The Vista Community Clinic is a full service medical provider with two outlets in Vista and three in Oceanside.It’s mission statement, to provide affordable medical care to those who need it, remind you of benevolent caregiver Florence Nightingale.
But their in-house substance abuse arm makes them look like Nurse Ratched from “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” or Nurse Diesel from “High Anxiety.”
It’s called the North County Prevention Coalition, and for 20 years they’ve not been afraid to get in your face.
The NCPC gets government grants and then sets out to fight drug and alcohol abuse especially among youth. They have four full-time people who fight booze and drugs, and four who just focus on cigarettes.
John Byrom is a NCPC prevention specialist. He just spearheaded a “Sticker Shock” campaign where he and his staff would go into Oceanside stores and apply (with the owner’s permission) stickers on 12-packs of beer that remind buyers that it is illegal to furnish minors with alcohol.
Byrom says 12 different stores including Red & White, Wisconsin Market, Pappy’s and Z-Market happily complied with the campaign. He says the ones that don’t blame the major beer companies for discouraging it.
One store owner that I spoke with, and that agreed to put stickers on the beer, said that the beer companies wouldn’t dare discourage such a practice and maintains it was probably just a made up excuse to avoid using the stickers.
Byrom boasts that it was the lobbying efforts of NCPC that got Oceanside to pass a social host ordinance wherein the adult who allows a party where minors drink now faces strong legal repercussions. “Now most cities have one. Oceanside was the second city (in the county) after Poway.”
The NCPC is also on the warpath against stores that sell synthetic drugs like Spice or bathsalts. “We got most of the markets and liquor stores to stop selling them with the help of a letter from the Chief of the OPD. Kids are killing themselves.”
He says there are two Oceanside head shops he prefers to not name that still sell synthetic drugs.
“The problem is once you get a law passed saying a certain synthetic drug is illegal, they change the formula a little, which means the new product is not illegal.”
After U-T owner Doug Manchester bought the North County Times, he sold the two-story headquarters in Escondido. The Escondido printing presses were no longer needed since everything would now be printed in Mission Valley. Since there apparently is no market for printing presses, they were sold for scrap.
Now we learn of the latest signal that print dailies are in trouble.
All over Oceanside you are starting to see U-T news racks (including the ones outside Tan’s Doughnuts in the Valley and Johnny Manana’s downtown) that no longer carry papers. Instead they have a sign facing out that tells the “valued reader” that they can no longer get the U-T at this rack, but they can still buy it somewhere else.
U-T circulation manager Harry Woldt says 300 U-T racks have been decommissioned countywide. He says his department will eventually pick them all up. He explains why the machines are being mothballed. “People would steal papers (from machines), put gum in them…People just aren’t buying papers like they used to… The L.A. Times picked up 3,000 racks in two years.”
Like the printing presses, he says the racks will also be sold for scrap, unless someone reaches out to him and asks to buy them. Surely there are people out there who would want these, at least as collector’s items.
Interesting to note that the city of San Marcos bought the 125,000 sq. ft. building that housed a Lowe’s. That store closed last week. It seems the city had the wherewithal to just say no to Walmart who wanted to move in, and instead said they had successfully reached out to IKEA and other prominent retailers who were interested in leasing the building and move in.
Even San Marcos gets it. Oceanside remains a low-end retail ghetto, with our City Hall clueless when it comes to seeking out quality retailers. When it comes to Walmart, “We just can’t say no,” as the ad slogan goes.
Oceanside born and raised, Ken Leighton writes columns for The Coast News, the San Diego Reader and is an Oceanside business owner. He may be reached at [email protected]