Why I support Olga Diaz for Mayor of Escondido.

The first morning after we moved into our house in downtown Escondido, I went looking for a cup of coffee.   I found The Blue Mug and was warmly greeted by a woman named Olga Diaz. She was energetic, friendly, made a great cup of coffee, and welcomed me to the neighborhood.

When she ran for Council in 2008, I voted for her.  I did the same in 2012.  2012 was also the year I faced a dilemma over who to vote for for Mayor — Abed, Bologna, D’Agosta or Daniels, None of them thrilled me, but I voted for Mr. Daniels  because I believed he was a moderate who would maintain the sort of even keel we had seen with Mayor Lori Pfeiler. Unfortunately, he did not prevail and Sam Abed became Mayor with 38% of the vote.

This year, I am thrilled to be able to vote for Olga Diaz for Mayor.  And here’s a dozen reasons why:

1. She is an engaged and active member of our whole community.

2. She recognizes the crucial importance of parks, recreation and libraries to the residents of Escondido as well as the vital role they play in building community and improving public safety.

3. She spends time at Council meetings actually listening to people and provides information to residents about the decisions being considered.

4. She began the revitalization of Escondido Creek and helped to bring in $2 million in grants for streetlights, landscaping and pocket parks.

5,  She recognizes the importance of agriculture and has been a leader in developing water recycling plans for the City and would like to bring vineyards back to Escondido.

6.  She knows that non-profit organizations provide vital services to the community while bringing in millions of dollars and hundreds of jobs.

7. She has a degree in accounting and has worked as an auditor and researcher — giving her the tools necessary to deal with any kind of financial information.

8.  She is a great speaker who will be a wonderful ambassador for Escondido.

9.  She is not an ideologue bur rather considers each issue on its own merits.  (And is often much more conservative and conciliatory than I would ever be.)

10. She is bi-lingual and the child of immigrants, so she understands the issues that face our community.

11.  She is a hard worker who is willing to roll up her sleeves and get the job done. (In her volunteer work on the Creek, I mean that literally.)

12.  She supports Smart Growth and development that pays its fair share.

13.  She supports fair and balanced budgets.

As Mayor, Olga Diaz will work to make Escondido a city that is innovative, welcoming and fun — for businesses, residents and visitors.  I look forward to casting my vote for her on November 4th and urge you to do the same in person or through an absentee ballot.  Do not sit this election out.

 

 

 

Here’s the full analysis by Deputy Mayor Diaz, Mayor Abed and Councilman Morasco. You decide.

I have broken the last part of the meeting into two videos which makes them easier to upload.

This is the beginning of Deputy Mayor Diaz’s analysis.

The second half includes the rest of Deputy Mayor Diaz’s analysis/decision as well as the comments by Mayor Abed and Councilman Morasco and the vote.  (For some reason this video may not start at the beginning.  If you go to the bottom of the video it you will see a red line with a white dot that has a red dot in the center. If the video does not start at the beginning, grab that white/red dot with your cursor and “pull” it back to the start.  Sorry for the difficulty.)

Deputy Mayor Diaz was the only one who discussed the land use issues.

This was supposed to be all about the land use issues and whether they supported the Planning Commission’s decision to deny approval of a Conditional Use Permit to allow the creation of a facility for unaccompanied minors at a site that had been used as a nursing facility.  So why was Deputy Mayor Diaz the only one who really drilled down on those issues?  Gee, might it have something to do with politics.  (I will post on this tomorrow.)

Mayor Abed said there were about 50 supporting the Planning Commission decision to deny approval for the Southwest Kays facility and just 35 in opposition — but then said his numbers might be slightly off after Deputy Mayor Diaz questioned him off mic.  Was he listening to the same City Council meeting as I was?  I broke the comments into three groups.  The most important were Escondido residents where there were 24 supporting the Planning Commission decision, 24 against — it was even.  The second group, folks from outside of Escondido, had 7 supporting the Planning Commission denial while 10 opposed it.  And then there were a group of ten people, all supporting the Planning Commission decision denial, who did not state where they were from.  (I cannot say my numbers are perfect until I listen to the meeting again, but I think they are pretty good.)

I give major negative points to these commenters.  1.  The person who said the facility would have an electrified fence — NOT TRUE.  2. The person who mentioned Ebola and the wacky conspiracy theory UN 21 (also mentioned at an anti-Country Club development meeting).  3. The person who said the ACLU should go back to Russia — the ACLU started in USA.

I will write more on this but wanted to note that the “Rule of Law” folks — right side of the City Council chambers if you were standing at the back looking toward the dais — were the ones the Mayor, yes the Mayor, had to admonish repeatedly for not respecting the rules of the chamber.  I always find it funny that the folks portrayed as radicals in Escondido are the ones who actually obey the rules.

 

115 jobs and $6+ million will certainly “benefit the people of Escondido.”

The City Council will consider the appeal of the Planning Commission’s decision to deny the Southwest Keys application.  One line in that decision has taken hold with opponents:areason

One of the major opponents of the facility has used this argument in a way that might well stop many businesses — profit and non-profit — from coming to Escondido.  Here’s what that person’s letter says:  aaletter

There is one big problem with this argument; there are businesses all over Escondido that “benefit the people of Escondido” by bringing money into Escondido and providing jobs in Escondido that mean people will purchase goods and services in the City as well as rent/buy housing in Escondido — all activities that add to the tax base and therefore “benefit the people of Escondido”.

The Southwest Keys facility will:

1. Bring 115+ jobs to Escondido which will “benefit the people of Escondido.”

2.  Bring $6 -7 million per year to Escondido to pay for staff, goods and services.  These are dollars that will be spent either here or somewhere else.  Bring them here and that will certainly “benefit the people of Escondido.”

3.  Bring 115 employees to Escondido who will frequent shops, restaurants and services, and “benefit the people of Escondido.”

There are all sorts of businesses in Escondido that do not “benefit the people of Escondido” directly but certainly do so by providing jobs, paying taxes and bringing employees to Escondido to spend their money.  Should we evict the call center on Grand Avenue because it doesn’t provide a product or service to the people of Escondido?  Should we get rid of all lawyers and accountants that only deal with clients outside of Escondido?  How about Realty Income, a major commercial-property investor listed on the New York Stock Exchange?

If the City Council decides to basis their rejection of Southwest Keys upon the fact that it is not providing a product or service to “benefit the people of Escondido,”  they are making a decision that could have serious repercussions for businesses considering moving to Escondido in the future.  They should consider their decision carefully.