First Response team to go to Potrero
This information from interview with Adrián del Río (619.849.9713) on Oct 31, 2007.
- Anna Maria Lanchard - Real hero
- Jesus Gayardo (boyfriend of Anna Maria)
- Miguel Barnett (SW Community College Student, Associated Student Assoc.)
- Jovan Pulido (SW Community College Student, Associated Student Assoc.)
- Adrián del Río (SW Community College Student, Associated Student Assoc.)
- Lidia Puga Sweetwater HS Dist. Employee.
Anna Maria heard from Border Angels about supplies at Chicano park. She drove her Toyota sedan and picked up some supplies and drove to Potrero on Thursday, Oct. 25, 2007. She got in with no resistance. She dropped off the supplies to her family at the Twin Lakes Resort.
Later that day, Adrian and his friends from SW College worked with Anna Maria, using a Dodge Ram truck, a Durango SUV and the Sedan. They picked up supplies from Chicano park. At about 8 or 9pm they were ready to go back in but were able to contact Anna Maria's family at the Resort. They said the fire was too close, so the group waiting till the next morning.
At 5am, Friday, Oct. 26, 2007, they left El Cajon with the cars which were still packed from the night before.
They drove out I-8 to Buckman Springs Rd, South to Campo. Just past Campo on SR-94, they were stopped by CHP officers, about 9 miles from Potrero (there is a distance sign nearby). It was about 7am.
CHP officer said they would have to go back to Sheriff's Dept. to get an escort. They went back to the Sheriffs Dept. in Campo.
They talked with Deputy Nuñez and a female worker at the Sheriff’s office. The woman made a comment that Potrero residents received burritos and sandwiches the day before, and didn’t need any supplies.
Nuñez said they would have to wait for the Sergeant and then for the 2nd shift.
He asked them who might be getting the supplies.
“Where are you going – what is your name.”
Then he said “Why do you need to go to Potrero. There are not too many people – just a bunch of drug addicts.”
The group was upset and left the Sheriff's office.
A fire dept. truck was driving down the road. The group stopped the truck and asked if they truck could escort them. They said yes. (The firefighter said he had heard from his Boss, which is also the boss of the CHP officer at the checkpoint.)
The group was escorted to the checkpoint and firefighters turned them over to CHP. CHP escorted them into Potrero.
They took the supplies directly to Twin Lakes Resort (about 150 trailers). At first, no one was there. They started honking and people started coming out of their homes.
As they distributed supplies, they asked at least 10-12 people if they had been asked to evacuate and if burritos and sandwiches were provided the day before. They said no to both questions.
The CHP officer was impatient and said “These people were told to evacuate and now they’re complaining that they don’t have any food. Now you have some people with their heads up their asses.” Del Rio said he wasn’t sure if the CHP officer was talking about the residents or about his rescue group.
After passing out most of the supplies, they left the remainder with a woman who was acting as the leader of the group at about 10AM.
CHP escorted them back out.
Later that day, they the group debriefed with the Western Service Workers Association and told them they would likely find resistance to entry. Anna and Jesus went back in with 12 trucks from the Western Service Workers Association.
-- Raymond Lutz
- 02 Nov 2007