerns are being respected, when participants can pull out of the lot and park a block or two away, or hang out at the park where kids play during the day?”

Seidle said that providing support services to the homeless living in their cars dramatically increases their likelihood of getting back on their feet and keeps them from sliding into permanent homelessness.

“Those served are not the chronically homeless but rather the first-time homeless, those who may have had just one bad stroke of luck,” Seidle said, adding that many are employed and in school. “If we don’t help those in need, who will?”

25 comments

Ranchboy January 17, 2020 at 7:51 am

Grant money is code word for tax payer money. So the guy trying to provide health insurance to his family is having a tough go at it but the State doesn’t care. They have “grant money” for bums.

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Lisa Shaffer January 17, 2020 at 1:24 pm

As an Encinitas resident who lives close to the Leichtag property, I strongly support the Safe Parking program. There is nothing to fear from allowing 25 families, vetted and receiving supportive services, from parking overnight in a secure parking lot. The City modified the program in response to public input, but nothing is good enough for the NIMBY opponents. Their fear-mongering is harming our community way more than the non-impact of the actual program.

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Penny Stewart January 17, 2020 at 8:07 pm

Lisa Shaffer, were you not one of the citizens who was opposed to converting the City-owned L7 property that was removed from the Housing Element into affordable housing? I believe that this property is closer to your house than the Leichtag parking lot.

I am opposed to this lot because I want to see people housed indoors–not spending the night in a car in a parking lot from 7 pm to 6 am. I am not talking about what is “good enough” for residents. I want to know what you think is good enough for Encinitas homeless, the majority of whom don’t actually own cars.

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Jeremy K. January 17, 2020 at 8:16 pm

These NIMBY’s are truly the least among us. They are an embarrassment to the fine and generous people of this community. I just hope the children of these families do not learn of the hatred and specious fear-mongering against them and their parents.

The irony is that Spvsr. Gaspar held her forum where a known Registered Child Sex Offender and other offenders have basically lived for years in daylight hours, our County Library on Cornish. Check Meghan’s Law website for “John Soder”. He’s lived there for *years*, with other offenders, at a children’s library next to a park!

They need added security at Leichtag to protect the parkers from the NIMBY torch-wielding, likely anti-Semitic mob, which fully deserves a strong and sharp rebuke from the 4 council members with heart and head intact, led by Mayor Blakespear.

Property values vs. human values.

Remember: The fortunes of fate are capricious, mercurial, and quixotic. You might be in their shoes one day.

Heaps of shame on the NIMBY mob.

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Sheila Cameron January 19, 2020 at 3:49 pm

NIMBY – Next it might be You! Because we are the Center for Homeless in ALL of North County – there will not be just a 25 car parking lot – it will be much more than that. I hope you don’t mind my asking where you live Jeremy, so that we can direct the overflow cars and walk ins to where you live. It really is so much more than what you are commenting – you really might try looking at Los Angeles, San Francisco – the disaster that San Clemente incurred and had to shut down. Read my Community Forum in the same issue of the Coast News. Regards, Sheila

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Jeremy K. January 19, 2020 at 6:10 pm

Thank you, Jewish Family Services and Leichtag Foundation….

For you have been a stronghold to the poor,
a stronghold to the needy in his distress,
a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat;
for the breath of the ruthless is like a storm against a wall.

Isaiah 25:4

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Laura R. January 17, 2020 at 8:31 pm

The “fine and generous people of Encinitas” need to pony up money for an appropriately zoned lot to help Encinitas Citizens, rather than trying to grab a state grant that requires taking in homeless residents from all of North County and beyond. Having a heart is good, but not if it means having no brain.

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Jeff January 18, 2020 at 2:18 pm

A better version just failed 20 minutes north in San Clemente, like every other coastal city. Too many low informed people always pressuring somebody else to do what low informed people “preach” but do not practice

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taxpayerconcerns January 18, 2020 at 4:14 pm

Has anyone read the Jewish Family Service budget for this freezing cold parking lot that provides less than 5% of the HEAP grant to the homeless. The state HEAP grant is $256,000 yet $156,000 of the grant goes to personnel salaries.

Would anyone consider this a grant to help the homeless or a grant to increase salaries at the Jewish Family Service which has several million dollars in their bank.

The people sleeping in cars could be better helped by the JFS forgoing the salaries and using all the grant money to rent apartments for those sleeping in cars.

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Ranchboy January 19, 2020 at 5:08 am

Let’s be clear, “ITS TAX PAYER MONEY”. The word “grant” is to cover up the truth of money forcefully taken from tax payers. There…fixed.

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Jeremy K. January 19, 2020 at 10:28 am

Tax payer money funds the halfway house County Library on Cornish where we house, unsecured, free to roam about the house, various parolees, drug addicts, wet-brain late stage alcoholics, violent offenders, and at least one REGISTERED CHILD SEX OFFENDER John H. Soder. Find him on Meghan’s Law CA website.

The police have been called to this library literally many hundreds of times for public intoxication, drug use and dealing, fist fights, petty theft, vandalism, verbal altercations, 5150 cases, on and on, for the past 10 YEARS.

Where have you all been for the past decade, who care so deeply about child safety and crime in the community, and the use of taxpayer funds?!? Why did you not fight this fight with similar venom and fear-mongering, hatred and anger?

I could not even persuade Supervisor Gaspar to install cameras in the children’s area! It was a battle to get the security guards there to keep an eye on these pedophiles and actual criminals!

There is another pedophile allowed, unchecked in that library…. who has been *permanently banned* from the YMCA for grooming and having physical contact with a 12 year old girl. His name is now “Gregory Charles”….. he changed it from “Tomas Gregory Brown” when he moved here from CO. I personally had him banned from Eve, a downtown eatery after showing the evidence to the owner I’d shared with the County of SD. He was up to his old new-age, astrology, life-coach, sex-coach garbage. I could not get him banned from the County Library, the Children’s Library on Cornish. He is an ACTIVE PEDOPHILE IN ENCINITAS, unchecked.

Google “aspen astrologer”. He’s allowed in town, in the County Libraries, to hunt your children, but fully vetted, monitored seniors and college students, families with children of their own cannot be allowed onto someone else’s private property (completely tucked away and out of sight) to get a good nights sleep so they can perform better at work and school, to better their lives? You claim to be Christians??

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ABC January 19, 2020 at 9:18 pm

Jeremy, you obviously have some serious concerns about what’s going on in your neighborhood. I’m not sure if this is the forum for that but I sympathize with you if what you say is true. However, regarding the parking lot, I’d like to clarify that these individuals are not going to be “fully vetted”. If you look at JFS’s enrollment form , the “adults are run through the Megan’s Law database and the National Sex Offender Registry. They are also asked if they have been convicted of a violent crime which disqualified them for enrollment.” Perhaps this does not alarm YOU, but it alarms me. I don’t see this as vetting participants if they are expected to volunteer information regarding their criminal pasts. Rapists and pedophiles might be disqualified, but not people who have committed a violent crime. So not only do I think we can do better as a community to help those in need, I think we are potentially endangering families who use the lot unless more stringent guidelines for participation are put in place.

No problems are going to be solved by falsely accusing those whose opinions differ from yours as racist, anti-Semitic NIMBYs. People against the lot have legitimate questions and concerns. I have not seen or heard one anti-Semitic comment. I would urge caution when throwing around these types of accusations as they only inflame issues. It’s sadly ironic to see such hatred from someone who is falsely accusing others with differing opinions of being haters.

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Jeremy K. January 20, 2020 at 1:28 pm

There were no security guards at the San Diego County Library on Cornish until I asked the Board of Supervisors for them along with two security cameras in the children’s area. City Manager Brust personally informed me of that small victory. I spoke before City Council about personally witnessing a weathered alcoholic homeless man in his 60’s masturbating at a computer terminal at this children’s library (which I reported to the SDCS) and Tony Kranz mentioned a violent fistfight his neighbor and small child had witnessed there. They feared for their lives and safety. I’d witnessed fistfights and yelling there before. I’d previously reported that another man at the Cardiff branch has a dissociative disorder and that he was speaking in increasingly alarming words to the characters of the series Little House on the Prairie. He was talking to the computer screen at Laura Ingalls and Nellie. He’s been watching it for years, over and over and over. Ask Eric, a County Librarian there. Email Commander Maryon and/or council to confirm it all.

Nobody cared.

I documented for *YEARS* the SDCL WiFi and computers were completely unsecure and had been so for years, opening literally *thousands* of people to identity theft via email and other passwords and usernames not flushed. Identity theft is a devastating, life-altering crime and the #1 crime now. I identified a Registered Child Sex Offender and verified another active pedophile in town. I reported him to then SDCS Captain, now Commander John Maryon. I reported it all to the Chief Librarians and Library Director Acosta. I reported drug dealing and use, vandalism, the constant need for SDCS to respond to the libraries (an actual wasting of taxpayer resources) confrontations between librarians and meth heads. Unmentionable stuff in the men’s bathroom. There are other violent offenders there, unidentified, unsequestered, unmonitored. One librarian was not even familiar with Megan’s Law website, Jessica’s Law, or anything like that. They were defensive upon the question.

Nobody cared.

It was all normalized over the course of a decade: Violent fights, Child Sex Offenders, Violent Offenders, theft, drifters and grifters, campers, vandalism… no problem. Normal and fine. No issue here.

25 cars tucked away out of sight on Saxony, night only, pre-screened, guarded…… the Nazi property value mob comes out in full force…. Shiela Cameron, Julie Thunder, Kristin Gaspar, using children’s safety as a shield, zoning as a technical backstop, with fear and anger, unmoored, with emotional appeals to fear and anger toward JFS/Leichtag, and the City of Encinitas.

Ahhhh, we have a weapon against Catherine!!!! Yessss!!!! Man the Battle Stations!!! All Hands on Deck!

Good, Good, Let The Hate Flow Through you!!!!!

You’re fear-mongering, ABC, and you work like them to block the kindness of others, using fear.

Don’t ask for help when disaster and misfortune strikes you, when you need help to feed your kids and lift up, when you need help at all, if you or someone you love gets a stage-3 diagnosis, is laid off, or both, stricken with anxiety attacks, alone blind-sided by the Fates, who want to test you, see who you are, what you’re made of.

You’ll be deemed a risk to children by someone like you, ABC, a risk to families….demonized and trash-talked when you’re down.

You see, there’s another wheel in action, its called the “Karmic Wheel”.

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Jeremy K. January 19, 2020 at 11:56 am

Be honest and truthful: You’re Social Darwinists and right wing Republicans, hate-filled donuts basically. You lack the courage to admit it’s largely about property values, but you love that it won’t actually effect it, while still allowing you to show your tribe how mean-spirited, partisan, and ugly you can be through the vehicle of fighting a pittance of help toward families less fortunate that yours, fighting anything and everything this Mayor and Council do. You know that, but continue to stoke fears of YMCA kids being abducted and worse, and a sudden crime wave. You alternate between false outrage that these families deserve better while still stoking fears, but you propose nothing better, would never allow anything more anywhere near your investment, and have done nothing to better the lives of homeless families in the past, or to protect children from real, actual threats as shown in my previous comments.Your are a NIMBY, Social Darwinist lot who have simply injected what should have been a complete NON-ISSUE with vitriol, anger and fear. You are the worst Encinitans, but you’re here because the real estate investment is better here than in White Power, MT, or Klanville, ID, where you belong. You are composed of lies and guile, and you shame our community with your lies and fear-mongering.

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Ted January 19, 2020 at 5:41 pm

When you lie you get caught. Don’t cry when you get caught because you shouldn’t have been lying

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Ranchboy January 20, 2020 at 6:38 am

hey Jerrry…are you the same whacko that tries to convince everyone about “man made global warming”? me thinks so.
So now you think people that oppose the bum parking are Klansmen.
You’ve read too many books and ain’t got a lick of sense.
If this is what college does to the brain, thank all the gawds I’m dumb.

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Jeremy K. January 20, 2020 at 2:17 pm

Not at all, Ranchboy…

I believe in a flat earth, Intelligent Design, and a God that created a fossil record that has fooled idiot “scientists” into an whacky theory of “evolution”.

I believe in coal, typewriters and rotary phones, that it’s OK to grope and denigrate women and girls at school and work. I’m for unequal pay, against clean air standards and environmental anything. I’m for littering cities with illegal political signage, and extorting allies under attack by Russia for personal political help. Ukraine interfered in 2016. Putin is truthful and generally a good guy. I short TSLA for fun because I prefer coal and I hate George Soros. I don’t know why. It was on Fox & Friends.

I’m against nutritious school lunches, and for caging kids. Sometimes kids die. Not my problem. The white power hate groups and KKK are basically good people. I believe in money.

There is no climate crisis. Everything is fine.

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Rogelio Espinosa January 19, 2020 at 3:49 pm

Jeremy: You are a hateful person who is worse that the opponents of the Homeless Parking Lot that you describe in your diatribe. I don’t see anyone posting on social media or in newspapers that reach the level of vitriol that you are spouting. Tell Mayor Blakespear that your comments are counter productive and are hurting her campaign for re-election.

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Marion January 19, 2020 at 4:49 pm

Calm down Mr. Jeremy K. Talk about hate. Sheesh.

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Jeremy K. January 21, 2020 at 7:45 pm

Meet the Parkers, everyone……..

These are examples of the individuals and families being assisted. These are the ordinary, hardworking people who have fallen upon hard times, looking for a safe place to park their car, which has become their temporary home until their lives can be back to normal.

These are the citizens you’ve denigrated and demonized, called “bums” and thereby stained this community with your specious fear-mongering venom and vitriol.

These are not the late-stage alcoholics, violent offenders, parolees, meth addicts and heroin junkies which populate and sleep in the chairs at the SD County Libraries. That is the fear planted by Supervisor Gaspar and her lieutenants against this program.

Notwithstanding minor legitimate concerns which have been fully addressed, this should not have caused such an uproar.

https://jfssd.org/blogs/lorettas-safe-parking-program-story/

https://jfssd.org/blogs/crystal-kellans-safe-parking-program-story/

https://jfssd.org/press/mayor-faulconer-expands-safe-parking-program-for-homeless-individuals/

“The Safe Parking Program helps those individuals find a stable place to stay while they access services, look for a job and, ultimately, find a permanent place to call home. San Diegans are a compassionate people, and this will give those down on their luck a chance to get back on their feet.”

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer

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Kirk Reis January 21, 2020 at 10:50 pm

Jeremy K.

You are mistaken! Many major issues with the program location, “Success” metrics with pass/fail criteria, and enrollment requirements (can’t deny applicant based on their origin of homelessness, as stated in HEAP grant) that Encintas residents have brought to light have not been resolved and are being ignored by city officials.

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Jeremy K. January 22, 2020 at 3:06 pm

Your parents completely failed to install a heart into your chest, Kirk.

Even if they were guaranteed to be white and originally from Encinitas, you’d find a way to fight this small pittance of humanity. You’d find a way to hate in the name of Mammon. You’d move the goal posts, shift arguments.

Because you have hatred and fear in your heart, it’s beyond the skills of the finest heart surgeon.

Trust that your maker will address this issue with you at life’s end 🔥

Matthew 6:24. You cannot serve two masters. You have not chosen wisely.

I pity you for your lack of humanity.

All of you.

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Jeremy K. January 21, 2020 at 8:25 pm

Matthew 25:31-46

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

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Ranchboy January 22, 2020 at 8:00 am

Oh gawd jerry, get a hobby.

And this folks, is exactly what the left is, whacked out numbskulls.

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Jeremy K. January 22, 2020 at 7:27 pm

CRISPR-Cas9, Ranchboy. Gene editing is your only hope.

Have to end the discussion here folks. 🙂

Reaching out to the good people and businesses of Encinitas for sleeping bags, blankets and food for these families and individuals in need.

You have my prayers as well. I had no idea of the depth of the spiritual problem here in Encinitas.

It is saddening.

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