WILDOMAR AUTUMNWOOD & THE ISLANDS OF ODOR
Temecula, CA – “What has the world come to when all this happens because I returned something that didn’t belong to me (in the first place)?” asked a homeless man recently. I can answer that question for you, Sir.
‘The world has become a place where if you do the right thing, it costs you.
If you do the wrong thing, you profit. It has become the world of Matt 24:24.’
This stark reality was salt to the Occupiers at the foot of the Daily Planet building in LA, aka City Hall, but remains unknown to folks like Xonia Villanueva until Fate awakens them with a pimp slap. It isn’t the sting of the pimp slap that stuns, but who the pimp slap comes from. [See When Your Friends Try To Kill You]
This story is in memory of those who still occupy their homes in a tragic forced suicide happening as you read this, in Wildomar, CA, the Autumnwood Villas Development. How does this happen to a valley with a church on every corner rather than a bar?
For those who have read ToxicTowing – How Wildomar Autumnwood Got Sick, this is the back story of one petitioner’s family. Though some names have been shown to be contributory to the direct contamination, it is allegiance to the idea of the system that is to blame. In short, pack and mount your own camel because no one is going to do it for you or come to your rescue. Listen to Lou Reed’s Busload of Faith.
The following true story has been condensed for content.
After living apart from other extended family members down in San Diego, the Villanuevas, husband (employed, middle class job), wife (employed, construction industry), 3 kids, all girls, and family dog moved into their “dream home” which was part of the 1st Phase Autumnwood development in Wildomar. At last family scattered from Red Hawk to parts of Orange County would be close in location. It was March, 2006.
After being completely happy in the spacious family dwelling with a kitchen island measuring 15’x3’ inside it, Mr. Villanueva fell ill to a mysterious pneumonia that persisted with such intensity it caused Papa V. to confess that he didn’t think he was going to make it. This was 2008 and during this period, a 32-year old mother with a 5-year old daughter died from an aggressive form of cancer.
By 2010 after nursing hubby back from the dead with the help of doctors, specialists, and nutritionists, the family in general was suffering nose bleeds, migraines, [‘female’] troubles, colds, joint aches, with even the family dog suffering seizures. One morning as Xonia reached for an appliance in the kitchen by the center island, one of her lungs suddenly collapsed. The commotion caused by the shortness of breath also brought a clue. Could a slab defect causing mildew to seep into the home be the problem? A smell of mildew was detected.
Now in the middle of the family triage zone with everyone sick but being propped up modern medicine, the Monsanto Model of Profitability for plants and people, a construction lawyer has hired to fight for the family. He was put in charge of testing the area after Xonia had started the process. Assuring the family to ‘stand pat’, he would get a settlement so they could fix their property by filing a construction suit against the developer.
Before things could be sorted out, two events happened preventing the Villanuevas from certain extinction. Xonia experienced two nightmarish sleep apnea episodes and her middle daughter decided that she had suffered in hell long enough. This daughter’s declaration of “I can’t take this anymore. I’m leaving” broke the spell of ‘no common sense’. The entire family vacated the dream house that had turned into an Amityville bio-hazard, except for the beloved family dog that expired from seizures and bloody stools. That was in late 2011.
By this time the odor emanating from the kitchen island had grown more intense and more antiseptic in smell and saliva taste. The mayor had also stepped in promising to get to the bottom of the mystery by having tests done by the state agency DTSC. It was during the mediation process with the developer that the Villanuevas found out about the chemicals and their potency. This occurred in May/June 2012.
Now the family is living in a former house on uncontaminated soil still in the area. Many of the symptoms and illnesses have resided but others have evolved, like Xonia’s now diagnosed lupus that was brought on by continued exposure to an industrial solvent long banned. All their belongings, saturated by volatile chemical compound vapor, had to be destroyed for their presence causes the past illnesses to reoccur. Much like a body ‘detergent burn’ the entire Villanueva family has been sensitized/made allergic to chemicals the rest of us are not aware of.
Exposed in Toxic Towing, other contaminated soil from the sewage treatment area was trucked in from Rancho California Water District, providing validation to The Bugle editorial about corruption; however the editorial doesn’t begin to show just how replete the system is with it. Like the institutionalized racism that allowed George Zimmerman to roam free for 30 days after calling shooting victim Trayvon Martin a ‘coon’. In the same ironic way that Psalm 37 applies to Prop 37, so too is the hero lawyer that stirred the pot by not letting the racially-motivated slaughter stand. His picture is at the left.
Let’s look at the system concerning the Villanuevas and how things played out for the family whose last name ironically signals this chapter of their life.
The construction lawyer did bring a suit against the developer but failed to unlock the insurance money claim ceiling in filed paperwork. The soil test request paperwork was left ‘sitting on the shelf’ in the lawyer’s office in an ‘OOPS’ moment. The result, the request was never filed to the state. This lawyer is no longer involved with the case.
The state/county ‘law’ covering new construction does not extend past the builder/contractor. There are no rules/requirements for Riverside county developers. As a result the developer was able to insure the construction of 61 houses for only a one million dollar ‘wrap and burn’ policy. At the same mediation, the developer stated at hearing of all the chemicals identified in the Villanueva home, as self-inflicted, under the sink cleaning supplies, crying “You caused this problem” thereby self-voiding their ten-year new house warranty. “If I fix your house, I’ll have to fix every other house (on the block),” illustrating possible knowledge of an existing common problem.
Lisa D. Herman was first elected to RCWD’s board in September 1991 to fill the remaining two years of a four-year term. Ms. Herman was re-elected in 1993 and 1997, and was subsequently appointed to the board in 2001 to fill the remaining two years of a four-year term. Ms. Herman was once again re-elected in 2003, 2007, and 2011. Her current term expires in December 2015. Ms. Herman served as senior vice president of the board in 1995, 2001, and 2009. She served as president in 1996, 2002, and 2010.
Having served on various ad hoc and standing policy committees of the board since 1991, Ms. Herman currently serves on the Engineering and Operations Committee, Finance and Audit Committee, and is an alternate on the Governmental Affairs Committee.
Married with two children, Ms. Herman has resided in the Temecula area since 1986. Ms. Herman worked as an in-house regional counsel for Kaiser Development Company and its successors, Bedford Development Company and Kemper Development Company, until 1996 when she retired.
The Riverside County coroner's office concluded that the most recent death, in August, 2012, was from ‘naturally’ occurring pneumonia. Lab tests determined that the body of Fatima Atencio, 36, contained elevated levels of barium, but coroner officials told her husband, Thomas Ciccarelli, that the barium wasn't a factor in her death. And this is the little twerp of a city, Wildomar, CA.
When the tests were finally done by South Coast Air Quality Management District on outside/ambient* air, the area in Xonia’s backyard was found to be 77 times higher in uranium than the entire Western United States. In the 300 page report [your tax dollars at work] which is written somewhat misleading*, it can be found that a banned industrial solvent used for manufacturing plastic registered in tests. It was shown that 29 different volatile chemical compounds were vaporizing in Xonia’s kitchen island. Other houses showed 40 or higher.
Penny Newman, hosted a call to the DTSC. The phone interview lasted over 4 hours due to many awkward pauses of silence brought on by direct questions about protocol and procedure from Xonia that the DTSC wouldn’t or couldn’t answer about certain values being above the ‘chisel’ level where even a ‘1’ is concerning. The number represents the cumulative effect level due to long term exposure. The chisel level numbers in the Autumnwood houses tested were 40, 53, 80, and 153 for the house containing the retired couple who have a 23-year old daughter living/dying with them mentioned at the start of this story. They refuse to leave for financial/credit report reasons. Poor stupid people, pray for them. What is your life worth?
Since the house loan is tied to a dollar amount and not the actual structure, the bank was planning on re-selling the deathtrap house to another unsuspecting family, whether the bank knew of the troubles or not. But I think we all know how it is in a small town.
Completely blindsided by the system that they had always (and somewhat still are) a part of by reaching the typical ‘We salute the flag’ middle class lifestyle called The American Dream, the family sought assistance from Liza Tucker of Consumer Watchdog. A new lawyer was also brought aboard.
A 6-month report has been issued from the Watchdog advocate group about the Dept. of Toxic Substances Control which states that the DTSC has ‘signed a death warrant’ for Wildomar Autumnwood, an opinion backed up by the enforcement arm of the DTSC who have been ham-stringed by their own head of the DTSC. The group's report describes an ineffective and dysfunctional regulatory agency.
"The DTSC is a troubled agency with a long-standing culture of mission fatigue, pro-business bias, and fear of political criticism," the report states. "Reform at the department is long overdue."
The report is based on public records, anonymous comments from current and former toxic substances department staff members, media reports and accounts by citizens affected by contamination. The full report can be read here.
Department spokeswoman Charlotte Fadipe said department officials haven't the seen the report, which was scheduled to be made public Thursday, Feb. 21. But she said that agency representatives have met with the Consumer Watchdog people and "understand their concerns."
"We take our mission of protecting the public from hazardous waste seriously..." she said."Standards for hazardous waste management in California are the most stringent in the country, offering the highest levels of protection for Californians." ["but the weakest enforcement" - Liza Tucker, CWD.]
Now having read this news report so far, you might be thinking that the homeowners’ plight is obvious, but like the opinion of the Prop 37 proponents in knowing that 90% of the people favor GMO labeling, here is how Wildomar Magazine, aka ‘the home crowd’, weighs in (unedited):
‘The [Press-Enterprise] article provides several important facts that should be considered:
1) This is a matter of litigation being pursued by some, but not all, of the homeowners in the Autumnwood tract.
“Government officials have reviewed tests commissioned by the attorney representing the four families and said they see nothing that would cause serious illness.”
”Four families, including one on a neighboring street in the same development, have joined in a personal injury lawsuit against the tract’s Pismo Beach-based developer and several subcontractors, alleging the ground beneath the homes is contaminated with industrial chemicals brought in with fill dirt. More than dozen had won settlements from the builder because of mold in the homes.
…The Beverly Hills attorney representing the residents, said the toxic substances department is failing to take into account the synergistic and cumulative effects of chemicals detected on the properties.” (Editors note; That is the “legal theory” that the plaintiff’s attorney must prove in court!)
“About a dozen Autumnwood homeowners, including some on Amaryllis Court, received settlements for varying amounts – one family received $15,000 and another $60,000, for example – after filing a separate construction defects lawsuit“
2) Systematic examination needed
“Dr. Russell V. Luepker is a Harvard-educated epidemiologist and a professor at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health. He said epidemiologists have methods to determine whether an environmental problem is responsible for an illness cluster in a community.
“You need to weed out the hysteria …“ he said. “What you need is a systematic examination that gets you as many facts as you can lay your hands on.”
After reading the aforementioned Press Enterprise article, and having attended one of the recent meetings between homeowners and the various county agencies, facilitated by the City of Wildomar, it appears, in my opinion, the palpable frustration of the homeowners is being exploited in an attempt to force government agencies to “make their case,” spending large amounts of taxpayer dollars in the process.’ – Wildomar Magazine.
When I had finished my interview with Xonia, I shared some knowledge and some suggestions.
· Tell any and all families getting sick in their homes to leave ASAP, your possessions are contaminated also. To stay inside is forced suicide.
· Be aware and take responsibility for your own safety, do not rely on the government, lawyers, HOAs, and neighbors’ opinions to goad you into staying inside your house. They don’t live there and aren’t getting sick.
· Read Psalm 37, among other things.
In the end perhaps the most important information shared to Xonia was that she and her family ARE NOT alone, in their ordeal, or in their seeing that The Emperor Wears No Clothes. All of us at Occupy, Prop 37 – Label GMOs, and your average man-on-the-street also know the deal.
“Our American Dream turned into a nightmare, but I’m awake now!” - Xonia
(Story sources - Consumer Watchdog, PE, RCWD, Wildomar Magazine, Xonia Villanueva; all emphasis – Ed)