CARDIFF-BY-THE-SEA — The situation that has this usually quiet coastal community up in arms continues to evolve as some are questioning the motivation behind a recent 911 call complaining about a “loud Democratic rally with loudspeakers” at a home in the 1300 block of Rubenstein Avenue.
Francine Busby, a Democratic candidate for the 50th Congressional District, was indeed holding a fundraiser June 26 at the home of Shari Barman and her partner, Jane Stratton.
However, attendees’ version of the event differs widely from the Sheriff’s Department report. Guests claim the event wasn’t noisy. The only amplified sound was Busby’s speech, which lasted approximately 20 minutes and ended about 8:30 p.m. A heckler was heard from behind trees and bushes that border the northwest corner of the property shouting profanities at Busby and the group of approximately 50 people.
Three neighbors in the immediate vicinity of the hosts’ home said they were not disturbed by noise that evening. In fact, one homeowner said he was unaware of any activity until he heard a helicopter overhead.
Sheriff’s deputies responded to the noise complaint at 9:12 p.m., according to the report. “By the time the deputies arrived, at least two-thirds of the guests had either gone home or were leaving,” Busby said.
The report gives Deputy Marshall Abbott’s side of his confrontation with Barman, who was later arrested on suspicion of battery and obstruction of a police officer. Another woman, Ann Morgan, was arrested on charges of obstruction. She received a citation and was later released from the Encinitas substation.
The confrontation escalated after Barman refused to give Abbott her date of birth. Abbott used his pepper spray because he felt threatened by guests who surrounded him, according to the report.
Despite repeated requests, Sheriff Bill Gore has refused to release the officer’s report and the 911 transcripts or tapes, citing an ongoing internal investigation into the incident.
Busby said she is concerned about the misinformation in the deputy’s report and the sheriff’s press statement. She also said there are lingering questions that should be answered about the person who made the initial call. “I think it’s important to know what the caller actually said and the tenor of the conversation,” Busby said.
While she said it wasn’t necessary to determine the name of the person who called 911 rather than the non-emergency number, Busby said the caller’s motivation is suspect. “The fact that there was no noise and this was a noise complaint makes me want to know what motivated the deputies to act on this information,” she said.
“I think there are a lot of questions left unanswered,” she said. The Sheriff’s Department did not give Busby a timeframe for the internal investigation when she met with representatives last week. “They did say that they will not be reporting any information unless action is taken,” she said.
“I want to know how this happened, why this happened and to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Busby said.