Encinitas Bus Driver Wins Competition

Antonio Perez, San Dieguito Union High School District bus driver, showed the world he is the best in the industry.

Antonio Perez spent the majority of his summer training for the 42nd annual School Bus Driver International Safety Competition. The competition took place in Milwaukee earlier in June.

During the event, dozens of best drivers from the US and Canada had to prove their ability behind the wheel on a closed course. Perez said the competition was tough but he brought home the 2012 title in the category of transit bus which is one of the hardest of all categories as it involves the largest vehicles.

He talked with a reporter from the Patch on his experience and the competition. When asked how long he had been driving school buses, he replied, "I started driving buses when I was 20, and I’ve been doing this for 20 years. I’ve spent the past 10 years driving buses for the San Dieguito Union High School District."

He was then asked about his win and if it was the first national win. Perez stated, "Yes, but I’ve competed three times. I competed once in 2006 and again in 2007. I guess the third time’s the charm. This year I also won my third state title, and I started competing in local bus rodeos in 2006. "

The reporter than asked about his strategy and he replied, "Practice really does make perfect, so I did a whole lot of that. I was putting in about ten hours a week, mostly on the weekends. Whether it was parallel parking or student loading, I’d just break down each maneuver step-by-step until I perfected it."

Next, the reporter from the Patch asked if natural talent may have helped with the competition. Perez explained, "I was asked to start training other bus drivers a year-and-a-half into my career, so I grasped it pretty quickly. My father also drove buses, so I’m thinking maybe genetics have something to do with it."

To answer the question about the challenges of driving a bus, Perez stated, "The amount of blind spots. I don’t think most people realize how many there are. As bus drivers, we depend on our mirrors. It’s important we set them up just right because we have trust what we see in those mirrors."

How does it feel to be considered the best bus driver was the next question. Perez stated, "It feels awesome. I do this to test myself, to find out how good I can really be. Ultimately, the goal is to also keep all the students on my bus safe, and I do my best to relay that message to every bus driver I train."

The last question was if Perez would return next year to defend his title and he replied, "Oh yeah—I don’t plan on stopping. I’ll keep doing this as long as I still have it in me."

If you are looking for the perfect home with quality schools and of course the best school driver in the nation, then you will want to take a look at the homes in the Encinitas area. An Encinitas real estate agent, would love to show you all the homes available. Contact a professional at 888-865-5055.

Chula Vista’s Budget Gaps Filled

Even though there have been continued revenue shortfalls, Chula Vista’s budget for the upcoming year does include $60,000 to help fill a funding gap for the city’s Domestic Violence Response Team, an extra $80,000 for the Police Department, and an additional $240,000 for community recreation programs.

The City Council passed a balanced budget for 2012 – 2013 for $124 million just prior to the deadline on June 30 which is set in the city’s charter. The meeting lasted most of sic hours with the majority of the time spent discussing the decision to consolidate the recreation departments and the library.

Earlier in the month, Councilman Rudy Ramirez and Deputy Mayor Steve Castaneda estimated that consolidating could save around $300,000 which could go to community recreation programs. On June 19, Recreation Director Buck Martin was fired during a vote on the matter; however, the council backtracked this week. The council decided to delay the consolidation by months until it has been discussed with community groups as well as hire an assistant director that would head up the department temporary.

Finance Director Maria Kachadoorian’s numbers do not show the same savings and predicted a smaller savings from such a merger. Castaneda and Ramirez found money elsewhere in spite of disagreements from colleagues Mayor Cheryl Cox and Councilwoman Pamela Benssoussan.

The extra funding for the recreational programs will come from three different sources including "$80,000 in reserve funds that the council originally planned to set aside for one of two unnamed potential ballot measures in the future; $100,000 from city employee salary cuts; and $60,000 in salary savings from firing Recreation Director Buck Martin and hiring an assistant director to replace him.

"I hope in time we are able to see this as an improvement and a way of preparing ourselves for the future and as a fiscally important and prudent course of action," Ramirez told his colleagues and the full chamber.

The council ignored a news release from the Chula Vista Police Officers Association that requested 20 more police offers. They did however, approve an operations and staffing plan from Police Chief David Bejarano. His plan was based on a recent report and is believed will cost $80,000 while increasing proactive time for police officers from 22% to the recommended level of 40%.

The police force accounts for around 35% of the city’s general fund budget.

The $80,000 will be used to add 2 ½ community service officer positions to department’s payroll. The council signed off on the request to add 2 peace officers which will bring the police force total to 218 officers. These new additions will be able to help the department with administrative duties.

The $60,000 for the Domestic Violence Response Team will come from the city’s reserve funds and go to South Bay Community Services. This is a nonprofit organization that lost $170,000 in federal and state funding for the response service it provides for the city after the Police Department missed the deadline to apply. This program supports the operation of police by providing first responders on the sites of domestic disturbances.

City Manager Jim Sandoval stated that the additional measure is not necessary due to the other measures the Police Department is taking to increase its effectiveness.

"As you know, we do have a plan to move that 22 percent in proactive time to 43 percent by January of 2013, which would put us three percent over that target," he explained. "I just don’t want people to think we’re not addressing it."

Council members approved the money for domestic violence response, with Ramirez stressing the fact that the majority of the planned improvements of the police force will not cost the city any money. In addition, he explained that based on the consulting group’s study and report, even after carrying out the plan by the chief, there will still be room for improvement.

"The Matrix study asks for a much higher standard than even we are contemplating accomplishing in our implementation plan," he stated.

Carlsbad Foundation Donates to Community

A Carlsbad charitable foundation donated $107,403 to five community projects via grants for their dedication to enhancing arts and culture in the community.

The Carlsbad Charitable Foundation known as CCF is an affiliate of The San Diego Foundation which awarded a total of $107,403 to the following projects:

Shakespeare Network – $32,809

The donation will enable the New Village Arts to bring Shakespeare to all residents as well as mentor and help the growth of the Junior Ensemble. The expansion will include three out of theatre productions such as the Pacific Ridge School in the summer of 2012, at the Dove Library in the early spring of 2013 and at the Flower Fields in the summer of 2013.

The Hacienda Project – $25,238

This project will create 4 site specific dances at the Magee Park by the San Diego Dance Theater along with the Dance Program at La Costa Canyon High School. The project will provide tour guides that are trained to lead up to 1,000 students along with the general public to see the world premier dances which are put together as a narrative of the hacienda period in the history of California.

Carlsbad Community Theatre Showcase Company – $18,613

This year round creates, establishes, and develops a company that provides performing arts education along with performance opportunities to youth in Carlsbad from 6 to 18 years of age.

Harps in the City – $15,663

The grant will help with the goal of the Harps in the City to provide education programs and pilot music mentorship’s to the Carlsbad Boys and Girls club along with professional harpists. The goals also include a community art project that involves visual and performing artists as well as outreach to senior centers.

Carlsbad Music Festival – $15,080

The money will help to create a dedicated Community Stage for the festival this year held at a location with the Village which will provide a stage for local performers along with a weekend of free music performances to the residents of Carlsbad.

The celebration was the first distribution of grants in Carlsbad from the Matt McLaughlin Live Here, Give Here Matching Program. The late Matt McLaughlin of Rancho Bernardo left a bighearted bequest donation to The San Diego Foundation to be used by the Affiliate Foundations in North County. With the creation of the matching program, The Carlsbad Charitable Foundation membership produced grant making funds will be matched, dollar for dollar, for three years. The Live Here, Give Here match doubled this year’s grants, from $53,701 to $107,403.

"Thanks to the Matt McLaughlin Live Here, Give Here program, we were able to give out a record number of grants and dollars this year, funding all five of the proposals recommended by our hardworking grants committee," stated Hollyce Phillips, CCF Board Chair.

Opening Day at Del Mar

At Del Mar on opening day on Wednesday 17th, My Best Brother and Midnight Crooner won divisions of the $109,300 Oceanside Stakes. The event brought in a record crowd of 47,339.

Midnight Crooner with jockey Rafael Bejarano and trainer Hall of Famer Bob Baffert won the opening division by a neck with Chips All In coming in 2nd. The 2-1 favorite, Boat Trip, can in 5th in the seven horse field. Midnight Crooner ran 1 mile in 1:34.74 on the Jimmy Durante turf course which paid $10.20 to win. Midnight Crooner, the 3 year old colt, increases his career earnings to $128,765, with 3 wins in seven start that earned him $65,580.

Baffert, who won his leading 94th stakes at Del Mar, stated, ”It’s crazy here,” and went on to say, ”It’s like (Kentucky) Derby day without the Derby. It goes to show that racing is alive and well in California.”

In the second division, Martin Garcia and My Best Brother won over Tones by only a half length. The colt rain the distance in 1:34.39 and paid $14 to win. This makes his 3rd victory in six career starts which increased his career winnings to $133,090 with his newest $65,940 earnings. Julio Canani is his trainer.

The even money favorite, Holy Candy, which is co-owned by New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, was ridden by jockey Garrett Gomez. Holy Candy had an injury to his left foreleg. This was not a good day for the horse or the owner as Holy Candy came in last place in the 8th race. Brees group received the horse from prior co-owners Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers in June.

The old record of attendance on opening was set last year with 46,588 and this year the year was blown away. This is the 8th year in a row that the attendance was over 40,000 on opening day.

Want to be a part of the exciting Del Mar community? Contact a Del Mar Realtor today at 888-865-5055 and live the dream of a new home in southern California.

“Jockey for a Cause” at Rancho Santa Fe

The Jockey for a Cause benefit is to raise funds for former riders that are in need. A racehorse owner Jeff DeHaven will host the first benefit on July 18 at his home that will help raise money to benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund and The Jockey Club Safety Net Foundation.

DeHaven stated, "There are some 2,000 jockeys in the United States, and they have one of the most dangerous jobs in the world," and went on to say, "Many of them have to work without adequate health insurance, life insurance or retirement funds, which puts a severe hardship on them and their families. I want this event to help make their lives easier."

He explained that the charities he supports are at this time helping 56 riders with the majority of them in wheelchairs and some being permanently disabled. Each will receive $300 to $1,000 a month from the organizations which is his opinion does not make much sense from an industry that makes billions.

"These guys work 24/7; they shouldn’t be struggling that much," he stated. "That’s why I’m doing the party."

The urgent need to help these riders was noted during the previous week when jockey Jorge Herrera was thrown from his mount and died at the Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton.

It is expected that 700 people will attend the fundraiser that begins at 6pm and includes several A-list celebrities, which have not been announced at this time along with some of the elite of thoroughbred racing and professional athletes from different sports as noted by DeHaven.

He is asking that anyone that has every made a bet or even watched a horse race should attend the event and help support the jockeys.

"As an owner, I’m basically making an attempt to bring all of the industry (trainers, owners, jockeys, veterinarians, etc.) together at one event and recognize all of our responsibilities, and to make sure these people and their families are taken care of when they need us," DeHaven stated.

DeHaven, 54 years old, has been involved in the racing industry on and off since 1987. Brian Boudreau, was instrumental in introducing DeHaven to the sport, being the owner of the thoroughbred breeding facility Malibu Valley Farms in Calabasas. The first starter they owned together was Seismic Wave was 3rd in a Group 2 event held in England.

"I fell in love with the sport," DeHaven stated. "I feel absolutely blessed to be involved, and (to know) the people associated with it."

DeHaven’s horses are unmistakable at the track featuring Charger colors and logo. He was born in Albany close to the Golden Gate Fields racetrack and grew up in Northern California. He stated that the real estate developers in the area based in Stockton did quite a bit for the community and when they purchased the Chargers football team, DeHaven changes his allegiance from the Rams to be a Charger fan.

He stated that over the years he has owned around 50 to 60 racehorses mainly by himself but in some casts in partnerships with 2 or 3 individuals. Among some of his successful runners you will find Regal Thunder, winner of the 1999 Pat O’Brien Handicap and the eighth-place finisher in that year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint; Sicy d’Alsace, who won the San Clemente Handicap in 1998; Sayarshan, 1999 Golden Gate Handicap and Del Mar Handicap victor; and stakes runner True Religion.

He explained that he prefers to breed and race his own horses and has quite a few mares at the Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm in Kentucky including Lacy Lady, Eau de Vie, a daughter of Accusation; and Accusation, dam of the stakes-placed Innocent Man. Latin Lashes is in layup at Jenny Craig’s Rancho Paseana in Rancho Santa Fe.

Breeding just may run in the family, as his 13 year old daughter, Savannah, makes suggestions on mating and even naming of the foals.

DeHaven stated his more memorable moment in racing was when the Pat O’Brien was won by Regal Thunder. The gelding was on a losing streak and the public had him at 17-1 odds that day. Jockey Chris Antley believed in Regal Thunder and stated to him just before the race, "I guarantee I won’t lose on this horse today." It was a battle to the finish, and Regal Thunder prevailed by a nose over Christmas Boy.

Racing does have its highs and lows, his most disappointing moment was when Savarshan was injured when a tendon was bowed while on track for a start during the 1999 Breeders Cup.

At this time, DeHaven has 5 horses in training with Julio Canani which includes a 3-year-old filly DeHaven claimed at Belmont Park in New York; an unraced 2-year-old filly named Secret Motive; an unraced 2-year-old colt named for the clothing line of DeHaven’s late friend, local football legend Junior Seau; Prettypriceygirl, a 3-year-old gelding named Love to Barrett, who was claimed at Gulfstream Park in Florida; and Say Ow. He stated that 10% of Say Ow’s winnings will be donated to the Junior Seau Foundation.

He also owns a yearling named Stunning Drama who is Innocent Man’s full sister, on her way to Rancho Paseana.

"She’s the best yearling I’ve ever had," DeHaven stated.

DeHaven expressed he is looking forward to the Del Mar season and is fascinated with the seaside oval. "There’s no track like it, with the ocean setting and the breeze blowing through there … almost everyone has a different attitude," he stated.

When DeHaven is not spending time with his horses and on the track he spends time working for The Premae Co., purchasing life insurance policies from people seeking liquidity, and packaging and securitizing them in the marketplace. Over the last 6 years, he has been helping the Zion Baptist Church of South Central L.A. He planned a policy so churchgoers could afford to bury their loved ones, helped supply money for scholarships, and aided in the destruction of 4 crack houses.

DeHaven enjoys time with his family in Rancho Santa Fe where he has called home since 1988. His wife, Kim, whom he met in La Jolla and himself have 4 children, Savannah, mentioned above, Chase 15, Kenya 9, and Danni 6.

DeHaven has always loved living in The Ranch and enjoys the idea that it is an "equestrian town."

Since so many of the residents are interested or involved in horses, DeHaven is hoping his "Jockey for a Cause" event is supported locally.

"Permanently disabled jockeys depend on the PDJF for financial assistance," PDJF Executive Director Nancy LaSala stated in a news release. "The PDJF was established to provide long-term assistance to jockeys who have suffered on-track catastrophic injuries. Since its inception in 2006, it has been, and continues to be, challenged to meet its financial goals to meet the day-to-day needs of these men and women. We have great hopes that ‘Jockey for a Cause’ will help provide security for our injured riders, and we are very appreciative to Jeff for his commitment to these athletes."

"The Jockey Club Safety Net Foundation helps not only jockeys, but many others in the industry in their time of need," the organization’s executive director, Nancy Kelly, said in a news release. "Trainers, grooms, exercise riders, hot walkers, farm workers and front office personnel turn to us, and we want to be there to help. ‘Jockey for a Cause’ will help us help those valuable members of the industry."

Tickets for the party if purchased in advance will cost $100 or if purchased on the day of the event $200. The tickets can be purchased at www.pdjf.org or www.tjcfoundation.org. All guests that order tickets will meet at Horizon Christian Fellowship located at 6365 El Apajo Road in Rancho Santa Fe. Guests will receive a wristband and be transported by bus to the DeHaven residence. Along with this, a car service will be provided for guests that are unable to drive after enjoying a few too many drinks.

DeHaven expressed hope that the fundraiser will become an annual event.

"It’s (horse racing) a very fragmented industry," DeHaven stated, and added that the medication issue is certainly not helping. "The public is being misled to a certain extent. Changes need to take place for the betterment of horses and the industry."

If Rancho Santa Fe sounds like the perfect place for your family to call home and enjoy a ranch with your own horses, contact 888-865-5055 today to speak with a Realtor that can provide you with a tour of all the homes available.

New Community Candera in San Marcos

On July 7th the opening of the new community of Candera in San Marcos will commence. The newly decorated model homes, great location, and affordable prices are what will bring in most homeowners.

Homebuyers will be able to enjoy chicken tacos, fish, and beverages from 11:30 to 2:30 pm by Rubio’s Taco Truck.

The models will display the two residential collections which include detached homes beginning in the $400,000 and attached town homes starting in the $300,000.

The town homes offer 4 different two story plans with between 1,524 and 2,014 square feet, and includes three to four bedrooms and two and one-half to three baths. The town homes have versatile options such as a den or loft with all homes offering a two car attached garage.

The town homes also offer gourmet kitchens with granite countertops, stainless steel Whirlpool appliances, European style termofoil cabinets, and an island for convenience. The master bedroom suites offer walk in closets, separate tub and shower, and either decks or patios with private yards.

There are 8 detached two story homes with square footage between 2,336 to 2,904 square feet, with up to five bedrooms and three baths along with a 3 car garage.

The homes boast eco friendly features that are both energy saving as well as money saving with such things as Energy Star dishwashers, radiant barrier roof sheathing, Low-E window glass, tankless water heaters, and digital set back thermostats to control both heating and air conditioning.

Within the area you will find that Candera is close by all kinds of amenities that will help your family feel comfortable and happy in their new home including shopping, fine dining on the Old California Restaurant Row, and educational opportunities at Cal State San Marcos.

TRI Pointe Homes communities are found throughout southern California with Candera being the latest and are in the process of building other communities including Sagebluff and Topazridge at Riverwalk Vista in Riverside, and Los Arboles in Simi Valley. Another community will also be debuting on July 7th, Tamarind Lane at Rosedale in Azusa. TRI Pointe is also building in northern California with the opening of Chantrea at Silver Creek in San Jose, which will be followed by Ironhorse in Morgan Hill.

To see the celebration and partake of the grand opening, you can take the 78 Freeway and exit at Twin Oaks Valley Road. From here drive north and turn right on East Mission Road. Now, go past Woodlands Parkway and turn left on Bougher Road. The Candera models are on the left.

If you are interested in these properties or want to learn more about other communities in the San Marcos area, contact 888-865-5055 today to speak with a real estate professional.