Home Fires

Seaside Special Counsel Bill Conners says police only go to 1661 Mescal Court in threes “because of the terrible amount of hostility, anger and aggression that comes out of there.”

Seaside’s Mescal Court is a tight neighborhood, with eight homes built in the 1970s forming the iconic lightbulb shape of the California cul-de-sac. There’s ample evidence that kids live there, with toys and bicycles in some of the front yards.

It’s not that the neighborhood should be quiet – with that many homes in that amount of space, and traffic noise floating up from nearby Gen. Jim Moore Boulevard, people are bound to hear each other.

But, neighbors say, the activity centering on one of the homes has become more than they can take. In the past seven years, Seaside police have been called to 1661 Mescal Court at least 63 times on complaints that range from sales and use of heroin and meth to assaults, vandalism and theft. On some mornings, a neighbor says, when he’s left for work at 5:30am, he’s found a line of people on the sidewalk waiting to access the house and what’s inside.

“There’s a lot of tweakers there,” the neighbor says, “and they’re more active at night. Lots of cars with doors slamming and a lot of foot traffic.”

The complaints are laid out in a lawsuit filed Nov. 18 by the city of Seaside against the estate of the late Alexandra Arzadon, the woman who owned the home, as well as several of her sons and other relatives who live there. The suit seeks to have a judge declare the home a public nuisance as an active drug house; if a court agrees, Seaside officials can evict everyone inside, pull the electrical meter from the property, shut off the water at the street connection and board up the property for up to a year.

The owners would be required to pay Seaside’s attorney fees on the case, as well as civil penalties related to the process of shuttering the home.

“It’s an incredible drain on public resources because the police are out there all the time,” says Bill Conners, the former Monterey City Attorney contracted by Seaside for the case. “They have found heroin and meth there many times, opioids on occasion and cannabis in quantity for sale.”

One of Arzadon’s sons, though, claims the calls to the police result from a mentally ill tenant who’s prone to fits of rage.

“This is not a drug house,” he says, “it’s a family home. I have tenants and I can’t stop them from having friends visit.”

Among recent tenants, Conners says, was Joseph Sampognaro Sr., who was shot to death, allegedly by his son, at a Laureles Grade property in September.

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