Tonight’s Escondido City Council meeting was refreshingly boring. The most interesting item was one that was not on the agenda. City Attorney Jeff Epp reported that in their closed session, 3:30 pm meeting, the Council had agreed to continue to study their legal options regarding the recent Court Decision against the City finding the City wrong to declare the Escondido Country Club land as open space. J. Harry Jones summarized the decision well: http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2015/mar/13/escondido-country-club-court-ruling/2/?#article-copy .
The most revealing point in that article was the comment by the President of the Escondido Country Club Homeowner Organization (ECCHO), Mike Salter, who said, “We were afraid this might happen, that the city might just lie down on it so they didn’t have the takings case against them,” Slater said. “Sam (Abed) may not get elected the next time around if that happens.” In that same article Mayor Sam Abed was quoted: “I’m pleased with the ruling,” Abed said. “Hopefully this opens the door for us to work together on a quality project that will benefit the Country Club Community, the City of Escondido and also the developer. That has been our position from day one.”
Ummm, there seems to be some disagreement here. I don’t know what was said in the closed session, but I can imagine Abed’s thinking. Delay things long enough to work out some sort of compromise between the owner of the Country Club land, Michael Schlesinger, and ECCHO. That may not be possible. Unlike Olga Diaz who, in her run for Mayor, came out in support of Schlesinger’s ballot proposition that would have undone the City’s open space declaration, Abed tried to sit on the fence. It will be interesting to see how Abed handles trying to stay in ECCHO’s good graces without spending millions more of City dollars—something (spending City funds) he takes pride in not doing. I wrote about this shortly after the election. https://ablueviewescondido.com/2014/11/06/a-post-mortem/
Under the COUNCIL MEMBERS SUBCOMMITTEE REPORTS, Diaz reported upon the Parking Subcommittee, which she an Ed Gallo form. She said their committee requested that the issue of downtown parking be scheduled for a future agenda item. Downtown businessmen requested the Council to reconsider diagonal parking. Abed exhibited his usual gut reaction of opposing anything that Diaz recommended, avowing that such parking had been studied for years and rejected because of the cost, and loss of street mediums.
Ed Gallo, who is on the Administrative and Finance Committee of the San Diego County Water Authority reported that the “big thing is water.” He then assured everyone that this had happened before in 1975 and 1976. He belittled the claim that the current drought in California was all a part of global warming, because “it was nothing new.” Wonder what the rest of the Committee thinks of his views?
I was at that parking sub committee and can report that the misinformation on diagonal parking is intentional if the city continues to say the only scenario they studied loses the median and cost a lot of money. In fact, the Engineering Dept had three scenarios, yet they only reported on the worst case scenario that cost the most money in order to gain opposition against the proposal. The second scenario places the diagonal parking at the same angle, saves the median, eliminated a proposed bike lane that ran right behind the rear bumper of cars (stupid) and increased parking by the same 78% on Grand avenue. We at the Escondido Downtown Business association also proposed the one bus route that runs down Grand avenue be re located to Second ave for east bound and Valley pkwy for westbound in conjunction with changing to diagonal parking which would add an additional ten spaces up to 190 from 102 parking spaces. We also solicited a bid from well known contractor Weir Asphalt and Paving to test the city’s cost estimates. Our estimate for the second scenario came in at a 66% discount to city staff’s estimates. I’ve met with the Mayor on this, given these current estimates to Ed Domingue and yet the same misinformation on the cost of the project and hiding an almost doubling of parking on Grand avenue at a 66% discount is never relayed to the public, only the inaccurate talking points. Shameful
Thank you Mr. Maclachlan, this is great information! The best thing this blog can do is educate the public about the current City Council majority and the enabling City staff. You have helped!
The truth is in short supply today and it disappoints me. Keep up the blogging and I’ll keep an eye out for the next posting
Pingback: A Town Hall Meeting with ECCHOs of the Past | A Blue View for Escondido
Pingback: Escondido Town Hall hits one in the rough | Escondido Grapevine