George Almanon said that he found a place in Mira Mesa. “It’s a living room, and it’s cheaper than here.”
  • George Almanon said that he found a place in Mira Mesa. “It’s a living room, and it’s cheaper than here.”
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George Almanon was one of the last residents to remain in PQ Village.

Peñasquitos Village slated to be demolished for a 600-unit development.

“I’m kind of sad and my wife doesn’t want to leave this place,” he said, “because it’s a nice area and quiet.”

Peñasquitos Village (PQ Village) was a low income housing development off Carmel Mountain Road that’s slated to be demolished for a new 600-unit development that was approved by a 8-1 City Council vote on March 5.

Tenants were ordered to vacate by July 15.

The tenants were ordered to vacate by July 15 because it’s the 120th day after the notice was issued. And while some residents moved before the March decision; most were said to have moved within the 120 days.

On July 13, 63-year-old Almanon and his wife, were still living in the complex.

The couple is originally from Olongapo City in the Philippines, which is the former home of U.S. Naval Base Subic Bay. They miss their friends that once lived in the 300-plus apartment complex development; many, like them, emigrated from the Philippines.

“Nanay Feli is 93 years old, she lived right there,” Almanon said, “the Santiagos lived here for 26 years, and Nanay Cora and Pauline lived over there. [I think] that more than 50 percent of the residents here were Filipinos.

“…. Mindy is a half-filipino, next door is Danny and he’s a Filipino, and my friend who recently passed away — I found out he’s my kababayan (from the same province in the Philippines).”

“We’ve met with about 25 households here with Filipino-American residents, since the beginning of the year,” said Maricar. “At that time, a majority of the residents had already moved out, so there were probably many more living on the property before.”

Maricar is a 35-year-old Spring Valley resident who has visited the Philippines before. He’s a library associate and filmmaker by trade. Since the end of 2017, he’s been documenting his friends that supported the PQ residents and their fight to preserve their affordable housing, the displacement of the residents and the remaining residents (like Almanon) that couldn’t find a place to move to.

“First we don’t have good credit,” Almanon said, “we had a roommate and he left. So we shouldered the $1500 rent, then everything including our bills got behind. I got something in collection and because of these things, I can’t pay it. I hope we can get better.”

“I’m on disability; it’s not much but it’s something,” he said. “My wife works and she’s hobbling too because she’s got a leg problem.”

Maricar interviewed another Filipino family that lived here for almost four years.

“[It was] a husband and wife with a seven-year-old and a two-year-old,” he said. “They could no longer afford a two-bedroom apartment locally, so they were forced to separate from one another. The father had to stay in the U.S., while the rest of his family moved to the Philippines.”

Initially, Almanon, his wife and her kid, and their friend were looking to share a place in the area to rent.

“Everything went up in price, especially in Mira Mesa,” he said. “Every four-bedroom house that we looked at was all the same price: $2800 per month. How can you manage to pay that? And all of the apartments went up in price too.”

On Zillow, the average apartment rental in Peñasquitos was about $2200; in Mira Mesa, it was slightly less.

Kirin is a Filipina-American from South Bay. She was a community volunteer with Allies for PQ Village.

“Some of the residents who left, especially the elderly ones,” Kirin said, “just decided to go back to the Philippines. That really broke my heart.”

In March, when the city council voted for the developers to demolish PQ Village and build the new complex, the remaining residents and some previous ones were accommodated to find a new place.

“The property management sent me this,” Almanon said,” it’s a list of properties that have openings. The thing is, most of these places are far away and our doctor is right here.”

Almanon received a $500 check from the property management, which he used partially for his last month’s rent.

Some parishioners from Our Lady of Mount Carmel, which is less than a mile south from the development, helped move some of the residents out.

“They helped Nanay Feli, my 93-years-old neighbor, move to the The Hills,” Almanon said. “We used to share chicken adobo and fish with one another.”

Almanon was packing up the last of his remains in Balikbayan boxes, which are usually used to send pasalubongs (gifts and treats from the U.S.) back to the relatives and friends in the Philippines.

“When I can afford it again,” he said, “I will send home the four boxes I have saved.”

Another one of Almanon’s Filipino neighbors was still packing when I visited the complex on July 13.

“I have six Balikbayan boxes I am sending home,” she said, “I don’t have space in my new place.”

Almanon said that he and his wife found a temporary place in Mira Mesa. “It’s a living room, and it’s cheaper than here,” he said. “I have all of my stuff in front of the house waiting to move in on July 14.”

I asked him if he and his wife had a backup plan.

“No, I do not,” he said.

In the last couple of years, many came forward to aid the former residents and there was a memorandum agreement drawn up between the PQ Village residents’ allies: San Diego Organizing Project, Save PQ Village and San Diego Imperial Counties Labor Council; and the property owners/managers: Lennar Home of California, Inc. and Atlantic & Pacific Management.

Rafael Bautista from Tenants United San Diego was there on July 12 and spoke in behalf of the former residents: “Developers displacing seniors and families out of the state and out of the country shows how severely imbalanced power is in San Diego.

"Instead of approving this awful project 8-1, council should have passed a series of laws protecting tenants. Strong Just Cause protections, relocation assistance, anti-discrimination of section 8 and most importantly rent control.

“If Almanon and his wife stays on the 15th, they will be going to court to fight an eviction from the landlord.”

According to a March 6 Reader article: “Of the 276 new apartments to be built on the site (the other 324 homes will be offered for sale), 60 are to be reserved as “affordable housing.”

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Comments

Wabbitsd July 17, 2018 @ 2:34 p.m.

Did News 8 REALLY label that as "Mosquitoes Village Resident" in that screen capture?

3

dwbat July 18, 2018 @ 10:04 a.m.

I've seen some stupid mistakes on local TV chyrons, but that one has to be the worst.

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JustWondering July 18, 2018 @ 8:08 a.m.

I’m NOT sorry for his situation, it is of his making. What did Almanon do for the past 45-50 years of his life? Didn’t he save for his retirement? Did he take affirmative steps to improve his situation such as gaining a skill or improving his education, or did he just wish for something better? Was it a surprise that the cost of living is considerably higher in the United States than in other parts of the world? That within the United States the cost of living is much higher in certain urban areas that other areas? He and others were given more than six months notice of this closure, did he just ignore this?

I’m tired of the woe is me story. The message should be take responsibility for your life, educate yourself, better yourself and become aware of employment trends. Plan for retirement years. And most importantly, you are not entitled to anything. Society, in general, doesn’t owe you.

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Cassander July 19, 2018 @ 3:57 p.m.

When we agree I will point that out, so when we don't I have to speak up. This post is callous, vile, and not a little racist.

There are few things more tedious and self-serving than to claim that, if only people made the same life choices as you, they wouldn't suffer hardship. Of the many flaws with this argument, the most obvious is that if everyone were a technocrat or entrepreneur, there wouldn't be anyone to work in the restaurants, hospitals, shops, trades, or any of the thousand other little occupations necessary to enjoying your life as a master of the universe.

Don't delude yourself into thinking you're better than a Nazi or jihadi or any other absolutist if you believe you have the right to decide who lives or dies.

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JustWondering July 19, 2018 @ 9:47 p.m.

Ahhh...the age old playbook of the progressive left. If you don’t have a cogent argument, label your critic as Nazi, racist or the 21st century equivalent, a Jihadi.

When or if you’d like to debate the value of self reliance versus government welfare dependence I’d be more than willing to discuss it civilly. Name calling just highlights the weakness of your thoughts.

In my opinion the welfare state keeps people enslaved to a subsistence living standard where politicians hand out just enough to keep them hooked. It’s as nefarious as narcotics because they are hooked on it, afraid to give it up to make a better life for themselves. In some cases it also can become generational. So breaking the bonds means learning a trade, furthering your education, doing MORE than just wishing for more.

Sadly, too many of our citizens believe like you there should be universal handouts, with the newest idea be floated...universal income. What an idiotic idea. Whoever believes that drivel doesn’t have a clue regarding human nature. Universal Income will lead to universal idiots who will do nothing with their lives.

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dwbat July 19, 2018 @ 10:53 p.m.

Social Security was opposed by many back in the day. So was Medicare. It takes time for new ideas to be accepted. Universal income is another idea that will most likely happen in the future. It will not, as you stated, mean everyone will sit around doing "nothing" with their lives. Many will volunteer, while others will work so they can make more money than the amount allocated. Remember, even millionaires and billionaires continue to work, even though they don't have to.

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Cassander July 20, 2018 @ 10:27 a.m.

I'm not labeling you as a Nazi or other absolutist because I disagree with you. Your belief that you have the right to say who lives or dies does that. There is no way to "debate the value" of having other people suffer for no better reason than that it makes you feel smug about your own choices.

But you do have thing separating you from the other absolutists: no ideology is more intellectually and morally vacuous than libertarianism.

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JustWondering July 20, 2018 @ 1:14 p.m.

Ahhh...but I do have a right to state my opinion, just as much as you have a right to state yours. Cassandra, I did not bring epithets into the conversation, you did, in an attempt to silence the discussion. Also, please quote me where I advocated for Almanon’s or anyone else’s demise?

No, my opinion was clear, people make choices. If they choose to remain ignorant, or dependent or government handouts, for example, there are consequences.

You state, “no ideology is more intellectually and morally vacuous than libertarianism.” How so? But more importantly, how do you plan on supporting such a stance? What proof do you offer? I on the other hand argue self reliance is more important. The less government interferes or attempts to socially engineer our lives the better.

Communism and or Marxism is the goal of most, if not all, socialists. However, when we carefully examine the real world results of those ideologies we find failure and stagnation e.g. Cuba, Venezuela, the former Soviet Union, The People Democratic Republic of North Korea 🇰🇵to cite just a few examples. In fact, when we contrast the differences between North and South Koreas there can be no better example of how the socialist agenda is an utter failure in the north to the vibrant south.

So I state again and I have no doubt if Almanon had been more self reliant, made wiser choices and was less dependent on the welfare state he and his family would be better off today. Safety nets are one thing if used properly. If people abuse them to the point of dependency they tend to ruin lives.

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JustWondering July 19, 2018 @ 11:28 p.m.

Both Medicare and Social Security were government safety net programs. Yet, over the years they have evolved, not necessarily for the good. Both REQUIRE a minimum of 40 credits or 10 years of full time wage contributions to be eligible to receive benefits. While there is little doubt the benefits EARNED far exceed the contributions PAID, these were and are policy decisions made by those who represent us from both sides of the aisle.

However, Social Security, a social welfare program, is estimated to be bankrupt around 2034 without intervention. And Medicare is consuming an every growing portion of the Federal Budget supported by ever growing deficits. Social Security has been described as a government sponsored Ponzi Scheme. If an intervention doesn’t occur what happens to the millions of American who rely all to heavily on it? Will they end up like Mr. Almanon?

Nowhere did I say everyone will sit around and do nothing. But if we use the current welfare system as a measuring stick, there is no doubt if a so-called Universal Income program was initiated many, will do nothing with their lives. It’s simple human nature.

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dwbat July 20, 2018 @ 7:32 a.m.

I stand corrected on the "everyone" usage. Yes, many will do that. But work for most of us isn't just for bringing in the money to pay bills, it's a lot of who we are as individuals.

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JustWondering July 20, 2018 @ 1:30 p.m.

I accept your correction and agree with your statement regarding part of who we are is reflected in, and with the satisfaction of, our labors.

But, I hope you agree, the more self reliant we are, the more opportunities for success will present or be created by our own efforts.

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