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?