Trash talk (and arrest) in Cardiff

“No one has the money to pay for a hundred hours of a lawyer’s time.”

Plenty opportunity for trash shenanigans along Birmingham Drive (east of I-5)
  • Plenty opportunity for trash shenanigans along Birmingham Drive (east of I-5)

In the Poinsettia Heights neighborhood of Cardiff by the Sea, a middle-aged woman, well known for her mental illness and attacks on neighbors, was taken into custody last week by the San Diego Sheriff’s Department. Deputy Allen Paez, posting on Nextdoor.com, notified neighbors of the arrest.

“We had a warrant, and we just executed the warrant,” said Paez.

She was charged with California Penal Code 166(A)(4), contempt of court in violating a restraining order prohibiting her from throwing trash and feces on nearby neighbors' property. Her bail was set at $15,000. She was home the next day, according to a resident.

The woman lives at the end of one of the neighborhood’s 19 streets off Birmingham Drive, east of I-5. “We’ve been dealing with her for the past six years,” said a resident who did not want to be identified for fear of reprisals.

Reprisals are understandable, since I may have also been a trash target last September 29 when I started asking questions about the 58-year-old woman on NextDoor; I live six blocks and four streets away.

After her most current arrest, it took me several days of requests (posted on NextDoor) to get any resident familiar with the incidents to contact me. “She is retaliatory,” said a 25-year homeowner on February 22. Based on our phone interview, he is very knowledgeable about the incidents.

“She’s a hoarder,” said the homeowner. The woman does not pay for weekly trash-pickup service.

“She’s very dangerous,” the homeowner alleged. “I’ve seen her try to run kids over with her car while they were riding their Big Wheels down the street. She’s been known to steal dogs and [is suspected of] killing them.”

While code enforcement for the City of Encinitas is aware of the issue and the sheriff’s department continues their investigation, asking residents to submit evidence and photos (she is suspected of striking in the early-morning hours), the only options residents see for resolving the problem is filing a civil lawsuit.

“No one has the money for that, to pay for a hundred hours of a lawyer’s time,” said the homeowner.

In the meantime, the sheriff’s department will continue to file charges against her when and if she gets caught in an act; most of her past arrests have been reduced to misdemeanors.

“We all know it’s only a matter of time until she hurts or kills someone,” said the homeowner. “Then we’ll all say we knew it would happen.”

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In the meantime, the Sheriff’s Dept. will continue to file charges against her when and if she gets caught in an act; most of her past arrests have been reduced to misdemeanors.

That's the problem right there. The prosecutors should be pushing for maximum sentencing, and be willing to go to court rather than plea bargain, as it's evident she'd only incriminate herself further on the stand.

This person is a menace, and the only civil suit I see being won is one in which she causes serious harm or death and public officials are held liable for allowing it.

I assume I am not the only one that suspects a mental health issue here. Hoarding is a definite symptom and actionable because it does create health hazards. The City or County can act in those circumstances and yes, they need evidence. If the people complaining are telling the truth, it would appear that evidence is simply pointing your cell phone with the camera function engaged. We just had one taken away after months. Maximum sentences for the mentally ill isn't the solution. Medical care by competent professionals should at least be attempted before we put her in the stocks.

The system doesn't effectively deal with "neighbors from Hell." Just what a civil suit would accomplish isn't obvious to me. You sue for damages, you win, you try to collect. Good luck. During the suit you might get an injunction, but this indicates she was arrested for violating a restraining order. An injunction is a judicial order enforced just about the same way as a restraining order. And there seems to be the rub.

A generation, actually more like two generations, ago people who had bizarre or disruptive or combative behavior were committed to mental hospitals, better known as insane asylums. That got them off the streets, but rarely resulted in any sort of cure. That was then, now we just put them through a set of revolving doors, where they come out and come home just as messed up as ever.

I would suggest a way of dealing with her but it is illegal. Having said that, there is a high fire danger with horders so . . . . .

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