I’ve been observing Councilman Ed Gallo in action for almost ten years now. It was in 2005 that I observed my first Escondido City Council meeting, and I had been very surprised to learn that it was one of the duties of then Mayor Lori Pfeiler, to instruct the Councilmembers (specifically Councilmember Ed Gallo) on what their yes or no votes would mean on an issue. It startled me to see how unprepared and uniformed he was. My observations of the man since that time have not improved my judgment of his capability, but his performance at last night’s City Council meeting was truly an acme (perhaps, better called nadir) of his tenure.
The Consent Calendar, item #6, “ACTIVE TRANSPORTATION PROGRAM GRANT APPLICATIONS-Request Council authorize the Public Works Director or his designee to complete applications to Caltrans for Active Transportation Program Grant funds for the Escondido Creek Bicycle Path Missing Link Project….” had been pulled. The “missing link” connects the transportation center on Valley Pkwy. with the entrance to the Escondido Creek bike Path at Broadway and Woodward. The bicycle path would be in a separate lanes along Valley Pkwy. and Broadway. The request called for funding for a bridge over the Escondido Creek on Broadway just before the Woodward entrance to the bike path. Gallo asked why a bridge was necessary when there was a sidewalk? The vision I had of elderly pedestrians moving north on the sidewalk on Broadway suddenly swept down upon by a heard of bicyclists has been difficult to remove from my mind.
Under Item 7 “PUBLIC HEARING FOR CITY OF ESCONDIDO LANDSCAPE MAINTENANCE DISTRICT ZONE S 1-37-” Gallo was quick to note the use of “reserves” for one of the districts. Use of reserves is always a red flag Gallo preached. City Manager Clay Phillips tactfully tried to explain to Gallo that the funds gathered by each Landscape Maintenance District could only be used for maintaining the landscape in that district, and that a reserve in that district’s funds could not be used for other purposes. So using the reserves for that district, in that district was inevitable.
Under Item 8 “CITY OF ESCONDIDO EMERGENCY OPERATION PLAN 2014” Gallo noted that during the 2007 fires, the best run emergency center was at Calvin Christian School, all those centers at the public schools were less than satisfactory was his opinion.
But Gallo’s final comments were the real doozies of the night. In the discussion transportation funds, he commented that every time someone bought a hybrid car that was that much loss of gasoline tax funds. In reporting on his position as Escondido’s representative on the San Diego County Water Authority he gloated about their recent win in court against the Metropolitan Water District. So, Gallo really believes that the Metropolitan Water District won’t appeal?
But, I think the most telling comment he made, was that the Water Authority was wasting money trying to save the Salton Sea. Has the man no concept of what will happen if the Sea dries up—that the toxic silt that will blow across the Imperial Valley into Mexico will cause grievous respiratory illnesses? Does he not know that the Sea now provides a substitute bird refuge for the defunct Colorado River Delta—and that loss of such refuge would result in devastating loss of bird populations, and extinction of some species? Well—I guess, considering what I’ve witnessed over the years I know the answer to my questions. No, Gallo has no concept—of so many issues.