Dozens of La Mesa residents filled Tuesday night’s City Council meeting to ask city leaders to support their fight against a parole office opening up in their community.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is considering opening a new parole office at a vacant building on Grossmont Summit Drive just blocks away from Grossmont High School. Some parents say it’s not far enough away from the campus, and neighborhood residents fear the clients of the facility will bring trouble to the neighborhood along with them.
Retired correctional officer William Goff lives in Mount Helix, about a 10-minute walk from the proposed office site. He describes his property as a little slice of heaven but fears this new facility might disrupt that.
“Some of them, their habits are so bad we would parole them in the morning, I would come back in the evening for my night shift and they would be right back,” Goff said.
Goff has 20 years of experience dealing with parolees and inmates and the idea doesn't sit well with him.
Both the city and the Grossmont Union High School District told NBC 7 they learned about the plan at the end of last month. The CDCR said in a statement it is still in negotiations for a lease and is in talks with the city.
Goff and dozens of other residents showed up the council meeting and expressed their concerns during a public comment period.
“You need to work for us to make sure that our communities are safe. That our children are safe, that our families are safe,” La Mesa resident Stephanie Boethin told the council.
Councilmembers said at the meeting that, according to the CDCR, the La Mesa location is not the only one being considered. Details on what other locations are being looked at were not shared.
The CDCR said it is planning a community meeting of its own sometime in 2019.
San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob, who represents the area, said in a statement that she stands with her concerned constituents.
"I'm deeply troubled by the state proposal and I share the residents' concerns about the impact on public safety. Allowing convicted criminals to frequent an area that close to thousands of Grossmont High School students and quiet neighborhoods is a terrible idea," her statement read.
Her office says it learned about the state's proposal on Nov. 28.