On November 13th, the Escondido Community Services Commission was asked to consider a proposal to create a BMX track in Kit Carson Park. USA BMX, and Vince McCurdy (the operator of two BMX parks in San Diego County) would like to lease 2+ acres in Kit Carson Park and then have the City spend about $115,000 to create the track. It will be totally fenced in and will include lights, bleachers, a PA system and a concessions stand. Fees will be charge to use the track. (At the Kearny Mesa track, annual membership is $60 per person. Proposed fee for practicing is $7, for racing $15.) This private, for-profit company will also use Park restrooms and parking. In exchange, they will pay the City $60,000 a year through a lease.
EF’s Steering Committee recommends that the Community Services Commission delay this decision until the City can develop a comprehensive plan for park use and development. We are not opposed to a BMX track in Escondido. But we are opposed to this sudden rush to put one in Kit Carson Park when the City has already been discussing this idea with the BMX people for nine months. During that period, this idea could easily have been presented to the residents of Escondido for a discussion of the whole idea of leasing out City parkland to for-profit entities as well as this particular proposal. If you agree with the need to delay this decision, please send an email to the Community Services Commission via Director Loretta McKinney (firstname.lastname@example.org). You can also voice your concern to the Mayor and City Council by clicking here. If you have the time, please come to the meeting on Monday at 7pm in City Council chambers. The voices of Escondido residents need to be heard.
Delay the decision. Develop a plan.
Last night the Escondido City Council asked City Manager Clay Phillips to come up with recommendations for how to cover the $600K cost of the design phase for the Library expansion plan. There was unanimous positive response to the presentation by Architect David Schnee of Group 4 Architecture. Former mayor Jim Rady reminded the council that at one point there had been a $10 million dollar reserve fund designated for the Library, which was then utilized for city operating expenses. He urged the current council to take this opportunity to “repay” the library fund.
Although saying he is totally in support of the plan, Mayor Sam Abed stopped short of committing any funds for the design phase. Ed Gallo liked that this new design was meant to serve “generations to come” and pointed to the Bill Gates Foundation as a possible source for the design dollars. Olga Diaz, was willing to use Escondido’s reserve funds to advance the project, which she saw as an “economic engine” that would contribute to economic development as much as sponsoring AmGen. Mike Morasco and John Masson both were positive about the project but wanted more input from staff regarding possible funding options.
Some in the audience anticipated more resistance from the council to the project. But there was little anyone could criticize in the brilliant work done by Group 4. Taking design cues from the existing City Hall campus and creating a walking corridor down Broadway to the new library entrance at the corner of 2nd Avenue where a high curving glass wall would echo city hall, the proposed design would inspire and stimulate as a library should. This is shaping up to be an historic moment for Escondido, an opportunity to capture great design at half the cost of the plan proposed a few years ago. This may be the time for the city to move forward with the expansion of the main library.
For those of us who still support a branch library in East Escondido, we know that having a strong main library can be a step in that direction. We need to move forward with the options available to us now.
Those in the community who strongly support library services should plan to be heard when Clay Phillips brings his funding recommendations to the council.
With the recent addition of the new Grocery Outlet Bargain Market on East Valley Parkway, the soon to open WalMart Grocery Store, the thriving Vallarta Market and the 99 cent Store deeply discounted produce and groceries, the East Valley corridor from Ash to Midway is becoming a bargain food hunter’s paradise. In these days of continuing austerity and fiscal hardship, the presence of such budget-stretching resources within walking distance of lower-income neighborhoods is evidence of community planning which is responsive to the needs of residents. Kudos to those who were responsible for this.
Escondido Independent Districting Commission meetings and hearings:
- Thursday, October 17, 6 p.m. – Public Hearing – Church of the Resurrection, 1445 Conway Drive, 92027.
- Saturday, October 19, 9 a.m. – Public Hearing – Mission Middle School, 939 E. Mission Ave. 92025.
- Thursday, October 24, 6 p.m. – Public Hearing – Felicita Elementary School, 737 W. 13th Street, 92025.
- Sunday, October 27, 3 p.m. – Public Hearing – Council Chambers,
(followed by a Commission Meeting at 6 p.m., also in Council Chambers)
- Tuesday, October 29, 6 p.m. – Commission Meeting, Council Chambers
Deadline for submitting public comment – October 31.
Preliminary map submitted to City Clerk October 31 or November 1.
Post-map Public Hearings
- Thursday, November 21, 6 p.m. – Public Hearing – Hidden Valley Middle School, 2700 Reed Road, 92027.
- Saturday, November 23, 9 a.m. – Public Hearing – Mission Middle School, 939 E. Mission Ave. 92025.
- Sunday, November 24, 3 p.m. – Public Hearing – California Center for the Arts, 340 N. Escondido Blvd. 92025. (followed by a Commission Meeting at 6 p.m. in City Council Chambers, 201 N. Broadway, 92025)
Final map to City Council by Thanksgiving (November 28) or at the first available Council meeting (probably Wednesday, December 4).
The East Valley community lost a friend when the Escondido Fresh & Easy neighborhood market closed its doors this past Friday after six years of doing business at the corner of Ash and East Valley. Owned by TESCO, a British Corporation, the chain offered a unique international variety of convenience and fresh foods. It took a few years, but they eventually figured out what the neighborhood wanted and soon there were actual lines at the self-check-out stands. The store regularly donated their discarded goods to The Escondido Salvation Army to benefit the needy. When Reveal Escondido Creek had its Creek Path cleanups, Fresh & Easy staff came out and helped with the cleanup and then provided refreshments for volunteers. Folks who lived within walking distance often made the trek to check out their amazing “marked-down bin”. A USDA staffer I know said that they would choose Fresh & Easy over many of the competitors because of their cleanliness and strict compliance with food safety requirements. Many went there specifically to get their antibiotic-free meats. We will miss the friendly staff who were also our neighbors. We wish them well as they seek other employment. One fortunate staffer said she was actually planning to retire and was asked to work an extra week beyond her scheduled retirement date until the store closed. It was a short but good run.
An important community meeting will take place on Tuesday, 9/24/13 at 6 p.m. at the Escondido Library Turrentine Room. EF strongly supports this effort to engage the community in the Districting process. We urge you to plan to attend and encourage others to do so. The more people are engaged in this historic Districting process, the more people are likely to participate in the next election. And that will be good for our community. It is time to start getting in gear.
On the June 29, 2013 Peace March organized by Victory Outreach, Captain Craig Carter (see photo journal article) spoke passionately about keeping the community safe, especially youth. His message to parents: “Stay involved and get as much information as you can about your kids, know who their friends are, know where they’re at and just show them love.”
Within 6 weeks of marching in solidarity with several dozen local families to speak out against crime, violence and gangs, Captain Carter was named Escondido’s new Chief of Police.
In the SDUT’s 9/7/13 article, “Top Cop Wants Better Outreach“, Chief Carter said he will revive the department’s emphasis on Community Policing, which relies on community partnerships. This comes as good news to local neighborhoods who greatly benefited from that approach in the past.
Members of the Community Alliance For Escondido have known and worked with Lt., then Captain, now Chief Carter for years and have come to respect his personal decency, his professional ethics and his commitment to the welfare of the grassroots community.
In the controversy and aftermath of Chief Maher’s departure, Craig Carter was a good choice. We wish him well.
Submitted by Mel Takahara
On Saturday, 9/7/13, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., our community celebrates the 18th annual Grape Day Festival, hosted by the Escondido History Center, open to the community at no cost. Like a traditional family gathering at a favorite relative’s house, this happening in Grape Day Park is one of the highlights of the year for the Escondido community. It is the only place in the region you can taste real Concord Grape pie!
EF will have a booth there so come stop by and visit us. We will be gathering input for our annual Quality of LIfe Survey report. We will also have volunteers from “Nuestro Voto, Nuestro Futuro” helping to man the booth.
Or, just come for grape pie and music. It’s a day in the park!
Those who are active in Escondido grassroots are seeing some signs of change. In various settings throughout the community, in informal conversations and committee meetings, steering groups, like-minded folks, neighbors and concerned citizens are sprinkling their talk with terms like “networking”, “outreach”, “joining forces”, “partnering”, “shared mission”, etc.. Joint meetings are being held to brainstorm, clarify vision, establish goals and methods, and coordinate. There is no manager to this; it is a spontaneous phenomenon. Is this perhaps how a grassroots “movement” begins? Are we seeing the upwelling of little springs that will join other little springs to grow into a river of influence and change? If so, then we are called to become that river.
We could recite a litany of injury and threats to our quality of life that have occurred, which in turn have stimulated these grass-rooted community responses. These instances of offense are real and many. Although some would pretend they have faded from memory, that is mere wishful thinking. The reality is our community is taking stock and finding its voice.
This endemic grassroots growth is happening at the very moment that Escondido is engaged in an historic reshaping of its electoral procedures. Throughout all sectors of the community, efforts will be in place to educate and engage the citizenry in this revamped electoral process. That is like tilling and fertilizing the ground to prepare for planting. It is a time for new beginnings.
Last night at Escondido City Council meeting (08 14 13), the entire City Council did ‘’the right thing’, by unanimously approving ECCHO’s Citizens Property Rights (CPR) Initiative, to preserve and protect the Escondido Country Club Golf Course as permanent Open Space.
Despite unproven assertions to the contrary (by new owner of Escondido Country Club), last night’s action to immediately adopt the ECCHO Initiative will actually save the City an enormous amount of money.
Money saved includes:
Unnecessary expenditure of additional ‘staff time’ , which would have been spent if City Council supported the third option – which would have delayed action by at least another 30 days for preparation of an economic impact report. Additionally, City saves the substantial cost of preparing an unnecessary item for Election in 2014.
ECCHO’s Board of Directors, and team of organizers and unpaid Volunteers deserve enormous credit ! BRAVO !