Rancho Bernardo residents chart plan to keep predator from placement in neighborhood

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SAN DIEGO – Residents in the Rancho Bernardo neighborhood are ramping up the fight to keep a sexually violent predator from being placed in their neighborhood.

A group of neighbors say they’re taking matters into their own hands to stave off the proposed placement of Douglas Badger at a home 17836 Frondoso Drive. It marks the latest neighborhood struggle against Badger after elected officials and neighbors rallied against a similar arrangement in May at a supervised home in a Mount Helix neighborhood.

Badger, convicted of offenses including child molestation, kidnapping and forcible oral copulation, has been housed at Coalinga State Hospital since the late 1990s and was granted conditional release earlier this year.

But as with Mount Helix earlier this year, Rancho Bernardo residents argue Badger would be a bad fit for their community and have vowed to fight against the placement.

“We’re dividing and conquer responsibility from volunteer efforts to canvassing to fundraising, getting legal advice,” said Jeff Grace, who lives near the proposed home on Frondoso Drive.  

The group of residents say they’ve been canvassing local homes, urging others to share public comments opposing the placement prior to the Oct. 29 hearing.

They also created a Facebook page Tuesday, which gained more than 500 followers on its first day.

Kristen Steinke, whose family’s home backs up to the proposed house, said that her children play within a few feet of it.

“It’s just unreal,” Steinke said. “I can’t believe it.”

Steinke also is a lawyer and has been examining how to stop the placement in its tracks. She is working with the Mount Helix residents who successfully kept Badger from moving into their community.

 “I want to make sure we attack it from every angle,” she said.

One area of attack has been reaching out to elected officials to garner support. Some, like San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, already have voiced opposition to Badger’s proposed placement.

“This proposed placement in #RanchoBernardo is unprecedented and unsuitable,” Gloria said in a tweet Monday. “I cannot support Mr. Badger’s placement in this community or anywhere else in @CityofSanDiego. I will be formally weighing in when the public comment period begins.”

Rancho Bernardo resident Channing Hughes said they’re trying to hold local elected officials accountable to ensure they “really show up for us.” Hughes also noted they’re working with Chelsea’s Light Foundation, an organization founded in honor of Chelsea King who was brutally raped and murdered in the community 11 years ago.

“It’s amazing they can be on our side and show their support and give us some knowledge that we might not have,” she said. 

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