So, I was accused of being mental because I reacted (OK overreacted) to the cutting down the trees around the fountain at Escondido City Hall. Now, I’ve attended most of the city council meetings during the last year, and I do not remember, ever, any discussion of removing those trees. And I do remember times when the cones of those Podocarpus were underfoot and making stains on the sidewalk. But a danger to the public? Couldn’t the sidewalks be swept daily during the month or so they drop their cones for less than the cost of removing the perfectly healthy, robust trees? Trees that shade the fountain and absorb carbon dioxide?
Now, according to John Masson, those trees were removed due to the request of the city staff for “maintenance and safety”. Somehow, this, to me, represented the general attitude of the current city council and their reaction to anything that would enhance the environment or art or culture. Cut them down. They’re making a mess! Close the library, it costs too much money, and it mainly only serves brown people. And our voters don’t like brown people—who speak Spanish. Outsource the library—the library staff cost too much money, and we can hire two people to help out our buddy the City Manager, ex-City Attorney Jeff Epp by hiring two more people in his department. Never mind that he is already highly paid. https://www.californiacitynews.org/2016/07/californias-top-paid-city-managers.html
The city has outsourced the maintenance of its parks, to its detriment. I remember when my son played soccer 30 year ago in Kit Carson Park. It was lovely. The city cared about its parks. Now they’re a mess. I remember when going to the library was a pleasure, where people could relax and study. The library has lost over 200 years of library experience. I mentioned that to Councilman John Masson, and he shrugged his shoulders. Had I told him the city had lost 200 years of police experience, he would have reacted with alarm. That’s the current city council’s blighted values. They seem to have forgotten the truth that was realized in the 19th Century, that schools are cheaper than jails. They are all for removing graffiti without addressing the underlying cause of graffiti. They are penny wise and pound foolish.
Mayor Sam Abed has a business called Pacific West Consulting that “specializes in how to describe a project to elected officials and the media.” http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/politics/sdut-escondido-mayor-launches-consulting-firm-2013mar02-story.html He see no conflict of interest. He finds no problem accepting contributions from developers and then voting for their projects. It is all perfectly legal, but moral?
Children love the fountain at the Escondido City Hall. The trees provided shade over that fountain. The majority of children playing there are brown. Masson said the decision to cut down the trees was driven by staff. Maybe, but a staff employed by a mayor and city council who have often voted to make life more difficult for brown people who also speak Spanish. Those who are anti-immigrant, who support the current council majority, don’t differentiate between immigrants with green cards and those undocumented. I have observed their behavior. They object to brown people speaking Spanish. Those are the people to whom Abed et al. want to appeal. That’s why they join with Trump’s suit against California’s SB 54—another boondoggle waste of city money. https://ablueviewescondido.com/2018/04/11/ego-hubris-and-the-curious-amicus-curiae/
That’s what is dividing Escondido, the good ole boy network that stirs up anti-immigrant passion to stay in office and continue their pay-to-play politics, and the rest of the city. Not to see this truth is what is “mental”.