Alliance Says Goodbye and Hello

The Casa de Oro Alliance would like to thank Brenda Simmons and Lieutenant Jerry Hartman for their service to our community.

Brenda Simmons, who provided critical professional skills and personal time and commitment during the infancy of the what is now the CDOA, until last year served on the CDOA Board of Directors. Brenda chaired the CDOA Advisory committee, until recently when she announced her decision to resign in order due to the demands of her new role as leader of the Institute of Public Strategies. Many members of the Board of Directors voiced their thanks for Brenda’s service to the Casa de Oro Community and wished her good fortune in her new position.

Lt. Hartman recently announced his retirement as a San Diego County Deputy Sheriff. While never formally a member of the CDOA Board of Directors, Lt. Hartman, a native of Casa de Oro, proved a consistent and engaged champion of CDOA. Lt. Harman encouraged Casa de Oro and area communities to work with law enforcement for positive change. His many years of experience working and communicating with the public were valuable assets he generously shared with CDOA. We wish “Jerry” a happy retirement, knowing he will be missed.

Thom Hiatt, the owner of a local marketing firm, was recently welcomed as the newest member of the CDOA Board of Directors. Thom became involved with CDOA giving his time and talents working with the community outreach and economic development committees.


Small Business Federal Disaster Loans

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to California small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza announced today. SBA acted under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the President, to declare a disaster following a request received from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s designated representative, Director Mark S. Ghilarducci of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services on March 13, 2020.

The disaster declaration makes SBA assistance available in several California counties including San Diego and Imperial.

•       Visit www.sba.gov/coronavirus for guidance and resources

•       Check www.sba.gov/disaster for updates specific to SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans

Price Gouging – It is against the law

It is illegal for businesses to raise prices on certain products and necessities more than 10% unless the business can show their cost also went up. The law applies to several products and necessities including: food and drink (including food and drink for animals); emergency supplies such as water, flashlights, radios, batteries, candles, blankets, soaps, diapers, toiletries; and medical supplies such as prescription and nonprescription medications, bandages, gauze, isopropyl alcohol, and antibacterial products.  

It is also a misdemeanor for a hotel or motel to increase regular rates by more than 10 percent during a declared emergency and for the 30 days following the state of emergency. 

Violations of the price gouging statute are subject to criminal prosecution that can result in one-year imprisonment in county jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000. Violations are also subject to civil enforcement actions including civil penalties of up to $5,000 per violation, injunctive relief and mandatory restitution. You can report suspected price gouging to the District Attorney’s Consumer Protection Unit at (619) 531-3507 or to the California Attorney General’s Office

San Diego County COVID-19 Information by Text Message

County residents can now receive information about the novel coronavirus via text thanks to the County COVID-19 public information text message alert system.

The system allows County health officials to send real-time information about COVID-19 in the region. To sign up to receive the messages, text COSD COVID19 to 468-311.

The system was set up to let County public health officials issue information and instructions on changes related to COVID-19 in the region.

Recommended COVID-19 Websites

The World Health Organization COVID-19 Pandemic webpage (WHO.int) offers global information on the disease, how it is spread, and how it can be prevented.

John Hopkins University of Medicine (https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html ) offers an excellent graphical ‘drill-down’ map showing the spread of COVID-19 across the globe.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.org) is an excellent way to keep up-to-date on ongoing developments. In particular, pay attention to CDC Guidance for Businesses and Employers  and CDC Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations.

The California Department of Public Health (www.cdph.ca.gov) is similar to the CDC site but more geared to California. https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Immunization/nCOV2019.aspx

The County of San Diego also has a webpage dedicated to current important information in our county. Visit this site on a daily basis to keep locally informed. https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/coronavirus/

Two other websites with up-to-date information about COVID-19 for people and businesses looking for ways to get relief include: Susan Davis, U.S. House of Representatives Corona Virus Webpage and 211 San Diego

The California Labor & Workforce Development Agency (www.labor.ca.gov) is an excellent source for important labor information on what employees and employers are entitled to.  Great website to help determine what is best for you, your family, and your workplace. https://www.labor.ca.gov/coronavirus2019/.

You will find COVID-19 FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) on laws enforced by the California Labor Commissioner’s Office on the State of California Department of Industrial Relations website. https://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/2019-Novel-Coronavirus.htm.

Sheriff Storefronts Welcome – But 911 Still Best Bet for Emergency

The San Diego Sheriff’s storefronts are not what they seem to be, according to Lieutenant Jerry Harman, of the Rancho San Diego Station. The community shares two storefronts. One is located in the Spring Valley Center at 531 Sweetwater Road, while the other is in the Casa De Oro Plaza at 9736 Campo Road. Sometimes they are empty and therefore not very good places to report crime.

“The most important thing to remember with our storefronts is that we do not dispatch deputies from these locations. These locations were graciously provided to us by the then Houck Properties and now Pacific Properties and we fully appreciate the opportunity to be closer to our communities. Our deputies utilize the offices as a way to stay closer to their beats when doing reports, handling correspondences, taking a quick break, using the bathroom, cooling off or warming up depending on the season,” Hartman shared.

According to Lt. Hartman, deputies meet at the storefronts “to round table the handling of situations, training, debriefing incidents and enforcement strategies”.  As a result, and for for security purposes the offices are not open to the public, and deputies are not always there. Sheriff staff is also not assigned to work at the storefronts.

Lt. Hartman asks the public not to drive to the storefront to report a crime. “If you see a patrol car there, then there is probably a deputy there,” he shared. Because a deputy may not always be at the storefront, if you are a victim of a crime, your best action is to call 911, and for a non-emergency call 858-5656-5200.

If you are visiting one of the storefront shopping centers and become the victim of a crime or if you witness a crime, knock on the storefront door if you believe a deputy is there, otherwise call 911.

“The most important thing to remember with our storefronts is that we do not dispatch deputies from these locations.”

Casa de Oro Alliance – 501(c)(3) Status Confirmed

The Casa de Oro Alliance is strategically positioned to successfully move into our second generation of existence.

The Casa de Oro Alliance was excited to learn recently of the organization’s recognition by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. More importantly, donors to the Casa de Oro Alliance may be eligible to claim their generosity as charitable donations on their income taxes.

Bob Yarris, president of the Casa de Oro Alliance congratulated the organization’s board of directors. “Along [with the County’s]  decision to select a planning consultant in the next couple of weeks , the Casa de Oro Alliance is strategically positioned to successfully move into our second generation of existence.”  The Casa de Oro Alliance was formed four years ago in response to local high school student efforts to improve the Casa de Oro Campo Road business corridor.

“We have much to celebrate and look forward to. We do have a very promising future indeed,” said Yarris

County Code Compliance Official Highlights July General Meeting

Tom Causey, the County Code Compliance Officer assigned to monitor Casa de Oro privately-owned areas, spoke at the General Assembly Meeting of the Alliance on July 18.  As a Code Compliance Officer, Causey responds to calls of community members, giving priority to those concerns involving health and safety issues. He works to find solutions in conjunction with other county agencies.  Causey investigates violations on private property, and the Department of Public Works oversees violations located on easements, on school property, on Helix water district property, and on other public areas.

Some of the types of cases that Causey investigates include violation of zoning ordinances and building codes, grading and clearing issues, inoperable vehicles, unsafe structures, and noise.  In the Casa de Oro business area, Causey has been instrumental in the removal of illegal flag banners and “A-frame” signs, as well as temporary signage. He was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation from the Alliance for his efforts.

Although prior to his and additional staff being hired a backlog of several hundred cases piled up, he currently is addressing about 140 cases, which includes 72 CDO cases filed this past year and about 35 new cases each month.  Each case begins with a determination of whether a violation exists. If so, a warning ticket is written and a discussion is held to inform the owner of the needed remedy. Another inspection is then held weeks later, and if no action has been taken, a ticket is written.  After a two-week appeal period, if there has been no response or corrective action taken, a fine is issued. The fine amount is doubled every two weeks, to a maximum of $10,000 if the violation is not corrected. Obviously, it is to the community and the owner’s advantage to work with Causey to quickly bring their property into compliance!

If you believe there is an issue which Causey should investigate, you may e-mail him at the following address:  Thomas.Causey@sdcounty.ca.gov

All are welcome to attend the next General Assembly meeting on September 19.