Residents upset with conditions at historic cemetery El Campo Santo in Old Town

Team10 takes concerns to city leadership

SAN DIEGO - People fed up with broken gravestones, cracked crosses and missing plaques at a historic San Diego cemetery called Team 10 for help.

Team 10 Troubleshooter Cristin Severance took their concerns to interim San Diego mayor Todd Gloria, who is now looking for a solution to the problem.

Al LaCroix and his wife loved reading the stories at El Campo Santo cemetery in Old Town.

"I was fascinated with the plaques that explain the history of everyone. There's Yankee Jim, who was hung for stealing a row boat! You got to be kidding me," said LaCroix.

LaCroix and other visitors said something else overshadowed the history of the pioneers buried there.

"I was disappointed there was so many empty posts. I was expecting plaques like these that explain the history," said LaCroix.

El Campo Santo is one of the oldest private cemeteries in Southern California.

"It's supposed to look old. It's not supposed to dilapidated, rotted and un-cared for," said resident Larry Stirling.

Team 10 found more than a dozen missing plaques, broken crosses and damaged head stones.

The worst was the grave of Thomas Wrightington, one of the first American settlers in San Diego. The wood marking his plot is splintered and filled with holes.

"That whole thing has been crushed down. There is no excuse for that. How can a city employee miss seeing that?" said Stirling.

Stirling is a former councilman and blew the whistle on conditions at the Presidio Hills golf course, also in Old Town.

Problems were fixed a few days after Team 10 aired a story on the golf course, and Stirling said the same thing needs to happen at El Campo Santo.

"This is an outrage on the people of San Diego. What are they doing down there in City Hall? They all make a lot of money, why aren't they out here doing some work?" said Stirling.

Team 10 sent pictures of the damage to Interim Mayor Todd Gloria. His press secretary sent Team 10 a statement that read, in part:

"El Campo Santo in Old Town is impacted by deferred maintenance issues that will likely cost approximately $25,000-$30,000 to fully address. Interim Mayor Gloria and the Park and Recreation Department are working to determine the extent of needs there so a plan to address them can be developed. We hope to move forward with the professional assessment by the end of 2013 and then examine repairs, which will likely need to phased as budgets allow. Interim Mayor Gloria is allocating $5,000 from his office budget savings to pay for the assessment. Should the assessment cost less, the remaining funds will be used to start repairs."

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