Saturday, November 18, 2006
McGonigle Canyon cleared out!
From this link:
Protesters would face arrest with migrantsUNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
November 18, 2006
CARMEL VALLEY – Police said yesterday that landowners are closing the illegal encampments in McGonigle Canyon, an announcement that hit a day before residents planned to stage a campout to protest migrant workers living there.
Most of the 180 or so day laborers living in shacks and tents in the canyon had packed up their meager belongings and moved out over the last few days as word of the protest spread on Internet blogs and radio airwaves.
Developer DR Horton, which owns part of the land between Carmel Valley and Rancho Peñasquitos, told the men to vacate the property or be arrested for trespassing, said San Diego police Capt. Boyd Long.The same goes for residents, the Minutemen and their supporters who had planned to gather at the canyon at 2 p.m. today for a picnic and camp out.
“Today, the landowners said they will not allow anyone to be on the property, both migrants and people protesting,” Long said.
Police said people are welcome to protest peacefully on a parcel of city-owned land at the end of Torrey Santa Fe Road, but they will not be allowed to camp overnight.
Julie Adams, who helped organize the protest and has been an outspoken critic of the encampments, considered the eviction a victory, even though she didn't approve of the last-minute tactics.
“It's good in one respect because DR Horton and the police are taking it seriously,” Adams said. “But it was all done in the last hour, which is unfortunate because it could've been handled in a better way.”
The eviction could be the end of a drawn out conflict between residents who live in neighborhoods that surround the canyon, city officials and a handful of private landowners.
Two years ago, camps were removed from land owned by Robert Barczewski and Pardee Homes, only to have them crop up on DR Horton land, a more interior parcel.
Residents voiced concerns of criminal activity and fire hazards at the camp, and they complained about migrants who walk through their yards.
As many as 300 men, many of them undocumented immigrants, lived in the canyon recently, authorities estimate.
Police had already formulated a plan with landowners on how to deal with the migrant camps, Long said.
The plan included securing all entry points where vehicles could drive into the canyon, posting “No Trespassing” signs and hiring private security guards to prevent new camps from popping up.
Once the camps are completely vacated, it will be up to the landowners to clear away the shantytown and trash left behind.
Long said the effort was accelerated this week in light of the media attention promoting the protest.
“We didn't want to rush into it and move these people onto the streets,” Long said. “They could easily spring up in another part of town or canyon or behind businesses in the Rancho Peñasquitos area.”
Enrique Morones of Border Angels, who has worked with the migrants over the past 20 years, said the group has been working on finding alternative housing for the men.
He denied that the landowners were kicking out the migrants, saying many had already left to go back home to their families in Mexico or to live in apartments with friends.
Morones said that the new trespassing rules were instead being used as a tool to keep the Minutemen out of the canyon.
Earlier this week, a couple dozen residents and Minutemen staged a canyon clean-up, throwing away loads of trash at the camps to bring media attention to the issue.
Kristina Davis: (760) 476-8233; firstname.lastname@example.org