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Wednesday, June 16, 2004
Shadowridge residents confront city officials
By: JENNIFER KABBANY - Staff Writer | Wednesday, June 16, 2004 11:17 PM PDT ∞
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VISTA ---- Stephen Langosh wanted to know why the city was closing the San Diego County Sheriff's substation on Thibodo Road.
Jerry Karsh wondered out loud why the city is perpetually claiming that it has no money.
Bonnie Hester was curious why the city doesn't clean up the shopping center at Sycamore Avenue and Shadowridge Drive.
These three residents who live in the middle- and upper-class area of southern Vista known as Shadowridge were among 50 people who confronted city officials at a meeting Wednesday night, asking what City Hall was doing to improve their neighborhood.
Appropriately, the meeting was called "ASK Vista," which stands for attend, share ideas, know your community. The city has hosted a dozen similar meetings since last spring. It gives community members a chance to pepper city officials with questions.
Residents emphasized that they don't feel safe when shopping at the Stater Bros. shopping center at Sycamore Avenue and Shadowridge Drive at night because of shady characters. In the day, the shopping center is filled with unattractive signs, they said.
"My concerns have to do with deterioration of (Shadowridge)," said one woman in attendance. "We have cracked streets, cracked sidewalks."
Hester, who hosted the meeting along with her husband, James, in their Shadowridge home, said that "we are trying to get the point across that you are doing a lot on the other side of (Highway) 78."
The comment was directed toward Mayor Morris Vance, Councilman Bob Campbell and Assistant City Manager Rick Dudley, who were on hand to represent the city. Sheriff's Capt. Rob Ahern and Deputy Theresa Adams-Hydar attended as law enforcement representatives.
Hester and others at the meeting said the city is focusing too much attention on the 7-month-old Vista Village shopping center on Main Street in downtown and other areas of northern Vista ---- not Shadowridge.
Vance responded that their concerns have been noted. He said the city will take a look at the Stater Bros. shopping center and ensure that codes are enforced. He also said the city may revise its property maintenance ordinance to crack down on home and business owners who let their properties deteriorate. Vance also said Sycamore Avenue will soon be resurfaced.
Capt. Ahern also told the residents that if they witness any suspicious activity at the center to call the sheriff's department with a detailed description.
To residents who voiced concerns about the city decision to close the substation in their neighborhood, Ahern said, "I have the same concerns. But what I want to promise you is if you call a cop will come."
Campbell, responding to Karsh's question as to why the city always claims it has no money, said that City Manager Rita Geldert justified every dollar in the 2004-05 budget.
"Nobody missed a whack," Campbell said of the city's multi-million dollar budget cuts.
After the meeting, Hester said she appreciated the opportunity to speak with the officials, but that "I think we are more interested in getting results."
She said only time will tell.
Contact staff writer Jennifer Kabbany at (760) 631-6622 or email@example.com.